In a time of ‘pervasive’ violence, build ‘caring communities’ for children

Mara Cepeda

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In a time of ‘pervasive’ violence, build ‘caring communities’ for children
Clinical psychologist Maria Lourdes Carandang says parents should be good role models to their kids to counter what is happening in Philippine society today

MANILA, Philippines – Renowned clinical psychologist Maria Lourdes Carandang said it is crucial for parents to be mindful of how events under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte affect themselves and their children.

This was among the advice Carandang gave to parents as she delivered the 16th Jaime V Ongpin Annual Memorial Lecture on Public Service in Business and Government on Wednesday, October 25, at the Ateneo Professional Schools in Makati City.

Her lecture was titled “The Plight of Filipino Children: Filipino Children in Peril.”

According to the National Social Scientist, there is currently “pervasive” violence in the Philippines, where lying is now “common” and killing is an “everyday occurrence” because of Duterte’s bloody drug war.

“Lying is common, but it is a different kind of lying. It’s not an obvious kind of lying and many people are not aware that the people they’re listening to are lying. It’s a very crafted kind of lying, not obvious,” said Carandang.

She was referring to pro-government propaganda being spread by the President’s supporters, some of whom have been caught sharing false and misleading information to the public. (READ: State-sponsored hate: The rise of the pro-Duterte bloggers)

“Then you have of course the erosion of human dignity by verbal abuse and foul language of top officials, none less than the highest official,” said Carandang. (READ: A foul-mouthed 2016: The year in Duterte’s curses)

The clinical psychologist said these affect both adults and children subliminally. (READ: Half of Filipinos don’t believe cops’ ‘nanlaban’ line – SWS survey)

She explained children are prone to copy what government officials are doing because they “look up to adults and effortlessly, subliminally, totally can just follow or imitate what adults do.”

It starts at home

So how do you counter this? 

According to Carandang, the best way to stop children from copying improper behavior is for parents to build “caring communities” around their kids and be good role models themselves. (READ: Robredo on killings: ‘Hindi ganito ang Pilipino’)

“So what do we do? I think we do what we’re doing now. We form caring communities of people who are like-minded, who still hold values that are core values, strengthen it by being together,” said Carandang.

“We can’t do this alone. Even if you are very strong, you have all the power, you need a community. So we need to form caring communities,” she added.

Parents can do this by, first, being aware of how they themselves are affected by the situation. 

This would allow parents, said Carandang, to carefully choose how they act so they can be effective role models to their children. 

“We have to think first how the parents are affected. Be aware that I’m affected – mindfulness – how am I affected, what am I going to do about it so I deliberately choose my action and choice in terms of telling my children what I believe are the contrary values or the core values of respect and discipline. Respect, mainly,” said Carandang. –

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at or tweet @maracepeda.