Building parenting skills for a better tomorrow
By Cpl Verna John
Children are considered to be one of the most vulnerable population in society and are often the most abused and neglected.
I strongly believe Talcott Parson’s theory that mentions the family as the most important institution during primary socialization and I hold firmly to the view that apart from providing the basic needs, the family’s responsibilities to the children should be to teach social norms, culture, and values of society, to provide protection from harm and danger and to render emotional and practical support for its members.
I have observed that there is a breakdown in the roles of the family and lack of positive parenting skills and guidance in our society that undoubtedly leads to abuse, aberrant behavioral issues in children, and juvenile delinquencies which can hinder the holistic development of our children.
These problems are not encountered only by the people of low socioeconomic status but it prevails among all strata of society and affect people of all social, religious and economic backgrounds. .
I am Verna John; a third year student of the UWI Open Campus, pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Social work with a minor in Youth development. For this programme I am expected to complete four practicum stints, one of which I am currently participating in at the Child Protection Unit in the Ministry of National Mobilization. For this practicum it is mandatory that a macro project be proposed and implemented at the agency where one is attached. Having gained firsthand knowledge of some of the issues faced by our nation’s children from a social work perspective in this practicum stint, I decided to conduct a one day parenting workshop with parents across SVG in collaboration with the Child Protection Unit in the Ministry of National Mobilization as my macro project. This project was geared to hone and enhance parental skills within families which can help to alleviate some of the social ills that pertain to children in our society. It also aimed to develop and foster parenting skills and strategies among the participating parents. It sought to bring awareness of the most prevalent issues that exist within our society and to teach the participants the necessary skills they need to garner in order to become better parents and how to be instrumental in the positive upbringing of their children.
The workshop was held at Marion House on Wednesday 11th November, 2020 from 9am-3pm., under the theme “building parenting skills for a better tomorrow”. There were twenty parents in attendance and they were from different regions of the island. The topics presented at the workshop where; positive parenting strategies, sexual offences, juvenile delinquency, child labor, human trafficking, child abuse and there was a thorough explanation and outline of the children care and adoption act.
The goals and objectives of the sessions were to sensitize parents in various communities of the different types of abuse and their prevalence, to improve parenting skills and techniques, to impart strategies and techniques for the prevention of child abuse, to encourage positive interaction between parents and children and to provide counselling to participants and children if and when the needs arise.
As the innovator of the project I was instrumental in ensuring that the day’s proceedings went without any mishaps and that the various facilitations were done in a professional and edifying way. I urged the participating parents to live the proverb 22: 6 encouragement which states “train up a child in the way he supposed to grow so when he is old he would not depart.”
I also implored them to be careful of the type of values we instill in our children, to monitor and guard how and what we say to them because children often mimic what the parents do and say, they tend to regurgitate and duplicate our words and actions. As a sexual assault investigator and an aspiring social worker I advised all parents is be mindful of the people we use as babysitters and of those we invite in our homes because it is a known fact that the persons closest to the family are the ones who almost always abuse our children.