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Regular 2 HOMEWORK







Volume 4 | Number 2 September-November 2016

Parents’Corner 6


















21 Technology: Friend or Foe? 26 Perils of ‘Unli’ Surfing 31 Click with Care


Youth Talk




OUR COVER Romy and Lorna Mangarin together with their four children. The couple just celebrated their 25th Wedding Anniversary on May 4, 2016.





More than in front of the TV or inside the theater, children need their parents the most when exploring the mysteries of the virtual world.

TECHNOLOGY IS DEVELOPING at a rapid pace every minute, every day. The internet is now more accessible than it was just five years ago. Home internet is here to stay, and internet users are becoming younger and younger. This “progress” in technology brings both good and evil consequences. Just like any other instrument, the proper use, the misuse, or the abuse of such means totally depends on how well the user has been guided to handle it wisely and responsibly. Parents have the moral responsibility to teach and guide their children on the proper use of the internet. They themselves must be adept at navigating cyberspace in order to be reliable guides for their children. It is imperative for parents to become more aware of the things they need to do in order to create a home environment where every member is protected from cyber “monsters” and shielded from cyberbullying, pornography, gambling, violence, etc. There are also these painful truths about cyber addictions and how parents can address them when their children (or unfortunately they themselves) are already hooked. Contemporary parents, or parents who are in their twenties and early thirties, belong to the group called cyber natives, whose acquaintance with cyberspace started as early as in grade school or in high school. Thus, they are more familiar with all of its advantages and disadvantages, compared to the parents who are now in their forties (who can be considered cyber immigrants, and whose children are most probably in their teens).

FamilyMatters | September-November 2016

But whether a cyber native or a cyber immigrant, each parent has the moral obligation or role to guide each child on how to properly enter cyberspace and be its master rather than its slave. Though cyber natives may have an edge over cyber immigrants in this regard, both kinds of parents are on the same level when it comes to their role in teaching and guiding their children (from play age to late teens) to be responsible people in cyberspace. We often encounter the words “PARENTAL GUIDANCE” whenever we watch programs on television or view movies in cinemas. But unfortunately, when it comes to the internet, there is little or no evident reminder of the need for parental guidance. This being so does not mean that parental guidance in cyberspace should be taken for granted. The call for parental guidance in cyberspace is a tall order. Parents cannot claim not to know what parental guidance is or how to exercise it over their children in cyberspace. Parents, both cyber natives and cyber immigrants, having been present in cyberspace even before their first child was born, must become fully aware of both the positive and negative things that cyberspace can bring into their homes and to their children’s holistic growth. Their personal experiences can be their best teacher in preparing themselves to guide their children to be masters and not slaves in cyberspace. Their being ahead of their children and future children must be their vantage point. However, parents must not only rely on this vantage point. They have to see and value the importance of being always abreast of developments

Parents must become more aware of the things they need to do in order to create a home environment where every member is protected from cyber “monsters.” in cyberspace so as not to be left behind. Not to progress is to regress, as the principle goes. From what they were familiar with some ten years ago, things have already undergone very drastic changes. Parents must themselves also mature in their own attitude in their engagement of cyberspace. From being passive users when they were younger and single to being proactive and responsible users, parents are challenged to be honestly aware of how and why cyberspace has affected their lives, either for the better or for the worse. Their sincere personal evaluation of and realization about themselves in relation to cyberspace can be their moral compass as they take a proactive role in being the teachers and guides of their children. This is one of the few things contemporary parents must learn from their own personal experiences and not from their parents, inasmuch as their parents (now in their fifties and older) did not grow up in cyberspace.

But after all is said, parental guidance in cyberspace is still a matter of the heart. Regardless of whether parents are cyber natives or cyber immigrants, it is the heart of a parent who has a genuine desire to see his or her child grow up responsible, wise, and empowered by values in making choices that will make every parent become actively involved in accompanying a child, even if this demands more time to be more informed and to be more present. No amount of rules can take the place of the active presence of parents whenever their children enter cyberspace. The best homework I can give to every parent is to be proactively involved with their children in exploring cyberspace. Let your children understand, respect, and accept your moral duty to be their guides; as you let them also understand, respect and accept their moral duty in learning how to be active and not passive users, real masters and not slaves in cyberspace. FM

Whether a cyber native or a cyber immigrant, each parent has the moral obligation or role to guide each child on how to properly enter cyberspace and be its master rather than its slave. September-November 2016 | FamilyMatters


Family note

Parents as Cyber Wellness


I was passing by an Internet shop the other day and happened to glance inside. My attention was caught by a little boy, not more than 3 years of age I suppose, sitting before the computer all by himself, delightedly watching an animated film. I didn’t see who he was with, but he obviously wasn’t in need of anyone’s help. With his hand on the mouse, it was apparent he knew intuitively how to manipulate it. I found myself smiling at the sight of the adorable child confidently ensconced before the computer, watching the images flashing onscreen. But I also wondered where his parents were and if they knew enough to set limits on his surfing activities. I know that our special theme for this issue, Cyber Wellness and the Family, will particularly resonate with many parents. On one hand, we parents are happy that our children are nimble and instinctive computer users. Born in the digital age, kids today regard the PC and the cyber world as almost an extension of themselves, highly comfortable in and acclimatized to the virtual environment. On the other, we are aware that innate knowledge in exploring the far reaches of cyberspace does not automatically come with the wisdom to discern the dangers that await our children should they venture into unknown places, engage with sweettongued strangers, or respond to click baits that will take them to unsecured sites. There is also the risk of Internet addiction, in which users neglect studies, work, relationships, and even basic activities like eating and sleeping in favor of Facebook posting or computer gaming. It is thus our duty as parents to safeguard our young from the bullies, the trolls, the haters, and, worst of all, the predators that populate cyberspace. We need to intervene when our children’s sense of worth becomes tied to the number of likes and followers they get, or when they sit for hours, even days, competing in virtual games. To help improve your policing and regulating work in cyberspace, FamilyMatters has gathered together some experts to share practical reminders and doable tips for safe clicking and cyber wellness among all members of your family. We also have a checklist for you to see whether your child might be at risk for what’s called “Problematic Internet Use.” The special section begins on page 20. In relation to this, I also highly recommend two other features, “The Joy Factor” on page 6 and “7 Ways to Raise Avid Readers” on page 9. The first gives an overview of how to raise emotionally mature children, emphasizing the importance of forming real associations and encountering real experiences—the tastes, touch, and textures of the physical world—as a crucial ingredient for healthy emotional growth. The second calls for developing a passion for reading, as books enable the child to develop an inquisitive, creative, and imaginative mind as opposed to the stupefying effect of video gaming or selfie taking. The issue is also filled with other must-reads, including our heartwarming feature in honor of our grandparents, as we let four lolos and lolas share their prized secrets to a happy, productive, and fulfilled long life. Hint: It’s all about being there for each other— reading together, praying together, enjoying nature walks and vacations together, singing and dancing like crazy together. Indeed, you’ll never hear them say you’ll find happiness anywhere but in the concrete world!

Romelda C. Ascutia Editor


Volume 4 | Number 2 September-November 2016 PUBLISHER Don Bosco Press, Inc. ADVISER Fr. Bernard P. Nolasco, SDB EDITOR Romelda C. Ascutia ART DIRECTOR Early Macabales CONTRIBUTORS Maridol Rañoa-Bismark Aileen Carreon Excel V. Dyquiangco Erlinda Esguerra Gabriel Joshua M. Floresca Ruth Manimtim-Floresca Annabellie Gruenberg Emma Alesna-Llanto, M.D. Stephanie Mayo Joji O. Racelis Sonnie Santos Ross Valentin, M.D. PHOTO STUDIO DBPI-MultiMedia Services DBPI-MMS PHOTOGRAPHER Raymond S. Mamaril PRODUCTION COORDINATOR Early Macabales CIRCULATION Don Bosco Press, Inc. PRODUCT SPECIALIST Jino Feliciano HAIR & MAKEUP ARTIST Paulo Gabor LEGAL COUNSEL Sapalo Velez Bundang & Bulilan Law Offices PRINTER


is a quarterly magazine published by Don Bosco Press, Inc. (02) 816-1519 / (02) 893-9876 Antonio Arnaiz cor. Chino Roces Avenues, Makati City, Philippines

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By FR. BERNARD P. NOLASCO, SDB If there is one place in this world that is considered the safest, it is supposed to be the home. But we all know that it is the people residing in it who make the home the safest place to be—free from all kinds of predators, whether real or virtual. How can we ensure that our homes are free from virtual predators or monsters whose destructive ways, if allowed to victimize members of the family, are totally real? Here are five points.


Let the family attend any available seminars on cyber protection, responsible use of social media, and the like.

Parental guidance over the activities of children (especially teens) in cyberspace is a moral duty. The right to privacy is not absolute.

Establish a curfew for internet usage in the home. It is also best if Wi-Fi signal is provided only in common areas and not in the bedrooms.

Designate a common place in the home for the use of the internet.

Conduct some family talks on cyberspace, discussing all the good and evil that exploring it can bring to the home.





We are always extra careful about letting strangers enter our home and influence our family life. Cyberspace or the internet may have great benefits to oer every member of the family, but if its use is not monitored with great caution and prudence, it can also damage family relationships and values, just like strangers can appear at our doorstep acting like friendly guests but who turn out to be monsters inside. Forewarned is forearmed. September-November 2016 | FamilyMatters


Parents’ Corner nurturing




IN MOVIES like Maleficent, Star Wars, and X-Men, the characters’ powers are shown to be deeply connected to the spectrum of emotions they possess. This is why prequels abound, so viewers can see the full picture of how a person’s character became that way, and much of this character growth is depicted to have its roots back to the early years. Character development in real life happens almost similarly. To understand emotional development, we have to see the person in such a way that every fragment of one’s personhood is taken as a part of the whole. Austrian philosopher, educator, and scientist Rudolf Steiner mentioned three aspects of the human being—thinking, feeling, and willing. Thinking is equated with the brain’s processes, feeling with emotions, and willing with the physical body. By knowing these aspects, we can take a more holistic perspective in understanding emotional development and seeing the interconnection among these aspects as an individual moves from infancy and adolescence to adulthood.

A delicate balance of love and care, security, and guidance is the ideal home setting for bringing up an emotionally healthy child. By ANNABELLIE GRUENBERG


FamilyMatters | September-November 2016

This is the start of human development, when the personality, potentials, and behavior of a child start to take shape, in tandem with the development of body organs and systems. THE CRUCIAL FIRST YEARS

From birth to 7 years is the most important phase of human life. In the womb, the infant is connected to the mother and receives experiences through her. Once outside the womb, the baby remains dependent on others for all physical needs like food and clothing, along with emotional and social needs such as care and love. This is why until age 7, a child is clingy, needy, and attached to the parents. The focus is on physical development, so the body, the vehicle for emotions, should ideally be nourished and cared for at this time. Moving through this stage, the child begins to observe adults, their emotions, and their reactions to hunger, love, pain, and other stimuli. In the process, the child mirrors everything the adults do, picking up skills, habits, attitudes, and behaviors seen. This is the start of human development, when the personality, potentials, and behavior of a child start to take shape, in tandem with the development of body organs and systems. As a baby and a young child, his or her emotional development will be affected by the emotional state of the people in the home.


At 7 to 14 years old, physical growth continues, even as the psychological aspect (feelings) starts to take center stage. Along with sexual development

The child has to be given the chance to develop a relationship with the natural world, not the virtual or canned.

comes emotional turbulence as hormones go on overdrive. At around 9, the child’s struggles to cope with the emotional and physical upheavals are obvious as he or she transitions into adolescence. Individuality starts to form, and even the face transforms into the child’s own. Suddenly there is a “stranger” in the house, but shutting himself or herself off from everyone is actually a way to reach the inner self. By now, adolescents’ comprehension is tied to the imagination rather than the intellect, as they create a world of their own apart from the adults that they feel misunderstand them. While every child will develop differently, a common phenomenon in this stage is the children’s recollection of their early years as they begin the difficult process of saying goodbye to their childhood. By age 14, they have crossed the threshold to teen hood.


