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Counselling for the Caregivers by Sandy

Hi, This is Sandy again and this time I am here in Baan Unrak delivering the training on the topic of consent and boundaries for caregivers’. This training is necessary to bring awareness to the staff regarding consent and boundaries. The purpose of this training resulted in two folds. 1) Building knowledge and self -awareness for caregivers and 2) To build foundation for future training’s that will help build stronger relationship between the caregivers and children.

The role of the caregiver is to be mindful and attentive to the overall health and development of the children. Recent research suggest that 1) Two important qualities that predicts the ability of caregivers are responsiveness and being sensitive to children’s’ needs. These qualities will allow caretakers to effectively identify children’s stress signal even when they do not wish to share their personal feelings and emotions. 2) Supportive and caring relationship can help children become physically, socially and intellectually resilient in the face of future uncertainties such as stress of adulthood, relationship, job stress, poverty and violence.

Didi realizes that it is important for caregivers to manage their emotions because children’s health, development and relationship between the caregiver and the children is heavily dependent on this factor. Chronic stress and anxiety may make the caregiver withdraw themselves emotionally and become inattentive to the early signs of physical and emotional illness and interfere with the capacity of to give love and care.

During the training, we repeated the same activities conducted for the children age 14 and above in December 2018. The contents were easy to follow, we discussed good touch – bad touch for the caregivers to become aware when playing between children becomes too rough, and involving the touching of private parts either intentionally or unintentionally. The contents are also to be applied in their personal lives. And this is well understood even by the senior caretakers. In fact, one of the most senior caretakers seemed to enjoy the session a lot. Although she seemed a little confused about what we were doing in the beginning, but once she understood the concept, she was actively participating in the activities. When we got to the handshake activity, she raised her hand to volunteer and come up to the front of the room to show her handshake routine.  The handshake routine represents that “consent is all about communication”, the routine or the details has to be agreed and communicated by both people. Consent can range from things like using your personal things like a phone, books, and diaries to giving consent in sexual activity. For example, giving consent to use your phone to listen to music does not mean there is consent to read personal emails and messages, giving consent to kiss does not mean a consent to take your clothes off. Consent must be given by both parties with mental clarity and one can choose to change their minds at any time.

To my delight, the caregivers enjoyed the activities  and are looking forward to more training’s on skills and other developmental practices that would further help them in taking care of the children. I would like to thank Mae Lek, who ran the workshop with me and helped in translating it into Burmese for the caregivers with limited Thai language.

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