“The minds of children are fragile. If something happens to them, it could scar them for a long time.”
Most migrant parents here on the Thai/Burma border don’t have the wisdom they need to raise their children to be healthy and resilient. Instead, they end up passing on the ignorance and abuse of their own upbringing to their children.
Our Family Education Program equips parents with the knowledge and support they lack so that they can give their children the love and security they need to grow into healthy and well-adjusted adults. This breaks cycles of violence and ignorance, enabling a whole generation of children to thrive in strong loving families, shifting the entire culture over time.
We interviewed a few parents at the end of one of our recent Early Childhood Development modules to find out if the class had helped them in how they parent.
Soe Thu Zar was happy to talk to us. She grew up in Myanmar with her two siblings. She never finished school. Her mother died and her aunt told her to come to Thailand and stay with her. “There wasn’t much I could do for work around my village in Myanmar,” she said. At 16 years old Soe Thu started working full time at odd jobs, mostly childcare and house cleaning. Now she is married and has a 2 and a half year old daughter.
“Before the training I didn’t know very much. When children cried, I would scold them, or beat them, or shout at them. Or, I would just tell them to go away and cry somewhere else.”
“But in the class the teacher taught us about how a child’s brain and body develop, and how they are affected by what I do as a mother. Now, I’ve started spending more time with my daughter. When she cries I stay and console her, and help her understand things. For example, she might want something right away and cry when I say she can’t have it. But if I explain that we will do it later, it helps her to understand and calm down.”
“I learned how important it is for her to play, and talk, how it helps her brain get smarter. I didn’t know before that when a child asks questions it’s because they are learning. My daughter started talking when she was very young. I used to say things like ‘You are so talkative.’ ‘You are so noisy.’ Now I don’t say that anymore. When she asks me questions I do my best to answer them.”
“I feel like I am more understanding of my daughter after the training. Before the training, I didn’t know. Most Myanmar people do with their children the same things that I was doing. But after the training, I learned that I should spend more time with her, and I should listen to her and be more understanding about how she feels.”
“I think the most helpful homework assignments were the ones about mental health. I didn’t know how much damage things like violence can cause to children, because the minds of children are fragile. If something happens to them, it could scar them for a long time.”
“Before the training, I didn’t know any better. I would point to other kids and say something like ‘Look at her. She’s not crying. She’s so polite.’ But after the training, I never compared her with anyone else again because I am worried that it would wound her mind and heart.”
“I want the best for my daughter. When she is old enough, I will do my best to make sure she can go to school. If she needs help with her homework, I will help her. The most important thing for every child is education. Without an education, people might look down on you, and you have fewer opportunities. It is very important to me that my child get an education, especially since I wasn’t able to finish school. I am still strong enough to work and make sure she gets to finish school. I want her to graduate and be able to go to college.”
Your support for Family Education is helping mothers like Soe Thu Zar, who love and care about their children, learn how to best help them grow up safe, healthy, and resilient. Please help us reach the thousands more mothers like her who need to learn how to help their children thrive and their families become strong and loving.
Carrien is co-founder of The Charis Project, Family Education Curriculum Developer, and mom of 6.
You can get her free mini-course on Making Your Family More Resilient here.