From Punishment to Partnership: A Parent’s Tale of Transformation

“My wife had been pressuring me to join her in the weekly parenting groups she attended, so one day I decided to go along with her. The sessions were meetings of parents and carers guided by other parents known as Community Based Facilitators (CBFs). During the sessions, we delved into various aspects of parenting including how to handle children and support our partners effectively. Each participant was encouraged to actively engage in these activities.

Reflecting on the initial sessions, I realized that some of my parenting and spousal interactions were deeply flawed. I used physical violence and had sticks assigned to my wife and kids. Verbal abuse was also a part of my behavior especially when I felt provoked which led to a tense and unhappy household.  However, as I worked through the parenting modules, I experienced a huge transformation. The most important thing I learnt was the value of developing friendships and bonds with my children. Now, I spend precious time playing football with my children after school, which has brought joy to our family and deepened our bond. Furthermore, the act of breaking the sticks I used to hit my family with in front of them signified a symbolic step towards greater family bonds.

We’ve adjusted our family mealtime practices, opting to eat together rather than having the kids eat separately from us. This small improvement has greatly increased the children’s happiness. Additionally, My perspective on domestic chores has changed, and I now recognize the value of sharing responsibilities with my partner. Before the parenting sessions, I did not help my wife with any domestic chores because I thought they were not “manly”, however, I now participate in tasks like laundry and tending to our animals. My wife and I also opened a joint bank account which we manage together and discuss all our families’ expenses, something I used to do by myself. I hope that programs like this will expand so that more parents can improve their relationships with their spouses and children.”

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