Improving parent-child relationships through Positive Discipline

A change in parenting style led to a closer relationship between Teresita and her two sons

Type: Story

 Teresita, 49, mother of two boys–Nolito, 22 and Francis, 13. They live in Matag-ob, Ormoc Philippines. She is one of the 4Ps beneficiaries’ who completed the Parenting Program of Save the Children in 2018.

Teresita’s husband works part-time in farms during harvest and planting season while Teresita works as washerwoman. Because of the nature of her husband’s work which is dependent on harvest cycles, Teresita serves as the primary breadwinner. With the pressure of providing for their family and taking care of the household chores, she is often tired and short-tempered which affects her relationship with her sons. The parenting program informed her about the Positive Discipline approach and how she can apply this to strengthen and develop her relationship with her sons.

“By attending the parenting program and committing to practice Positive Discipline, I can say that I am now very close to my sons, we even have golden moments and there has been a lot of positive changes in our household,” Teresita said.

“I used to be short-tempered due to my exhaustion from juggling work and attending to house chores. In addition to the tiredness, I felt frustrated when my sons are not listening to me and I have to repeatedly ask them to help me. They would always leave the house and I would end up calling and shouting their names as I try to look for them around the neighbourhood. I also felt sad that this is how our relationship was,” Teresita recalled.

Francis, 13, Teresita’s youngest son recalls, “Due to the tone of Mama’s voice whenever she talks to me, I felt like she is always angry and it made me feel distant and afraid that if I tell her anything she might get mad.”

“Nolito, my older brother and I were also not close due to our different interests in activities, he likes to dance while I like to draw and whenever I fail to follow his commands, he would pinch me,” Francis added.

“As I went on with the parenting program, I learned the importance of understanding your children and spending time with them. I also learned that disciplining your child need not to be dictatorial. I love my sons but the parenting program taught me how to better express my love to them, especially through showing empathy,” Teresita shared.

“I am very happy with the changes in our household, we now eat together and we would always talk to each other about our day before we pray and go to sleep. I also love our golden moments when she would draw with me. Nolito and I no longer fight also and the three of us would spend time to dance together and take videos of each other,” Francis said.

When asked how he would describe their family, Francis said, “It’s like our home is now filled with music, especially when we dance together, but most importantly, we now have love and harmony unlike before that the frequent thing you would hear from our house is the angry voice of Mama”.

“Every parent wants to give the best for their children and show that they love them, but sometimes we are too tired that we don’t notice we are passing on this stress to our children. Often, other parents and caregivers would ask me if it’s hard to change my parenting style and I would always tell them that it is a process that I share with my children and I can attest that once your children feel how much you love them, it will get a lot easier. Now, I no longer need to tell them what to do because they would initiate in helping me with the chores and whenever I am in the brink of losing my temper they would remind me on empathy. One of my personal success as a mother also is to see how we have strengthened our relationship and know that they would not hesitate to share their feelings with me and seek my advice,” Teresita said.

With the objective of enhancing outcomes for children from the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino program (4Ps), a national social protection program of the Philippine government, Save the Children has introduced a Parenting Program comprising 13 sessions in Western Leyte on a trial basis that lays specific emphasis on promoting a better parent-child relationship. The Parenting Program is a component of a 5-year project (2017-2021) which aims to improve the inclusion, design and delivery of 4Ps program, covering at least 1,600 families.

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