May 17, 2010
Parents were key to the success of families. That was the view expressed by Social Development Minister in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) Hon. Hensley Daniel.
The Minister was at the time delivering a televised address on Nevis Television (NTV) on Friday as the island joined the international community in celebration of the annual United Nations International Day of the Family celebrated on May 15th.
“They have to make major decisions on a daily basis to safeguard the welfare and wellbeing of the family. They have to bear in mind they have the final responsibility for family stability. As goes the family so goes the society,” he said.
According to Mr. Daniel, if the family was accepted as the cornerstone of the society, all efforts should be directed at strengthening them and assured that the NIA would continue its efforts to ensure that sustained strong families was promoted.
He noted the importance for families to focus on the socialisation process in which children learnt the basic values of honesty, hard work, discipline and self respect, citing that too many children had missed out on learning those basic values.
“We have to look closely at what is happening to our young males in the society and make every effort to ensure that we teach these values. The behaviour of some of our children threatens the stability of the family,” he said.
The Social Development Minister also pointed to what he described as critical issues which threatened the family structure. They included poor parenting, discipline, economic status and education, a heavy focus on materialism and the lack of an enterprise culture.
He said it was important for families to continue their heavy investments in education, for it was the surest way for upward mobility of its members.
“The family has always to bear in mind that an investment in education brings the highest interest. As such the family has to set aside resources to provide for the education of their members from kindergarten to university.
“It is now widely accepted that more children are going to need assistance to move to higher levels of education and therein lays the challenge of the family members to provide for them,” he said.
Mr. Daniel also spoke to the issue of the non maintenance of children which he said continued to shake the foundation on which the family rested.
“This non maintenance thwarts family stability and leads to the impoverishment of the family and by extension the community. Sixty-five years ago the Moyne Commission identified the non maintenance of children as the single greatest threat to family stability in the region, it is still so today.
“The parents in the family need to make sure that they are not short changing today’s children. They have to listen to the children as much as they talk; they have to be consistent with rules and discipline; try to teach by setting examples; ensure that children are taught to respect other adults efforts at disciplining them; know what is happening in the lives of the children; listen to other adult’s criticisms, complaints and advice regarding children and praise, compliment and reward children much more,” he advised.
With regard to parenting, he said given the challenges of 2010, parents had to be willing to surrender their personal desires and make the required sacrifices to guide their children. They had to go the extra mile to prevent their children from descending to delinquency and criminality.
However, he said that parenting was a skill that did not necessarily come with giving birth and as such some parents were in need of help with guiding their children.
Mr. Daniel said it was important to pay attention to the adage which says that it took a village to raise a child. Therefore, it was important to return to the business of correcting children of others with the endorsement of parents.