PARENTING can be a challenging job which does not allow for vacations or retirement.
It's a job which the team at Rise Life Management Services believes can be enhanced with proper guidance offered through their parenting college where primarily younger mothers are taught the rudiments of caring for their children.
The group started the parenting college in 2011 with funding from the European Union, and has thus far impacted positively on the parenting style of countless women in the inner-city communities they serve. In addition to the college, approximately 100 women have benefited since last year from the parenting workshop the group schedules regularly in partnership with the Citizen Security and Justice Programme. This workshop primarily targets those whose children partake in the recreational, educational and social activities at RISE in the evenings.
The parenting college benefits about 50 women annually, and although it is geared towards primarily teaching young girls between the ages of 18 to 21 how to be better parents, older women also benefit from the classes offered. Both the parenting college and workshops cover issues such as child development, parenting styles and conflict resolution while at the same time, teaching parents how to communicate with their children and talk to them about issues relating to their sexuality.
Allman Town resident Marcia Thompson had her first child at 15, and admits she is still learning how to be a better mother although the eldest of her five children is now 23. She has been one of the beneficiaries of the parenting programmes offered by RISE, primarily the workshops that are organised throughout the year. "When I go to the workshop, trust me, some things that I hear, I have to cry and talk to my children dem when I go home and call the bigger ones dem especially and talk to them," she told All Woman. "We went and first they taught us about how to take care of your child. If your child come and tell you something, you mustn't just hit him down like how parents are doing now, you must find out what happened, listen to their side, and then get involved," she explained.
The mother said it's difficult trying to raise upstanding children in the inner city, because mothers like herself who play an active role are accused of being overprotective.
Thompson accompanies her children to and from school daily, and is a member of the Parent Teachers Association at the school her young children attend.
"My children are very special; if I am not outside they cannot go outside, because living in a ghetto community, every minute you hear gunshot flying, you see people jumping your fence, so you cannot leave them outside unprotected, you have to be out there with them," she said.
Like her, mother of two Deanne Tyrrell said the workshop offered by RISE has helped her to communicate better with her children.
She said she is now more conscious of her temper when disciplining her children.
"I learn how to deal with my children and how to listen to them and that like certain words that we tell them we mustn't tell them," she said.
Tyrrell is a strong believer in corporal punishment and is displeased with government's decision to remove it from the school system. She said parents are extremely challenged at times to find suitable ways to discipline children since they are used to flogging them as punishment.
"When I go into the school and I hear students say, 'I don't do no homework and Miss can't lick me', that sort of thing hurt me," she said.
Both mothers are not working, but they are hoping that their children will have better futures, despite the fact that their financial situation might prevent them from giving them everything they need.