Tue | May 26, 2020

'Educate people about having kids'

Published:Wednesday | December 31, 1969 | 7:00 PM
Miriam Wong points to an abandoned building on Hanover Street, Kingston, a section of which she has converted to a one-bedroom dwelling which she occupies with her children.
Miriam Wong, during an interview on Hanover Street, Kingston. - photos by Norman Grindley/Chief Photographer

Jodi-Ann Gilpin, Gleaner Writer

Head of the Behavioural and Social Sciences Department at the Northern Caribbean University (NCU) and former president of the Guidance Counsellors Association of Jamaica, Dr Grace Kelly, said before any restriction is made on the number of children individuals are allowed to have, persons should be comprehensively educated on the implications such actions could have on them.

Her statement came after Principal of Jamaica College Ruel Reid urged politicians to be more decisive in enforcing family-planning strategies to prevent poor persons from having more children than they can afford.

She said: "While more policies need to be put in place, it is more a personal problem and persons need to be educated on the implications it can have on them, before there is any restriction in the number of children an individual should have."

Ccannot support view

Kelly also pointed out that while she was aware that poor living conditions can have a negative impact on children, she could not support the view that children are worse off if they grow up under unfortunate living conditions.

"There is, in fact, a correlation between socio-economic conditions and the educational output, but there are many schools of thought surrounding the same issue," she said

"While I believe that parents should be blamed if they deliberately have more children than they can afford, which will pose serious challenges for the children, the bottom line is, you can have success from both sides of the spectrum," Kelly asserted.

"I do support the fact that proper family planning must be enforced because nutritionally, if children are not are not well fed, they will have challenges that will affect their learning ability and their ability to even remain focused in class. But I cannot support the notion that you cannot succeed if you don't have everything together," she said.

She, however, called on the relevant agencies to put programmes in place that are conducive to children's development.

"It's important, however, that programmes be put in place to meet their physiological and their emotional needs as we need our children to be brought up in wholesome environments," Kelly declared.