On TV it’s easy, or at least they sure make it look that way. From Ozzie and Harriet to the Cosby show, parents all seem to know just the right thing to say and do to make families run smoothly and help everyone to get along. In reality however, parenting a child is probably the single most challenging undertaking anyone could ever go through. It can be heartbreaking, joyful, maddening, exhausting and hilarious …and that’s before you even get them home from the hospital.
To help out parents who just want some new tools and skills to add to their repertoire, Cowichan Lake Community Services is offering a free Positive Parenting Program. It’s a 4 session mini-course that runs Wednesday evenings from 6 to 7:30p.m. on Feb. 15, 29 and March 7 and 14.
“It’s geared toward parents of two to twelve year olds, but the skills that are discussed are good for all ages,” said Community Services family counsellor, Darlene Tully. “It really helps to build positive relationships with your children.”
Triple P training was offered to Community Services staff through the Vancouver Island Health Authority. Although there are many opportunities to take the training in the Cowichan Valley, this is the only in -town venue where parents can learn and share with other local parents.
“We present some ideas on how to focus on the positive behaviour and encourage that,” said Tully. “There are lots of different ideas and we do lots of learning from each other.”
The Triple P system was developed by Professor Matt Sanders and his team from the Parenting and Family Support Centre in the school of Psychology at Australia’s, University of Queensland. It has been in use for over twenty five years and is highly recommended by experts in the field of family and children’s services worldwide.
“Sometimes by paying so much attention to the negative behaviour we’re almost reinforcing it. In Triple P, you focus on what you want to see and reinforcing that,” explains Tully. “Of course we teach strategies for dealing with negative behaviour as well by implementing consequences that fit the behaviour.”
The challenges of parenting in this modern age are many. Time constraints in families where both parents work, single parent homes and the complexities of shared custody can all put strain on the family. As well, the influence of things like television, computer games and high-tech gadgets can leave families feeling less than cohesive.
“We teach ways to foster positive relationships so people are more connected,” said Tully. “With work and all kinds of technology sometimes there’s not enough face to face interaction.”
Things as basic as enjoying a family board game night or chatting about the events of the day over the dinner table can help build the communication skills and loving bond that make families work.
“It’s not too late to sign up for this session of Triple P,” encourages Tully. “Kids don’t come with an instruction manual, so things like this are always helpful”
For more information or to pre-register, call Cowichan Lake Community Services at 250-749-6822.