Fri | Sep 22, 2017

'One of the best years of my life'

Published:Sunday | December 21, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Education Minister Ronald Thwaites (right) holds the decorative ribbon at the entrance of the Allman Town Primary School Parent Place, as executive director of the National Parenting Support Commission, Dr Patrece Charles (second right), prepares to cut it, while Principal Kandi-Lee Crooks-Smith (left) and parenting support project officer at the United States Agency for International Development, Simone Sewell-Walker, look on. - File
A father enjoying playtime with his children. - File
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Dr Patrece Charles, Guest Columnist

My 2014 began in the usual way with commitments to accomplish various goals and tasks. It was to be a year of personal development and growth both professionally and personally.

In retrospect, 2014 has turned out to be one of the best years of my life. Why? Because it began with self-reflection. It's one of the most difficult things to do because you have to look at both your strengths and weaknesses, accept them, and make the necessary changes needed to ensure your personal success.

I founded the Phoenix Counselling Centre in order to assist individuals and families to rise above their adversities. Exactly one year into my appointment as CEO of the National Parenting Support Commission, I realised that my work as a counselling psychologist had expanded from private clients to a nation of parents and caregivers.

As the CEO of the National Parenting Support Commission, I was forced to examine my own parenting skills. I always considered myself to be a good parent but as the year progressed, I realised that being "good" wasn't good enough ... I needed to become an effective parent.

I began to put into practice the four key elements that I spent so much time speaking to other parents about; nurturance, structure, recognition and empowerment. The wonderful thing about these four basic elements is that they actually work. My relationship with my children has improved significantly and their performance in school is definitely something that a parent would be proud of.

The National Parenting Support Commission also experienced its own growth and development in 2014. A new functional profile gave birth to a new organisational structure. With that accomplishment, I look forward to expanding our capacity in order to continue the Effective Parenting Campaign that was started this year, into next year.

This year, I watched parents come to the realisation that there is so much more that they can do to get involved in the lives of their children, in order to ensure their success. The theme for November 2014 Parents' Month was 'Building Circles of Involvement ... Home, School and Community'. It is my hope that parents will adopt this theme and place their children in the centre of this model. Parents must form positive partnerships with teachers and community leaders in order to ensure the success of their children.

As the year 2014 closes, so, too, will the disappointments that existed within the year. I look forward to the new developments that will take place in 2015, and will continue in my quest to better this wonderful nation of ours through the transformation of families and parents through improved communication, awareness, research, education and support.

Dr Patrece Charles is the CEO of the National Parenting Support Commission and a counselling psychologist at Phoenix Counsel-ling Centre. Email feedback to editorial@gleanerjm.com or Phoenixcounsel@gmail.com.