Importance of parents highlighted at conference

The Ministry of Human Development today began a three-day conference in Belize City concerning parenting.  More specifically, the conference seeks to organize and streamline the ad hoc groups teaching parenting education around the country. Acting Director of the Department of Human Services Lliani Arthurs told PLUS News that the conference will see highlights of a report on parenting education and use that as the basis for a framework for a national parenting education program addressing common issues:

LLIANI ARTHURS – Acting Director, Human Services:
vlcsnap-2013-02-14-06h52m18s249There is work being done countrywide.  There are agencies providing organized training with parents, but some of they report challenges of coverage.  How do we engage who really needs to come to these sessions.  Because of some of the enormous issues facing families, having to work.  So all of those are logistical issues we do have to look at of how do we get them into the sessions.  We wanted maybe [to] think out of the box, in terms of how do we get creative, and not have to follow maybe previous structures of parenting.  And so the end result that we want is exactly that, to came up with a draft action plan, to kind of map out who’s doing what, where the gaps are, how do we address those gaps, how do we put the resources where it’s necessary, so that we don’t duplicate efforts, so that we don’t waste resources. And how do we actually work together in order to achieve what we want to achieve in this country, which is the maximun development of our children.

Opening the conference, was Minister of Human Development Anthony “Boots” Martinez who noted that things are not quite what they used to be with regards to parenting in Belize:

ANTHONY MARTINEZ – Minister of Human Development:
vlcsnap-2013-02-14-07h16m19s79I believe all of us gathered here are convinced that if we are to address these ills in any meaningful way, it has to start at the very core of our society with our families.  Parenting is one of the most important roles of the family. and one of the most challenging task in society.  However, although most parents would agree that children are more important that their job, most parents usually get more training for their jobs, than they get to help them as a parent.  And the environment in which families must parent their children is changing rapidly, which adds to the complication.  The truth is that society has changed dramatically.

The Minister went to discuss the importance of parenting education programs in child development:

ANTHONY MARTINEZ – Minister of Human Development:
vlcsnap-2013-02-14-09h41m41s5Parenting Education helps parents and primary care-givers strengthen their knowledge and skills, thereby enhancing their positive parenting practices and promoting optional help and development for children. As we know, many studies have demonstrated, time and time again, that the environment in which their children are raised significantly affects their intellectual, physical, social, [and] emotional development.

Lastly, UNICEF representative Denise Robateau spoke to PLUS News about how recent statistics will influence the direction of the conference:

vlcsnap-2013-02-14-09h44m16s32Some of the key results from that survey spoke to the issue of Child Development and Survival.  For example: There were not a high percentage of mothers breast-feeding children.  Breast-feeding is a core right of the child, and very important for health and for nutrition that can be sustained.  There was also the indicator that about 70.5% of children nationwide experiencing violent disciplinary method. Now that is very high, and that speaks to an area of child protection. So we hope that as a result of this conference, the evidence and the data shown will help our partners, and the Government of Belize, to plan effective programmes that would take into consideration key interventions for the child, across the life-cycle.

The conference concludes on Friday.

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