The first episode of the Step by Step parenting programme was aired live on NCN Channel 11 on September 19, 2017. The live televised panel discussion focused on Early Childhood Experiences. This programme is part of the advocacy efforts of the Child Rights Alliance (CRA). The members of the panel were Will Campbell (Psychologist, Marriage and Family Therapist); Reverend Colleen Anthony (Commissioner, Rights of the Child Commission); Lavern Thorn (Executive Officer, Early Childhood Development, Childcare and Protection Agency).
The panellists explained that it is important to show children affection and spend quality time with them. Many parents believe it is more important to give material things but the panel advised it is more important that you give your time and love. Rev. Anthony explained that she spoke to a prisoner who revealed that he was an “A” student in school but no one paid any attention to him. However, it was only after he started getting involved in gangs and his grades dropped as a result, that his parents started paying attention.
Parents may find it difficult to express affection to their children because their parents may not have shown them affection. In some instances, some parents were abused as child and thus find it challenging to express affection. Other parents may believe if you show a child too much affection they may grow up to be “soft”. However, Mr. Campbell pointed out that children who receive affection from their parents have a higher likelihood of growing into balanced adults. Rev. Anthony pointed out that some parents are struggling with mental health problems and find it difficult to express affection. Mr. Campbell revealed that it is not only the mentally deranged who suffer from mental health issues; “normal”, functional adults may have mental health issues and not be aware of the fact.
The panel concluded that early childhood may shape your parenting style and approach. However, parenting is “a work in progress”. It is important that parents reflect on their methods and be open to making changes. Parents should apologize to children if the need arises.
The programme was thought provoking and very informative. The Child Rights Alliance will continue to engage parents through the Step by Step programme.