The British Council in an aim to contribute to gender equity in education, with a view to demonstrating how engaging youths contributes to a more egalitarian education system, for the advancement of both, boys and girls, is supporting the Women’s Centre of Jamaica Foundation (WCJF) in the delivery of its Parenting Transformation Workshop. The Workshop is part of the organization’s Child’s Month Activity, aimed at empowering adolescent mothers by providing them with resources that will improve their parenting skills.
The launch took place on Monday, 4 June at the Kingston Centre, while the Workshops will be held at both the Jones Town Outreach and Kingston Center from 5-7 June 2018, under the Child’s Month Theme A.F.F.I.R.M (Acknowledge, Friend, Favour, Influence, Respect, Motivate) Me. Olayinka Jacobs-Bonnick, Country Director of the British Council, speaking at the launch, reiterated the need for support to be offered to ‘women at all levels, especially at the adolescent level, where ‘parenting can be very terrifying’. She reinforced the British Council’s support of the Women’s Center in this thrust as they recognise the many challenges faced by parents, some of which the parenting skills outlined will assist in resolving. She encouraged the girls to embrace their children with love.
Courtney Steadman, Senior Social Worker at the National Parenting Support Commission (NPSC), explained to the adolescents that ‘as new mothers, it is not business as usual’, and advocated for them to embrace the principles of effective parenting. These should include love and respect for themselves and their children while being accountable and embracing self-management.
Some of the Workshop topics include: Parent and Child Communication, Parenting in a Digital Age, Family Relationships, Bonding, and the law as it relates to Children. According to a study conducted by the Planning Institute of Jamaica, adolescent parenting is one of the major risk factors associated with early childhood development. In addition to its other effects, adolescent parents were not ready emotionally to become parents and their children often suffer the consequences. Studies on early childhood development find that adolescent mothers (19 years of age and younger) are less likely than older mothers to engage in emotionally supportive and responsive parenting. They tend to have less knowledge about child development and effective parenting, and often misjudge their infant or toddler’s ability to adapt and learn. Beverly Martin-Berry, Director of Field Operations at the Women’s Center of Jamaica, reinforced this as she outlined that the Workshop is intended to empower these adolescent mothers in becoming transformative parents.