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THE 50 NEXT years - Promote positive parenting

Published:Thursday | November 29, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Jamaica continues to celebrate 50 years of Independence. We have achieved a lot. However, there is much work left to be done if we are to progress as a country. We must begin to tackle Jamaica's chronic problems in a targeted and sustained way to make this country a better place to live, work and grow families. The Next 50 Years, a special Gleaner series, will spotlight some of the challenges we must fix in the coming years. We want to hear from you. Email us at and join the debate.

WITH THE passage of 50 years since Jamaica gained Independence, parenting has changed considerably over the period. As an independent nation, Jamaicans, for the most part, continue to struggle to get parenting right.

Then, parenting was not just an activity for the biological parents, but a community affair. Today, because of the lack of discipline that grown-ups display, it is hardly the case.

Pathways to Parenting, a UNICEF manual, defines parenting as a "complex activity that includes many specific behaviours that work individually and together to influence child outcomes".

Parenting does not operate in isolation, but relies heavily on several factors outside of the individual parent in order for parenting to be effective.

In an effort to achieve positive parenting outcomes within the next 50 years, the following should be considered:

Planned parenthood: Being financially stable does not necessarily equate to being emotionally and mentally ready to have a child.

Avoid the blame game: if the child is doing well, we embrace ownership; if the child is doing badly, we play the blame game.

Parenting requires the participation of both parents.

Spend quality time with the children.

Talk more with your children - not to them. Allow them to feel free to express themselves, respectfully.