From 14 to 21 years old, the brain’s development is almost complete. The young person is learning to think cognitively—what we adults consider as rebelliousness is actually an attempt at independence. By 18, teens think of leaving home, held back only by practical constraints. In Western countries, an 18-year-old may already leave home. Sex, sexuality, and intimacy are fascinating topics. The young are very much aware of the opposite gender and

September-November 2016 | FamilyMatters


Parents’ Corner nurturing attempt to establish different kinds of relationships. Yet, in doing so, they can become awkward, uncertain, or reckless. This is the time when parents must try to be close friends with their children, which is possible if trust and strong bonds had been developed earlier. During high school, the teen is ready to take on more intellectual challenges— from learning independently, to making comparisons and decisions, to viewing life in a more open and objective manner.


For emotional health, it is important that during the first three formative stages of life, the youngster’s thinking, feeling, and deeds are in harmony with one other. After age 21, the person has become an adult who meets the world as a free, independent being. By 28, the individual has a personality, temperament, and characteristic all his or her own, independent of the genes inherited from the parents. To help our children reach emotional maturity, it is vital to give them beautiful experiences in the first 14 years of life, enveloped in warmth and love. Parents must create an environment of security, safety, naturalness, and happiness. They must uphold the concept of the innate goodness of people and the beauty of living in harmony with the world and with themselves. Everything should be carefully thought of, from the food the child eats, to the toys he or she plays with, to the daily rhythm of life as seen through the senses. Let the child have supervised play with other children to develop social skills. Storytelling using age-appropriate materials, like the fairytales of the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen, is also important to address the feeling aspect of a child. Remember, too, to convey that the artificial, distorted beauty as promoted by media is false. Artificial and unnatural things, like processed food, affect the child’s physical growth and behavior. Gadgets and television are overwhelming and not appropriate for the very young. The child has to be given the chance to develop a relationship with the natural world, not the virtual or canned. 8

While every child will develop differently, a common phenomenon in this stage is the children’s recollection of their early years as they begin the difficult process of saying goodbye to their childhood. This is developed through creative pursuits like arts and crafts, where children learn to create and appreciate what they and others have conceived. Their senses should be opened to man’s wonderful relationship with nature so they acquire a love for the real world. Especially when they become teenagers, the youth will usually wallow in their emotional struggles, but they must be taught to look beyond themselves and understand that they are part of a whole who can make an impact on the rest of humanity. From preoccupation with conflicting feelings of sympathy and antipathy,

FamilyMatters | September-November 2016

these budding adults should be led by their parents toward empathy and compassion. At the same time, they should be given the space to ask who they are, and make this discovery of this basic truth by themselves. A childhood that is full of love, security, and happiness is the foundation on which the young will build a rich life of emotional maturity, a state of being that is a prerequisite in order to live one’s life to its full potentials and make the most of one’s abilities, to emerge well-functioning adults who are happy and who help to make the world a happier place. FM


Parents’ Corner learning

Ways to Raise




Even toddlers would rather let their fingers run over the flat surface of a tablet or smartphone than flip through the pages of a book.

REMEMBER HOW children in

the old days entertained themselves? When outdoors, they played vigorous games with other kids, and when indoors, they usually engaged in hobbies like drawing, playing musical instruments, testing their skills with board games, and reading. Unfortunately, in today’s digital era, these healthy and worthwhile pastimes of the youth have been supplanted by excessive playing of video games, taking selfies, surfing the Web, and posting on social media. Even toddlers would rather let their fingers run over the flat surface of a tablet or smartphone than flip through the pages of a book. We parents know how important it is to cultivate a love of reading in our brood. Author Joy Mendoza, who homeschools her five children, puts it this way: “The love for learning will inspire the love for reading. And the love for reading is beneficial because a child who knows how to read and comprehend well becomes an

Here’s how to help your kids develop a lifelong passion for books

independent, self-directed learner.”


So how do you get your kids to enter the world of books and unlock all the power, imagination, and magic it holds?

Introduce reading at 2 or 3 years of age. “Usually, this happens through

song,” says Joy. For her children, she gets a fun educational starter kit that uses songs, interactive charts, and games to teach the letters of the alphabet, phonetic awareness, sound and letter correspondence, short vowel sounds, and blending. “With much repetition, my kids are able to identify letters and their sounds, which then give way to putting sounds together,” says Joy. “They begin to read CVC (consonant, vowel, consonant) words. As they build confidence and understand how words are formed, they move on to longer words and sight words.”

September-November 2016 | FamilyMatters


With kids who resist reading, don’t give up until you have a confident reader who enjoys books. Do lots of read-aloud time. Read aloud with your child whenever something catches his or her eye. Do this especially when you are in a place that requires reading, such as the supermarket, grocery, library, or bookstore. Give books as gifts. Toys, dolls, or robots are fun gifts, but books are better. Be sure to give books appropriate for your kid’s age. “When children have the skill to read, they are eager to read books about topics that they like,” says Joy. “So I tell moms, buy books that are interesting to your children. Don’t rely on the list of children’s classics. Find out what your child is into then take him to the bookstore to get a book on that topic.” Create a special nook. If you have the space in your house, it’s a good idea to establish a reading area for the family. This project doesn’t have to be expensive—it can be as simple as a bean bag or a small table and chair, along with a fully loaded bookshelf. Just make sure the place is airy and well-lit. Engage kids in dialogue. Reading is fundamental but comprehension is a must, says Joy. “This can be taught through dialoguing. Whenever I read to my children, I pause at reasonable points to ask them questions. For younger kids, 10


Reads I do this after a couple of sentences or a paragraph, and for older kids, it can be done after a couple of paragraphs, a page, or a number of pages, depending on the age and ability. I start with bits of information to make sure my kids are being attentive before asking comprehension questions.” Set aside time for reading. Joy requires her children to read every day as part of their homeschooling. “Their day isn’t complete until they accomplish their independent reading time,” she says. Make reading a family activity. Involve everyone—even your nephews and nieces and the kids’ grandparents—in this undertaking. At least once a week, have everyone devote a special time for reading. Once a month, you can initiate a get-together where family members can exchange books and talk about their current favorites.


If you encounter resistance, Joy has this advice: “Don’t give up until you have a confident reader who enjoys books,” she says. “For some children, their timetable for proficient reading is longer. Keep going. A very intelligent guy I know didn’t learn to read well until he was 10 years old, but then he picked up a Charles Dickens novel and read it cover to cover.” She adds that computer games and social media can be distractions to reading. “Investigate what activities may be competing with your child’s interest in books and eliminate them or set restrictions.” Most importantly, parents must set a positive example. “If we want our children to love reading, they need to see us loving reading, too!” FM

FamilyMatters | September-November 2016

Here are some Filipino storybooks you can start with to get your children hooked on reading. THE IDEA JUNGLE Two brothers in search of a great idea set off for a great adventure in the idea jungle. (By Pam Marie Ang; published by Adarna House, 2015) THE ABCS OF JESUS’ RESURRECTION Written in rhymed verse, this book teaches children about the Resurrection of Jesus through each letter of the alphabet. Also featured are Bible verses on the Resurrection for children to memorize. (By Vince Burke; published by Hiyas, 2015) LALA BURARA (MESSY LALA) A book about a child who can’t keep her room clean despite her mother’s admonitions. One day, the mess in Lala’s room grows uncontrollable. (By Excel V. Dyquiangco; published by Hiyas, 2015) I DON’T LIKE TO EAT What happens to a little boy who keeps eating junk food? The first wordless book in the Philippines, it follows a boy whose cravings start taking a life of their own. (By Excel V. Dyquiangco. Published by Adarna House, 2015) BEE HAPPY Do you feel sad? Mad? Grumpy? Lousy? Dee the Bee shares how you can be happy! (By Joyce PiapGo; published by Hiyas, 2015)

Parents’ Corner honoring




Meet four grandparents who’ll soothe your fears about growing old and convince you that with the wrinkles come wisdom, peace, and contentment.

Grace Chong with husband Tony an d grandson Adria n

By RUTH MANIMTIM-FLORESCA THERE ARE PEOPLE who dread growing old, but there are also those who embrace the golden years and make the out of every moment life brings. As Grandparents’ Day rolls around, Family Matters encourages you not to fear aging but rather, to keep looking forward to spending a radiant sunset as you grow older and wiser. Read the inspiring stories of four grandparents who continue to have the time of their lives. SHINING BRIGHTER THAN EVER

Grace D. Chong, a multi-awarded author of children’s and inspirational books, says she’s never been as happy as she is now that she’s entered her golden years. “I am writing maybe 85% of the time, teaching college part-time, doing church work, conducting creative writing workshops, speaking in some events, having coffee with friends, and reading, reading, reading,” she says. With husband Tony, this mother of three is grandparent to 9-year-old Adrian. The boy resides in the U.S., and with his parents, regularly visit the Philippines to vacation with his two sets of grandparents. Grace says, “Those few days with Adrian are indescribably yummy! We indulge him big time and cave in to his every whim.” She clarifies, however, that they don’t interfere when Adrian needs to follow the rules set by his mom and dad. “What his parents say, when they’re around, goes,” she says.

Make your child love God... It’s the most important because when a child grows up loving God, everything good will follow.

September-November 2016 | FamilyMatters


Parents’ Corner honoring ready to discipline and be close enough so you can always be there when they need you.”


Yay Olmedo, author of four inspirational books including Grandparenting: Happiness and Hard Work, is a retired corporate executive who teaches

(in (in black), Monique ), children Norman ite ne; wh ph (in Da d az an rip , Ma vin , Gabby, Sean, Ke e) with second wife grandkids Christian are Charlie Agatep (in blu oto ph in o Als m. with his mo drey (center). d Alexander, who is red), and the late Au sons-in-law Louie an

As a mother, Grace has passed her values and principles to her adult children, hoping they will continue upholding them in their own homes: 1. Lead a simple life. Scrimp on everything except “food for the body and books for the soul.” 2. Have an attitude of gratitude. Be it small or big, always thank the source of all that you have. 3. Be honest. Stay righteous in all your dealings, relationships, words, and actions. Pay what you owe and return every single centavo overpaid. 4. Work hard. Make each day productive, just as the ants in Proverbs 6:6 do. 5. Be generous. Stay open-hearted especially to those in need and in the service of God’s ministries. Use your talents, resources, time, and effort to honor the giver. Here, Grace shares her most significant parenting tip. “Make your child love God... It’s the most important because when a child grows up loving God, everything good will follow.” On leaving a legacy for the next generations of her family, she quotes Matthew 5:16, “Let your light shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”


Loreto Leo Ocampos, who retired from 12

politics to become an organic farmer and businessman, is now happily tending to his farm on Hoyohoy Yay and Jack O mountain in Tangub City, Misamis lmedo with Sy Charlize (on th dney-side apos e leftmost). On Joaqui and Occidental. the right are tw o of Yay’s siste law’s apos, An r-inton and Pochol His tips for a long life include o. communing with nature. “It is stress relieving and [rural life] is free from all kinds of pollution. It is good for the body, mind, and soul,” says Leo, who business subjects at Southville wakes up very early each morning to till International Foreign University in Las the soil and care for the livestock with Pinas. his farm hands. She and husband Jack love going on An adventurer at heart who has “apo-stolic missions” to the U.S., where always loved to go river trekking, their son Carlo lives, and to Australia, diving, mountaineering, and camping, where daughter Lucci has set up home. Leo encourages people to engage in “On the side, we get to enjoy activities that immerse them in nature. bonding times with them in many “Teach your children and interesting places. Seeing the sights is grandchildren to appreciate the the last thing on our minds, but I guess environment by exposing them to the that’s our kids’ way of appreciating beauty of nature. In return, they will our presence during times they learn to love it. When they love it, they needed some moral support and our will take care of it,” he says. physical presence especially when our He continues, “Remind them not to granddaughters were born,” discloses throw garbage around. Instead, show Yay. “We became [our children’s] baby them how to plant trees and be kind to sitters and housekeepers for a time. animals. They will become more loving Now, they’re more settled and their kids and respectful as a result.” are a bit bigger.” The father of three and grandfather A few months back, Lucci and Carlo of seven also advises others to be brought their families to visit relatives patient in life as well as to “love and be in the Philippines. “Jack and myself in love.” He adds: “Have a clarity and became their tour guides and drivers-insingularity of purpose. Value discipline, waiting. In between all these comings sacrifice, and generosity.” and goings, I am privileged to be able He likewise reminds fellow parents to teach twice or thrice a week per to keep some distance from their term, blog, write books, and even hold children so the young will have the seminars and talks for companies and freedom to spread their wings. “But be church groups,” says Yay.

