These moms bond with their kids through K-pop | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

These moms bond with their kids through K-pop


My 6-year-old daughter listens to K-pop with me. It’s unavoidable—she has become clingy after being stuck in the house for three years because of the pandemic. It has become her habit to stick close to me or my husband while she does her thing: crafting, drawing, reading and playing.

Sharing music has become part of our routine. Most days, I listen to K-pop. She once declared that my favorite K-pop act is whoever will be having a concert for the week. This is not accurate. I have my biases, but I do not correct her assumptions, mainly because I want her to choose for herself the songs and artists that she likes without further influence from me.

I tend to listen to one song for an entire day if I love it. Sometimes I worry that this might bore her, so I ask if it’s okay. She would always respond, “It’s okay, mama. No need to ask permission from me. Listen to any song you like.”

Some days, she would squeeze her little body next to me as I watch music videos with subtitles to better understand a song. She would ask me questions about them.

“Why would Han want to stay next to someone who could burn him? Is he not scared?” she asked while we went through the lyrics of “Volcano” by Han of Stray Kids. She was probably imagining a man hugging a volcano.

I do not dumb things down for her, nor do I dismiss that she’s too young to understand. I tell her about love and loving unconditionally. Oftentimes, these conversations lead to more whys until she gets tired or I distract her with something else.

Dancing and duets

Sometimes she would excitedly dance to songs she hasn’t heard in a long time, such as SHINee’s “Replay” or iKon’s “Love Scenario.” We would always duet to some songs like “Naughty Boy” by Pentagon or “Lonely St.” by Stray Kids.

Our words are inaccurate, we mostly murder the Korean lyrics, our moves look nothing like the original choreography, but we would fall to the bed laughing our hearts out.

When you ask her what her favorite group is, she would answer BTS or Blackpink. But lately, she’s been very vocal about the songs that she likes. She discovers these songs while I go through some of the artists’ discographies. She would look up from whatever it is she’s doing, walk towards my phone, check Spotify for its title, then check the lyrics even when they’re in Hangul.

Last week, she requested I play “A Gloomy Clock” by IU featuring Jonghyun on a loop.

“You like IU? Are you a Uaena (IU’s fandom)?” I asked.

“I don’t know. I haven’t decided yet. Maybe after I hear more of her songs,” she answered.

This little discussion that my daughter and I regularly have is really the core of relationships developed through K-pop—an exchange of ideas brought about by the genre that we enjoy listening to. It is not limited to peers, coworkers and friends. It can be between parents, between moms and their children.

May Angelique Dayag (right) with daughter Ariane
May Angelique Dayag (right) with daughter Ariane

May Angelique Dayag became a K-pop fan in 2011. She chanced upon SM Town Live on YouTube and was impressed by SHINee and their music. It led her to watch more videos. Eventually, her love for SHINee led to her making online friends and they formed the fan group PH Shawols.

She said that “the most chill fandom” in K-pop gave her comfort when being a single parent of six became a struggle. Her children gifted her with a trip to Seoul on her 60th birthday to watch SHINee World Concert 5. Her daughter Ariane accompanied her and became a fan, too.

It opened the floodgates in their family.

Precious moments

“Watching videos on TV, attending concerts locally and overseas and just being together at home or talking on group chat are some of the precious bonding moments of our family. In fact, my grandchildren are now fans of BTS, Seventeen, Stray Kids, Twice and Itzy,” she said.

Aileen Bayani Vasquez (right) with PV
Aileen Bayani Vasquez (right) with PV

Aileen Bayani Vasquez has been a fan of NCT for over a year. Her child PV is also an NCTzen/Czennie (fandom). They unwittingly became fans of the same group without influencing each other. Her daughter didn’t talk about her idols, and Vasquez discovered the group through her own friends.

Because they are both fans, she understands the joy that her daughter experiences when she listens and watches NCT.

Tracy Guillermo Ramos has been a K-pop fan since 2011. She mostly followed JYPE artists, especially 2PM.

