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Parenting in the Philippines:

A review of the research literature

from 2004 to 2014
Danielle Ochoa and Beatriz Torre
University of the Philippines, Diliman and
Pambansang Samahan sa Sikolohiyang Pilipino

PETA Arts Zone Project

Terre de Hommes Germany


Executive Summary





Parenting characteristics and parenting styles


Parenting cognitions: Attitudes, beliefs and attributions


Parental socialization practices


Discipline and punishment


From discipline to abuse


Parenting risks and resources








Executive Summary

This document provides an overview of research on parenting, child-rearing and discipline

conducted among Filipino families from 2004 to 2014. It also discusses recommendations about
possible opportunities for strengthening efforts to advocate positive discipline in Filipino
families. Empirical work on parenting and discipline in Filipino families were identified by
searching online databases as well as the catalog of the National Library. A total of 34 studies,
both published and unpublished, were selected for inclusion in the review. Many of these studies
focused on parenting styles, parental socialization, and parental discipline practices; other topics
that were investigated included parent-child relationships, parenting cognitions, and parenting
risks and resources. The review also discusses several parenting interventions and their
The research included in this review suggests that corporal punishment continues to be one of the
common discipline practices used by Filipino parents, and that it is viewed by most Filipinos as
moderately normative. Corporal punishment appears to be linked with childrens anxiety and
aggression, a finding that echoes those of researchers in various other cultural contexts. The
research reviewed also shows that Filipino parents use of corporal punishment is associated with
certain circumstances, including stressful contexts such as neighborhood danger and poverty.
Meanwhile, the literature on parenting interventions suggests that successful interventions tend
to take a holistic approach; that is, they went beyond teaching parents how to discipline their
children and also sought to help parents deal with other sources of stress such as health,
education, livelihood, or family relationships. These findings remind us that discipline practices
are interconnected with many other aspects of parents and childrens lives. Further, they

underscore the importance of promoting positive discipline in Filipino families in ways that
recognize the circumstances in which they live.


Key recommendations include:

Interventions should not just focus on teaching specific positive discipline practices, but
also the contextual factors that influence the use of particular discipline practices such as
stress. Programs may start by assisting parents in dealing with the various stressors that
may have an impact on their behaviors before targeting specific practices. Interventions
should also be tailor-made to suit familys socioeconomic and cultural contexts of the

Aside from discipline practices, interventions can target parents authoritarian attitudes
and endorsement of corporal punishment. They may also target parenting styles, which
set the climate for childrens receptiveness to the socialization practices used by their

Interventions should account for the bidirectional influence of parents and children on
each other. Programs can target both parent and child behaviors, and both parents and
children can be consulted and involved in the design of programs. Childrens age and
gender also need to be accounted for to ensure that interventions are appropriate.

Intervention programs should be rigorously evaluated throughout the process, using clear,
measurable objectives as well as feedback from stakeholders. This can help organizations
gain a better idea of the effectiveness of their interventions.

Other recommendations for future research on parenting and discipline in Filipino families,
including the need for more research among families outside Metro Manila and the importance
of understanding the links between parenting styles and parenting practices, are also discussed.


In most if not all cultures, parenting is seen as an integral social role with great influence on the
lives of children and of parents themselves (Alampay, 2014; Bornstein, 2001). The importance of
parenting is particularly highlighted in Philippine society, in which the family is generally seen
as central to one's social world (Jocano, 1998). Local and cross-cultural researchers have
described the Filipino family as characterized by cohesiveness, respect for elders, deference to
parental authority, and fulfillment of mutual obligations (Chao & Tseng, 2002; Medina, 2001).

However, the social contexts in which Filipino families are embedded have changed rapidly over
the past ten years, possibly shaping in turn the ways in which parents and children think about
and relate with each other. For instance, growing numbers of families involve one or more parent
going abroad to work, or adolescent children going to the city to study. Scholars such as Medina
(2001) and Alampay (2014) have suggested that with these changes might come shifts in
parenting beliefs and behaviors, such as a shift from authoritarian towards more permissive or
autonomous attitudes towards parenting. With this in mind, the current publication reviews local
and cross-cultural studies that have investigated various aspects of parenting in Filipino families
from 2004 to 2014, including research on parenting styles, parenting cognitions, and
socialization practices. In particular, this review looks at research on Filipino parents'
disciplinary practices, such as the use of punishment as well as positive discipline.

Parenting and child-rearing in Filipino families have been the subject of several previously
published reviews. One notable example is Liwag, de la Cruz, and Macapagal's (1999) review of

research on child-rearing and gender socialization in the Philippines, which focused on Filipino
parents' child-rearing beliefs and practices and how these influence children's development and
learning of gender roles and stereotypes. A broader view of parenting in the Philippines is
provided by Alampay's (2014) review of locally and internationally published empirical research
on various aspects of Filipino parenting, including parents' cognitions and behaviors towards
children, the nature of parent-child interactions, and the differentiated roles of mothers and
fathers. While both of these reviews discuss discipline as an aspect of child-rearing and
parenting, neither focuses specifically on recent research on disciplinary practices. In addition,
the existing reviews have included mainly published research on Filipino parenting and childrearing. Thus, the current publication was written with the following objectives:
To review published and unpublished research on parenting, child-rearing and discipline
conducted among Filipino families from 2004 to 2014;
To provide a broad view of the discipline practices used by Filipino parents;
To gain insight into possible areas and opportunities for furthering efforts to advocate
positive discipline in Filipino families and communities.

To identify empirical work on parenting and discipline in Filipino families, we conducted online
searches on Google Scholar and EBSCOHost using the keywords parenting, child-rearing,
discipline, corporal punishment, and parents combined with Philippines or Filipino. Since our
online searches yielded predominantly published studies that were conducted in Metro Manila,
we also searched the catalog of the National Library for theses and dissertations on the topics of
interest. Studies that were identified from these searches were included in the review if they were

published or produced between 2004 to 2014, and if the research participants included a
Philippine sample. Thus, the studies included in the review may or may not have been conducted
solely in the Philippines. Studies were excluded from the review if they were published or
written before 2004, or if they focused on non-psychological aspects of parenting (i.e. feeding).

So as not to be overly centered on findings from research samples in Metro Manila, we took
efforts to identify research that had been conducted among Filipino families based outside the
NCR. Despite our efforts, the majority of the studies included in the review were still based in
Metro Manila. The following table summarizes the geographic distribution of the research
samples in the studies that were selected for inclusion:

National Capital Region

Cordillera Administrative
Region (CAR)

Studies that included research sample from


Total number
of studies

Alino, 2012; ARNEC, 2011; Bernardo &

Ujano-Batangan, 2007; de Guzman-Capulong,
2004; de Leon, 2012; Deater-Deckard et al.,
2011; Esteban, 2006; Garcia, 2012; Gershoff
et al., 2010; Jocson, Pea-Alampay, &
Lansford, 2012; Lansford et al., 2005; Ochoa,
2014; Parcon, 2011; Pea-Alampay & Jocson,
2011; Pesigan et al., 2014; Santos &
McCollum, 2008; Shao, 2013; Skinner et al.,


ARNEC, 2011

Ilocos Region (Region I)

Cagayan Valley (Region II)
Central Luzon (Region III)

Abarquez, 2009; Molina, 2008


Bicol Region (Region V)

Western Visayas (Region VI)

Studies that included research sample from


Total number
of studies

Gilongos & Guarin, 2013;

Central Visayas (Region VII)

Eastern Visayas (Region VIII) Capoquian, 2005;

Zamboanga Peninsula (Region

Northern Mindanao (Region

Bacus, 2014

Davao Region (XI)


ARNEC, 2011

Caraga (Region XIII)

Autonomous Region in
Muslim Mindanao (ARMM)

ARNEC, 2011


Del Castillo, 2009 (unspecified); Loh, Calleja,

& Restubog, 2011 (unspecified); Orbeta, 2005
(national); Parreas 2005a (unspecified);
Parreas 2005b (unspecified); Pesigan et al,
2014 (Metro Manila and other provinces,
unspecified); Taylor, 2008 (unspecified);

Table 1.1. Geographic distribution of research reviewed

The studies that were selected for the current review include published empirical work, review
papers, reports by local and international NGOs, conference proceedings, and unpublished theses
and dissertations. Because we included articles that were published in peer-reviewed academic
journals as well as unpublished research, it must be noted that there are some disparities in the
quality of the studies that were reviewed. More specific concerns about the implications of the
quality of certain studies on the soundness of their conclusions are noted in the review.
Moreover, as seen in the succeeding table, majority of the studies stem from basic academic
settings; only a few involved applied work geared towards specific interventions.

