JW Marriot Dubai-OctoberFest

Filipino Parenting In The Digital Age

By Rav de Castro

11111 

 

Kids today are different—they are “digital natives”. Their world is powered by technology, and information is literally just at the tip of their fingertips.

Parenting has evolved, too. Gone are days when kids are not allowed to speak their minds and parents use corporal punishment to discipline their kids. Parenting is now more grounded on trust and open communication.

Whether it’s through exchanging snail mails or iMessages, one thing is common between the kids’ generation and the parents’ generation: the need to keep in constant communication with peers. And because of this need coupled with today’s technology, parents now have much more ways to be involved in the lives of their kids.

We asked a few parents from around the world about their parenting styles and how they cope with the high-tech fast-paced times that their children live in.

 

Our Respondents:

Charles and Nadja Gaerlan 

 

Charles and Nadja Gaerlan

Dubai, UAE

2 kids

 

 

 

 

Angela Yupano 

Angela Yupano

Marikina City, Philippines

6 kids

 

 

 

David Pua

 

David Pua

Winnipeg, Canada

8 kids

 

 

 

Tinette Samala Pudda 

Tinette Samala Pudda

Dubai, UAE

3 kids

 

What are the challenges of parenthood at this time when the Internet has become such a big part of your children’s lives? Do you allow your children to be on social media?

 

Angela Yupano:

The Internet is a double-edged tool. As parents, computer literacy is a must. The challenge is to teach them how to use the web productively, and how to behave in social media.

David Pua:

Social media is beneficial for kids in terms of their learning; however, children nowadays have a weakness in developing writing skills. They would rather type than write. It seems as though they are too reliant on technology that we did not have when we were growing up.

In our home, we all allow our kids to have social media accounts. But we implement rules to ensure Internet safety and protection.

Tinette Samala Pudda:

It was my son who introduced me to Facebook. It became a way to keep memorable moments and to keep an eye on my kids. My kids also have other social media accounts, like Instagram and Twitter. 

Charles and Nadja Gaerlan:

Whether we like it or not, our children are digital natives. They are born into a media-saturated world, and they require a media-rich learning environment to hold their attention.

We accept that this is our children’s Weltanschauung, their own world-view. We identify the joys and perils of living in the digital age, and guide our children in navigating life for the first 21 years of their life.

Our son is nine years old, and our daughter is three; both are too young to have their own social media accounts.

 

Digital Age

 

 

Describe your parenting style. How is it different from the style of your generation? If you could correct something from the previous generation’s style of parenting, what would it be? How do you think your kids feel about your parenting style?

 

Angela Yupano:

For us, it was a trial and error kind of parenting. We learned that each child is unique, each with different needs and wants. Parenting is a 24/7 labor of love. It is not just about spending quality time with them, in reality, quantity of time is as important

David Pua:

My wife and I have similar parenting styles, but we also complement each other. We are vocal about discipline, and instead of an instant punishment, it is more of a discussion of why, and what could be better done next time.

If I could correct anything from the previous generation’s style of parenting, instead of making ‘palo,’ I think it is better to give your kid first a chance to explain.

Tinette Samala Pudda:

My Dad was extremely strict, especially with me because I’m the eldest. When my kids were young, they thought that I was too strict. Now, my grown-up kids are the ones who keep on saying no to their youngest sibling. Sometimes I tell them, “Jeez, I can’t imagine how you kids would have reacted then if I am as strict as you are now.”

Charles and Nadja Gaerlan:

We raise our children as citizens of the world—American by birth, Dubaian by domicile, and 100% Filipino by blood.

Our parenting style is a blend of Attachment Parenting and Positive Parenting, alongside the things we learned from other Third Culture Kid families. We apply Attachment Parenting to strengthen the intuitive, psychological and emotional bond between our kids and us. We use Positive Parenting to empower our children get the most out of life.

 

parenting style

What do you do to keep your kids away from trouble? What do you do to teach them a lesson? Do you punish your kids when they disobey? If so, how do you punish them?