FamilyMatters | September-November 2016

“I also get to go out, have coffee, and enjoy senior citizen discounts with my husband and BFFs, attend bible studies, and lead church worship every Sunday. I can’t complain!” she says. “God has been gracious in allowing me to do all these and in keeping my mind alert yet at peace, joyful, and fulfilled.” Yay humorously explains that grannies are grand because they are awesome. “We have bigger laps, thicker bellies, and rounder arms to accommodate those little ones, either to read books, sing, build blocks, or do mini stage plays with them. I hardly did this with my own kids, maybe because we were more concerned with making a living then and making sure they get a good education.” One of the things Yay loves about being a grandparent is the excuse to be a child again. “You get to see things through [children’s] eyes—making faces, drawing stick-like figures, crooning instant lyrics and tunes, or dancing like crazy,” she says. “But it’s important, too, that because they’re so impressionable, we model good character to them. It’s during

Loreto Leo and Georgina Campos, together with their children April, Loregin, and Bonbon and their spouses. Also pictured are all the older couple’s apos.

Teach your children and grandchildren to appreciate the environment by exposing them to the beauty of nature. In return, they will learn to love it and take care of it.

these younger years that they get to learn how to honor their parents and obey them, and embrace sound values,” she adds. Thus, she reminds her own children that, in spite of being busy earning, they should set aside time to bond with their kids. Here, Yay shares the life lessons she is passing on to her children’s families: 1. Love and fear the Lord. If they realize how great, loving, and awesome God is, children will develop reverential fear of Him, looking up to Him for guidance in their choices toward righteous living. 2. Honor your parents. Respect and obey them, assuming they’ve taught you the right things, because the Lord promises blessings for you if you do. 3. Know that every decision has a consequence. Do what is right all the time even if you see others stealing, backbiting, deceiving, or doing other immoral activities. 4. Nurture your assets. Whatever resources God gave you, such as skills and talents, work on developing them. 5. Have fun and enjoy your blessings. Some people just get so involved with making a living that they forget to get a life. Be sure to enjoy the fruits of your labor, go on vacations, stroll in the park, and do fun activities with loved ones and friends. “My husband and I have lived along the lines of being content and sharing whatever blessings we have with our loved ones and others who may be in need. We don’t have much by way of money or large inheritance. But we know we’ve done what’s best for our children,” explains Yay. “One day, the Lord will take us home but there’s no fear because what we’ve bequeathed our children and grandchildren, as far as faith and righteousness are concerned, will make them live successfully, even unto the next generation and thereafter.”


Carlos “Charlie” Agatep, the chairman and CEO of PR company Grupo Agatep, is father to five children and lolo to eight apos. On being a grandparent, Charlie muses, “I guess we are all the same in the joys that we get from the grandkids. When they were small, I loved to pamper them with whatever made them happy [and] to watch them dance the ballet, or play the piano. They always made me feel young again.” Now that all his grandchildren are adults, Charlie makes sure to be there for their milestones, such as graduations or weddings, wherever part of the globe they may be. According to Charlie, he and his late wife, Mary, believed in self-reliance and hard work. “We never had a maid. We trained our children to clean their own rooms, wash and iron their clothes, and work together to wash the dishes. They knew how to cook meals and clean our entire five-bedroom house,” he recalls. “They also learned to plan weekly wet marketing. In return, we financed and rewarded them [with] travel around the world.” Among the many values he holds dear, Charlie’s top five are integrity, honesty, respect for parents, self-reliance, and hard work. “These we have passed on to our children.” FM September-November 2016 | FamilyMatters


6Powerful Parents’ Corner PREVENTING


to Build


AS BONES IN THE BODY grow they are in a constant state of building, breaking down, and rebuilding. During this process, calcium and other minerals are taken up and released and regained by the bone as it develops. Many factors—hormones, genetics, gender, race, diseases, diet, local factors, and lifestyle—influence this process. Rapid bone growth is most pronounced in children and adolescence, particularly those aged 9 to 17 years old. In this period of remarkable development, bones build up faster than they break down, eventually reaching their maximum size and strength by early adulthood. Through the late 20s, bones will continue to store up calcium and grow, after which they start breaking down faster, slowly growing weaker as the person ages. Thus, bone-healthy habits should be started as early as possible. The more that bones are strengthened in childhood, the lesser the risk of the child for disorders like osteoporosis and fractures later in life.


There are many things parents can do to ensure sturdy, healthy bones for their kids.

1 2

Be a role model. Adopt a diet and a lifestyle that promote healthy bones of your own. When children see their parents practicing healthy habits, they will want to do the same.

Build up on calcium stores early. Provide adequate amounts of calcium. When calcium is not available in the diet, the body’s tissues and organs that are in need of calcium, like the muscles, will get it from bone stores. When planning meals or preparing snacks and beverages, choose calcium-rich foods over processed foods, soft drinks, commercial snacks, and salty chips.


FamilyMatters | September-November 2016

Childhood through adolescence is the peak period to increase your child’s calcium stores and ensure future bone health. By ROSS VALENTIN, By ROSSM.D. VALENTIN, M.D.

When calcium is not available in the diet, the body’s tissues and organs that are in need of calcium will get it from bone stores. There are a lot of calcium-rich food and drinks to choose from. Here are some of them: Dairy: Milk, cheese, yogurt Non-dairy: Dark-green leafy vegetables (bok choy, broccoli, kale, collards, spinach, Brussels sprouts, mustard greens, turnip greens, rhubarbs), bean foods (baked beans, chickpeas, tofu,

soybeans, other bean products). For children who are not into milk and dairy, offer wheat bread, salmon, tinned sardines, almonds, peas, dried figs, nuts, seeds, and calcium-fortified foods such as fortified 100% pure orange juice, bread, packaged breakfast cereal. Some examples of calcium-rich snacks are yogurt, cheese cubes, cheese pizzas, calcium-fortified orange juice. Calcium supplements are also available as a source of calcium. How much calcium does a child need? Calcium requirements differ among age groups. Recent recommendation advises three or four daily servings of dairy foods (depending on the child’s age) and vitamin D-fortified foods a day. Children and teens need 1,300 milligrams a day of dietary calcium, equivalent to three servings of low-fat milk.


Pair vitamin D with calcium. Vitamin D, which helps the body to absorb calcium, is mainly sourced from sunlight. Babies under 6 months, however, should never be exposed to direct sunlight to get vitamin D. Breastfed babies below 5 years old should be given vitamin D drops soon after birth. For older children and young adults, about 10 to 15 minutes of daily sun exposure without sunscreen is usually enough to meet this vitamin requirement. For those who don’t get enough sunlight, vitamin D-fortified food should be included in their daily meals. Remember to always pair calciumrich foods with those high in vitamin D when preparing meals for your kids. Foods like eggs, oily fish, vitamin D-fortified foods like cereals and bread spreads, and soy or rice milk are good sources. However, avoid giving too much of the vitamin as this can cause problems. HOW MUCH VITAMIN D IS NEEDED DAILY? Age

IU (international units)

0-12 months


1-18 years


19-50 years


51-70 years


>70 years


hiking, walking, dancing, tennis, soccer, basketball, and gymnastics (biking and swimming are not weight-bearing activities). Think of ways to make your children spend less time sitting and more time moving. Join them for walks, hikes, and outdoor activities. Limit the time spent watching television, viewing YouTube, playing video games, using gadgets. Also, make them do household chores and encourage them to participate in sports in the school or community.


Serve more fruits and vegetables at home. Fruits and vegetables provide the necessary nutrients for building strong bones, like magnesium, potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin K. Magnesium, an important bone mineral, is found in green leafy vegetables and legumes (beans). Potassium helps deter calcium loss and increase the rate of bone development. It is present in potatoes, beans, bananas, pineapples, and oranges. Vitamin C is essential for making collagen, a connective tissue needed in bone formation. Citrus fruits (calamansi, dalandan, oranges, pineapples), tomatoes, and peppers are rich sources of vitamin C. Vitamin K—found commonly in soy products, beans, and dark green leafy vegetables (spinach and kale)—is thought to stimulate bone formation.


Involve children in physical activities. Daily physical exertion stimulates cell production, making bones denser and stronger. The best physical exercises for children are weight-bearing activities like running, September-November 2016 | FamilyMatters



My child is

lactose intolerant


Make milk a main beverage for meals. Instead of soft drinks and sweetened drinks, stock up on water, milk, yogurt, and orange juice and serve them during mealtimes. For selfconscious teens who avoid milk because they think it is fattening, make low-fat and fat-free milk and milk products available.


In addition to building bones, parents should also stave off bone loss, which can arise due to certain disorders, medications, and behaviors that interfere with bone development. Parents need to look for signs of eating disorders and over-training in preteen and teenage girls and address these problems right away. Eating disorders lead to poor nutrition and weight loss by decreasing the supply of important bone nutrients and lowering estrogen levels in girls, which in turn reduces bone density, Seek medical help if any of these signs of eating disorders are present: extreme or rapid weight loss; unhealthylooking thinness; and missed menstrual periods after regular periods for at least several months. Watch out, too, for unhealthy dieting practices such as trips to the bathroom after meals, preoccupation with thinness, eating very little, not eating in front of others, focusing on low-calorie and diet foods, over-training or excessive exercising. 16

Lactose intolerance—the inability to digest a sugar called lactose that is found in milk and dairy products—is usually present in older children, adolescents, and adults. Parents can try these measures to help lactose-intolerant children tolerate milk.


2 3 4

Combine milk with other food such as cereals.

Serve milk in small amounts. Substitute milk with lactosefree milk products, soy-based beverages, calcium-fortified cereals and orange juice, tortillas, almonds, vegetables. Provide calcium supplements in the form of tablets and drops.

Less expensive non-dairy calcium food choices that are available include dark green leafy vegetables, fortified bread, tofu, cereals, and juices with added calcium.

FamilyMatters | September-November 2016

On the other hand, if your child is taking medications, talk to your doctor about this and ask what can be done to minimize their effect on bone growth. Another step you can take is to prohibit smoking and drinking alcohol. Smoking and drinking reduce bone mass and interfere with calcium absorption. It is important to educate your children about the ill effects of these vices. At the same time, try to limit servings of salty foods. The more salt kids consume, the more calcium is lost. To lower salt intake, refrain from serving salty canned goods and snacks, and remove salt from the table and kitchen. Avoid proffering caffeine as well. Caffeine in sodas, coffee, and other beverages and foods induce calcium loss. Serve water, juices, soy milk, or rice milk instead. FM

Daily physical exertion stimulates cell production, making bones denser and stronger.

Parents’ Corner saving

wWant aste not Not

DID YOU KNOW that about two tablespoons of rice is left on the plate daily by the average Filipino consumer? Add up all that discarded portions and it is equal to food wasted amounting to billions of pesos each year! In fact, Philippine government data in 2015 placed our rice wastage at a staggering P1 billion annually. The problem of food waste in our country concerns not just rice, but other food products, too: pieces of viands left on plates, vegetables and fruits left to rot, leftover meals forgotten in the fridge until they get spoiled. And when we remember how many of our poor countrymen are starving, it is not fair to have food going to waste in our own home. The good thing is, there are easy, simple, and smart ways to reduce food wastage. Here, FamilyMatters asked savvy homemakers to share their best tips for seriously cutting down food wastage in your home.

