Rockfort Parenting Group encourages formation of similar units islandwide

Rockfort Parenting Group encourages formation of similar units islandwide

Saturday, December 05, 2015

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THE Rockfort Action Parenting Group is encouraging the creation of similar support groups in Jamaica to improve parenting skills.

The group was formed in 2010 when a group of residents in the area identified the non-supervision of children as a minor crisis that could have ripple effects.

Vice-President of the Parenting Group, Tamieka Fagan-Lawrence, told JIS News in an interview that group support is necessary, because there is no manual for parenting and they can learn from the examples of others.

"Once you have the support, we believe that raising your child or children will become easier. Improving parenting skills will result in fewer children on the streets getting involved in crime and violence; and this will improve community productivity," she said.

Fagan-Lawrence explained that the group has helped in cases where some parents are at work or taking care of business away from home.

"If we see their children in a compromising position or if they need help with homework, we render assistance. As a group, we are more involved in the lives of the children in the community," she said.

The group hosts annual events and activities in observance of nationally recognised days or months relevant to parents or children.

In addition, information sessions are organised where parents can attend and be engaged in discussions about methods to improve their parenting skills; topical issues concerning parents and children; and to identify contemporary means in helping parents.

"On some occasions, members of the group engage community members by visiting parents at their homes to talk with them, invite them to join the group and encourage them to be the best for their children," she said.

On Sunday (November 29), the Rockfort Action Parenting Group hosted a parenting seminar to further engage parents in the community.

"I found the session very informative. As a parent, it taught me the importance of planning my family before I begin and that parenting starts before you have children," Mrs. Fagan-Lawrence said.

"Personally, I have benefitted from the programme because I was the type of parent who would be quick to beat my children. These days, I talk more and I count to ten and continue upwards before I hit any of them," she shared.

The group is also supported by the Citizen Security and Justice Programme (CSJP), as part of its mandate to work with community-based groups to improve their capacity.

CSJP community liaison officer for Rockfort, Latoya Blackwood, said that the group has been performing exceptionally in their community, as they have received commendations as well as an award from the Member of parliament for East Kingston Phillip Paulwell.

"At the end of the session on Sunday, one parent came up to me and hugged me; it's as though that one hug represented that of 50 parents. She thanked me for the opportunity to interact with the other parents and to be a part of the information sharing," she said.

Members of the group meet every third Saturday at the community centre and have the support of the National Family Planning Board, National Parenting Support Commission and the Centre for Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse.

The group intends to begin regular training sessions with parents in the coming year.

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