Type of


Total number of
studies included

Al-Hassan (2009); ARNEC (2011); Del Castillo (2009);


Orbeta (2005); Save the Children (2006)
Abarquez (2009); Alino (2012); Bacus (2014); Bernardo &
Ujano-Batangan (2007); Capoquian (2005); De GuzmanCapulong (2004); De Leon (2012); Deater-Deckard, et. al.
(2011); Esteban (2006)
Garcia (2012); Gershoff, et. al. (2010); Gilongos & Guarin
(2013); Jocson, Alampay, & Lansford (2012); Lansford, et. al.


(2005); Loh, Calleja, & Restubog (2010); Molina (2008);
Ochoa (2014); Parcon (2011); Parreas (2005a, 2005b); PeaAlampay (2014); Pea-Alampay& Jocson (2011); Pesigan,
Luyckx, & Alampay (2014); Santos & McCollum (2007);
Schulze (2004); Shao (2013); Skinner, et. al. (2014); Solayao
(2009); Taylor (2008)
Table 1.2. Types of research in the review

After selecting the material to be included in the review, we extracted the following from each
study: bibliographic information, background, research objectives, methods, findings, and
conclusions and recommendations. As summarized in the tables below, majority of the studies
include children as participants (n = 21), and a sizeable number also considered the views of
multiple informants (n = 12).




Total number of
studies included

Adolescents: Alino (2012); Bacus (2014); Bernardo

& Ujano-Batangan (2007); Esteban (2006); Lising

(2008); Parreas (2005a); Shao (2013)


Adolescents and adults: Parcon (2011); Pesigan,

Luyckx, & Alampay (2014); Taylor (2008)
Mothers only: Santos, R.M., & McCollum, J.A.

Mothers and fathers: Del Castillo (2009); De Leon

(2012); Garcia (2012); Jocson, Alampay, & Lansford

(2012); Pea-Alampay & Jocson (2011)
Mothers and children: Abarquez (2009); De
Guzman-Capulong (2004); Gershoff, et. al. (2010);
Lansford, et. al. (2005); Ochoa (2014); Parreas
Parents and



Both parents and children: Capoquian (2005);

Deater-Deckard, et. al. (2011); Gilongos, & Guarin
(2013); Skinner, et. al. (2014)
Parents & other

Solayao (2009)

Loh, Calleja, & Restubog (2010); Save the Children

Parents, other
adults, & children
Family unit

ARNEC, 2011; Molina (2008); Orbeta (2005)

Table 1.3. Research samples in the review


In terms of methods used, majority of the research reviewed here (n = 17) used survey
questionnaires, while a smaller number used multiple methods (n = 8) to collect data. After
reviewing each study, we then discussed themes that we observed in the articles that we had
reviewed, particularly their implications for future interventions to promote positive discipline.



Total number of
studies included

Quantitative: Abarquez (2009); Alino (2012); Bacus

(2014); Bernardo & Ujano-Batangan (2007);
Capoquian (2005); Deater-Deckard, et. al. (2011);
Garcia (2012); Gershoff, et. al. (2010); Jocson,
Alampay, & Lansford (2012); Lansford, et. al. (2005);

Lising (2008); Orbeta (2005); Parcon (2011); Pea-


Alampay & Jocson (2011); Pesigan, Luyckx, &

Alampay (2014); Skinner, et. al. (2014); Solayao
Loh, Calleja, & Restubog (2010)
Parreas (2005a, 2005b); Santos & McCollum (2007);

Taylor (2008)
Quantitative-qualitative: Esteban (2006); Gilongos
& Guarin (2013); Shao (2013)

Multiple methods

Qualitative: De Leon (2012); Molina (2008); Ochoa
(2014); Save the Children (2006)




Total number of
studies included

Quantitative: De Guzman-Capulong (2004)

Review of

Pea-Alampay (2014); Schulze (2004)

Al-Hassan (2009); ARNEC (2011); Del Castillo



Table 1.4. Methods used in research reviewed


We begin with an overview of recent studies on more general aspects of parenting, including
parenting styles and characteristics, parent-child interactions, and parenting cognitions. Some of
these studies focus on describing patterns that can be observed among many Filipino families,
while others investigate the impact of these aspects of parenting on children's developmental
outcomes such as academic performance, identity development, and social outcomes.

Parenting Characteristics and Parenting Styles

In recent years, a substantial number of studies on parenting in the Philippines have focused on
parenting characteristics and parenting styles. In particular, researchers have sought to examine
the influence of various parenting characteristics and/or styles on outcomes such as children's
social adjustment, emotional intelligence, academic goal orientation, and identity processes
(Bernardo & Ujano-Batangan, 2007; Pesigan et al., 2014). While some researchers focused on
specific parenting characteristics such as parental warmth, control, and emotional support


(Deater-Deckard et al., 2011; Parcon, 2011), others examined the outcomes associated with
broad patterns in parenting characteristics and methods of child-rearing, referred to as parenting
styles (Abarquez, 2009; Gilongos & Guarin, 2013).

A considerable number of researchers drew from Baumrind's (1989, 1991) work on parenting
styles, which describes three broad patterns in parenting characteristics and methods of childrearing: authoritarian, permissive, and authoritative. According to this framework, authoritarian
parents emphasize unquestioning obedience while remaining aloof and detached, permissive
parents place few demands or limits on their children, and authoritative parents are characterized
by strong emotional support, high expectations, and granting appropriate levels of autonomy.
Much of the Western literature on parenting styles suggests that authoritative parenting is
positively associated with outcomes such as academic achievement and social competence. In
the Philippine context, researchers from various regions have applied this approach in an attempt
to determine how parenting styles influence children's academic, social, and psychological
outcomes. Adopting a somewhat more critical stance, others have questioned the assumption that
Filipino parents can easily be classified as authoritarian, permissive, or authoritative, considering
that there may be meaningful differences in cultural notions of parental autonomy, support, and

Many of the studies in this review that relied on Baumrind's classification of parenting styles
found authoritative parenting styles to be the most commonly practiced among Filipino families.
For instance, in Bacus' (2014) study on relationships between parenting styles, self-concept,
attitudes towards school, and academic outcomes among seventh grade students in Northern


Mindanao, the majority of students perceived their parents as practicing an authoritative

parenting style. Using path analysis, Bacus found that students' attitudes towards school and
authoritative parenting style were strongly associated with academic performance. Similar
patterns were observed by Gilongos and Guarin (2013), who utilized survey-questionnaires,
interviews, and focus groups to investigate the relationship between parenting styles and schoolage children's social adjustment among families in Aklan. Based on parents' self-reports, the
parenting styles in the majority of these households (96%) were described as authoritative, with
far fewer parents using parenting styles that could be described as permissive (2.67%) or
authoritarian (1.33%). Meanwhile, most of the children described their relationships with their
parents as warm, supportive, and loving, and reported engaging in prosocial, cooperative
behavior, and perceived their relationships with their peers to be healthy. The researchers
concluded from these findings that parents' self-reported authoritative parenting styles were
associated with children's healthy relationships with their parents and peers; however, it is not
clear whether this conclusion can clearly be drawn from the data they obtained.

In Capoquian's (2005) thesis, survey-questionnaire data from Northern Samar-based high school
students and their parents were used to examine the relationship between parenting styles, which
was categorized according to Baumrind's framework, and students' behavior, which was
categorized as impulsive-aggressive, conflicted-irritable, and energetic-friendly. In this study, the
majority of parents were also found to use authoritative parenting styles, and the majority of
students were found to demonstrate energetic-friendly behavior. However, Capoquian found no
significant relationship between parenting styles and students' behavior and concluded that
parenting had no bearing on the behavior of students. It must be noted, though, that the


measures and analysis used in the study make it difficult to reach such a clear-cut conclusion.

