Book Excerpt On The Guidance Counsellor’s Handbook by Denise N. Fyffe

The Guidance Counsellor’s Handbook by Denise N. Fyffe

3d-guidance-counsellor

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While pursuing my studies in counselling, I noticed that all the books we used were from overseas authors. As such, I decided to ensure that I represented for our country as well. It is the responsibility of writers, who can, to not be selfish in their endeavors, but to think about our countries welfare as well.

You will find that the knowledge contained in this book encapsulates the history and overall growth of school counselling in the western Hemisphere.

Excerpt

Responsibilities to Students

The professional school counsellor has a primary obligation to the student, who is to be treated with respect as a unique individual[1]. This ensures and encourages the self-esteem and confidence of that student. In treating the individual with respect the counsellor is therefore enforcing and upholding the basic right and constitution of the individual. The counsellor is also concerned with the educational, academic, career, personal and social needs and encourages the maximum development of every student. It is the responsibility of the counsellor to act as facilitator/overseer, the one who ensures if no one else does, that the child is receiving education and that they grow as a complete and healthy human being. Also this allows the counsellor to identify the specific needs of this ‘unique’ child and in most cases train, coach, and teach them.

Another responsibility of the school counsellor is to respect the student’s values and beliefs and do not impose their (the counsellor’s) personal values. This is compulsory because every individual have a right and freedom to possess their own particular belief. They should be informed that they (the student) have a right to express their beliefs. The counsellor should advise the student that they too should respect other’s differences and diverse nature. Knowledge of the laws, regulations and policies is compulsory as it relates to students, and counsellor must strive to protect and inform students regarding their rights. Without knowledge we cannot function and perform our tasks. If the counsellor does not know what atrocities are being committed against a student, then he/she will not be able to protect them.

*****

Read more in The Guidance Counsellor’s Handbook

guidance-counsThe Guidance Counsellor’s Handbook, introduces the Jamaican educational system and highlights the psychometric movement, the trait and factor theory as well as legislation that impacted the development of present guidelines and ethical standards. It also explores the counselling process, issues of school management, school organisational structure and several counselling techniques which are apt for the school setting. The book also examines the various roles and responsibilities of a Jamaican Guidance Counsellor and provides a list of resource centers in Jamaica.

Available at all online book retailers and Amazon.com.

Follow her on: social-media2

Copyright © 2016, Denise N. Fyffe, The Island Journal

Book Excerpt On Jamaican Guidance Counsellor’s Handbook by Denise N. Fyffe

jamaican guidance counsellor

 

Introduction

Mrs. Goodrich showed up to the Fairies Secondary School as usual, looking forward to the challenges that would greet her in her chosen profession, as a School counsellor. Her day was particularly hectic and burdensome, as several boys got in trouble for missing classes and gathering at the back of the school and she was expected to ‘set di bwoy dem on di straight and narrow’, according to the principal. In addition one of her favourite students, Latoya who was of Muslim background, in her counselling session that afternoon admitted that she would not continue to college, but get a part time job, marry and have children. Mrs. Goodrich, at the end of the day, sat down, and reflected on the days occurrences. She began to wonder what was she to do as the school counsellor, and whether there were problems like this 75 years ago. Mrs. Goodrich pondered what would have happened if there were no school counsellors today?

Definition

School counselling was not born it evolved. In supporting this statement we will first look at the meaning of some key words and seek to identify issues and provide points for and/or against the topic. Born is defined as being “brought into existence; or to be created” (ask.com, 2006). According to the American Heritage Dictionary, evolve means to “develop or achieve gradually”, evolving is a process and may occur over time. Craig Charles stated that “It’s evolve or die, really, you have to evolve, you have to move on otherwise it just becomes stagnant.[1]” This can be applied to School counselling, as it has transformed from a mere larvae to the beautiful butterfly that it is today.

