In partnership with RWAMREC, ASEF organized sessions with parents of its beneficiaries (students) on positive parenting and gender knowledge. Some of our students have been victims of domestic violence, lack of parental care and love. Special thanks to RWAMREC for providing us with useful resources whose content will be shared in this article.
Parents were given time to share their ideas in group discussions, asked questions and gave feedback on how the session went.
They discussed the following:
- What does a family mean and a family in the Rwandan context?
- What is the difference between gender equality and equity?
Parents were able to gain knowledge and skills necessary for the effective role of male and females in building peaceful families and positive parenting. They also learned about different types of gender-based violence and realized that they were violent in different ways but committed to change after our meetings.
Positive parenting benefits for parents
- Feelings of confidence and competence in parenting
- Less depression
- Less stress
- Fewer conflicts between parents and children
5 Key principles of positive parenting
1. Creating a safe, interesting environment
The following are strategies on how this can be achieved.
- Develop predictable routines
- Provide supervision
- Have interesting things to do
Benefits for children
- Children feel secure and wanted
- They are safe
- They live in a predictable world
- They have lots of interesting things to do
- They have opportunities to learn
2. Having a positive learning environment
- Spend time with your child
- Speak nicely
- Chat and listen often
- Share your own experiences
- Be affectionate
- Use descriptive praise
- Give your child attention
- Use incidental teaching
- Get involved in your child’s school
3. Using assertive discipline
- Prepare in advance
- Arrange activities
- Set some ground rules
- Praise good behaviour
- Watch and supervise
- Use your voice effectively
- Give clear, calm instructions
- Start instructions
- Stop instructions
- Take away a problem activity
- Back up instructions with quiet time
4. Having realistic expectations
- Your expectations of your child
- What do I expect?
- Is this rule necessary?
- Can my child understand/do this?
- What other parents expect
- What your child’s school expects
- Your expectations of yourself
- Are my expectations reasonable?
5. Taking care of yourself as a parent
Balancing work and family
- Have realistic expectations of yourself
- Reduce unnecessary commitments
- Avoid conflict after work and prepare for the ‘second shift’
- Teach your child to be independent
- Organize good, reliable child care
- Notice when you are feeling upset with your child
- Identify what negative / unhelpful things you are saying to yourself about the situation, particularly why it is happening
- Try to change negative thoughts to helpful, more rational thoughts
Positive parenting, our hopes and dreams during this training were to raise healthy well-adjusted children in a safe, secure, loving and low conflict environment who have the skills to:
- Develop skills and be able to communicate their needs
- Get on with others and build friendships
- Try to do their best at school
- Manage their emotions
- Feel good about themselves
- Have fewer behavioural and emotional problems
- Less likely to become involved in drug abuse or delinquent behaviour
Take home messages for parents who attended the meetings
- Make your family a priority
- Create a warm, loving, safe environment
- Encourage your child’s learning
- Use assertive discipline
- Have reasonable expectations
- Take care of yourself:
- Look after your own needs
- Balance work and family responsibilities
- Talkback to negative thinking
- Work as a team
- Working as a team:
- Talk with your partner and other caregivers about daily experiences with your child
- Share the workload fairly
- Reach agreement on discipline
- Model problem-solving skills
- Hold regular problem-solving discussions
To keep the journey going, ASEF adds a sector in each of our quarterly newsletters so that parents who were not able to attend the sessions can get a chance of learning, we believe in better results in the future.