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21 April 2021 - Story

Positive Discipline Creates a Safe Environment for Children

A 37-year-old woman with two little kids in Kbal Tuek village, Mrs. Meng So Khea was accustomed to using punishment to discipline her children. Describing her relationship with her children, So Khea revealed, “My children did not get along well with me because I used to shout and hit them when I would tell them to help with household chores.”

So Khea is a dynamic member of a positive parenting group living in Tboung Khmum province. She and her husband work as farmers to earn income to support their family. She recalls that her parents would punish her when she was her children’s ages, and wondered if that was why she continued that practice with her own children. So Khea and her husband thought they needed to hit their children to get them to be good and obedient and to follow a good path. As a result of this experience, their children did not feel close to them.

In 2019, with funding from the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD), Save the Children and its partner, Phnom Srey Organization for Development and Social Services of Cambodia, started working closely with the local Commune Committee for Women and Children (CCWCs) to establish parenting group meetings in So Khea’s community. So Khea joined these meetings, where she started to understand the impact of punishment, learn about positive discipline, and develop techniques to support her children’s needs.

When she applied positive discipline with her children in their daily lives, So Khea began noticing changes. She started by creating a safe and nurturing environment for her children. She also tried to speak with her children kindly when she needs support from them. So Khea told us with a big smile that she is thrilled to see her children smiling more and growing closer to her. Her children are now happy to discuss their studies with her and dare to bring up issues that are bothering them.

Interestingly, So Khea also shared what she learned in the meetings with her husband because she wanted to create a safe, loving and caring environment within the entire family, and even began sharing with her community. “I kept sharing the advantages of positive parenting sessions with my community to decrease violence against children,” continued So Khea. “I would like to thank the organization [Save the Children] for creating these extremely useful sessions to help us learn.”

So Khea proudly said, “I am committed to educating my children in a positive way and to be a role model in my community. I hope my community will stop using violence against children.”