School counsellors are “professional members of an educational team who assists students in their personal, social, and academic, and career development aspects of education through services such as individual counseling, small group counseling, and classroom teaching, and provide leadership in educational reform (advocacy)[2];” They are traditionally known as a guidance counselor, although this term is deemed inaccurate by most professionals today.

School counselling was not born it evolved from the vocational, guidance and counselling movement of the late 19th and early 20th century. Based on the definition of the key terms one could agree that School counselling was not born, but it has evolved over time. Also, School counselling adopted its functions and design from the vocational counselling field and applied it to schools, the formal institutions that ‘house’ this field today. School counselling is a relatively new field, compared to other fields of study. It is a process and the rules and guidelines that are the guideposts for it today, were changed in the past, are changing in the present and will continue to evolve in the future.

History of School Counselling

School counselling branched out of the vocational guidance movement, in the United States at the beginning of the 20th century. This was due to the societal, political, educational, trade and industry developments of the time. Jesse B. Davis is deemed the first to offer a methodical school guidance program, in 1907. In 1908, the “Father of Vocational Guidance” Frank Parsons, established the Bureau of Vocational Guidance to assist young people in making the transition from school to work. Other pioneers such as David Hill, Anna Reed and Eli Weaver had a different approach as they created guidance services which sought to make students employable.

The 1920s to the 1930s saw ascension in the interest of school counselling and guidance because of the rise of progressive education in schools. There were no set standards that were accepted by all, for training and various philosophies were propagated. However, personal, social, and moral developments were accentuated. “Many schools reacted to this movement as anti-educational, saying that schools should teach only the fundamentals of education. This, combined with the economic hardship of the Great Depression, led to a decline in school counselling and guidance” (Wikipedia, 2006).

References

  1. A Brief History of School Counseling; Retrieved on September 30, 2006
  2. Baker, S.B. (1992). School counseling for the twenty-first century. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
  3. http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/school_counselor
  4. http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/c/craigcharl273985.html
  5. Schmidt, J.J. (2003) Counseling in schools: Essential services and comprehensive programs. 4th ed. Boston: Allyn & Bacon

*****

Read more in Jamaican Guidance Counsellor’s Handbook

jamaican guidance counsellorThe Jamaican Guidance Counsellor’s Handbook, introduces the Jamaican educational system and highlights the psychometric movement, the trait and factor theory as well as legislation that impacted the development of present guidelines and ethical standards. It also explores the counselling process, issues of school management, school organisational structure and several counselling techniques which are apt for the school setting. The book also examines the various roles and responsibilities of a Jamaican Guidance Counsellor and provides a list of resource centers in Jamaica.

Available at all online book retailers and Amazon.com.

Follow her on: social-media2

Copyright © 2016, Denise N. Fyffe, The Island Journal

Feature on The Guidance Counsellor’s Handbook by Author Denise N. Fyffe


Responsibilities of a School Counsellor

Responsibilities of a School Counsellor

Credentials of the School Counsellor

Most professionals are guided by ethical standards for which their members may be held accountable and professional practice improved. Relatively young professions such as school counselling, develop these standards over time and they become systematized in codes. From these standards and guidelines the responsibilities that govern school counsellors are derived. In Jamaican schools, counsellors are guided by the National Guidance Policy developed by the Ministry of Education and school programmes are designed based on the National Guidance Curriculum. Recent developments in the Jamaica Association of Guidance Counsellors in Education (JAGCE) suggest that in time the local profession will develop an internationally regarded code of ethics, which could become binding for all school counsellors .

The issue of school counsellors  being guided by the National Guidance Policy, which was developed by the Ministry of Education, is on the agenda of both the Ministry of Education and the Jamaica Association of Guidance Counsellors in Education (JAGCE). Ministry officials conduct periodic appraisals of counsellors employed in schools with a view of monitoring counsellor activity and performance in the field. The JAGCE has undertaken an initiative to partner with the US-based National Board for Certified Counsellors (NBCC) in developing and establishing a NBCC credential for Jamaica. When this agreement is complete the NBCC will provide certification for suitably qualified counsellors in Jamaica.

