Cecilia Kjellgren, Johanna Thulin

Researchers travel the world to prevent parents from beating their children

It is still common around the world that parents and other guardians punish their children with violence. Now, two social work researchers at Linnaeus University, Cecilia Kjellgren and Johanna Thulin, travel to the Philippines to tackle this challenge. During their visit they will spread their model in order to teach parents what effects physical punishment can have on children and how positive relationships can be established with children.

The researchers have been invited to the Philippines where more than 6 in 10 children are subjected to violence by their parents. In the Philippines, they will present their model PEACE (Parent’s Ending violence Against Children Educational programme) to different groups of professionals who want to help parents establish violence-free relationships with their children. The researchers hope that the model will become well-anchored in Philippine society in the future.

“When we have completed this training operation we will evaluate what both the teachers and the parents thought about the education, and what knowledge and insights the parents gained. If it turns out that the model has the desired effect, we hope that it becomes established in the Philippines and that it spreads also to other countries. People in Bangladesh and Vietnam have already shown an interest in our model. In the long run, our hope is to be a positive force in the enormous challenge to reduce parents’ violence against children in the world”, says Cecilia Kjellgren.

One of the elements of the training programme is to make parents practice handling their anger. They will also get to reflect on how they can prevent conflicts by, for instance, finding strategies for establishing relationships with mutual respect and agreeing on common sets of rules that apply in the family.

Through their teaching, the researchers want to provide parents with tools they can use to think for themselves, rather than giving them pointers on what they should do.

“We must keep in mind that many parents in the Philippines have very challenging life conditions, and live in a country and on a continent with a different tradition of how to view childrearing. We cannot simply bring a training programme originating in Sweden, where we have greater access to both resources and qualified methods, and say ‘this is what you should do’. It’s important to take into account the culture-specific conditions in the Philippines and to engage the parents in dialogue”, Kjellgren concludes.

Only 58 of all countries in the world have decided to ban parents’ violence against children, and UNICEF estimates that every second child in the world is subjected to violence.


Cecilia Kjellgren, phone +4672-701 83 42, email cecilia.kjellgren@lnu.se

Johanna Thulin, phone +4670-637 45 38, email johanna.thulin@lnu.se

Johan Cederqvist, communications officer research, phone +46480-44 60 45, email johan.cederqvist@lnu.se