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  • Isabelle Daza on Son Baltie: 'I'm on a Journey to Raise a Happy Child'

    Isabelle Daza voices her concern on how social media can leave the younger generation feeling empty and unhappy.
    by FM Ganal for Pep.ph .
To read this story in Tagalog, click here.
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    Isabelle Daza and her son Balthazar "Baltie" Semblat recently made their first-ever media appearance together for the launch of the Parenting on the Move campaign by baby brands Pigeon and Quinny.

    While it was a "special" milestone for the mother-and-son tandem, Isabelle revealed to PEP.ph that she was initially hesitant to accept the endorsement deal. The new mom felt uncomfortable showing Baltie in front of the press.

    "It was a lot of thinking," said Belle (Isabelle's nickname). "Should I? Should I not? And then I said, 'You know what, it’s an honor to be representing these brands.'"

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    Despite her inhibitions about exposing Baltie to the public early on, she knows that it will be quite hard to shield him given her presence on social media and visibility on the entertainment scene. And as the daughter of Miss Universe 1969 Gloria Diaz, Belle was once referred to as a celebrity kid herself before becoming her own person in the industry.

    The first-time mom acknowledged this. "I can't choose because he's my son, so automatically, I guess, he has that limelight." But as much as possible, Isabelle said she doesn't want Baltie to be subjected to that.

    She continued, "When people say, 'Oh, he's so guwapo,' I'm like, 'You don't have to tell him that. That's not the only thing he is.' He's a good listener also. He loves to kick balls and things like that.

    "Sometimes we're so fixated on the external appearance kasi, and, at his age now, I already try to mind what I say. I try not to compare him to his cousins, my friend's kids, and I try to just appreciate him for his own uniqueness," she shares.


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    Raising a child in the social media age

    Belle was among the celebrities who have lent their voices to the ongoing conversation about mental health and depression. During a forum this year, she spoke candidly about how social media have put pressure on her to constantly portray a perfect life online. She actually couldn't imagine what it must be like for the younger generation who does not know a life without social media.

    This thought bothers her as a new mother. She says, "Becoming a mother has really led me towards the path of advocating mental health because I see this generation, where we are constantly taking photos and taking videos, and we capture everything.

    "Everything has to be posted on social media because it's like, if it wasn't posted, then it didn't happen, and there's some sort of addiction we have to document everything."

    She continued, "I see that a lot of children now are growing unhappy and not understanding how to cope with this type of pressure. I mean, I can talk for hours about this topic, but, basically, social media can lead to mental health issues, you know?

    "I'm not villainizing it because I think it has a lot of benefits, but, sometimes, when it takes over your life, you come out not knowing why you're feeling this emptiness and unhappiness. I really relate to the high rise of depression because of social media, and that's why I've constantly been talking about mental health."

    She added, "I feel like in a few years—or even now, actually—that people are going to realize that, 'Oh my gosh, it's an epidemic and we've never talked about it before, but here it is."

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    Increase your child's self-esteem

    As a mother who is also a celebrity and a social media influencer, Belle has been taking proactive measures to improve the odds for her son Baltie. "The next generation is facing so much pressure, so much anxiety—what do we do? I'm really trying to think of a way on how we can shift the thought and kind of bring back the conversation to joy, especially with my son," she shares.

    "I don't want him to feel pressured to grow up to be anyone else but himself, so something super simple that I tell him is 'You're enough. You don't have to be anyone else. You can rest in my love, you don’t have to earn it.' That's what I tell him every day."

    She adds, "Of course, everyone wants the best for their child. Who doesn't, right? But what is the best? We don't know. So, I'm on this journey to raise a happy child that is able to cope, [is] resilient, and doesn't feel the pressure of social media in that way. That's also why it was hard for me to accept or not accept this project because I don't want that. That's why this is the first time he's out to the press."

    This story originally appeared on Pep.ph.

    *Minor edits have been made by the SmartParenting.com.ph editors.

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