Read more in The Guidance Counsellor’s Handbook

3D guidance counsellorThe Guidance Counsellor’s Handbook, introduces the highlights the psychometric movement, the trait and factor theory as well as legislation that impacted the development of present guidelines and ethical standards. It also explores the counselling process, issues of school management, school organisational structure and several counselling techniques which are apt for the school setting. The book also examines the various roles and responsibilities of a Guidance Counsellor and provides a list of resource centers.

My books can be found at a number of online websites, including:

Smashwords.comBarnes and Noble, Lulu.com, Bookworld.com.au – Australia, Amazon.com – United States, Amazon.co.uk – UK, Amazon.ca – Canada, Amazon.co.jp – Japan, Amazon.it – Italy, Amazon.es – Spain, Amazon.fr – France, Amazon.at – Austria, Amazon.de – Germany and Kobo.

Feature on The Jamaican Guidance Counsellor’s Handbook by Author Denise N. Fyffe

How does Education and Gender impact on work?
How does Education and Gender impact on work?

Rationalise the professional roles and responsibilities of an effective school counsellor within the Jamaican school context

Rationalise the professional roles and responsibilities of an effective school counsellor within the Jamaican school context

Introduction

It should be made particularly apparent that there is no separate distinction between the roles and responsibilities of a school counsellor. Seemingly, no understandable approach was identified to distinguish or separate what are roles, versus, what are responsibilities. What can be said however is that responsibilities are dependent on the type of role that a school counsellor has. The list of roles and responsibilities are in no way exhaustive. Therefore, we shall seek to identify and rationalise several key encompassing roles and responsibilities of school counsellors relating such specifically to the Jamaican school setting.

Definition

To adequately and comprehensively accomplish our objective, we first identify and define the key terms. The Compact Oxford English Dictionary (2006) defines rationalise as a justification for an action or attitude with logical reasoning. It further defines a role as a person’s or thing’s function in a particular situation. Responsibility is deemed as “a thing which one is required to do as part of a job, role, or legal obligation. [1]” School Counsellors are “professional members of an educational team who assists students in their personal, social and academic, and career development aspects of education through services such as individual counselling, small group counselling, and classroom teaching, and provide leadership in educational reform (advocacy)[2];”

Roles of School Counsellor

The role of the School Guidance Counsellor

The role of the School Guidance Counsellor

The role of the School Guidance Counsellor is to act as an advocate for all students and to develop, co-ordinate and implement a school guidance program that assists all students (directly and indirectly) with personal and social growth, as well as educational and career development.[3] Another major role of the school counsellor would be to learn the counselling needs of students with disabilities and their parents (Hosie, 1982).

Although school counselling is a relatively new phenomenon to the Jamaican Landscape, we often do not understand or appreciate what duties school counsellors perform. The post of the School Counsellor was permanently established as part of the staffing structure of Secondary and High schools back in 1974. The creation of the post arose out of the necessity to provide guidance to graduates of the newly created junior secondary schools. We cannot detail all the roles of school counsellors within this document; however we will attempt to rationalize the school counsellor’s roles.

Within our Jamaican schools, the school counsellor’s primary role is to assist each child and his or her parents in mapping out the most appropriate educational program in order to ensure effective career plans and to facilitate life-long learning, good decision-making skills, and goal setting. Counsellors help select courses and programs that will best fit the student’s abilities and interests and at the same time provide him or her with learning challenges. The school counsellors and other school personnel work collaboratively within the school environment in a positive way that helps students to succeed academically. School counsellors provide support for teachers by coordinating and implementing such activities.

