Coleen Garcia on her kid’s screen time, dealing with ‘mom guilt’
Actress Coleen Garcia is enjoying her role as mom to Amari, her 3-year-old son with husband Billy Crawford. The thrill of seeing her son grow and develop his personality as well as new skills far outweighs any feelings of inadequacy.
“This journey as a parent is exciting and overwhelming. Every phase has been like that, but the biggest challenge is dealing with mom guilt. I don’t think it will ever go away—it’s beyond our control,” Coleen said at the launch of a milk formula in a Quezon City mall last Saturday.
Mom guilt is a term used to describe feelings of guilt and shame experienced by mothers who feel they don’t live up to their own or others’ expectations of them as parents.
Being a good example
Coleen said it’s rooted in one’s insecurities, so it’s really important to encourage yourself and surround yourself with a good support group.
“There are so many positive elements, wins and silver linings of motherhood. You need to face it head on or else namamana (it’s passed on to the next generation). I want to be a good example to my child,” she added.
Specialists on the panel at the Enfagrow event said that gadget access should be limited to an hour daily for children 2 years old and up. On weekends, it’s three hours ideally.
Coleen said that while she was aware of this recommendation regarding screen time, as a parent, it’s about choosing what her child watches or has access to.
“Tech is everywhere. Amari was lagging behind in speech [so we chose certain online shows he could watch] that helped. There are also ‘emergency’ situations like on flights when we have to keep him preoccupied. Technology should not be seen as a negative, but we still have to be on top of what Amari watches,” she said.
Giving children respect
The hands-on mom said that when they travel as a family, she makes sure they have a lot of activities together.
“Amari loves trains and buses, so when we were in Paris, we’d take buses and trains. He’s exposed to different places, people and situations—even mundane tasks, like washing the dishes. It might take us longer to complete chores, but they will eventually become familiar to him.”
When it’s time to brush his teeth, Coleen lets him do it himself first before taking over to help ensure he doesn’t miss a spot.
“There’s no [parenting] rule book. It’s about finding out what works as we go along,” she said. “Give your child respect as a person, as a human being. Allow them to ask questions on why things have to be this way, why there are rules. And teach them how to process their emotions.”