Angelu de Leon on raising teenagers: "You have to let them make guided mistakes"
In an interview with theAsianparent, Angelu de Leon opens up about raising her kids and how she manages to be parent as well as a friend to them
Becoming a mom at 19, as her acting career was taking off, must not have been easy for Angelu de Leon. But meeting her nearly 20 years later, one can easily see that motherhood has made her star shine even brighter.
Now a mom to teens, the former teen icon is still very much active in the showbiz industry, taking on more complex, dramatic roles.
theAsianparent caught up with her recently for an interview on theAsianparent Community TV. The fun mom opened up about parenting, answering questions sent in by moms and dads on the Q&A platform.
Her top 3 rules for parenting teens
She shared her top three rules for parenting teens. "One: I always tell them they have to know what they want and what they don't want, on their own. They have to figure it out," shared Angelu, adding that she's training her daughters not to be easily swayed or to succumb to peer pressure. "One thing I don't want them to do is please people all the time because they have to have their own views."
Her second rule is to let them make their own "guided mistakes". "Kasi parang, for me, that's the only time you learn," shared Angelu, adding that she can easily set rules but experience is the best teacher. "Kasi ako that's what I experienced, alam mo yung guided mistake? You're there to guide them but you let them do it. If nabasag yung baso, edi nabasag. Para alam nila yung emotion, na ganito pag-nabasag yung baso. And then, that they own up to it also."
Making an effort to close the generational gap
As for her third rule, she believes it's her duty to be the one to adjust to her teens. "Ikaw yung gagawa ng paraan na i-close yung generational gap. Do not expect the young ones to understand you kasi ibang iba yung time eh," urged Angelu.
She also shared how, as a teen, her own mom had some difficulty reaching out to her.
"Feeling ko nuon, hindi (niya) ako naiintindihan," recalled Angelu. "So, I think, ngayon with my kids, meron akong twitter, may instagram ako, meron akong facebook, kung ano yung ginagawa nila ginagawa ko rin."
"Kailangan ikaw lalapit sa kanila," she urged her fellow moms. "As a mom, ikaw mag-adjust sa kids. Ang hirap ngayon na panahon na puedeng di na kayo naguusap eh pero feeling mo close kayo diba. so ikaw kailangan mag-effort wag mo antayin na sila mag-open up sa'yo."
At the end of the day, despite the many avenues where they can pour their heart out and communicate, Angelu believes that as a mom, she's the only one who will always tell them the truth no matter what.
Next page: How would she handle it if she caught her kids swearing or smoking? Find out on the next page
Both of her teen girls-- Nicole, 18, and Lois, 15---are active on social media. "I check their posts. Minsan na-block na rin ako ng mga anak ko!" exclaimed Angelu with a hearty laugh, adding that she even respected them for blocking her because it was their own way of asserting what they wanted.
"Sabi nila "eh kasi mom, you're going to comment on this, baka naman all my friends will see. Sabi ko 'ok, then sorry. Next time, pi-PM na lang kita'."
"My two daughters are very different. They're like half of me," she explained. "My quiet side and my not-so quiet side. Si Lois yung quiet. Si Nicole yung medyo artista, bubbly," she laughs.
Though she gives them freedom to express themselves, she admits there are times when she has to police their online behavior.
"Minsan I tell them na 'hey your post meron mga foul language'," recalls Angelu. "It's not because I want people to see that they're mababaet na bata or whatever but it's more of like, syempre kailangan ng respect. Kasi kung anong pinapalabas nila sa social media. At the end of the day, it reflects them eh."
"I'm very open kasi sakanila with what I feel. If I'm mad, I'm mad. Yung akin kasi di ako nagagalit sa tao. Nagagalit ako sa action."
"Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks, sabi nga sa Bible. Kung meron kang galit, you have to deal with it. You have to always self check. Kasi sabi ko nga sakanila, I can't be ther 24/7," she continued.
She also shared a constant prayer she has. "I will never be there all the time. In truth, pinaubaya ko sila kay Lord; I really gave them to the Lord," shared Angelu, who is also an active member of her Church. "I always pray every night na 'Lord, ikaw yung mag-guide sa kanila. You give them the direction they need. At the end of the day, mas gusto kong may takot sila kay Lord kesa may takot sila sakin. Kasi at least kahit wala ako dun, takot sila gawin yung mali.'
