Parents urged to look for signs of grief in children


Guidance and Counselling Education Officer in the Ministry of Education, Sonia Benjamin, is urging parents to look for signs of grief in children and to seek support from the school in helping them cope with death, violence or other traumatic events.
She was addressing the Old Harbour Development Area Committee-organised parenting workshop held on Monday (November 22) in Old Harbour.
Ms. Benjamin noted that when children face any kind of loss or traumatic event, they may feel frightened, confused and insecure, and these emotions may be demonstrated in different ways depending on the child and his/her personality.
“There is physical or verbal aggression, non-compliance, getting into fights, anxiety, the child may become withdrawn and even cling more to their teacher or parents,” she pointed out. Other signs include bed wetting, thumb sucking, somatic illnesses, while at school they might stop concentrating and have a fall in grades.
According to Ms. Benjamin, parents can make a difference when they know the signs.
“Stay with your children, observe them, notice when there is a change in behaviour. Talk with them, play with them and in doing so, you will get to see when the behaviour has changed and will seek to know the cause. Programmes are in our schools to deal with these issues. The guidance counsellors are trained to deal with the grief and loss and help the children to cope,” she advised.
Literacy Specialist, Keyna Crawford-Anderson, who provided tips on how to help children master reading, advised parents to buy books for and read to their children.
“Keep your children off the streets when they are out of school and pay un-announced visits to the schools,” she further recommended.
Parent, Judith Walters, commended the Old Harbour Development Area Committee for staging the workshop, noting that “events like these help to remind us of the important things we need to do in bringing up our children”.
“It has helped me to see the signs that I must look for in my child, and to see if some of his reactions have to do with things that are happening in my life,” she said.
David Pencil, who has received awards from community groups for exemplary parenting, had some advice for fathers.
“Take care of your children.I play with my children, I read with them and I take them out with me. I encourage them to do their assignments; no computer and no television until they do their assignments. They are doing well at school and I want them to keep it up,” he said.

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