Eighty-seven (87) parents from the parishes of Hanover, Westmoreland, Trelawny and St. James recently benefitted from a twenty 20-hour parenting skills training workshop organised by the Child Development Agency.
The parents were recognised for their participation at a graduation ceremony, held on Monday (April 30) at the Calvary Baptist Church Hall, in Montego Bay, St. James.
Team Leader for Hanover, Eric Vassell said the parenting training workshop which was held under the theme, “Today You Guide, Tomorrow They Lead,” was aimed at equipping parents with skills to fulfil their parenting responsibilities.
The 20-hour training focused on building positive parent-child communication; building positive self-esteem; handling and nurturing adolescents; communicating with children; managing finances; comforting children in traumatic situations; early childhood development; father’s making a difference; grief counseling; disciplining children; behavioral challenges, and decision-making skills.
“We saw the need for the Agency to provide additional training and support for parents who are experiencing challenges in caring for their children, and as such, we reached out to them in the regard,” he said.
Addressing the ceremony, Councillor for the Montego Bay South Division, Suzette Brown commended the CDA for the initiative and congratulated the parents for participating in the course. She added that it would greatly assist them in dealing with the issues affecting their children.
“The CDA is doing a great job by training parents to deal with some of the issues children are currently facing, because sometimes parents are unable to deal with the challenges that arise from child-rearing, and need help,” Councillor Brown said.
In her remarks, she also stressed the importance of parents communicating with their children and creating a relationship where children were comfortable to talk about issues affecting them.
Giving the keynote address, Rev. Everton Jackson from the Calvary Baptist Church also lauded the Agency for embarking on such an initiative, citing a number of issues affecting the nation’s children.
Rev. Jackson noted that scientific and technological advancements had encouraged a culture of individualistic attitudes among children, adding that they were also influenced by secularism, which had undermined basic fundamental traditional values.
He also used the opportunity to encouraged the parents to be agents of change, and to continue to nurture the leaders of tomorrow (our children), in spite of the difficulties faced.
“Parents, I urge you not to give up, because children are a blessing. They have been placed in our lives for a purpose; specifically to be molded and shaped into responsible adults. Let us cherish and help them to enjoy their childhood and achieve their dreams,” he said.
Meanwhile, Parent Eslinda Gordon, who benefitted from the training, said that it had helped her to deal with some of the issues she faced as a single parent.
“My son had serious behavioral problems which was taking a toll on me. Since I did the course, I have applied the techniques learnt, and I am now able to communicate with him better. Our relationship has improved, and I see where he is comfortable talking to me about issues affecting him, which makes a world of difference,” Ms. Gordon said.
Also sharing her experience, foster parent of two, Pansy Atkins said that it was a worthwhile exercise that had helped her to relate to her children better.
“They often fuss a lot, and I would sometimes get frustrated, because I didn’t know what to do. The training was a blessing for me, because I needed the help, and my children needed me. I am now able to understand them better, and to detect when something is wrong,” Ms. Atkins said.
Acting Team Leader for the St. James & Trelawny, Mrs. Malika McKenzie-Dixon while giving the official welcome, thanked the parents for participating in the course. Team Leader for Hanover Eric Vassell chaired the ceremony and performances came from the Troy High School in Trelawny.
The training was the second held in the region over the last 12 months, and will continue throughout 2015 and onwards.
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