“Your children will become what you are; so be what you want them to be.” – David Bly (American politician and former member of the Minnesota House of Representatives)

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) spearheaded the 27th National Family Week Celebration through the Regional Inter Agency Committee on Filipino Families (RIAC-FF) Caraga on September 24, 2019 at Balanghai Hotel.

Representatives from the Philippine National Police, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, Commission on Higher Education, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, Gesu Eucharisto, Department of the Interior and Local Government Butuan City, and selected parents from different barangays of Butuan attended and participated on the said event.

The said activity is pursuant to the Presidential Proclamation no. 60 declaring the last week of September as National Family Week. This year’s theme, “Tungo sa Maginhawa, Matatag at Panatag na Pamilyang Pilipino, which aims to promote responsible parenting, strengthening marital relationship, enhancing parenting capabilities and shared parental responsibilities.

For this year’s

DSWD Regional Director Mita Chuchi Gupana-Lim with the representatives of RIAC-FF Caraga gave food packs to parents who attended the family week celebration.

celebration, the RIAC-FF decided to tackle issues on mental health, specifically depression, and positive discipline, which are serious matters faced by Filipino families lately.

Mental Health. Dr. Tristan Filipinas of the Department of Health Caraga, guest speaker for the event, discussed about how to maintain a healthy mind, evaluate or assess depression among family members, manage depression, and differentiate normal depression from clinical depression.

Dr. Filipinas emphasized that having depression does not mean that a person is crazy or psychotic. In fact, depression means the state of being sad, lonely, or in grief. It is normal for a person to feel low, sad, and lonely in some point of his/her life. But if a person is diagnosed with clinical depression, it is the time wherein he/she needs medical attention.

Clinical depression is feeling worthless 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Clinical Depression according to Dr. Filipinas is like having diabetes. A diabetic person either has low, or high levels of insulin in his/her body. For depression, a person has an abnormal amount of serotonin in his/her brain.

Serotonin or also known as happy chemical is a neuro transmitter that contributes to the well-being and happiness of a person. Having an abnormal amount of serotonin will lead to mood swings that may lead to depression and other mental illness.

Depression can start at an early age. It can be seen early to toddlers who have unusual tantrums, anger, irritability, loss of interest in favorite toys or activities, and frequent complaining of body pains like stomach and headaches. If not given attention by the parents or guardian, the child has a tendency to develop Middle Childhood Depression and worse Clinical Depression.

Dr. Filipinas said that depression has many factors. You can inherit it from your elders, you can develop it through your unhealthy lifestyle, and the most common reason is stress.

Another topic discussed was on stress reduction, which was presented by Ma. Jazmin Sarce,, Registered Nurse from the Department of Health- Center for Health Development-Caraga who shared some information on how to cope up with stress.

“There are twelve S to reduce stress. These tips are so simple that anyone can achieve having a stress-free life,” Ms. Sarce said. The 12 S are as follows: Spirituality, Self-Awareness, Scheduling, Siesta, Sensible Diet and Exercise, Sensation Techniques, Sports, Socials, Sounds and Music, Speak to me, Stress Debriefing and Smiling.

Family Planning was also tackled in one of the sessions. According to Janus Anthony Raganas, Project Evaluation Officer II of the Population Commission – Caraga highlighted the importance of Family Planning as the first and important consideration in starting a family.

He said that Family Planning is one way of having a healthy family. Planning on how many kids to have, the spacing on when to have the next child, and deciding on what contraceptives to use ensures the welfare of the family.

As for parenting, he said that from the moment the parents conceive a baby, that is when their roles as parents start. “Mothers need to have

a pre-natal check up to secure the health and the condition of the baby. She needs to keep herself healthy not just for her own good but also for the sake of the baby that is growing inside her. The father on the other hand needs to provide the needs of the mother and the baby. From financial needs to more effort on assisting and accompanying the mother on her checkup, taking care of the visitors, and being a hands on father in rearing the children,” Raganas said.

During the discussion, it was made clear to the participants that raising children is a very difficult task. No school or any institution can teach parent how to be a “perfect parents”. Through responsible parenting one can ensure of raising responsible, respectful, confident, and optimistic children. And the key to achieve this goal is to raise the children using Positive Discipline rather than the traditional way, which is through the use of Corporal Discipline.

Raffy C. Vigil, Project Development Officer II from DSWD Caraga also explained the topic on positive discipline further. He said that this type of disciplining does not mean letting children do whatever they want or having no rules. He said that Positive Discipline is helping a child develop self-control rather than being aggressive in attending difficult situations, helping a child to communicate and voice out his/her ow

Participants of 27th National Family Week Celebration on September 24, 2019 at Balanghai Hotel, Butuan City.

n ideas and feelings, teaching a child to respect others, and building his/her confidence in pursuing her dreams and enhancing his/her skills.

“Positive Discipline is the way if you want your child to be a successful individual in the future,” Vigil, said.

The Family Week Celebration wants to instill the idea that “Family is important. Family above all.” Through the discussions which the participants had, It highlights the reality that raising a family is a difficult task but responsible parenting means a lot and will definitely bear positive results. #(DSWD Caraga/Social Marketing Section/Lovely Sheena Y. Soro)