 

Read more in The Jamaican Guidance Counsellor’s Handbook

jamaican guidance counsellorThe Jamaican Guidance Counsellor’s Handbook, introduces the Jamaican educational system and highlights the psychometric movement, the trait and factor theory as well as legislation that impacted the development of present guidelines and ethical standards. It also explores the counselling process, issues of school management, school organisational structure and several counselling techniques which are apt for the school setting. The book also examines the various roles and responsibilities of a Jamaican Guidance Counsellor and provides a list of resource centers in Jamaica.

My books can be found at a number of online websites, including:

Smashwords.comBarnes and Noble, Lulu.com, Bookworld.com.au – Australia, Amazon.com – United States, Amazon.co.uk – UK, Amazon.ca – Canada, Amazon.co.jp – Japan, Amazon.it – Italy, Amazon.es – Spain, Amazon.fr – France, Amazon.at – Austria, Amazon.de – Germany and Kobo.

Dealing with Workplace Harassment: School + Harrassment = Stress x 2

Jamaican Workplace: My Journey, horrible boss syndrome
Jamaican Workplace: My Journey, horrible boss syndrome

I was tired, exhausted.

It was two weeks into my Post Grad programme and I felt the hands of sleep wanting to claim my eyelids during the day. Working full time and attending school in the evenings takes a lot of energy, drive and perseverance.

Every day, unfortunately, was just like any other as of late – stressful; with a dash of horrible boss syndrome. There is only so much one can take before you go postal; and today was almost that day.

This is my second decade in the working world. I have come to the conclusion that everywhere you go, it will be the same. However, some places take the cake when it comes to lack of professionalism, ethics, or any general concern for employees. A few years has passed and my patience has ascended into the realms of divine.

It is only God Almighty, I am certain, who has given me the grace, mercy and favor to endure. Now I wonder, how much more emotional and psychological abuse and sabotage can I take?

Micro-managing and I, do not go together. I am a responsible worker who operates at a very high level 95% of the time; unless sick, abused, mistreated or frustrated. All those are present in this case.

But how do you function or even give your all, when you are in a state of utter dejection?

*****

Many people suffer in silence; ridden by stress and abuse. Workplace harassment is a reality. It is abuse just like physical abuse! We should not tolerate it just because someone is paying us every month. I encourage you to rise up and protect yourselves. Report it and stop this immoral occurrence in the workplace.

She has published several books of poetry including ‘Jamaican Honey and Sauce’, Jamaican Pebbles, Love under the Caribbean Stars and Jamaican Pebbles: Poetry Pocketbook.

Copyright © 2016, Denise N. Fyffe

Jamaican Research: Caribbean Family Diversity – Part 3


karynand-familyBy: Denise N. Fyffe.
Copyright © 2015, Denise N. Fyffe

 

Family diversity Factors

All these forms of Caribbean family grew out of varying factors. Factors that have shaped equipped and empowered each type of family unit. The family is pivotal for the good or ill of the society because it shapes the individuals who in turn shape the society. The family is also impacted on by constraints in the macro economic, social, and cultural environment (http://www.sdnp.org.gy/nds/chapter26.html). However it is in the historical factors that the family pattern has been greatly affected.

Slavery

Frazier (1966) claimed that the Negro’s enslavement tended to destroy so completely his African culture’ that only insignificant, soon to be forgotten memories remained. At every stage on the slaves’ journey to the ‘new world’ they were systematically stripped of their culture (Barrow, 1998), and so began the cultural vacuum left by the destruction of African family customs and beliefs. This vacuum was filled by attempts to adopt white planter ideologies as ‘the slave tended to take over the attitudes and sentiments of his master toward religion, sex and marriage’ (Frazier, 1966(1939): 27).

The broadly-shared belief, backed by most religious teaching, that the ideal Caribbean family form is the nuclear family bound together in marriage that is legally and/or religiously approved. This was the teaching during slavery when the practice of the slave owners and their allies destroyed any possibility of building such families and began the process through which the single parent, female-headed household became a dominant feature in the Caribbean (http://www.sdnp.org.gy/nds/chapter26.html).

