Part 1: Beating, and Verbally Abusing Your Children
I’m gonna write a few things here that may or may not have been necessarily true for me and my upbringing, but we filipinos all know someone - whether it’s our cousins, or friends, or that kid in school who showed up with a bruise or injury. If you are indeed a first-generation Filipino-Canadian parent, this is not written to offend you - but to give you my perspective. So who am I, that I may give perspective?
I’m Patrick. I was born in the Philippines in ‘83, and having travelled for most of my upbringing I had a myriad of cultures clashing with, and testing my Filipino identity/upbringing. I still hold much of the values I was taught with a good amount of respect: I haven’t forgotten where I have come from. My parents tried to impose a Catholic influence in my life, but it was an influence they failed to maintain in their own lives. Also, I am gay. So, Filipino-Canadian parents, you can see that my parents and I did not always meet eye to eye. Traditionally speaking, this is where your tsinelas, or your fists and nails would do the talking.
I can promise you that the only thing it will teach your children is how to fear you and resent you. Don’t mistake it for respect: every hurtful, abusive action you take - whether it’s a punch in the eye, a pull on their hair or verbally wishing out loud “I wish you were never born” - you won’t get an ounce of respect for that at all.
And don’t start with the “I’m old and set in my ways” or “I don’t have to change, you do” or “In my house, we are in the Philippines.” - it’s tacky, and narrow. If you want to demonstrate maturity with your children, you will show them your ability to evolve and adapt. A quality that you should want your children to see as it makes you more accessible - and it is a valuable quality to have as a person anyway.
Now back to the beating of your children. I had a friend in school - also gay - his parents beat him without a thought, not necessarily for being gay but also for having talked back - which probably means he spoke his mind but it was interpreted as talking back. Having known him before this - he changed. He went from bragging about his parents to not even ever talking about his parents - and when he did talk - it was with great resentment. Another thing of note is that he was depressed and had very low self esteem all of a sudden. The only time he had ever really lit up was in choir, where he sang so very well. He was in a lot of extra-curricular activities: this prevented him from having to come home. He had lots of sex, with a lot of people: he explained to me that this was the closest he’ll ever come to having anyone love him.
When You’re in my house, you’re in the Philippines is FUCKING BULLSHIT.
You’re really sending mixed signals anyway. In Canada, there is a culture of being able to be who you are. Not what your parents want you to be. Who you are. Which means being able to say what is on your mind - without having to have the fear of being beaten for it. You brought them here, or you gave birth to them here - probably under much better conditions than you had in your own childhood. You brought them to Canada because you wanted a better life for them. If you think bringing them to Canada and believing that they are going to continue that path that you had to follow as a kid is unreasonable. It’s not even the same game anymore - different player, different system, different year and different NPC’s. As far as the rules you had to follow - it is generally game over if you don’t adapt them to fit the new conditions.
So my friend who became a manwhore because mom and dad fucked up: what’s he up to these days? Well he’s still got a bit of a low self-esteem. Mom and dad really did a number on him. He has rebuilt his relationship with his mom and dad, but only after having moved out and maintaining a safe distance.
So what happened with me and my parents? Well… My mom and dad are much cooler these days - I moved out which was also good for me. As much as I love them (which is more than ever these days), when I look back I still want to cry. Psychologically speaking, it was scarring: these people who brought me into the world are working so hard to break me down and it’s supposedly for my own good?! These people who were supposed to teach me to love myself for who I am were the ones who told me that I was just not cutting it - not only as their son, but as a person in general. Those are not easy things unremember. And my mom and dad have said they regret it, which is in a way their way of apologizing - and I accept.
But imagine - instead of having to do that apologizing in the future, new first gen filipino-canadian parent - getting to know yourself as you grow as a person and parent as my mom and dad did, through example instead of experience. Spend less time regretting what you have done and focus more on what you can do to make it better for your kid. As much as you think that this move to Canada is for them, treat yourself to the idea that this is a new start for yourself as a parent as well.
Much love. Mabuhay. Till next time.