It is the primary goal for most overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to find a job outside the Philippines to provide their families a better future. They want to send their kids to better schools, provide them a better house to live in, buy vehicles to bring them to many places, and have lots of money for them to enjoy.
Sadly, while they are able to provide their children the things they had always dreamed of as parents, many OFWs experience relationship problems with their kids. A lot of children don’t listen to their OFW parents, especially if they were still very young kids when their parents left to work abroad.
Here are some tips for OFWs to stay as effective parents, despite living far away from their children.
Keep the Communication Lines Open
You might be living far away but you can still communicate with your kids via their phones, through the internet or cellular communication.
But communication does not just mean calling and chatting every single day for them to ‘report’ what’s happening with their lives; it also means that you have to listen to them, especially if they are dealing with challenges at school or in their personal lives.
Of course, your kids might be angry at you for ‘leaving’ them but they will eventually understand that this is necessary and that you can still be their parent, their friend even if you are far.
Stay Involved in Their Lives
A lot of OFWs, especially dads, have this notion that their responsibility is in providing for the financial aspects of their families. They often leave the rest for their wife to fill out.
But an effective OFW parent tries to be a ‘hands-on’ dad or mom despite living far away. Stay involved in your children’s lives, even if that means just cheering in the distance and watching through video calls.
While social media sites are an important tool for you to achieve this, it is still best for you to directly communicate with your kids about their feelings and insights about their experiences.
Try to always be part of your children’s milestones, even if you are thousands of miles away.
Shower Your Kids with Love, Not Money
As OFWs, you are in a better position to send more money to your children but don’t mistake this for showing your love. Love is not always about giving them what they want. Instead, shower your kids with love, not money.
This means that you should always tell your kids how much you love them and how you are proud of their achievements. But if they fail or make mistakes, encourage them to get right back on their feet and try again – don’t get mad that they were not able to achieve their goals.
Remember, your kids are having a hard time adjusting to your absence. Help them have confidence in themselves but don’t raise spoiled brats.
Instead of lavishing your kids with the best gifts money can buy, give them more attention and love. Communicating more with your kids can help you compensate for your absence but don’t always give them what they want.
“Giving your children material gifts teaches them it can replace love and attention — and you don’t want that,” shared Stella G. Manalo M.D., a developmental and behavioral paediatrician, through Smart Parenting.