The Filipino Family and it’s roles, functions, structures and gender roles.
Being born a Filipino, we are raised to always demonstrate respect towards our elders, from the moment we are able to understand the things around us and how they work. It is essential that we learn to say “po” (sir/ma’am) and “opo” (yes) as a way of giving respect when we are speaking with our elders. This known knowledge of respect is not only expected from children, but it extends to adults as well. It is always necessary to use these words when conversing with people who are older or with people you just met to convey to them that you are giving them respect.
Magandang Gabi po. (Good Evening Sir/Ma’am).
Kumain ka na po ba? (Have you eaten yet Sir/Ma’am?)
Hindi po. Or Opo. (No Sir/Ma’am. Or Yes Sir/Ma’am.)
Now when we are talking about within the family, the children are expected to express proper treatment towards their parents and older siblings/relatives. Here in the Filipino family dynamic, where the eldest child is given much more responsibility compared to the younger siblings, such as looking after the house (cooking and cleaning) and baby siting the younger siblings when the parents are not around. Children who act out this high level of intolerable behaviors like fighting with parents and/or older siblings as well as speaking with an arrogant tone will be reprimanded. Furthermore, children living under a Filipino household is required to ask permission before going out or leaving the home and they are obligated to tell the parents where they are going, who they are going with, and when they are expected to be back home. Once the child has returned, the parents and elders anticipate “the kissing of the back of the hand” or more commonly “hand-to-forehead” gesture accompanied by the words “mano po” which symbolizes an appropriate greeting.
In some western countries like the US or Canada, where it is expected that a child will “leave the nest” at the legal age of eighteen, Filipino children are not obligated to leave home once they have finished their studies or graduated – unless that is what they choose to do. It is due to the valued closeness between the family members and the respect that they feel for their parents, most children do not start a life of their own until they are about to be wed. Some Filipino children believed that after graduation, it is their duty to help the family by working and earning money for them to give to their parents as help for the bills, other siblings tuition fees or school money, food, etc. to the point where they give their first full salary or income to their parents. For this reason, it is not uncommon to see several generations living under the same roof.
Let’s go to the topic of husband and wife or otherwise know as “mag-asawa”. It is not until the man and woman have a child or “anak” that they are blessed with “mag-anak” status. In the Filipino culture, we stress the significant value of a child as a couple is not considered a family until a child is born. The more children that a husband produces may lead others to think that he is more masculine and on the other hand, a woman may be viewed as though she is finally living up to her potential as a woman, while thinking she has secured her relationship with her husband. The traditional roles of a husband is to work and provide for his family while as for the wife is to look after her home and take care of the children, even though we live in a more modern world where both parents now are working hard to provide for the family, there are still some traditional family structures that still exists here.
In the growing modern times, sometimes a family structure needs to be broken up to keep up with the family expenses and to provide for their children. This is where the term Overseas Filipino Workers or OFW comes in, these are Filipino workers who are employed in foreign countries to seek better job opportunities in order to provide for their families. For better understanding of this please click the link (this link here “OFW & Balikbayans”).