Peppi Azzopardi with Xandru
|Peppi Azzopardi, 48 years old from Qormi, journalist and Xarabank's presenter is a well-known media person. His Friday TV show on TVM at 8.30pm is a weekly appointment for thousands of Maltese viewers. Peppi Azzopardi shared with Ramona Portelli and kidsmalta.com readers his viewpoints about parenthood.
How many kids do you have?
What’s his name and how old is he?
He is a 10 year old boy called Xandru.
What were your first thoughts when you and your wife Mandy got to know you’re becoming parents for the very first time……and what were your reactions?
Xandru was not in our plans but we were so thrilled and excited as we got to know about the pregnancy.
Did your wife Mandy experience any difficulties during her pregnancy?
It was a natural birth but she was in a lot of pain as to her breach birth.
How were you involved in Mandy’s pregnancy?
We attended to doctor’s visits and pregnancy course together. I learnt about my role during delivery which I found very helpful. We spoke to him even though our lives were hectic as usual.
How do you describe a good parenthood?
Parents are able to love their children properly as long as they love themselves and each other. I do not believe that parents have to live for their children because neither the parents nor the children would be happy. Even though it is quite hard, parents must not think of their children as being their property but as being borrowed to them.
Xandru tries out his cooking skills
Can you name one thing or more that makes your child unique and that you will never forget throughout the years?
Our conversations. Xandru invites me to think with his thoughtful questions. When he was eight years old, he asked me, “Did you love me before I was born since you were born many years before I did?” He even asked me, “Who dominates between the brain and the heart?”
What is your son’s favourite activity?
Inviting his friends at home and playing with everything and everywhere.
You are a very busy media person. What makes you a good father?
I believe that being a good father is a process because there is always room for improvement. After all what does being a good father mean? There is not a particular formula to become a good father. However, there was an occasion when Xandru asked me to buy him a mobile phone. I wondered why he made such a request so I asked him.
He replied, “Daddy, I would like to have a mobile phone so that I could speak to you since I do not have the opportunity to do so…you are always busy using your mobile phone”. It was only then that I realized how important it is for him to spend quality time with me. Therefore, I decided that my top priority should be spending quality time with my son and I love it.
Rehearsing for the Eurovision ?
What is your method of discipline as a father?
Mandy criticizes me for not being disciplined with Xandru and I agree to this but only to some extent. I do not feel that I need to be disciplined with him. On the contrary, I believe that he is smarter than me and many times he suggests to me how to be smart like him.
Was there a change in your relationship with Mandy following your son’s birth?
Our relationship became stronger but we promised each other to be together only because we want to be together and love each other rather than because Xandru came into our lives.
Are you planning to have more kids in the near future? Please explain the reasons behind.
We are confused about it. Whatever will be will be !!
Do you dream of something in particular in the future of your son?
To be happy.
What is your favourite part about your son’s school experiences?
The social aspect of schooling. However, the majority of schools in Malta must be 70% more fun for our children. I came in contact with many children who are unhappy and bored at school due to old fashioned methods of teaching.
Xandru with his Mum, Mandy
What do you think is of utmost importance for children to learn at school?
To love themselves and each other.
What are the challenges parents face when you take into consideration your experience as a parent?
The challenge of being a father rather than a friend. Parents must be friends to their children too but the latter must feel safe and loved by their parents even if they fail the Junior Lyceum examination.
How well prepared are local schools to educate children?
The educational system needs a radical change which the children themselves have already made. We are not reaching our children because teachers are more focused on the traditional way of teaching while children are more into modern technology.
Peppi and Xandru on a skiing holiday
Have you experienced any problems with schools over the years?
No problems whatsoever when it comes to Tumas Dingli public school because the staff is very dedicated. The problem is the educational system in itself which is quite outdated rather than the individuals working in it. However, there has been a good effort towards improvement by Minister Dolores Cristina and her team.
What is your advice to parents to be?
I was constantly told that my life is going to change with a newborn but I did not believe it until I experienced it. Life changes with a new arrival but it is all so worth it.
What suggestions can you share with kidsmalta.com readers for a better childhood in Malta?
To let children enjoy their childhood. It is their right after all. They should not assume certain responsibilities which are not theirs. Our children must live their present as they deserve to have a memorable childhood.