Dr. Honey Carandang Speaks on Parenting to Young Mothers of Brgy. Tumana
By: Shane Antoinette Arante
Photos c/o Dr.Cecile Palma-Del Rosario
On May 14, 2016, the LINKS School for Life in Barangay Tumana, Marikina City in an ongoing partnership (5 years already!) with MLAC Institute for Psychosocial Services, Inc., welcomed around 24 mothers for a morning of learning and sharing as Dr. Honey Carandang delivered a talk on parenting. What made the seminar unique is that it specifically catered to young mothers. Entitled “Parenting is Nation Building”, the seminar revolved around the questions – “Paano magpalaki ng bata ng tama?” As the number of young mothers increase in our country, this rate significantly affects our nation, which is why it is essential to discuss parenting as a huge part of nation-building.
What really struck me during the seminar was when the mothers started talking about how they are coping with their personal struggles, even at a very young age, and in the context of poverty. There are around 400 teen mothers in Barangay Tumana and hearing their stories really touched my heart. To be able to respond to the concerns of the parents, Dr. Honey Carandang provided guidelines on how to be an effective parent by discussing several tips and areas for consideration.
The first was communication. She emphasized how important it is to have a connection with the child. It is essential to take note of the mode of communication and how the mothers show their love and affection for their children, because the way they express such things greatly affect the thoughts and the behavior of the kids. One of the most common issues was the way they scold their children. May it be the tone or the words used, parents should be very cautious and try to omit the insults that they usually tell their children.
The second was discipline with dignity. Discipline is very, very different from violence. Often, children are verbally and physically abused. Once the parents learn how to respect their own children, then their kids will also learn how to respect them. Moreover, Dr. Carandang reminded them of the importance of playtime and also making the most of one’s childhood. It is within a child’s nature to play so parents should allow them to do so.
Magsabi ng totoo or telling the truth was another point focused on. This is a value that should be learned at a young age, because it plays a big role in the growth and development of the children, especially when it comes to building interpersonal relationships.
The fourth point was having a regular family bonding. Dr. Carandang pointed out the significance of family bonding since these create moments that can be carried on to the next generations. The participants were able to share some of the activities they do with their families. Finding a common time to bond with one another helps in having a closely-knit family and it does not have to be expensive nor extravagant.
Enjoying your children was another guideline discussed. Carrying over from the previous point, having these shared experiences with the family sets a foundation for them no matter what happens.
The next point was finding a support group. The members of the support group may range from the spouse, some friends, and also the relatives. The realization of “May kasama pala ako” is very powerful in developing meaningful relationships and coping with stress.
The final point was taking care of oneself, wherein it was emphasized that children also want to see their parents happy. One of my realizations during the seminar was Kailangan magtira para sa sarili para may pampuhunan pagnagmahal ng iba pa, tulad ng mga anak. Dr. Carandang reminded the mothers that they deserve to take care of themselves and be happy. The mothers shared ways to take time for themselves, such as Zumba, Yoga, and other modes of relaxation.
After these points were shared, an open forum and a question and answer portion followed. Various questions were asked such as how to make their kids play despite having neighbors who influence the kids in a negative way, how to deal with people judging them for being young mothers, and how they cope as teen mothers. Dr. Carandang answered these questions with suggestions that went back to the basic principles she previously discussed. One of the mothers shared a very heartwarming line. In her words, “Naaalagan ko ng maayos ang 2 kong anak, kahit ako na lang ang bumubuhay. Kahit sila lang kasama ko, kahit mahirap, kakayanin na lang.” Despite being a single mother, she still manages to raise her children, with the help of her close friends and neighbors.
Furthermore, one of the participants also shared how they are seen differently by other people. But the truth is, “Kahit bata pa kamo, maipagmamalaki pa rin na kaya namin mag-alaga at itaguyod ang aming mga anak.”
The open forum, done in small groups, let the mothers express their realizations about their journey as parents and share the ways how they can improve themselves. Although some mothers said that “Kung puwede lang ibalik ang oras, after 10 years pa ako mag-aanak” and also used the terms “ubod ng hirap”, “pagpapalaglag”, and “aburido”, in the end, they shared that they are very grateful for their children and they all see them as blessings. The seminar ended with a performance by Dr. Chris Carandang (son of Dr. Honey Carandang). Dr. Chris shared his gift of music by singing and playing his original composition for the mothers.
To wrap it all up, the mothers said “Hindi hadlang ang pagiging mahirap sa tamang pagpapalaki sa anak.” This shows that poverty is not a hindrance to proper child-rearing. And through this mindset, I strongly believe that we will be able to build a family-focused nation by raising children who will bring positive change to our country.