Family in a Ugandan village

Children – both a Blessing and a Gift to Parents

As children are born, parents take new lessons in their life again. They learn to care for the new born, cherish and support them, give them guidance and instilling discipline to raise good citizens in society. Though, at times, parents end up seeing their children act in unexpected or displeasing ways and may want to punish the child by beating or shouting to handle the situation. Children can respond to these punishments in anger at their parents, or by running away from home to join the streets.

Addressing the gaps in family problem handling

We noticed these gaps in handling problems in the families, relatives and caregivers of the children we support when both the children and the family members raised it as an issue to us and requested our help. So we began an appealing strategy to reach out to such families to engage them in a series of family relationship lessons like health and sanitation, communication skills, parenting teenagers, positive discipline, managing trauma and many more.

You may notice that families and communities are very unique and different to one another. To engage parents in a conversation, you need to build and create a safe space for interaction; to learn and freely share ideas and experiences. That’s what me, Michael, am doing with many families and children every week at S.A.L.V.E. International in my post as Family and Business Support Officer.

In our community empowerment department at S.A.L.V.E., I’m privileged to support parents by conducting and engaging them in a household learning setting on parenting methods. I am making it easy for parents and their children who once lived on the street to live harmoniously in the family together with its members. Remember these children have gone through a lot of traumatic situations and need extra support.

As well as teaching parenting skills for caregivers, we also teach children their rights and responsibilities. From forms of child abuse and how to communicate with their parents even in the time of conflict to how teenagers can relate well with their parents and the responsibilities of children, we aim to support all members of the family to re-build their bond. Parent also learn about children rights; how to protect their children and avoid any form of child abuse against them.

Changing minds, learning and building strong relationships

In the course of our learning, parents and children have dearly embraced the chance to change bad habbits. They learn, unlearn and relearn and can build strong relationships in a family, uphold good communication remembering that when these necessary efforts are ignored, regrettable actions and decisions can restart again. Many parents can admit where they have gone wrong and feel sorry for their actions; and the children too. It can be hard for them trying to change from the way they were raised as a child and to do differently now they are a parent.

These lessons and support have helped parents and caregivers get empowered and build their capacity to protect children, make a self-check and review their actions towards children and also avoid using negative forms of disciplining children, which harms them.

The beauty in the lessons I conduct is to see parents listen to what their children have to say; their ideas and heartfelt thoughts and comments. Gradually, they are practically applying the knowledge and skills learnt especially good and appropriate communication in the family.

“A child will listen to you, if he or she is listened to”…

Really, it is very wonderful to see both parents and their children/teens bond together and have good practices in the family and communities. Truly, a child will listen to you and open up if he or she is listened to. Children can see and feel home as a safe haven to live and enjoy the caring support of their parents.

Parents have noticed a positive outcome from such series of learning and interventions which are surely pleasing in their families and lives.

S.A.L.V.E. listening to the parents needs, means the parents listen to the children’s needs and they can feel more comfortable and happy at home, safe away from the streets. Thank you for taking time to listen to me and supporting the work that we do.

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