Knowledge for Marriage & Family Life

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Knowledge for Marriage & Family Life, exploring the best options for dissemination and acquisition of knowledge.
Article by Dick de Koning, Nov.2011
Counselor at New Counseling Service

 

         Traditionally we were always dependent on our extended family, whenever matters arose that we could not handle by ourselves. Often a parent or grandparent could give us some advice, e.g. when a child fell ill or when we were having a difficulty communicating with our spouse.  The problems were supposed to stay within the family, for there was no need to take any 'dirty laundry' outside. This would bring the family no benefit.

         Then we developed a habit to go to the temple and talk to a monk, who could have some answers for us, from another, perhaps more spiritual point of view. How many years is it now already that we have lost this art of consulting the clergy for our socio-emotional problems? Only in small communities upcountry this may still be happening.

         New technology has brought us new devices to connect with the outside world. The first one was the light bulb, creating many more hours of 'daylight' for us. As a result we stayed up longer and thus in turn made it more difficult to get up in the morning.  Another result is that we get less rest than we actually need.

         The second and very successful device was the invention of the radio. It has captivated many souls at home and at work and it still does. For many people it is a way to stay up-to-date with local news and also with trends and developments of science. The radio has been very successful and still is in disseminating information to the people. Some discussion programs can be very useful to listen to, especially those that have guest experts on children's growth and development and those on food and general health.

         Since about 40-50 years the television has been the biggest source of information dissemination. Many useful programs can be viewed that are adding value to the quality of life. At the same time there are also lots of programs that steal away our valuable time, by producing shows, games and soap-series that do not enhance any of quality of life.   Constantly moving wallpaper does not provide us with the rest we need, nor does it create opportunities to interact very much with our family members.  How many men fall asleep on the couch daily?!

         More recently the mobile smart phone, computer and the internet have become major sources of information ('googling' has even become a verb!) that many of us use to find out how to diagnose symptoms of a disease, how to cook a meal, how to train our children, how to grow certain plants, etc. The Internet has so much information that one could be Googling all day and lack a lot of sleep, since searching for one topic gives you a million or so results.  There is good information regarding relationships, marriage, children, healthcare and mental health that you can find there, but we also need to caution that you shouldn't just believe all that you read up there. In selecting reliable resources of information we should be selective and critical and you'd better double check with other reliable sites whether it is correct what you have just googled.  

         We should not forget to consult people that have studied for years to become experts, like doctors, specialists, psychologists, psychiatrists and counselors, when it comes to maintaining and/or treating our emotional health as a family or an individual. 

         It is not wrong to check information but for many people reading up on the Internet has become confusing and/or a reason for increased anxiety.  We should be very careful in drawing conclusions from what we read, since for many readers of such information it has become a stigma or a label they believed they needed to carry for life. Drawing your own conclusions can be very dangerous.

         Once again, it is not wrong to go for a second opinion, because not every professional expert has kept up with the most recent research and developments of healthcare. Doctors and other health care professional are not all-knowing or omnipotent and can have their blind spots.

         What I am aiming at in this article is to make us aware of the fact that we are all responsible for our own health and wellbeing, as far as that lies within our power. We thus need to be pro-active, by e.g. taking precautions, preventive measures, vitamins, healthy food and lifestyle, sufficient rest and relaxation, sports activities, etc. Only for our children and perhaps aging parents we as parents need to speak up and be their mouth piece. They cannot always be held responsible for their own wellbeing.

         As adults we should keep ourselves up-to-date where it concerns our balance between emotional health and physical wellbeing. Reading books or interesting articles on the internet can indeed help us to do so. The TV can be a good resource at times, but not always. 

         Talking to a relative or a friend by making a phone call is often a good thing. When we feel we need spiritual advice it is still a good thing to consult a local monk or a pastor. They often have more life experience and insight in matters that relate to our soul. 

         Looking for advice at websites is certainly not wrong, but be aware that you need to compare notes and/or a second opinion. 