 

Angela Yupano:

We have house rules that are crystal clear. When one violates it, we punish them through deprivation of privileges. It should make its mark enough to discourage them to repeat the same offense, but not too much that it would lead to demotivation and indifference. We never say anything that we don’t mean. My husband and I talk and agree on the most appropriate punishment. We ensure that there is mutual respect, and that their dignity is preserved.

David Pua:

It may sound strict, but we have rules that we follow in the house. We are a family of nine people, so communication is key. For example, our 22-year-old daughter, even though she is an adult, has a curfew; this is set because she is a role model, and also because we don’t want the doors being unlocked at late times due to little children being in the home.

In our house, we do not believe in always going towards physical punishment to teach lessons. We practice open communication. We reiterate what we believe they did wrong and explain to them the repercussions of their actions. The most common punishment I would say is probably taking away their cellphones.

Tinette Samala Pudda:

My kids’ friends are their friends since elementary. They always go as a pack, so there is safety in numbers.

My sisters and I used to get sermons and beatings from our parents. If I were to give my kids even the slightest taste of the beatings that I used to have as a kid, I am sure that I would be tagged as the ‘Worst Mother Dearest Ever!’ The punishment that I give them comes in the form of a talking-to.

Charles and Nadja Gaerlan:

Instead of punishing them, or humiliating them in public, or using corporal punishment, we look for the right time and place to rectify their behaviors and make them understand what they did wrong.

No matter what, we are against punishment in any form, and veer away from timeouts, grounding, confiscation of gadgets, withholding of allowance, etc. Instead, we opt for an open discussion about a recent incident, and explain that each choice they make leads to consequences.

 

teenage love relationships

 

How much freedom do you allow your kids? What liberties are they allowed at their age? What are the things you are not allowing them to do or get involved in?

 

Angela Yupano:

We encourage them to be open and comfortable in sharing how their day went to give us a more accurate picture of their everyday experiences and friends’ profiles.

David Pua:

They are allowed to do anything we consider appropriate as long as we know what they are doing. To ask permission, or ‘pagpapaalam,’ is the most important thing to remember.

We are a Christian household. We do not support the use of foul language, drugs, alcohol and late night outings. My wife and I believe that it does not lead to good things.

Tinette Samala Pudda:

Just like my Dad, I was initially strict with the kids, but not too strict because I didn’t want them to be like me who had no sense of adventure. I am glad that my kids enjoy travelling. I must say that the kids know better on what things they are not allowed to do or get involved in. They can read my unspoken words loud and clear.

Charles and Nadja Gaerlan:

We give our nine-year-old son enough leeway to pursue after-school activities. He can choose to join his younger sister and me on play-dates or not, and we let him do something else he likes, e.g. read a book, play LEGO, do Minecraft, or catch-up on Doctor Who or Bob’s Burgers episodes.

 

How do you feel about teenage love relationships? Are your kids allowed to have a boyfriend/girlfriend?

 

Angela Yupano:

They are allowed to have crushes but having a boyfriend or a girlfriend is not allowed while still studying. We explained to them in the most comprehensive and compassionate way why.

David Pua:

We are supportive with teenage love relationships. Respect and no secrets are most vital in any relationship. We always remind them that school, church and family always come first. There should be a clear limitation of their roles as teenage lovers.

Tinette Samala Pudda:

My daughters Alessandra and Michelle are not allowed to have a boyfriend until they are 25 years old. 

Charles and Nadja Gaerlan:

I have tried opening the subject even at his tender age of nine, but he is not interested in either girls or boys in a romantic way yet, even if there are girls looking at him funny and giggling incessantly, or coming up to him calling him “Mr. Husband.” He insists that while most of his friends are boys, he also plays with girl classmates in school.

 

Are your kids allowed to argue or disagree with you and voice their opinions?

 

Angela Yupano:

All our kids are allowed to agree and disagree with us. They are free to air their opinion, feelings, frustrations and disappointments while maintaining mutual respect.

There was one time when I felt a gap widening between my husband and one of my daughters, and it was beginning to take its toll. We decided to have a family meeting, with all my children present, so the older siblings can share their experiences. I had some fast food delivered at home to ease the tension. When father and daughter started to argue, the rest of us began stress eating. All is well that ends well. We can now laugh about it.