As for how she would react if she ever caught her teens smoking or indulging in vices, she admits that she'll be disappointed at first. But she stressed that it's important for parents to look at the root cause.
"I'm very open kasi sakanila with what I feel. If I'm mad, I'm mad. Yung akin kasi di ako nagagalit sa tao. Nagagalit ako sa action," she emphasized.
"Napagdaanan ko rin yun," she reveals, saying that there was a deeper reason why she started smoking at a young age. "It was because I wanted to hide something, because I wanted to look cool, it's a front more than anything...so yung yung kailangan mong malaman when did it start? ano yung root nung vice."
Next page: What if her teens get their hearts broken? Find out how she'll help them deal with it
Though her teens have no boyfriends yet, Angelu shared that if they do get their heart broken one day, she'll first step back and let them grieve.
"Wala naman sigurong parent na gusto makitang umiiyak yung anak nila, wala talaga pero inevitable siya..."
"Wala naman sigurong parent na gusto makitang umiiyak yung anak nila, wala talaga pero inevitable siya. I'll let her do the talking first...to learn. Kailangan natin ma-differentiate yung sympathy atsaka yung empathy," she continued, sharing that it's important for parents to acknowledge their feelings and not to downplay the situation.
It's also important for parents to let their kid do the talking and to truly listen. "Hayaan mo muna na siyang umiyak. You just really become a mother. And then when everything's settled, then you can be able to give your good advice," she added.
"Please always tell the children it's not their fault," she urged moms and dads. "I've been through it and I thought it was always my fault."
"I was a working single mom. Feeling ko, because I had to provide, I wasn't a hands-on mother..."
Now a mom of three---Angelu has a 5-year-old son named Rafa--Angelu shared how her parenting style has evolved.
She confides that she's guilty of not really being able to balance work and family life efficiently when she was a young mom.
"I was a working single mom. Feeling ko, because I had to provide, I wasn't a hands-on mother. I took the role more of a provider more than a mother and it was my mom, basically, who was the mom," she shared.
"Ngayon with my youngest, si Rafa, yun naman Hands-on, kaya minsan feeling ko nagseselos yung dalawa but ganun talaga. Kasi now I have a husband. I have a partner so it's really different," added Angelu, pertaining to her husband Wowie Rivera.
Next page: Find out how finding balance has affected her parenting style
"One thing I've learned and one thing I want to share is: quality is better than quantity," she emphasized. "I'd rather have my parents, or my mom, there playing with me because she wants to play with me rather than, wala lang, di rin naman siya andun. You have to be physically, mentally, and emotionally there."
And it's not just her career and home life that require a balancing act; it's her parenting style itself.
She admits that being both a mom and friend to her kids has been challenging.
"You want to be best friends and then be a mother at the same time. Your top priority is to be a mother," she stressed.
"If they keep secrets, wala tayong magagawa," said Angelu with a laugh. "They will keep secrets and you have to respect them for that."
"At the end of the day, you have to be who you want your kids to be."
As a devout Christian, she believes seeking the Lord's help is a good way for her to know what to do when she feels her girls are keeping secrets from her.
"There was a time we were having a rift," recounted Angelu, preferring not to divulge which daughter she had a disagreement. "In a week's span, nagaaway kami na parang san nanggagaling? So sabi ko 'di ko naman siya makausap ganyan, hanggang of course nagkaroon ng argument, di kami nagpansinan, nasa isang bahay lang kami ang weird."
What this experience taught her was to always keep communication open and not to dismiss her child's opinion by "pulling rank" as a mom.
"Then it's not based on respect it's more of authority, eh ang bata hindi gusto ng authority, ang bata gusto ng respect," shared Angelu. "Kung anong bibigay mo dun sa bata, yun din makukuha mo. so for me, I guess siguro kailangan kung kailangan mo i-explain hanggang kaya mo iexplain mo. Kasi at the end of the day, you have to be who you want your kids to be."
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