By Dindi Sandoval, MA, RPsy
Every year since 2011, Links School of Marikina and MLAC have been hosting basic parenting workshops at a grassroots level for at least 30 parent leaders (mostly mothers) in Tumana. Believing that every project we have is never just a one-off endeavor, the MLAC team of psychologists has sustained this parenting program annually in cooperation with Dra. Cecile Palma who invited, prepared the venue and snacks for participants yearly.
This year was special, not only because we had the youngest participant to date (15years old), it also had a new module so that old participants who have attended in the past may join and learn new insights on motherhood. Besides, one day of parenting workshop isn’t enough to prepare us for our growing family and address the needs of our growing children. As Tita Honey aptly puts,
“People study at least 4 years to earn a degree, and invest more years to be a lawyer, doctor or a PhD grad. But sad to say, there is no formal training to practice the most important profession of all- parenting. Isn’t it about time we have a parenting course?”
Our seminar begins with a talk that recognizes that our predilection to parent is just either 1 of 2 extremes- to discipline exactly the way we were disciplined by our own parents. Or to do the exact opposite if we deem we were raised too harshly. The talk is followed by mini group sessions facilitated by a psychologist to process their day to day issues they face and look deeply into how they can continuously improve their personal parenting styles. New participants truly appreciated the fact that a seminar was dedicated to honor, help and recognize them as mothers, females, and as humans after years of putting their family first all the time before their own needs. The old “students” assert that attending again is beneficial in reminding them not to feel guilty to self-care.
Through positive feedback from participants over the years, this has proven that mindfulness parenting can cut across all ages and socio-economic status of our society.
Some of the key learnings given as modules to participants are as follows:
- MAY IBA’T-IBANG PARAAN. We are not discarding any of the parenting styles- no 2 children are alike: we must tune in each child and their needs (more strict or lenient? Sporty or academic?)
- PAG-ISIPAN AT PAG-USAPAN. Employ clear and consistent rules: We do not espouse physical harm as punishment – but must be mindfully given to set limits, to make kids discern good from bad, and for parents to assess whether or not their impulse to spank was truly from the child’s misbehaviour or their work-induced stress
- RESPETUHIN ANG BATA. Respect the wisdom of the child; All kids must be allowed to play (Hindi palaging “bata lang yan”); Try not to insult or degrade when disciplinging. Acknowledge the positive behavior too, not just always the negative.
- PWEDENG MAGPAHINGA. All parents (esp moms) must have a time out/rest- even if it’s just a few minutes in the bathroom, or a walk outside to breath some fresh air. It doesn’t have to be a long vacation.
With this workshopping , and in the succeeding ones to follow, we at MLAC are aiming to create a healthy parenting culture that revolves around mindfulness, love and compassion — universal values that transcend generations, cultures, and socio-economic standings.