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Children’s Advocate, Mary Clarke, has stressed that there is a need to invest in parenting and in the strengthening of families in the Jamaican society.
“What we need is a massive campaign on parenting and building of families, and when I say a massive campaign I am thinking of the kind of campaign that we have when an election is announced.
I am thinking of the kind of campaign where we use every form of communication, where we will mobilize the entire society, and go where people are and that is what we need to address issues of parenting and families in Jamaica,” informed Mrs. Clarke.
She was speaking today (August 31), at a luncheon of the Rotary Club of Kingston, held at the Pegasus Hotel.
Mrs. Clarke said if resources were put into parenting practices and the strengthening of families, the status of children in Jamaica would be improved.
The Children’s Advocate pointed out that most Jamaicans love their children and want the best for them, but they did not know how to parent. She said that parents in Jamaica lacked information on proper parenting skills and also did not possess adequate resources. She explained that the national mobilization campaign would address some of these shortcomings.
Mrs. Clarke emphasised that it was important to share information and to teach parents the importance of the development of the child, so as to prevent unrealistic expectations.
“The stage where you are today was set in the first few years of your life – your health, behaviour, emotional, social and cognitive development. Without serious interventions, the stage that has been set cannot be reversed. So we need to teach parents how to nurture, love and care for their children in the first few years of their lives,” she said.
Mrs. Clarke also argued that it was important to teach parents how to discipline and set parameters for children. This, she said, would put an end to a lot of physical abuse that was so costly to the development of the child.
“Parents will say to you, what do I do. We need to put resources in helping them to know what to do. I am not telling you of anything that is going to be easy, and after all, things that are going to be very easy in life, are they really worth it? The things that worth it are going to cost us our time and other resources,” said Mrs. Clarke.
She said it was also important to teach parents about communicating with their children.