'Stay Connected' - Parenting group to offer much-needed support
The National Parenting Support Commission (NPSC) will be staging its 'Stay Connected' programme from October 2016 to March 2017, to empower parents with helpful tips on how to develop healthy relationships with their children.
There will be several training sessions for grade-seven students and their parents, to provide guidance for parents on how to understand and handle the developmental issues associated with adolescence. Director of Parenting Support Coordination and Behaviour Change at the NPSC, Peta gay Waugh, told JIS News that healthy parent-children relationships are critical during the adolescent years to discourage maladaptive behaviour.
"Research has shown that at around age 15 or 16, parents lose communication with their children for various reasons, including peer pressure. Because they do not know how to relate to the child and also because the child is changing, they don't know how to connect with those changes," she said.
The Stay Connected parenting programme was designed to increase and maintain parental involvement throughout the adolescent years by implementing tailored intervention programmes according to the parenting style and need. The pilot for the initiative was launched in September 2015 in three high schools Norman Manley, Holy Trinity and Spanish Town. This year, the programme has been expanded to include Dinthill Technical High and Papine High schools. The programme is to be rolled out in all schools at the end of the five-year pilot period.
Under the programme, parents will be taken through several training sessions. They will be assessed at the beginning and end of each of the programme's modules to determine their effectiveness. Waugh noted that the sessions will focus on the following topics: 'Transitioning to High School', 'Characteristics of the Early Teen', 'Parent-Child Relationship', 'Character Development', 'Structure', and 'Financial Management'. The series will conclude with the 'My Teen and Others' assessment. The sessions will be conducted at the participating schools once weekly and will be administered by NPSC officials.
SUPPORT FOR GUARDIANS
The programme is held in conjunction with the Commission's Parent Mentorship programme, which provides support for guardians in positive parenting techniques through Parent Mentors. These are volunteers from communities within Kingston and St Andrew and parts of St Catherine. The NPSC has 38 active parent mentors.
Waugh added that the commission will be working closely with the National Parent-Teacher Association of Jamaica to increase parental involvement in children's academic lives and to support school programmes.