Tracy Guillermo Ramos (right) with daughter Jhazz
Tracy Guillermo Ramos (right) with daughter Jhazz

Her daughter Jhazz, 14, grew up liking K-pop songs. She already met Nichkhun of 2PM in a fan sign, but her first concert was NCT 127.

“It became her happy pill and motivation. For me, as long as she is responsibly having fun and continuously works on her goals in life, I will support her K-pop journey,” she said.

Ramos sometimes uses K-pop as a reward for doing well in school.

“My daughter has been on the honor roll since she was in Grade 3. She doesn’t request or ask outright, but she expresses liking her idol’s albums and merchandise,” she said. “I buy what she likes of my own accord and within my means. I give them as gifts to her for doing well in school.”

Positive aspect

Maribeth Bernardo with Andrea
Maribeth Bernardo with Andrea

Maribeth Bernardo is not a K-pop fan. But she knows what it’s like to be a fan of someone. When she was younger, she followed Menudo, Ricky Martin and “Meteor Garden’s” F4. This is why she could relate to her daughter collecting albums of her favorite group, NCT. She collected tapes before.

Bernardo and Vasquez do not use K-pop as an incentive for their kids, perhaps because their daughters are already in college. But they both see K-pop as a positive aspect of their children’s lives.

“I see her brighten up despite the chaos of school. I also know that she’s interested in having a career in music and entertainment law, so I think this is a good start for her,” Bernardo said.

They are aware of the negative stereotypes being attached to K-pop fans. These include being boy-crazy and obsessive, and their tendency to overspend.

But these moms use K-pop to teach their children about balancing play and hard work and also how to handle finances.

Dayag understands that being a fan can be expensive.

“We know our needs from our wants. We prioritize and remember to indulge in moderation and align with our family values and ethics. I am blessed to have children who understand my fondness for K-pop and are supportive of my cheap thrills, especially my daughter-Shawol,” she said. “As I turn 67, I am thankful to the Lord for all His blessings—the gift of life, family and friends and the love of my six kids—and for Shinee and Shawols for the treasured moments.”

Ramos celebrates milestones in her daughter’s life by buying an album or merchandise. But for big events like concerts, her daughter saves her own money to buy tickets.

“I am proud to say that she always pays half or more of the ticket cost from the money that she saves from her daily allowance and monetary gifts during Christmas and birthdays,” she said.

She adds that her child knows that they have to save up if they want to get what they like. This is how her child learns how to limit herself as a fan.

Wonderful moments

Bernardo said that she teaches her daughter to choose between watching a concert or buying merch, especially if she wants to buy VIP tickets. She said, “Compromises are necessary if she really wants something and has limited resources to afford it.”

All of the moms said that K-pop has brought them closer to their children. They have something they could always talk about. Ramos said that K-pop has become a starting point for conversations before they move to another topic.

“K-pop is our common ground and she feels comfortable sharing all her wonderful moments, experiences and feelings. As a parent, communication is the best way to maintain a good relationship with your child,” she said.

They also offer their advice to parents who couldn’t understand their children who are into K-pop.

Vasquez said that showing interest in things that your children are interested in can help you become your child’s friend.

Bernardo echoes this and adds that instead of stopping a child from being a fan, encourage them to have healthy fan behavior. This includes putting a limit on their involvement in their favorite idol’s life.

For Ramos, it’s about trusting their children and the choices they make.

“Learn to guide them from a safe distance. Give them space to enjoy, but at the same time continuously remind them of their priorities and be a good example. Be more open-minded and listen to their stories,” she said. “Communicate well with your child. Be positive and let your child learn things from liking K-pop. Good or bad, it will definitely be a learning experience for both of you.”

Moms don’t have to be fans like their children. But they will not be judged if they like the same idols that their kids like. K-pop fandoms are inclusive most of the time. It gives fans a source of pride when their idols can reach different ages. No one bats an eye if you go to a concert venue smelling like Omega or Katinko. As long as you enjoy the music, you would be welcome.

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