Other studies that have drawn on Baumrind's framework reached somewhat different conclusions
regarding predominant parenting styles. One example is Abarquez's (2009) master's thesis on the
parenting styles of working and non-working mothers of high school students in Tagaytay City.
Abarquez also sought to analyze the relationship between children's self-concept and academic
performance with their mother's work status. The majority of mothers were found to be
nurturing-permissive, suggesting that they tended to be high in emotional warmth but low in
control as parents. Finding no significant differences between the children of working and nonworking mothers in self-concept and academic performance, the author suggested that working
mothers find ways to compensate for the time spent away from their children through quality
interactions. However, the analysis used by the author did not allow for any insights with regards
to the impact of parenting styles on children's psychological and academic outcomes.

Meanwhile, some researchers have questioned whether Baumrind's conceptualization of

parenting styles can be readily applied to the Philippine context. For instance, Bernardo and
Ujano-Batangan (2007) noted that the notions of autonomy, emotional support, and high
demands, which supposedly characterize authoritative parenting, might have different meanings
for Filipinos. In their investigation of the relationship between Metro-Manila based college
students' perceived parenting characteristics and goal orientation, the authors found that while
college students' perceptions of their mothers' and fathers' emotional support and autonomy
granting were positively correlated, the dimension of high demand was found to be either
negatively correlated or not correlated at all to these two dimensions. According to Bernardo and


Ujano-Batangan, Filipino adolescents might construe parents' high demands or expectations as

manifestations of control, possibly perceiving them as the opposite of parental autonomy and
emotional support. In light of these findings, the authors suggested that the notion of an
authoritative parenting style that combines emotional support, autonomy granting, and high
demands might not be a viable construct in the Philippine context.

Given this caveat, Bernardo and Ujano-Batangan also examined the relationships between
gender, perceived parenting characteristics, and college students' goal orientation, a construct
which is associated with academic achievement. Perceived emotional support from both mothers
and fathers was positively associated with mastery orientation, which involves a focus on
acquiring new knowledge and skills, improving one's levels of competence, and gaining mastery
in a specific domain based on personal standards. Gender also appeared to influence the
relationship between parenting and goal orientation: among female college students, fathers'
emotional support was negatively associated with performance-avoidance goals, which focus on
avoiding failure and demonstrations of incompetence. Further, fathers' autonomy granting was
also negatively associated with performance-avoidance goals and work-avoidance goals among
female college students. These findings underscore the need for further study of cultural nuances
and gender influences with regards to the relationship between parenting and academic

Local research has also sought to examine how parenting characteristics may influence outcomes
beyond childhood or adolescence. For example, Parcon (2011) sought to investigate the
relationship between mothers' and fathers' parenting characteristics on Filipino young adults'


patterns of attachment. Defined as an enduring affective bond characterized by a tendency to

seek and maintain proximity to a specific figure (Bowlby, 1969), attachment can be described in
terms of four distinct categories of attachment orientation: secure attachment style,
preoccupied/anxious attachment style, dismissing-avoidant attachment style, and fearfulavoidant attachment style. Using questionnaire data from Filipino young adults based in Metro
Manila, Parcon studied the relationship between individuals' retrospective perceptions of their
mothers' and fathers' parenting characteristics (specifically warmth, rejection, and inconsistency)
and their attachment orientation. Perceived parenting characteristics were found to be associated
with young adults' attachment orientation; further, this relationship was modified by parents' (but
not childrens) gender. The study's results support the importance of warm and responsive care
in securing optimal attachment development (Parcon, p. 131): Mothers' perceived warmth
predicted lower anxiety attachment, while fathers' perceived inconsistency predicted higher
anxiety attachment. Meanwhile, avoidance attachment appeared to be influenced by fathers' (but
not mothers') parenting characteristics, with fathers' perceived rejection predicting higher
avoidance attachment. Noting that being a disciplinarian is among the roles expected of fathers
in the context of Philippine culture, Parcon suggested that children may experience corporal
punishment by their fathers as a form of rejection, which could consequently lead them to
develop a negative view of others as a potential source of hurt.

Parenting characteristics such as support and control may also influence processes that are linked
with mental health outcomes. Pesigan and colleagues (2014) examined the links between
parenting characteristics, identity processes, and mental health outcomes in Filipino late
adolescents and young adults using the dual-process model of identity (Luyckx, Goossens,


Soenens, and Beyers, 2006). This model describes four dimensions of identity commitment and
exploration: commitment-making (CM) or the degree to which individuals have made decisions
about identity-relevant issues; identification with commitment (IC) or the degree to which
individuals have identified with and internalized their choices; exploration in breadth (EB) or the
process of searching for different alternatives in ideals, goals, and values before forming
commitments; exploration in depth (ED) or the evaluation of existing commitments to ensure
that they resemble one's internal standards. It also incorporates ruminative exploration (RE), a
maladaptive component of exploration that characterizes individuals with elevated levels of
anxiety and depression who get stuck in the identity formation process. Parental support was
significantly positively associated with adolescents' and young adults' psychological well-being
and identity processes, including commitment-making, identification with commitment, and
exploration in depth. On the other hand, parental control had a significant positive association
with adolescents' and young adults' ruminative exploration, and a significant negative association
with psychological well-being.

Of course, even constructs as seemingly simple and universal as parental support and control
may be associated with different meanings and practices across various cultures. In a study that
spanned thirteen cultural groups in nine different countries, Deater-Deckard and colleagues
(2011) examined cross-cultural differences in the correlation between two parenting
characteristics: parental warmth and parental control. Parental warmth, which includes parents'
affection and acceptance of their children, is generally seen as a positive dimension of parenting;
parental control, which refers to actions intended to modify children's thoughts, emotions, and
behaviors, may be more culturally variable with respect to its normativeness and meanings.


Using questionnaires and interviews with children and parents, the researchers compared the
correlations between parental control and warmth among cultural groups in China, Colombia,
Italy, Jordan, Kenya, the Philippines (specifically, Metro Manila), Sweden, Thailand, and the US.
Greater parental warmth was associated with more parental control for most of the cultural
groups, including the Philippines. However, correlations between warmth and control varied
widely across cultural groups, ranging from strongly positive associations to near zero and even
negative (albeit not statistically significant) associations. Deater-Deckard and colleagues
emphasized the need to consider the cultural variation in the meanings associated by children and
parents with parenting practices, particularly behaviors related to parental control, in studying the
outcomes associated with these practices.

The previously summarized research literature has yielded important insights on patterns of
parenting characteristics and styles among Filipino parents as well as their influence on
children's academic outcomes, identity development, and psychological well-being. These
studies primarily focus on the perceived and self-reported behaviors of parents, but do not say
much about the dynamics of the relationships between Filipino parents and their children. The
next section reviews research that explores several aspects of Filipino parent-child relationships,
including communication, conflict, and cohesion.

Parent-child relationships and interactions

Although parenting characteristics and styles influence children's development outcomes in
different domains, parenting is not a one-way street: parents and children interact and relate with
each other in ways that change throughout the life course. Parents and children engage in play,


talk about their day-to-day activities and concerns, and negotiate the shifting boundaries of
autonomy, sometimes experiencing conflict in the process. In light of robust empirical findings
on the impact of parent-child interactions and relationships on children's development,
researchers have explored various themes regarding Filipino parent-child relationships, including
child-parent communication (Lising, 2008); conflict and cohesion in Filipino-Chinese families
(Shao, 2013), transnational families and the experiences of children of OFW parents (Parreas,
2005); Taylor, 2008), and parents' interactions with children with disabilities (Santos &
McCollum, 2007).

Most of the research on Filipino parent-child relationships within the past ten years appears to
have focused on those involving adolescents, perhaps because of common perceptions of
adolescence as a developmental stage characterized by conflict. For instance, Alino (2012) aimed
to develop a Filipino parent-adolescent relationship scale that would measure the three
dimensions of parent-adolescent relationships described by Steinberg and Silk (2002): Autonomy
(the adolescents capacity to make independent decisions and follow through with them),
Conflict, (the extent to which the parent-adolescent relationship is contentious and hostile), and
Harmony (the extent to which the parent-adolescent relationship is warm, involved, and
emotionally close). Data from a sample of Metro Manila-based teenagers confirmed (?) the
measure's validity and reliability. Alino also found high mean scores for the Harmony subscale
and low mean scores for the Conflict subscale, suggesting that Filipino parents and their children
are likely to remain close and connected during adolescence. In addition, Alino found a
significant positive correlation between the Autonomy and Harmony subscales and a significant
negative correlation between the Autonomy and Conflict subscales, suggesting that parental


recognition of adolescent children's independence is associated with more harmonious, less

hostile relationships. These findings appear to echo those reviewed in the previous section on
parenting characteristics and styles which similarly underscored the importance of parental
autonomy (Bernardo & Ujano-Batangan, 2007; Pesigan et al., 2014).

