Two groups of parents and caregivers feel bolstered in their parenting skills, having newfound “hope and confidence” after completing a free “Positive Parenting” skills training course offered by The Parent Centre reports ROSHAN ABRAHAMS, who completed the course herself.
Those graduating from the course on Thursday March 23 came from all over to attend the seven-week course, held at The Parent Centre’s office in Wynberg and at Lotus River library.
During the course parents and caregivers realised that their method of parenting stems from how they were raised as children – and that that method may not always be effective for their own children.
The Parent Centre, located in Wetton Road, Wynberg, was established 40 years ago as a project of the Cape Town Child Welfare Society. It was started as a primary prevention project to reduce the incidence of child abuse through the promotion of positive parenting and effective child management practices that would enhance the well-being and self-esteem of parents and children.
The project grew into a branch of the Cape Town Child Welfare Society. In 1997, it became an independent, registered non-profit organisation (NPO).
Kaashifa King, resource developer, counsellor and parent education facilitator, explained: “Our first priority is to help parents feel heard, accepted and validated and to (then) create a safe environment free of judgement so that they can empower themselves to have homes which are calmer, where families listen to each other, spend time with one another and are able to communicate effectively when faced with challenges.”
Ms King added: “Raising children can at times feel difficult, so we try to instil hope and confidence in parents. The training is intense and can be overwhelming, however, those who complete it, walk away with a renewed understanding of themselves and with improvements in their relationship with not only their children, but spouses, extended family and colleagues as well.”
The parents and caregivers who attended the course at the centre’s office in Wynberg shared how they have gained a new perspective on how to parent.
Adriaan Jacobs said when he set foot in the workshop he was a bit sceptical. “At first I was not very happy to do the course, as there were not a lot of males but every meeting made me more positive, taught me a lot.
“I thought some days that I was a good parent, and other days that I was a bad parent. But at the end of the day, I have learnt that we are all human. None of us are bad parents – just different upbringings and different circumstances.”
Mr Jacobs said the course broadened his mind when learning new skills. “The classes gave us more and better skills, which help us to adapt with our children in their different stages of growth. Even skills we can use in our social lives and in the workplace.”
Busisiwe Matola said the training helped her a lot as she used to often be short-tempered but “now I can handle myself and I always used to put my son down. Now I make eye contact with my child and try to listen to what he is saying while giving him my full attention. The training gave me a lot of courage and strength.”
A mother, who did not want to be named, said she learnt how to be self-confident. “Before I started the training I was always stressed out about everything and I started doubting myself as a mother where I felt like running away and started having negative thoughts about myself.”
She said when she attended the course she realised that she was not the only one who faces challenges: “I started being more positive and hopeful that I can do this with the skills and tips I’ve received to raise my children in a better and confident way.”
Shuaib Salie, fatherhood co-ordinator and Ester Wilson, social worker, the two facilitators at the training at Lotus River library, said it was the first time that The Parent Centre facilitated a training of this kind in Lotus River.
Mr Salie said his observation throughout the course was that “these parents are committed not only to their own children but also care for others in the community”.
“Parents were committed to attending as parenting often can be challenging and they needed some tools and information to strengthen their families.”
Mr Salie said at some point in the training parents felt “overwhelmed and emotional” about the “mistakes” they have committed in their families in the past.
“Their training made them feel settled and equipped to go home and use these skills to build good relationships with their families,” Mr Salie said.
Ms Wilson said: “The information was well received. The training normally creates realisations with remorse but parents are encouraged to unlearn, learn and relearn new parenting skills as parenting is a complex matter. Parents witness changes in them that were recognised by their children and family,” said Ms Wilson.
Course attendees at the Lotus River library gave their input on how they are able to communicate better with their children.
Single parent, Yolanda Abels, said: “My life has changed tremendously when I came across the Robot skill. I never knew that I could give my kids a choice since it was always my way. I am taking it step-by-step. This training will help you to help your child.”
Imelda Schroeder said: “I used to swear a lot but the Robot skill has helped me to stop and then respond. Ek spring nie meer in elke geveg in nie (I choose my battles). Ek luister eers (I first listen). Ek het kom stiI word en kom leer om mooi te praat (I became quiet and I have learnt how to communicate well).”
Ms King said The Parent Centre offers many different courses to suit the needs of the parents/ caregivers that will have a positive impact on families.
“The family is a symbol of the larger community and if we start promoting peace in the home by preserving the relationships of family members, then we have started a chain reaction to have a more peaceful society. I challenge all parents to come and experience it for themselves,” said Ms King.
The Parent Centre has a range of programmes for different stages of your child’s development and can be contacted at 021 762 0116 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
You can also log on to their website at www.theparentcentre.org.za or follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to see what they offer.