‘We have to learn to take care of our­selves’

Jamaica Gleaner - - RURAL EXPRESS - Orantes Moore Gleaner Writer ru­ral@glean­erjm.com

PORT MARIA, St Mary: LAST WEEK dur­ing a par­ent­ing work­shop hosted by the St Mary Health De­part­ment’s Child and Ado­les­cent Men­tal Health Ser­vices (CAMHS), one fa­cil­i­ta­tor in­tro­duced her pro­gramme with a per­ti­nent ques­tion: “While most peo­ple know how to take a selfie, how many of us re­ally know how to take care of our­selves?”

For the next 30 min­utes, clin­i­cal so­cial worker Bev­erly Wil­liams de­liv­ered an in­sight­ful self-care tu­to­rial ex­plor­ing the re­la­tion­ship be­tween a child’s de­vel­op­ment and their par­ent’s abil­ity to man­age stress.

Af­ter the work­shop, which took place at An­notto Bay Hos­pi­tal, Wil­liams ex­plained that her pro­gramme was part of a wider ini­tia­tive to help par­ents in the parish im­prove their child­care skills. She told Ru­ral Xpress: “In our CAMHS clin­ics, we fo­cus on be­havioural and psy­cho­log­i­cal prob­lems, and what we’ve re­alised is that most of the prob­lems the chil­dren face are a result of their par­ents.

“There is a need for par­ents to be more aware of their chil­dren’s devel­op­men­tal is­sues and how the things they do can af­fect how their chil­dren view them­selves; how­ever, treat­ment can­not be ef­fec­tive un­less par­ents buy into the ser­vice.

“We’re try­ing to get them to un­der­stand that they can­not solve these prob­lems on their own, so our team put this pro­gramme to­gether to give par­ents some hope and let them know there is help out there.

“Novem­ber is Par­ent­ing Month, and the national theme is Be­com­ing an Ex­cep­tional Par­ent, Stay Con­nected, so to­day is about giv­ing par­ents in­for­ma­tion about the causes of their chil­dren’s be­hav­iour and fo­cus­ing on what they can do to make them­selves feel good.”

Wil­liams, who is from Port Maria, be­lieves that in most cases, par­ents who can man­age and lower stress lev­els are of­ten bet­ter equipped to deal with their chil­dren’s is­sues.

She said: “Stress is some­thing that sucks the life and en­ergy from you, so you be­come empty, like a cup. The cup is re­fill­able, but if it’s empty, noth­ing will come out. You have to make sure you have a process to help re­fill, and that’s why it’s im­por­tant for par­ents to know that in or­der to give some­thing, you must have some­thing first. It’s like go­ing to a bank ma­chine that’s run out of cash. Even though you’ve got money in your ac­count, you still can’t get any.

“To­day was just to teach par­ents about re­fill­ing and re­new­ing them­selves. I looked at self-care and high­lighted how stress should be ac­knowl­edged, be­cause the first step to solv­ing any prob­lem is iden­ti­fy­ing that prob­lem.

“I want them to un­der­stand that if your chil­dren are giv­ing trou­ble or ex­pe­ri­enc­ing psy­cho­log­i­cal prob­lems and you’re feel­ing stressed, there is a solution. Ir­re­spec­tive of the prob­lem, you are not alone be­cause there are ser­vices out there you can tap into that are will­ing to help.”

PHOTO BY ORANTES MOORE

WIL­LIAMS

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