Sun | Dec 3, 2023

Letter of the Day | Where are the resources to help struggling parents

Published:Wednesday | December 5, 2018 | 12:00 AM


The current 'hot topic' surrounds X Factor UK

2018 winner, Jamaica-born Dalton Harris' revelation of the abuse he suffered growing up. Abuse which was meted out to him by his mother and her lover. Stories which she, the mother, quite animatedly confirmed in our local media.

And the conversations following have surrounded the rightness or wrongness of him washing his dirty linen in public and hanging his mother out to dry. The need to mend fences and heal, etc.

I, too, have my own views on that. I believe Dalton's story is his to tell. He lived it. We weren't there beside him feeling his beatings or his pain when his mother told him he was better off dead.

I also believe his coping is his, and however he chooses to heal, be it through reconciliation or not, that's his decision. It's his life to live.

But, one of the things that struck me each week watching X Factor, and Dalton in particular, was how he reacted to the judges' comments. Every week after they told him how good he was, he fell to the ground. He just couldn't believe it. We the viewers agreed. He really is a phenomenal talent, who is poised to do great things. Yet, he never saw that in himself. I don't know if even now he sees it. And when you hear how he was raised both from his mouth and his mother's, you can understand why. When adults fail to speak life into a child, the child will grow up to become a maladjusted adult.

Now, just think how many maladjusted adults we have in this country. Those who aren't as talented as Dalton or get an opportunity/avenue to escape become our gangsters. Our 'shottas'. Or they raise the future gunmen.




Noted criminologist Dr Herbert Gayle said that abuse from mothers ended up creating gunmen, and had a direct role to play in our crime figures. Many women's rights organisations came out and attacked him, dubbing him a misogynist.

Was he?

And it's easy for us to condemn Dalton's mother. Lord knows, she's earned every bit of it, and I, too, heap coals of shame on her. But what resources exist for parents who are struggling, who don't even know that what they're doing, what they've done is wrong?

So, while we continue to debate what Dalton should do with his mother, how are we going to finally break the cycle so we don't create more Daltons and their mothers? And how do we get these parents access to the resources that do exist? Isn't that the discussion we ought to be having? And isn't it time we stop talking about it and try to fix it?

Yolande Gyles Levy

Constant Spring, St Andrew