With millions of Filipinos unable to eat three full meals a day, it’s unconscionable to leave the dinner table with uneaten food on our plate. By STEPHANIE MAYO September-November 2016 | FamilyMatters


Parents’ Corner saving

Involve the kids in grocery planning so that they won’t reject the food you serve them. 1. Think before you reach for food.

Most wastes come from heaping food on your plate and ending up too full to finish everything. So always start with a small portion, then if you’re still hungry, you can go back for more. Donna An Vallega, a lifestyle content writer who owns the blog, strictly observes this practice at home: “As a rule in our household, you must only put the right amount of food on your plate that you can finish, or you’re not allowed to leave the dinner table until your plate is squeaky clean.” And to avoid takaw-tingin or “greedy eyes,” she gives this tip: “We make sure to cook the right amount of food that we know we can finish, unless it’s an absolute favorite dish, then we can add more or even double the servings.” “Eat your meals on time,” suggests Sue Jose, marketing manager at Johnson Health Tech Commercial Philippines. “Don’t skip meals so that you don’t eat junk food in between, so that when the actual dinner time comes

you would be hungry enough to consume the prepared dish.”

2. Apply shopping smarts. Plan your grocery shopping wisely, just like Francis Justin Torres, a food technologist

Francis Justin Torres gives this simple yet wise tip: Buy just enough food for your family to consume.

currently training as a chef in Malaysia, does in their household. “We make sure that we just buy what we need, says Francis, who owns

the blog iamthebluedevil.blogspot. com. “We plan the menu for the whole week so that we know what to buy. No unnecessary items, no wastes.” He adds: “Plan your grocery trips to avoid buying too much. Don’t buy things you wouldn’t need. Don’t buy one whole kilo of potatoes for menudo if there are only four to five people eating it. Don’t overstock. It can lead to food being spoiled and going unused. Don’t buy meat or vegetables or perishable items in bulk if you’re not going to use them immediately.” Francis also advises parents to involve the kids in grocery planning so that they don’t reject the food being served to them. Patricia Hernandez, a cook and homemaker with two kids aged 13 and 6, says she usually visits the wet market twice a week and follows a weekly menu “so that vegetables won’t go bad and I can ‘renovate’ any leftovers.” She also advises against “panic buying.” Set a market or grocery day to avoid being pressed for time and doing a “guessing game” of what you have or don’t have at home, she says. “Make a list of what you need for the week to avoid buying double of everything that will just end up expired in your ref or pantry.”

1. Take stock of your stocks.

Practice “FIFO,” or First In, First Out, according to author Laura Newcomer in an article on “When unpacking groceries, move older products to the front of the fridge/

Canned goods that are still far from their expiration dates may also be donated to the less fortunate. 18

FamilyMatters | September-November 2016

Leftovers don’t have to go straight to the trash bin. There are creative ways to reuse them. freezer/pantry and put new products in the back. This way, you’re more likely to use up the older stuff before it expires.” Newcomer also advises checking the expiration date on your stocked foods. “Plan [to use those] that are closest to their expiration,” she says. “On a similar note, keep a list of what’s in the freezer and when each item was frozen. Place this on the freezer door for easy reference and use items before they pass their prime.” She also reveals that expiration dates don’t always have to do with food safety. “They’re usually manufacturers’ suggestions for peak quality,” she says. “If stored properly, most foods (even meat) stay fresh several days past the ‘use-by’ date. If a food looks, smells, and tastes okay, it should be fine. If any of these elements are off, then it’s time to toss it.” Also, if you have canned goods that are still far from their expiration dates, consider donating them to the less fortunate.

2. Compost and recycle. Newcomer

says food scraps don’t have to be thrown away. “Just start a compost pile in the backyard or even under the sink, and convert food waste into a useful resource.” Donna An does exactly that. She shares: “We have a compost pit in our yard where we started to convert our Japanese garden into an herb and vegetable garden instead.” Food scraps can also be repurposed or recycled. “In our home here in Manila my children have a pet rabbit that eats most of our vegtable scraps,” Patricia says. “In the province the vegetable

scraps are given to chickens as an organic alternative to feeds.”

3.Whip up new dishes from leftovers. While leftovers are

sometimes unavoidable, they don’t have to go straight to the trash bin. There are plently of creative ways to reuse them—and save money, too. “It’s just a matter of proper storage and creativity to lessen food waste,” Francis says, adding that he uses leftovers as ingredients for other dishes. “If I have leftover chicken, I chop it up and use it for sandwich spread,” he explains. “Or if I have leftover luncheon meat, I add it to fried rice. If I have leftover beef, I slice it into thin strips, then add cilantro, chili, onions, lime juice, carrots, or cabbage, and I have now a Thai beef salad that I can bring to work as my lunch.”

Just make sure leftovers are stored hygienically and properly so there is no problem with reusing them, he emphasizes. Patricia also reveals her savviness with leftover food, like making adobo flakes for breakfast or baon from excess pork adobo. Uncooked fish fillet patty is transformed into fish lumpia (roll). She makes use of leftover chicken from tinola (chicken soup), as well. “Usually the soup is the first to go, so I’m left with just meat. I wash [it] with warm water before shredding the meat. Add celery and mayo and it turns into a chicken sandwich.” With leftover steamed rice, she converts it into yummy Yang Chow fried rice, mixing in some scrambled eggs, carrot strips, celery, spring onions, and leftover ham or luncheon meat. Have uneaten day-old loaf bread or pandesal? Put it in an airtight plastic container and place in the freezer. Thaw it out later to make bread pudding or French toast, recommends Patricia. “Tomato-based dishes can be used to make quick pizzas,” Donna An suggests. “Just add to pizza dough, flat bread, or even plain old bread slices topped with grated cheese. Heat it up in the oven and you’re all set!” When we improve our eating habits, we cut down on food wastage, increase our savings, and help alleviate food shortage in the country. Remember, too, that food is a blessing to be grateful for, not taken for granted. So if you think you’ve not been practicing efficient food management, don’t fret. It’s never too late to be organized, innovative, and resourceful in the kitchen! FM

September-November 2016 | FamilyMatters



Cyber Wellness and the Family Technology: Friend or Foe? BY JOJI O. RACELIS




FamilyMatters | September-November 2016

To all our subscribers, We are sorry for the mistake we committed on the main cover of our Special Section in our June-August 2016 Issue of Family Matters where we interchanged the names of our contributors in the two articles: “Celebrate the Famealy!” by Anna Cosio and “A Crisis in Values” by Rolando C. delos Reyes II, MA Ed, RGC. Thank you.

Cyber Wellness and the Family | SPECIAL SECTION




It is not necessary to ban computers and gadgets from your home. They have their benefits when used as a tool to enhance family ties and bridge distances. BY JOJI O. RACELIS


hen I received a request to write an article for FamilyMatters on promoting cyber wellness in the home, it took me sometime to respond because I was too busy enjoying my first grandson, Rafael. This tiny eating and pooping miracle brought so much joy with him! With Rafael in our lives, cyber wellness and safety took on new meaning because it is something that will be so much a part of his future.

Rafael was born in Melbourne, Australia on April 14, 2016 to my son Carlo and his wife Giselle. It did not take any prodding for me to readily volunteer for four weeks of apo-stolic work. Since winter was approaching, that meant staying indoors most of the time, so I brought some work, reading materials, and books that I had been wanting to read. I was not able to do any of that. Each day brought with it new wonder and joy for things that had been classified previously as ordinary. A smile became something to be celebrated, a coo brought on cheers, and with that came the firm and uncontested belief that, indeed, Rafael was the cutest baby in the world!

September-November 2016 | FamilyMatters


SPECIAL SECTION | Cyber Wellness and the Family

We teach our children balance, that there is a real world where awesome and real things happen as compared to their online activities.

In the evenings after dinner, cleaning up, and lola duties, Carlo and I would sit and chat while taking care of Rafael in order to give Giselle a much-needed two hours of uninterrupted sleep. Carlo would talk about what he looks forward to, like answering all of Rafael’s questions (huh, we’ll see about that), picnics, teaching him how to ride a bike, fly a kite, and endless bonding time. Together we dream… and everything is right with the world. What we have not discussed—because we are not ready to burst our happy bubble—are our fears and the dangers of growing up in this techno world. We each say a silent prayer and hope that the world will be a kind and safe place for him.

For me, cyber wellness is about being able to bracket and keep contained all this cyber stuff that prevents us from enjoying the present. From everything I know and researched about Internet safety and cyber wellness, what stands out is the Internet Code of Conduct by Touch Cyber Wellness. It talks of the following:

Below is an excerpt from John O’Donohue’s “As a Child Enters the World,” which best describes how we have all been blessed. As I enter my new family, May they be delighted At how their kindness Comes into blossom. Unknown to me and them, May I be exactly the one To restore in their forlorn places New vitality and promise. May the hearts of others Hear again the music In the lost echoes Of their neglected wonder. 22

FamilyMatters | September-November 2016

■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■

We teach our children that the privilege they enjoy comes with responsibility and with respect for others and should not cause any harm. We teach them balance, that there is a real world where awesome and real things happen as compared to their online activities. We teach them astuteness, which is learning to differentiate between real and imaginary, knowing who and what to trust. We teach them privacy, that not everything is to be shared with everyone. Unlike conversations and experiences, digital prints last forever. We teach them security and how to protect their computers with passwords. Most of all, we teach them integrity, to do what is morally right, not just what is allowable or legal.

What then is my definition of cyber wellness? For me, it is about being able to bracket and keep contained all this cyber stuff that prevents us from enjoying the present. It is about being able to savor real moments, like a baby’s smile. It is about having face-to-face conversations where there is sharing of dreams, sadness, disappointments, smiles, and laughter, and not just sending emoticons of these. It is about being aware of that fine line—whether technology is connecting or disconnecting us. Technology disconnects us when we are not completely present for our family because we are too engrossed in our make-believe world or more concerned about what is happening with our friends online. It connects us when we are far away yet are able to say good morning to our loved ones across the globe and get our fix for the day consisting of a baby’s smile or coo onscreen. It connects us when we can know firsthand that our loved ones are safe and happy, or we are able to help them figure out life’s mysteries, such as if kissing the baby too much is bad for his health. Cyber wellness is not about avoiding technology; it is about using technology to enhance intelligence without being bombarded with so much information and stimulation that make everyday stuff seem mundane. It is allowing technology to contribute to our emotional wellness by letting it brings us closer to the people we care about. I wish I could offer a magic formula for cyber wellness in the home, but there is none. However, we know our family is well when we continue to delight in each other, when we continue to share our dreams, when we continue to allow ourselves to be touched with wonder at the magnificence of the ordinary. I started with an excerpt from John O’Donohue’s As a Child Enters the World, so I’d like to end also with a quote from him, where he tells us to fill our home with a climate of kindness where each mind feels free to seek its own direction. And that is my wish for Rafael and for all you readers— that loving kindness bless your families, that your home is a safe place full of understanding and acceptance, where your children do not have to escape to an imaginary place in order to discover the best possibilities in themselves; and that at the end of each day, you are filled with deep peace, contentment, and gratitude for this real world. FM

Cyber wellness is not about avoiding technology; it is about using technology to enhance intelligence without being bombarded with so much information and stimulation that make everyday stuff seem mundane.

Joji Racelis is a family counselor at the RMT-CEFAM in Ateneo de Manila University. She is also the vice president, executive director, and faculty member of the Carl Jung Circle Center. Racelis has been counseling for the past 16 years and her areas of focus are couples, families, and individuals who want to understand themselves. She is a speaker and facilitator for schools, seminaries, and private and government institutions. She designs and gives workshops on personal development and relationships. To quote Carl Jung, “Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart .... Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.”

