'Heartbreaking For A Mom!' Parent Reactions And Lessons From Loren Legarda's Son's Open LetterWhat can parents do when politics splits families apart?
Smart Parenting writes this opinion piece as the leading trusted resource of Filipino parents that aims to raise happy and healthy families.
With less than a week till election day, May 9, it seems that we haven’t maxed out our candidate wars just yet though many have already grown tired of political colors and bardagulan.
On May 4, 2022, Loren Legarda’s son Lorenzo Leviste published a controversial open letter to his mother that was quickly shared on social media.
Painful words were used, “F*** my mother for abetting this. Their crimes are her crimes now. Make her defend them.”
Leviste made clear the intention of his open letter, “I have no choice but to publicly declare that I am absolutely disgusted by my mother and what she has decided to do. It sickens me and makes me want to die. I need everyone to know that Loren Legarda lost her son forever because of this.”
He goes on to paint a vivid picture of what he’s been going through after he learned of his mother’s senatorial bid under Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and Sara Duterte’s slate, both of whom he calls “fascists”.
From ‘Ungrateful son’ to ‘I respect his values’: parents react to Lorenzo
“Ungrateful son! No matter what your political belief is, a mother is a mother,” cries one commenter on Smart Parenting’s Facebook page. Users left their takes on Leviste’s letter.ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
“Family is family. You may not agree with each other’s opinion but you can still show love and respect for each other. I may not agree with my mom and dad most of the time but I will never ever speak those horrible words to my mom. Above all, blood is thicker than water.”
This was a common theme in the comments section: Filipino families don’t do this to each other.
It doesn’t come as a surprise because Filipinos are brought up with a deep sense of respect toward our elders, with our family having prime importance in our lives. Open a first-grade textbook and one will find that this is part of their curriculum.
From the moment we are born, we are made to understand that children owe everything to our parents. Therefore we must respect our parents and do everything we can to make them happy, this is the way we repay them.
These are the sentiments of the parents in our comments section: “Heartbreaking for a mom”, “Very arrogant!”, “Respect your mom!” cried netizens.
Mother betrays son’s trust
One user showed empathy towards Leviste. She wrote, “I can understand the depths of emotions this man is going through. There is deep hurt happening in his heart and deep struggle in his mind. You can hear the anguish of his soul for the betrayal of trust from his own mother.CONTINUE READING BELOWRecommended Videos
She goes on to say his feelings and thoughts are valid, but she wished he didn’t take this course of action.
“Though I do not agree with him disowning his mother and cursing her, his feelings are valid, the son is simply expressing his pain over the injustice happening in the country and his own home. May he be able to process this in his heart and find help for emotional support.”
Who should be respected?
Respect has been thrown around over Leviste’s open letter, many calling for him to respect his mother despite political differences.
As of this writing, there have been a number of children publicly declaring support for a different candidate from their parents like Daniel Padilla and Jake Ejercito.
Wanna Ver, daughter of General Fabian Ver who was Ferdinand Marcos’ most trusted ally, was recently interviewed about her discovery of Martial Law from the eyes of its survivors and victims just two days prior to Leviste’s letter.
One user pointed out another viewpoint to Leviste’s open letter: that respect is not one way. Having different accounts and takes present and calling on respect means all must be respected, whether we agree with those sides or not.
“It is still not right to see only one side, as there has been death on both sides. Many also died protecting our country and our peace, our police and soldiers who come from poor families, whole villages killed for ideology.ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
“We have to teach our children to respect all these sides as all sides are real. You can’t just defend deaths on your side and spit at the other.
The user ends her comment by saying “All stories are real. Let us be human and respect that instead of calling liars those don’t have the same stories as us.”
Another user brings up the role of the parent: “He has strong values. Inasmuch as I wish that he didn’t make his letter public, I respect him for being principled, independent-minded, intelligent, outspoken, and fearless.”ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
The same user says parents should not push our kids to anger or do things that will cause them to be angry or embarrassed.
Other users couldn’t help but comment that Leviste’s letter is still proof of his mother’s upbringing: that she was able to raise a son who is bold enough to stand up for his values, even if it did also attack her.
Parents: Makinig tayo sa ating mga vocal na anak at kabataan
Smart Parenting Editors-at-Large Jing Castañeda and Rica Peralejo shared their own thoughts.
ABS-CBN anchor, journalist, and mom of three young women Jing says, “Bagama't normal sa anumang pamilya ang hindi pagkakaintindihan, nakalulungkot pa rin kapag may ganitong mga problema sa anumang relasyon.
“There are no perfect relationships, but I hope we can all be respectful in the way we express ourselves, always remembering that we are coming from a place of love.
She adds, “Mas vocal ngayon ang kabataan. Kaya bilang magulang, we should always find a way to talk to, connect with, and understand our children.
“Pakinggan natin sila at igalang natin ang kanilang mga pananaw. Be firm with the principles we show them, and be the parent that they will be proud of supporting.”
‘You must do what is right, even if it means going against us’
Rica applies it at home and shares what she told her older son Philip, “When the time comes and you see me or Papa doing something wrong, you are free to do what is right.ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
“You do not owe it to us, to do as we say. You must do what is right, even if it means going against us.”
Rica does not touch much on the manner the opposing view was expressed, though she added that “But are the letters sad? Yes! Kaya nga ako naiyak cause it is so sad that it had to come to this.”
It's not a right or wrong question
It is not a question of whether the open letter was right or not. It was a heartbreaking read, and we surmise that it was heartbreaking to write just as it was heartbreaking for the intended receiver to read.
To be on the receiving end of such strong words and painful decisions is agonizing. A parent would not want to receive words. But we also realize as we take a moment to reflect, no child wants to say it to his parents either.ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
Healthline says “If your child expresses (however inappropriately) that your parenting left something to be desired, it’s important to take responsibility for any harm you may have caused.”
“As parents, we have to accept that we may have created problems for our children, even when we were making sacrifices and trying to do our absolute best,” said Joshua Coleman, PhD, author of When Parents Hurt and Rules of Estrangement.
We’re not here to argue about whether Leviste was right or wrong. Or whether Legarda’s alliance is right or wrong.
It is established–all feelings are valid. More than labeling who is to blame and what should have been done, we empathize with every family member experiencing strife in the family.
Again we are reminded, one post cannot paint the entire picture. Therefore we must suspend judgment.
Instead, what we say to all parents is this: may we be the first to listen, the first to make amends, and the first to bridge the gap.
Whether that’s something to think of as a child who has hurt a parent, or as a parent with a hurting child, or even a young parent imagining ‘What if it were me being written to?’, choosing the way of grace and peace, especially when it hurts, shall never go to waste.
Here’s to happy, healthy, and loving families able to accept and work through differences.ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
Ronna Capili Bonifacio is Smart Parenting's parenting editor. She is a mom of three.
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