Table of Contents
Navigating life as a unica hija in the Philippines comes with its own unique set of challenges and blessings. Often considered the cornerstone of society, the family serves as your first classroom, where your parents are your inaugural teachers.
Your siblings, if you have any, become your earliest protectors, guiding you through the maze of childhood friendships and outdoor adventures. But what happens when you’re an only child—a unica hija—where the dynamics shift, and you become the sole focus of your family’s attention?
This blog delves into the complexities, joys, and struggles of being a unica hija in a culture that places immense value on family bonds.
The Unica Hija Chronicles: A Double-Edged Sword
Being a unica hija in the Philippines is like living in a world of contradictions. On one hand, you’re regularly the apple of your parents’ eyes, perhaps even mentors guiding you through hobbies or career paths. But on the flip side, this special status can sometimes feel like a hindrance rather than a privilege.
I was born a unica hija, the only child in my family, and a girl at that. Contrary to the fairy-tale notion that being an only child means getting everything you want, my life has been far from a perfect story. As the TV series “Once Upon A Time” has taught me, everything comes with a price. And in my case, being a unica hija is no exception.
The Complexities of Growing Up as a Unica Hija
Growing up, making friends and wanting to explore the world outside is a natural part of life. Yet, as a unica hija, asking for permission to go out was often a Herculean task. Whether it was experiencing the hustle and bustle of commuting or simply hanging out with friends, parental approval was a hurdle that seemed almost insurmountable, especially on school days.
The lack of siblings means there’s no one to cover for you, making it easier to get caught red-handed in any misadventures. It’s a double-edged sword: you’re the sole focus of your parents’ attention, but you’re also the only one to blame when things go awry.
On the brighter side, being a unica hija means you don’t have to share gifts from godparents or relatives. You’re frequently showered with material things, but these possessions can’t fill the emotional void of not having a sibling to share life’s ups and downs with.
There’s no one to console you when you’re down, no one to share in your joys or sorrows. And when you inevitably make a mistake, you bear the brunt of your parents’ disappointment alone. The weight of expectations can be overwhelming for a unica hija, as people typically expect so much and yet, we are only human.
The Emotional Rollercoaster of Being Overprotected
Being a unica hija, I’ve often felt the weight of overprotection. The struggle for independence is real, whether it’s about commuting alone or hanging out with friends without a chaperone. Some people might rebel or throw tantrums to assert their freedom, but this frequently leads to strained relationships with parents who, in their eyes, are just trying to do what’s best for their child.
In my case, the overprotection was palpable. My aunts would fetch me from school, since my mom worked outside the region and traveled frequently. Their strictness extended to almost every aspect of my life, making me feel like I was in a bubble, disconnected from the real world. This level of protection can sometimes backfire, making the child fearful of their environment and less adept at social interactions.
The Double-Edged Sword of Being a Unica Hija
Being a unica hija has its pros and cons, and it’s easy to focus only on the negatives. Sure, not having to share toys or parental attention might seem like a dream, but it comes with its set of challenges. For me, it’s been a mixed bag. I often get what I want, but only if I prove that I’m deserving of it. This could be either a reward or a consequence, depending on my actions.
Now, at 21, I still feel like my family sees me as their little girl, not as a young adult navigating the world alongside them. This perception makes it difficult for them to let go and allow me the independence I crave. For instance, asking for permission for overnight or beach trips with friends is a Herculean task. The fear of something going wrong looms large, making them hesitant to grant me the freedom I seek.
However, it’s important to remember that their support has always been unwavering. They’ve stood by me in every endeavor, even if they struggle with the idea of me growing up and exploring the world on my terms.
The Thrill and Fear of Taking Risks
Taking risks can be daunting, especially when you feel like you have so much to lose. But life’s beauty often lies beyond our comfort zones. As a unica hija, I’ve frequently felt the weight of my family’s expectations, which made me hesitant to explore the world. I used to fear the unknown, thinking it might consume me in ways I couldn’t even imagine.
However, moving to Manila for college was a turning point. I learned the ropes of independence, from managing chores to budgeting my allowance for new adventures. Despite spending nearly five years in Manila, the pull of home remains strong. Homesickness is a constant companion, making me wish that home was just around the corner. But the struggle has been worth it; it’s taught me the value of stepping out and taking risks.
The Final Word: Balancing Safety and Freedom
To families with an only child or those who feel their children are overprotected, consider this: there’s no harm in letting them explore the world. I understand the instinct to keep them safe, but there’s also a risk in sheltering them too much. They might miss out on life’s wonders and feel left out when their peers share exciting adventures.
Speaking from experience, I once got lost in the metro on my way to a community service event in Pasig. Though I live in Taft and was unfamiliar with the area, the experience turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I had prepared notes and studied the map and routes beforehand, and despite the initial hiccup, I ended up making new friends who are now excelling in their careers. Shoutout to Bea and Kevin!
So, don’t let fear hold you back. Sometimes getting lost is the best way to find yourself. And for parents, remember that by letting your unica hija or child explore, you’re not just setting them free—you’re also giving them the tools to navigate the world confidently.