Parenting Style in the Philippines

Filipino parenting styles vary, but it is predominantly more “authoritarian than progressive,” according to a study. Nonetheless, parenting styles in the Philippines weave together a rich blend of principles profoundly founded in respect and deference to elders, as well as unwavering family bonds.

parenting style in the philippines

However, in seeking respect from children, Filipino parents must tread a path that values communication, understanding, and guidance.

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It is then crucial to strike a delicate balance between strictness and affection, blending firmness and tenderness. A way to demonstrate genuine love and affection toward our children, all while enforcing proper discipline to prevent them from becoming spoiled.

My Upbringing

It was my mother who predominantly shaped my growing up years. My father, engrossed in his work commitments, could only spare moments for us, yet he did his best to instill discipline whenever his schedule would allow.

Unfortunately, my mother had a very difficult childhood and adopted a somewhat similar approach to discipline her mother employed in raising her.

But though my mom’s parenting style tends to be more authoritarian than authoritative, she still showed kindness. She’s not just the typical affectionate mom we often see in commercials.

Nonetheless, we are grateful because, despite her difficult childhood, she exerted her utmost effort, using the knowledge available to her at the time, to raise us to be the disciplined individuals we ought to be.

Our parents also supported us with our academic pursuits despite financial hardships, empowering us with the ability to shape a more promising future for ourselves.

And though the authoritarian parenting style ( adopted by my mom) may not be the ideal parenting strategy in rearing children, it still proves preferable compared to the neglectful or uninvolved parenting approach— the worst parenting strategy among the four different parenting styles, according to child psychologists.

Thus, if you’re seeking the most effective child-rearing methodology, child psychologists recommend the authoritative parenting style as the ideal way to raise an emotionally resilient and well-rounded children.

To know why, here is a link to an article that explore the advantages of raising kids using the authoritative parenting method.

Filipino Parents’ Permissive Parenting Style

Given that the Filipino parenting style is often described as autocratic, you may find it somewhat baffling to discover that permissive parenting is also relatively common among parents in the countryside, according to a study.

A clear example of this is when parents overlook the need to establish firm and appropriate consequences for their children who have a habit of arriving late for school.

You would often see parents scold their children in response to such misconduct.

However, they would not implement any strict disciplinary measures in order to ensure future tardiness would be prevented.

Factors Influencing Parenting Behavior

Although parenting style in the Philippines tends to be more authoritarian than progressive, it can also vary depending on different factors, such as the following:

  • Age
  • Religious beliefs
  • Educational background
  • Genetic disposition
  • Economic status or family income
  • Personal childhood experience

Taking into account the above-mentioned factors, parenting styles in the Philippines may range from authoritarian to authoritative, permissive to uninvolved, or a combination of the aforementioned parenting methods.

Which one are you?

The Authoritarian Filipino Parent

Authoritarian parents expect their decisions or commands to be carried out without question. Thus, they don’t take no for an answer and are unwilling to accept compromises.

They are also rigid, difficult to please, and use corporal punishment to discipline kids for misbehavior. However, excessive discipline can have a detrimental impact on children’s well-being.

The harsher the punishment, the greater the risk to the child’s mental and emotional health.

Thus, to avert these potential problems, child psychologists advise parents to replace corporal punishment with appropriate disciplinary measures, proper guidance, encouragement, and support. The sooner, the better.

parenting style in the philippines
Photo credit: Charlain Gracia on Unsplash

The Permissive Filipino Parent

Unlike Filipino authoritarian parents, permissive parents are more flexible and lenient. They set few rules for their children and have low expectations. 

Rather than being authority figures, they’d prefer to be friends with their kids. They also take into account their children’s concerns and viewpoints when making important decisions.

Additionally, their attitude towards risky situations is very relaxed, as they view them as learning opportunities rather than threats to their children’s safety.

This may sound like an ideal approach to parenting. But it has its downside; permissive parents tend to focus more on attending to their children’s needs rather than enforcing rules and boundaries.

Thus, children may have difficulty adhering to rules and following authority figures. It is then worth considering its implications carefully before committing to this type of parenting.   

Parenting Style in the Philippines: The Neglectful or Uninvolved Filipino Parents

Uninvolved parents rarely participate in the lives of their children. They neither set rules nor offer much guidance and have low expectations.

They are indifferent to their children’s needs and fail to provide adequate emotional support.

Thus, children raised by negligent parents learn to be independent and self-sufficient. However, on the downside, they may have difficulties establishing friendships and forming attachments.

