Organized by the PETA ARTS (Advocate Right to Safety) Zone Project in partnership with Plan International, Child Rights Network (CRN) and Dakila, supported by terre des homes-Germany, German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and the European Union (EU), the media launch featured the advocacy video, “Go Positive! The Positive Discipline Approach to Parenting.” Advocates from various sectors including public school educators, faith-based groups and youth shared testimonials on how going positive rears children who are able to grow towards reaching their full potentials and develop holistically as human beings.
Marichu Belarmino, Director of PETA ARTS Zone Project, said, “For the Filipino parents, children are considered blessings given by the Creator and therefore, they are showered with much care and love acting as their guardians. For Filipino children, his or her parents are most often placed on a pedestal and the family plays a significant role in his/her growing-up years. Across decades and through the years, disciplining children has been equated with placing punishment on them and most importantly, regarded as a private matter. As the global world and the Filipino culture and society evolve, we are now confronted with the question: Is punishment the way to discipline a child? Are we indeed creating a nurturing, loving and caring place for our children once we inflict harm and pain on them?”
The Child Rights Network has been lobbying for the passage of a law that will institutionalize positive and non-violent methods of disciplining children. The House of Representatives already passed HB 4907 or the Positive and Nonviolent Discipline of Children Act which explicitly prohibits corporal punishment, and provides a comprehensive program to promote positive and nonviolent discipline in all settings, especially at home. The Senate versions of the bills on positive discipline authored separately by Senators Cynthia Villar (Senate Bill 2182), Jinggoy Estrada (SBN 363) and Nancy Binay (SBN 227) are still pending.
According to Plan International’s Country Program Advisor for Child-Friendly Governance, Ernesto Almocera Jr., "In our society, physical and verbal punishment are treated as acceptable forms of discipline. It is unfortunate that our laws tolerate physical punishment in the name of disciplining children. Parents and other adults should recognize that, even for the sake of discipline, causing pain or discomfort is a violation of children’s rights. We are hoping to protect the rights of Filipino children against these forms of punishment by encouraging all those with parental authority to start disciplining children without harm”.
Positive discipline is an approach to guiding children’s behavior without using any form of violence like spanking, pinching, humiliation, and verbal abuse. It is about instilling values of non-violence, empathy, self-respect, human rights and respect for others. Advocates champion positive discipline as a disciplinary method that involves open communication with a child, making sure that the parent-child relationship is rooted on mutual love and respect. It ensures that the child understands the consequences of his actions and allows him to make his own decisions, making discipline a matter of deep understanding and going beyond blind obedience.
Celebrity mom Lotlot de Leon shared her experiences as a mother, “For me, the best way to discipline our children is to explain to them what their mistakes are. We don’t need to hurt them for them to understand their mistakes. We should sit down with them, talk to them and make them understand the context and perspective where we are coming from as parents and as adults. In the future, when our children become parents, they will do the same kind of parenting we did to them to our grandchildren.”
Award winning actress Cherry Pie Picache shared that, “it is important that a child grows up in a nurturing environment because this will affect his or her beliefs, values and customs when he or she becomes an adult. The biggest challenge in inspiring and encouraging other parents to embrace positive discipline is to enable them to veer away with the beliefs, customs and values they grew up with, the kind of discipline that harm, embarrass and instill fear to children”.
PETA ARTS Zone Project, Plan International, Dakila and the Child Rights Network have been engaging in activities that encourage “duty-bearers” to go positive in disciplining children with out resorting to violent forms. In ending, Marichu Belarmino of PETA ARTS Zone said, “There are more than enough ways for affirmative child rearing practices and instilling discipline to children with out resorting to violence and at the same time upholding their rights and dignity as children. Loving our children means never hurting them.” ##