Another recently published study that focused on relationship dynamics between parents and
adolescents was Shao's (2013) research on parent-adolescent conflict, family cohesion and
autonomy in Chinese-Filipino families. In particular, Shao sought to examine whether there are
differences in patterns of conflict, cohesion, and autonomy across age and gender in ChineseFilipino adolescents residing in the vicinity of Chinatown in Metro Manila. High school and
college students of Chinese-Filipino ethnicity (defined as holding Filipino citizenship, and with
either one or both parents being Chinese by blood) completed measures of parent-adolescent
conflict, perceived family cohesion, and adolescent autonomy. Her overall findings paint a
generally positive picture of parent-adolescent relationships in Chinese-Filipino families: results
showed that the frequency of parent-adolescent conflict was relatively low, occurring once a
month or less on average. Further, adolescents reported the use of positive problem-solving most
frequently and conflictive engagement least frequently. Overall measures of family cohesion
yielded moderate results, suggesting that Chinese-Filipino adolescents perceived their overall
family relationship as neither too close nor too distant.

At the same time, Shao's findings also underscore the importance of taking into consideration
factors that may be culturally meaningful in parent-adolescent dynamics, such as age and gender.
For instance, although there were no significant gender differences in overall conflict frequency,


both parent's and child's gender seemed to influence the dynamics of parent-adolescent
relationships: adolescents reported significantly more frequent conflict with their mothers than
with their fathers, and male participants reported significantly higher conflict frequency with
fathers than did female participants.

According to Shao, these patterns might reflect the integration of more gender-egalitarian views
of socialization among Chinese families in the Philippines; at the same time, they suggest that
certain traditional expectations regarding the roles of sons in Chinese families (such as
supporting their parents in their old age and carrying on the family name) might continue to be
endorsed by at least some parents. Gender differences were also observed in adolescents'
autonomy orientation, with female adolescents reporting significantly higher levels of relating
autonomy (defined as a capacity for specifying interdependent self-identity decisions, and
defining interdependent self-identity goals with a feeling of identification and meaningfulness)
but not individuating autonomy (defined as a capacity for specifying independent self-identity
options, making independent self-identity goals with a confident and meaningful feeling in those
choices and goals) compared to male adolescentspossibly reflecting gendered cultural
expectations of girls as more nurturing and caring.

Age also appeared to influence parent-child relationships; pre-adolescents (sixth-grade students

about 11-12 years old) reported significantly higher levels of conflict than did early adolescents
(second year high school students about 13-15 years old), middle adolescents (fourth year high
school students about 16-18 years old), and late adolescents (college students about 19-21 years
old). These findings highlight the complexity of parent-child interactions and relationships, and


the need for researchers and practitioners to be sensitive to the diversity in cultural backgrounds
of different Filipino families.

Of course, adolescence is not the only developmental phase during which parent-child dynamics
are of critical importance. Decades of empirical research, mostly within Western cultural
contexts, show that parent-child interactions during even the earliest years of childhood can
influence children's cognitive and socio-emotional development (e.g. Bornstein, 2002; Wolff &
van Uzendoorn, 1997). Santos and McCollum (2008) sought to expand on these findings by
exploring the characteristics and contexts of daily interactions between Filipino mothers of
infants and toddlers with and without disabilities. Using qualitative analysis of transcripts from
open-ended interviews with Filipino mothers based in the Metro Manila area, Santos and
McCollum observed more similarities than differences between the two groups of mothers, with
parent-child interaction such as play behaviors and interactions during daily routines emerging as
a natural part of everyday life (p. 256). However, the authors also observed a number of
differences between the two groups of mothers: for instance, in comparison to mothers of
children without disabilities, mothers of children with disabilities were more likely to emphasize
their roles as their child's director or teacher, were less likely to talk about playing with their
children, and were more likely to cite professionals as a source of information on how to interact
with their children.

These findings might indicate that in the context of having a child with disabilities, parent-child
interactions might be framed in terms of what the specific child needs (i.e. therapeutic goals)
rather than in terms of what children in general need, or what the parent and child do for fun.


The authors also noted that these findings were more pronounced among mothers of children
with more obvious disabilities such as Down syndrome or autism, suggesting that there might be
more shame associated with having children with obvious disabilities. Given the greater
reliance on input from professionals observed among mothers of children with disabilities,
Santos and McCollum called on practitioners and therapists to make an effort understand the
family's perspectives and cultural context before engaging in interventions.

Beyond individual factors such as age, gender, and disability status, parent-child relationships are
also shaped by broader social forces such as economic conditions. Among Filipino families, one
salient example of this is the growing number of children whose parents are overseas foreign
workers (OFWs), or transnational families. Recent estimates suggest that approximately nine
million Filipino children grow up geographically separated from their father, mother or both with
one or both parents being migrant workers (Parreas, 2005). This non-traditional family structure
and the ways in which it affects parent-child relationships has been the focus of several research
investigations within the past ten years, most of which have looked primarily at this experience
from the perspective of young adult children in transnational families (Parreas, 2005a; Parreas,
2005b; Taylor, 2008).

For instance, Parreas (2005a, 2005b) conducted interviews with young adult children in motheraway transnational families to explore their relations with their OFW mothers. In these studies,
Parreas found that migrant mothers rely on multiple modes of communication including text
messages, phone calls, letters, and balikbayan boxes to maintain a sense of intimacy despite
spatial and temporal distances. Thus, migrant mothers not only provide financial support through


remittances but are also able to provide emotional support. However, Parreas underscored the
ways in which traditional gender roles persist even within the non-traditional structure of
transnational families: in mother-away transnational families, most fathers rarely did housework,
relying instead on female relatives, daughters, and/or paid domestic help to do the work left
behind by their wives. Further, most young adult children did not perceive their fathers as a
potential source of emotional support and guidance, preferring to turn to their migrant mothers or
other female relatives instead. In follow-up interviews, fathers of young adult children in motheraway households also expressed the view that their role in parenting was primarily to instill
discipline, and that nurturing or caring work should still be women's work.

On the other hand, somewhat different themes emerged from Taylor's (2008) analysis of adult
childrens perceptions of their experiences of parenting within Filipino transnational families. In
this study, adult children were somewhat more likely to perceive their relationship with their
overseas parent as emotionally distant and to describe their relationship with their present parent
as stronger. They also emphasized their recognition of the sacrifices made both by their overseas
parent and their present parent, and felt that they had developed a greater sense of autonomy and
resilience due to their experience of growing up in a transnational family. In contrast to Parreas'
findings with regards to gendered division of labor, adult children of mother-away families in
Taylor's study mostly reported that their fathers performed household tasks that are traditionally
viewed as feminine, such as cooking and caring for children. However, Taylor noted that her
study relied on a much smaller sample size that was mostly composed of middle-class young
adults who were college students or recent graduates, possibly limiting the generalizability of her


Both parenting styles and parent-child relationships are informed by parents attitudes, beliefs,
and other cognitions regarding parenting. However, less empirical attention has been directed
towards the cognitive aspect of parenting in Filipino families. The next section summarizes two
papers that examine Filipino parents' attitudes, attributions, and beliefs with regards to parenting
(Pea-Alampay & Jocson, 2011; Schulze, 2004).

Parenting cognitions: Attitudes, beliefs, and attributions

As developmental psychologists have pointed out, understanding parenting cognitions is integral
to efforts to investigate socialization practices and children's developmental outcomes (Grusec,
Rudy, & Martini, 1997; Pea-Alampay & Jocson, 2011). Mothers' and fathers' parenting
attitudes, goals, knowledge, and attributions about success and failure, among others, can shape
their child-rearing practices and the ways they interact with their children. However, most
investigations of parenting cognitions in the Philippines have tended to rely on intuitive ways of
describing culturally shared family values. Within the past ten years, few researchers have
examined parenting cognitions using empirical methods (Pea-Alampay & Jocson, 2011;
Schulze, 2004).

