The Overseas Filipino Worker phenomenon is a vital and growing sector of the Filipino society. Labor Migration started during 1974, and has not stopped since (Ortigas, 2008). While 3.8 million Filipinos the total labor force are working abroad as temporary migrants. While millions of children in the developing world grow up with at least one parent living abroad (Cortes, 2011). This research aims to find out the actual experiences of adolescents who have parents that work abroad. The researchers also want to understand what they go through and what are the things that affect them. The impact of migration varies – ranging from economic benefits not only for the family but the country in general through its remittances to the security and well being of the family of migrants. But a major concern here is the social costs of migration, specifically, to the children left behind (Reyes, 2008). This study intends to discover and find out more about the experiences of OFWs or Overseas Filipino Workers’ adolescent children. This study also seeks to find out what are the experiences of Overseas Filipino Workers’ Adolescent Children, what are the perceived effects of having OFW parents as adolescents, how do they characterize their relationship with their parents, and how do they cope with the situation of not having a physically present parent.
This study involved only twelve adolescents in the university setting who has at least one parent that works abroad for not less than three years. For the data gathering proper, the researchers identified individuals who may qualify as participants, and requested for their permission to participate in the study. Once participants have clearly stated their willingness to participate in the study by signing consent forms, they were asked to partake in the interview. This was also done for the focus group discussion and the participants were also informed about it being involved with several randomly chosen participants. Thematic analysis was used to make significant deductions from the qualitative data that has been transcribed. In thematic analysis, a concept is chosen for examination. In this case, the concepts that have been chosen are the experiences, the effects and the parent-child relationship of the children of OFWs. Its analysis then requires identifying and naming themes according to the responses of the participants. At the end of every interview and also after the FGD, the researcher that has been assigned to take down notes summarized what went through and asked the participant/s if they agreed on the data that has been collected. If not, they were given the right to raise their points and correct the researcher. This specific part of the interview and FGDwas done to fulfill the requirement, reliability and validity check
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CONCLUSION, DISCUSSION AND RECOMMENDATION
It is emotionally and physically challenging for the children to accept that their family set-up is not the same with other families. But as the child matures, he begins to understand the rationale why the parent has to work abroad and is able to get back on track and take on the responsibility of managing their household and family life on their own. The researchers aim to find out the significant experiences of OFW children according to their parent-child relationship, the researcher’s perceived effects, the relationship they had with the OFW parent, and their coping. For the experiences, three themes were identified, namely, Absence of Parental Role, Initial Changes, and Maturity at an Early Age. This situation is also consistent with Battistella and Conaco’s in 1996 their study reveals that parental absence is experienced particularly as a sense of loneliness and abandonment. Parents’ migration requires changing previous arrangements concerning the division of care and other domestic responsibilities within the left-behind households (Pessar & Mahler, 2003; Leavitt & Glick, 2004). For the perceived effects, four themes were identified, namely, Financial Stability, Initial Academic Decline, Numbness to Absence, and Maturity at an Early Age. Migrants on average receive incomes that are four to five times higher than they would at home, which is usually more than enough to offset the boost of standard of living. (University of the Philippines, 2002). Although remittances increase children’s ability to obtain school supplies and pay school fees, some children left behind suffer negative educational outcomes. For the relationship with the parent, three themes were identified. Feelings of Neglect, Perception of Strong Relationship, and Trusting Relationship. Often, they attempt to make up for their migrant parents’ hardships by maintaining close bonds across great distances, even though most of them feel that such bonds could never possibly draw their distant parent close enough. But their efforts are frequently sustained by the belief that such emotional sacrifices are not without meaning-that they are ultimately for the greater good of their families and their future (Parrenas, 2000). For coping, three themes were identified, namely, Imidiate Family for Support, Accustomed to Absence, and Reciliency. Even if circumstances are difficult, some children are able to build resilience and appear to not be affected. Consequently, under varying circumstances, as well as depending on how those affected interpret the parental migratory process, some are able to effectively cope despite their experiences (Daniel and Wassell 2002).
Our study is clearly limited by the fact that our sample includes predominantly middle or upper- middle-class adolescents. The participant’s parents would usually have a career that is considered white-collared jobs. Usually, in the Philippine setting, most OFW parents would have blue-collared jobs.
In the Philippines, having a blue-collared job, one would not be able to financially support their families unlike when they work abroad. Other approaches should be explored and the use of a bigger sample of participants and also it could have been best if the researchers did a comparative study on the parents who come home more often that the ones who don’t.
Battistella G, Conaco CG. The impact of labour migration on children left behind: A study of elementary school children in the Philippines. Sojourn. 1998;13:220–241.
Cortes P. (2011). The feminization of international migration and its effects on the children left behind: Evidence from the Philippines.(Master’s thesis, Boston University).
Daniel B. and S. Wassell. 2002. Adolescence: Assessing and Promoting Resilience in Vulnerable Children. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
Ortigas, C. (2008). Creative Solo Parenting: Here’s How.
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Parrenas, R.(2000). Migrant Filipina Domestic Workers and International Division of Reproductive Labor. Gender & Society. 14, 560-881.
Reyes , M. (2008). Migration and filipino children left behind: A literature review. United Nation’s Children’s Fund, Retrieved from http://www.unicef.org/philippines/8891_10202.html
Tel Aviv University . (2002). The study on the consequences of international contract labour migration of filipino parents on their children. (Master’s thesis, University of the Philippines ).