Parents create a safety net of support for kids.
Avuxeni, minjani, umfekile minjani!
Greetings, I hope you are well and enjoying life.
Today I want to share from the parent’s perspective as to why the voice of the child is not relevant.
Our children reported they see their parents drinking and are actively encouraged to participate in alcohol consumption, especially during rituals (traditional and cultural celebrations), this is a family expectation and also culture. This expectation supersedes the child’s will. There is no opportunity for a child to share their concerns, or decide not to participate in the ritual regardless.
When children are at home they are randomly given chores without consultation, even if the chore is too difficult or dangerous for the child. An example: the child may be told to herd cattle at the age of 5yrs and alone.
Mothers yelling, swearing, and name-calling at children actively discouraged children from voicing their concerns. The children spoke about fights between parents and children, between adults, families, and neighbours, and even theft of possessions by adults which rendered the children voiceless and powerless and resultant impact was they felt like victims and were too intimidated to speak out.
The parents during our validation workshop agreed that all they want is a peaceful home. If they have work, the work is usually menial and exhausting work. They come home from the fields and just want peace. All the parents interviewed were stressed regarding providing food, clothing, and shelter for the children. One mother commented , “Just surviving from day to day is exhausting, I can’t do anymore!”
What the CRSA identified was that there was no obvious involvement of the parents in the emotional welfare of the children, no heart attachment, no emotional building, no encouragement, guardians/parents are not concerned about the child’s development at this level, they just want peace and quiet in the home.
At home men are the bosses and the women are not listened to or have an opinion that is considered or taken seriously, this overflows to the children at home whose opinions are not considered. Interestingly this also overflows to the classroom where young particularly initiated males are not willing to listen to female teachers. These issues regarding the non-participation of children are considered tribal and cultural in origin and issues are a reflection of a systemic indifference to the voice of the child.
Survival focus by the parents takes precedence over everything else. Poverty and unemployment are a priority while Children’s Rights are a new concept and are considered unnecessary by parents.
It’s not all bleak, the parents are willing to attend training (free food is a great incentive- one less meal that needs to be provided at home). We have seen from our Journey of Life training previously remarkable changes in the way children are treated with the homework given to the parents between the 3days of training. When parents realize that caring, loving, and engaging with their children actually enhances their relationship with their children, the stress levels in the families reduce, plus it doesn’t cost anything but time.
One training costs R8,700 for 20 adults to attend a 3day training course. Today’s exchange rate is equal to $500USD to bring about significant changes in 20 families. All the children in the family experience improved communication, less abuse (which parents don’t realize is abuse) greater sense of belonging, and feelings of love, belonging, and acceptance. This has a profound effect on the children as you can imagine.
The training addresses the past experience the parents have had as children, then it identifies what were hindrances to their development into young adults but also what was constructive and helpful. There have been more than a few times that parents have had the epiphany that they are the problem as to why their children are rude and disrespectful and rebellious. We also follow up six months after the training with the children in the program and their parents to hear if there is sustained change. I am very happy to report that over 90% of parents and children say that the change is sustained and that there is decreased abuse, no more swearing at the children, harassing, beating, or cruelty towards the children. The parents and the children are happy.
This helps us gain momentum toward children realizing their rights to participate within the family. This training also assists the children in building resilience, creating heart attachments with the parents, and feeling valued and loved. Amazing impact on such a small investment.
So KTD196 has developed a solution to the issues identified, you are part of the equation. Every gift you give goes towards supporting the children both directly through the Children’s Program or indirectly through the Self Help Groups and the training we provide. Thank you for making such a huge difference not just in the child’s life but in the family’s life.
Thank you so much for all your care and support
Parents identify with the burdens kids carry.