Amalia is a mother of four who lives in a rural area in the province of Leyte. She is a beneficiary of the government’s conditional cash transfer program, and makes a living by raising chickens and pigs.
When she heard about the opportunity to be a volunteer facilitator for Save the Children, Amalia jumped at the chance. “I wanted to learn, to expand my knowledge about how to facilitate and face a crowd,” she said.
After a screening process, Amalia was selected as one of the new facilitators. In this role, she taught fellow parents about a range of topics including the Positive Discipline approach to parenting and in the process, she also learned new things about herself. “I realized that I am a mother who had many shortcomings towards my children,” she said. “I gave them food, took care of their schooling, provided their allowance, and I thought this was enough.”
Through the training sessions on Positive Discipline, Amalia gained a better understanding on the importance of cultivating an open relationship with her children. She learned that showing her children that she loved them by communicating even in simple ways like asking them how their day was, is as important as providing them with their everyday needs. This demonstrates a balance of both warmth and structure and can make the child more comfortable in sharing things like problems with their parents, which can lead to a closer and more understanding relationship between them.
Amalia used these lessons to try to improve her relationship with her children, especially her eldest, Jonamae, who she said has experienced most of the bad side of her parenting. “She was super strict,” said Jonamae of her mother. The two used to not get along, but now they treat each other like close friends.
At first, Jonamae felt her mother’s change in parenting style came too late. Now 24, she already has two kids of her own. But through Amalia’s consistent determination to show her love for her children, Jonamae thought that maybe it’s not too late after all. Her mother can apply this approach in disciplining her grandchildren and their improved relationship can also serve as an example for them. “I’m still young,” said Jonamae. “And mama is still young as well. My children can see how I bond with her.”
This new way of parenting has such a profound effect on Jonamae and inspired her to become a volunteer facilitator like her mother. “At first, I thought: ‘Can I do this?’” said Jonamae. But she still gave it a try. Seeing the changes in her mother after learning about Positive Discipline made her believe that this will help her become a better parent as well.
Amalia’s advice to other parents: It’s not too late to change and show your children you love them. She said that even if you don’t have children, you could still apply these practices in dealing with children in your community. And this can help their development as adults.