A story from ICDP Afghanistan

My name is Ahmad Saeed and I am working as a trainer in mental health. I am actively involved in the Positive Parenting Project of the International Assistance Mission in Afghanistan.

As part of the Positive Parenting Project, I had a chance to participate in the ICDP training, which was very useful and practical. Topics that we discussed in the training were interesting. I could see the impact of this training in my daily life; it brought about significant improvements in my relationship with my two children, both under five years old.

Here is an example of the way ICDP affected me:

After a busy day, I went home with the intention of taking a good rest, but when I got home, my six-year-old child Erfan, was crying and screaming. I was hoping to find some peace, but instead I was faced with this unsettling situation. I tried to calm my son, but the more I tried, the more he seemed to cry and scream.

I found this situation very stressful. I could feel myself becoming very anxious and angry. For a few moments, I considered using violence, but the thought of my work the goal of which is to reduce violence against children, stopped me. I thought about the ICDP training and asked myself what does my child need from me now, what should I do to help. This helped me to overcame my anger and I turned to my son and started to talk to him calmly, asking his what was the problem. I listened carefully to what my son had to say. His whole face was wet with tears and his body was shaking. I hugged hin gently and placed his head on my shoulder. I then began caressing his head.

In an upset voice, he explained that he was really hungry but there was nothing to eat as the food was not yet ready. I reassured him: “That is not a big problem sweetheart, come with me to the kitchen – you and I can quickly make something delicious to eat”. While preparing the food, I was talking to him in a soothing manner. My son soon calmed down completely and after he had his food, we started to talk and play together.

I realized the power of the ICDP sensitive approach. I could see how important it is to be patient with children, how talking and playing together with children produces shared closeness; and how effective attentive listening and dialogue is in overcoming problems.  I realized that I had learned a new skill – later in several other stressful situations, it helped me handle the problems in an appropriate way.

Since then, I have realized that even some small changes in behaviour can improve adult-child relationship, and that the effectiveness depends on our ability to apply them at the right time.

A big thanks to the ICDP team for their wonderful training, which had a positive impact on me and others in my community.