Sunday, December 8, 2013

Positive Discipline: What Every Parent Should Practice

By now, most of you must have known that I left a relatively comfortable life in Davao and my four-year old Leia to work in Zamboanga City for Save the Children. I handle the communications of the emergency response team to the 23-day armed conflict. But that is for another post.

I was confident that I was raising Leia well, except for those times when I'm on my wits' end on how to instill discipline. As a solo parent, the responsibilities of raising her to be a complete individual all fell on my bony shoulders. I rarely spank her and I would always comfort and assure her after each episode of physical discipline. And I was proud of it - until I worked for Save the Children where children's rights are at the crux of everything we do. 

Children can't wait. - Save the Children
One of our national advisers, Ms Wilma Banaga (for Child Protection) came to Zamboanga to handle a training and I mentioned to her how her posts on Save the Children's official Facebook page made me realize a lot of things about disciplining my little one. In one of her FB comments, she mentioned that spanking is spanking whatever the purpose may be. She suggested that I download the ebook on Positive Discipline in Everyday Parenting by Save the Children. 

This ebook is priceless BUT free!
I did and it shattered my long-standing notion on discipline. Well, my brother and I grew up under Daddy's belt. The rod was never spared when we do wrong. When I became a parent, I promised never to pass it on to Leia and instead resorted to using a "special" wooden spoon to spank Leia's bottom. I swallowed the bitter pill while reading the ebook. My actions towards Leia is doing more harm than good despite my good intentions. It was an eye-opener.

The book's introduction hit bullseye. "There are times in all parents’ lives when the challenge seems overwhelming. Sometimes we just don’t know what to do. Sometimes nothing we do seems to be right. And sometimes we are overcome by all of the other stresses in our lives. Most of us learn parenting on the job. We have little information about child development, so we rely on our instincts or our own childhood experiences. But many times our instincts are really just emotional reactions that aren’t well thought-out. And sometimes our own childhood experiences were negative, or even violent ones."

As a parenting blogger I knew I had to share the link of this gem of a resource to you my dear readers and blogger friends. Unlike other resources from other organizations, Save the Children uses very simple language and provides concrete, daily examples we can all relate to. It's not judgmental at all I promise. I will bet that the few hours or days we spend reading and digesting this material will benefit our children. We parents should read this before it's too late - emphasis on the urgency intended.

To my Leia, I am sorry, please forgive Mama for not knowing any better. Babe, I promise not to spank you anymore with that "special" wooden spoon but that does not mean that I will no longer correct your behavior. I will all the more affirm your person and try my hardest to see things from your point of view. I will also not tell you anymore that you are already too heavy because of your penchant for eating, for me to carry around. Never.

My last love letter to my heiress
I love you with all of me - and I will be your rights' staunchest defender until my last breath. I will put your best interests first as I always have, only this time I will kiss wooden spoon goodbye.

To download Save the Children's Positive Discipline in Everyday Parenting (Third Edition), simply click this link. Please share it with your family and friends, let us make this world a better place for children, one parent at a time. 

Oh, and don't forget to like Save the Children Philippine Country Office official Facebook page! Lots of good materials are posted there on children's rights, education, protection and be in the loop of our work.

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