West savouring $12m behavioural programme
SOME 360 emotionally disturbed children and untrained parents were given a second chance at behavioural-change last Friday through a J$12- million programme spearheaded by the Family and Parenting Centre in Montego Bay.
The initiative, which is funded by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), focuses on emotionally disturbed children and promoting non-violent discipline by training parents and guardians to become better parents.
"Children who display behavioural problems are given an alternative to suspension by participating in therapy to learn how to control their behaviour, anger management skills and develop their self-esteem," said Dr Beverley Scott, executive director of the Family and Parenting Centre.
Dr Scott added that the initiative in western Jamaica is part of an islandwide programme by JSIF to deal with vulnerable children and develop proper parenting skills.
Based on the programme at the Family and Parenting Centre, children attend classes from Mondays to Thursdays and the parents on Fridays. Parents are required to complete six workshops on positive parenting to assist in dealing with children who have behavioural problems.
"Parents have changed their attitudes towards their children since the programme, and changed their disciplinary actions towards the children, more positive reinforcements have replaced such acts," noted Dr Scott, who is a child and family therapist.
Some of the parents who are involved in the programme have indicated that they have benefited greatly and want to initiate a parent support group to share the message in schools and communities.
"Before I came into the programme, I was so aggressive towards my grandchildren, and it was the same way I was with my children," said Pearl Campbell. "But coming here helped me to see where I was going wrong. That loving, listening and talking to them element was absent, so this has really changed the way I offer guidance to my grandkids. I am never too old to learn."
With her change in attitude, Campbell admitted that she has seen a marked improvement in the relationship between herself and her grandchildren. This is something she hopes to teach others who experience similar behavioural challenges.