World Day News/Media

Training Corner: Lessons learned, lessons shared

Positive parenting training: Five keys to success

Since 2006, Save the Children has introduced its eight-week positive parenting program into 30 countries. Two of its Child Protection staff members, Director Lena Karlsson and Advisor Sara Johansson, share the keys to their success.

  • Start with children's reactions. Children feel hurt, angry, or frightened after physical punishment, and sometimes intensely dislike the persons who hit them. Corporal punishment diminishes family closeness and communicates that violence is acceptable for dealing with problems.
  • Educate parents and provide an alternative. Many parents don't know that corporal punishment is considered violent and harmful. They were hit by their parents, so this is what they know. Until parents are taught about the harm caused by hitting children, and taught positive parenting skills, physical punishment will continue.
  • Train. This includes child development, research on effective parenting, child rights, effects of corporal punishment—physical and psychological—and methods of guiding and correcting children. By convincing and training local staff members first, they become stronger advocates for children, better trainers of others, and better challengers of social norms and laws.
  • Try to reach fathers. Messages to protect children are aimed at fathers through village leaders and religious leaders. These messages have a positive impact and are effective in reaching communities.

Finally, recognize that long-term solutions require careful layers of advocacy, education and training. It can takes years of patient work by many different groups and partners to achieve behavior change as well as legal reform.

Schoolchildren during class at Marumbi Primary School in Ugunja, Zanzibar. The school adopted positive and non-violent teaching methods a year ago and works in partnership with Save the Children and the Zanzibari Government. Photo credit: Sala Lewis/Save the Children/2013Non-violent child rearing: Four practical principles
Does the concept of "non-violent child rearing" seem unclear to you? If so, you have plenty of company. Now consider it as "an approach to teaching that helps children succeed, gives them information, and supports their growth," says Canadian child-clinical psychologist Dr. Joan Durrant, who guides Save the Children's Positive Discipline program.

Four practical principles can help guide this teaching, she explains:

      • identify your long-term parenting goals;
      • provide warmth (love, security) and structure (information, expectations, guidelines);
      • understand how children think and feel; and
      • problem solving.

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Promoting birth registration: Church outreach that works (Coming soon)
What might we learn from a global church network's outreach in birth registration? Dr. Sally Thompson, Coordinator of the International Anglican Family Network (IAFN) shares information on the work being done by the IAFN and Communion of Anglican Churches around the world.

  • Preach, teach, link. Church leaders are esteemed by their communities and have a special role there. They work at grassroots levels and are therefore in a unique position to be immensely helpful. Clergy and lay leaders can preach about the importance of birth registration, find opportunities to educate and allay fears, and even link birth registration with baptism.
  • Provide support to get birth certificates in hand (the proof of birth registration). People might need practical help with application forms, complex procedures, or payment of fees. When city registry offices are too far away, church buildings could be offered for use as temporary registration centers.
  • Publish, post online, mail. The IAFN's two newsletters on birth registration were posted online, and mailed to hundreds of contacts who had no access to the internet.
  • Use social media. The IAFN has a Facebook and Twitter presence, as well as a blog for posting information and news, and inviting responses from readers.
  • Work with partners. The Anglican Communion works with many partners. One example concerns Uganda, where members of the Anglican Church worked with the Mothers' Union (a far-reaching church organization which works on family issues with people—of all faiths, and of no faith—in 83 countries), the Ministry of Health, and UNICEF. Together they obtained registration certificates for more than 73,000 children!