Commendations for Parent Mentorship Programme

Photo: Contributed A parent mentor trainee reviews her checklist, while a community member looks on during a recent ‘From Street Talk to Real Talk’ event in Rocky Point, Clarendon.

Story Highlights

  • Resident of Maverly in Kingston, Kathleen Thomas Douse, has high praises for the National Parenting Support Commission (NPSC) Parent Mentorship Programme.
  • Nicole Ramsay, a single mother of five from the Fletcher’s Land community in Kingston, lauds the programme. The standout element of the programme for her was the self-reflection exercise.
  • Director of Parenting Support, Coordination and Behavioural Change at NPSC, Peta Gay Waugh, says that the partnership with CSJP is very important to the service that the agency provides.

Resident of Maverly in Kingston, Kathleen Thomas Douse, has high praises for the National Parenting Support Commission (NPSC) Parent Mentorship Programme.

“I was not such a good parent, but being involved in the Parent Mentorship Programme has helped me a lot,” Mrs. Thomas Douse tells JIS News.

Mrs. Thomas Douse, who is President of the Maverly Community parenting group, was introduced to the programme by the Citizen Security and Justice Programme (CSJP), which sponsored her training.

Before the programme, she says she used to hit her children whenever they misbehaved. However, she found that her method yielded no result. Now she has changed her method to that of communication.

“I believed in spanking my children. Every second letter from my mouth came with a slap. Now I tell parents that slapping does not work,” she tells JIS News.

“Now I find myself having monthly meetings with my children and we decide and make steps as family. Whatever occurs in the family, we talk about it instead of beat about it,” adds Mrs. Thomas Douse.

Another parent, Nicole Ramsay, a single mother of five from the Fletcher’s Land community in Kingston, also lauds the programme.

The standout element of the programme for her was the self-reflection exercise.

“It gives you a chance to look back at life and to see where you are coming from and to address what is not up to standard,” she says.

Like Mrs. Thomas Douse, she also regrets the type of parent she was before the CSJP introduced her to the Parent Mentorship Programme.

“Before I did the training, I was not the effective parent that I was supposed to be. Now my children and I have conversations that are non-violent and they now look at me as a different mother and we respect each other,” shares Ms. Ramsay.

In addition to discussing issues with her children, Ms. Ramsay says that she has found that being honest and open with them is also quite effective.

“You have to be honest with your children and expect honesty. Grow your children in such a way that if they do something wrong they can come to you and say ‘Mommy, I know it was wrong, but this is what I did’,” she reasons.

Both parents now work with other parents in their communities to help them to be positive influences in the lives of their children and other youth.

They and hundreds of other parents across the country are now better able to handle disputes within their homes and mend relationships with their children, thanks to the Parent Mentorship Programme.

Recently in partnership with the CSJP, over 400 residents in Rocky Point, Clarendon, benefitted from the NPSC’s ‘From Street Talk to Real Talk’, a community- based outreach activity that culminated the Parent Mentorship Programme, which is a 13- week programme before parents are deployed to communities and schools.

Home visits are conducted and psychosocial support offered, mentoring, family mediation, family mentoring, parenting education and on-the-spot training are some of the services provided on the day.

‘From Street Talk to Real Talk’ has been reaching out to parents from across several communities since May 2015.

Social Worker attached to the CSJP, Kenneth Barnes, tells JIS News that the event in Clarendon was well received by residents as they were able to assist a number of community members and mentor trainees got an opportunity to put in practice their training.

“We were able to assist parents in terms of external referrals [and] the trainees did well in terms of their approach in building initial rapport with the parents that they met with and also how they handled the dialogue,” he says.

Director of Parenting Support, Coordination and Behavioural Change at NPSC, Peta Gay Waugh, says that the partnership with CSJP is very important to the service that the agency provides.

“CSJP and NPSC have been working very closely from 2013. It is important for sustainability for the partnership to be as it is as well as to ensure that the communities we serve do not see any gaps in service delivery,” she says.

In addition to the CSJP, support is also provided by other State agencies, including the Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse, Office of the Children’s Registry, Child Development Agency, psychologists and social workers.

Ms. Waugh says that by 2019, it is hoped that 400 parent mentors will be trained to cover all parishes in Jamaica.

“If the community buys into the elements and principles of effective parenting, then we will certainly see a behavioural change in how the community operates value system wise as well as a behavioural change in how our children behave at the school, home and community levels,” she says.

The NPSC is an agency of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information.

The CSJP supports this and similar interventions through funding from the Inter-American Development Bank, United Kingdom Department for International Development and Global Affairs Canada.

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