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Milos Scepanovic, famous waterpolo player and a spokesperson for the campaign "The Early Years-An Opportunity of a Lifetime" plays waterpolo with children

PODGORICA, August 19, 2009 – Member of Montenegrin national waterpolo team and a spokesperson for the campaign “The Early Years – An Opportunity of a Lifetime”, Mr. Milos Sepanovic, played with children in the pool of Sportski centar “Moraca” in Podgorica on the morning of August 19. The aim of the event at the pool was to promote alternatives to physical punishment of children in Montenegro.

As a young parent, I am sure that I make many mistakes. We all come home with stress from work, but no child deserves to be hit. The foundation of every family is the relationship between the spouses and if in this area there is love, patience and attention, it will reflect in the best possible way to the children” said Mr. Scepanovic, spokesperson of the campaign, on this occasion.

Branka Kovacevic, UNICEF Programme Specialist, presented data from UNICEF research on attitudes and practices of Montenegro’s parents with children up to 6 years old. “The research revealed that 77% of parents thinks that physical punishment is not an acceptable educational measure, but at the same time, 55% of parents said that they had to hit their child at least once last week. When a child does something wrong, 46% of parents does not explain to the child why this should not be done, while only 7% of fathers engages in giving children first lessons of what is “right” and what is “wrong”. Although mother is mainly the one who punishes (69%), this role is, however, taken by a certain percentage of fathers (21%). “

Studies show that effective punishment is immediate, consistent and explained rationally. Rewarding desirable behaviour; telling children what should be done and why instead of saying what not to do; establishing rules appropriate to the child’s age, repeating them and making sure that the child understands them; and teaching the child how to correct mistakes with some new action is proven to be effective positive discipline that makes the child feel good about himself/herself and his/her parent. On the other side, physical punishment tends to make the child feel bad about himself/herself; undermines the child’s self-confidence and self-esteem; leads to negative feelings about the parent who hits the child and harms the child’s confidence in the parent.

We are all witnesses of the fact that children who grow up in families with domestic violence are victims of violence themselves and are likely to come in conflict with the law or become parents who copy that model of behaviour and are aggressive towards their children” said Ruzica Milovic, OIC Deputy Minister of Health on this occasion.

Positive child discipline is one of the three topics of the awareness raising campaign “The Early Years – An Opportunity of a Lifetime”, while the other two are: promotion of breastfeeding and of active role of fathers. UNICEF and the Ministry of Health launched the campaign on August 1, 2009 and it will last until October 31, 2009.





Milos Scepanovic plays with children in the pool in Podgorica


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