Attending the Family Congress was quite enlightening overall, even though most of what were discussed were simply reminders of how we should behave and to be positive in our interaction with others, most especially with our families. A relevant topic that should have been included in the seminar, as pointed out by Archbishop Luis Antonio G. Tagle, is the topic on OFW families coping with separation. This should have been included since OFWs are increasing every year and this has become a general issue that has a great impact on the Filipino family.
The talks had a lot of insight and personal testimonials but because of the gravity of some of the issues, time and experience seem insufficient to cover the topic satisfactorily like the topics I attended. This included Handling the Bully and the Bullied for the morning session and Teaching Parents to Talk to Kids &Teens about Sex & Relationship for the afternoon session. These topics were my immediate concerns.
The first topic about bullying, which is a hot topic these days, wasn’t thoroughly dissected or discussed fully with inputs from the audience. There should have been more time to listen to personal cases and encourage a two-way discussion to come up with a satisfactory resolution.. There are too many aspects to this issue which includes the two families, the school, the teacher, the guidance councillor. The advice was to trust the school to mediate and never confront the other party as this will just be one big quarrel with no solution. But what if the school wants to wash their hands of this mess, or has favoritism because one parent was a big benefactor. Just how fair would the school be as judge? This is a big problem worldwide, perhaps more time to exchange ideas may open minds more.
Another point that came out was, what if the parents of the bully did not believe they had a concern and simply brushed off the behaviour as part of growing pains. Then the child would just continue to bully as a need was not addressed. The speakers did pinpoint the problem as a self-esteem issue which points to a parenting problem. In the end, the better option would just be to move the child to another school to avoid more hostilities. But did that solve anything? Even if there wasn’t a black-and-white solution, at least further discussion may have presented better options.
The afternoon topic about the discussion of sex and relationships with your teens also had its fill of disagreements regarding how guidance councillors should react or advice their students. This is a hot topic as well as opinions on dealing with this varied among the audience. The speaker suggested, dealing with a student that witnessed the sex act of parents or uncles, letting the student process the situation themselves and even encouraging them to watch certain films. This triggered a dissenting opinion asking why should the student have such liberty to think for themselves when they aren’t matured enough to absorb such a topic properly. It was a good forum for discussion where parenting styles were brought to light, which were analyzed for their pros and cons. Regarding these above-mentioned topics, there seems to be no single solution that would satisfy all the parents but at least, a good healthy discussion helped open up minds.
Francis Kong was an engaging speaker. He was able to hold captive the attention of a packed ballroom of guests at the Valle Verde Country club. You could hear a pin drop with the silent attention of everyone when Mr. Kong paused. Humorous, self-deprecating, using clear and simple words, were what made him such a hit with the audience who clamoured for more time with him. He didn’t lose their attention for one minute during his hour –long talk, you wouldn’t hear murmurs or discussion on the side. Even the waiters and booth watchers were focused on him too. One of the few speakers that I have observed who can hold that many people’s attention for that long.
The Family Congress is a good event to help parents and teens process and deal with destructive issues that may break the family apart. The family, the safest haven of an individual, the source of love and confidence of each one of us, should definitely be protected and given attention. The effort and idea of having a Family Congress, a yearly gathering to update and strengthen the family bond would be something that would benefit society in general. The present day evil or destructive forces against the family should not be ignored and allowed to slowly break up the basic unit of society. They should be addressed immediately to keep the family relations healthy. Strong family relations lead to a strong moral society.
Nurture Network, an online community of parents and experts, was one of the major sponsors and participants in this event. Through its online support site, Nurture Network provides a medium where parents and guardians, along with parenting, education, and health experts exchange ideas, tips, and advice around topics like how to make proper meals, understanding a teenager’s moods, or dealing with the family financials.
Wyeth, the country’s leading nutritionals company, has been an ardent supporter of Nurture Network’s goal of helping the Filipino family with matters concerning not only relationships, but overall health as well. One of the company’s main objectives is to provide proper nutrition for children and their families. During the 2012 Family Congress, participants got to try Wyeth’s Enercal Plus powdered milk brand for adults and Aqiva, which is formulated to add nutritional value to children’s dietary needs.
Visit www.nurturenetwork.com.ph to learn more parenting tips and interact with other parents online.