Real Talk

Why The Traditional Filipino Way of Punishing Kids Won’t Work

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Punishing kids can sometimes help us meet our needs at the moment. But it won’t help us in the long run.

Traditional Filipino families tend to use punishment to discipline their children. Spanking, pinching, or even standing in a corner. These are typical ways of punishing kids for not following what they are told to do. However, while punishment can sometimes help us meet our needs in the short term, it tends to create more resistance and conflict in the long run.

punishing a child

Why punishing kids isn’t effective

Forming a connection with our children is our most powerful tool as parents. When our children become too old to be punished or put on time-out, the depth of our connection will determine the depth of our influence.

Moreover, punishment only teaches kids to obey out of fear. And according to Nancy Samlin, author of Love and Anger: The Parental Dilemma, “a child who obeys out of fear will only do so as long as he or she is scared. A child like this never develops an internalized sense of right and wrong without being policed by a more powerful authority figure.”

Additionally, when kids outgrow their fear of us, they’ll have little reason to listen to us. Punishing only teaches them what not to do when what they need to know is what to do instead!

a kid being punished

How to form better connections with our children

Forming a deep connection with our kids sounds great in theory. But it’s a lot more challenging to execute or practice. One way is to familiarize ourselves with gentle parenting. According to a Filipino child development coach, Bloss Villafuerte, gentle parenting is “a parenting style that establishes mutual respect between the child and the parent. With this approach, parents respect the child’s interests, choices, and readiness—rather than imposing or demanding expectations.”

Another is to create a space we need to respond calmly and consistently. This can help us hold our limits without pleading, shaming, or punishing our kids. It takes a great deal of patience but will definitely benefit our relationships.

Let’s normalize the conversation on these topics:

Why This Family Decided to Only Have One Child

Break The Cycle: The Hard Part No One Talks About

Should You Let Other Parents Discipline Your Child?