The photo on the left was taken in April 1992. I just turned 18 and I recently gave birth to my eldest son. I was wearing a dress borrowed from a friend. I was waiting for our names to be called by the Office of the Mayor. I was about to get married to the father of my son.
The photo on the right was taken in December 2015. It was the day I got married to the right man and for all the right reasons.
So many things transpired between these two life-changing events that happened 23 years, 8 months, and 26 days apart.
So here are my four action points for parents and for those of you who work with parents that I have culled out from my life story: 1) Raise boys to be men who care; 2) Reach and engage fathers; 3) Equip parents to become their children’s primary sexuality educator; and 4) Build parents’ ability to protect children from abuse.
I was deeply troubled when Pili’s Population Officer told me that in another municipality in Camarines Sur, a girl got pregnant at age 10 and she gave birth in September 2017 at age 11. The Population Officer added that girls these days are having their first period (menarche) very early. Based on the findings from the Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality Study (2013), more than 1 in 10 girls experienced menstruation before age 12.
She finally relented to having sex with her boyfriend after months of verbal insistence (pangungulit) and emotional blackmail (e.g. if you really love me, you should give yourself to me). They did not use condom. Her boyfriend said that if she gets pregnant, he will take responsibility for her and their baby (pananagutan kita).
My hopes for our young boys. I hope he will not bottle up his sadness and grief just because people around him tell him that “boys don’t cry.” I hope he will be surrounded with positive male role models who don’t subscribe to the “boys will be boys” mentality that excuses disrespectful and irresponsible behaviour of boys.
I’m grateful for this opportunity to dialogue with high school students from various schools in Pampanga about the issue of teenage pregnancy. They shared about the awkwardness of asking their parents about dating and relationships and their hesitation to ask
I was a solo parent for more than 20 years. It was both emotionally exhausting and financially formidable to provide love, care and financial support to my two sons. Solo parents need a strong support system to be able to manage their numerous responsibilities. Looking back, I wished I had a group of fellow single mothers that meet regularly so at least I didn’t feel as if I was going through the arduous journey alone.
At the onset of summer, our 17-year old daughter said that she plans to invite her friends to swim in the pool in our condominium compound. We said that we will say ‘yes’ to this activity when our family guidelines and
According to the campaign, we might be surprised to learn that saying things like “boys will be boys” and “it’s OK, he just did it because he likes you” excuses disrespectful behavior in the minds of young people. When we say these things, we not only excuse the disrespectful behavior of our boys, we also, unfortunately, teach our girls to accept it.