September-November 2016 | FamilyMatters



FamilyMatters | September-November 2016

September-November 2016 | FamilyMatters


SPECIAL SECTION | Cyber Wellness and the Family

Perils of‘Unli’


The Internet is here to stay, but we must ensure it doesn’t rob our children of the right to experience the beauty of real life.



nformation and communication technology has developed at almost warp speed. In less than a decade, chunky desktop computers have evolved into sleek laptops, tablets, and mobile devices. Gadgets have shrunk so that even small children can handle them with ease. “Wired” mobile devices make 24/7 access to the Internet possible. The Internet has become an integral part of everyone’s life; it’s used for information and entertainment, keeping in touch with friends, paying bills, ordering pizza, hailing a cab, and many other activities (including illegal ones). 26

FamilyMatters | September-November 2016

At present, the term Problematic Internet Use is the preferred term since it’s more descriptive and less stigmatizing than “addiction.” TOO MUCH TIME ONLINE

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children and adolescents spend no more than 2 hours of screen time. This means time in front of the TV, laptops, gadgets, and mobile phones. But most kids prefer to play with their gadgets rather than with other kids. Teenagers stay up till morning playing video games. They don’t do their homework, have difficulty getting up, and are too sleepy to pay attention in class. Everyone seems to be on their devices all the time, talking, messaging, posting, checking the number of likes on their FB posts. They say, “I can’t live without my phone…” Are they—we—all addicted?


Excessive time (what we Filipinos like to call “unli”) spent online is definitely an aspect of “Internet addiction.” But not all persons who spend long hours online are Internet addicts. An IT specialist, for instance, who must work all day in front of the computer, cannot be automatically defined as an addict. But there will be a problem if that same person spends time in online gaming instead of working, neglects to sleep or eat, and prefers to stay online than interact with others. Although there is no comprehensive definition of Internet addiction, “addiction” implies excessive, obsessive, and compulsive behaviors that lead to neglect of other normal daily activities and interactions. “Internet Addiction Disorder” (IAD) was first studied by Dr. Kimberly Young in 1996. Since then, there has been a deluge of studies in this area, and IAD has become known by many other names—Internet Dependency, Compulsive Internet Use, Pathological Internet Use, and Problematic Internet Use (PIU). “Internet addiction” may involve various online activities, including gaming, gambling, cyber sex, pornography, social networking, and shopping. Is IAD a real addiction similar to addiction to tobacco, alcohol, or illegal drugs?

Psychiatrists were asked to consider IAD as a mental illness since online “addicts” showed the same compulsion, obsession, and signs of withdrawal. After much debate, the American Psychiatric Association decided to include Internet Gaming Disorder in Section III of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-V (DSM-V, 2013). This section includes conditions that “need further study and clinical research.” Video games are addicting because gamers are motivated by the rewards offered with the medium of the games (such as virtual goods, social feedback, and even escape from reality). Games like the World of Warcraft are more addictive than others because they offer more intense rewards or rewards on “partial reinforcement schedules” that encourage sustained play. At present, the term Problematic Internet Use is the preferred term since it’s more descriptive and less stigmatizing than “addiction.” September-November 2016 | FamilyMatters


SPECIAL SECTION | Cyber Wellness and the Family


So if Internet Addiction Disorder is not classified as a mental illness, should we stop worrying about excessive time online? We should definitely be worried since there are physical and psychological consequences: Increased risk of obesity. Sitting down and using mobile devices uses far less energy than playing games or doing sports. Obesity leads to diabetes, hypertension, and other health problems. Obese kids may also suffer from poor selfimage and low self-esteem. Sleep deprivation. Time flies when one is playing online games or is on social media. Children and adolescents lose track of time and usually sleep very late. Because they lack sleep, they have difficulty getting up in the morning and are too sleepy to pay attention in class. Poor school performance. Spending time online can lead to neglect of homework and projects. Rise of conflicts. Clashes may occur at home over Internet use, neglected homework, and poor grades. Missing out on real life. By choosing to spend time online, children do not develop needed communication skills and social supports that come from interactions with family members and friends. Increased risk of depression. Seeing friends on Facebook having fun (while you’re stuck in your boring life) leads to what young people call “FOMO” (fear of missing out). Troubles at home and in school, having few real friendships, and even lack of sleep may predispose a person to depression. Young people who are depressed are also more likely to go overboard in Internet use to escape reality. Increased exposure to online child abuse. Because of greater time online, there will be more opportunities for kids to be exposed to pornography, online predators, and cyberbullies.


Certain factors predispose some children and teens to problematic Internet use. These include being in households that give young kids easy access to the Internet, or that have no rules or have poor parental monitoring. Children in families experiencing stress and conflict are also at risk. Studies show that children may use the Internet to feel better and to seek refuge from stress. PIU may co-exist with alcohol and substance use, depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.


Internet use becomes “problematic” when it leads to obsession (preoccupation with Internet use); compulsion (spending longer and longer time online), and neglect (failing to do tasks like school work and neglecting relationships). There are at least 45 screening tools that test for Internet addiction or problematic Internet use. The Problematic Internet Use Questionnaire is based on these screening tools. Here are some signs that your child may be developing an online “addiction”:


■ Stays online much longer than intended to originally ■ Checks social media and emails frequently throughout the day ■ Stays up all night to be on the Web ■ Sneaks online when you or other adults aren’t watching ■ Lies about time spent online


When offline, remains preoccupied with getting back online Gets irritable when access to the Internet is denied or limited Gets angry and/or agitated when interrupted while online Becomes moody, irritable, and depressed when offline for a couple of days

By choosing to spend time online, children do not develop needed communication skills and social supports that come from interactions with family members and friends. 28

FamilyMatters | September-November 2016

SIGNS OF NEGLECT (of other activities/relationships)

■ ■ ■ ■

Prefers being online than being around friends and family Sacrifices doing homework or household chores for being online Loses all interest in activities previously enjoyed prior to obsessive Internet use Disobeys rules set by parents regarding Internet use


Any parent’s initial impulse would be to confiscate their child’s or adolescent’s digital devices. This will come across as an extremely punitive and “cruel” punishment of young people. Dr. Young, who runs a rehabilitation program for Internet addiction, recommends doing these: ■ Discuss calmly the impact of excessive Internet use and be specific (e.g., drop in grades). ■ Use “I” statements: “I am very concerned about your behavior…” ■ Asking your child to totally abstain from Internet use is not realistic. Agree on limits. Allow for Internet time, for example one hour after homework is done.


The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued a revised set of recommendations in October 2013 covering media use among children and adolescents. The latest recommendations recognize that the Internet is now an undeniable part of our everyday lives. Regulating and managing screen time, rather than total “abstinence,” is discussed. 1. For children less than 2 years old, discourage screen media exposure. Talk, play, sing, read to your infant. Don’t use an iPad or the TV for babysitting. 2. For older children, limit the amount of total entertainment screen time to less than 1 to 2 hours per day. 3. Co-view TV, movies, and videos with children and teenagers, and use this as a way to discuss important family values. These will provide “teachable moments that will allow you to discuss topics like sexuality and substance use without lecturing. 4. Monitor what media your children are using or visiting, including Web sites and social media sites. Keep yourself updated.

Internet use becomes “problematic” when it leads to obsession, compulsion, and neglect. ■ Move computers to a place where you can monitor usage. No digital devices in the child’s room, please. ■ Plan and agree on alternatives to online activities. Examples are reading, board games, arts and crafts, and outdoor activities. Be creative. ■ Monitor media use. ■ Refer to a doctor for persistent behavior or which has caused stress in the family.

5. Establish a family plan for using all media at home that includes: - Keep the TV set and Internet-connected electronic devices out of the child’s bedroom. - Enforce a mealtime and bedtime “curfew” for media devices, including cell phones. - Establish reasonable but firm rules about cell phone, texting, Internet, and social media use. 6. Model appropriate use of electronic devices.

September-November 2016 | FamilyMatters


Because of greater time online, there will be more opportunities for kids to be exposed to pornography, online predators, and cyberbullies.


RECOMMENDATIONS FOR SCHOOLS The AAP recommends the following for schools: 1. School boards and school administrators should be educated about evidence-based health risks associated with unsupervised, unlimited media access by children and adolescents as well as ways to mitigate those risks, such as violence prevention, sex education, and drug use prevention programs. 2. Implement media education programs and encourage the continuation and expansion of existing media education programs. 3. Work collaboratively with parent-teacher associations to encourage parental guidance in limiting or monitoring age-appropriate screen time. 4. Schools that use new technology like iPads need to have strict rules about what students can access. FM

Emma Alesna-Llanto is a mother of three, a pediatrician and an adolescent medicine specialist. She is the current head of the Section of Adolescent Medicine of the Department of Pediatrics, Philippine General Hospital and a faculty member of the University of the Philippines College of Medicine. She hopes to one day write about her experiences in her field of specialty.


FamilyMatters | September-November 2016

In the Philippines, current statistics indicate the following: Internet usage: Active FB accounts: Median age of FB users: Highest users of FB:

44.5 million Filipinos 47 million 24 years 20- to 29-year-olds, followed by 13- to 19-year-olds Average time online daily: 5.2 hours on desktop and tablet; 3.2 hours on mobile phone Top online activities: Social media, 47%; online shopping, 29%; watching videos, 19%; online and mobile games, 15%; and location-based search, 13%.

Cyber Wellness and the Family | SPECIAL SECTION

Click with Care

The power to influence scores of people via the Internet is definitely exhilarating. But we need to learn to handle this capability responsibly, and to spot those who use it to further their hidden agenda. BY SONNIE SANTOS


he Internet in general, and social media in particular, has brought game-changing dynamics into our society.

Gone are the days when information was filtered before public consumption, when “publishing” or “broadcasting” information was limited to “traditional” media—radio, TV, and print—and when consumers were just at the receiving end of information. Today, everyone can be a publisher, broadcaster, or content creator. From being passive consumers, people have become active participants in the world of information technology. With technological advancement has also come cultural change, and the buzzwords of this new culture include “selfie,” “sharing,” and “freedom of expression.” The younger generations have become more assertive than

their predecessors, having found in cyberspace the place to showcase their creativity, share information, and express themselves without censure.


However, because cyberspace is unregulated and not governed by standard ethics, it has also become a medium for abusive acts. Most people tend to go overboard with self-promotion, unconsciously creating a new form of competition—outbragging each other. Seemingly, some base their self-worth on the likes they receive and the followers they gain. Most also tend to over-share on what interests them, without first verifying the accuracy of the content or reliability of the source, They also frequently don’t bother asking themselves if sharing certain information would result in cyberbullying or violation of someone’s right to privacy. Some are not mindful of the words they use to express their opinion, showing disregard for human dignity. In the September-November 2016 | FamilyMatters


SPECIAL SECTION | Cyber Wellness and the Family

last presidential elections, we witnessed the power of social media to shape public opinion. Proof of this is when two young girls, in separate incidents, spewed hateful words at a vice presidential candidate. One wished the candidate dead, and the other hurled curses at her. As a parent myself, I had thought girls of their age were incapable of such behavior.


