Fri | Dec 4, 2020

COVID-19 disrupts parenting programme

Published:Friday | October 23, 2020 | 12:16 AMAlbert Ferguson/Gleaner Writer

Western Bureau:

Marlene Malahoo-Forte, member of parliament for St James West Central, says the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the annual parenting seminar which forms part of her educational support programme, leaving many parents grappling with challenges beyond their scope.

She expressed her disappointment at not being able to host and engage parents in the fifth parenting seminar since it was launched in 2016.

“This is something that we do every year. The only thing that is not happening as part of the education support programmes is our regular parenting seminar that we have done,” Malahoo-Forte said, during her St James West Central Constituency Education Support Programme cheque presentation ceremony on Wednesday.

She said her constituency parenting seminar, which has been facilitated by Dr Donovan Thomas and his Choose Life International team, could not be held this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“But as soon as we have an opportunity, we will resume the parenting support programme where we bring in professional facilitators. We’ve been doing it over the years with Dr Donovan Thomas and his Choose Life International team, just to help parents be better parents to their children,” the St James West Central MP said.

According to her, the issues that would normally be covered in the parenting seminar deal with how parents deal with their children, if they are no longer in a relationship with the other parent. How do you discipline your child if you are angry? How do you assist, if what is required of you is above what you have been exposed to, among other critical parental issues?

“I think the COVID has thrown up a lot of those challenges,” said Malahoo-Forte, who is also the country’s attorney-general. “So what I really want to do is to continue to enable my constituents, to show them that it doesn’t matter how hard it is, there is a better life. And it doesn’t matter what we are going through, we don’t have to do it alone.”

She noted that COVID-19 has hit Jamaica really hard and that things have fallen off for a lot of persons in St James, and in particular in her constituency, who earned around the tourism product.

The St James West Central parenting seminar initiative aims to better enable parents and other residents to build strong families capable of providing the necessary foundations to support their children’s growth and development.