In a 2004 review article, Schulze discussed previous research on Filipino mothers' beliefs about
parenting in light of ongoing questions about the usefulness of the individualismcollectivism
construct in cross-cultural research in psychology. In particular, Schulze cited one of her earlier
studies which compared Anglo-American and first-generation Filipino-American mothers


socialization goals and beliefs about the roles of other adults in disciplining their children
(Schulze, 1995). Consistent with the popular notion that Filipino culture is collectivistic while
Western culture is individualistic, Schulze found that Filipino mothers responded more positively
to other adults disciplining their children even in their presence, demonstrating a seeming
willingness to allow other adults to play a role in disciplining their children. Cultural differences
in socialization goals also appeared to bolster the individualism-collectivism construct: whereas
Filipino mothers emphasized respectfulness, Anglo-American mothers tended to highlight
autonomy and empathy. On the other hand, Schulze also found in the same study that Filipino
mothers placed greater value on their children's achievements than American mothers did. The
author argued that although this finding appeared to contradict the notion of a collectivistic
Filipino culture, it could be an instance of a seemingly individualistic belief serving collectivist
goals such as bringing prestige and economic security to the whole family. Although the studies
cited in Schulze's review were somewhat dated, her discussion of the implications of these
findings posed a challenge to cross-cultural researchers to move beyond dichotomous views of
culture and to incorporate dimensions of cultural differences beyond collectivism and

This need for a nuanced understanding of cultural differences in parenting cognitions was also
highlighted in a more recent study by Pea-Alampay and Jocson (2011). Using questionnaire and
interview data from Filipino mothers and fathers based in Quezon City, the authors sought to
investigate the relationship between Filipino mothers and fathers attitudes (described as either
progressive or traditional), and their attributions about successes and failures in caregiving
situations. Results showed that mothers scored more highly on modernity (encouraging greater


independence and expression in their children) compared to fathers. At the same time, mothers
and fathers were similar in their endorsement of authoritarian attitudes, which emphasize the
importance of respect and obedience towards elders. The authors noted that this coexistence of
traditional and modern attitudes among mothers not only showed that these attitudes are not
necessarily mutually exclusive, but also highlighted the multiplicity of influences on parents in
our changing culture. In addition, Pea-Alampay and Jocson found that both mothers and fathers
were more likely to attribute failure situations as adult- rather than child-controlled. According to
the authors, this might reflect the emphasis in Filipino culture on adults need to control
childrens behaviors in instances when children misbehave.

As mentioned earlier, parents cognitions such as attitudes, beliefs and attributions can contribute
to their specific parenting behaviors. In the succeeding section, the specific socialization
practices of parents will be examined in greater depth.

Parental Socialization Practices

Parenting practices may be geared toward achieving very specific goals, such as delaying
gratification. This link was examined by De Guzman-Capulong (2004) in a study conducted
among 7-year-old children and their mothers based in Quezon City, Metro Manila. Mothers were
asked to answer a scale on maternal practices socializing children to delay gratification,
particularly setting rules and compromising, explanation, and discipline. Children of the top 20
and bottom 20 scorers were selected for the delay of gratification task, where they were asked to
wait for 15 minutes before they could get a preferred prize. Contrary to expectations, maternal
socialization did not have a significant relationship with the ability to delay gratification (i.e.,


wait the full 15 minutes). However, differences did arise among children who were unable to
wait for the entire duration (i.e., non-delayers). In particular, non-delayers with high maternal
socialization of delay behavior were able to wait significantly longer for their preferred reward
compared to non-delayers with low maternal socialization. Thus, maternal socialization of delay
behaviors appeared to have at least achieved some of its desired effect in these children.

Specific practices, particularly the use of television in rewarding and punishing children, have
also been examined in other research (Molina, 2008). This study found that television viewing is
sometimes used as a reward for childrens good behaviors. Conversely, parents also remove
television viewing privileges when their children misbehave. However, the study pointed out that
in doing so, parents sometimes fail to supervise their childrens television viewing, and allow
them to continue viewing despite the parental guidance (PG) rating of a particular program.
Little action is taken even when programs feature themes that are inappropriate for children and
thus run the risk of influencing them negatively. The exception to this lack of parental guidance
occurs when there are sexually explicit scenes are shown on television. In this case, parents opt
to change the channel. With this study, it becomes apparent that some parenting practices may
actually work against parents goal of socializing their childrens positive behaviors. Thus, the
study recommends parents greater mindfulness and guidance to ensure that children are kept
away from these negative influences and taught to be more critical of what they see on

Other research takes a broader approach, focusing on a wider range of practices used by parents
to socialize their childrens moral (Ochoa, 2014) and prosocial behaviors (de Leon, 2012); that


is, to teach their children to become good persons. Both studies were qualitative, with de Leons
research focusing on preschoolers parents, and Ochoas including children in middle childhood
to early adolescence and their respective mothers. Although the studies had different participants
and examined different stages of the lifespan, they yielded a similar repertoire of parenting
practices, albeit with different classifications.

De Leon classified parental socialization practices based on whether they were physical, verbal,
and cognitive. Verbal practices include affirmation and reminders to increase positive behaviors,
or speaking harsh words to reduce negative behaviors, with the direction only from parent to
child. In contrast, cognitive practices consist of discussions with the child to assist them in
understanding what is wrong with a particular behavior, and involve bidirectional interaction
between parent and child. Meanwhile, physical practices include hitting, spanking, pinching,
pulling ears, slapping the child in order to reduce negative behaviors.

Parental socialization practices can also be understood along two dimensions: verbal and
behavioral, and punitive and non-punitive (Ochoa, 2014). Non-punitive verbal practices include
direct instruction, explanation, correction, and pointing out other children as an example. Nonpunitive behavioral practices, meanwhile, involve modeling, setting rules, monitoring the child,
assigning responsibilities, direct assistance, and stopping the misbehaving child. In contrast,
punitive verbal practices include scolding, threatening, cursing, and shouting, and are the most
commonly reported practices by both mothers and children. Among punitive behavioral practices
are spanking, pinching, putting chili on lips, flicking (pitik), punching, and beating.


While de Leon focuses on the direction of the interaction, and Ochoa highlights the effect on the
child, both studies clearly distinguish the use of physical punishment from other socialization
practices. Such practices were commonly mentioned in both studies, even if parents admit that
they would rather not use these harsh methods. However, there were certain conditions when
these physical punishments were more likely to be used. In both studies, parents claimed to use
these punishments when verbal reminders were no longer sufficient, and when the childs
misbehavior was severe. Working mothers were more likely to use physical punishment, perhaps
because of the stress experienced with their dual responsibilities (de Leon, 2012). Parents were
also more likely to use this form of discipline among younger children, whom they believed were
less able to understand their explanations. This was corroborated by the childrens reports, as 7to 9-year-olds mention spanking more frequently as a practice used by their parents compared to
other age groups (Ochoa, 2014).

In both studies, discipline and corporal punishment feature prominently, even if the researchers
did not intentionally focus on these. This suggests the centrality of discipline in Filipino parents
practices to socialize their childrens good behaviors, and the normativeness of corporal
punishment within the local setting. In the succeeding section, discipline and corporal
punishment will be discussed at greater length.

Discipline and Corporal Punishment

Recent research on Filipino parents use discipline and corporal punishment stemmed from
international efforts. This is apparent in the studies discussed in this section, all of which were
part of large-scale research projects conducted among several countries in Southeast Asia and the


Pacific (Save the Children, 2006) and around the world (Gershoff, et. al., 2010; Jocson, Alampay,
& Lansford, 2012; Lansford, et. al., 2005). Such international collaborations reflect the
increasing attention to the use of corporal punishment, and the need to understand and address
the issues tied to it.

The study by Save the Children (2006) examined childrens experiences of corporal punishment
in Cambodia, Fiji, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Korea, Mongolia, the Philippines and Vietnam, with
over 3,000 children and 1,000 adults as participants. It is worth noting that the research used
creative methods such as drawings, body maps, essays, sentence completion, and diaries. They
also made sure to balance the negative feelings brought about by the discussion of punishment
by ending the sessions with a focus on the positive aspect of the childrens lives. Protocols and
networks were also established beforehand to ensure that instances of abuse may be addressed.
Such practices provide an exemplar for ensuring not just the quality of data but also adherence to
strict ethical standards in corporal punishment research.