The term “social engineering” refers to the art of manipulating a person into making him or her do something beneficial for the social engineer. It is the mother of all abuses, as it can lead to hacking, identity theft, stealing of money, and cyber lynching. Most negative online experiences emanate from social engineering. Acts of social engineering include the following: ■ Spin doctors leading a herd into bullying a person or a brand ■ Hackers taking over someone’s account ■ Blackmailers threatening to release intimate photos of women ■ Scammers sending malicious texts to people in order to steal their money ■ Fraudsters soliciting personally identifiable information from others so as to carry out identity theft ■ Conmen enticing users to click on a link that will activate malware infection

Most people tend to go overboard with self-promotion, unconsciously creating a new form of competition— out-bragging each other. 32

FamilyMatters | September-November 2016


The phrase “cyber wellness” refers to the state of well-being of Internet users, which is what everyone who goes online should strive for. According to Singapore’s Ministry of Education, to achieve cyber wellness involves having an understanding of the norms of appropriate, responsible behavior with regard to technology use. It also requires an awareness of the knowledge, skills, values, and attitudes needed to protect oneself and other Internet users from the menace lurking in the cyber world. “Think before you click” has become the rallying point of a campaign on the responsible use of social web. It encourages social web users to protect themselves from negative cyber experiences, to be mindful of others’ safety, and to respect human rights. In the absence of a regulatory body and universally accepted ethical standards for Internet and social web use, the best approach to mitigating online abuses is to educate parents, teachers, and kids about cyber wellness. Here are some useful tips: 1. Use different email addresses and passwords for different social media accounts. This will secure your other accounts in case one is hacked. 2. Be knowledgeable about privacy settings, making sure apps cannot access and pinpoint your location unnecessarily. And check, too, that personally identifiable information is not set to “public” mode. 3. Be mindful of what you share, and don’t disclose locations in real time, such as the address of your school, where your family members currently are, or your home address. Don’t share up-to-date photos of yourself and your family that can be accessed by strangers either (but you could probably allow your friends on Facebook to see them). Note: By following Nos. 2 and 3, you reduce the risk of being stalked.

4. Don’t click links in emails, texts, social media timelines, and messages from chat or messaging apps, unless you trust and have personally verified the source. 5. Don’t give out personally identifiable and financial information through emails, apps, or websites, again unless you trust the sender and have verified the need to provide such information. 6. Check the security level of the network you’re using before going online.

15. Before downloading and installing an app or registering an account to a social platform, read the terms of use and the privacy policy. In this way, you will know what info is being collected about you by this app, and how that information will be stored and used. You will also become aware of the rights and licenses you are giving away to the service provider regarding your creative work (i.e., your photos and videos).

Note: By following Nos. 4 through 6, you reduce the risk of malware infection, identity theft, and hacking. 7. Don’t take photos or videos of intimate moments, or if you insist on doing so, don’t share them via social web and apps. 8. Don’t store unencrypted important documents and intimate photos on devices and cloud storage facilities. 9. When engaged in video chat, keep in mind that the other person might be recording you. Note: By following Nos. 7 through 9, you reduce the risk of being blackmailed and of a stranger getting hold of sensitive materials. 10. Before sharing info found on the web, verify its source. Consider whether a spin doctor is behind it, trying to shape public opinion for or against someone or something. 11. Before commenting on certain issues or engaging someone, read your text several times for objectivity, respect, and value added. 12. Before sharing a meme or a video scandal, consider the damage it will do to the dignity of the person involved. Ask yourself: If it were me found in the meme or caught in the scandal, would I want to be feasted on? 13. Before sharing a photo or video, if you’re the copyright owner, seek to add value to others through it, and consider, too, the benefit to you of your action. If you’re not the copyright owner, ask permission to share. 14. Before sharing a status update, seek to add value to others and consider how this can benefit you, too. Note: By doing items 10 to 14, you prevent yourself from becoming an instrument of cyberbullying and harassment, and reduce your risk of being cyberbullied.

In the absence of a regulatory body for Internet use, the best approach to mitigating online abuses is to educate parents, teachers, and kids about cyber wellness.

Sonnie Santos is an advocate, strategist and keynoter. A multi-awarded blogger (ASKSonnie.INFO), he is recognized for his advocacy in cyber wellness and spiritual intelligence. He is a strategist for people and organization development, facilitating corporate trainings on leadership and people development. He also gives seminars on cyber wellness for teachers, students, and parents. Follow him at @ASKSonnie on Twitter and Instagram, and /ASKSonnie on Facebook and LinkedIn.

September-November 2016 | FamilyMatters


Youth Talk starring




Tomorrow s Child Watch out for this budding thesp who’s garnering praises for her impressive vocals and amazing performance in one of the most loved musicals of all time.

By MARIDOL RANOA-BISMARK “TOMORROW,” THE ICONIC SONG of hope from the popular musical Annie that Telesa “Esang” de Torres sang on It’s Showtime’s Mini-Me segment, might as well be her theme song. That’s because the 9-year-old seems to be always looking forward to whatever wonderful surprise the future holds. Good things started for the little girl from Tondo when she bested other children to emerge as grand champion in the fourth season of the Promil I-Shine contest last year. Encouraged, she next tried out for The Voice Kids PH, choosing “Home” from the Broadway musical “The Wiz” as her audition piece for the second season of the talent search, and won the auditioning panel’s approval. Even then, the spunky child had that crystal-clear voice and stage presence that made Lea Salonga and fellow 34

FamilyMatters | September-November 2016

coaches, Sarah Geronimo, and Bamboo Manalac turn their chairs around for her week after week of the competition. Although Esang ended up only one of the finalists on the show (12-year-old Elha Nympha won the grand prize), she did not know that much bigger things actually awaited her. Tony Awards recipient and international musical stage personality Lea, whom Esang had chosen as her coach on The Voice Kids PH, told world-renowned British producer Cameron Mackintosh, producer of Cats, Miss Saigon, and other popular musicals, that she had a little girl who could try out for one of the roles in the Singapore production of Les Misérables, or “Les Miz.” As fate would have it, Mackintosh was looking for children to cast for the grand production that returned to Singapore 20 years after it was staged there.

To prepare Esang for the auditions, Lea needed less than an hour to train the talented young singer. The training was not just about technical prowess, but more importantly, it was about giving every single note soul and emotion. “Coach Lea told me to always sing with my heart and to use my imagination every time I was performing. Little Cosette is a neglected child, so I must imagine that I was being mistreated,” recalls Esang in Filipino. She got the role of young Cosette in the next day’s auditions, and the country’s youngest concert performer was ecstatic. “When I first heard that I was going

The line “to love another person is to see the face of God” also holds special meaning to the gifted Esang. to be in Les Misérables I was so excited, very happy and very thankful,” relates Esang. Together with fellow Filipino thespian Rachelle Ann Go and others, Esang flew to Singapore, where she did not feel strange in her new surroundings at all because she had already performed with some of the Les Miz cast during the musical’s Manila run. “It was so much fun working with the cast and crew because they were so welcoming and they were very kind and warm. They were also very professional,” she says.

She was also not afraid to consult the grown-ups, because they assured her it was okay to ask about any problem that crops up. They were definitely one big happy family and Esang was glad to have been a part of it. “It was true what they said to me, ‘Welcome to Les Misérables family,’ because that was exactly what I felt when I was with the cast and I thank them for that.” Rachelle Ann, who plays Fantine, Cosette’s young mom, helped in particular to assuage the girl’s fears, especially before the child would go on the stage. “Rachelle Ann just told to me to relax and not to worry about being nervous. She said to consider the stage as my big playground. She also told me that I should always be at my best. It helped me a lot!” says Esang. That advice, plus Esang’s natural vivacity, helped her to own the stage every performance night. “Before the show, I always got nervous, but once I started sweeping the floor (as the orphaned Cosette), it relaxed me. And when I began to sing, I forgot my fear.” When Esang would belt out “Castle on a Cloud,” she would sing her heart out, lost in a world of love and acceptance, so unlike the one her character lives in. Meanwhile, the rousing “Master of the House” and the show’s touching finale number were Esang’s favorites. The line “to love another person is to see the face of God” also holds special meaning to the gifted Esang. It keeps her well grounded and reminds her that her talent comes from an all-loving God. It also calls to mind the value of humility which Lea instilled in Esang

Rachelle Ann just told to me to relax and not to worry about being nervous. before she flew to Singapore. “Coach Lea told me to be humble, to always be good, and do everything the director asked me to do. She told me I must love what I’m doing, to use breathing techniques and then break a leg!” Yes, Esang is growing into a commanding performer who stands poised to become one of the country’s next big stage names, and she is grateful for the many things she has learned from Les Misérables. “Discipline is number one. I also have a new style of vocalization which I think improves my voice a lot. I have also been able to improve my acting as well because it was my first time to act in a theater. It has given me confidence and I’m a much more confident performer now.” Now back in Manila, Esang still feels sad recalling the end of the Singapore production last July, almost two months after it opened. But the fourth grader knows she must move on and focus on her studies and recording career. Her album, Esang, Ako Ay Kakanta is out in the market, and she is helping promote it. With the exciting developments in her singing career, Esang’s optimism naturally remains high as she continues to look to tomorrow with high expectations. “Hopefully, I’ll audition again for another play. Maybe next time, I’ll audition for Les Misérables again!” And knowing her talent, humility, and willingness to listen and learn, it’s not too hard to imagine her once more performing and shining on the stage—a bigger one with a bigger audience— someday soon. FM

September-November 2016 | FamilyMatters


Youth Talk protecting

eets r t s e h t n o safe e b o t w o h s. t n e d i c Here’s c a d roa f o r a e l c r e and ste N ON AARRRREEO C C N N E E E E L L BByyAAII

d on the roa you spend e m r ti se h u c u d wm a roa UGHT oof rhpoedestrian, you becomoel on weekdays, hear O H T R E V OU E s a driver, passenger, when you go to scho e a family vacation HAVE YW r tak ppens hether a eekends, o se. This ha w u n o o h each day? ll e a th m e e you leav out of or go to th whenever ow to stay isit a friend h v g s, in y a w d o n n u ant. d, k mass on S on the roa rs is import anila . k d se a n u e re d b sp a l u o ro o o r y e M during sch ng the many hours tropolitan nger to oth 6, then Me orporating ose any da 1 p 0 2 to y t a Consideri o M n c in s how roposed in orum held y as well a n Carlos p ad Safety F o iculum. o rs rr harm’s wa R e u c A m l D E o n M o M h sch airma h ig c h ) about e A D th At the First M in g students ciples, ority (M n in th ri h u c p a A ty t te n f fe e o sa gnals and ssity road Developm ffic rules, si are s the nece a including tr in , t n la u o p o ti x a b e c a s u ts us w, Carlo traffic ed ad acciden is teaching te intervie . But who cidents. Ro c rs t others.” a c se e to u In a separa e sp d n a re must are pro re all ro d a u n o e a y s, n “W . e le ty th ru , y eath in the road safe don’t know formed, should obe cause of d u o g y in If d ? a g le n in h fift be ” from the engineeri lready the ple should stic report a o ti e is a p t st t n u e sh b id ra c ad c d ac ssengers, avoidable Carlos, roa alone, a “ro rivers, 20 among pa 6 to 1 0 g 2 in h rd rc o d se killed, Ma Acc ties among anila. Aside from tho January to li ta m fa ro F 1 6 s. e d and 1,291 oM orde Philippin assengers, nts in Metr ty Unit rec p e fe 7 id a 7 c S c ,3 a d 1 a , d o rs a MMDA R rians in ro 2,603 drive ong pedest eriod covered were and 55 am p e jured in th reported in s. pedestrian


FamilyMatters | September-November 2016

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“Accidents know no age,” says Carlos. While youngsters are not at a greater risk than adults, the sheer number of students regularly out on the streets is the reason why the younger population is consistently exposed to road hazards. “Pedestrians are mostly students,” observes Carlos. Because many don’t take safety precautions, pedestrians are easy victims of road accidents. To stay safe, follow traffic rules and regulations first and foremost. Use pedestrian lanes or sidewalks. When crossing, use foot bridges or designated crosswalks and follow the signal lights. “Walking on streets is not allowed,” reminds Carlos. He reveals that young

You put yourself in great danger when you cross roads where drivers do not expect people to be crossing.


people are often guilty of this offense. On the rare occasion that you need to walk on the street, walk facing traffic rather than having your back to approaching cars. Also, “don’t be lazy in using foot bridges,” says Carlos, noting that even in areas where there are island barriers, students, being agile, still find ways to cross over by jumping over them or squeezing between the iron bars. You put yourself in great danger when you cross roads where drivers do not expect people to be crossing, he warns.

