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The Young Mothers of Tumana

by Rachel Ann Rosales Parr

The MLAC team, spearheaded by Dr. Ma. Lourdes “Honey” A. Carandang, went to Barangay Tumana (Marikina) on April 22nd 2017 to conduct a parenting workshop with about 30 young mothers of the community. This was the 6th of an ongoing annual series of parenting activities organized and facilitated by MLAC in partnership with LINKS School for Life for the residents of Tumana.

The workshop started off with the main idea phrased as a question, “Paano maging mahusay na magulang?” (How does one become a good parent?) This may sound like a daunting question but it is one that falls squarely in place with the MLAC flagship advocacy entitled, “Parenting is Nation-building.” This advocacy was given its name by Dr. Honey Carandang and was borne out of her unwavering belief in the critical role of parents/caregivers as co-builders and shapers of our children’s identities – the very identities that will create and impact the future of our nation.

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Dr. Honey talks to the mothers on how to become a good parent

Unpacking this huge question was done through an informative talk wherein Dr. Carandang discussed the importance of communication; disciplining with dignity; truthfulness; family bonding; having fun with your child; finding a support group; and most importantly – taking care of oneself. Participants were then divided into smaller groups, each assigned with an MLAC team member to act as moderator/facilitator. The young mothers in each group were invited to reflect on the talk, identify the points that resonated with them, and impart ideas on how they could apply or use these take-home points.

Learnings shared

One of the more salient points noted was about the challenges involved in disciplining a child. While many mothers talked about not wanting to curse, shout, or become violent towards their children; the stressors of being hard-up, having poor role models, and the lack of support systems often led to lapses in their efforts to be kind and respectful parents. Several mothers talked about the difficulties in shielding a child from learning how to curse or how to unlearn the behavior of using foul language. This is an impossible task for so many who continue to live in conditions where swearing and the use of offensive language are rampant in the community, in social media, and in local television where well-known public personalities are constantly seen touting this behavior as a sign of power and bravado. There were several young mothers who, despite the harsh living conditions, recognized the value of being truthful and being able to talk to their children in a way that does not hurt or diminish the child. For some of them it was time to break the cycle of being hardened and desensitized to violence and cruelty.

It was also observed and noted that a significant number of the participants were single parents who lived with or near the houses of other family members. This was seen as a highly valued social condition that allowed them to leave their child in the care of relatives in order find work and earn a living. Unfortunately, there were quite a few single mothers who did not have the same supportive family conditions. As a result, some have become despondent, while others talked about abandoning and neglecting their children.

The value of self-care appeared to be relevant to many of the young mothers. Several of the participants saw themselves as young adults who should give importance to looking good whenever possible, notwithstanding the stressful and worrisome lives they lead. However, the lack of social support, resources, and the lack of time prevented many of them from even fulfilling the most basic tasks of eating on time and bathing as regularly as they would want to. Those who were married and those with common-law partners mentioned the need to find ways or strategies to get their partners to participate and be more engaged in taking care of the children. This, in turn, would create more “bonding time” for father and child and allow more “me-time” for the mothers. Some mothers seemed to find the concept of relaxation and doing things for the “self” alone as ideas they haven’t thought of for a long time.

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The MLAC Team, Dr. Cecile Palma, and the young mothers

Reflections and conclusions

In the small groups, each young mother appeared to listen intently to the other, seemingly in quiet acceptance of their differences and perhaps smiling as if to echo the oneness and interconnectedness of their experiences – as mothers and as Filipino women. Part of the value of these small group sessions is in the way that the interactions reaffirm the uniqueness of each participant within the context of the shared experiences that connect and bind them to one another. Dr. Honey Carandang and the MLAC team work with Filipino families through a dynamic process that involves communicating knowledge and creating shared spaces, which participants may use to appreciate their individual and common experiences in a deeper way. It has always been a main objective of these parenting projects to have participants emerge with renewed energy and gain insights that they can own. Hopefully, being able to claim and give meaning to their own stories will give these young mothers the courage and the optimism they need as caretakers and co-builders of the next generation.

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Dr. Honey Carandang Speaks on Parenting to Young Mothers of Brgy. Tumana

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. 

 

MLAC Institute’s Dr.Honey Carandang and LINKS School for Life’s Dr.Cecile Palma-Del Rosario pose in front of the picture of Dr.Cecile’s father Dr.Jesus C. Palma

 
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.

 

Dr.Honey talks to the young mothers about how to become an effective parent.

 
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.

Group picture with the mothers at the end of the Parenting seminar

Dr. Honey Carandang Speaks on Parenting to Mothers of Brgy. Tumana

June 9, 2014 2 comments

Dr. Honey Carandang Speaks on Parenting to Mothers of Brgy. Tumana

By Toni Arante and Alleana Fuentes

            On May 24, 2014, MLAC Psychosocial Services in partnership with the LINKS School for Life in Barangay Tumana, Marikina City, welcomed mothers for a morning of learning and sharing as Dr. Honey Carandang delivered a talk on parenting. Entitled “Parenting is Nation Building”, the seminar was all about answering the question, “Paano maging mahusay na magulang?” This activity was organized by MLAC team member, Ms. Marisa Marin with Dr. Cecile P. del Rosario, Head of Links School for Life.

