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14 August 2021 - News

Positive parenting brings an end to domestic violence

Sou Long, a 58-year-old man who had, in the past, resorted to using domestic violence to educate his children, has now become one of the main actors leading parents and caregivers towards positive parenting.

Mr. Long, the first deputy chief of Krala commune council of Kampong Siem district, Kampong Cham province, is currently living with his 55-year-old wife, Pheng Vannath, in Chroy Ampel village. 

Their son, Long Bunly, is a 23-year-old mobile phone repair technician, and their daughter, Long Sreynang, is 18 years old and working as a garment worker. Both dropped out of high school a few years ago, while in grade 11, because of their family’s financial situation.

“Earlier, I followed traditional and inappropriate uses of violence towards my children and my wife. I did not know how to control my emotions and feelings, and I would hit or yell at them every time I argued with them,” said Mr. Long. 

Mr. Long often used impolite words when communicating with his family and other people. His neighbour, Thy Veng, characterized him as selfish, and said that he did not care about the community, and cared only about himself.

His colleague, Sok Kimsan also pointed out that Mr. Long was underperforming at work, and rarely got involved in activities that related to children because he believed these tasks were for women.

Mr. Long’s behavior changed, however, after he was introduced to positive parenting concepts.

In 2020, with funding from Save the Children Hong Kong, Save the Children started implementing the Raising Awareness and Innovative Strategies for ECD (RAISE) project in Mr. Long’s community. In close collaboration with local authorities, the project began establishing caregiver groups to teach community members how to take care of their young children at home, including washing their hands and reading books with them.

After receiving a total of twelve courses, Mr. Long began spending more time with small children. He also started to encourage young fathers in his community to do housework and promote hygiene. As part of his government duties, Mr. Long began educating villagers and raising their awareness on positive parenting without violence, focusing especially on fathers with small children. On a personal level, he has also changed the way he communicates with his own wife and children.

“Mr. Long has changed a lot. He knows how to plan activities to educate the villagers, especially men and fathers, to participate in sharing housework. He even spends time teaching children in his community,” Mr. Veng said. 

Additionally, Mr. Long also spent some time reading books with his grandson at home. He has good communication in his family.

“He has now become very active. He works with the village chiefs and other volunteers to educate parents whose children are aged 0-3. He does a really good job,” Mr. Kimsan said.   

RAISE project officer, Leng Timsokal, noted that Mr. Long fully understands the difference between negative practices and positive parenting, and he no longer uses violence with his family and always helps his wife with housework.

With a strong sense of commitment, Mr. Long says he will continue promoting behavior change among parents and caregivers parenting children aged 0-3, and will spread what he has learned from the project across his community.