MANILA, Philippines — How can a mother provide enough guidance without being overprotective? When must she step in, and when must she step aside?
Four mothers, who are also experts on their own fields, gave their meaningful and useful insights on parenting.
Maribel Dionisio, parenting consultant and mother of three; Ali Gui, life coach, child psychotherapist, and mother of four; Georgia Schulze-del Rosario, model, managing editor and mother of four; and Jo Ann Marie Vardadero-Salamat, seasoned nutritionist-dietitian and vice chairman of International Life Sciences Institute, revealed that there are three tough things that children must face in growing up “StrongNotSheltered”:
Mobile devices and the Internet are now considered factors in a child’s development. Schulze-del Rosario cited said her daughter was pressured to start her own Facebook account at the age of 9 because her teachers were giving assignments through the social network. And although her daughter wasn’t inclined to be on Facebook at her age, she allowed her to open an account as a birthday gift.
And the pressure to be on social media was not only within the family. “We got pressured as well because other parents started judging us. (They asked) ‘Why does she have Facebook already?’ ‘Aren’t you speeding up her growing up?’”Schulze-del Rosario said.
In another instance, she sent her second daughter to a friend’s house to play with other kids only to be left alone because she didn’t have her own iPad. Despite this, Schulze-del Rosario refused to buy a new iPad.
Dionisio, the parenting consultant on the panel, observed: “The pressure on the children now is how to catch up, how to connect with their friends through the gadgets. They don’t like to feel out of place so parents have to consider that.”
She said parents should then do a “balancing act”—giving children what they need while making them understand their parenting decisions.
Growing up kids, whether adolescents or teenagers, will also experience challenges that will test and shape their personalities.
For Vardadero-Salamat, she observed that her daughter is challenged physically and mentally by taking the public transport to and from her school. “She doesn’t see the advantage of it. She complains. But it is for her own future so she could be independent and capable and know what is happening out there rather than always being inside the car,” shared the nutritionist.
(Clockwise from top left) Georgia Schulze-del Rosario, model, managing editor and mother of four; Jo Ann Marie Vardadero-Salamat, seasoned nutritionist-dietitian and vice chairman of International Life Sciences Institute; Maribel Dionisio, parenting consultant and mother of three; and Ali Gui, life coach, child psychotherapist, and mother of four.
Schulze-del Rosario, meanwhile, believes that bullying is common through the Internet, at school or by peers. But while she always felt combative and protective, she learned to control her emotions to realize how she could actually help.
Vardadero-Salamat chimed, “But sometimes, when we are emotionally involved, it’s so hard to control. As a mother, gusto mo nang sumugod (you just want to go there).”
Gui, the life coach and child psychotherapist, answered, “That is why as a mother, we really have to know how to handle our emotions. (To) step back and reassess. Because if you are too involved right away, you show your children how to be assertive but in a negative way.”
Children will not always emerge as winners. As scary as it may sound, Gui warned parents not to always intervene for their children.
Dionisio agreed. She, for one, has an intelligent son who has a weakness:he leaves behind important school projects or requirements. At first, Dionisio would take the things to him but realized that he wouldn’t learn from his mistake if she continued doing so.
“We told him, ‘Okay from now on, we will not bring your things to school so you have to remember them. If you forgot, then sorry.’ Then the time came when he forgot something again. He finally learned his lesson because school gave him a demerit. That was stuck in his head,” she said. “Now, he has found a way not to forget his things because I don’t come in and intervene anymore.”
Gui agreed: “When they fail, it is not a failure in itself but a lesson. They can learn how confident and competent they can be.”
As a final reminder, Dionisio said, “Parents shouldn’t say, ‘Ganyan ka na lang palagi. Wala nang mangyayari sa iyo (You are always like that. Nothing good will come out of you.) We shouldn’t say those words. That’s a label that can get stuck. Instead we say, we will work on it.”
Moderated by host Issa Litton, the media roundtable held last week was part of Anchor Philippines’ “Goodness Feeds Greatness” campaign. It aims to teach mothers the importance of raising #StrongNotSheltered children through proper guidance and good nutrition from healthy dairy products like the Anchor Whole Milk.