We have come along way since the days when the kindergarten nativity was acted out to an empty room as no parent ever attended it. Since starting Parents School, a monthly meeting of parents with children in our projects, there has been a huge movement in attitude and sense of responsibility. Importantly parents now engage with their children, value their education and health, and aim to be better parents in the future.
PARENTS SCHOOL MEETINGS
ROLES OF THE FAMILY
I consider it important to approach this lecture at parents’ school meetings, dedicated to the families from this poor community, because it is very important that their children not to suffer due to the failure to fulfill the roles which the parents have. Family roles represents the specific activities of each member that determine the proper functioning of the family.
The role of economic supporter – in the traditional family this role was exclusive to the husband. Even today, men’s self-esteem is based on meeting the family’s economic needs. But what happens in families where there is no parent to assume this role? In families where the woman has to take care of the children and the man does not want to work? The whole family suffers. They’re all affected.
The role of performing household chores – cooking, washing, cleaning, shopping. For the most part, women assume this role. When the woman has assumed an economic supporter role, men have to perform the household chores, otherwise there is a risk of overwhelming the one who has too many roles. But there are families where this role is not done properly by any parent, although the wife/husband does not work, the house is always messy, the children are dirty…
When we complain about the lack of time, a solution is to see what consumes time and what is not really important, e.g.: watching TV, endless visits, talking hours on the phone, etc. Then seeing the house as a disaster and the children aren’t fed. The home chores can be used as opportunities to develop character traits (order, meticulousness, good mood, peace).
The role of child care and children’s education. The family is the place where each child should attain their potential, (be as good as they can) without being stopped by family shortcomings, (conflicts that affect them, parental addictions, lack of care or parent’s laziness, insecurity, fear, aggression, lack of love and respect). The meeting of physical, educational and spiritual needs are the responsibility of both parents. Their co-operation for the harmonious development of children gives great results. But how sad is the situation of children where none of the parents perform this role, and the children simply grow up like weeds on the ground. The results are painful and the whole society is affected.
The role of therapist – listening to partner issues, providing safety, support, affection, offering help in solving different problems makes the family strong. When all these does not exist, family members need external support from the friends, psychologist, priest or other people.
MYTH: The child brings balance / happiness to the family. REALITY: If the family is happy, the child learns to be happy.
The role of kinship – maintaining relationships with the extended family, community, attending ceremonies, providing family resources, mutual assistance, trust, and communication – helps families in difficult situations. When parents are in conflict, they are willful and can’t be supported when they need to be, due to self-isolation.
Cultivating mutual help in the community contributes to supporting the most vulnerable among the strongest, so abandonment, abuse, and poverty cases are no longer so common. The role of the child is to form healthy, lifestyle models, being involved in chores appropriate to his or her age. Failure to perform some functions / roles leads to the malfunction or failure of others. How some do, depends on the achievement of others. Families with problems are precisely those in which one or more members do not fulfill their role.
– Establish clear roles in the family.
– Manifest flexibility – taking over the role of the other when the other cannot fulfill his role.
– Correctly assigning roles – do not put burdens on anyone. There is a problem when someone takes too many roles.
– Responsibility (for the best exercise of the role).
Roles do not have to be exclusive, the husband and wife must help for the harmonious functioning of the family. At the meeting were present 20 parents who confirmed that in most of the families from our project, mothers take care and educate children and do household chores. Only 6 mothers have a job from the 26 families from our project.
ANGER DESTROYS THE FAMILY
Certain events in this poor community, which have been managed with impulsiveness and aggressiveness, have prompted me to address the main topic for November: Anger destroys the family. The lack of conflict resolution, education and the inflated pride, leads people to great conflicts out of nothing. It is normal to see things differently sometimes because we are people with different thinking, desires and feelings etc. But what is essential is how we resolve the divergences, the misunderstandings when they exist.
In introducing the meeting, I asked the parents the following question: ‘Which one of you has managed to always control their anger?’ Answer: no one. So it was necessary to approach this topic! We all have moments of crisis or conflict when we are stressed or upset. However, there are people who are often get infuriated; they scream or hit out when they are not happy with something. But there are other people who have been educated to master their anger, to communicate assertively (with understanding) with the other, to negotiate with love, and to solve conflicts in a constructive way, so that family relationships mature and strengthen more, and cases of anger are exceptions.
There are 3 general ways of conflict communication: PASSIVE, AGGRESSIVE and ASSERTIVE.
THE PASSIVE ANSWER – instead of responding to the one who provokes us, who upsets us, we decide to keep silent and keep everything in us, accumulate in us bitterness and annoyance. Although on the outside we may look calm, yet frustration accumulates within us, which may even affect our health. Being passive in conflict is beneficial only when we decide to keep the silence and to reflect, seeking a more appropriate approach for the one who upset us in order to discuss later calmly and to resolve the misunderstanding. We can also pass a conflict in a passive way, when in our hearts we can forgive and forget therefore avoiding frustration, dissatisfaction and mischief towards the other.
AGGRESSIVE ANSWER – is the hostile, destructive behavior. People who react aggressively can harm not just other people, but themselves as they become isolated. Those who have an aggressive attitude are generally irritable and slightly irritable. They are very ticklish about what others say and do. Aggression also shows an inappropriate self-image and a lack of inner balance. Aggressiveness in communication can be through words, the tone of voice (verbal fighting and the intensity of the voice), through body language (physical violence, slamming of doors, breaking objects, etc).
