PMI recommends support to parents, kids to treat high risk adolescents
Erica Allen, violence interruption specialist at the Peace Management Initiative.
Violence interruption specialist at the Peace Management Initiative (PMI), Erica Allen is recommending support to parents and children that focuses on improving communication and relationship between child and parent.
“A lot of the parents do not understand what it is happening with their child. The good old days and now are two different things. Children have to navigate an absolutely treacherous environment. Sometimes, it is as if they are at war… fighting because they don’t know what is happening so they have to arm themselves,” she said.
Allen made the recommendation while addressing a Violence Prevention Alliance (VPA) forum on: “Pathways to the Prevention of Violence: Examining the Evidence”, which was held recently at the Regional Headquarters at The University of the West Indies, Mona.
The support, she explained, involves school-based initiatives for the child such as mentorship, where a person can advocate on behalf of children to provide additional information on decisions being made about the child’s status in school.
“Sometimes the school really doesn’t know what is happening to the children so they can’t make informed decisions. If the child is misbehaving, the safest route is to suspend or expel this child,” she said, while noting that there was a need to delve deeper.
By delving deeper, she pointed out, “you recognize either there is an issue at home or in the community or outside of the community that is troubling the child, and as such, he or she is acting out.”
The PMI project manager suggested that psychosocial support for children and parents was necessary to treat with these maladaptive behaviours, in addition to, the availability of financial resources.
Meanwhile, in sharing what works, Allen said that youth empowerment sessions focusing on violence prevention/mitigation, conflict and anger management and behaviour modification, were proven successful methods.
In addition, she said therapeutic engagement such as one to one sessions, which include parents are necessary to facilitate open dialogue about the root causes of behavioural problems.