Before Easter I was asked by Relationships Australia to run some workshops in the Southwest of Western Australia. I ran two workshops in Albany, one in Denmark and worked a whole day in Gnowangerup. I worked in class all day with the students, ran Professional Development for the teaching staff and then ran a workshop for parents in the evening.
The two Albany workshops were very well attended, in fact they both booked out with parents and agency staff attending. I had some amazing feedback from all the participants. But the one that will hold a special place in my heart was from a mother who had already been to one of my workshops when I spoke at the Foster Care Conference last year. Here is what she wrote on her feedback sheet: This is the second time I have attended your workshop and found this time equally good the second time. This issue is very close to my family and lifestyle. Attending this course previously has helped me to help protect my own children (7) It has totally empowered my entire family and my network.
The Gnowangerup workshops were also well attended with some mothers coming to the teacher training so that their husbands could attend the evening workshop. I have to confess that I did manipulate their children a little to get their parents to attend.
I had asked every class if anyone’s parent had ever said, maybe after asking them to do something - “Because I said so!” and of course all the children put up their hands to show that they heard this all the time. So I asked the students if it would change their lives if I would ask their parents not to say it ever again. All the students agreed that it would really change their lives. I didn’t promise that their parents would never say that expression again, but did promise that I would be explaining to the parents why saying, “Because I said so!” was so counterproductive. I explained to the students that when parents say, “Because I said so!” what they actually mean is, ‘Darling, I love you so much that I don’t want you to go there or do that”, or “I want to keep you safe” or “I don’t want you to make the same mistake I made” or “I want you to learn from my experience” but that parents sometimes, for many reasons, forget to, or don’t know how to, express the real reason.
Parents need to open up and sustain conversations with their children and saying “Because I said so!” only closes down the conversation or has the potential to turn into a conflict or into a family argument. The example I used with the parents was that if your child comes to you and asks if they can go to someone’s home for a sleepover and you didn’t think that some members of the other household were responsible, capable, or suitable, rather than say “Because I said so!” as the reason for not allowing them to go they needed to actually tell their child of their concerns.
Feedback from one of the mums at the evening workshop: Great speaker so interesting – lots of knowledge. My kids came home from school telling me all about it- which is rare
Here are two articles that you might find useful.
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Safe4Kids Training Programs
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Basic Training is a two hour professional development for teachers and childcare educators, presented by Holly-ann Martin as an introduction to her ten-week lesson plan.
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