A Guide For Overseas Worker Parents
The iSavta Team | 12.11.2019
Christina is an OFW who has been working in Israel for almost 11 years. Her 3 children are with her husband in the Philippines. For 4 long years, she didn’t see her children. Her second child recently graduated from high school and she wasn’t able to go home to witness it.
“It is very hard to be too far from your family. The worst thing is when you missed out those important events in your children’s life. No matter how much you want to be with them, you really have to consider the amount of money that you’re going to spend when you go home and of course, you have to make sure that you still have a job when you get back.”
For Overseas Filipino Workers, a decision to work abroad is not easy. Though working overseas will of course give your family a btter life, you cannot deny the fact that sometimes, you’re children are growing up with very minimal emotional attachment to you because they are growing up without you by their side.
Christina is very thankful of the advancement of technology nowadays. She’s able to use the internet to keep in touch with her family on a daily basis.
“I always make sure that I will have at least an hour or two to talk to my children over Skype or Facebook everyday,” Christina said. “It is now easier for us to communicate because of technology. Unlike before, people abroad need to send letters through snail mail or send telegram to get their messages across. When I first came to Israel, I had to spend a lot of money for telephone cards to call long distance using my cellular phone. Now, all we need is a smart phone and we can talk all day for free.”
As a parent, you have to be involved with your child’s development regardless if you are near or thousand miles away from them. Listen to your kids, ask them how they’ve been or simply letting them share anything and everything that they wanna share to you. You also have to share your day to day experiences abroad and positively commend them of their achievements in school.
These daily conversations will already let them feel that they are very important to you. It will give them encouragements and it will positively affect their development.
Oftentimes, we also wanted to be part of every important event or milestone in our children’s life. But sometimes, our funds or our work itself cannot let us go home even just for a 2 week break. Don’t feel too guilty about it. There are some other ways to be involved, if not physically then mentally and emotionally:
Discuss Future Goals with you Children
The reason why March, April and May flight are always fully booked is because these are summer months. Summer months means Graduation months in the Philippines. As early as November, people are already booking tickets for these months.
As an OFW, you always feel guilty if you can’t go home during this important event on your kid’s life. But, even if it’s impossible for you to be there physically, there’s no reason for you not be involved at all. Commend and congratulate your child for his/her effort to finish his/her studies. Remember, it is a celebration of not just his/her achievements but also yours.
Make time to discuss with them their future plans. Give them tips on how to prepare for their licensure exams, job interview or any passion they want to pursue. Share them your opinion without pushing what you want. At the end of the day, it will always be their decision. You are only there to support.
Your kid will be more confident in facing all the challenges that he/she may encounter somewhere along his/her journey.
True Meaning of the Holidays
It is very sad for an OFW to spend Christmas and New Year away from their loved ones. But, many of them usually prefer to spend their money on gifts and Balik Bayan Box to send home rather than go home themselves.
One tip, if you cannot go home for the holidays, packed your Balik Bayan box as early as July or August and send it. There will be a huge volume of Balik Bayan boxes during December. Your family might won’t receive your box on time for Christmas. Gifts should not be so expensive. It has to be something that they will appreciate. One
Aside from gifts, you can also let your children understand the true meaning of the season. It is not about how many gifts you received. It is about caring and sharing joyful memories with your loved ones. It is a season of giving back to others. Teach your children to be giving and forgiving. Let them understand that they are lucky to at least have what other cannot have. Christmas will always be Christmas wherever you are in the world. You can always teach your children the real meaning of family even if you are thousand miles away from them.
It is very important to teach your children on how to value and handle money well. They have to understand that you are sacrificing a lot in order for you to give them a better life. Do not always give in to what they want just because you feel guilty for being not there for them. If you will do that, you are only teaching your children to look at you like a walking bank account. They will never see you as a parent but a mere provider.
Let them be involved with some of the financial issues that you are discussing with your husband. Let them grow as a responsible adults by teaching them and letting them realized how hard it is to earn money especially abroad.
It is not very easy to be an OFW parent but it is not impossible. There are millions of OFWs abroad and most of them are parents. Some of them were able to juggle their rules as a parent and as a provider. Some failed to establish a good family life while being away. Nevertheless, everyone has their own reason why they decided to leave. It is really up to an individual on how he/she will balance his/her life between his/her work as an OFW and his/her responsibility as a parent.