         Sometimes we tend to self-medicate ourselves (out of fear for losing time and/or money when we are going to see professional), but often is recommendable that we see a (mental) Health Care professional who has studied long and knows how to diagnose your problem and treat it well.  We could learn more about our ailment when we dare to ask questions and ask for explanation of the treatment. As a patient we have the right to know this anyway, but our traditions have often taught us to be overly reverent of a doctor or specialist and that we should not impose ourselves on their valuable time. Forget that for a moment, when you visit the doctor next time, since you are responsible for your own health and wellbeing!  

         As parents of young children and teenagers we can recommend that you join a group or a course helping you to learn more parenting skills. Our organization (NCS) is offering this for a group of 10-12 people or more. It can be very helpful to make friends with other (and sometimes more experienced) parents and discuss your own parenting issues with them in a small group. That may give you the feeling that you are not alone and as a couple it may even make you stronger in your relationship as a married couple.

         Some of you are a single parent and therefore you might need the support of other parents to help you cope with the stresses of creating a healthy discipline for your children. You may want to join a parenting group, which we can really recommend. 

 

Recommendable resources for parents who hold themself responsible for their kid's wellbeing and a balanced development are: 

  • The STEP Parenting organization  (from Mahidol University)
    http://salathaipsycho.siam2web.com/?cid=517695
  • About Parenting Styles
    http://th.asiaonline.com/article?article=Parenting_styles
  • Thai Magazines for Parents: Real Parenting, นิตยสาร Parenting , who like to promote themselves with the following words:   เป็นนิตยสารในกลุ่มแม่และเด็กที่ขายดีที่สุดในโลก ได้รับการยอมรับสูงสุด และมีผู้อ่านมากที่สุดมากว่า 17 ปี  โดยเป็นส่วนหนึ่งของกลุ่มบริษัท Time Inc. ผู้ดำเนินธุรกิจสิ่งพิมพ์คุณภาพที่ใหญ่ที่สุดของสหรัฐอเมริกา  ด้วยความสำเร็จอย่างสูงในสหรัฐอเมริกา ผสมผสานกับการสร้างสรรค์ของทีมงานชาวไทยมืออาชีพ ที่มีประสบการณ์และความมุ่งมั่นสูงของ จะเป็นนิตยสารที่ตอบสนองความต้องการของพ่อแม่รุ่นใหม่ ทั้งเรื่องสาระ และสายสัมพันธ์ได้ลงตัวที่สุด  โดยคำนึงถึงการดัดแปลงให้เข้ากับวิถีชีวิตของครอบครัวไทยอย่างดีที่สุด
  • Another Thai Parenting Magazine that some people like to read is:  Modern Mom.
    They can also be found on Facebook:  
    http://www.facebook.com/modernmommag?v=wall?vm=r
  • The Mother's Support Group through Bambi can be found online at
    http://www.cbfthai.org/Mother-Support-Group-in-THailand
  • Parent Effectiveness Training is holding P.E.T.Workshops in Thailand for parents can be found at: http://dthinkthai.org/  
    It is a workshop that teaches parents the essential interpersonal communication and conflict resolution skills (nobody looses) that will help them to deal with their children more easily and effectively. 
  • Focusonthefamily.com
    will help parents with a lot of advice and good articles in English only.
  • The TonRak Foundation has a useful Facebook page for parents and caretakers of chilkdren with special needs. They seem to organize many events for the children.  http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=116399958392537&v=wall 
  • On Facebook you can also find information about the Rainbow Room, where there is special attention for children with Special Needs. http://www.facebook.com/specialrainbow?sk=info
  • ศูนย์ความเข้าใจในด้านบวกเกี่ยวกับความต้องการพิเศษ ที่ไม่แสวงหากำไร เราเป็นกลุ่มพ่อแม่, ครอบครัว และเพื่อนของบุคคลที่มีความต้องการพิเศษด้านพัฒนาการและพฤติกรรม รวมถึงดาวน์ซินโดรม, ออทิสซึ่ม, แอสเพอร์เกอร์ส, พีดีดี เอ็นโอเอส, เซเรบรัล พัลซี, เอดีเอชดี และความท้าทายด้านพันธุกรรมอื่นๆ เราส่งเสริมความเข้าใจในด้านบวกผ่านการแบ่งปันข้อมุล, ประสบการณ์, กำลังใจ และพลังเสริม แบบ “พ่อแม่สู่พ่อแม่

 

 

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