BY JONELL PANTLITZ
Malton Neighbourhood Services (MNS) have a Parent Communication Program for parents within the black community in Peel. This program is managed by Monique Abbott and is funded by the Ministry of Community Children and Social Services. The program has been running for 3+ years, and according to Monique Abbott, “Over 400 families have been tremendously helped,” by the programs provided by Black Family Support.
MNS is committed to the development and promotion of opportunities for those it serves through the sharing of information and resources, training and education, formation of partnerships, and participating in initiatives that support and empower communities to work collectively on issues to improve the quality of life. The Black Family Support program is developed for parents/caregivers to build on cultural identity, values and practices.
According to Monique Abbott success in these programs comes in different ways, “Let’s say a parent has a child in Children’s Aid. The parent will get access to their child because a counsellor has helped them with going to court, advocating, writing letters or helping them with certain skills so they’re able to get their child back.”
Black Family Support provides one on one counselling/advice to black parents on how to support their youth to succeed in their crucially important secondary school years. Parents/caregivers have access to parenting for success support groups and workshops that cover various topics related to parenting black children and teens.
In addition, families will have a structured environment in which they can enjoy an organized drop-in play-based learning environment. Families can meet, share, play and feel supported. MNS’s trained staff are available to support parents by providing them with the right information at the right time. The program is structured to offer parent groups, individual counselling, parenting programs, one-on-one counselling, group counselling, information/referrals, assistance with systems navigation and advocacy.
The Black Family Support also offers a 12-week workshop. These workshops are designed from a cultural supportive framework. They aim to provide an environment in which families from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds within the black community can feel comfortable discussing culturally derived parenting beliefs. These workshops explore how culture influences parenting practices, and can shape: parental belief systems, values, goals and behaviours. The 12-week parenting workshop includes:
Week 1 – Parenting styles: Parents will identify the way in which they were parented, which style they practice and asses the benefits of the different styles of parenting.
Week 2-3 – Teen identity: Parents will learn about the physical, emotional, mental and social changes that occur during the teen years.
Week 4 – Parent identity: Explore, how we deal with the fear and worry of parenting black children, violence, peer pressure, addictions and teen pregnancy.
Week 5-6 – Systems navigation: It can be difficult at times for black parents to understand and find their way through the educational, health care, justice, community and social service systems.
Week 7-8 – Interfacing with CAS and police: Educates parents regarding their rights and responsibilities with both the justice and child welfare systems by providing information on navigating both.
Week 9 – Sex and sexuality: Parents will learn how to communicate with their teens about sex-related topics, including healthy relationships, and the prevention of HIV and pregnancy.
Week 10 – Drugs and alcohol: Studies have shown that teenagers who have regular, serious conversations about drug prevention with their parents are less likely to use drugs than those who don’t.
Week 11 – Fostering mental wellness: In this workshop parents will learn about the physical and emotional symptoms of mental health concerns, patterns of stress and how stress manifests in their parenting style and behaviour with their children.
Week 12 – Self-care and resiliency: This workshop will provide information to parents on how to engage in self-care. Choosing behaviour that balances the effects of emotional and physical stressors and learning how to self-soothe/calm our physical and emotional distress.
These programs are located at 3540 Morning Star Drive, Mississauga, Ontario and 150 Central Park Drive, Unit 301, Brampton, Ontario.
For more information contact MNS at firstname.lastname@example.org