The Effects of Working Overseas of Filipino Parents on the Academic Performance of Their Children

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THE EFFECTS OF WORKING OVERSEAS OF FILIPINO PARENTS ON THE ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF THEIR CHILDREN

by Pascual, Kristelle D.

March 21, 2012

Introduction

As experienced by many Filipino children like me nowadays, separation from one of our parents results to a very great impact in our lives. Unlike any other children with both parents present at home, raising us up needs more effort and careful attention since that there is only one attending parent. The temporary single parent at home must have the ability to handle things very well—from raising children up to the accomplishing of household chores, and even to the budgeting of resources, like money and time. Fortunately, as for me who have witnessed such, I can say that my mother did very well in handling these tasks, considering there are three of us she had to take care of.

The academic performance of children is affected when one of their parents, especially when both, are working overseas. These effects are just the manifestations of the situation families have when one parent or the parents, is/are not present at home. This paper aims to provide the effects that are observable and some of their psychological factors.

The Filipino Family Setting

“Families provide social and emotional supports that help family members cope with crises…But perhaps the most widely recognized and universal functions of the family are the care giving and training that parents and other family members provide for their young.” (Shaffer, 1999, 558)

Filipino families have great values, which up to now are still present. They are known to putting a great importance to family, because one of the most weighty and intimate relationships among humans is that between parent and child. It is important especially for the child because it makes him feel secure about life and molds his future (Bigner, 1989). This is the reason why in the Philippines, they have extended families. Since that family members become really close to one another, they have a hard time letting go of a family member when he needs to leave home during the time he decides to build his own family.

Furthermore, in the Spanish colonial period, only men were sent to school to learn, and women were to stay at home to do domestic things, like household chores. It is in the history that women do not have the right to learn because they are probably “designed” to be housewives, and they need to focus on that. Men, on the other hand, study so that in the future, they could earn a living for their family. As a very influential culture imposed by the Spaniards, this, until now, has been an ideal Filipino family tradition—men are to work, women are to stay at home.

Labor Migration

Nevertheless, today, because of the financial instabilities Filipino families face today, they are forced to send an able-bodied member to work and earn a living for them. In addition, with a great number of Filipinos sent everyday to different countries around the world, a single Filipino family also suffers from temporary loss of a family member each day (Parreñas, 2006). Labor migration has always been the first choice of families in need of more financial support; so as a result, separation normally happens every day in the Philippines, which leads to various effects in the behavior of family members, especially to children. One example is its effect to their academic performance.

In the modern nuclear family, usually, fathers work abroad—which proves that the tradition above is somewhat still alive. They fulfill their duty as the “good providers” of the family; while as for the mothers, they do the traditional household responsibilities by putting all of their energy into meeting the daily needs of the family. However, because of this work division of parents, children crave for emotional guidance coming from their father. However, since a gap develops through the course of time...
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