Sixty-nine parents from western Jamaica recently graduated from a training exercise geared at improving their parenting skills. The training workshop was an initiative of the Child Development Agency (CDA) as part of its effort to build the capacity of parents to better care for their children.
Speaking at the graduation ceremony held at the St. Mary’s Anglican Church in West End Negril, Westmoreland, CEO of the Child Development Agency Rosalee Gage-Grey observed that tackling the issue of parenting is a national emergency, citing the high level of abuse and neglect in the society.
During 2012 and 2013, CDA through its Children and Family Support Unit, conducted some 121 parenting workshops, which impacted some 1400 parents.
“Over the last few days, you would have heard the discussions in the news about the growing child abuse and neglect in the society, and it is for this reason that we view equipping parents to carry out their duties as a national priority,” Mrs. Gage-Grey noted.
Mrs. Gage-Grey expressed the view that if as a nation Jamaica could support more effective parenting, the country could solve much of the problems facing children and families.
She congratulated the parents for taking the time out of their schedule to participate in the training workshop, urging them to share all they have learnt with other parents in their communities.
Director of Children and Family Programmes at the CDA Audrey Budhi who gave the keynote address, also underscored the urgency of tackling child abuse, urging the parents to join the Agency and its partners in arresting abuse.
“One thing I know for sure is that this situation affecting our children cannot continue, and all of us must work in tandem to eliminate these issues from among us,” Ms. Budhi said.
In her wide-ranging remarks, Ms Budhi also told parents to care for themselves and love themselves, as this was the only way that they could truly love their children and effectively care for them.
Advising parents to get familiar with modern technology as a way to have greater connection with their children, Ms. Budhi suggested that the parents establish a parenting support to help each other, and also a reading programme to help their children develop a love for reading.
The 20-hour parenting course covered the following topics – positive parent-child communication; discipline and your child; preventing child abuse; managing stress; how children develop moral values; decision-making and responsibility in children; communicating with children about difficult issues; how we learn to be parents; fathers make a difference; surviving and nurturing adolescents; gender issues and the family and promoting self-esteem.
Frederick Smith father of two, who along with his wife Latoya participated in the course, said the training programme has taught him new parenting skills which are already assisting him to better understand his children.
“When I first heard about the parenting training, I wondered what that was for; I thought I was already a parent and so I did not have to go. Nevertheless I decided to go and I am happy I went because I have learnt many valuable things. I would recommend this training to others,” Mr. Smith said.
Parent Colleta Arthurs lauded the CDA for staging the programme, which she said is helping her to bridge the generation gap with the grandson she is raising.
“This training is so important. It is assisting me to address the challenges with my grandson. The issues that children have nowadays are very different from when I was raising my son; it was easier then” Ms. Arthurs said, adding that since the training, she has taken another child into her home.
Three educators from Westmoreland lauded the programme. Cacoon All-Age Principal Carol Grant said that by staging the parenting workshop, the Agency has added value to the lives of the parents.
Parenting training coordinator at Church Hill School Monica Luckoo expressed gratitude to the CDA, noting that the Agency has also been partnering by conducting weekly parenting workshops at the school. She encouraged the staff of the Agency to continue the great work.
Also lauding the training, Principal of Negril All-Age School Charles Mckenzie urged parents to continue to train up their children in the way they should go so that when they are old they will not depart from it.
Certificates and prizes were handed out to the parents by the CEO Rosalee Gage-Grey; Programmes Director Audrey Budhi; CDA’s Director of Finance Michelle McIntosh and Regional Director for the western region Eunice Scott-Shaw.
Contact: Prudence N. Barnes