Claire Agius Ordway

Photography Gianfranco Stellini

Your first season of ‘Dak Li Jghodd’ was received very well. What do you think contributed to its success?

 Yes, we definitely can’t complain, as the feedback was instant after each and every programme. We received numerous e-mails and messages asking for help or for further information about the topics we had discussed. Parents and caregivers also shared with us the difficulties or challenges they encountered. It was amazing and the list of ideas that viewers gave us for our programme was endless. What gives us the greatest satisfaction is knowing that our programme is literally moulded into what our audience wants to know more about.

Television viewers normally associate you with educational programmes related to pregnancy and the upbringing of children during their first few years of life. What inspired you to delve into the world of teen-related issues and produce a series of shows about them?

As soon as I knew I was pregnant with my eldest, thirteen years ago, I immediately started my research my delving into many books and websites. I also asked a million questions about pregnancy and how to try to be a good mother. I had so much information at hand that I wanted to share it with others. I then approached the production house, Image 2000, and they instantly believed in my project. That was the beginning of my career in producing programmes about pregnancy, childbirth and the first years of upbringing. I personally think that this phase in life is crucial for the formation of a child’s character.

Now, my baby is going into another phase and I’ve started researching all over again! I constantly read articles and look for answers to heaps of questions related to dealing with a teenage kid. It’s natural for me to discuss with friends who have children my child’s age and that’s the idea behind my new programme. With the help and participation of experts, we’ll address issues, have discussions and provide answers to those questions which parents and caregivers going through this phase would like ask.

‘First and foremost, teens are kids and it is the parents’ responsibility to design a family that will cater for their growth and development’…Do you agree?

This is what my programme is all about … informing parents and caregivers about what’s happening and what’s around. A lot of parents, including myself, aren’t aware of the various challenges that our kids face. My aim is to address these so that the family unit is better equipped to cope with the issues that this phase of life introduces. The programme will be informative but will also serve as a guide. I strongly encourage parents to seek help and learn more should they notice any changes that they don’t like or understand.  It’s true that teens are kids. However, these days they are very different from what we were, so we really can’t compare to when we were their age.

In your opinion, what are the main challenges that parents of teens in Malta are facing today?

Although technology, television in particular, can play a positive role, I believe it has changed everything. It could be that locally, our reasoning is that if foreigners we look up to, watch particular programmes and follow certain trends, then we should too. Malta is a small country and so far, it is a beautiful place to live and to raise a family. However, this could be jeopardised should we be tempted to follow or be influenced by unhealthy or bad trends.

Your eldest has now entered into his teens. If you could give him some important advice to prepare him for this phase of life, what would it be?

I always tell my son to ‘move on’. Whatever the situation, be it good or bad, move forward and grow and don’t get stuck in a rut. I also tell him to never let anyone make him do something he really doesn’t want to do and to decide to do something of his own free will, but to be ready to deal with any consequences of his actions or experiences he has chosen to go through.

Your new programme ‘Dak Li Jghodd – Teens’ will be aired from 4th October. Was it produced with just parents in mind or are you hoping that its content will be of interest to teens too?

Yes, I am definitely aiming to attract the attention of teens too. We chose to air the programme on Saturdays at 1840 hours. At that time, parents and teens might be preparing to go out. We promise to do our utmost to produce a programme which is both informative and appealing. The topics we have selected will shed light on certain issues and difficulties and hopefully encourage healthy discussions between teens and their parents or caregivers.

For more information, visit the programme’s facebook page.