OK, I’m not trying to give Ricky Lo competition here but my lazy Sunday afternoon allowed me to watch The Buzz and catch up on the latest chismis. Hugging the headlines are two Valentine babies Kris Aquino (vs. ex-husband James Yap) and Heart Evangelista (vs. her parents). After watching the episode I saw a very interesting Ted Talk on how to spot a liar. I got curious so I looked for the “he said/she said” and the “she said/parents said” videos on You Tube to test myself if I can spot who’s telling the truth and who’s telling a lie. Well, I will keep my answers to myself but you may want to test yourself too. Watch Pamela Meyer’s How to Spot a Liar then look for the Kris/James and Heart/parents videos. There are a lot of them to choose from so take your pick.
The thing is, what I ended up reflecting more on wasn’t whether I spotted the liar correctly or not. I ended up thinking about the parenting undertones that can be gleaned from these two life dramas. Let’s take a look at them.
Kris Aquino vs. James Yap with Bimby caught in between:
To the clueless, Kris Aquino got a Temporary Protection Order against ex-husband James Yap ordering him to keep a distance of at least 100 meters away from their son, herself and their household staff. She is further seeking a Permanent Protection Order through her lawyer Frank Chavez. On the other hand, James Yap, through his lawyer Lorna Kapunan, filed for a Hold Departure Order on their son. His petition was denied and the mother and son are now abroad.
The ex-spouses both gave their respective versions of what happened on December 3, 2012.
He said when his son didn’t want to kiss him goodbye, he joked him by saying, “Kung hindi mo ko i-k-kiss, i-k-kiss ko si Mama.” as he held her arm. He continued, “Tapos sabi ni Kris, ‘Aray sinasaktan mo ako!’ So akala nong bata sinasaktan ko sya. Nag-react yong bata, gumitna tapos sabi sa akin, ‘No! I don’t like you!’ Tapos nong nakatalikod sa akin si Bimby nag-make face si Kris. Sabi ko, ‘Ikaw talaga!’ tapos sabi ko, ‘Bim look at mama’s face, she’s smiling. Tapos pagtingin ni Bimby galit-galitan na naman.”
On the other hand, this is what she said, “Eto lang ang masasabi ko. Matalino ang anak ko. Alam nya kung ano ang totoo. Alam nya kung ano ang palabas lamang. Instinct yon ng bata na gugustuhin nyang protektahan ang nanay nya.”
Both hired good lawyers so I’m not going to lawyer for any of the two, but let me just point out some parenting matters relevant to their situation:
1. Most children somehow blame themselves about their parents’ separation. In the 2006 movie In Pursuit of Happyness, Will Smith, playing the role of Chris Gardner (founder & CEO of Gardner Rich & Co. after struggling with homelessnes) was left by his wife. The young son asked him, “Dad, did mom leave because of me?” Sometimes kids think their being difficult children strained their parents’ relationship causing the break-up. I love the answer given by Smith, “No, mom left because of mom.” We should try our best to remove this unfair guilt in their young and tender hearts.
2. Amost all children, even those whose separated parents say their kids understand and accept their situation, dream of their parents reconciling someday. Their parents are the most important beings in their young existence and if their parents are not united, sometimes the children don’t feel “whole.”
3. When teaching something to a young child, it is very important that both parents share a common stand. When they don’t, the young mind (and heart) is confused. Maybe this was the reason why the boy was crying. Mom said something, dad said the opposite. So who is telling the truth? Do I have to side with only one?
4. Later on when the child grows older, he will use this inconsistency between his parents against them, to manipulate them to get what he wants.
5. Young children are infatuated with the parent of the opposite gender. I remember my sons, especially my youngest, telling me this, “You’re the most beautiful girl in the world, next to Mama Mary! I will marry you when I grow up.” Because of this, sometimes our young sons are willing to do things to please us (their moms). I remember the 1998 movie entitled Stepmom where Susan Sarandon played the role of an ex-wife and mother, and Julia Roberts played the role of the new wife and occasional madrasta or stepmother to the kids of her husband. When Sarandon was showing displeasure seeing her son become fond of Roberts, the son said, “Mom, are you sad? I can hate her if you want me to.” And of course, my favorite example to prove the point that sons have a hard time saying no to their mother is no less than the story of Jesus and Mama Mary in the Wedding at Cana. When Mama Mary asked Jesus to do something because they were running out of wine, Jesus first replied, “Woman what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come?” But guess what? She said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Maybe she knew that her baby J couldn’t say no to her. And she was right. Jesus turned the water into the best tasting wine at the party!
6. It is not good to bad-mouth your ex in front of your children. Easier said than done especially if you’re still bitter and/or the fight is not yet over. But maybe this will convince you to really stop doing it: Your ex, no matter how big a jerk he or she is, is still the parent of your dear child. If your child sees his other parent as a jerk, he cannot help but think that he is at least one-half jerk! Of course, he came from that person too.
7. During my younger days I didn’t see the point of staying in a bad marriage for the sake of the children. But having seen how damaging separation can do to children made me reconsider my position. Parents should really try their very best to have a stable family for the sake of their children who didn’t choose to be born. Then if you really want to call it quits, do so later on when your kids are older and more stable. But if you cannot stand each other anymore and are really better off away from each other, try this formula used by a couple who are able to still raise their children well despite their separation. Keep the family home a family home where your children will continue to live, where they will continue to sleep every night. You and your ex-spouse come up with a schedule on how to divide your time in accompanying the kids in your family home. Don’t dislocate your kids, dislocate yourselves to provide stability to your young ones. At least implementing the same rules set prior to your separation is easier if the kids are in the same environment. Who knows this arrangement may even bring reconciliation?
Heart Evangelista vs. Parents because of Chiz:
The parents of Heart Evangelista had a press conference to issue a statement asking Chiz Escudero to leave their 28 year old daughter alone because he is bastos and not good for their daughter.
Again, I’m not going to side with any party but let me just state the following:
1. Parents only want the best for their children. We all think that our kids are the best and they deserve nothing but the best for their life partners.
2. Most of the time the parent’s intuition is right. In the book of Elizabeth Gilbert (also the author of Eat Pray Love) entitled Committed she did an extensive study on marriages across cultures and found out that arranged marriages last longer than those contracted because of love! We can argue for either side, citing other factors that affect marriage, but it is true that being in the euphoria of love disables our other senses that allow us to make rational decisions.
3. BUT (and this is a big but) it is when we make the decision ourselves that we summon all our courage, patience, creativity, etc. to make the relationship work. So maybe the key here is to make your child feel that he/she is making the decision. You cannot dictate, but you can nudge someone towards a certain direction.
4. I don’t have a daughter so I don’t know exactly if I would be more protective of her if I see that she is making the wrong decision. But maybe I’ll do that while she’s still a minor, or when she’s still living with us as our dependent, whichever comes later. But there is a time when we should allow our kids to make their own decisions, make their own mistakes. We can still give them our unsolicited advice, if we can’t help it; but maybe in private.
5. We can only do our best in bringing up our children to become the best persons they can be. Let’s raise them to have healthy self-esteem so that they are able to choose their partners well.
6. And as they say, “You end up marrying your mother/father.” So let’s try to be the best persons we can be so that our sons and daughters who will marry someone like us will marry well!
The universal truth is parents just do what they think is best for their children. I hope we somehow picked up some parenting insights from watching these two unfortunate family feuds, so that when we encounter our true-to-life The Buzz moments, we will remember how to act accordingly.
Happy parenting! Have a good Holy Week everyone.
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