TEACHER CORNER | Practicing positive discipline

by Maricris V. Albo

Quoting the famous Indian Independence leader Mahatma Gandhi, “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” Simply, it means retaliation or revenge shall not bring any benefit and deeply cause division and harm.

Correlating it to Child Discipline, the quote also has a significant bearing. Basically, there are two (2) types of Child Discipline; one is the negative punishment were a child is being reprimanded when he or she has done something wrong. But, as time passed a positive one came into existence wherein children are being rewarded for doing something good and eradicating violence when the child has done something wrong but instead focusing more on counseling and advice-giving.

In a country like the Philippines where family-oriented values are deeply embedded, it has been common for parents to use the punishment system. Parents or guardians have several ways of punishing their child but the most popular and dominant is the whipping. The most commonly used object are slippers, piece of wood and belt. For some parents and guardians, they think that the best way for their children to learn from their mistakes is through enduring physical and emotional pain.

But studies suggest that there is a tendency for children who constantly receive punishment to be violent when they grow up. They may have the false narrative that they should seek revenge because they were constantly hurt by their parents and guardians. It could also be detrimental to parents and children relationships as feelings may sway apart causing hostility among children and parents. Exposure to violence can also bring harm to others as children may think that they experience is just normal and they may do it to other students or worse- to their teachers and authorities.

Also, children who grew from punishment usually have a low self-esteem, low self- respect and poor academic performance in school or even become worst parent themselves when they grow up.

Unlike punishment, positive discipline focuses more on values re-orientation. A calm approach toward children who misbehaved. Positive discipline works on the principle that there are no good or bad children, just good or bad behaviors. Parents and guardians let their children realize that what they did was not right. Positive Discipline teaches them lessons in handling problem in a calm and non-aggressive way. Some of the best benefits of Positive Discipline and better parent-child relationship and better recognition of positive values by children.

The government also took steps in order to minimize violence and child abuse among Filipino households. Known as the Republic Act no. 7610 or the "Special Protection of Children against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act." It provides special protection to children from all forms of abuse, neglect, cruelty exploitation and discrimination and other conditions, prejudicial their development; provide sanctions for their commission and carry out a program for prevention and deterrence of and crisis intervention in situations of child abuse, exploitation and discrimination. Also a proposed Bill known as Anti-Corporal Punishment Act of 2010, prohibiting all Corporal Punishment and all other forms of humiliating or degrading punishment of children and promoting Positive and Non-violent Discipline of children is in the Senate for approval as a law.

The children of today are more expressive, they want to be disciplined but not punish or hurt.  Parents, guardians as well as teachers should adopt the Non-punitive Discipline or Positive Discipline. Their vital role is to guide their children to become productive citizen of the future. It is important for a child, even in his young age, to understand whatever mistake done should not be repeated. Let all children feel that the love, respect and acceptance that they truly deserve from custody and days to come.