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Minister stresses importance of discipline at workshop
“Discipline must be the underpinning of punishment.” This was the sentiment expressed by Minister of Community Development, Culture and the Arts Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly as she addressed the formal opening of the Mediation Services Division’s Parental Group Workshop at the National Academy for the Performing Arts, (Napa) on Wednesday, July 25. In her passionate address to the audience, which included approximately 180 parents and grandparents, Minister Gadsby-Dolly noted that discipline starts in the home and schools with the children, parents and teachers.
The theme for this year’s Parental Group Workshop series was Yours, Mine and Ours—Parenting in the best interest of the child, and the topic for the first workshop was Co-Parenting. Minister Gadsby-Dolly called for the groups to work towards attracting younger mothers as they would benefit from the guidance and support and believes that the ministry, through these parental group workshops can assist parents in resolving conflicts at home, preventing it from spreading to schools, communities and the country. She reminded them that through their continued participation, “they can help reduce the conflict that escalates into crime.”
Earlier, Deputy Permanent Secretary Susan Shurland welcomed all of the Parental Support Groups and facilitators in attendance, thanking them for their commitment to the development of families and by extension, communities across the country. Such commitment, she believes, will redound to the benefit of the ministry, to enable it to deliver on its mandate of “building resilient communities.”
Executive director of the Mediation Services Division Beverly Harry-Emmanuel, who served as chairperson for the workshop, also highlighted the challenges of parenting today, in light of the existence of social media and other influences which children are exposed to on a daily basis. She urged parents to carefully monitor their children’s activities.
Psychologist Dr Krishna Maharaj delivered a vibrant presentation on human development in children, which was followed by sessions led by social work specialist Vanessa Gibbs and consultant Quasi Cudjoe who tackled the issue of raising children amidst divorce and separation. The day’s proceedings continued with a presentation by counselling therapist consultant Akilah Riley-Richardson on co-parenting in high conflict families.
These real issues facing parents provided high levels of engagement and discussion, given the relevance and facilitated a very energetic feedback and evaluation session facilitated by the Mediation Division’s research specialist, Taresa Best Downes.
A second Parental Support Group Workshop was held at the same venue yesterday and its focus was on the issue of Blended Families (including marriage between two persons, who each have children from previous relationships).
ABOUT THE PARENTAL SUPPORT GROUP WORKSHOPS"
The Community Mediation Services Division has developed and successfully executed a wide range of preventative programmes, including the Parental Support Group programme.
Its objectives are:
· To equip parents with information and skills to improve their confidence and competence in child-rearing.
· To provide support, coping skills and mechanisms to parents in a non-threatening and supportive environment.
· To enhance the quality of family life in communities.
There are currently seven Parental Support Groups and one Mens’ Support Group. Through a total of seven monthly meetings this year, members of these groups have all reported a positive change in their homes, specifically the relationships with their children
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