From dull marriages to happy families

Comprised of parents and children, a family forms the very fabrics of any society. The fact that each one of us belongs to a family, points to a unit that is core in shaping today and future generations. How parents relate and how they interact with their sons and daughters, matters a lot. Here, parents determine the destiny of their children. ICS believes that parents need to feel the “power to parent” to change the future of their children.

Through Skilful Parenting, ICS is making a difference in many families. By closing the gap between parents and their children, Skilful Parenting is lighting up marriages. Parent-child relationships have improved. Children are finding a reason to smile. And together, the bleak past is beamed with rays of happiness towards a better tomorrow.

Family decisions make more sense if jointly done
John Alfred Makhandia, a retired teacher from Busia County, western Kenya, reveals how ICS’ Skilful Parenting has been a turning point in his family. Makhandia, a father of five daughters and two sons, lived all his years of marriage knowing that as a man, he was the sole-decision maker. He ignored his wife, silenced his children, and his word was always final. “In all the years, it was clear to me that the man of the house was the only decision maker, and I did it in my entire years, today I can testify that this was a wrong approach,” recalls Mr. Makhandia. Since the ICS training, the family got a new lease of life. Today, every member of his family has a say. Dialogue is the centre of this family that was on the verge of collapsing. He agrees that this approach that embraces dialogue is essential in empowering children as responsible members of the family. “Today I have a good and close relationship with my children, thanks to the Skilful Parenting training”, he notes.

"Men have a say in the household but they are not able and willing to care for their families”

Because of ICS training, Mr. Makhandia is giving back to the society, as he is not ready to see families tear apart and children suffer. The former tutor is now using his Skilful Parenting knowledge to help nearby primary schools handle disciplinary cases. “So many parents do the same mistake as I did. Parents often do not take time to discuss with their children. Everything else seems to be more important than their own children.”

Social norms and attitudes threaten families
Many families in East Africa, where ICS has its operations on the continent are under the wrath of oppressive cultural practices and beliefs. Coupled with male chauvinism, women and children are lesser partners in these families. The impact is enormous. And the pain, unbearable.

Joseph Ochieno, a Catholic Church worker in Busia, agrees that indeed traditions remain a challenge in having functional families, thus the need for skillful parenting. “African men are still rooted in their traditions, where men have a say in the household but they are not able and willing to care for the families,” says Mr. Ochieno who works under the Family Health program in collaboration with ICS. The project takes care of neglected children and orphans. He adds: “We need to change this, and we have to start with our families. Otherwise the African society will never change for the better."

Bottom line
Husband, wife and children need a happy and friendly family environment to enjoy life fully. Every child needs a caring dad and mum. Every wife thirstily needs a listening husband. Such an environment is key towards ending violence against children and having happier generations. With ICS training, it is possible to influence perceptions and embrace Skilful Parenting.