Written by 9:30 am Parenting

12 Things We Can Learn from the Most Successful Parents in the World

Some of the most successful people in the world are also great parents. We’ve picked gems from these 12 local and overseas ones who succeed in life and parenting. Which will make you go “aha!”?

They’re successful in life, career, and even parenting. They seem to have it all and on top of that, their kids appear to be well-adjusted and happy. How do they do it? What’s their secret? Get the tips from these 12 well-known parents and add them to your #ParentingGoals list. 

Limit Screen Time – Bill Gates


Like all our children, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates’ three children wanted mobile phones. However he and his wife Melinda only gave in when they turned 14. In addition, there were limits on their screen time, and a ‘no-screens time’ rule which meant devices had to be kept after a certain time of the day or night. The Gates parents also did not allow devices of any kind at the table during mealtimes at home. Can you resist?

Share Family Stories – Diana Ser

At home and at peace with my Do Re Mi #countmyblessings

A post shared by Diana Ser 徐秀盈 (@dianaserlye) on

This former actress and host shared in one of her columns for local newspaper Today that she and her husband, ex-actor James Lye, share stories about their childhood with their three children. Sharing family stories gives children a sense of place, security and belonging, and helps builds self-confidence. But don’t just share the fun stuff, explore the other side of life too. “I have found that sharing stories of personal failure or grief makes me more real in my kids’ eyes,” Ser once wrote. This will also teach your children how to cope with adversity and obstacles in life.

Spend Alone Time Together – Evelyn Tan & Darren Lim

Source: Darren Lim’s Facebook account

It’s easy for the kids feel neglected especially if they’re part of a big family, but you can help them feel loved by spending time with them individually. This is what local celebrity couple Evelyn Tan and Darren Lim — famous for homeschooling their four children and for planning to go on a year-long round-the-world sailing trip as a family — practice with their brood of four children. Tan recently told 8 Days that, when their kids turn seven, each of them goes on a one-on-one trip with her and Darren, so that the child gets individual time with their parents and the opportunity to make special memories together.

Don’t Harp on Grades – Jack Ma

This Chinese entrepreneur is one of the most influential businessmen in the world, thanks to his success with his company, Alibaba. Ma and his wife Zhang Ying have a son and a daughter and he doesn’t follow the regular Asian way of thinking that excelling in the classroom is the only way to amount to much in life. He revealed this in one of his speeches: “I told my son: you don’t need to be in the top three in your class, being in the middle is fine, so long as your grades aren’t too bad. Only this kind of person [a middle-of-the-road student] has enough free time to learn other skills.” Ma himself wasn’t the best in class; in fact, he failed the college entrance exam three times.

Teach them compassion – Jay-Z

Shawn Carter – better known as Jay-Z – is a highly successful rapper and businessman. His wife, singer Beyonce, is one of the most beautiful and famous women in the world. But despite their massive fortune, Jay-Z believes that his kids — Blue Ivy Carter, 5, and twins Sir Carter and Rumi Carter, 6 months — need to know about the hard work and struggles behind the success. He reckons it’s important to teach kids compassion as well as to identify with everyone’s struggles. His aim is to teach his kids to “treat people as they are, no matter who they are, no matter where they sit in the world”.

Let Them Take Risks – Jeff Bezos

Source: Screenshot from CNBC video

The founder and CEO of Amazon.com often tops ‘richest people in the world’ lists but that doesn’t mean Bezos gives his kids everything on a silver platter. Bezos and his wife MacKenzie believe that kids should take risks from a young age so that they grow up to be risk-takers too. The couple let their four children use sharp knives since their were four because they believe that if the kids hurt themselves, they would learn. Bezos has revealed that his wife’s perspective is that, “I’d much rather have a kid with nine fingers than a resourceless kid”.

Give them a voice – Michelle Obama

The former FLOTUS speaks her mind, something she’s been allowed to do since she was three years old. Unsurprisingly, she practices this same parenting technique with her daughters Malia and Sasha. This is because she believes it’s important to teach kids that they have a voice that is valuable and important, and to learn how to find it. Mrs Obama also said in an interview with People that parents should prepare kids for life: “We have to raise our children to be the adults that we want them to be, and that starts young. You can’t be so afraid that life will break them that you don’t prepare them for life.”

Don’t spoil them – Mila Kunis

A post shared by Mila Kunis (@kunismilax) on

This actress and her equally-famous actor husband, actor Ashton Kutcher, keep their two children, Wyatt Isabelle, 3, and Dimitri Portwood, 11 months, out of the limelight. Hence, it seems the kids are truly down-to-earth and not spoilt at all. Kudos to their parents! Kunis recently revealed that they don’t give their kids Christmas presents, so that they don’t grow up simply expecting gifts without being grateful for them. “The kid no longer appreciates the one gift. They don’t even know what they’re expecting; they’re just expecting stuff,” she told Entertainment Tonight.

Teach them to be Resilient – Sheryl Sandberg


In 2012, Sandberg became the first woman to serve on Facebook’s board and is currently the Chief Operating Officer at the company. She revealed in a New York Times opinion piece that, when her husband died unexpectedly in 2015, she was left with a seven-year-old daughter and a 10-year-old son and sought guidance on how to help her children through such adversity. Sandberg believes that building resilient kids leads to better health, happiness and success. An important part of this journey is to show kids they matter because if they feel rejected and alone, they are more prone to anti-social and self-destructive behaviours. Giving children undivided attention is also key to building resilience, so spend time with them and talk to them often.

Limit their Technology Use – Steve Jobs


The co-founder of Apple is credited by many as the man behind the smartphone revolution and Apple’s ascent to a sexy, must-have brand. But did you know that Jobs used to limit the amount of technology his kids used at home? In his biography Steve Jobs (which was later turned into a movie starring Michael Fassbender and Kate Winslet), author Walter Isaacson, who spent a lot of time at the Jobs family home, revealed that Jobs didn’t allow gadgets at the dining table. Instead, he would discuss books and history with his children. Isaacson added: “No one ever pulled out an iPad or computer.”

Keep Encouraging them – Warren Buffet


Business magnate Buffet has three children and believes it is important to encourage children to do what they want to do. He once revealed that his father supported him in this way and that he was grateful for that and, therefore, applies it to his children too. When it was disclosed that he was going to leave most of his fortune to his foundation instead of his children, Buffet said that it’s because he has faith in his children and how they were raised, that he would be able to make a life for themselves. He also famously said: “Love is the greatest advantage a parent can give.’”

Be a Mindful & Balanced Parent – Wong Lilin

The former actress often posts about her two kids on Instagram (@lilinwong), and how she parents them (with a firm but loving hand). We also love the sweet and loving notes her children leave for her, which Lilin documents on her IG. What caught our eye though, was the post which showed the ‘contract’ she wrote to her 11-year-old son Jonas. It was for him to have a ‘better attitude’ or he would lose his rights to gadgets for ‘one whole year’. Then she wrote him a heartwarming letter, telling him that he needs his ‘self’ to be ‘strong’. Well-balanced parenting? We think so!

Go Forth and Parent Well

Following the right advice is one step to becoming a better parent so pick out the tips that work best for you and practice them on your little ones. Finally, what’s the one parenting tip that has served you well? Do share it with us here!

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