5 ways to prepare your child for the “real world”
Parenting styles in the Philippines are changing. Find out how and learn the many ways our style of parenting affects how our children will face the world in the future.
In a research of the different parenting styles in the Philippines,1 the data shows that most Filipino parents still believe in corporal punishment as a way to discipline their children. This parenting style is considered “normal” in our society.
Parents today who practice this would often reason, “Pinalo rin ako noong bata ako.” Most believe that it’s the most effective approach, making the child obey because of fear of physical punishment.
“Spare the rod, spoil the child!”
This may be the most popular of the different parenting styles in the Philippines, but it doesn’t mean that it works for everyone.
Research shows that this may even be hurting the kids’ emotional growth. According to Psychology Today,2 physical punishment in children is linked to “delinquency, antisocial behavior, and aggression.”
It also “decreases the quality of parent-child relationship” and decreases the child’s “capacity to internalize socially acceptable behavior.”
A Change in Parenting Styles in the Philippines
What may have worked for our parents, may not work for us today.
Kids these days are more intellectually advanced than the previous generations. They are more vocal in what they want, asking more questions than we can answer. They are taking up multiplication in Grade 1!
Perhaps it’s about time we also evolve and be more proactive in our parenting, rather than reactive. Perhaps we can teach our kids, rather than punishing them when they do wrong.
This is the parenting revolution that child-rearing experts are trying to promote at the Nankid Parentology+: The Reshape Effect Forum last January 15 at Whitespace, Makati.
The forum organizers invited parenting coach Melissa Benaroya, educator Didi Manahan, and pediatrician Josephine Sunga to share some timely tips for modern parents on how to better prepare our children for the future.
5 Expert Tips on Parenting
1. Teach children to see different perspectives
Educator Didi Manahan shares that most of the time, children misbehave because they cannot fully grasp and assess the situation. They often see things only from their perspective.
Situation: A child continues to run and scream even if you’ve already told him to stop. For the kid, his only concern is that he is having fun. He doesn’t realize that his actions are affecting others.
What you can do: Talk to the child and encourage him to observe the people in his surroundings and how they are reacting to his noise. Didi adds that you can turn it into a game, making him a “perspective detective!”
2. Let children see opportunities in mistakes
Parenting Coach Melissa Benaroya observes that children are often discouraged whenever they fail at tasks. Some will be embarrassed to try again.
What you can do: Melissa suggests to “reframe the moment” and encourage the child to “embrace” the mistake. You can emphasize the value of the failure in the long run, making them see the bigger picture.
3. Be a role model to your kids
There is no greater influence in our children’s lives than us parents.
“You should always be mindful of what you’re doing because children tend to copy what they see,” Melissa explains.
Situation: You notice that your child does not know how to say “please” and “thank you.”
What you can do: Assess how you talk to other people. Are you courteous when you speak to others, especially the people around you? Do you yourself say “please” and “thank you” to your helpers?
4. Use encouraging words
As parents, we often order our kids to do things. “Clean your room,” “Eat your food,” and “Stop playing!” How often do we say these things every day?
“Do they immediately follow these commands?” Melissa asks.
Our answer is, without doubt, a collective no.
Melissa explains that our words are very powerful and that they have a deeper impact on our children. Barking orders make them feel that they don’t have a choice, that they are robots who just need to follow.
What you can do: Instead of giving orders, use “curiosity questions” to engage them. Instead of “clean your room,” ask “Why do you think we need to put back our toys after we play?” Instead of “Eat your food,” ask “What happens if we eat our food?”
This allows the child to think of the purpose of the task rather than blindly following.
5. Refrain from comparing yourself to them
As parents, we unconsciously stereotype our children because of our personal experiences. We often think, “Ganito ‘yong anak ko kasi ganito rin ako.”
This belief in “mana” does not only apply to children’s behavior, but to their health as well. Some would think, “Payat ang anak ko kasi payat kami lahat sa pamilya.”
Dr. Josephine Sunga says we need to change this mindset. “We need to break away from our DNA.”
She explains that hereditary factors can influence our children – but only to a certain extent.
What you can do: Equip your children with the right nutrition and expose them to a healthy lifestyle, so that they can have a higher chance to “break away from their DNA.” By having optimal health, children will have a better chance at fighting off diseases he is predisposed to have.
1 Parenting in the Philippines: A review of the research literature from 2004 to 2014 by Danielle Ochoa and Beatriz Torre (University of the Philippines, Diliman and Pambansang Samahan sa Sikolohiyang Pilipino)