ASSERTIVE ANSWER – involves a clear, direct and sincere response. It means telling what you think, but without harming the other, but showing a respectful attitude. Assertiveness is the middle path between passivity and aggressiveness.
Communicating assertively, we do not hurt others and are not injured. Also, this communication involves knowing when to say “NO”, refusing a certain situation. The open, sincere communication helps you to live free from frustration or annoyance. So not only that you will be healthy, but your relationships with others will be appreciated and understood. “A gentle response quenches the anger, and a harsh word aggravates it” The Bible.
Knowing these ways of responding, seeing that the same conflict can be solved in such different ways, and knowing the right approach that leads to solve the conflict in a happy way, we hope that more people will choose peace and love instead of divorce with anger and hurt. We’ve urge them to emotionally grow up, not to react impulsively in times of a conflict, like the children who, when they quarrel, take their toys and leave for home, unable to communicate assertively.
At the meeting were present 24 parents who have completed a questionnaire at the end about how to react in different situations (Passive, Aggressive or Assertive). The results of the questionnaire: 67 % parents are Assertive and 33 % Passive – Aggressive. Some of the parents were unable to write or read, so it was necessary that each question to be explained to them individually. Yet, I think there were some whom didn’t fully understood the questions and because of this responses given didn’t reflect the reality.
FATHER`S ROLE IN CHILD`S EDUCATION
At previous meetings, some of the mothers said it would be good if I also had meetings with the dads, because there were many ways in which they were aggressive or do not get involved in education of the children and do not contribute to the proper function of the family. We considered it appropriate to talk with them in December about the “father’s role in child’s education”. At the meeting, only 3 dads were present, most of them excusing themselves that they were at work. The wives at the end of the meeting took a sheet of paper with the main ideas presented to read their husbands at home (those who know to read).
There are some men who, although have children, psychologically haven’t taken on the role of the father and do not behave responsibly towards their children. Dad’s role is learned in childhood. If I haven’t a good father, if I was raised at the Orphanage, or on the streets, or if my father was more of a negative or absent model, the solution is not to perpetuate the model, but to recognize it, to look for models of beautiful fathers, to accept being helped to become a responsible fathers.
The father – is different from the mother – by his native structure, he is strong, harsh, has physical force, and is generally firm and authoritarian. The child learns from his father to be disciplined, punctual, resourceful, and strong.
The father must be involved both physically and emotionally (he cares about children, is accessible to children, spends time with them, talks freely with the child, takes care that the rules are not violated). Children raised without rules cannot bear to lose in life, they are moody and unhappy.
ATTENTION is the most important factor for success in life, but also attention to family. To children – it helps to be in harmony and increases the love among its members. As a result they solve the problems that arise immediately (all the members of the family contribute for family’s well-being).
When there is unity, love and understanding, all family members grow harmoniously. Disagreement, suffering, separation – affects everyone. If we quarrel in front of the child, we also have to forgive and embrace each other in front of the child.
In the boy’s case – his father validates his masculinity, shows him what it means to be a man. The boy takes the pattern, for example – how he talks, how he behaves with his mother, etc.
The girl – learns from her father how a man should behave with her. She learns about unconditional love. Parents’ relationships are a relationship model for their own children. Lack of affection, lack of love from the father makes the girl look for love elsewhere.
These gestures are very important: playing with Dad, reading stories, talking, working with Dad etc. – gives the child father’s attention. It teaches what is good and what isn’t good, encourage work….
The child who feels loved, who knows they can rely on the parent when they need help is a successful child, happy and pleased. Instead, children who feel rejected or unloved have a high chance of becoming malicious, emotionally unstable, with a negative view of the world.
It is very important for the mother to encourage the father to get involved in education without ever criticizing his actions but to teach him and explain what he should do, and then praise his effort.
Faith, Optimism, Mercy, Gentleness – its shows. If you do not have them as a parent, you can not give them to the children. You can not give the child the values that you do not have.
The father firmly and gently enforces limits, rules, supports the mother in front of the children, shows her love and respect (greetings with respect, compliments, thanks for the meal, appreciation for the food, helps the mother when she’s sick, tired, when she feels bad, talks to the child with respect about the mother).
The 23 parents attending were interested in the ideas presented. Some confirmed that the lack of a good relationship with their fathers leads them to make mistakes in life / to make bad decisions: C.A. : “When I was 15, I told my parents that I liked a boy and they said that they will kill me if I will talk with him. Because I was afraid I ran away with that guy. After a while I felt sorry but I didn’t have where to come back. I had three children, and now I grow them alone … Parents did not teach me to choose a good husband at the right time, there was no communication with us – the children – at all.”
At the end the parents who attended the meeting saw photos with their children from our project activities, served cakes and juice, but also received a packet of toiletries and cloths.
- In 20 December 2017 – all the families in the project received – 200 lei for buying firewood and a pack of food parcels.
- Many families have received a cleaning materials to clean up the house that gets dirty very quickly because of the many children who live mostly in a single room, but also the misery in the area and the mud.
- Many families have lice, and others who are cleaner are upset that their children come to kindergarten, pick up lice from others. The problem is that where there are lice, you need to clean all the family members and their home, lice and their eggs that are caught in the hair. Although the parents have been asked to clean the children, some families fail to do this completely.
- In this community, with the coming of autumn, until the late spring, the mud is very widespread and shoes break very quickly. Children need sturdy boots to go to school.
Most homes have cracks and allow the cold to get in when the cold comes, many children get sick and take antibiotics, or they cough for a long time. They would need vitamins because their daily diet is often poor.