Family gatherings are supposed to be events that parents look forward to bringing their kids to. However, sometimes, parents couldn't help but dread reunions because, well, they want to save themselves from comments coming from their relatives on how they are parenting their child.
It's their child, but some cousins, aunts, and uncles who might mean well just couldn't help but give unsolicited advice or unnecessary comments about their kids, like why their child doesn't go to school yet, their food choices, or the most popular: "Kailan niyo susundan?"
Angelica Panganiban got real when asked what's her advice to first-time parents who might get these comments during family gatherings.
"Dedma," the mom of one told Smart Parenting during the Aloe World: The Land of Long Lasting Memories event by diaper brand Pampers at the SM Mall of Asia on November 25.
"Let the parents be. Iwan ninyo yung parenting sa mga parents." —Angelica Panganiban
She mentioned that they will be spending Christmas in the U.S., with her side of the family. Last September, they went to Australia to visit Gregg's family.
Angelica added, "Just focus on your kids."
She then gave a message to relatives who might casually throw comments like these, "Sa mga relatives, hindi lahat ng bata pare-parehas, may kanya-kanyang time sila para ma-explore nila kung anuman yung milestones na mararating nila."
Angelica, who is the newest Pampers ambassador stressed, "Let the parents be. Iwan ninyo yung parenting sa mga parents."
Parents share worst unsolicited advice from relatives during reunions
Moms and dads over at our Facebook group, Smart Parenting Village, recently confessed some of the negative comments they received from family members during gatherings.
"Mukhang may potensyal, ang lambot-lambot."
One mom shared that a relative told this to her son who only two years old. "Enjoying a song kaya sumasayaw siya. By the word potential, she means, gay ang anak ko."
"Sundan niyo na 'yung anak niyo. Mas mabilis pa magka-anak yung aso namin sa inyo."
"Ano ba yang anak mo hindi pwedeng dalhin sa handaan, hindi kumakain bakit lumaking ganyan."
"Uy, dumedede pa yang kuya (2 yrs old) aagawan niya ng sustansiya yung dede ni bunso, patigilin na yan!"
"Payat ng anak mo, ipag-vitamins mo nang tumaba, tignan mo anak ni ano ang taba taba kahit ano kinakain."
How to protect your child's boundaries during family gatherings
Big Life Journal, a parenting resource, listed down some situations that may take place during family gatherings, and how parents can respond. While you may feel uncomfortable to say these things, remember that these are important. Our kids might not be able to set their own boundaries, but as parents, we need to advocate for them first.
1. When a relative asks your child, "Why are you so shy?"
Here's a good response: "Yes, [child's name] has a gentle and observant nature. We love that about him."
2. When your male relative asks your child for a hug
Parents, hugging a relative is not mandatory. When your child refuses to give a hug, it's not a sign of disrespect or disobedience. Your child has authority over their bodies. You can respond by saying, "It looks like [child's name] doesn't want to hug. How about a high-five instead?"
3. When a relative jokingly comments about your child's appearance
You can say something around: "We want [child's name] to feel confident and comfortable with who she is. So, let's keep our comments positive and uplifting."
When family members cross your boundaries, don't be too hard on yourself. Learn from your experiences and continue to set boundaries.
How Angelica Panganiban stays beautiful and confident as a mom
Moms can also pick up a tip from Angelica on how we can feel more confident and less insecure about how we look and how we parent our kids.
"Siguro nasa isip nalang natin yan, basta maganda ka sa isip mo, sa pakiramdam mo maganda ka. And hindi rin naman tayo ija-judge ng mga anak natin kung inalagaan ba natin sila ng naka-heels tayo o maganda ang mga make-up at suot natin, 'di ba?"
She explains, "Ang tatatak naman sa kanila kung ano yung mga memories na iniwan natin sa kanila. So it really won't matter kung nakapostura kang ina or talagang gulo-gulo ang buhok mo. Mamahalin ka ng anak mo as long as binibigyan mo sila ng healthy, happy childhood."
Read other toxic questions like "Kailan niyo susundan niyo ang anak niyo" and how to respond here.