During slavery many families were separated: fathers, mothers and children were attached to different plantations with the result that some never saw their family members again. The responsibility of bringing up the children rested primarily with the mothers and grandmothers. This situation gave rise to a matriarchal type of family, which is still common in the Caribbean today.

Common-Law or Faithful Concubinage

Formerly slaves had little or no knowledge or opportunity of legal marriages. (Later the missionaries informed them). The couple on benchslave owners did not encourage the institution of marriage. It was felt that the strength and power of the marriage union would offer a threat to the Plantation System. Concubinage was encouraged, as it was believed that this frail type of union would keep the Negroes humble and complacent (Stewart, 2005). Despite the rapid social changes taking place, common-law marriages and concubinage are still with us and will perhaps be for a long time.

African Heritage

The majority of slaves come from West Africa where polygamy was practiced, i.e. one man having many wives. They all shared the same compound with their husband who was the father of their children. Some African tribes chose their chief because of his virility and physical prowess. A man’s virility was based on the number of his offspring, especially males (Stewart, 2005). In our society today, it is not uncommon to find men who boost about the number of children they have to show off their virility.

Sexual Exploitation of Slave Women

Many slave women wanted their freedom and the freedom of their children. They wanted also to do housework and be free from the toils of field labour as well as to escape the economic hardship of slavery. So they submitted to the sexual advances of the planters and slave masters, and bore them children outside of wedlock (Stewart, 2005). A similar pattern exists today (even though to a lesser extent) where positions and special considerations are exchanged for sexual favours.

New Farmers

OBAMA-FAMILY-PORTRAIT-2011Stewart (2005) made mention of the emancipation period in explaining the diversity of the types of family in the Caribbean. He stated that after emancipation many of the ex-slaves deserted the estates to improve their living conditions, and to acquire a sense of independence from their former bosses. With the help of missionaries, large numbers of them purchased small plots of land, up to five acres, while a few squatted on crown lands or on lands belonging to absentee owners. The missionaries encouraged marriage among these freed people who were by that time establishing families.

Many of the holdings were inaccessible to markets so those farmers with donkeys would buy from other farmers. The food would then be transported by the peasants themselves or by higglers. This practice provides financial support for the Caribbean family, but it is not without its consequences. Here are two:

  • Children are kept from school to care for younger siblings or to help with preparation of the produce for market.
  • Children are often left to care for themselves while their parents are away

A similar pattern exists today with ‘barrel children’ as the parents to various countries to earn money.

Emigration

The growing number of single-parent female-headed households is today especially vulnerable because widespread migration from and movement around the Caribbean have dispersed extended family support networks, while alternative support systems are either absent or underdeveloped (http://www.sdnp.org.gy/nds/chapter26.html).

During the latter part of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth century (1890-1910) there was a large movement of people from Jamaica to Cuba, Panama, Costa Rica and the United States of America in search of jobs. Fathers travelled away from their families leaving mothers to be solely responsible for the upbringing of their children. During the 1950s there was an exodus of Jamaicans to England. These included both fathers and mothers, and so, many children left to be cared for by their grandmothers and other relatives.

According to the Guyana National Development Strategy 2001-2010, in Guyana some communities are experiencing an increased absence of active fathers, sometimes due to migration; in Amerindian communities of the hinterland, for example, fathers travelling for long periods to work in the growing mining and logging areas create de facto female-headed, single-parent families. Migration, while a factor in the weakening of families across class and race, is differently expressed in poor families; while the issue has not been researched, it appears that among poor families there is a greater tendency for the migration of individual adults rather than of whole families, contributing to the small but telling number of child-headed households and to a growth in child-shifting. According to the abridged version of the report prepared by the WAB for submission to the 4th World Conference on Women, 1995:

“…because the migration is largely of individuals rather than families, it has produced a fragmenting of families and communities. A small survey of 27 Indo- and Afro-Guyanese students aged 11-16 attending school in Georgetown, whose parent or parents had migrated, found that 12 out of 27 families were considered to have broken up permanently, and 19 out of 27 students had negative expectations of a future with their Parent(s). Only 7 out of 27 reported receiving adequate support from their migrant parent(s)”… (http://www.sdnp.org.gy/nds/chapter26.html).

