Raising Children with Overseas Parents

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Most of the time, children of OFWs are left with their caregivers, which oftentimes are family members as well, to attend to their needs.
This fact only highlights the importance of a caregiver’s role in child development. According to a study by E.E. Werner & Smith in 2001, many children who grew up on a long distance relationship with their parents developed into healthy and mature adults provided that they had a loving caregiver.
In an excerpt of the lecture conducted by the National Committee on the Filipino Family in 2010 by Dr. Maria Paz Manaligod, Graduate Programs Chair, Miriam College, here are some guidelines for caregivers to ensure that children who are under their care continue to receive positive experience.
  1. Let the children play. It has a therapeutic effect. It is a form of coping with the new family situation and the absence of a parent. Encourage absentee parent to play and be with their children when they are around.
  2. Help the children discover their island of competence as a way to cope and build their confidence. Individuals become more confident if they are aware of their strengths. All the more when the people around them are there to guide them in their personal discoveries about themselves, specially knowing their strengths and weaknesses.
  3. Affirm the child as a source of strength for the family. It is important for the child to feel their importance by emphasizing their role in the family as the source of strength for their overseas parents.
  4. Harness peer support. Strong support system is vital to children’s coping while their parents are working abroad.
  5. Create a support group for the father or mother. Not only children need support system, but the overseas parents as well. Support system plays a major factor in going through difficulties in life.
  6. Continue family rituals. By doing so, the children will feel that nothing has changed even when parents are overseas.
  7. Plan purposeful celebrations. Celebrations bring fond memories, children can draw strength from those memories.
  8. Tell family stories. It’s a vehicle through which each generation learns to care about the previous.
  9. Worship together.  Religious services connect families, as well as with the Almighty. It also lays a spiritual foundation for children.
  10. Reinforce your family values. These are foundational convictions that you live by, not some of the time, but all the time.  Get your family involved in creating a family symbol.
  11. Strengthen the family bond. By strengthening family ties, it helps in keeping the family stronger thus enabling them to surpass challenges together.
  12. Make use of technology to keep communication lines open. Technology is definitely a positive tool in order to have constant communication with loved ones. Use this to have a constant communication with them.
In addition to these guidelines, the relationship between the mother and father also plays a vital role in the success of an OFW family. In a study by Carandang in 2007, it was revealed that Couples who maintain regular and open communication with each other are able to better handle the responsibility of rearing well-rounded children despite the distance.
*This article was written by Carla Conception and Carla Rosas of Jebsens Maritime’s Crew and Family Welfare team.
About Abojeb Company
Abojeb Company is a leading and well-recognized integrated maritime, ship management and land-based manpower services company from the Philippines. For 35 years, the company’s ship management unit has delivered cost-efficient, globally competitive, technical services to 125 vessels of various types. Jebsens Maritime, Abojeb’s crewing arm, has honed its crewing services to provide the best people to more than 400 ships presently under its care – boasting 87% retention rate and a pool of 12,500 seafarers for the ocean-going ships of its principals from Norway, US, Germany, Netherlands, Greece, Singapore, Japan, and Philippines. Abojeb Manpower Solutions, its land-based manpower services division, provides hundreds of highly qualified land-based professionals to many overseas businesses across several industries. Abojeb Company continues to garner recognition from the Philippine government and various industry-led organizations. Abojeb has expanded presence in Japan, the USA, Australia, and Greece.