Taire participated in the UP Unity & Peace parenting programme coordinated by Fight for Peace in the Kingston Trench Town and Denham Town. As a master trainer his role is to train other parents in positive discipline, using a curriculum developed by Parenting Partners of the Caribbean. This was funded by UNICEF under the Spotlight Initiative, a global multi-year partnership between the European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN) to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls, which in Jamaica has a special focus on preventing family violence.
I keep my son close to me, I want to protect him and guide him, I don’t want him to be unsupervised. I talk to him, and I tell him how and why I do things and I hope he sees that I am trying my best.
I tell him about work, I show him how I do things. If he is eating, I tell him how it used to be for me and how I grew up and teach him to appreciate what he has. That’s what I think the role of father is, for him to know daddy is here – and encourage him.
Family as a support system
He watches YouTube and he is fascinated with cooking, and he wants to learn and I encourage that. I love food, so here he and I are the same. My mother was a chef. It’s in our bloodline.
Family helps your identity and to know that you belong. It’s appealing to know you have someone to look forward to being with, to think about. My mother was my foundation, she’s been gone for four years now, and I miss her so much. My sister, my mother and my community are my family, and it is they who made me the man I am today.
I also believe family is important for mental function. You support each other; and if you feel down, they boost your ability to cope. They uplift you, and the aim is to take care of each other. They can encourage and push you to advance in life.
Breaking the cycle of family violence
Growing up, too many of us get beatings and for some of us, it breaks us mentally. Then we pass the violence on in our relationships and in our child’s life. Some of us say ‘Mi used to this’, and turn to violence. But some of us will break this cycle; we don't want what happened to us growing up to happen to our kids.
If violence has happened to us in the past, we should not take it as an excuse to do the same. Instead, we can do the opposite. Family is important and each one teaches one.
As a parent, we want so much for our kids. Everyone wants their child to be the prime minister or a soldier; but there are so many different jobs like a chef, cashier, security guard. It’s important to know, you are somebody in society no matter what the job is.
Healthy friendships also important
I wanted to be a teacher, but it didn't happen. Now, I work in a factory for the past 15 years; and to me, the relationships I have there are like family. The conversation, the understanding, contact and friendship is important.
When you grow with friends, they are family because each one of us move up together and have the same beliefs. I have some friends and I must encourage them. If they are making a move I don’t like, I talk to them and try to help them change their mind.
Always I share my experience and encourage respect for what it means to be a father. I hope I can do enough for my son to love and respect me like I did my mother.
What is UNICEF doing?
UNICEF Jamaica is supporting several parenting programmes under the Spotlight Initiative which is focused on ending family violence. These include the development and delivery of the “Family Focus” parenting curriculum in target communities, sensitisation sessions with parents in targeted schools and the soon-to-be-launch ParentText which will deliver parenting tips – in text, voicenote, and video form – using WhatsApp.