Conclusion

The family is the birthplace of society. Every culture has its own type and function of the family unit and the Caribbean is no exception. It is apparent that in speaking of the Caribbean family we are dealing with a number of varying types. Whether it be nuclear, matrifocal, common law, extended or even the visiting unions. The matrifocal family also largely dominates this region where the female is the head of the family.

Neither in Guyana, Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, nor elsewhere, is the family static in form. Instead, family form is shaped by the environment or history. Moreover, differences in the social organisation and value systems of families are most pronounced in plural societies such as Guyana in which several ethnic groups, originally from different parts of the world, with varying traditions and distinct cultural practices, inhabit one nation state. There is therefore no one typical Guyanese family structure but different family structures shaped largely by differences in ancestral patterns of life and local histories

Slavery left its mark deeply imprinted on the family and it is thus in the strengths and weaknesses of family life (Simey, 1946:79). According to Professor Herskovits,  the status of the Caribbean family and most of the other forms of Caribbean life, was determined by the play of various forces brought to bear on the Negro in the new world. Slavery he argues did not ‘cause’ the maternal family: it tended rather to continue certain elements in the culture endowment brought here by the Negroes (Simey, 1946).

Other elements that influenced the Caribbean family types are emigration, cultural factors, sexual exploitation of slave women, African heritage, and concubinage or common law practises. Many of these occurred during, after, or as a result of slavery. It is our family that make us even more diverse as our motto states “Out of many one people”.

Reference

  1. Barrow, C., (1998). Family in the Caribbean: Themes and Perspectives. Jamaica, Ian Randle Publishers, 1998. p. 1 – 46
  2. Barrow, C., Reddock, R., (2001). Caribbean Sociology: Introductory Readings. Jamaica, Ian Randle Publishers, 2001. p. 418-425.
  3. Booth, R., (2003). Jamaica’s family structure is creating huge societal problems’ – Friday July 4, 2003. Jamaica Gleaner Online. Retrieved on March 5, 2005 from http://www.jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20030704/business/business10.html
  4. Family Life, Retrieved on March 5, 2005 from http://www.settlement.org/cp/english/jamaica/family.html
  5. Guyana National Development Strategy 2001-2010, Chapter 26 – The Family and Its Most Vulnerable Members. Retrieved on March 5, 2005 from http://www.sdnp.org.gy/nds/chapter26.html
  6. Mehrotra, A., (2005). Gender and Family, Retrieved on March 5, 2005 from www.undp.org/rblac/gender/legislation/family.htm
  7. Simey, T.S. (1998). Welfare and Planning in the West Indies
  8.  Smith, R., T., (1973). Family, Household, & Gender: Some Quotes – Matrifocality: The Matrifocal Family. Retrieved on March 5, 2005 from http://instruct.uwo.ca/anthro/211/family.htm
  9. Stewart, M., (2002). 4th Caribbean Early Childhood Development Conference, CHANGING ROLE OF FATHERS Retrieved on March 9, 2005 from http://www.caribecd.org.jm/2002CONF/guyanaconf/PARENTING%20issues/Fatherhood%20Lecture%20-Micheal%20Stewart.htm
  10. Stewart, T., M., (2005). The Family – Family Life Education Project, Ministry of Education, Kingston, Jamaica
  11. Types of Families, Retrieved on March 5, 2005 from http://www.hhs.wash.k12.ut.us/department/health/masters/ch5l1/type.htm

