FILAMSPEAK: Are your parents strict?With this issue we start a series called ‘FilAmSpeak’ where we ask a simple question and get the community to respond just as simply. No prodding, no Pavlovian stimuli and definitely no agenda. Our first question to young FilAms: Are your parents strict? Do they cramp your American lifestyle? Five smart and articulate youngsters answer in all candor.
17 years old
Cranford High School
Filipino mother, American father
My parents can definitely be very strict and conservative at times. They push me to do my best, but sometimes that pushing can border on being one-sided, and at times seem unfair and unrealistic. When I see the freedom that my friends have, I sometimes wish for the same amount of freedom. However, I am thankful that my parents are a little too strict rather than too lackadaisical.
My mom is not strict; she’s fair. If she wasn’t as protective as she is now I’d probably be undisciplined. She makes sure I dress appropriately and be home by 10 p.m. If I violate her rules, my phone privileges are taken away. Of all my friends’ parents, she’s probably the most protective. Other parents are never home but my mom even when she’s away she knows what we’re doing. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
We were raised with traditional Filipino values, like getting the blessing (by hand) of my grandfather and grandmother. My little sister, who’s 14, calls me ‘ate.’
They are pretty strict but it’s not interfering with my life. They want to keep me safe and they care for me. How they treat me is how their parents treated them when they were kids. They tell me it’s not safe in America so they try to take care of me as best they can being that I’m the only girl. I’m very spoiled.
They don’t tell me who I should be friends with, but they give me tips to choose my friends wisely. My mom especially because she has some experience with her friends.
They’re a little strict with my clothing. They don’t tell me how to dress but they remind me to dress properly. They make sure it’s proper for my age and that it will not reflect on how people will look at me. I want to be known as a good person. My mom checks my clothes and makes sure it’s fine for school.
I don’t find my parents too strict or conservative. However in comparison to other American-born parents they may seem that way. It’s because they possess the traditional Filipino mentality of discipline. In regards to them “cramping my American lifestyle,” I’ll admit, I don’t get to do the things other teenagers are allowed to do easily. Things like hanging out on the weekends, or even after-school. Even a sleepover with a few close friends requires a process of contemplation which lasts for days — sometimes weeks, and might even involve a few phone calls. It does get irritating at times because I feel as if I’m missing out, and every so often I’ll bring out the “why can’t you just be like so-and-so’s parents?” But at the end of the day, I know they act this way because their best interest is in my safety, especially because they love me.
I don’t think my parents are too strict or conservative. Though I do feel like I have the freedom to do what I please, I think this is because our ideals align. They trust me to do the right thing and be responsible for myself. But they are definitely not liberal. Though how they parent me definitely does not cramp my American lifestyle.