“Giving a sincere compliment is a loving way to brighten the day for your children while boosting your own happiness as a parent. Laughing at minor mistakes your child makes instead of a punishment, avoids disciplining your children with anger, which leads to violence.”
This is the testimony of Tofaeono Tesimale, a 55 year old father who attended Module 4 of the Positive Discipline Parenting in Siumu. His words mirrored the importance of creating a positive relationship with your child; one that is built on mutual respect and understanding instead of fear and animosity.
As the SVSG facilitators delivered the Module 4 through group discussions and interactive activities, parents started to voice their support of the programme and shifted the conversation away from abstract theories towards practical approaches on how to be a positive parent today.
A similar mentality change was noted during the Module 4 discussion with adolescents. According to 16 year old Etevise Vaofanua of Siumu and Palalaua College, “being aware of the bad consequences of drugs and alcohol helps me with decisions around who I should befriend; when I should stand up against peer pressure that would be harmful not only to myself, but to my relationship with my parents.”
The continuing sessions gave the residents of Siumu a space to smile, laugh and learn. Small changes have been noted in the level of understanding, in the attitude and mentality of the community towards child protection.
These changes would not be possible without the ongoing community prevention programs for the protection of children in Samoa, as part of a continuing partnership between SVSG and the UNICEF Pacific since 2015.
The seven communities piloted for the 2021-2022 community prevention program are Toamua, Fasitoo-uta, Fagalii, Luatuanuu, Solosolo, Siumu and Samalaeulu in Savaii.