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Parents are being urged to endeavour to understand the different stages of development in a child’s life in order to mold them into wholesome adults.
Speaking at a JIS Think Tank session recently Education Officer for Region One in the Guidance and Counseling Unit at the Ministry of Education and Youth, Mavis Fuller said that more attention needs to be focused on helping children make a smooth transition from one stage to another.
The Ministry, she said would be hosting a number of parenting workshops during Parents’ Month (November), to address this particular issue. These workshops will also promote other parenting strategies.
“Most of our workshops are not going to be theoretical. We want to make them interactive. We want to ensure that they will understand what we are communicating,” she informed.
She said that it was important for parents to be able to identify what their children’s needs are at the various levels as different needs emerged at each level.
Outlining some of the differences that are evident at the various stages of a child’s life, Mrs. Fuller explained, “We find that at the early childhood level our children need a greater level of stimulation. Gone are the days when we could just have them sit down and stare at a wall. They need colours and sounds and a lot of interaction.”
At the primary level, she noted, parents needed to be “touching the whole matter of self, self esteem and sexuality,” to avert the potential dangers of living in a “highly sexed society”.
“We also need to be looking deliberately at how we can help our children to make wise decisions, not to say that they are to be seen and not heard, but to help them to process life much earlier,” she continued.
Mrs. Fuller explained that children at the secondary level wanted to become more independent and “we find that they no longer want to be linked to their parents and so we often have conflicts developing in terms of parent-child relationships.”
“At this stage, encourage your children but don’t push them. Respect your children. Respect their individuality; respect their privacy. Show them a lot of respect and don’t humiliate them,” she urged.
Mrs. Fuller also implored parents to exercise patience adding that, “what you practice with them they will in return practice on others.”
Most importantly, she said that parents should listen to their children. “Hear what they are saying and what they are not saying. Watch their body language, observe them and when you see something that needs to be addressed gently address it,” she advised.
“Communication is extremely valuable. As parents we need to learn to communicate and encourage our children to understand what communication is all about,” she stressed.
This year, National Parents’ Month is observed under the theme ‘Parents: Today you guide.tomorrow they lead’.