Jamaican Research: Caribbean Family Diversity – Part 2


Jamaican couple in bed

The Factors responsible for such Family Diversity

Family Forms

Just as there are different functions of a Caribbean family unit so too is there various forms of the family, expanding across all countries, nations, cultures and ethnic groups.  There are seven basic types of families in the world: Nuclear – parents and one or more children; Single Parent – one parent and a child or children; Extended – When a nuclear or single parent family live with any extended family; Blended – A nuclear family in which one or both of the parents have had a previous marriage, and possibly children from that marriage; Adoptive- May be nuclear, single parent, or blended.  The child is not blood related to the parent, but has been adopted legally; Foster – Can be nuclear, single parent, or blended. The child may stay with the family for an extended period through special government agencies; Other Types – Any group that does not consist of parent and children. An example is that of a newly married couple (http://www.hhs.wash.k12.ut.us/department/health/masters/ch5l1/type.htm ).

Caribbean Family Forms

The family, in all its variety of forms, is the pivotal institution in any society. As the Family Code of the Caribbean asserts, “the family … is the elementary cell of society, and as such, contributes to its development and plays an important role in the upbringing of the new generations” (http://www.sdnp.org.gy/nds/chapter26.html). In the Caribbean there are variations to the family forms found in other societies.

Nuclear

Nuclear family is a household consisting of two married, heterosexual parents and their legal children (Wikipedia, 2005). Also according to Mehrotra (2005), the nuclear family is the most conventional form of family in the western hemisphere. Bonds of marriage, and, consequently, children born in wedlock describe the nuclear family. However, recent years have witnessed an evolution in the form — although not the function — of families that will require a reconsideration of both existing values and legislation. Two kinds of families that were considered “unconventional” in the past have become more common: single-parent families headed by women and families established on the basis of de facto unions.

Matrifocal family

Matrifocal family is also referred to as a single parent family. It consists of a mother and her children(Wikipedia, 2005). An average of 35% of all households in the Caribbean are headed by women. The proportions of female-headed households can reach as high as 44% in Barbados and 42% in Antigua and Barbuda. Furthermore, 54% of all separated or divorced women become female heads of households. In these households, averages of 3 to 5 children depend on the mother. Moreover, the proportion of female-headed households in the Caribbean is rising (Mehrotra, 2005). The table below gives the statistics for matrifocal households and their family size.

Households Headed by Women and Family Size (1990)

Country Average Household Size Share of Households headed by Women
Antigua and BarbudaBahamasBarbadosBelizeCubaDominican RepublicDominicaGuyana

Haiti

Jamaica

Trinidad and Tobago

4.33.8*4.05.3*4.64.53.65.1*

4.5*

4.2*

4.5

4219*44*–18253724*

30*

28

* Data refer to a year between 1980 and 1984.

Source: United Nations (1995). The World’s Women 1995: Trends and Statistics. New York: United Nations Publication, p. 30.

Common Law

It is well known that in the Caribbean non-legal unions are common, though it is often suggested that these unions are quite different from legal marriage in terms of the relationships they generate (Smith, 1973). This Caribbean family form is so called because this occurred in Britain. It was a common practise hence the name common law (Chevannes, 2005).

Families established on the basis of common law marriage — also called de facto unions — have also been considered as “unconventional”. However, they do constitute a significant proportion of all consensual unions between men and women. While the stable union of the couple is not legally registered or sanctioned, it generally does reflect the same level of commitment and responsibility as a legal marriage (Mehrotra, 2005). The table below displays the percentage of men and women in common law relationships in the 1980’s, in both Cuba and the Dominican Republic. Undoubtedly the figure has risen significantly since then.

Percentage of Women and Men aged 25-44 in Common Law Marriages

Country Year Women Men
CubaDominican Republic 19811981 2628 2727

Source: Ministerio de Asuntos Sociales (1993). Mujeres Latinoamericanas en Cifras. Madrid: Ministerio de Asuntos Sociales y FLACSO.

