Parents who want to learn practical skills for raising their children and to better understand the challenges they face, will soon be able to participate in a Church-based parenting programme.
The aim of the new Parenting Programme developed by the Archdiocesan Family Life Commission (AFLC) is to encourage, enlighten, support and strengthen parents in their important family role. While the programme, launched last Monday July 5 at the Assumption Church Centre, Maraval, will target mainly Catholic parents, any parent will be able to register. Vicar General Msgr Christian Pereira expressed his appreciation to the AFLC for developing the programme because the Church is rooted in family life and sees the family itself as the first Church. “What happens in the family affects everything else,” he said, adding that the Church is committed to strengthening family life. Republic Bank’s ‘Power to Make a Difference’ social investment initiative is the main sponsor. Speaking on behalf of the bank, Najette Abraham, acting branch sales manager, commended the AFLC for its work and “its commitment in addressing the very present and clear danger that faces our society – the erosion of the family and of family values.” The programme comprises two modules: Parenting and Family Life, and Common Sense Parenting (CSP). In an overview of the Parenting and Family Life module, which he will facilitate with his team of trainers, AFLC chair Msgr Robert Llanos said general topics will be dealt with, based on 10 parenting principles.
Made up of five units, the module will offer a faith-based perspective that addresses local concerns such as single parenting, fatherhood – its importance, dealing with absent fathers – and child abuse.
Commenting on this issue, Msgr Llanos said this was “rampant in our nation at all levels of society”. He said the module would therefore deal with signs and symptoms of physical, emotional and sexual abuse, and how a parent should respond.
Marriage and family therapist Sr Julie Marie Peters, SSM explained that the CSP module, which she will facilitate with her team, was based on a model produced by the Boys Town organisation of Nebraska, USA.
She remarked that the programme would be both down-to-earth and practical. “You need heart and head in parenting. Love is not enough. Children cannot survive without guidance and correction.”
She said the CSP would focus on instruction, modelling, practice, feedback and review, in six two-hour sessions. She stressed the need for parents to understand that they are always teaching their children, not only by their lifestyles, words and actions but also by what they don’t do. Sr Julie also called on parents to remember to praise their children and always offer words of encouragement.
Minister of the People and Social Development, Dr Glenn Ramadharsingh, offered words of support for the programme on behalf of the government. “We at the Ministry can attest to the fact that initiatives, such as this one, go a long way in assisting members of the community to re-examine their practices, rejoice in the strategies that work and find new ways to enhance their parenting skills.” He said the then Ministry of Social Development started a Parenting Support Programme in 2004 which today supported 225 parents. “As Minister, I extol the AFLC, for bringing together the resources of the Catholic Church in Trinidad & Tobago and applying them to the renewal of family life via their ministries, to individuals, families and communities. This is undoubtedly an extension of the work of my Ministry…”
AFLC executive couple Winston and Debbie Garcia did the opening prayer and welcome. Krisson Joseph provided entertainment with a powerful rendition, acapella style, of “Think About the Children” and “Stars of Tomorrow”. AFLC executive coordinator Karena Chang did the vote of thanks.
Later this month, train-the-trainer sessions will be conducted for potential course presenters and in a few months the AFLC Parenting Programme will begin in parishes.
Taken from the Catholic News July 11 issue
Najette Abraham and Minister Dr Glenn Ramadharsingh speeches – downloads