A Cane Or A Belt, What Do These Really Teach Our Children

Singapore is prosperous. Students in Singapore do very well in international standardized exams. Canes are used for discipline in Singapore. It then follows that corporal punishment is good for our children. Research however says otherwise. The most effective parenting style is responsive and warm, not punitive. This effective style is authoritative, distinct from authoritarian which also demonstrates a high level of control but in a negative way. Punishment is key to enforcing rules in authoritarian parenting.


Above copied from
Parenting Styles, Bringing Out The Best In Your Child
Latest research supports what has been known for quite sometime now. Authoritative parenting leads to better academic outcomes. In "The Role of Authoritative and Authoritarian Parenting in the Early Academic Achievement of Latino Students" authoritative parenting in Mexican and Dominican Republic children is correlated with academic and social-emotional school readiness, both of which predicted higher achievement at the end of first grade. This makes sense since all that spanking really does is to teach a child that hurting someone you love is acceptable. Children disciplined with physical punishment only become aggressive towards others. These children are also unable to develop self-esteem and proper social behavior.

One therefore may ask why Singapore seems successful. The reason perhaps lies in the foundation of its authoritarianism, which is meritocracy. Jiafeng Chen writes in the Harvard Political Review:
Meritocracy lies at the heart of both the political legitimacy of Singaporean authoritarianism and the culture of Singaporean society. It legitimizes authoritarian rule by maintaining an elite based on academic and professional success, rather than on class, gender, or ethnicity.
One can then easily argue that it is not the authoritarianism that plays very well in Singapore, it is really meritocracy. Of course, when competent and good people are in power, one can expect both efficiency and lack of corruption.

There is another type of parenting distinct from both authoritarian and authoritative. It is called permissive. Children get their way most of the time without any control from the parents. This parenting style is as bad as authoritarian.

The Philippines is currently facing a serious drug problem. The past Aquino administration was permissive. The current administration of Duterte has chosen to be authoritarian in its war against drugs. Whether this approach will be as successful as in Singapore still needs to be seen. Meritocracy is not really central in Philippine culture and politics. There are some people in the Philippines who clamor for the return of a dictator. There are those who wish to see corporal punishment or required military training in schools. These approaches do not work with incompetent and corrupt leaders. Sadly, both schools and government in the Philippines are deeply immersed in both corruption and incompetence.


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