It all began when a few parents went for observation to a Montessori environment. They were amazed to see children who were self motivated, responsible and focused - that too with very little adult intervention. They wanted to find out how children behaved with so much inner discipline despite being granted so much freedom.
They approached the Centre for Montessori Training- Chennai (CMT-C) with this question and desire to find out if the same principles could be applied at home. CMT-C welcomed the idea and with that was born a new wing - Positive Parenting Workshops.
We started with workshops in Montessori schools to help parents understand the needs of the child and the principles of building inner discipline, but soon it was felt that patterns of child rearing cannot change with a one time interaction. Our society has been rooted in a parenting style that is authoritarian and based on external control such as bribes and threats. “If you do not finish your home work, no TV for you” or “If you want that ice cream, you better eat fast.”
Need for a forum
Parents needed an ongoing forum in which they could get exposed to new ideas, practice new skills, implement them at home and come back to share their experiences.
From this came the idea of setting up small groups ( 8-10 parents) which meet once every week with a facilitator. Topics such as needs and developmental stages of the child, discipline, communication, self esteem were taken up for discussion. Parents would then take these ideas home, try it out and come back week after week to share their learning.
As the organization grew, it became an independent entity under the name ‘Parenting Matters’. Since 2004, Parenting Matters has been intensely involved in creating forums for parents of children in varied age groups. We have successfully integrated teachings of Dr. Maria Montessori, Parenting gurus such as Thomas Gordon, Faber Mazlish, Alfie Kohn and many others in the Indian context as well as the practical learning of all the parents we have worked with so far to enrich lives of numerous parents and children.
From 2013 we were directly trained by Ruth Beaglehole. We are greatly influenced by her ground breaking work, "Principles and Practices of Parenting with Nonviolence", a guide for Parent Educators, co-authored by Kim Pesenti.
Under Ruth Beaglehole's guidance, the team worked on a wholly new curriculum that included the incredible information on how parenting affects the brain development of a child as they grow to become young adults. She specifically impressed upon us how understanding ones own childhood narrative helps in becoming an effective and connected parent. She made us understand how regulating ones emotions and helping children regulate theirs, aided parents to be fully present with their child and make a positive impact on their academics, social and emotional development and their future relationships.
In her role as an activist, wanting social justice for younger human beings, she has kindled a fire in us to be an ally of the child, to understand and support the child, and help build parenting communities wherever we go.