Family Council reaches out
In the hopes of helping to build a better community, the Bermuda Family Council has created a yearly symposium to offer up help for parents struggling to raise their children.
“As family goes, so does society,” says Christopher Dill, the chairman of the Bermuda Family Council.
Much of the problems we are currently facing in our community can be attributed to the break down of good family values, adds Mr Dill.
“Good habits tend to mean a child is raised in a good family. They tend to have good manners and good work ethics,” he says.
But a family, he points out, doesn’t necessarily have to be in the traditional sense of a mom and a dad.
“Family comes in all shapes and sizes,” he says. “It may be a mom and a grandmother or an auntie.
“It’s about the attention you pay to your kids and the structure you provide for them. It’s about having those conversations with your kids about what your expectations are for them. It’s important to have an open relationship with your kids so that they can come to you and talk to you. Their world changes more often than we think and we need to be able to keep up,” he adds.
With that in mind, the Family Council, which is a non-statutory body that serves as an advisory board to Government’s Ministry of Youth, Family and Sports, developed the first Parenting Tool Kit symposium that took place in September. The plan is for the symposium to become a yearly event.
“We held three events simultaneously across the Island in three different locations,” Mr Dill says. “We organised the symposium in the hopes that we could flesh out some of the issues affecting families and invited a panel to take on different topics that we thought were important to discuss.”
The symposium was grounded on six pillars for successful parenting:
1 Spirituality With the input of organisations across the Island that work with the Family Council, such as Centre Against Abuse, Family Centre and ChildWatch, the symposium featured lectures and mini breakout workshops on topics including Raising Adolescents, Boys and Identity, and Surviving The Teenage Years.
4 Family budgeting
6 Family values
“People are needing help in just being good parents,” says Mr Dill. “The family dynamic has changed. Females who were once primary caregivers are now out of the house and need to work. The extended family is not the same thing any more and doesn’t provide the guidance and support that there used to be. Parents are feeling overwhelmed.”
While the first symposium didn’t garner as big of an audience as the Council had hoped, they intend to build on the positive feedback they received from those who did attend.
“We’d definitely like to get greater participation next time around although we do need to have more realistic expectations and realise that other factors will come into play when organising such an event,” says Mr Dill. “But the people who did come said they would come again and tell their friends. Word of mouth in Bermuda counts a lot.”
Over the next 12 months, the council will be organising monthly workshops with a different agency taking on a specific topic that relates to them.
“We wanted to keep that momentum up because we realise that people need that continuous support while raising a child.”
Topics include how to communicate with your child, homework workshop for parents and Teen Services will discuss teen pregnancy prevention.
The Council is also hoping to bring together all the organisations that they currently represent to work as a central organisation group to create better coordination amongst family-oriented groups.
“With the current environment and budget cuts and restraints those that rely on Government support or donations have struggled and it has become more difficult for them. If we are all doing similar things it works better if we pool our resources in the hopes that it will help in coordinating events so as not to dilute our audience,” says Mr Dill.
For more information about the upcoming monthly seminars, contact Starla Williams at Select Sites Group on 292-9741 ext 108 or starla[AT]selectsitesgroup.com.