Amid all the gift-giving and the festivities this holiday season, parents are being reminded to keep a watchful eye on their children.
That’s because, as officer in the Juvenile Liaison Scheme of the Barbados Police Service (BPS) Sergeant Kim Harris warns, “Depression really does not have a face”.
Speaking at the Love at Christmas Foundation’s luncheon at the Sir Hugh Springer Auditorium at Solidarity House, Harmony Hall, St. Michael over the weekend, Harris talked about the commonness of feeling down or blue during the holiday season. However, she stressed it is important for those who are experiencing these feelings of depression or anxiety to turn to someone they know they can trust for help.
“You can appear quite happy, but I find sometimes with our adolescent youth, our children can be upset. When we see them acting out, we think it is behavioural, but they can also be depressed. It doesn’t carry a face, so we have to monitor. And children, I can only encourage you, speak to your parents and share how you feel. Parents, you have to be ready to listen and hear what your children have to say. Engage them. You should be their best friend… and have such a relationship that your child can share with you and you can actually pick up these signs,” Harris said.
Harris’ position was supported by her colleague Constable Liz Hoyte, who urged the children to “speak to someone” if they realise they don’t feel well and things are feeling too much for them to bear. “Don’t just sit and say, ‘well, I’ve had enough!’ There is always a solution,” Hoyte insisted.
Melena Simmons of PAREDOS also encouraged parents to support their children through play. She charged that one thing parents sometimes neglect is playing with their children, which she stressed was especially important. According to Simmons, this opportunity not only brings the child and parent closer but it also helps them build character, learn how to lose well and handle disappointments better.
Simmons noted: “The most important work that a child has to do is play. And very often we stop our children from playing whether it is organised sports [or] just playing in the neighbourhood. We tell them to stay inside and watch TV, then we get vex when all they want to do is stay inside and watch the TV. So, encourage your children to play and most importantly, as a parent, I would love for you to just commit this holiday to play with your children. Find a game that you like that you can possibly teach them and play with them, have fun with them.”