Positive parenting is loving our children correctly, completely


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.


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  1. Flora Calleja on

    Besides corporal punishment, parents should avoid verbally abusive language when correcting their children. Abusive language like calling their children “gago, walang kwenta, buwisit” etc. is deeply hurting and contributes to the low esteem of the children.

  2. Dominador D. Canastra on

    Good editorial, Manila Times. The Philippines is one of the countries found to have the highest number of child abuse cases by parents. guardians and older relatives.
    The poverty and squalor of some 60 percent of the population contributes to this sad situation.
    Sadder — and a reason why many Filipinos don’t see any hope–is that parishes, and the Catholic Church hierarchy, except for a minority of the bishops, are not using their time and energy to mobilize the flock against child abuse and for that matter against poverty!
    Manila Times is lucky to have Frs. Ben Beltran, Shay Cullen and James McTavish who are actually doing pastoral and physical work top improve the situation.

  3. Amelie Reyes on

    This is a very American way of raising children. It sounds great but in reality, this kind of parenting raises children who have a heightened sense of entitlement and very little regard about the sacrifices that their parents and other support system provide to them.

    This is not an endorsement of corporal punishment. But there is a reason why we have jails. Children need to learn respect and need to know that there are boundaries and there are consequences when you go beyond the limits.

    • POSITIVE PARENTING should be the American Way, but unfortunately it is not. In America over 70 % of adults support corporal punishment (http://www.childtrends.org/?indicators=attitudes-toward-spanking) The US leads industrialized nations in child deaths related to child abuse http://www.allvoices.com/article/16298239). The US is now the only nation in the world that has not ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. While 46 nations have outlawed corporal punishment of children in all contexts (families, schools, juvenile justice and child-care settings) in the US corporal punishment of children by parents is supported by law in all 50 states and corporal punishment is legal in schools 19 states.(http://www.endcorporalpunishment.org/pages/frame.html).

      While many Americans do support positive parenting and there are many advocates working to put an end to the use of corporal punishment, Americans need these voices more than most!