Parenting commission boss says rich Jamaicans neglect their children, too
Jodi-Ann Gilpin, Gleaner Writer
Child abuse and neglect are not only prevalent among parents from the lower socio-economic stratum of society, but are evident among the rich as well.
That revelation was made by Dr Patrece Charles, executive director of the National Parenting Support Commission, who asserted that wealth should not be seen as a sign of effective parenting.
Charles, speaking with The Gleaner following the launch of the Parents' Month on the weekend, said, "Wealth does not make you an effective parent. One of the things that we did this year is we conducted a situational analysis in partnership with UNICEF (United Nations Children's Fund) on parenting, where we looked at the different elements of effective parenting and we found that we had some very wealthy parents who have neglected their children and some very poor parents who are very much involved in their child's life."
She said they travelled to various communities with their workshops and had been getting calls from uptown and downtown. "The concerns will vary, because in the east Kingston area, for example, teenage pregnancy is prevalent, while in upper Andrew, there is a problem with suicide (as a result of neglect)," Charles told The Gleaner.
"I got calls from parents of both socio-economic backgrounds seeking help on corporal punishment, issues of abuse, and dealing with their teenagers. This simply highlights that there are challenges anywhere you go, it's just that the language is different, and as an agency, we are working to play our part in addressing these concerns," she declared.
She also said there has been tremendous improvement with father's involvement in their children's lives.
"We have been working closely with a group called Men with a Message, and also another set from Trench Town who have been going around with us and spreading the message of effective parenting and the effects of corporal punishment and it has been making a tremendous difference," she said.
"I am really proud of our fathers and my appeal is for there to be continued support for our men, because a child needs both parents," she charged.
Similarly, Minister of Education Ronald Thwaites asserted that Jamaicans who are desirous of having children should not do so unless they have a strong faithful partner.
"I believe that single mothers should be supported, and I lift my hats to all those women who have been trying their best with their children, but this should not extolled," he declared.