Mamtaz Begum’s journey of being a “Best Friend Mom”

Monday 4 February 2019

“I used to believe, the only way to discipline children is to beat them”

 

Every parent is eager to see his or her child grow up to be responsible, compassionate, trustworthy, and kind. And Mamtaz Begum is no different.  She wants to see her children as confident, kind and successful. But like most other people she used to think strict parenting produces better-behaved kids.

Mamtaz Begum from Agrabad, Chittagong has three sons and a daughter. While her husband drives a car to feed the family she stays at home to take care everything and  everyone. Following a very common belief of punishing children to make them disciplined, she made it very hard for her children to have a good relationship with her not mention a life. Without knowing the consequences she was sucking the oxygen out of her home gradually.

 

But Mamtaz Begum soon realized things are never going to get better if this continues. She got in touch with parent’s groups facilitated by MAMATA, a partner organization of Save the Children in Bangladesh who worked for creating a child-friendly environment in the community. She started participating in different sessions on child rights, child participation, physical and humiliating punishment and positive discipline. After two years, in 2016 she knew she was doing the right thing.

Read the story in her voice :

 

“I did not want to hurt my children. But they made me so angry when they did not listen to me,”  Mamtaz Begum regrets her past behavior with her children.

 

She used to believe that the only way to discipline children is to beat them. She had no idea about the impact of physical and humiliating punishment on children or the alternative to this. But her views changed when she took part in positive discipline training organized by MAMATA, a partner organization of Save the Children in Bangladesh.  

After completing the eight-week long training, she realized she needed to work on her anger issues and adopt different techniques to resolve conflict with her children. She found the solutions in some specific parts of the training.

 

“The session on temper, the behavior of children in different age groups and how long-term plans can be achieved by implementing short-term plans attracted me. Also, the session on identifying the conflicts with our children and techniques to overcome those conflicts with warmth and structure helped me a lot. I felt that I was just punishing my children in the name of discipline.”

 

She said, “We were always in financial hardship. My daughter had ill health which prevented me from working. My son was a very playful child and hard to control. This situation strained my relationship with my husband as well. We used to fight a lot and then let out the anger on our children by beating them.”

 

She started taking part in parent group activities facilitated by MAMATA in 2014. After receiving the training on Positive Discipline in Everyday Parenting (PDEP) in 2016, she noticed significant changes within herself. “I started understanding my children’s behavior. My husband and I planned to change ourselves without interrupting our children’s natural behavior,” she said.

 

But overcoming the anger issue was difficult for both of them. Mumtaz Begum tried to solve this by asking help from MAMATA team members. Sharing experiences with other parents was useful also.

 

Nahida Akther, Social Worker of MAMATA said, “Mamtaz Begum is working hard to establish safe and child-friendly environment in her community. She plays the facilitator role for the community people in absence of us. She is the change maker of the community.”  

 

More about the Project :

 

Save the Children in partnership with MAMATA, a national NGO in Chittagong is implementing a project named ‘Stop Tolerating Violence against Children’ since 2017. The project followed the learning of another project named ‘Reducing Exploitation and Abuse of Children in Bangladesh’ of MAMATA which ran from 2013 to 2016. One of the objectives of both the projects was to create awareness on the negative consequences of PHP and develop capacity of parents on PDEP.