Probe causes of children's behaviour

Probe causes of children's behaviour

Senior staff report

Saturday, December 07, 2019

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CHILDREN'S Advocate Diahann Gordon Harrison is imploring parents to investigate the causes of their children's behaviours, such as displays of being over-sexualised, as these are indicators of an underlying problem.

“What I want you as parents and the wider community to be cognisant of is that we need to check in with our children to see what is happening to them, what's influencing the particular behaviour that they have exhibited, what is causing them to be over-sexualised? Children are not born with pornographic images on their brain, or the use of certain words. They don't come into the world like that, so if it is that you're noticing a change in your child it may be indicative of a change in that child's social surroundings that's not appropriate, it may suggest that the child has been interfered with, it may suggest that the child is accessing material that is not appropriate for the child's age and so that child is acting out based on what they are seeing,” she explained.

Gordon Harrison was speaking at the annual parenting exposition hosted by the Kingston and St Andrew Family Court on Duke Street in Kingston, yesterday, in observation of Parents' Month. Eight graduates of the court's 2019 parenting training programme were presented with certificates.
The children's advocate emphasised that children are individuals who experience a range of emotions, which are similar to those experienced by adults.

“Our children are people, our children are not owned by us, and are not to be seen as possessions that will always do what we necessarily want them to do. They're people who have a brain, who have emotions, people who have good days and bad days, people who are impacted by the same social issues that impact us,” she said.

Gordon Harrison also urged parents who are facing challenges caring for and raising their children, to seek help.

“There is no harm in asking for help. The most efficient tasks and the best performed tasks are really executed when you recognise that you can't do it all, and you identify persons who are able to assist you along the path to getting it right. Parenting is a task of not only love, but the objective is to achieve excellence. You have to recognise that no one person is the repository of all information, when it comes on to anything at all, let alone the most important job that you'll ever have to do in your entire life,” she stated.

Senior Parish Court Judge Paula Blake-Powell noted that in addition to maintenance matters,custody, care and protection, criminal matters, uncontrollable child cases, and DNA matters, the court is now handling firearm cases involving children, pursuant to a court of appeal matter.

Parents are referred to the Family Court's parenting school, which was launched in 2013, by judges, the court's counselling centre, and partner agencies.

The curriculum modules, delivered by personnel from the court's social work unit, are aimed at assisting parents and guardians to understand and empower children, and themselves. Courses include: understanding the developmental phases of a child, communicating effectively, recognising signs of sexual abuse in children, stress management, and reproductive health.

Forty-seven parents have, since 2013, successfully completed the programme.

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