Across the region, the most commonly used punishments were direct physical assaults, with
indirect physical assaults and verbal attacks as secondary methods of punishment. Adults often
use implements to carry out such physical punishment. A small number of children within each
country report that they were not punished. However, this is likely to mean that they were not
physically punished, as children tend not to report emotional punishment. The setting for the
punishment also matters - public punishment increases likelihood of humiliation, while private
punishment may increase fear. These punishments are likely to be carried out when children
engage in bad behaviors, fail to obey their parents orders, or fail to perform academic or


household tasks. However, children also reported being punished for no reason other than anger
or irritation of adults. In the Philippine sample, children are more likely to be punished for failing
to obey their parents, and for trivial reasons such as persistent requests for money and
accidentally breaking objects.

Punishments may vary depending on the childs age. In particular, younger children, especially
boys are more likely to receive direct assaults, while older children, especially girls are more
likely to receive verbal abuse and humiliation or less severe measures such as grounding. This
physical punishment is more likely to be enforced by parents, especially mothers. However,
older siblings and grandparents may also sometimes punish children. Filipino adults report
experiencing negative feelings toward physical punishment, but continue to use this form of
discipline anyway. This may create cognitive dissonance in adults, which they address through
their justification of punishment as a demonstration of love.

The previous study suggests that corporal punishment is a widely used discipline practice in
Southeast Asia and the Pacific, including the Philippines. Parents use of this harsh practice can
be better understood by examining their cognitions about it. This is precisely what Jocson and
colleagues (2012) set out to do in their research examining parental cognitions (i.e., authoritarian
attitudes and endorsement of corporal punishment) and parental education as possible predictors
of Filipino parents use of corporal punishment. The research, which is part of the larger
Parenting Across Cultures project, made use of structured interviews with 117 mothers or mother
figures and 98 fathers or father figures, collected in two waves one year apart. Separate analyses
were also done with mothers and fathers responses to distinguish possible differences in the


relationships among the variables.

Indeed, parents educational attainment was associated with parental cognitions, particularly
authoritarian attitudes toward children. That is, parents with higher educational attainment held
less authoritarian attitudes toward their children. Parental education was also indirectly linked to
actual corporal punishment use via authoritarian attitudes for mothers, and endorsement of
corporal punishment among fathers. It is possible that this difference resides in mothers wider
range of child-rearing responsibilities, such that their general parenting attitudes are more likely
to influence their parenting behaviors compared to specific attitudes about discipline. In contrast,
fathers were involved in specific child-rearing domains, so their particular cognitions about
discipline (i.e., endorsement of corporal punishment) weighed more heavily in their actual
behaviors. Given these findings, the study highlighted the importance of cognitive factors acting
as a link between education and actual parenting behavior, particularly corporal punishment.
Thus, interventions to prevent harsh discipline practices among parents could target their
attitudes and beliefs about their children.

Another important cognitive factor to consider is the perceived normativeness of certain

discipline practices, particularly as a moderator between discipline practices and child aggression
and anxiety (Gershoff, et. al., 2010; Lansford, et. al., 2005). The studies included both mothers
and children from China, India, Italy, Kenya, the Philippines and Thailand, and collected data
using orally administered questionnaires. However, the studies differed in the forms of discipline
examined: Gershoff and colleagues (2010) included a variety of discipline techniques to identify
which ones had the strongest associations with childrens aggressive and anxious behaviors,


while Lansford and colleagues focused only on physical punishment and its link to anxiety and

Gershoff, et. al. (2010) found that more frequent use of corporal punishment, expression of
disappointment, and yelling or scolding are linked to higher levels of child aggression. On the
other hand, giving a time out, using corporal punishment, expressing disappointment, and
shaming were associated with higher levels of child anxiety. However, some country differences
emerged: There was a stronger relationship between expression of disappointment and motherrated aggression in the samples from China, Italy, the Philippines, and Thailand than from
Kenya. With these findings, we see that the use of harsh discipline techniques is indeed
associated with negative outcomes.

However, as the researchers hypothesized, perceived normativeness of these practices played a

moderating role. In particular, childrens perceived normativeness of corporal punishment,
expression of disappointment, and yelling or scolding moderated their relationship with child
behavior, with the relationship weakened when children perceived these practices as normative.
However, it must be noted that the direction was not reversed, so that the associations between
these harsh practices and negative outcomes were still present. In contrast, mothers perception
of normativeness of expression of disappointment moderated its effect on child-reported anxiety.
Thus, mother and child perceptions of normativeness may serve different functions on child
behavior outcomes.


Focusing specifically on physical punishment, Lansford, et. al. (2005) found that use and
normativeness of such practices varied among countries, with Kenya and Italy having the highest
frequency and normativeness of physical discipline, followed by India and the Philippines, and
then China and Thailand. These country-specific findings also highlight the significant
relationship between use and normativeness of physical punishment, both in mother and child
reports. The role of normativeness as a mediator was similar to Gershoff et. al.s (2010) findings:
perceived normativeness moderated the relationship between physical discipline and child
anxiety and aggression. As with the aforementioned study, negative child behavior outcomes
remained regardless of the normativeness of physical punishment. Children's perceptions of
normativeness also appeared to be a stronger moderator between use of physical discipline and
child adjustment than do mothers' reports of normativeness. This suggests that children's
cognitive interpretations of discipline events might be more important than parents'
interpretations in determining how the event will relate to children's adjustment.

In sum, both studies shed light on the role of cultural normativeness in the relationship between
physical punishment and child adjustment. However, they also highlight the potential problems
in using physical discipline even in contexts in which it is normative. Thus, we find that harsh
discipline practices pose serious threats to child development across cultural contexts.

From Discipline to Abuse

The impact of harsh discipline on child development becomes even more alarming when
parenting practices cross the vaguely defined line between discipline and abuse. Although
physical abuse tends to call greater attention due to the evident damage that it causes, verbal


abuse is also a serious matter that must be addressed in both research and interventions. One
such study focuses on different types of verbal abuse used by parents of Filipino adolescents
(Loh, Calleja, & Restubog, 2010). Respondents, consisting of students, parents, and guidance
counselors, were asked to list down words or phrases uttered by parents that might inflict
emotional pain or distress on adolescents. Through content analysis of the responses, several
categories of verbal abuse were found: put downs and shaming, rejection, blaming, fault
exaggerating, threat, invoking harm, regret, unfair comparison, and negative prediction. Put
downs and shaming, which reduce the childs self-worth was overwhelmingly the most common
type. This may be used as a method of social control, discouraging independence and inducing
anxiety, thus pressuring adolescents to adhere to norms set by their parents.

To better understand how adolescents deal with verbal abuse, Esteban (2006) created a scale to
measure the extent of verbal abuse experienced and coping mechanisms used by 294 college
students. Interviews were also conducted among 24 of those identified as highly verbally abused
to deepen and validate the survey findings. Silence was the most preferred coping mechanism
among the participants, with females more likely to quietly endure and rationalize incidents of
parental abuse. Participants also turned to media consumption and creative extracurricular
activities to get a sense of relief. In contrast, using humor and turning to an intermediary in
communicating with ones parent were less common coping strategies. It is notable that while
students considered these experiences of abuse as normal, they still expressed feeling sadness,
pain, fear, frustration, and lowered self-esteem as a result of this. These findings suggest that
verbal abuse is associated with internalizing behaviors among adolescents. However, as the
studies in the previous section highlighted (Gershoff, et. al., 2010; Lansford, et. al., 2005), child


aggression is also linked to the use of harsh parenting practices, regardless of whether these
practices were labeled as abusive or not.

Parenting Risks and Resources

Thus far, this review has consistently shown that use of harsh discipline practices indeed
increases the likelihood of childrens negative developmental outcomes. Parents themselves
acknowledge that these practices may not necessarily be best for their children even if they
continue to use them (de Leon, 2012; Ochoa, 2014; Save the Children, 2006). In this section of
the review, we identify the risks that increase parents likelihood of using harsh discipline, and
discuss some promising programs that aimed to improve parenting practices.

