With a lack of parenting being seen as a contributing factor to a violent wave of crime among young people, a pastor has recommended parenting classes, suggesting mothers and fathers haven’t a clue on how to raise the nation’s children.
The recommendation has come from Reverend Anderson Kellman, who believes parents need to be properly educated on how to raise their children.
He made the comments during a panel discussion held last night on Accessing Alternatives to Violence in Today’s Communities at the Bonnetts’ Resource Centre.
Reverend Kellman, who is chairman of the National HIV/AIDS Commission, told the gathering: “I believe that a lot of parents do not know how to parent. We are getting in these forums and talking about parenting as a major issue but there are some parents who don’t have a clue on how to parent.
“I believe that if a child’s physical is critical for entering into school, then the child’s psychological must also be important.
“I want to suggest that when their children enter school, parents must take some kind of formal parenting classes as the child moves up different grades of school, because it is a societal issue and there has to be a societal response.”
Kellman also called for the implementation of a national mentorship programme.
He said such a programme would allow “families, service clubs and groups to be able to have some kind of platform for engaging persons”.
Another panellist, Inspector Stephen Griffith in his role as officer responsible for the Police Juvenile Liaison Department, said he was amazed at some of the challenges parents were encountering with their children at very young ages.
He recalled that in one instance a parent came to the department asking for assistance with her eight-year-old son.
Inspector Griffith contended: “That is a serious indictment on our country, when an eight-year-old can give his mother the kind of problems that she needs to come to a department at the police force for assistance and that is a serious problem. We have to let the cat out of the bag, we are not doing the right things.”
As a result, the senior officer said the department had added a parenting programme to its activities.
But a programme officer at the Barbados Youth Service, Fabian Sargeant, shared the view that there was a disconnect between ‘the boys on the block’ and the general public.
He said it was necessary for a line of communication to be open to them.
Sargeant said: “I listened very cautiously to my two other panelists and I listened to the language and we have to be very, very careful in even the language that we speak and when we speak of things like ‘parents don’t have a clue’.
“We all are in it together. It cannot be you and me. When we are looking at solutions to tackle violence within these communities, we have to connect first with the same said people that we are trying to implement programmes for. We have to find the core issues and I believe a lot of them start in the home.”
The panel discussion was a collaborative effort involving the Ministry of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs, the Bureau of Gender Affairs and the International Men’s Day Planning Committee.