Establishing a bond of trust between parent and child was one of the main themes that came out of a parenting seminar held by the Pinewood Gardens Urban Renewal Programme Tuesday. The seminar was held in partnership with the Bahamas Crisis Centre.

The parenting seminar was intended to increase community spirit, which is one of the key objectives of the Urban Renewal Liveable Neighbourhood Programme.

Chief Welfare Officer, Health Social Services (PMH) Leonard Cargill, who spoke on Sharpening Your Parenting Skills, said a baby has to rely on his or her parents for help.

“On his or her own the child could hardly do anything. You have to change it when it is wet; when it is hungry you have to get something and feed it,” Mr. Cargill said.

“The child then begins to develop trust in you. If the child is wet and on the bed needing to be changed and you are looking at the child and ignoring the child, then these are the things that cause the child not to develop trust so much.”

He explained that to get even closer to their children, some people (especially in Africa) work with them on their backs.

Mr. Cargill also noted that the disciplining of a child is an important step in the raising of a child, but he insisted that it is important to be specific with children and give them good rules.

He said parents should not delay in addressing negative behaviour, but alternatively, they should not punish their children when they are angry.

“When you are angry at a child and you punish the child then you may abuse the child,” he noted. “If you abuse the child and Social Services has to step in, there is a process that must be followed; and if it is determined that you were extremely abusive you could lose your children.”

Mr. Cargill said parents should also try to set a good example and not just tell their child to be on their best behaviour. “You have to set and establish some self-control in yourself and this has to be on-going.”

Educational Psychologist in the Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture Rhoda Bain said parents who are divorcing or separating must talk with their children weeks before the changes to prepare them.

“You know your children and you know the maturity of them and what they can accept and how much they will accept and understand; but try not to hide things if you can help it.”

Ms. Bain said the same is necessary with remarriages. “Talk, ask questions, explain, especially to your teenagers.”

She also said parents must be cognizant if their child has a change in attitude; a lack of concentration, overly sensitive, not being able to sleep as all of these are signs of depression.

If a child will not say what is wrong, Ms. Bain said parents should ask them to write down the problem and set a time to discuss the issue.

She also noted that parents should play games with their children and have a family day when they listen and learn more about their children. “Give your child every opportunity to express themselves.”

Additional parenting seminars as well as other activities in the Urban Renewal centres around the island are planned, which will serve to increase public safety and wealth, to increase independence and give people and the communities a sense of responsibility.