Sun | Jan 17, 2021

Empower youth with parenting skills

Published:Monday | September 11, 2017 | 12:00 AM


I congratulate Kaysia Kerr on her recent appointment as the new head of the National Parenting Support Commission (NPSC). This commission is very important to the national thrust to produce better children who will, in turn, create a better future for us all. Therefore, its modus operandi cannot be based on public relations and catchy slogans announcing piecemeal programmes as is wont to happen in most government agencies.

Ms Kerr, while urging Jamaicans to employ an approach of positive reinforcement in dealing with their children, accepts flogging as a cultural phenomenon, and this is where the challenge really lies. The culture of a people is their collective mindset, and this is never an easy thing to change. This will require strength of will, definiteness of purpose, timely and consistent monitoring of programmes, and, most important, the commitment of the necessary resources.

Now, this new approach of which Ms Kerr speaks requires not only a paradigm shift, but a change in mindset, and one of the best ways to achieve this is through community mobilisation.

The target group(s) of this community approach should be young adults and young parents. These are the people who, in more cases than not, lack the prerequisite skills to engage their children in the sort of positive dialogue of which Ms Kerr speaks. These are the people who, oftentimes out of frustration, and spawned by ignorance, are inclined to not just flog their children, but to physically abuse them.

If we are really serious about building a better future, we must take better care of our children. It is important, therefore, that as much as is practicable, those who choose to be parents are given the right parenting skills.

I wish you and the NPSC all the best, Ms Kerr.


Red Hills, St Andrew