Fri | Jul 23, 2021

Clinical psychologist: Children need self-care too

Published:Friday | June 11, 2021 | 12:07 AM
Kamala McWhinney, associate clinical psychologist.
Kamala McWhinney, associate clinical psychologist.

Kamala McWhinney, associate clinical psychologist, says that self-care is important in raising children, noting that it varies from setting boundaries, empowering children to say “no”, as well as giving them the opportunity to voice their opinions.

“As Jamaicans, I do not believe that we value self-care enough. But especially for the younger generations, we need to have this conversation about self-care; and put it on the table as an important need,” she pointed out.

McWhinney made those observations while moderating the JN Circle S.O.A.R Together Life Class, which was held in observation of Child’s Month on the topic, ‘Do Children Need Self-Care Too?’

The online discussion was comprised of panellists, who included students, teachers, a father; and entertainer Agent Sasco.

Joash Salmon, a student from Munro College, said that his self-care included his parents watching a movie with him, playing video games and taking him for a drive.

“You should also remember that you cannot work if you don’t take care of yourself, you need to have balance. You have to work, but also relax because if you overwork, you will stress yourself out,” said Salmon.

Javier D’Aguilar, student at Jamaica College, shared that his self-care involves relaxing and playing video games.“Self-care is essential. Everyone should practise it because it is not something that you can do without,” he noted.

Jahlia Troupe, student at Campion College, said that self-care is not optional but essential.

“Everyone has their different coping methods and different ways of going about it. Self-care is extremely important, and we should all be thinking about this. Although Jamaica does not condition us for it, because not everyone likes to talk about their emotions. However, I believe that we should go on that emotional journey, where we can think about our mental health,” she affirmed.

Turning to the issue of how parents can improve relationships with their child, McWhinney advised that one way of doing that was to teach children to take responsibility, especially when they do something wrong, and also accept responsibility, as a parent.

“Therefore, apologising is what many people in our generation do not do,” she said, but noted that as parents, when wrong, they should admit to the child and apologise.

Phillip Pinnock, head grade 11 coordinator, Jose Marti High School, said as adults, parents or guardians tend to want to dictate how things should go.

“It is important that whenever you are setting rules, to let the children be part of setting the rules. More important, let them come up with the consequences for breaking these rules. The ‘why’ factor should be established,” he said, noting that was part of his role to shape them to be individuals.

Kellie-Anne Brown Campbell, licensed associate school psychologist and educator, advised that modelling the right behaviour as parents is important, so that children are taught lessons which will improve their characters.

“Involve them in the process, and do not simply throw things at them, but explain to them why they need to do some things. Things and times have changed, our children have thoughts, emotions and feelings,” she said.