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Parents, your child’s opinion isn’t disrespectful—listen to them too

Family is everything in Filipino culture. If anything, taking care of our kinfolk is the foundation of an ideal Filipino household. Putting our parents in nursing homes, moving out when we reach 18 and disconnecting from our families (no matter how toxic they are) are foreign concepts to us. 

Another big idea that’s frowned upon in Filipino society is talking back to parents. No, not really talking back but expressing honest-to-goodness opinions towards those who raised us. 

Over the weekend, some children of the members of Congress went viral on Twitter for calling out their politico parents’ actions regarding the ABS-CBN franchise denial. Former Liberal Party senatorial candidate Atty. Erin Tañada congratulated them for taking a courageous stance online, even though their parents share different opinions regarding the matter. 

 

“I salute your courage to take positions that are different from your parents. I hope you don’t lose your idealism. It is the idealism of the youth that gives us hope,” tweets Tañada. “You are the Mike Defensor I knew when we were marching in the streets. I hope you don’t change.”

Like Atty. Tañada, most users applauded their bravery for voicing their opinion regardless of who their parents were. Although, some parents might call their actions selfish and disrespectful. 

Our perspective suddenly doesn’t matter because we’re “young” and we “don’t know better.” Now, pardon my French, but that’s pure BS.

This phenomenon doesn’t only happen with politicians’ children. When we share our politically charged opinions with our parents, we often land on hot waters. They call us ungrateful, punish us for our disrespectful behavior and of course, flash the famous phrase: “Ah, so nagmamarunong ka na?” 

With those simple yet hurtful actions, our perspective is belittled. We are suddenly infantilized by the people who are supposed to be our support system. So instead, we swallow our tongues and keep our opinions to ourselves when we can. 

Our perspective suddenly doesn’t matter because we’re “young” and we “don’t know better.” Now, pardon my French, but that’s pure BS.

“I am convinced we don’t live in a generation of bad kids. We live in a generation of kids who know too much too soon,” writes Tim Elmore of Psychology Today. My generation has a lot on our plate; climate change, socio-political issues and a pandemic—a fucking pandemic. Of course, growing up now is more complicated than it was decades ago. “Generation Z—as with any generation—is living in a new ‘narrative.’ In today’s world, kids are growing up in a time that is both exhilarating and frightening for them.”

As you can see, the generation gap between boomer parents and Gen Z kids is palpable. Our world is different from what it was decades ago. So if we have politically charged opinions that frighten you, it’s because of the world they were raised in—the world that you helped create.

“Instead of criticizing them for failing to measure up, maybe it’s on us to accept that both despite us, and because of us, this generation is very different from any set of humans we’ve ever known,” says Pacific Standard’s Julie Lythcott-Haims. “Maybe being born on a planet facing potentially cataclysmic climate change instills a voice that will not be silenced.” 

“Because of [Gen Z kids’] environment, they’re not wimps—but warriors who will be capable of saving themselves.”

If we voice our opinions (that aren’t harmful), it is not impolite or hateful. It’s coming from a place of fear and exhaustion from our country’s political climate. It’s far from what the previous generation can easily brand as disrespectful. We just want our support system to understand where we are coming from, not disown us for thinking critically. If it creates fireworks from a difference in opinion then it surely doesn’t mean that it cannot be extinguished with a little understanding. 

“Because of [Gen Z kids’] environment, they’re not wimps—but warriors who will be capable of saving themselves. Maybe, then, we should be interested in how they’ve adapted to this changed world, and in how to join them,” according to Lythcott-Haims. We’re not being disrespectful—we want you to help us be the “pag-asa ng bayan” our national hero wanted us to be. 

Now, is that too much to ask? We hope not. We just want to be heard, too. 

Read more:
Luzon lockdown stories that will make you check your privilege
A Gen Z’s guide to COVID-19 terms
“Okay, boomer” is officially the best meme of 2019

Art by Rogin Losa

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