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If you want your children to treat you well, treat them better

Forgive this generalization, but some Filipino families appear to really thrive in airing their dirty laundry. It’s weird that in Filipino culture, what isn’t taboo is seeing families indirectly make jabs at their own relatives on social media. And yet whenever a confrontation presents itself in any familial issue, everyone involved seems to cower away at the thought of resolving it. It’s just a reality that a lot of Filipino families through–it doesn’t even matter which socio-economic class your family belongs to. It’s just a thing in our culture, which really needs changing.

On June 23, 2022, Filipino comedian Dennis Padilla lamented on social media that he had an “incomplete Father’s Day celebration” as he did not receive any greetings from his children Julia, Claudia and Leon Barretto. He posted throwback photos of his children on his official Instagram page, saying that he missed them, how they forgot to greet him, and to take care.

In response to this, Leon Barretto addressed a letter to his father over his “public shaming” of him and his sisters. He first apologized for not being able to greet Padilla on Father’s Day, and said, “it’s always been an awkward day for us [because] we never seem to know where we stand with you every year. I’ve always envied people who never even have to think twice about greeting their dad a ‘Happy Father’s Day’.”

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A post shared by Leon Barretto (@theleonbarretto)

Leon also opened up about how he and his sisters feel traumatized by Padilla’s shouting, cursing, and using hurtful words whenever they want to patch things up, and mulled about how he [Padilla] keeps posting cryptic posts and allowing people to say negative comments about his children.

He ended his letter by saying, “I long for the day when I can greet you a ‘Happy Father’s Day’ and know that it comes from a place of gratitude and healing.”

Filipinos online flocked to Leon’s Instagram, leaving words of support, love, and sympathy on his comments section. Others also shared their own sentiments regarding the issue, saying that they were very proud of Leon for stepping up for himself and his sisters despite the words of their father.

via Twitter
via Twitter
dennis padilla, leon barretto
via Twitter
via Twitter
dennis padilla, leon barretto
via Twitter

And because of–sorry for the term–entitled parents like Dennis Padilla who think that their children owe them everything, a lot of millennials and Gen Z-ers are choosing not to have children of their own at all. Why? The countless trauma, heartbreak and pain inflicted knowingly or unknowingly by parents onto their children have made young Filipinos afraid of passing their possibly unresolved trauma to their future kids. Why do some parents expect their children to hold them in high regard when their kids keep receiving trauma, negativity, and invalidation from them?

Easier said than done, yes, but no parent should ever inflict trauma, fear, or pain to their children. When children are treated badly, they grow up with feelings of resentment and even animosity towards people who have wronged them. And that is how we get to this never-ending cycle of Filipino parents passive-aggressively calling out their kids on social media and kids just crossing into adulthood with a lot of unresolved issues and excessive anxiety.

This isn’t directed at any particular name, but if you are an awful parent, then you deserve a similar statement let out by Leon Barretto. After letting your children go through a cycle filled with pain, trauma, and false hope for years (decades even), trust me–they will never remember to greet you on Father’s or Mother’s Day.

As a society, we can change that.

So to parents, we (your children) know we’re also not perfect, but please treat us better. Treat your children better. Why not try to tie loose ends; communicate your feelings and thoughts in very amicable terms, learn to have a respectful discourse with your children. This creates healthier relations for everyone in the family. More importantly, this establishes respect within the family. This will go a long way.

And for the love of God: FAMILIES–fix your problems IN PRIVATE and only with the people involved. Stop letting random strangers on the internet have a say in your lives.


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