Child par­ents

NPSC alarmed at prospec­tive par­ent­ing age, en­cour­ages stu­dents to wait

Daily Observer (Jamaica) - - NEWS - BY ALPHEA SAUN­DERS Se­nior staff re­porter saun­dersa@ja­maicaob­

CHIEF ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of the Na­tional Par­ent­ing Sup­port Com­mis­sion (NPSC) Kaysia Kerr has ex­pressed alarm that the prospec­tive par­ent­ing age has moved from 11 to nine years old over the past yearand-a-half.

“We have con­ver­sa­tions that we have to have, be­cause a nine-year-old has no busi­ness get­ting into ac­tiv­i­ties that could lead to par­ent­ing.

“Par­ent­ing is some­thing that should be planned for, it is some­thing you have to think about care­fully, and it is some­thing that you have to make sure that you wait un­til at least your ca­reer is in­tact, and at least your brain is fully de­vel­oped – so you have a long way to go; you should wait,” Kerr told sec­ondary school stu­dents who gath­ered at the St An­drew Par­ish Church hall in Kingston re­cently, for a youth fo­rum hosted by the Na­tional Child Month Com­mit­tee (NCMC).

She en­cour­aged stu­dents to not only look at the phys­i­cal at­tributes of a po­ten­tial mate, but to con­sider traits such as char­ac­ter.

“There are many things to think about as you pre­pare, part­ner and plan,” she re­marked.

Mean­while, she said the NPSC con­tin­ues to urge par­ents to move away from us­ing cor­po­ral pun­ish­ment as a means of dis­ci­plin­ing their chil­dren.

Kerr made the call days after Prime Min­is­ter An­drew Hol­ness re­it­er­ated the Govern­ment’s stance on cor­po­ral pun­ish­ment in schools, in­sist­ing that the ban must be ob­served by ad­min­is­tra­tors.

Kerr told the stu­dents and other stake­hold­ers that: “At the Na­tional Par­ent­ing Sup­port Com­mis­sion, we are say­ing no more beat­ing; beat­ing does not work. The fact of the mat­ter is there is some dis­so­nance be­tween some­body who says, ‘I love you but I want to hurt you phys­i­cally’… Some­body who says, ‘My job is to care and pro­tect you but I beat you mer­ci­lessly’. You’re also teach­ing me, in­ad­ver­tently, that I must solve every sin­gle is­sue with vi­o­lence; you’re telling me that when some­thing is wrong, I must go punch it out in­stead of talk it out.”

She pointed out that cor­po­ral pun­ish­ment ex­tends be­yond beat­ing a child, as other disciplinary meth­ods in­flict phys­i­cal pain.

“Cor­po­ral pun­ish­ment ex­tends to if some­body tells you to go stand in a cor­ner for pro­longed hours un­til you feel pain, that is also cor­po­ral pun­ish­ment, and we don’t talk about that enough,” she stated.

Kerr said par­ents should ex­plain to their chil­dren the ne­ces­sity of rules, and the ram­i­fi­ca­tions of not ad­her­ing to these rules, but that par­ents also need to give chil­dren room to ex­press their in­di­vid­u­al­ity.

At the of­fi­cial han­dover cer­e­mony for the Ja­maica/ China Good­will In­fant School I and II, in Olympic Gar­dens, St An­drew, last week, Prime Min­is­ter Hol­ness said over the years, by al­low­ing cor­po­ral pun­ish­ment to con­tinue in the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem, the so­ci­ety has en­trenched and le­git­imised the use of un­reg­u­lated force.

“We have been lit­er­ally say­ing to our chil­dren, ‘A slap is right’, when that child leaves, then a kick is right, then a stab is right, then shoot­ing is right,” he stated, dis­miss­ing the ar­gu­ment of­ten made by some older in­di­vid­u­als that child­hood beat­ings have not im­pacted them neg­a­tively.

The Ed­u­ca­tion Min­istry has out­lawed cor­po­ral pun­ish­ment in the pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem, and there is an on­go­ing push to change the over­all mind­set among many par­ents that beat­ings are a nat­u­ral part of dis­ci­pline.

(Photo: Bryan Cum­mings)

Stu­dents from sev­eral sec­ondary schools across the is­land par­tic­i­pate in a youth fo­rum which was hosted by the Na­tional Child Month Com­mit­tee at the St An­drew Par­ish Church hall in Half-way-tree, re­cently. The fo­rum fea­tured pre­sen­ta­tions from state agen­cies, rap ses­sions and school group pre­sen­ta­tionc.

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