Monday, April 04, 2011

Healing OFW Families (1)

Which is more damaging to children - lack of cash or the absence of parent/s who work overseas?     
According to UNICEF (2007), around 6 million Filipino children bear the brunt of parent/s who work overseas. While OFW (overseas foreign worker) parents bring in monetary rewards, it has high psychological, social, and emotional costs on left-behind kids (as well as spouses).  
Philippine Senator Pia Cayetano said that, because of a high-demand for women migrant workers, about 70% of the current total Filipino OFWs deployed overseas are women.  Some call it the "feminization" of OFWs.  Such implies a damaging impact of more and more Filipino children now living and growing up without mothers in their homes.
Though enough official research studies have yet to be done, "clinical exposures" reveal a very high incidence of mental health problems among OFW children (and OFWs themselves with their spouses).  Look over some of the following that are already happening in increasing numbers:
*  Alienation/rebellion/estrangement of children from their OFW parents
*  Distorting effect on values of children (e.g. parent-child relationship based on material things, conspicuous consumption)   
*  OFW teenagers (particularly females) looking elsewhere for parental care, may lead to promiscuity, premarital sex, unwanted pregnancies, unfinished college studies
*  Insecure OFW kids can be prone to crime, drug dependence, alcoholism, gender-identity problems
*  Adultery/sexual immorality of OFWs and/or their left-behind spouses, breaking the family apart
*  Incest between left-behind spouse and older kids
As one Arab News press release in 2007 once indicated, "OFWs Warned Of Family Break Up As Social Cost to Migration."
Real life truths can really bite.  The painful effects of OFW parent migration are beyond measure.
So, the next question is, what can we do now with this growing social problem in a country, like the Philippines? Where does emergency and ongoing healing of OFW families lie?

No comments: