Thursday, December 08, 2005

Teaching the parents?

Back in the LSE after two days away at my other weekly - but paid - commitments. Tuesday was the last Latin American research seminar at which Georgraphy's Anita Shrader presented her work with parent education post-war Guatemala. Her argument was to say that abuse in the family is mirrored by abuse by the state on its citizens. Breaking this cycle requires working with families to educate them not to resort to physical discipline when authority is challenged.

This was work she had been doing with World Vision prior to studying here at the LSE (I think - I cam in a little late). The starting point was to state clearly that she and the NGO concerned are opposed to the use of corporal punishment and the purpose of the workshops is to change that behaviour. My query about that though was the extent to which the reported success of this project was due in part to the self-selection of families who were already more inclined towards changing their behaviour. Anita argued that was the case, but there was also a change in the way those who had taken part on the course were now seeking to influence others in their community.

Anite finished off by saying that the project had moved on to the point where the families were now starting to examine the past and the atrocities of the civil war. She admitted feeling uncomfortable about that, but having opened the bottle of community participation, they could hardly expect to limit their deliberations - and they have to take responsibility for that.

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