World Day of Prayer and Action for Children and Positive Parenting

The World Day of Prayer and Action for Children mobilizes religious leaders and their communities, civil society (including young people), UN agencies and governments to partner on Universal Children’s Day (20 November) to reflect and take action to improve the lives of children in their community. Our current global theme is to Stop Violence against Children, within the parameters of the UN Study on Violence against Children (2006). In 2006, the UN Study on Violence against Children identified five settings of childhood in which violence against children takes place: home, family, schools, care and justice institutions, workplace and community.

Within these five settings, the role of parents in raising their children through safe and non violent parenting techniques is a core sub-theme.

Experts agree that parenting is critical in supporting and shaping children’s physical, cognitive, psycho-social and spiritual development. The importance of parenting is documented in a large body of research detailing how parenting of young children is related to children’s subsequent cognitive, behavioral, and socio-emotional development (Collins, Maccoby, Steinberg, Hetherington, & Bornstein, 2000). Parenting that is supportive, proactive, responsive, and involved promotes children’s positive adjustment whereas parenting that is neglectful, abusive, rejecting, and controlling predicts poor outcomes in children’s development. (Gershoff, 2002)(1)

Parent education programs are therefore designed to strengthen families by providing relevant education and support for the healthy growth and development of their young children.

Cassie Landers, Ed.D, MPH, is an early childhood specialist and one of the contributors to an earlier document of the World Day of Prayer and Action for Children, The ABCs of Positive Parenting. She categorizes the range of parenting programs as follows:

Child Development Knowledge and Care
Positive Parent child interactions
Responsiveness, Sensitivity and Nurturing
Emotional Communication
Clear Communication:
Behavior Management
Promoting Children’s Social Skills or Pro-social Behavior
Promoting Children’s Cognitive or School Readiness Skills

The particular contribution of the World Day of Prayer and Action for Children is to promote positive parenting and non-violent child-rearing practices. Based on an alternative to corporal punishment, these techniques are being promoted through a range of global programs for children, including Save the Children. In a recent World Day series, Ideas for Action and Advocacy, Save the Children shares highlights from their parenting programs. More can be found in the following document:

In collaboration with Religious leaders of several faiths, World Day published a working document in 2011, titled Positive Parenting. In this text, religious texts are referenced on how to raise children through non-violent means. Similar to Ideas for Action and Advocacy, experts share insights on how to raise children without resorting to corporal punishment. This document may be referenced at the following link:


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