Extended/Consanguineal

Extended family is a term with several distinct meanings; it is used synonymously with consanguinal family.consanguineal family consists of a mother and her children, and other people — usually the family of the mother. This kind of Caribbean family is common where mothers do not have the resources to rear their children on their own. Consanguineal families commonly consist of a husband and wife, their children and other members of the husband’s family;

Visiting Union

Men and women engage in love affairs while they are still in their parents’ homes (Smith, 1973). If children result they may develop into visiting union were the two individuals live in separate residence, while the child stays with its mother. According to Stewart (2002), at the 4th Caribbean Early Childhood Development Conference in Guyana visiting unions make up about 25% of mating relationships in the Caribbean, (Between 19% and 34% in four different samples of men in Jamaica) and are more prevalent among low-income younger men. Mating couples reside with their families of origin and meet at a pre-arranged location to engage to engage in sexual and social relationships. A significant percentage of women in these relationships see themselves as the head of the household.

About one-third of Jamaican women have their first child during adolescence. Women often raise children alone or in extended families; whatever the arrangement, relatives and neighbours are expected to help with childcare in Jamaican communities. Most Jamaican families are headed by women, a tradition that grew out of colonial times, when slaves were not permitted to marry and raise families together. Mothers bear the primary responsibility for supporting children, as well as raising them. Almost half of Jamaican women work outside the home as professionals, in factories or as domestic helpers. Grandmothers also play important roles in families, providing care for their daughters’ and sons’ children, especially if the parents work during the day. Most fathers contribute to the support of their child or children, but often play a smaller role in the development or rearing of their child. (http://www.settlement.org/cp/english/jamaica/family.html ).

According to professor Barry Chevannes, “families are like human oragnisms, they live and they die. It is transitional in its form. The types change at different times, whether due to death or migration of family heads”. Also they may cycle from visiting unions to nuclear to marriage to extended families. This cycle may occur in any order.

More in Part 3….

 

 

Reference

  1. Barrow, C., (1998). Family in the Caribbean: Themes and Perspectives. Jamaica, Ian Randle Publishers, 1998. p. 1 – 46
  2. Barrow, C., Reddock, R., (2001). Caribbean Sociology: Introductory Readings. Jamaica, Ian Randle Publishers, 2001. p. 418-425.
  3. Booth, R., (2003). Jamaica’s family structure is creating huge societal problems’ – Friday July 4, 2003. Jamaica Gleaner Online. Retrieved on March 5, 2005 from http://www.jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20030704/business/business10.html
  4. Family Life, Retrieved on March 5, 2005 from http://www.settlement.org/cp/english/jamaica/family.html
  5. Guyana National Development Strategy 2001-2010, Chapter 26 – The Family and Its Most Vulnerable Members. Retrieved on March 5, 2005 from http://www.sdnp.org.gy/nds/chapter26.html
  6. Mehrotra, A., (2005). Gender and Family, Retrieved on March 5, 2005 from www.undp.org/rblac/gender/legislation/family.htm
  7. Simey, T.S. (1998). Welfare and Planning in the West Indies
  8.  Smith, R., T., (1973). Family, Household, & Gender: Some Quotes – Matrifocality: The Matrifocal Family. Retrieved on March 5, 2005 from http://instruct.uwo.ca/anthro/211/family.htm
  9. Stewart, M., (2002). 4th Caribbean Early Childhood Development Conference, CHANGING ROLE OF FATHERS Retrieved on March 9, 2005 from http://www.caribecd.org.jm/2002CONF/guyanaconf/PARENTING%20issues/Fatherhood%20Lecture%20-Micheal%20Stewart.htm
  10. Stewart, T., M., (2005). The Family – Family Life Education Project, Ministry of Education, Kingston, Jamaica
  11. Types of Families, Retrieved on March 5, 2005 from http://www.hhs.wash.k12.ut.us/department/health/masters/ch5l1/type.htm

 

Copyright © 2015, Denise N. Fyffe