Children in the Streets: Socialization and Formation of the Self in Rapidly Urbanizing Contexts

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Children in the Streets: Socialization and Formation of the Self in Rapidly Urbanizing Contexts

Filipinos are family-oriented. This seems to be a truth by convention and if this is true, it would not be surprising if it would be said that family is one of the primary – if not the most – influential agency that affects one’s socialization, especially children’s. Parents or surrogates are the ones that open children’s mind to the socially constructed realms of life. The society at large is out of the picture. Also, it is being assumed that in such process of socialization, a child is a passive learner where in s/he absorbs what is being poured onto her/him. For all we know, this is not the case because “socialization process is more appropriately viewed as entailing series of negotiation between parents and children” and parents are not the sole shapers, instead, “neighborhood, peer relations, and larger society” play their part.

Like what have been said, Filipinos are family-centered. This seems to be true for people from all walks of life although there are some deviations from the picture of what is “normal” or “ideal” – from the textbooks and media – when it comes to those who are less fortunate (e.g., street children’s). However, there are attempts to build a family life suitable to what is “normal” for them. They make their place in a “‘constructed’ private space within a public eye”. Still, not all street children live with their “legitimate” family but since the family plays a huge part in a child’s life, people living in the street – not just children – use familial or kin terms as labels for their social group because through this, they are able to mitigate the alienating effects of living on the streets (Wolseth, 2010).

Children of the streets enter into paid “work” to make a living, may it be for their legitimate family or for the social group to which they belong. It is through the “careers” that street children chose to...
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