Parenting Risks
One such study under the Parenting Across Cultures project examined child externalizing
behaviors, stressful life events, and parental efficacy as predictors of parental hostility and
aggression (Garcia, 2012). Parental hostility and aggression was measured through the hostility
subscale of the Parental Acceptance-Rejection/Control Questionnaire, which includes items on
harsh discipline, punitiveness, coercion, and physical and verbal aggression. Through separate
analyses of mothers and fathers responses, different paths toward parental hostility and
aggression were uncovered.

Among mothers, only child externalizing behavior significantly predicted parental hostility and
aggression. In contrast, a more complex interplay of variables was observed among fathers.
Child externalizing behaviors and stressful life events significantly predicted parental hostility


and aggression, and low to moderate levels of parental efficacy interacted with stressful life
events in predicting hostility and aggression. The role of parental stressors may be more apparent
among fathers, as they experience more pressure to provide financially for the family. In
contrast, frequent interactions between mothers and their children bring the childs behavior to
the fore, making it most influential in their mothers choice of discipline practices. The absence
of any effects in relation to parental efficacy is also worth noting. The researcher suggests that
this may be due to the measure used, which did not specifically examine how parents handled
childrens externalizing behaviors. This may also be attributable to the presence of strong support
systems among Filipino parents, which may help parents deal with their children during
moments where they lack confidence in their parenting skills. Overall, these results highlight the
reciprocal nature of child-rearing, as parents influence their childrens developmental outcomes,
while also being influenced by their childrens behaviors.

Beyond parent-child interactions and parents experiences of stress, the neighborhood context
may also play a role in parenting practices. This is precisely what Skinner and colleagues (2014)
explored in another study within the Parenting Across Cultures project. In particular, they
examined the link between neighborhood danger and child aggression, with parental monitoring
as moderator and harsh parenting as mediator. The research collected reports from mothers,
fathers, and children alike, with a total of 1,293 families (103 from the Philippines) participating.
Data from each source was analyzed separately, and yielded a number of noteworthy findings.
For one, as the researchers predicted, neighborhood danger and aggression were significantly
related. However, parental monitoring did not appear to moderate this relationship. According to
child reports, harsh discipline mediated the relationship between neighborhood danger and child


aggression; perceived neighborhood danger was significantly related to the use of harsh
discipline, which was in turn linked to child aggression. In contrast, parent reports showed less
consistent relationships across countries. In the Philippine sample, mothers perceptions of
neighborhood danger did not have any significant relationship with use of harsh parenting. These
differences in the results depending on parent and child reports emphasize the importance of
considering multiple informants in research.

Certain populations are more likely to experience parental stress and neighborhood danger.
Perhaps most vulnerable are those families living in poverty. Stressors abound with the difficulty
to make ends meet, a typically larger family size compared to non-poor families (Orbeta, 2005),
and concern about both danger and negative influences in their neighborhood (Ochoa, 2014).
Thus, it comes as no surprise that parenting programs are likely to target these vulnerable

Parenting Resources
One such program is the Parent Effectiveness Service (PES), which aims to strengthen families
to help them transcend poverty-associated risks (Del Castillo, 2009). It is also meant to serve as a
venue to identify and assess family functioning that may need social work intervention. The PES
was implemented among fathers and mothers belonging to low income groups in three rural
barangays. There were three batches of participants, with each batch composed of eight to 15
couples. The program consisted of nine modules, based on UNICEFs Manual on Effective
Parenting: myself as a person and a parent, the Filipino family, challenges of parenting, child
development, keeping your child safe from abuse, building childrens positive behavior, health


and nutrition, home management, and keeping a healthy environment for your children. In an
evaluation, parents said that the PES sessions were beneficial because of the relief from stress
that these brought, and the learning and discovery about themselves and their families. However,
the study did not elaborate on actual parenting outcomes as a result of the program. It also
emphasized that family values and parenting programs need to be integrated with other concrete
services rather than being just a stand-alone program.

An example of such a program comes from UNICEF Philippines, which developed materials for
parent education to improve child care and development (Al-Hassan, 2009). Aside from the
Manual on Effective Parenting, which was described in the previous study, other materials
include a Resource Book on Responsible and Effective Parenting for Children in Need of Special
Protection, Female Functional Literacy Manuals, School-on-the-Air on Early Childhood Care
and Development (ECCD), Integrated Counseling Cards for Maternal and Child Health, and
Empowerment and Reaffirmation of Paternal Abilities (ERPAT). The messages and content of
these materials focus not only on parenting, but also address important issues of health and
safety, sanitation, education, psychosocial emotional development, and child abuse prevention.
Likewise, it also calls for cooperation at different levels (i.e., UNICEF, government ministries,
and NGOs), and implementation involves various settings, particularly the home, parent
meetings, community centers, health centers, and clinics. They also aim to reach the most
disadvantaged families in their target areas. What is notable about the program is the
comprehensiveness of the materials, as well as their dual purpose of guiding both service
providers and parents. Materials are also culturally sensitive, aiming to integrate and strengthen
local child-rearing practices and customs. However, the program still needs to expand its


coverage, and evaluate its outcomes through assessment of parents knowledge, attitudes, and
practices as well as their response and feedback.

Another intervention showing promise is the Healthy Start Program initiated by the Consuelo
Foundation and implemented by partner organizations around the country (ARNEC, 2011).
Being an ECCD program, Healthy Start targets families with either a pregnant female or a child
aged 0 to 3, and begins interventions at the prenatal period. At the time of the report, the program
served 444 partner families from marginalized sectors, including the urban poor, slum dwellers,
rural communities, indigenous peoples, and a religious minority within a conflict area. Target
areas included NCR, Northern Cordillera, Baguio, Maguindanao, and Saranggani, spanning five
municipalities and 42 barangays.

Healthy Start is a home-visiting program promoting positive parenting behaviors and reducing
environmental risks through parental education on child development, supporting healthy
development and learning through provision of games and activities, improving relationships
within families, and increasing access to services (i.e., social, medical, or employment) for the
family. Through this program, several improvements have been observed among target families.
In relation to child-rearing, positive practices such as breastfeeding, establishment of daily
routines, time for stimulation and play, and use of non-violent discipline methods showed an
increase. Likewise, there was an improvement in sharing of parenting responsibilities between
parents, and understanding of early childhood development. Family Support Workers, who
interact most with target families, also observed improvements not just in relation to the child,
but even in family dynamics.


There are several notable elements in Healthy Start: the inclusion of the prenatal stage of
development, focus on vulnerable, marginalized, and hard-to-reach populations, an empathic,
relational approach, use of developmental assessment, contextualization to the local community,
and strong partnerships among organizations, practitioners, LGUs, and within the community.
Still, the program faces a number of challenges, particularly in capacity-building among family
support workers, program evaluation, and sustainability. While the program focuses on early
childhood development, the practices mentioned in the report do provide directions for effective
parenting interventions. It is apparent here that influencing parenting practices requires strong
partnerships, and a systemic approach that looks not only at changing the behavior itself but the
contexts within which these behaviors occur.



The present review primarily sought to understand parenting, especially parent discipline
practices based on research done in the past 10 years. Parent discipline practices are undoubtedly
important to discuss, but the local material focusing mainly on discipline is still somewhat
limited. Still, there is much to be gained in trying to understand this area of parenting when we
recognize that such practices exist within a constellation of other aspects of parenting such as
parenting styles, parent-child relationships, and parenting cognitions.

The specific research topics investigated in the studies included in this review varied
considerably, with no observable trends emerging in the ten-year span covered by the review. As
seen in the review, there is still much attention given to parenting styles in the recent body of
work (e.g., Abarquez, 2009; Gilongos & Guarin, 2013), heavily influenced by research by
Baumrind (1989, 1991). Most of these studies assume a link between authoritative parenting
style, characterized by autonomy, emotional support, and high demands, and positive child
outcomes. However, other recent research has also been more critical of the relevance of such
conceptions of parenting, as Filipino children may have different interpretations of parental
control (Bernardo & Ujano-Batangan, 2007). Such research serves as a reminder that
predominant theories of parenting also need further reexamination in the Philippine context.

Aside from parenting styles, there is also a growing body of research on specific parenting
practices. However, it is important to acknowledge that the two are intertwined, with both
influenced by parents socialization goals for their children. Still, distinct differences exist


between the two. In particular, parenting practices are the behaviors that parents engage in to
achieve particular socialization goals for their children, while parenting styles represent parents
attitudes toward their children. Moreover, parenting styles creating the emotional climate for
specific parenting behaviors to occur, and moderate the influence of parenting practices on
developmental outcomes (Darling & Steinberg, 1993). Thus, examining the combination of these
two could yield a clearer understanding of parents influence on their childrens development
an endeavor that has yet to be explored in the local setting.

