How to Raise Filipino Children in Australia

Are you ready to invite your family to move with you to Australia?   Australia is a lucky country blessed with so many natural resources and is now, one of the richest countries in the world.   Moving your family here with you is not really a question of “why” but rather, a “why not?”   Moving your children to Australia would mean a change in everything they are familiar with, making it hard for some to adjust easily.   Some parents, worry about the differences in cultures and values of their child compared to Australian children.   The main differences:   Most Filipino children are raised with their extended family. Family members are often comfortable showing their affection towards the children and in return, most children are usually comfortable with touchy, feely and showy kind of love.   Children grow up in some form of hardship and they understand that the things they have or enjoy are possible because some family member is working hard for it in the city or abroad.   Filipinos grew up to be interdependent. They understand that someday, when they are the adults, they will also bear some responsibility for the family.   This background makes Filipinos have a higher regard to elders and it transfers to authority in general. Unlike Australians, Filipinos are uncomfortable disagreeing with their bosses and would rather maintain a stress free relationship with them.   Filipinos are also notoriously vague and ambiguous. This behaviour upsets western people because it usually causes communication problems. It is important for Filipinos to fit in and not be disrespectful.   Filipinos are not comfortable being frank and would rather voice out their opinions that are not black or white.   This may also be because Filipinos are a sensitive group. We consider the feelings of other people and make decisions based on emotions rather than facts.   Most Filipinos are also involved in the community. This may stem from the fact that in the provinces, most people are related. Each community gathering is therefore a family gathering. Filipino migrants are also active in the community to foster a sense of family, belongingness and security.   As a family centric people, Filipinos value the decision of all its members and has a sense of pakikisama to family and even to the community. This may sometimes make decision making longer and harder for us, but it also makes us stronger especially during times of adversity.   Speaking of adversity, we have a sense of “fate” or destiny and attribute much of what happens to us with it. Unlike Australian’s who control of their decisions and lives.   Another trait that Filipinos are known for is having an extended sense of obligation or utang na loob. For some, a mere “thank you” is not enough.   In Australia, you would probably live with your immediate family or still with some relatives. However, sometimes, life in a different country may change how you do things back home. As much as you would rather have your parents take care of your child than some stranger, custodial care is how Australian society works for young children, elders and those who are disabled.   Not all Filipino traits and values are perfect; we can actually do better without some of those.   Still, how do we raise a Filipino child in another country?   Use the language   Language is one of the best ways to tie a person to its roots. The history, values, culture and tradition are all entwined with every word of the child’s mother tongue. Since you are in an English speaking country, it would not hurt to speak your language at home. Teach your child to use “po” and “opo” when talking to you and other elder Filipinos.   Serve Filipino delicacies   I personally remember most things I did when food is involved. It wraps all your senses with the flavours that is distinctly Filipino. Pass on Filipino recipes to your child so he/she may cook it for the future generation as well.   Keep in touch with family members   This is not too difficult as nowadays, Internet (however slow in the Philippines) is almost everywhere. Schedule a constant Skype or Facetime with your family at home.   Schedule trips home   If time and budget allows, schedule a trip back to your hometown so your child may experience it first hand and make friends with cousins and other children as well.   Buy Filipino made products   We always hear this in school before, patronize your own products. This time not just for economy but to make more tangible ties with the Philippines even if you are away from home.   Support Other Filipinos   Support Filipino celebrities, entrepreneur and others making name in their field. If there are new Filipino migrants, make them at home as well.   If there are Filipinos who may have some problems, or trouble, find a way to help them if possible.   Engage in a Filipino Community   Join the Filipino community in your area, engage and volunteer in different activities and events that promote the Filipinos.   Be a Role Model Be a good Filipino in the eyes of your child. You (and your partner) are the only one he/she would look up to. Make sure he would be proud to call himself Filipino. Special thanks to Nicolò Bonazzi for the main image.
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