Karlene Rickard Back Home to Serve

Photo: JIS Photographer Parenting Specialist, Karlene Rickard, displays her books at the recent Jamaica 55 Diaspora Conference held at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston.

Story Highlights

  • Parenting specialist, Karlene Rickard, who returned to Jamaica in May, after living in England for 30 years, is seeking to empower parents in the Patrick City community in St. Andrew, where she resides.
  • The 62-year old, who has a background in education and community work, tells JIS News that she will begin a series of counselling sessions next week.
  • She will be teaching from the manual: ‘Empowerment for Parenting’ and the book ‘The A to Z of Parenting’, the latter of which she authored.

Parenting specialist, Karlene Rickard, who returned to Jamaica in May, after living in England for 30 years, is seeking to empower parents in the Patrick City community in St. Andrew, where she resides.

The 62-year old, who has a background in education and community work, tells JIS News that she will begin a series of counselling sessions next week.

The classes will be held every Tuesday from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at her home.

“My interest is in education and first of all about educating parents. The children go to school and they do a tremendous amount of work but if the parents are not there to give guidance and to set boundaries, they will fall,” she points out.

She says she will start with a small number of persons, whom she has already identified and invited to attend.

She will be teaching from the manual: ‘Empowerment for Parenting’ and the book ‘The A to Z of Parenting’, the latter of which she authored.

“So the parents can come and I will go through various sections such as spirituality, about setting boundaries and all aspects of the developmental stages of a child,” she tells JIS News.

She notes that parents will be able to ask questions and discuss issues pertaining to parenting.

Speaking about ‘The A to Z of Parenting’, Ms. Rickard informs that it teaches parents and guardians how to show love and celebrate the achievements of their children and not by just saying “well done.”

“Look them in their eyes, call them by their names and really identify what you are praising them about, no generalities,” she emphasises.

She notes that communication is key, and while parents need to be assertive, they should not be aggressive or shout at their children.

“You negotiate about what is going on and both of you are heard and there is respect and love,” she says.

Ms. Rickard, who has over 15 years of expertise as a parent facilitator, trainer and counsellor with international experience, is convinced that the education of parents is crucial to Jamaica’s progress.

“You need to educate the family and parents and set those qualities, values and standards to take the whole country forward,” she says.

“You can’t just focus on the youth and you can’t leave the parents behind,” she adds.

Ms. Rickard, who attended the recent Jamaica 55 Diaspora Conference, says she is determined to give back to the country of her birth despite suffering from the central nervous system disease: multiple sclerosis.

Faced with mobility challenges, which has necessitated the use of a walker, she remains upbeat and says she will be exploring other opportunities to serve and make a difference in her community.

She is encouraging more people in the Diaspora to contribute to Jamaica.

Ms. Rickard lauds the many developments in the country, citing, among other things the transformation of the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston.

“I am sure a lot of people will be in shock if they were born here, to see how Jamaica has transformed. Jamaica is just a fantastic place,” she points out.

“I want people in the Diaspora to come home and to invest because Jamaica has so much to offer than we realise because they have left Jamaica in a particular way, but it has changed so much,” she points out.

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