How Design Thinking Approach Makes Me A Better Mum

Photo credit: Liv Bruce

My 7-year-old son didn’t want to practise playing the flute and threw a major tantrum a few days ago. If it had happened a year ago, I would have eventually pushed him into submission by threatening grounding or reducing TV time — the usual tricks. Having studied and applied design thinking intensely in the past year, I have been trying to apply this approach on parenthood.

As a parent, we are constantly faced with bad behavior, crisis and emotions from our children. However, it’s not unlike dealing with a difficult client or an insufferable coworker, a bit of empathy goes a long way.

Instead of going straight into the “serious parent” mode and telling him that “ you don’t get to watch TV if you don’t play flute”, I gave him a cuddle, calmed him down and we had a long chat. The little one was crying so hard that he was bored at staying home and couldn’t go to roller skate nor the cinema. I don’t blame him. Being in lock-down for nearly 5 months could make anyone stressed and frustrated, not to mention a little kid. At his age, it’s difficult to fully grasp the idea of a “deadly” virus. He has always been a quiet child. With all his frustrations being built up and bottled up inside, it had a strong impact on him.

He didn’t play his flute on that day. Instead, we picked a movie and watched it together while enjoying the banana cake we made. The next day, the little one got up happy and calm. He even volunteered to practice flute before I had a chance to ask him.

Empathy, a key component of the design thinking process is not only an important part of user-centred design, but also a valuable practice in our private life. It helps me become a more understanding parent and a more tolerant person.

Stand in others’ shoes, and empathize.




UX Designer.

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Yao Chen

Yao Chen

UX Designer.

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