In the studies focusing on parental socialization, it is apparent that these behaviors are strongly
associated with discipline, even if there is actually a wide range of practices that parents may use
to raise their children (de Leon, 2012; Ochoa, 2014). Of the array of discipline practices used by
parents, corporal punishment is still common and deemed moderately normative among Filipinos
(Gershoff, et. al., 2010; Lansford, et. al., 2005; Save the Children, 2006). Still, parents do
experience conflict about its use, saying that they would rather not hurt the child. Thus, they may
rationalize the use of these harsh practices as an expression of love for the child (Save the
Children, 2006). There are also certain circumstances that are associated with corporal
punishment, such as the severity of the childs misdemeanor (de Leon, 2012), the frequency of
the childs externalizing behaviors (Garcia, 2012), and stressful contexts such as neighborhood
danger and poverty (Skinner, et. al., 2014). During less stressful instances, parents may be more
likely to turn to other discipline practices that are non-punitive and guide children both through
verbal and behavioral means (de Leon, 2012; Ochoa, 2014). This suggests that positive practices
already exist in parents discipline repertoire, but they may not always choose to use these.


Alongside this research on the use of various discipline practices are the studies that examine the
outcomes associated with harsh discipline practices. A striking finding in such research is the
link between corporal punishment and childrens anxiety and aggression (Gershoff, et. al., 2010;
Lansford, et. al., 2005). Though more studies are needed to further explore the child development
outcomes brought about by corporal punishment and discipline practices as a whole, these initial
findings do emphasize the need to promote more positive approaches to discipline. The research
discussed in this review also highlights that parental discipline and child development outcomes
are better understood in context be it of the parent-child relationship (Alino, 2012; Lising,
2008; Santos & McCollum, 2007), family (Shao, 2013; Taylor, 2008), neighborhood (Skinner, et.
al., 2014), socioeconomic (Ochoa, 2014), or cultural (Gershoff, et. al., 2010; Lansford, et. al.,
2005) context. Likewise, other factors such as parenting cognitions (Gershoff, et. al., 2010;
Jocson, Alampay, & Lansford, 2012; Lansford, et. al., 2005) and the childs behavior (Garcia,
2012) are also important areas in the research that contribute to our knowledge about parent
discipline practices. Several studies reviewed here also strive for a more holistic understanding
of parenting and child outcomes by including both parents and children as participants. In doing
so, such research allows for both corroboration and contradiction, and elucidation of the different
effects of child and parent beliefs on both parenting practices and child development (e.g.
Gershoff, et. al., 2010; Lansford, et. al., 2005).

As with these recent research trends that focus on multiple contexts and perspectives, successful
interventions discussed in the review also tend to be more holistic rather than focused solely on
teaching parents how to discipline their children. In particular, these programs help parents,


especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds, deal with other pressing issues that they are
faced with, such as health and sanitation, education, livelihood, or family relationships (AlHassan, 2009; ARNEC, 2011; Del Castillo, 2009). This is, once again, a reminder that discipline
practices do not exist in a vacuum. Rather, there are a multitude of factors that could influence
parenting, and addressing parents other concerns could positively impact on their parenting



The various research in this review points to directions for interventions seeking to promote
positive discipline practices. In particular, these programs must take into account that discipline
practices are embedded in the context of the family system. Thus, interventions cannot just focus
on teaching the practices, but also the contextual factors that influence the use of particular
discipline practices. One such factor that needs to be addressed is the stress experienced by
parents, not just in raising their children but also in other challenges that they face inside and
outside the home (de Leon, 2012; Garcia, 2012). Particular stressors may include experiences of
neighborhood danger and poverty (Ochoa, 2014; Skinner, et. al., 2014). Thus, before even
targeting their specific practices, programs may also assist parents in dealing with the various
stressors that may have an impact on their behaviors. Such interventions also need to be tailormade to suit the various contexts of the family, be it socioeconomic or cultural.

Aside from these external pressures, parents internal cognitions, such as their attitudes, beliefs,
and attributions may also have an impact on their choice of practices. One possible target for
change in parents cognitions could be their authoritarian attitudes and endorsement of corporal
punishment, which have been linked to their use of corporal punishment, albeit through different
paths for mothers and fathers (Jocson, et. al., 2012). In relation to this, training on parenting
styles could also be another approach, as this style sets the climate for childrens receptiveness to
the various socialization practices used by their parents (Darling & Steinberg, 1993). Programs
may also focus on facilitating communication between parent and child, training parents to
communicate in a non-confrontational manner, while also giving children an opportunity to


express their thoughts and feelings.

Moreover, interventions also have to account for the bidirectional influence of parents and
children on each other. Given this, interventions are likely to be more effective when they target
both parent and child behaviors. The directions in recent research have also increasingly
considered perspectives of both the parents and children. Thus, the basis for interventions can
also share a similar approach, ensuring that both parents and children are consulted and involved
in the design of programs. Likewise, childrens age and gender also need to be accounted for in
the creation of interventions to ensure that they are appropriate.

Whatever program organizations decide to adopt, it is of utmost importance to ensure that a

rigorous program evaluation is conducted throughout the process. An often-mentioned limitation
of the research on interventions is the lack of objective measures of their effectiveness. Thus,
clear, measurable objectives must be established, and baseline assessments of these behaviors
taken before the beginning of the program. Evaluation must also be done both during and after
the intervention, both in terms of feedback from stakeholders and actual changes in relation to
the objectives. By systematically assessing such programs, organizations can have a better grasp
of their effectiveness, and make better guided recommendations for succeeding interventions.

In addition to these recommendations for interventions, the review also points to directions for
future research on parenting and particularly discipline practices in the Philippines. For one,
many of the studies included in the review used a cross-sectional design, comparing associations
between parenting and developmental outcomes across different age groups. However, one
cannot assume causal relationships using such designs; longitudinal studies are necessary to be


able to do so. While a considerable number of studies in the review did make use of a
longitudinal design, these mainly came from the Parenting Across Cultures project (e.g., DeaterDeckard, 2011; Garcia, 2012; Jocson, et. al., 2012; Pea-Alampay & Jocson, 2011; Skinner, et.
al., 2014). The project certainly has its merits, especially with its use of such a design, rigorous
methodologies, and multiple informants. It has also contributed to both local and international
understanding of parenting in the Philippines. However, it is important to note that their
conclusions are based on a single urban sample based in Quezon City, which may not necessarily
be representative of the Filipino population. Much more can still be done to understand parenting
in other parts of the country.

Different areas of research on parenting may also still be further explored. For instance, much of
the work still focuses on parenting styles, but researchers also need to establish how children
perceive and attach meaning to these parenting styles (Bernardo & Ujano-Batangan, 2007).
Moreover, focusing on parenting styles may lead one to overlook the actual practices used. For
instance, studies in the review suggest that authoritative parenting appears to be predominant in
the Philippines. However, this seems to be in conflict with the prevalence of corporal
punishment. Research still needs to reconcile how a warm and structured parenting climate and
the use of harsh practices can coexist, and how these might influence childrens development.
Parenting styles and practices are also often examined separately, but given that parenting styles
act as the context for specific practices to be effective or ineffective, it may be more informative
to understand the interaction between the two in influencing child development.


While studies suggest that parents tend to use different practices depending on the age of the
child (de Leon, 2012; Ochoa, 2014; Save the Children, 2006), there is still a dearth of research
that systematically examines parent discipline practices and child development outcomes across
the stages of childhood and adolescence. Thus, researchers may also further explore such
differences, which may also better guide age-appropriate interventions. Finally, dealing with the
sensitive nature of information on child discipline also requires clearer ethical guidelines. After
all, it is possible for researchers to encounter instances of abuse; thus, they need to be better
prepared with protocols and referral systems for dealing with these possible cases.

Overall, research on parenting and discipline practices has taken great strides in the past ten
years. However, there is still more work to be done, both in terms of research and interventions
toward promoting more positive discipline practices among Filipino parents.



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Parenting in the Philippines :

Ochoa, Danielle; Torre, Beatriz

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