Healthy Family Relationships “Crucial” to Building Better Communities

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Phedra Rahming, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Social Services, addressing Power Session held to commemorate International Day of Families, Monday, May 15, 2017. (BIS Photo/Derek Smith)
<!-- /templateDebugMode: end template: common/embeddedMedia.html - templateCell: globalDefault.embeddedMedia --> Nassau, The Bahamas – Building healthy family relationships is crucial to addressing many of the concerns facing Bahamian families, beginning in the homes, and including other “institutions of socialization” such as the church, schools and civic organizations, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Social Services Mrs. Phedra Rahming said Monday.

Permanent Secretary Rahming said the process will take a long-term commitment and collective effort, but that the results are well worth that effort.

“The results are well-balanced, well-adjusted, productive citizens who lead a life of dignity and respect for themselves and others,” Mrs. Rahming added.

“In the home, what we do as parents determines the level of community we will build,” Mrs. Rahming continued, “the building blocks begin with our children. Of course, we are expected to meet their basic needs, but we are also required to build their self-esteem, self-worth and self-confidence, among others, by demonstrating unconditional love and acceptance.

“While children are at the centre, we must also foster a sense of belonging for all members of the family, including the elderly and those with disabilities. Each member must feel wanted, valued and irreplaceable because truly they are. Each member of the family has a role to play,” Mrs. Rahming added.

Addressing a “Power Session” held to celebrate International Day of Families (the day is celebrated annually on May 15) Mrs. Rahming said the Ministry’s Community Affairs Division, Family Services Division, National Parenting Programme and the Department of Gender Affairs are doing their individual and collective parts to promote and ensure the development of strong families, but that it will require more than government intervention and programmes to address concerns of families in this country.


Audience participating in Monday's events commemorating International Day of Families. (BIS Photo/Derek Smith)
<!-- /templateDebugMode: end template: common/embeddedMedia.html - templateCell: globalDefault.embeddedMedia --> “The joint effort in hosting this session demonstrates the coordinated approach essential to addressing issues among families, but it will require much more than government intervention and programmes to address concerns of families in this country.

“Each of us must examine our own actions, or inaction, and ask ourselves what we are doing to address the deficiencies within our families and within our communities. Are we drawing on our values and our tradition of extended family support systems, support to neighbours in need, and other services? Are each of us, as practitioners and policymakers, doing all that we can to strengthen families and promote healthy family relationships in The Bahamas?”

Mrs. Rahming said educating families about how to effectively prevent and respond to conflict arising in families is another “major key” in ensuring that “we do not slip into a society comprised mainly of dysfunctional families.”

“We need to ensure that through formal and informal educational processes that all, but especially children, are regularly and consistently reminded about the importance of respect, kindness and dignity within the family.

“In The Bahamas we understand and honour the critical role of family. We know that the family is the institution in which key values are passed from one generation to the next. We know that families provide a safe space for its members to flourish into whole, productive individuals. And we know how tightly and quickly, families bind together when a member of its treasured unit is threatened. Thankfully, for many families in this country, this remains a reality.”

Permanent Secretary Rahming said for too many others, this is not the case.

“Headlines, hashtags and hearsay reveal the extent to which our families live in an alternate and destructive reality: a son convicted for murdering his elderly mother; an uncle engaged in sexual relations with his niece or nephew; a husband and wife abusing each other physically and verbally; children harassing elderly parents for the Old Age Pension, and a father who is willfully and unashamedly absent from his children’s lives.

“As bleak as these situations are, they must not represent a new normal for families in our country,” Mrs. Rahming said.


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Building healthy family relationships is crucial to addressing many of
the concerns facing Bahamian families, beginning in the homes, and
including other “institutions of socialization” such as the church,
schools and civic organizations, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of
Social Services Mrs. Phedra Rahming said Monday.

Permanent Secretary Rahming said the process will take a long-term
commitment and collective effort, but that the results are well worth
that effort.

“The results are well-balanced, well-adjusted, productive citizens who
lead a life of dignity and respect for themselves and others,” Mrs.
Rahming added…

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Healthy Family Relationships “Crucial” to Building Better Communities