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Empowering Parents & A Resource Guide

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Just before the last year ended, I was shocked to hear a radio announcer speak of ‘Child Rights’ with disdain and associate it with ‘bad behave children’ during his time on a radio programme. His comments not only indicated a lack of knowledge of the meaning of Child Rights, but the support he received from callers indicated that there are still many among us who simply do not understand what is meant by ‘Child Rights’. It is therefore not surprising that corporal punishment is still accepted as a means to discipline children and child abuse does not get the full attention that it needs. The worrisome attitudes towards children are also seen in the fact that for over four years, there have been several promises to update Child Justice legislation and Child Protection legislation with nothing coming out of those promises and the public’s silence on these matters is deafening. Every person in the world has rights and Child Rights are special because it has been observed that children need extra protection. We invite you to visit our pages on Child Rights, Child Abuse and Corporal Punishment and educate yourself on these issues, and especially, if you are a parent. We have to educate ourselves to be able to stand up for our children and to ensure that every child in Barbados, from every back ground, is treated fairly and with respect, in homes, schools and in our communities. We owe our children that and there is no better time to start to educate our selves and to stand up for our children, than now!

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Extracurricular activities can play an essential role in the overall development of children and it is wise to invest in an activity that your child enjoys and wants to try. Think about the children we see in various activities. Imagine the swimmer gliding through the water having to constantly think about the skill to go faster. The dancer performing with a group and having to know when to move or where to move to and what step is next. Or even the cricketer always having to be thinking when he is batting or bowling. These activities keep children thinking and that usually transforms to their academics. Extracurricular activities also create ways for children to socialize, understand one another and many encourage team work that teaches children how to work with others which is an important life skill. It goes even further in helping children work towards a specific goal and provide them a sense of connection and collaboration. These activities bring something that traditional academics may not. How it feels to be on stage in front of hundreds of people, how to handle defeat gracefully, how to win and still be humble and how to deal with disappointment so that you can benefit from it. Another important skill that extracurricular activities provide, is time management, which children learn when they have to balance school, activities, homework and even competitions. Children however, should not be forced into any activity, they should be allowed to explore various activities until they find one that they really enjoy and that is when it becomes beneficial. Discuss extracurricular activities with your children and give them an opportunity to explore what is available and stand with them as they try new things and as they progress in the activity.

Cuba prohibits corporal punishment in the home and alternative care settings! On 25 September 2022, a referendum was held in Cuba to approve the Family Code 2022 which provides more protection for children and adolescents. The new Code was approved by over 66% of voters. Article 146 of the Family Code prohibits the use of corporal punishment in any form, humiliating treatment or the use of any other form of violence or abuse against children and adolescents. The Family Code bans any act which injures or undermines children physically, morally or psychologically. It also states that the exercise of parental responsibility must be respectful of the dignity and physical and mental integrity of children and adolescents. With this major law reform, Cuba become the 65th state worldwide to achieve prohibition in the home and 72nd state in alternative care settings. The Family Code represents a very significant advance for children’s rights and protection in Cuba, however corporal punishment is not yet expressly prohibited in the education system and childcare and therefore Cuba cannot yet be added to the list of states achieving full prohibition of all corporal punishment of children. We understand work is ongoing to address this legislative gap and hope to be adding Cuba to the list of fully prohibiting states very soon. In terms of implementation measures, the Government and its partners are now planning to carry out nationwide training actions with parents and caregivers, as well as professionals. Other measures included in the Code As well as prohibiting corporal punishment, the Code enacts many other important progressive reforms. For instance, under the new law, parents have ‘responsibility’ for, rather than ‘custody’ over children; the minimum age of marriage is raised from 14 to 18 and penalties for domestic violence and elder abuse are enshrined. The new Family Code took shape through a participatory process that involved 6,481,200 people, or around 75% of the Cuban electorate. Over 25 drafts of the law were produced following nearly 80,000 neighbourhood meetings and well over 400,000 public proposals.

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