It is also important to know and obey the rules whenever you commute by public transportation to avoid road accidents. For instance, wait at designated bus stops and get off at proper unloading areas only. Never run towards approaching buses or jeepneys in an attempt to get a ride ahead of everyone else. It’s just not worth risking your life for. Always be alert. Be mindful of what is going on around you whether you’re walking, crossing the street, or waiting for a ride. Don’t be preoccupied with your cell phone or other gadgets as this not only exposes you to accidents but also invites street crimes. For those old enough to drive, taking driving lessons and getting a license are not the only prerequisites. “Public and road safety should be top of mind,” stresses Carlos. For your own safety and that of the other people you share the road with,

you must know the meaning of all road markings and signs. “Road markings and traffic signs each convey a particular message which is a world standard,” says Carlos. Unfortunately, he said, only less than 10% of drivers in the Philippines know what the signs mean.


It is of course not enough to understand what the signs stand for. More important is to obey and follow the set rules and regulations. “It’s all about respect... respect for the law, the authority, the signs, and other road users,” says Carlos. He laments how drivers show utter disrespect for pedestrians by bullying them or not giving way. A similar lack of respect is displayed by motorists who cut each other off. The same thing can be said of people with aggressive driving habits such as reckless swerving and overtaking, speeding, and tailgating. According to Carlos, by the end of 2016, the number of registered vehicles

September-November 2016 | FamilyMatters


Safety Reminders for Teen Drivers

Don’t be preoccupied with your cell phone or other gadgets as this not only exposes you to accidents but also invites street crimes. in Metro Manila will reach three million. Expect the already overcrowded EDSA, which has exceeded its full capacity by as much as 8,000 vehicles per direction per hour, to be even more congested. With so many vehicles on the road, driven by individuals majority of whom don’t understand traffic signs, accidents that kill and injure road users are bound to happen, so extra care should be practiced at all times. While there are countless tips on what to do and what not to do when on the road, keep in mind that safety all begins with the three important points raised by Carlos—knowledge, obedience, and respect for others. FM 38

FamilyMatters | September-November 2016

Driving and texting is a bad combo. Driving while using your cell phone is a traffic violation for good reason. The National Statistics Office, in its 2015 report, said using cellular phones while driving is one of the top causes of traffic accidents. Because being behind the wheel requires your full and undivided attention, avoid tinkering with your phone while driving. Texting, browsing the Internet, and posting on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram can all wait until you’re off the road. Your friends may have to wait a few extra minutes to hear from you, but at least you won’t cause accidents and hurt yourself. Don’t drink and drive. If you continue to ignore this rule even after so many reports of incidences of teen drunk driving ending in a fatal crash, then you probably have no business driving a car. You need your wits about you when on the road, but alcohol makes you lose focus and diminishes your ability for quick thinking and sound decision making. Wait until the effects of alcohol wear off. Better yet, if driving home, refrain from drinking anything with alcohol content. Avoid distractions. Aside from your cell phone, other distractions from the primary task of driving are activities like eating, adjusting your car’s music player or changing CDs, and playing loud music. If you are new at driving, it is wise to keep your friends off your car for the meantime. Studies show that teens get into more accidents when other teens are in their vehicles. Putting three or more teens in a car driven by a teen is said to increase the chances of an accident fourfold. Wait at least a year before inviting your friends for a ride. Too tired to drive? Don’t! Falling asleep while driving is a nightmare scenario. When drowsy, stop driving until fully alert. Sleepiness may cause more accidents than alcohol. Signs to watch out for include heavy eyelids, drifting into daydreaming, yawning repeatedly, difficulty in focusing, and frequent blinking. Lapses in attention and slowed reaction time make drowsy driving extremely dangerous. Don’t rush. If you’re constantly running late due to heavy traffic, leave the house earlier for you to reach the school on time. This is the better option than driving at high speed, overtaking to get ahead, and even beating the red light. Remember that reckless driving is dangerous, even with your seatbelt on.

youth talk choosing

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e l p o e p e f th o e n o w o Get to kn your flight safe, e k a m e. l o b h a t w r o f com d n a , h t smoo O IANGC DYQU L E C X By E

ng i h t y l on e h t t a e h t b k o n i t h s i o et l d n p e s o k t c e n i P a h d c n e m t t e a h s i et v r w flight e o s kn o t t ’ r n o o s d u y o r e o h t t m y. t a e h f gla a w s t u ir b e , h f t e r e fo e r or b e h t we’re EITHER GO INTO BUSINESS or climb up the corporate ladder. These were the objectives that pushed Bea Co to take up Commerce, majoring in Entrepreneurship, at De La Salle University. But in a quiet corner of her heart beat a dream to become a flight attendant. “I was a money broker for four years,” she says. “Overall it was a great four years, but there would always be ‘what ifs’ at the back of my head. What if I pursued a job that I’ve always wanted, a job that will take me to different places and countries I’ve never seen? Questions like these always haunted me and I ended up talking to my colleagues about it. That’s when I decided to give it a try and apply for the position of flight attendant. And the rest was history.”

Back in 2013, she started her career in aviation when she underwent three tough months of work orientation and training with other newcomers before she was sent off on her first official flight. “It was totally different from the way I envisioned the job,” she says. “People think that the only thing flight attendants do is to be glamorous all the time or to serve them chicken or beef during the service, but what they don’t know is we’re there for their safety.” She adds that a lot of preparations need to be done before takeoff. It usually takes more than an hour to prepare for a flight, and the flight crew must constantly do research about the different types of aircraft they board and refresh their memory about emergency situations. September-November 2016 | FamilyMatters



A lot of people coming from all walks of life board the plane every day... And if you are able to touch their lives and have a small impact, it means so much to them already.

Like any other job, being a flight attendant entails hard work, determination, patience, and sacrifice. It means being frequently away from the family and missing out on most special occasions and events. The work also calls for reporting for night shifts and holiday duty so other people can reach their destinations and reunite with their own families. Bea says that in tough times like these, having a core group of family members and close friends that provides emotional support enables people with jobs like hers to gain strength. She remembers her first Christmas away from home. “I wished I could have celebrated it with my family but I had a flight to Montreal on that day,” she says. “For two days we were in Canada and it was negative 14 degrees outside. Nevertheless all the crew went out for dinner to celebrate the holidays. Everybody came up with their own hats and wore colorful outfits to feel the Christmas vibe.” She says that it was an unforgettable moment for her because she found a temporary family in her colleagues and in their bus driver, a stranger who gave each one a Christmas card. “It was thoughtful of him to do that. I really enjoyed the holiday even if I didn’t get to celebrate it with the family and, yes, it was the first time I saw snow in my life,” she adds. But aside from having to be away from loved ones, being part of the cabin crew takes a toll on the physical health. Traveling across different time zones can lead to erratic sleep patterns, digestive problems, jet lag, and fatigue, among others. On top of these, there is the issue of exposure to radiation from space. “In order to combat these problems, you need to maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle, sleep as much as you can, keep yourself hydrated, always take good care of your skin, and always have a positive outlook in life,” Bea says. But the perks definitely outweigh the challenges. Not only do the cabin crew members get to travel to different destinations, this privilege can be extended to immediate family members and friends, while travel tickets can be used not just with their airline but with most other airlines, too. Plus, they can avail themselves of discounts at duty-free shopping centers, five-star hotels, cafes, and restaurants, and get lower-priced health plans and cosmetics. Since making this career change, Bea says she has enjoyed every minute of her professional life. She feels fulfilled when a passenger thanks her after a flight, as this means she has done her job well and made someone happy.


If there’s anything her work has taught her, it’s the importance of putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. Explains Bea, “A lot of people coming from all walks of life board the plane every day. People who are travelling for the first time. A pregnant woman carrying her first child. People who just lost their job or loved ones. People with disabilities or mothers with infants. They all need special care or assistance. And if you are able to touch their lives and make a small impact, it means so much to them already.” What has her job taught her? “We should always cherish the moments that we have with our loved ones. Never take a single day for granted and enjoy it to the fullest.” In the near future she hopes to embark on six months of travel around Madagascar, Tahiti, Easter Island, Mauritius, and South America. “I travelled to Peru and Bolivia last March and it was amazing!” she says. She also reveals her long-term plans. “Probably once I’m done travelling, I’ll pursue another dream job—to become a wine sommelier or put up my own business. I don’t know where my life’s journey will take me, but I’m making the most of it. I’m thankful for everything and I feel it would be a total shame to waste good opportunities that come your way.” FM

Youth Talk Learning




MANY OF US have surely experienced getting low grades in a school exam not because we were unprepared, but because we made careless, avoidable mistakes. Perhaps we didn’t get enough rest the night before or simply neglected to bring a pen, which caused us to panic and forget what we had studied . Maybe the combination of time pressure and information overload weighed so heavily on us that we bungled our answers to relatively easy questions. Whatever the reason, failing a test, especially a major one like the finals or an entrance exam, can be disheartening and frustrating. But you know what? We commit blunders every time and not just in school, too. What is important is that we try to correct our misstep and do better the next time around. After all, if we keep repeating the same mistakes, it could become a bad habit that we may bring into adulthood and apply in other areas of our lives. Thus, it’s good to know how to prevent needless mistakes this early.

Being careless and sloppy can undo all the hard work you put in to ace that important test. Here, the most common exam bloopers you have to avoid.

September-November 2016 | FamilyMatters



Maria Guisela Umali-Caraos, a grade school teacher and owner of Teacher Ella’s In-Home Tutorial Services in Tiaong, Quezon, lists three common examination mistakes and tells us how to sidestep them: 1. PANICKING AND RUSHING. Even the most prepared student can sometimes get the jitters and end up doing badly in the test. So strive to be calm when under a time limit, as being flustered can make you lose concentration and make your handwriting unreadable. Don’t rush through the test in an attempt to beat the deadline, as you might leave some portions of the exam blank or incomplete. Sometimes, students even forget to write down their own name! And if you finish with time to spare, review your paper and double-check your answers. 2. BRINGING INCOMPLETE MATERIALS. Aside from unsharpened pencils, one of the worst things that can happen to a student is to forget to bring essentials, like a calculator, a compass, or a protractor for solving math problems. It’s good to check your bag before leaving home. 3. FAILING TO FOLLOW DIRECTIONS. Another mistake is overlooking or misinterpreting simple instructions. For example, drawing a box around the answer instead of encircling it or answering in phrases when complete sentences are required can lead to precious points lost.


Aside from the boo-boos mentioned above, Teacher Ella explains that the reasons students fail at an exam are not limited to faults committed during the test. There are also several things students must do beforehand to ensure they are as ready as can be. For one, it is important to study well in advance. Try not to cram as the neural connections being formed in the brain during the cramming process are just temporary and might suddenly fade away, leaving you with a mental block on D-Day. Rather than adopting a punishing routine like studying for several hours straight, opt for a more sensible strategy. Ideally, review your notes at least a week or two before the scheduled test. And remember to pace yourself well by taking breaks in between reviewing subjects and doing something relaxing before tackling another set of notes. For another, sleep early a few days before. A wellrested mind and body will give you the sharpness and energy needed to last you through the crucial exam period, as compared to if you came in lacking sleep, feeling tired, and unable to think clearly. And be sure to eat a good, healthy breakfast on examination day. This will provide the fuel you need and prevent hunger pangs that can cause you to become dizzy and unfocused. Also, make an effort to regularly eat foods rich in vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to maintain a healthy brain. Choose those foods that boost concentration and memory such as high-fiber whole grains, dairy, fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, as well as fresh fruits and vegetables. Finally, leave home as early as possible on the day of reckoning. Arriving late can make you feel extra anxious and pressured, so strive to give yourself lots of time to reach the examination site so you arrive calm, confident, and ready to give it your best. Good luck! FM

If we keep repeating the same mistakes, it could become a bad habit that we may bring into adulthood and apply in other areas of our lives. 42

FamilyMatters | September-November 2016

Parents’ Corner parenting

u u s p res

r e nd re

Here’s why too much parental ‘motivation’ to succeed may do more harm than good.

