Sparing the rod: Netizens debate physical punishment at home
MANILA, Philippines – Is physical punishment an effective way of disciplining one's children?
In light of the International Day of Non-Violence, educators worldwide aim to promote a universal culture of peace, tolerance, and understanding. Part of advocating non-violence includes questioning the use of physical punishment to discipline children.
The issue of using physical punishment at home has been a long-standing issue in Filipino culture. A 2011 Pulse Asia Survey showed two in three Filipino parents use corporal punishment to discipline children 16 years and below. Save the Children also conducted a study in 2005 that revealed 85% of children were punished in the home, and that 82% were hit on different parts of the body.
Corporal punishment at home has also been tackled on the level of public policy. In 2016, Senators Risa Hontiveros, Grace Poe, and Nancy Binay—all mothers – filed separate bills to promote the "positive and non-violent discipline" of children. Both the Senate and House passed versions of the bill that aimed to ban corporal punishment against children in 2018. However, President Rodrigo Duterte decided to veto the bill earlier this year.
Here's what Filipinos online had to say about the issue.
Physical vs verbal
Netizens had contrasting opinions on whether physical or verbal punishment was more effective in disciplining children.
A few users argued parents should talk to and reason out with their children instead of resorting to physical means. Daniel Dela Cruz said children are either old enough to listen to reason, or too young to understand why their parents are hurting them. (READ: Study shows spanking boosts odds of mental illness)
"By using reason, you can expect your child to experience a big leap forward in common sense," he said.
Dennis Molina stated setting a good example for one's children should suffice. "If children follow you only because they are scared, then that is not discipline," he said.
On the other hand, several users still felt physical punishment was the best way to go. Users felt children who were physically punished were more disciplined and obedient, whereas children who were spared from such punishment were more disrespectful.
A matter of balance
A number of netizens believed parents should find a balance between physical and verbal means of disciplining children.
Joe Dela Cruz condemned spanking children "to a pulp." He admitted he would resort to physical punishment though if things got out of hand.
"[Physical punishment] helps take a point across in a way simple talking can't do. I do not recommend it but I won't hesitate to do it especially when things get really unreasonable," he wrote.
Other users were wary of the dangers of verbal abuse as well. Netizen Patrick Chua Co believed physical punishment accompanied with an verbal explanation will not "ruin" children, and can serve as "preparation for their adult lives."
"A parent with an abrasive mouth will do more long lasting damage," he said.
A number of netizens also stressed the difference between discipline and punishment, as well as discipline and abuse.
Other netizens ultimately felt what was important was that children understood the consequences of their actions, and that parents could discipline however they see fit. "That does not necessarily include physical punishments," Leonardo D. Barua wrote.
Here's what other users had to say about the issue:
What do you think about using physical punishment to discipline children? – Rappler.com