Family life has become even more challenging as a result of the impact of COVID-19. Over half of parents struggled to cope with the impact of lockdown on children’s behaviour. Parenting programs are one solution.
- “(We) anticipate that children and young people who were not previously vulnerable are now struggling because of the effects of Covid-19 and the lockdown.”—Barnardos
Parenting is one of the most challenging and rewarding things around. It certainly comes with no instruction manual.
When you buy a product, you normally receive a guide or after-sales support. When you become a parent, you leave the hospital with no handbook, no care guide, and no A-Z of parenting. You doubt your confidence and wonder whether you will be a good enough parent.
There is always advice and support available when you need it. You can get lots of support and encouragement from your midwife, health visitor, or your child’s school. Parenting programmes are especially useful, while if you want to take your kids outside, parent and children bay markings are really useful for this as you can see at https://carparkmarkings.co.uk/parent-and-child-parking-bay-markings.
Wonder whether they’re for you? In this blog post, you’ll find out the information you need to help you make a decision.
What is a parenting programme?
Parenting programs strengthen your knowledge, skills, and confidence. They provide the information and support you need – at a time you need it throughout your child’s life.
There are many different types of parenting programmes around. Some are for expectant parents, parents/carers with babies and children, and some are specifically designed if you have teenagers. All of them aim to:
- Empower parents to become confident and knowledgeable
- Offer help, support, and guidance, based on sharing real-life events
- Empower parents to find solutions to any challenges and work out what’s best for them and their families
- Provide knowledge around child development and managing children’s behaviour
- Build self-confidence and maintain positive relationships with your children
- Reduce isolation and get more information about what other support is available for you
- Help you to enjoy family life and realise that there is no such thing as a perfect parent
Many parenting programmes are universal, which means they’re open to all parents/carers. They aren’t just for families who are struggling with lots of problems.
Parenting programs are also a great way to meet new friends and listen to other parents experiencing similar challenges.
Some parents think, “I don’t want any do-gooder telling me how to parent my kids.” But when it comes to parenting programmes, it’s simply not true. Many parents believe they will be judged on their parenting skills or worry that they are doing something wrong.
Parenting programs could not be further away from that. They are supportive, non-judgmental, encouraging, and overwhelmingly empowering.
Remember: It’s ok to ask for parenting help and support when you need it—just as you would go to see your doctor for help when you need it.
- “Being a mum of 4 with children ranging from toddlers to teenagers, I was starting to struggle with my teenagers so I decided to do a parenting course. The course gave me so many tools and strategies that I now use daily. Taking the course also gave me the confidence to go back into employment after 16 years of being a stay-at-home mum. I accredit that to my confidence and belief in myself that the course had shown me – I can do it!
I know it’s a bit of a cliche to say this, but the course really did change my life. I’m now working 4 days a week, my home is much calmer and I have so much more confidence in myself.” — Sue, Mum of 4 who attended a parenting course in Sept 2021
6 of the best parenting programmes in Devon
Parenting programmes can differ depending on the age/needs of your family, where you live, and who provides them. Some parenting programmes are online, face to face in a group setting, or provided on a one-to-one basis.
Here’s all the information you need for six parenting programmes available across Devon. It will help you decide which one is right for you.
1. Incredible Years
Incredible Years is also known as IY. It offers many different types of parenting programmes. All of them are really valuable, fun, informal, and highly interactive. The group leaders are knowledgeable, there is absolutely no judgement.
Here are four Incredible Years parenting programmes you might want to check out:
- IY Basic: Designed for parents and carers with children 3-6 years, this parenting programme shares how to build school readiness skills. Parents are encouraged to work alongside early years practitioners and teachers to support their child’s emotional regulation and social skills. Topics covered include using praise, setting routines, managing behaviour, and more.
- IY Toddler: This one’s for parents/carers with children aged 1-3 years. Parents learn about establishing routines, how to encourage their toddler’s language, social, and emotional development, handle separations and reunions, positive discipline strategies, and more.
- IY School Age: Designed for parents/carers with children aged 6 -12 years and strengthens parent and child relationships. Learn more about the importance of play, building positive relationships, setting rules/boundaries, behaviour management techniques, and more.
