THE campaign of the UNICEF in partnership with the NGO Save the Children and the government’s Social Welfare department to make parents practice “positive parenting” deserves the support of the entire population. Families should embrace “positive parenting.”
A key concept that all parents who want their children to grow up into sensible, responsible, virtuous adults is that they should help their children develop their full potential aware of their dignity as human beings.
This should immediately tell the reader that “positive parenting” excludes corporal punishment as a means of instilling discipline in children. This is the kind of parenting that Christians, including Roman Catholics, should practice. The tongue-in-cheek quotation about spanking heard from Pope Francis last year made some media interpret his words as if he favored corporal punishment to discipline children. The Vatican has denied that interpretation and made it clear that Pope Francis rejects corporal punishment, as any Christian parent should.
Disciplining children is an important part of parenting. But people often mistakenly think “discipline” and “punishment” go together. The positive parenting counselors tell us: “Punishment inflicts pain on children for doing something wrong. Discipline, on the other hand, teaches children, guides them and helps them learn. Discipline is not something that you only do when a child has made a mistake. Disciplining is done every single day and it starts with setting goals for learning, planning an effective approach, and finding solutions that work.”
Those who have analyzed and researched on parenting in depth have found that children who have been subjected to physical punishment suffer from poorer mental health than those who have been spared from physical punishment.
Says the positive parenting tract, “Physical punishment erodes children’s mental health. Children who are physically punished have higher rates of depression, anxiety, hopelessness, and alcohol and drug use. By breaching the child’s trust, physical punishment also contributes to insecurity and feelings of worthlessness and powerlessness.”
It continues, physical punishment “no matter how light, hurts children physically and emotionally; and not only that, it also hurts their relationships with the adults around them. The meta-analysis found that physical punishment predicted poorer parent-child relationships.”
In contrast, correct parenting employs positive discipline which “respects children’s dignity and their rights to development, protection, and participation. It helps guide their behavior and instills the key concepts of non-violence, empathy, self-respect, human rights, and respect for others. It offers long-term solutions for the child’s own self-discipline and lifelong skills.”
“Raising children through positive discipline not only helps them grow to be happy, healthy, and well-adjusted, but it also models the role of the family and community in ending violence against children.”
The scientific tracts promoting “positive parenting” don’t seem to like using the word “love.” But we will.
Positive parenting is all about loving our children correctly and completely.