Mon | Jan 24, 2022

Letter of the day | A house or a home for our children?

Published:Tuesday | May 7, 2019 | 12:00 AM


I am disheartened by the number of children coming out to say that they have been abused by their parents in Jamaica. What is even more alarming are the adults who respond to these social media posts by saying these children are ungrateful, disrespectful and unappreciative.

Let me be clear, I am definitely not a child psychologist, therapist or any of the ‘ist’, but let us be fair, children are human beings just like adults. They have feelings, emotions, needs, mood swings and, most importantly, are allowed to have freedom of speech. A child who has been abused will most likely be dispirited and crippled in their thoughts of what should be considered as a normal childhood. This will then be manifested at some point in their lives. Now, who are you to say that ‘di pickney did bad’ or ‘a lie di bwoy a tell’. According to the songwriter, ‘who feels it knows it.’

As a society, our own ignorance has allowed us to cast judgment without much thought or introspect. We have heard about Dalton Harris’s story and now Ladaisha Francis’s, popularly known as Mackerel, and persons have been saying atrocious things about them. It is this behaviour that has caused the abuse of so many of our children. We tell them that it’s their fault and that they are lying, in the name of covering the ‘shame face’ or the ‘disgrace’ in the family.


I am an educator and so I can speak from experience that a lot of these children need help and guidance, mothers and fathers, not robots to provide food and shelter. Most of the issues facing young people today arise from these broken households.

Let us create a home for our children, listen to them, and show them that we care about them. This cycle will never change if we continue to believe that once you gave birth to a child, you are mother; and once you provide lunch money, you are a father. Let us educate ourselves as parents and learn how to care for and protect our children.

Let us try to understand that children are not just rebellious because ‘dem bad’, but what could have caused that behaviour? And what can we do to change it? These are the questions that should be asked before we cast judgment on these children.

We water a plant in the early stages, protect it and ensure that it gets enough sunlight to grow healthy until it flourishes on its own. Let it not be said that your child grew up in a house, let it be said that he/she grew up in a home.