By RUTH MANIMTIM-FLORESCA We parents desire what’s best for our children and try to motivate them to do well in various areas of their lives. Academic excellence is one of them, which we tell our kids is important in order to get into the top universities and land a good job. A research study called “Parents’ Conceptions of Academic Success: Internal and External Standards” by Karen E. Ablard, conducted by the Johns Hopkins University, Center for Talented Youth, found that 57% of respondents defined academic success based on external standards such as performance beyond one’s peers or attainment of socially recognized achievements such as college admission and employment in a high-status job. Correspondingly, half of the same group defined academic success as relative to the individual and emphasized the importance of internal standards like enjoyment, setting and attaining personal goals, motivation, working towards one’s potential, being curious and inquisitive, and trying one’s best. According to the report, “By emphasizing both types of standards, parents convey to their children that outstanding performance is important to success, but personal satisfaction and trying one’s best are also important, a balance that should help to alleviate feelings of pressure.” September-November 2016 | FamilyMatters


Parents’ Corner parenting

Excessive academic pressure can cause undue stress and anxiety in children. HIGH EXPECTATIONS

Unfortunately, there are parents who focus more on the end-result than on what their children are capable of. Although this is not really an issue with outstanding students, it may prove detrimental to those who don’t do as well as their peers. In “Do Asian Students Face Too Much Academic Pressure?” published on the CNN website in July 2015, Jeff Yang wrote, “Asian parents frequently see academic success as a ticket out of the toil and sacrifice that they experienced in their adult lives. They see hard work in schools as a small price to pay for a lifetime of security.” Mina*, a homemaker and mom of two, shares that a neighbor, whose daughter goes to the same school as her son and is one class level lower, keeps asking for her son’s used books and notebooks after every school year. “My neighbor wants her child to know lessons in advance so she can

maintain being the top one in class,” relates Mina. “I am worried about the future consequences but I don’t feel I have the right to call out the mom about her actions.” Ria Ciabal-de la Cruz, assistant school director of The Raya School Inc. in Quezon City who has also been serving as a private tutor for the past 25 years, says she has met parents who make their kids undergo tutorials in summer, claiming this is so their children won’t get stressed during the school year. “I have tried offering workshops on the fun side during summertime but academic work is still the popular choice. I even had parents who would go out of their way to reproduce worksheets of the kids of their friends who are a batch higher than their own children. They would then forward the materials to me so I can work on them with their own kids,” reveals Teacher Ria. According to her, traditional parents are the ones more likely to

apply academic pressure. “It is really a competitive world out there and for some parents, the ‘educational path’ of their child has been paved way before the child could actually walk on his own. They have already planned where their child would attend preschool, grade school, junior and senior high school, college, even grad and post-grad schools!” She remembers once tutoring a fourth grader from an exclusive boys’ school. “His father, a successful businessman, told me, ‘Teacher, please focus on his math and comprehension skills. I want him to attend The London School of Economics.’ Even I was pressured! Thankfully, despite not being able to get into his father’s chosen school, the child still grew up to become a successful businessman like his dad,” she says. Teacher Ria is also happy to note that there are now more progressive parents who have accepted that there are other ways of learning, or who are at least more open to the idea.


We all need motivation and people cheering us on to help us in our quest to succeed. However, too much “encouragement” could produce the opposite effect. Excessive academic pressure can cause undue stress and anxiety in children. They may also end up resenting their parents for prohibiting

Parents convey to their children that outstanding performance is important to success, but personal satisfaction and trying one’s best are also important. 44

FamilyMatters | September-November 2016

them from pursuing other interests and making their studies their only priority. “I was in high school when I resorted to cheating during exams so I could get the high grades my parents expected from me. My circle of friends and I were caught during our third year and we were expelled,” relates Jonas*, a bank executive. “My family had to undergo counseling for more than a year to resolve our issues. Eventually, my parents acknowledged their mistakes and eased up on the pressure. I didn’t graduate with honors but, thankfully, they were okay with that.” Now a father himself, Jonas encourages his kids to do well in school, but refrains from imposing very high expectations. Indeed, there is a difference between encouraging a child and forcing a child to excel scholastically. Although they may be good intentioned, extremely high expectations could backfire. Some students may develop negative feelings towards education and do badly in exams. There could even be worse consequences. “(Pressured) children tend to be withdrawn because they are afraid to fail and make mistakes. They also get

depressed and, in some cases, there are those who would take their own life because they can no longer cope with the stress and pressure,” points out Teacher Ria. She thus counsels students who feel undue pressure to talk it out with their parents. “They should be upfront and tell mom and dad why it is not working. If this is not an option, I would encourage children to seek the help of a third party—maybe a relative, the school’s guidance counselor, or even the child’s class adviser who can discuss the issue with the parents during the ParentsTeachers Conference.” Similarly, Teacher Ria reminds moms and dads to ease up on burdening their children with unrealistic goals. “No matter how hard it is, you just have to let go. At some point, your children must be given the chance to do what they like to do. Give your support, let them explore and decide for themselves,” she says. Parents, she adds, must be facilitators. “Expose your kids to different areas—from math and science to linguistics, music and arts, and even sports. It is not cool to be a dictator. Ultimately, the dreams that are to be fulfilled here, after all, are your kids’, not yours.” FM

Your children must be given the chance to do what they like to do. Give your support, let them explore and decide for themselves. *Names have been changed to protect privacy

Is Stress

Good or Bad? Stress is actually neutral, and it is “a person’s perception of the event that determines their response” and makes stress either positive or negative, says Victoria Tennant, M. Ed., an educational consultant. In her article, “The Powerful Impact of Stress” published by Johns Hopkins School of Education, Tennant describes stress as negative when it causes a person to feel threatened and not in control of a situation. “These feelings instigate a powerful reaction—affecting both the brain and body in ways that can be destructive to physical and mental health.” Conversely, stress can be a positive tool that stimulates a person to manage a situation. “This positive response prepares the body for action and activates the higher thinking centers of the brain,” she writes. “A positive response to stress can provide the energy to handle emergencies, meet challenges, and excel.” In academics, a little stress can be a good thing. It can give children a gentle push to take a step further and reach higher goals. Parents, therefore, should learn to discern when to put on the pressure and when to ease up. By ensuring balance, they may even be happily surprised to see the children they have guided appropriately and loved unconditionally transform later on into self-confident, accomplished, and well-rounded adults.

September-November 2016 | FamilyMatters


Parents’ Corner Balancing

Conquer Working


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One mom recalls her own work-home dilemma and how she coped with self-reproach. By ERLINDA ESGUERRA

LOOKING BACK at my experience as a young mom (whether I was a good or bad one I do not know), I belonged to a group of women who didn’t know much about the concept of working mom’s guilt. My own mother was a lawyer, and I grew up in a family that expected all of us siblings to have careers. At the dinner table, as a young girl, I recall my father endlessly and proudly talk of the exploits of my older brothers—how this one landed a job as assistant to the press secretary, how the other one was so street-smart he got a U.S. visa with no help from anyone. 46

FamilyMatters | September-November 2016

Big or small, the accomplishments of each of his five children gave my father so much joy. And why not? He came from a poor farmer’s family in Bulacan, and his children gave him bragging rights. So I guess the subconscious message I got was achieve, achieve, achieve, and make Tay proud. Time flew fast. Pretty soon I was navigating my own career track, first as a psychologist, then as a human resources practitioner, then on to a series of jobs that got bigger and better. But marriage happened in the early part of my career, and with that, motherhood. As I held Yayie, my first baby, in my arms, the cutest baby girl I’d seen, I thought, “Oh my! Would I love to stay at home and just take care of her!” But those thoughts were soon dispelled because they seemed not to be based on reality. Why give up your job when there was a slew of people just so excited to take care of her? A yaya had already been made available for me. Just next door lived my mother-in-law, who was the family’s expert in child care, and my sisters-in-law, who were ready to play babysitter at my beck and call. It was a village offering to raise Yayie and wanting to be part of my baby’s life. And my baby flourished in this village of love. It added to, not diminished, the mother-and-baby bond we had. My child had her titas and titos, lolas and lolos talking to her all the time, making her laugh. Her communication skills developed exponentially at a very early age. She was a show-off. She enjoyed all the stories read to her and she made fantastic stories herself. I worked through all of Yayie’s growing years until she was 23, when I had to leave her behind in the Philippines. That was the year 2003, when I, together with my husband and younger daughter Cristina, who was then 20 years old, was suddenly plucked from the Philippines and became a U.S. immigrant. Sadly, Yayie was left behind for being over-aged. My life took a 180-degree turn, with Cristina finishing her college in the U.S. By then, being a working mom was no longer an issue for me, as both my children had become adults. Fast

My baby flourished in this village of love, which added to, not diminished, the motherand-baby bond we had.

forward to today and my family and I are now in our 13th year as U.S. residents. My two daughters are in their thirties and have become mothers themselves. Did Yayie become a working mom like me? Yes, she did, but she put her own twist to it. She and her husband are both hands-on, vowing never to get a yaya for their child Yanna, and leaving her with her titas as they head to work. Yayie has now virtually transformed into a full-time mom with a work-from-home career. She is the ultimate multi-tasker, churning out volume upon volume of writing while her child sleeps. I’ll never understand how she gets things done with a precocious five-year-old around.

September-November 2016 | FamilyMatters


Parents’ Corner Balancing

How to Overcome Career Mom’s Remorse Most of today’s mothers have to go to work for various reasons, including to help increase the family income or achieve professional fulfillment. But it eats at us that while we’re at work, we’re not there to witness our children’s milestones, prepare their school baon, or comfort and soothe them when they fall sick or get hurt. The following reminders can help ease your guilt.

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Know that when you’re not always there, your child will learn to be more independent and self-reliant earlier.


Learn to say no to unnecessary activities or unimportant requests so you can allot more time for special bonding moments with your little one.


Remember that there is nothing wrong with savoring the perks that working gives you—professional advancement and recognition, skills development, the company of colleagues, financial security.


Accept that some people will always make you feel bad about working outside the house, and try to avoid such negativity as much as you can.


Give in to sadness if you have to miss going up the stage to pin your child’s medal, knowing that you have to make sacrifices for certain goals.


Explore ways to improve your home-work balance by asking your spouse to help out more or requesting your employer for flexible work arrangements.

Let others share in your child’s life, too, by inviting relatives or close friends to take your child to an event in your place.

Assess your life every now and then to see if you are still happy where you are or if you need to make changes. Perhaps it’s time to consider a career shift or a business of your own? You may even decide to work part-time or quit outright to devote more time to your family. Whatever you decide, what’s important is to have a work-life balance that you believe is best not just for your loved ones, but also for you. After all, an unhappy mom can’t raise happy children, even if she’s with them 24/7.


FamilyMatters | September-November 2016

I can only look to the Lord and trust that He gives special grace to every mom everywhere in the world. Meanwhile, it’s a different world out here in the U.S. Cristina is now a working mom with a little girl of her own. Her father and I are the only close relatives who can be there for Emily. But time is catching up with us grandparents, and we don’t have enough energy to take care of a three-year-old for long periods of time. Neither do we stay in the same house with them. So little Emily has had to be enrolled in a day care, as getting a full-time nanny is expensive, and fraught with trust and safety issues. Here, I miss the loving community of Filipino relatives and friends just waiting for their turn to baby-sit for you—like the ones that helped me raise Yayie and Cristina many years ago. If a genie asked me for a wish, I would tell him I want American mothers to experience child-rearing Philippine style. But that is only wishful thinking. I don’t know how I would have coped if I had to raise my two little girls here. I can only look to the Lord and trust that He gives special grace to every mom everywhere in the world, whether she has the whole village behind her or she has only herself and her husband to rely on. I know that whatever the situation, the Holy Spirit will be there. All we as mothers can do, as one mom said, is to “trust that the God who created our kids will parent them in our absence, will grow them in courage, and teach them over time that this is what love looks like. And instead of guilt, be drenched in grace.” FM

Family Matters September-November 2016  
Family Matters September-November 2016