Hence, these children are susceptible to having relationship issues and are less likely to stay in long-term relationships as adults.  

Given the wide-ranging negative implications of uninvolved parenting on children’s psychological well-being, this child-rearing approach is considered by experts to be the worst possible option to parent a child.

The Authoritative Filipino Parent

Child psychologists consider authoritative parenting as the best child-rearing method.

Here’s why:

Authoritative parents have high expectations for their children but are also very responsive in creating an environment that enables children to measure up to those expectations.

filipino parenting style

And while they may provide guidance and support, they still allow their children to make their own choices, but not without holding them accountable.

As a result, these children learn to make wise decisions and take responsibility for their actions.  

If you want to know more about this type of parenting, here is a link to an article about the authoritative parenting style.

Most Commonly Asked Questions about Filipino Parenting

How Do Filipino Parents Raise Their Children?

  • A unique aspect of Philippine child-rearing culture is its strong emphasis on religion. Most Filipino families are Catholic and raise their children according to Catholic values and beliefs. 

Some other Christian denominations and religions also influence the child-rearing culture in the country. It suffices to say that religion plays a significant role in shaping how children are raised in the Philippines.

  • Raising Filipino children involves respecting elders, which is integral to Filipino culture. An ethical principle that is passed down from generation to generation and instilled in children from an early age. 

Parenting Style And Self-Esteem

Filipino parents who adopt authoritarian parenting as a method of discipline tend to be strict and overbearing.

Their focus is on getting children to follow rules and correcting misbehavior through corporal punishment.

Thus, children become fearful of their parents, resulting in low self-esteem, phobias, anxiety, and depression.

Though children need to respect their parents, it is also crucial that they feel at ease interacting with them. Otherwise, parent-child relationships would be based on fear instead of love and respect.

filipino parents

Should Children Fear Their Parents?

I believe that children must have a moderate level of fear towards their parents. Otherwise, it will be challenging for parents to impose discipline on unruly and defiant children.

Fear can either be a negative or a positive emotion, depending on how it affects us. When it becomes debilitating, it is negative, but it becomes positive when it facilitates growth and learning.

Overdoing anything, however, is detrimental. We can instill fear, but we must do so in a proper manner.

Being physically aggressive with our children is counterproductive since it can negatively affect their psychological health.

Furthermore, they can also develop and exhibit aggressive behavior toward others and even toward themselves when subjected to harsh physical discipline.

What Do Child Psychologists Think About Spanking?

  • George Holden, a child psychologist, is against spanking. However, he agrees that an “occasional spanking” won’t harm a child long-term unless it leads to abuse or injury.
  • Robert Larzelere, professor of human development and family science at Oklahoma State University, is a proponent of occasional spanking. He argues that “conditional spanking” — “two swats with an open hand on the bottom — is not harmful to a child.”

He believes that it is okay to spank unruly children, but not to the point of inflicting unbearable pain on them. Spanking should also be limited to the bum, and bare-bottom spanking should be avoided.

Furthermore, a child should not be spanked when angry, as hitting a child in the heat of anger may escalate to physical abuse. It should be done as a last resort and should be carried out occasionally.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Parenting Method:

  • Every child is unique and has different strengths, limitations, requirements, and needs. Some parenting strategies may work for one child but not for another.

    Observing our parenting style and its impact on our children’s well-being and development is one of the most important things we can do as a parent.
  • In choosing a parenting style to implement, let us first examine the pros and cons of each parenting method.

  • Psychologists consider authoritative parenting to be the best parenting approach; however, we cannot be too rigid in its application due to the distinct personalities and circumstances of each child.

Parenting Styles in the Philippines: Key Takeaways

Filipino parents ought to be mindful of the various parenting styles available to them as they raise their children: the authoritarian, authoritative, and permissive parenting style.

Each of these methods carries its own set of advantages and drawbacks, thus it crucial for Filipino parents to discover the harmonious balance between these parenting methods to ensure that it suits family dynamics and safeguard our children’s well being.

In essence, Filipino parents can foster an environment that nurtures their children’s growth by dedicating time to understand the pros and cons of the different parenting styles in the Philippines.


Alampay, L. P., & Jocson, R. M. (2011). Attributions and Attitudes of Mothers and Fathers in the Philippines. Parenting, science and practice, 11(2-3), 163.

Baumrind, D. (2013). Authoritative parenting revisited: History and current status. In R. E. Larzelere, A. Sheffield, & A. W. Harrist (Eds.), Authoritative parenting: Synthesizing nurturance and discipline for optimal child development. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.