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Change the relationship, change your children’s lives

Published:Saturday | May 25, 2019 | 12:00 AMTamara Bailey/Gleaner Writer

Mandeville, Manchester

“The miracle of children is that we just don’t know how they will change or who they will become.” - Eileen Kennedy-Moore

When a woman becomes a mother, she is not presented with manual that guides how she nurtures her child. Instead, she figures it out as she goes along hoping that whatever she does is to her child’s benefit and not his detriment.

But what should parents do to avoid and/or remedy a break down in the parent-child relationship?

Pastor Wesley Boynes, chairman of the Northgate Parent Empowerment Place said give it time and do what needs to be done to make it work.

Speaking at the recent Camp Triple C - Chance Choice Change Parent and Child Edition, an initiative to improve safety and security in schools by USAID and the Ministry of Education Youth and Information at the Golf View Hotel in Mandeville, Boynes, through his expertise, shared the skills of improving relationships.

“Today is about empowering parents and helping you to have a good relationship with your children. We find that once children and their parents are tight, no matter what the situation is, any problem can be conquered and I know all parents want for their children to succeed.”

He said that sometimes children misbehave because they don’t have a relationship with their parents.

“As they grow, our way of speaking to them (children) has to change. We have to listen to them more. If you are not listening to them properly, you are disrespecting them,” he said.

One participating parent admitted that as a result of her experiences, it has influenced how she disciplines her daughter, but says she makes a conscious effort to ensure that how she disciplines is not borderline on abuse.

“I really never liked how they (my parents) treated me, but I used to take the one and two beatings because I was a rebellious child. I don’t want to raise my daughter the way my parents raised me. However, I will not spare the rod and spoil the child,” she said.

Boynes reminded parents that there is no perfect way to raising a child and no one size fits all.

“If you develop proper communication skills with your child, there will never be one occasion where you will have to punish unfairly. Children must regard themselves as truthful and must act in accordance to improve the trust between them and their parents.”

He said the enemies to communication are jumping to conclusions before hearing the entire matter, judging people by their actions and not by their hearts, haste, uncontrolled emotions, other frustrations that have nothing to do with the current situation, lack of forgiveness and talking more than listening – “with our deadly tongues”.

“Communication requires a commitment to listen to the child. A lot of parents are losing their children because they are not listening to them. Parents must learn to read their children’s signals. Children of all ages send signals when they are in physical, emotional, mental and spiritual distress and the person who engages the signals of the child is the one who is really influencing the child. Know the state of your flocks, and put your heart into caring for your herds.”

In order to improve the parent-child relationship, Boynes stated that a relationship must first be established.

“Ensuring that the foundation of love is in place, deliberately putting aside time to spend with your child, avoiding procrastination in dealing with issues, ensuring that the child is always a priority, seeking to listen, pay attention and understand the concerns of the child and ensuring that the child feels appreciated and valued,” Boynes advised.

He added that the relationship should be evaluated regularly so both parties are playing the roles they should, ensuring at all times that respect is given and received simultaneously.

“Family relationships has a direct bearing on the performance of students. Sometime we can do things to hurt others through careless words and actions, and not be aware of what happened. Sometimes, there is a breakdown in communication. Sometimes, past issues are festering and sometimes we take each other for granted. It’s good to slow down and make sure all is well,” Pastor Boynes said.