by Joanne Mabanta
As the day began, guests of different ages trickled in little by little. Everyone arrived to listen to Dr. Honey Carandang’s talk on ‘The Power of Compassionate Discipline’. As a well-known clinical psychologist and national social scientist, she has done many contributions to the field of psychology as well as given many talks.
The Parenting Academy, now on its third year, is focusing on compassionate discipline because of the current prevailing culture of violence that is evident in society. According to Dr Carandang, parenting is the means to nation building. It is important, now more than ever, to carry the core value of respect and dignity that each human deserves. An individual, as a parent, may install these values by disciplining his children, not out of fear, but out of love and respect. This proper discipline allows children to incorporate a mode of thinking in their lifestyle that can prevail across different situations. It tells the child what he can or cannot do, and in doing so, the child has a sense of stability and security. If an individual begins early in disciplining his child, the child can then develop a sense of self-discipline that he can use to regulate his own behaviour, and would thus allow him to act according to the values that have been early on instilled in his life. This discipline is done not only so that the life of the parent may become easier, but also it allows them to have something to hang on to. In this manner, a two-way relationship is established between the parent and the child.
Admittedly, disciplining children can be very testing and challenging for the parent. It requires complete attention, consistency, and patience. Being the parent means that you have to be sure of what you’re doing; otherwise, authority will not be effective in the eyes of the child. Thus, to maintain this discipline, one must always remember his purpose in doing it: it is all for the child. After all, the child does not necessarily do these bad things simply just to do them; it is just that they do not know that what they are doing are good or bad. This explains the importance in delineating to them exactly what they can and cannot do.
Dr Carandang stressed that the necessity for discipline does not automatically mean that one must do it with such violence. Oftentimes, there are parents who shout or shame their children when they do the wrong thing. However, this manner of discipline only encourages the child to avoid the adult, instead of correcting the wrong behaviour. It fails to establish a connection with the children that is necessary and will become helpful in the years to come.
My biggest takeaway from Dr Carandang’s talk was the importance of this connection; with it, the parent does not have to worry about the child as he grows up, because you as the parent have already helped him build up his own identity upon growing up. He already knows what to do, and he knows that he can count on you to be there for him whatever happens. Your compassionate discipline when he was younger will act as his moral compass for him to be his own person, the best and good version of himself. This then stresses the importance of good parenting: as a parent, one must know how much role he plays in the life of his child.
You might want to think about if you’re parenting your child well. Examine yourself; see what you may be missing. Maybe all it takes is a little awareness for your child to be able to go the extra mile.