Mon | Sep 26, 2022

Let's talk life ... Parenting and family skills for kids

Published:Saturday | March 27, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Yvonnie  Bailey-Davidson, Contributor

  • Parenting and family skills for kids

Dear Counsellor:

I believe that family and parenting should be taught to children and adolescents. What do you think?

- Ann

Dear Ann:

I think that some of these skills are being taught to children, especially in the early years. These skills can help them at home, school and church.

The issues of sharing, respect for authority, respect for other's belongings, care of personal things and social graces are usually taught in preschool. There, the brain is fertile and the children are keen on experimenting.

They are learning so they are eager to try new things. Parents and teachers need to model appropriate behaviours so children can learn. Family members have to share, assist and support each other. Children should be comfortable in disclosing personal information to their parents, if there is cause for concern.

Children should have chores in the home and should feel a sense of belonging. I believe in the concept of an extended family, and I think there needs to be family involvement in children's lives. Relatives should be visited often, and family gatherings encouraged. The model is similar to the African tradition, in which there is the clan with wise elders.

Children learn by modelling what they see parents and teachers do. They will spend many hours in school where they learn both positive and negative values. There may not be time in the schedule for teaching parenting skills but there are the parents, teachers and other adults who are the role models.

  • Helping my child for GSAT

Dear Counsellor:

My son is preparing for GSAT in 2012. He attends extra lessons but I would like to know how else I can help him.

- Annette

Dear Annette:

It's important to have your son undergo educational assessment to identify his strengths and weaknesses. The work for GSAT starts in preschool. Children have to learn the foundations in preschool, kindergarten and grade one. Many children with mathematics and English-language problems had these issues since early childhood.

Good penmanship starts with learning to form letters correctly. Addition and subtraction starts in these early days. When children reach grade four, they tend to have problems with multiplication tables. Check if your son knows the times table.

Another difficulty is problem-solving with sequencing and mental ability. This particular aspect of mathematics needs heavy investment of time to teach the principles, with plenty of practice. The teacher should constantly evaluate your son to identify his weaknesses and strengths.

Fear of exams

Is your son fearful of examinations, with resultant poor grades? He needs to be taught deep-breathing exercises and other strategies to decrease the anxieties associated with examinations.

Is he motivated, eager and enthusiastic? You will need to motivate him to perform excellently. Keep his interest by using everyday examples with mathematics and mental ability.

English language is a problem, even at the university level. English is a second language for most Jamaican children. They think and speak Creole and then translate the words into English. It, therefore, means that he has to practise a great deal. He will need to learn to edit his work. It is a lifelong skill which will always be needed.

He needs to be a good storyteller and a great writer. He needs to check subject-verb agreement, past tense and plural versus singular. Quotation signs, commas and full stops are important. He should also be able to decipher new words and their meanings. A dictionary should be his constant companion. He should be reading widely to give himself ideas for compositions or storytelling.

I cannot emphasise enough the fact that practice will bear fruit in the fullness of time. Get yourself past papers or tests to practise on.

Restrict television watching but reward performance. You will need to keep him interested, motivated and keen.

Email your questions or feedback to Dr Yvonnie Bailey-Davidson at or call 978-8602.