- IY Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC): For parents/carers with children aged 2-5 years with a diagnosis of ASC/language delay. This programme gives you the skills and confidence to deal with difficult behaviour and support your child in learning to manage their emotions. It provides lots of encouragement to support your child to develop their language skills and relationships with others.
All Incredible Courses are free and delivered either online or face-to-face groups. Contact your local Family Information Service here to find out more, or speak with your child’s nursery or school.
2. Strengthening Families
The Strengthening Families programme does exactly what the name says; strengthen families. Designed for parents and young people aged 10 to 14, sessions are fun, informative, and interactive. It’s usually delivered online, however, due to the COVID pandemic, the programme is on hold.
The programme teaches some great ways of dealing with tween and teenage challenges before they become major problems. It gives you and your child time together to get to know and understand each other better. The programme also covers topics such as peer pressure, staying safe from drugs and alcohol, and more.
The Strengthening Families parenting programme is free and usually delivered in face-to-face groups. Contact your local Family Information Service or speak with your child’s school for more information.
3. Understanding Your Child
Yet another great parenting programme that’s designed for parents/carers of children aged 6 months to 19 years. Understanding Your Child can be accessed at a time and place to suit you—it’s online with great quizzes and video clips. Topics covered include child development, parenting styles, having fun together, communication and tuning in, and much more.
A version of the program is also available for parents/carers with children with additional needs. It costs £39 for lifetime access and is delivered online. Find out more information about the Solihull Approach parenting here.
4. Triple P (Teenagers)
The Triple P (Positive Parenting Program) is provided by Parenting Solutions Devon. It’s suited for parents of toddlers to tweens (under 12 years) based on over 36 years of evidence-based research.
If you’re looking for a parenting programme that helps manage your child’s behaviour, then this is the one for you. You will learn new strategies to support your child to make the right choices with their behaviour. Topics include setting boundaries, helping to build on you and your child’s relationship, and much more.
All courses can be delivered either in a group or on a one-to-one basis. Find out more information about the Triple P parenting programmes here.
5. Adolescent Parenting Course (PPAP) – Mid and East Devon
Designed for parents and carers with children/young people aged 11-16, the Parents Plus Adolescents Programme supports parents/carers to connect with and build good relationships with their teenage children. If you want more information about building your teenager’s self-esteem and confidence, how to negotiate rules and boundaries, or improving your communication together, then this parenting course is for you.
This parenting course is free and delivered online and in face-to-face groups. Find out more about the Parents Plus Adolescents Parenting course here.
6. Solihull Approach: Understanding pregnancy, labour, birth, and your baby
The Solihull Approach antenatal online course gives parents/carers practical information about pregnancy, birth, and getting to know their baby. It’s designed for all expectant parents/carers, grandparents, and others who are around your baby.
Developed by registered midwives, the course provides valuable information about starting your relationship with your baby before he/she is even born. The course covers some really helpful topics such as getting to know your baby in the womb, stages of labour, feeding your baby and after your baby is born, and much more.
The course costs just £19 for lifetime access to resources and is delivered online. Find out more about the Understanding Pregnancy, labour, birth, and your baby course here.
Parenting programs make a real difference
There are lots of different parenting programs out there, from ante-natal support to dealing with teenage behaviour. This list is just the tip of the iceberg.
Parenting programmes often get a bad reputation. Many parents/carers think that they tell parents what to do, that is just not true. All parents/carers need help or support at some stage. They are not superhuman.
Parents/carers who access parenting programmes are not classed as “bad parents” either, they’re the opposite. Parents/carers who attend find some amazing ways to improve family life whilst sharing their own experiences with other parents. What could be more powerful than that?
Whatever problem you’re facing, parenting programs show you’re not alone. You won’t be judged but you will be made to feel extremely welcome. You won’t be forced into doing any activities you’re not comfortable with.
Whether you’re on the lookout for specific information and support, or just want to meet other parents/carers going through similar stuff, sign up for one, build your confidence, meet new friends—and most of all, have fun.