Positive Parenting course graduates say all parents should be empowered to understand and listen to their children.
About 15 parents and caregivers completed an eight-week programme at the Nelson Mandela Youth and Family (Thusong) Centre on Friday December 1.
The course, offered by the Parent Centre, included topics such as understanding children’s behaviour and their feelings; building their self esteem; discipline; communication; assertiveness and cooperation; and problem solving.
The Parent Centre is an NPO which focuses on the building of stronger families through the promotion of positive parenting.
The parents received certificates and “morphed into butterflies”, displaying their skills and sharing their stories of improved relationships with their children.
Elmarie Roodt, 43, from Rondevlei, who has a nine-year-old son and looks after about 20 children, aged between six and 12 at her aftercare, said if parents were more empowered, they could better teach their children rather than leave them to learn from gangsters.
“I feel super empowered, which is much better for them, so I can understand them as individuals, their feelings and how to discipline them,” she said.
Ms Roodt said if parents understood their children, “we’ll know how to deal with things”.
She used the example of getting a child to clean their room. “I used to believe and say that this is the way, I know best. But now I know I need to explain to him why he needs to clean his room.”
Ms Roodt said she learned that there needed to be a balance between emotion and thinking about how to put things across. “My husband said ‘wow’ he has really seen a difference in the relationship between my son and I.”
She put up red, orange and green dots on a wall at home, symbolising the traffic lights, to stop, think and respond in a healthy way, when talking to her son. Edward Hendricks, 43, from Tafelsig, who is passionate about the community and attending meetings which uplift and educate residents, said this course was “a must for everyone”. “In today’s life we are so busy and preoccupied with our lives but we forget our children, what they want and how to listen to them,” he said.
Mr Hendricks said being a blind participant on the course was not a set back.
“Disabled people can participate because we are parents too,” he said.
He admitted that he was not listening to his children and that many people found his temperament problematic. “So the workshop has allowed me to better understand myself and how to relate to other people,” he said.
One participant, who wanted to remain anonymous, said she would spank her seven children, aged between 4 and 16, out of frustration. “I have learned that there are different ways to discipling my children,” she said.
She said her children would usually run to their father to tell him stories and experiences of their day but now she was taking the time to listen to them.
“I wasn’t a good listener and I never had the time,” she said. “Now I don’t do the house work on my own. I get them to help me and lately I don’t have to ask them, they willing help me,” she said.
The Tafelsig mother thanked the Parent Centre, who taught her and equipped her with skills to cope, manage and deal with various challenges as a parent.
Parent educator facilitator Berenice Scott, from the Parent Centre, said the following statements were crucial for parents to make a difference in their parenting: “Learn about factors that affect children’s behaviour and managing it. Unlearn the mistakes and unhelpful ways we used to raising our children.
“Re-learn new ways of thinking and behaving that will benefit our children and ourselves, and help them grow, develop and reach their potential.”
For more information call 021 762 0116 or visit www.theparentcentre.org.za