 

The parent participants of the workshop.

The parent participants of the workshop.

 

Dr. Carandang began by saying that to become a parent, the only requirement is to have kids. Often, the guides that parents have in raising children are limited to their own mothers and fathers. To be able to shed light on this concern and answer the aforementioned question, she provided guidelines on how to be an effective parent by discussing several tips and areas for consideration.

 

The first was communication. She emphasized that talking shouldn’t just be of good quality but must be effective as well. She mentioned how scolding kids can be done better by reframing statements and omitting the insults one might say towards the child.

 

The second was discipline with dignity, wherein clarity, consistency and consequence were emphasized. It is important for a parent to ask the child directly if s/he was clearly understood; to be consistent in what behaviors garner a reward or a punishment; and to make the kids aware of the consequences of their actions. Modeling was also highlighted to remind parents that they serve as the role models of their children.

 

Magsabi ng totoo or tell the truth was another point focused on. Often, children are belittled because of their young age; when in reality, they know what is right, and they know how to think and tell the truth. Instances of child abuse were shared by Dr. Carandang, in which she stressed the involvement of the entire family in such incidents. In order to change the behavior of abuse, people should change their thinking towards it. Children should be respected and their dignity, protected.

Dr. Carandang giving her talk to the parents.

Dr. Carandang giving her talk to the parents.

The fourth point was magkaroon ng 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. Participants were able to share some of the activities they do with their families, which included dancing, singing, asking questions, talking to each other and sharing stories.

 

Enjoy your children was another guideline discussed. Carrying over from the previous point, moments were said to be a legacy that parents may leave behind. Having these shared experiences with the family sets a foundation for them no matter what happens. Aside from this, the importance of play was also stressed. It is within a child’s nature to play so parents should allow them to do so.

 

The next point was find a support group, wherein Dr. Carandang said that support can be received from various people: a spouse, friends, churchmates, and teachers in school.

 

The final point was take care of yourself, wherein it was emphasized that children also want to see their parents happy. If the parents don’t take care of themselves, the children may end up trying to find ways to take care of their parents. Dr. Carandang reminded the mothers that they deserved to take care of themselves and be happy.

After these points were shared, an open forum followed. Various questions were asked such as how to encourage a child who does not like making mistakes; how to deal with children who stopped their schooling; and how to discipline children when their grandparents spoil them. Dr. Carandang answered these questions with suggestions that went back to the basic principles she previously discussed.

 

After the open forum, the participants were divided into small groups to share their thoughts and reactions about Dr. Carandang’s talk. It was also a way for them to ask questions and to talk about their own experiences as parents. Each group was assigned an MLAC team member as a facilitator. There were six groups, with about three or four members each. The groups were comprised of women of various ages.

 

The participants were asked two questions. First, “Ano ang pinaka-mahalaga?” Then for the second one, they were asked “Pag-uwi niyo sa pamilya niyo, ano ang mababaon niyo na puwede niyong magamit sa inyong pamamahay at sa inyong mga anak?” The parents participated actively and shared their personal experiences. Some gave similar responses and concerns about their children.

 

Most of the participants said that discipline, communication, and pagpapahalaga sa sarili were the important ones. It is necessary to ask the child if s/he understood everything that was said by the parent. Also, it is important to know which type of discipline is best, because most kids prefer a discreet way of disciplining, rather than the ones that seem too harsh. The concept “anger management” was also raised during the open forum. Lastly, the parents learned that they should try an eclectic approach in disciplining their children, to know which one works best for them.

 

Moving on to the second point, the participants said communication is also essential. Whenever parents scold their children, they should keep in mind that everytime they say the old idea of “Bata lang ‘yan, wala pang kaalam-alam”, it could be insulting to the kids. Instead, they should acknowledge the fact that they have feelings too and that they should be treated with respect. The parents also said that the talk helped them realize that instead of just scolding their children, they should also magnify their strengths, not just their weaknesses.

And lastly, according to the parents and the facilitators, the most important thing is to take care of yourself. Most of the participants said they initially thought they should only give their time to their families, but they were proven wrong when Dr. Carandang said that children actually want their parents to be as happy as they are. Another point they learned was that the happiness of their children is a reflection of their happiness. According to one of the parents, the talk taught her that “Ang pagpapahalaga sa sarili ay mahalaga upang mapahalagahan ang buong pamilya”.

 

MLAC Team members, Dr. Cecile del Rosario, and the participants

MLAC Team members, Dr. Cecile del Rosario, and the participants

MLAC Team members, Dr. Cecile del Rosario, and the participants, with us.

MLAC Team members, Dr. Cecile del Rosario, and the participants, with us.

The small group sharing allowed the mothers to express their realizations about their misdoings and share the ways they can improve themselves. Dr. Carandang ended the seminar by repeating all of the main points and thanking the participants for sharing their own stories and experiences as parents. Everyone went home feeling “full” and happy.

 

* Alleana and Toni are our adopted MLAC members who have so kindly volunteered their time with us to document this project. Many thank to you both for the photos and this beautiful article!