After our whole family attended the workshops and activities of S_Cool House, both Mom and Dad changed. My father moved to work closer to home. He finishes work at five and is home by half past five. Dad knew if he stayed at the same job, he would be in the same environment i.e. his coworkers would persuade him to drink with them after hours every day.

UNFPA Thailand Country Office presses priority on youth leadership in demanding their sexual and reproductive health and rights to be protected and their accessibility to such services with special focus on the problem of teenage pregnancy. In 2014, UNFPA has awarded the grants to 15 Civil Society Organizations (CSOs).

The purpose of these grants is for capacity development activities that will enable the CSOs to function as the supporter of future youth-led initiatives on the prevention of teenage pregnancy and/or the promotion of sexual and reproductive health and rights of young people.

Hearts Speak: Seeing the World through Mom’s Lenses

by Amonpan Tawyota,

University student and member of the S_Cool House

Chiang Rai

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Everything Begins at Home

“I used to feel that our family wasn’t as close as we should be even though Mom and Dad were clearly in love. I felt there was some kind of an invisible wall between me and my parents, and I didn’t know how to break it down. Sometimes, I felt sad and confused. Mom and Dad couldn’t understand me and I didn’t understand them. I had many questions on my mind that I dared not ask them. We lived in the same house but I felt as though we were distances away. But things have changed since our family joined S_Cool House’s workshops. We spend more time together. We have more heart-to-heart talks and reveal feelings to one another more openly. Now we can talk with each other about everything, including sex.

“I used to wonder why Mom always kept me and my younger brother waiting at dinner time, why she often returned home stressed and irritable. Sometimes, she took it out on us. I usually did all the housework. One evening, I planned to wash the dishes a little later. When Mom returned home, she yelled at me, demanding to know why I hadn’t done the dishes. Back then, I found Mom scary. I’d try to stay away from her whenever she looked tense because she might be hurling emotional bombs at me.

“Dad used to get home late. Sometimes, when I called to ask him to come home and have dinner with us, he would either not answer the call or have his cell phone turned off. We used to wait for him until 9 p.m. to have dinner together. If I managed to get him on the phone, he would often say he was busy but I could hear a sound like some kind of a party was going in the background. I wonder why then he returned home with the stinking smell of liquor!

As Emotional Walls Collapse, Empathy Ensues

“After our whole family attended the workshops and activities of S_Cool House, both Mom and Dad changed. My father moved to work closer to home. He finishes work at five and is home by half past five. Dad knew if he stayed at the same job, he would be in the same environment i.e. his coworkers would persuade him to drink with them after hours every day.

“Mom started to get home earlier and become less irritable. These days, she takes better care of her health and we get to cook together more often. In the past, if she was busy, she would drink only coffee all day and eat no food. There were days in which she drank as many as 8 cups of coffee. This went on until her weight dropped to 38 kilograms. The turning point came when she was admitted to a hospital because of malnutrition and stress-induced stomach pain. One day, Mom happened to have two overlapping meetings so she went to one and sent me to attend another on ethnic issues. All I did was listening for two hours without saying a word at the meeting. That was enough to give me a headache and I had to take pain killers when I got home. Since then, I understood why Mom often returned home stressed.

When Looked with the Heart, Everything Is Understandable

“In one of the activities, a facilitator at the S_Cool House asked all participants to write their deepest feelings. No participants knew their letters would be read later by their families. In her letter, my mother apologized to me and my brother for returning home with stress and taking it out on us. My father wrote that he apologized for coming home late and keeping everyone waiting to have dinner with him. I wrote why Dad had to keep us waiting and why Mom had to keep dropping bombs. Although we didn’t discuss anything before writing the letters separately, we ended up writing about the same thing that bothered us all.

“Besides learning how to communicate with family members, I also learned about sexual-reproductive health from the S_Cool House. For example, I learned the risks of engaging in sexual relationships while being a student and how to say ‘no’ to your boyfriend, which I’ve applied in real life and it works. I’m seeing my boyfriend, and my parents know about us. I can share my relationship problems with them. I thank this project for bringing our family closer. That invisible wall was taken down, leaving me with an afterthought: guessing what another person thinks or feels can lead to a misunderstanding, and misunderstanding usually arises because one person doesn’t tell and the other doesn’t ask.”

 PROJECT:  The S_Cool House’s “Empower the Parents and Leaders To Stop Teen Pregnancy” project seeks to reduce teen pregnancy in Chiang Rai province by helping to build a strong family foundation.

Activities:

·         Educational workshops on sexual-productive health in which teen participants also learn about themselves in terms of physiology and personality type.

·         Communication trainings to help parents and their children engage in more open and constructive conversations so as to bring them closer and understand each other more. When family members are not afraid to speak from their hearts, they can confide and talk with each other about anything including sex. With a stronger family foundation, the chances of teen pregnancy are lowered.

·         Activities aimed at teaching empathy such as letter writing (to reveal deepest feelings such as what one would like to thank or apologize to another family member but hasn’t had the courage to do so) and role reversal (to make parents do what their children are adept and vice versa).

 

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