by Nigel Garcia
What makes a good parent?
This is the issue that Dr. Honey Carandang shed light on when she gave the seminar entitled “Paano Maging Mahusay na Magulang (How to be a Good Parent): Mindful Parenting”, conducted on July 24, 2019.
Invited for this talk was a group of 50 marginalized parents from Barangay Loyola Heights, Quezon City, with hopes to impart to them a few fundamental principles of good parenting, gathered from Dr. Honey’s years of clinical practice and research, as well as her own personal experience, being a mother of 3 herself.
Despite Tita Honey’s taxing schedule of deadlines and appointments, her deep passion in reaching out to the marginalized has never taken a back-seat.
Dr. Carandang was accompanied by MLAC team members, Dindi Sandoval and Hannah Morillo, and Nigel Garcia.
The event was sponsored by the good people of the Soroptomist group, one of them being Psychologist Fiona “Dindi” Sandoval’s mother – Lennie Gorospe.
The Soroptimists were led by their president elect – Ms. Catherine Villacastin. They are a global volunteer organization that seeks to improve the lives of women and girls through programs leading to social and economic empowerment. Also, to thank is Barangay Captain Darwin Hayes for working with MLAC to help facilitate our well-meaning mission
Now, to the matter at hand, What makes a good parent?
Since parenting is ultimately nation building, there is great utility in asking this question, but something we must first ask is,
What makes a parent?
Curiously enough, Dr. Carandang explains that for one of the most important and demanding roles that exists in our society, parenthood has only one qualifying criteria: Having a child, and nothing else.
It is remarkable that our lawyers, doctors, and engineers are so vigorously trained for the tremendous roles they are about to undertake, but parents, with a role just as vital and just as formidable, need no training to qualify.
Therein lies the importance of the question, What makes a good parent?
To summarize the talk for the folks at home, this is what Dr. Honey says:
1. A good parent is someone who seeks to nurture a child’s dignity with attention and respect, whether in casual conversation or in discipline.
“Never insult them or call them names. This damages their self-esteem – how they think about themselves, and affects their natural development. There is a fine line between discipline and abuse.” Tita Honey reminds,
“And Don’t even text when talking to your child. Your full attention is the most valuable gift you can them. It makes them feel valued and that they matter.”
2. A good parent is someone who fosters the integrity of a child by preserving his innate truth-telling nature.
“No child is born with the ability to lie.”, Tita Honey says.
If we hope to raise a child with integrity, we must create a home environment that is conducive to truth-telling.
A parent should not explode in anger when a child tells the truth about something he/she did. Truth-telling should always be commended, not condemned.
A good principle to remember is: first let the child know that his truth-telling is something admirable to encourage the behaviour, and then explain why their actions are wrong, and are to be done away with.
3. A good parent is someone who recognizes the fundamental importance of play and supports it.
Without PLAY, children are prone to poor physical health, emotional problems, and an inability to develop social skills in later life, threatening their intellectual, emotional, social, physical, and even their spiritual development. It is a basic need and right of the child.
“When a child does not PLAY, you can be sure that something is wrong.”
Dr. Honey also shares that PLAY can work as an antidote for depression because it gives her a sense of power over her environment.
“A child does not even need to learn how to play. She is born with it. PLAY is a child’s favorite, and most natural way to cope with stress. It helps her express what she is thinking or feeling inside by asserting her will on the playing field (Whether it’s physical play, or playing with toys), and this instills in her a sense of control over her situation, buffering her from the hopelessness and helplessness of depression.”
4. A good parent is mindful to take care of his own needs so that he may optimally fulfill his child’s.
Tita Honey reminded of a parental duty that is often overlooked, and that is the duty of parents to take care of themselves.
Since we cannot give what we do not have, parents should integrate a habit of self-care. They must fulfill their own needs before they can fulfill their child’s.
This is not selfishness. This is wisdom.
These are a few principles any parent can use to retool their own unique parenting style, and no, they are not all easy.
Being a good parent is not easy.
But it is one of the most noble, and fulfilling things one can do in life.
Through the practice of constant Mindfulness, and a little education, I dare say that any person is capable of raising a well-balanced, whole child – a service that is not only good for the child, but is good for the future of the nation.