Rica Peralejo, who left for the US last March 5 for what was supposed to be a family vacation, shared pieces of advice to help parents explain to their children how to cope with the anxiety brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In an interview with ABS-CBN Lifestyle, the 39-year-old actress-TV host said that it all starts with the disposition of the parents — admitting that setting the tone and atmosphere are the keys to help kids understand the situation.
“My number one tip is your children will only feel what you are personally feeling. So, if there’s anyone that could start a really confident and peaceful spirit in your home, that’s you. Because you set the tone, you set the atmosphere for your home. If there’s anything to concentrate on. I feel like kasi as parents, we feel like controlling the kid na parang the kid must feel this way — the kid must react this way without really checking first ourselves,” she said.
She went on: “Ano nga ba talaga ‘yung nararamdaman natin?” Kasi sa atin din naman sila kukuha ng cue on how to react and take in things. We are the moral compass of our children and so we must remember that if the child is reacting a certain way, maybe it reflects something about you — maybe it’s your anxiety, it’s your fears. And so it’s best talaga to go back and say, “Ano nga ba ‘yung sine-set kong example for my children?” That’s one.”
But according to Rica, honesty is the key — more than anything else. While it may be hard at first, she said that what you do afterwards is what’s more important.
“But also I don’t wanna burden you know naman by saying na you’re not supposed to be anxious, you’re not supposed to be fearful because the truth is, it really can get scary at times especially when we watch the news or when we hear of stories here and there na may namatay, may ganito. Siyempre nakaka-anxious din naman talaga ‘yun. And I feel like that’s also a good way to model to your children like just be honest with them. “You know I’m getting scared about this and that's because I’ve been hearing stories here and there that haven’t been encouraging for Mama or Papa.” And so I get anxious and I get scared about that.”
She continued: “And I feel like when you say that to your children, it also tells them na you know what, to be anxious and to be fearful is actually normal. Hindi naman kasalanan kung matakot ka eh. But it’s what you do afterward that’s more important — that you’re anxious and you’re scared, but there is something else that you can do. And for us, our family, it’s praying to God. We surrender our fears to Him, and we trust that God will give us the peace that we need even when we’re going through a challenging time as this.”
Watch Rica talk about how she manages her kids’ emotions, the kind of values she has imparted to her kids, and more in the video below:
Rica Peralejo has two children with her husband Joseph Bonifacio namely Philip and Manu.