Olive (42) is a mother of four children, married to Bosco. She strives hard to provide for her children. To her, feeding children, buying them clothes, and taking them to school is what positive parenting is all about. Having done that, she feels she has fulfilled her responsibility as a parent. But she is yet to discover a different version.
For a long time, Olive and her husband had quarrels. The husband influenced their nine-year-old first-born son to believe that his mother was a bad person. Bosco would take him wherever he went, and come back late at night. The boy would not listen to his mother at all. When he would leave for school, he would go look for his father and come back with him in the night.
Olive's son started getting poor grades in class and yet he had always been on top of his class. At one time, he mentioned to his mother that he wanted to be like his father and this broke Olive’s heart. She tried to talk to Bosco about their son, but it was all in vain. Olive then resorted to beating her son in order to make him understand that she is the mother and he ought to respect her. She would often use harsh words.
When there came an opportunity for caregivers to attend the Care and Comfort for Children on the Move project workshops, Olive was selected amongst them. On her first day in the workshop, the facilitator talked about responsibilities of those providing care for children. Olive reflected on her birth family with whom she had grown up, and how this influenced how she was also caring for her children.
“I realised I had also been affected by the way I was brought up as a child. I grew up in family that had conflicts. My father was a violent person, which affected my personality and killed my self-confidence”, says Olive.
She remembered a time she had been raped at the age of 18 and attempted to commit suicide three times. Neither her mother nor her father got to know about it. Because of the conflicts they had, they had no time to talk to their children.
Throughout the workshop, she then realised that she needed to talk to her son instead of beating him. She then did just that, and started being friendly towards him. She would show him why it was important for him to study hard, and she would also tell him how much she loved him.
Olive saw a change in the child immediately after she started practicing what she had been taught at the workshop. Her son stopped coming home late at night and eventually went back to topping his class.
"I started positively talking to my children. If they needed something that I did not have at the moment, I would promise to find it. Before, if they asked for what I did not have, I would be rude to them”, says Olive.
Olive now makes time to play with her children. On a daily basis, she reminds them that she loves them and that she wishes the best for them. “There is one thing that really made me happy. My children now tell me, ‘have a good day mum’ when they are going to school and when they come back they ask how my day was”, she says.
Caregivers like Olive who have participated in World Vision's Care and Comfort for Children on the Move workshops appreciate this intervention so much. They have realised that although they thought they were caring for their children, there is a lot they missed out on.
By Charity Beza Uwase, Communications Officer