Better job opportunities and higher pay overseas have urged many Filipinos to work abroad and leave their families for years. In fact, way back in 2006 alone, 1.5 million Filipino workers were deployed to various parts of the globe. So, a number children these days experience the absence of fathers or mothers, who tend to come home only once in every two to three years. The situation is far from normal and is more-likely to cause a huge impact on the mental and emotional well-being of the children. The increasing amount of absentee parents becomes more alarming because without them, discipline is not enforced at home. Fortunately, according to surveys, more Filipino children have been able to cope up with the absence of their fathers, primarily because of the immeasurable love and devotion of their mothers. Moreover, in some cases, the emotional damage is alleviated because most Filipino families are extended. This causes a diversion of attention of the children from their father, to other relatives. Meanwhile, children left behind by their mothers tend to have more emotional difficulties than those who grew up with no father. The same study reveals these children, who are left to be taken care of caregivers, develop complexity in molding their personality. The typical teenager nowadays is savvy when it comes to gadgets, particularly cell phones, iPods, laptops, and even branded apparels. This is what becomes of them so they may compensate the absence of their parents. Although this can serve as a distraction, this is a bad practice for children for they must not be given with too much material things. Even with all the drama and the adjustment issues, one has to be aware of their parents’ sacrifice. Being a teenager, you should have the maturity to adjust to changes. After all, even as the father or the mother is abroad, it doesn’t necessarily mean that communication is impossible. You can stay connected with them, through the latest technology. Update them always on what happens to your daily life. Make each other feel that distance is not a hindrance to let them feel loved and also, for you to feel loved.
When my son was around 7 years old, there was a time when he did not want to go to school without his mother coming along. I was then abroad on training. According to my wife, she had a hard time getting hi m out of bed and cajoling him to board the school bus. All of a sudden, he did not want to go to school. Suspecting that he might have been terrorized by a bully in school or he had done something wrong, my wife went to the school to investigate on her own. She found no explainable reason for our son’s strange behavior. After my training, when I came back home, my son became his usual self and never showed any fear or reluctance to go to school again. It was an episode gone and forgotten. But now I realize it could have been what is now termed as “separation anxiety”. Separation Anxiety Disorder or SAD involves excessive distress over day-to-day separation from parents, home or other familiar situations,and unrealistic fears of harm to loved ones. Children with SAD have intense worry or fear about beingaway from home or caregivers, which affects their ability to function socially. These children have a great need to stay at home or be close to their parents. They may worry excessively about their parents when they are apart from them. Clinical psychologists say that separation anxiety is fairly common among children ages 6 to 10. “It’s most often associated with a child’s fear of something happening to a parent if they are not there to watch over them,” Melinda Arzaga, a child psychologist, explains. “Children have this irrational fear that, ‘If I can’t see Mommy or see Daddy, something may happen to them and they may not come back.’ Arzaga continues, “Anxiety in kids can look sometimes like defiance, rebellion, anger or stubbornness when it’s really just panic, kids panicking because they are so afraid.” The...
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