Acting Minister of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment, John King, in conversation with Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Anthony Wiltshire, before the start official ceremony to launch the National Parenting Programme. (C. Pitt/BGIS)

Yet another plank in the Ministry’s Anti-Violence Campaign, the National Parenting Programme, has been launched with a view to addressing inadequate parenting skills, deviance, restoring the family unit and addressing societal ills.

Acting Minister of Youth Sports and Community Empowerment, John King, speaking during the launch at the Ministry’s Sky Mall, Haggatt Hall, St. Michael location, described the programme, which is slated to begin on Monday, September 20, “as timely”, in light of the challenges facing the society.

He told the gathering that in the wake of increased secularisation, social dislocation and break down in communities, there were calls for the society to return to its core values and to strengthen family systems.

“The Ministry, therefore, is attempting to answer these calls as there is evidence that demonstrates a high correlation between poor parenting practices and social dysfunctions. In addition, the Ministry is also cognisant that the institution of the family has undergone significant change over time. It is, therefore, our view that parenting education must also change to address this dynamic, and to balance … between the traditional and the non-traditional definition of the family,” Mr. King underlined.

He intimated that it was the Ministry’s duty to ensure that parents and communities were provided with the education, support and resources for their self-empowerment.

The Acting Minister of Youth said the National Parenting Programme was one such intervention to restore families as the building blocks for healthy and wholesome communities.

Mr. King disclosed that the programme would target the youth across the island between ages 18 and 25.  It would also expose young and prospective parents to the positive parenting techniques while exposing them to the skills to socialise children to acceptable norms and values.

He added that the curriculum covers a wide area, and would “widen participants’ knowledge; promote positive thinking, and challenge myths about parenting and childhood development”. 

The Minister noted that the topics to be covered include: self-development, conflict resolution, anger management and bullying, substance abuse, effective communication and budgeting.

Acting Minister of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment, John King, speaking at the lauch of the National Parenting Programme yesterday. (C. Pitt/BGIS)

Mr. King said that phase two of the programme would include continuous group monitoring with assistance from the Men’s Education and Support Association, Men’s Empowerment Network and the National Organisation of Women.  

The Minister expressed the hope that the positive outcomes of the programme would see leadership skills coming to the fore; a renewed sense of pride and dignity among communities; reintegration of young men and women into mainstream society, and better family relations as the impetus to the psychosocial stability of the family, among others. 

Mr. King gave the undertaking that the Ministry would work with strategic partners, such as Parent Education for Development in Barbados (PAREDOS), Network Services Centre, and the Child Care Board, which will be responsible for specific zones and hiring facilitators to deliver the content to help the Ministry achieve its goals of restoring families and communities.

“This is a project that would reduce deviance, save lives and improve our hope for a better future in the long run.  I want to thank the Director of Youth Affairs, the staff of the Ministry and our delivery partners and I also want to invite parents and prospective parents across communities to get on board, as we seek to restore our core value systems by addressing the issue of parenting to make this country one of the safest places that we can live and work and raise our children,” he stated.

Meanwhile, Director of PAREDOS, and spokesperson on behalf of the organisations working with the Ministry, Cecily Clarke-Richmond, mentioned the importance of building a better generation of parenting going forward.

“We need to help these young people because we have to build a better generation… a better generation of parenting going forward.  We cannot continue to do things the same way,” she stressed.

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