David Pua:

They are allowed to express what they feel. When there is a disagreement, we don’t allow them to yell or degrade us when we are talking. And if they allow us to finish what we have to say, they, too, get a chance to say what they want to say.

Tinette Samala Pudda:

For me, voicing out one’s opinions does not equate to disobedience. It just makes me sad when my kids argue with me even when they are not allowed to.

Charles and Nadja Gaerlan:

Yes, and we tell him that he is free to articulate his thoughts, feelings, opposition, etc. so long as it is not whiny, back-talking, or violently expressed. We remind him that we, his parents, were not given this kind of freedom of self-expression when we were young.

 

Do you talk about sex with your kids? If no, tell us why. If yes, please tell us how you go about it.

 

Angela Yupano:

We started to educate them about sex when they were in high school. My husband explained to our daughters how a boy thinks and what they usually do to convince girls to have sex with them as compared to a lad with good intentions. I painted a clear picture in their minds the consequences of premarital sex and teen pregnancy. With my supervision, I let them take care of their baby siblings during vacations.

David Pua:

Yes we do. We do not go beyond details. However, sex education is part of the curricula in school. We basically lay down the rules, i.e. no sex before marriage, no excessive physical contact, our girls are not allowed to go to their boyfriends’ house and our sons are not allowed to stay long at their girlfriends’ house. Our main idea is to teach them to respect their bodies and to respect other people’s bodies.

Tinette Samala Pudda:

No. Strangely enough, when it comes to this subject, I am considered very much the “Mom” and prefer to keep mum about it.

But I must say that the kids grew up alright and I have a deep sense of pride and admiration for their closeness and protectiveness with each other.

Charles and Nadja Gaerlan:

Not yet, but soon, my son will have an introductory sex education class in school, including alternative lifestyles, gender and sexual orientation. However, even at their young ages, we remind them that they own their bodies, and that nobody has the right to touch them on their private parts, and that when mom and dad wash their private parts it is meant for hygiene purposes, nothing else. We also reassure our children that they are not obliged to kiss or hug anyone they are not comfortable with.

 

What parenting lessons have you learned so far?

 

Angela Yupano:

Spanking is not a very effective way to discipline children. They just remember the pain, and not the reason why they were spanked in the first place.

No favoritism. Never, ever, compare your child with anyone.

Take the time to answer all their questions.

There is no fool-proof formula on effective parenting. Each child is unique. Explore on different ways to communicate with them. Take note on what makes them more cooperative and responsive. 

David Pua:

In 23 years of marriage, my wife and I have learned that God is the center of our life. We must be humble and understanding with our children, be on their side, respect their opinion, and accept what they will become when they grown up.

Tinette Samala Pudda:

If you can’t beat them, join them. I must have done quite well because my kids’ friends tell them that they have such a cool mom.

Charles and Nadja Gaerlan:

Parenting is not a competitive sport. Adopt a growth mindset. Academic excellence is overrated. Beware the trap of external validation or set up the child to become a people-pleaser. Choose encouragement in lieu of praise. Monkey see, monkey do. Reading to children is a reward in itself.

 

What are your tips for other parents?

 

Angela Yupano:

Being a parent is a privilege, an opportunity to raise the hope of our future generation.

David Pua:

Enjoy every moment with your children. Time is precious; catch every significant moment in their life. Grow and learn with them. Always put yourself in the shoes of your children especially during the difficult times.

Tinette Samala Pudda:

There is no set formula for child rearing, as I feel that it is the parent’s past experiences in their growing up years that would determine how they would treat their kids.

Charles and Nadja Gaerlan:

You know more than you think. Trust your instincts.

 

 

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Author: Illustrado

From the Middle East to the rest of the world, IllustradoLife shares the stories of Filipinos expats from around the world, providing a global venue championing the world class Filipino. IllustradoLife features articles on fashion and beauty, travel, lifestyle, business, events and other topics of interest to the international Filipino community from its mother publication, Illustrado Magazine.

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