‘It takes a village to raise a child’.
This was the sentiment expressed by St Michael West Central representative James Paul, during a parenting seminar held at the Lady Queen of the Universe Catholic Church yesterday evening.
The seminar hosted by Paul, was the first of a series focused on assisting parents with troubled children and helping them to adapt to changing parenting styles.
“We are trying to do this series of training seminars in order to try to reach out in the community, see what problems are being experienced and see how we can help people to cope with their children in terms of the issues that they would face,” Paul explained.
“We recognise that from when we were children times have changed, and therefore the skills of parenting that you actually have to adopt are much different to what it was in the past.”
Paul stressed that the home held major responsibility for the deviant behaviours present among the nation’s youth. However, he maintained that the community was jointly responsible, and therefore both parents and the community needed to work together.
“When you look at the deviant behaviour in the community it is clear that a lot of it starts from within the home. So how do you encourage homes to be much more effective and responsible in the manner in which they raise their children? That is something we need to have in discussion at the level of the community,” he pointed out.
Paul further highlighted that the communal spirit was no longer present as “the kind of relationships and support mechanisms that has lifted this society in the past . . . are not there”.
Through the parenting seminars, Paul hopes that residents will exchange parenting tips and become a community that supports each other through trying times.
“If by starting this discussion series we can start to make people more comfortable in doing what they did before, because essentially we had communities where people were their brother’s keeper, if we could start that discussion at this stage, I think it would help to actually provide that type of community support they were lacking before and to get more people involved,” he noted.
Stating that no family was prefect, Paul argued that parents needed to reflect on where they went wrong.
“The challenge that we have to ask ourselves is what is happening in our homes with increasing frequency that is causing this [deviant behaviour] to happen, where we are failing and how we can help those parents who are failing to do better,” said Paul.
He went on to criticise the media and social media websites such as Facebook for tarnishing the images of young adolescents.
“We’re seeing young people being alienated a lot [and] a lot of the things are being played out in the press which is unfortunate.. . and we don’t understand that when we do this, we tarnish the person’s image for life. When they look at a child they would say that is the child that did so and so. We, at least, in our day had a chance,” said Paul.
“All of us make mistakes. The difference is that in the past, society gave you a chance to recover, today they are extremely unforgiving and what they [the media] do by that kind of behaviour is push young people even further apart. They break up families because of that type of behaviour.”
Featured speaker, Leroy Gibbs of Parents Education for Development in Barbados (PAREDOS), while discussing the sensitive topic of child abuse, said “child abuse has been knocking down on Barbados so much, especially over the past few months and we have to look at what is child abuse, what are the types of child abuse and how we compare what we went through as young people . . . whose mothers flogged us severely”.
The retired social worker, stressed that PAREDOS was there to help parents, especially the young ones.
“I’m hoping this program would encourage other people who have issues and problems to bring to PAREDOS, and get some help because parenting is not a one person thing now, it’s not even two parents. It’s a community now and we have to get together, keep it together and try to at least train, give our parents our knowledge and help those in need – to parent.” (KK)