Since 2007, we have been running a parenting skills course at the parish. The course was provided by Sister Suzanne of the Marriage and Family Life Centre of the Archdiocese.
Six of us went for training as facilitators over two weekends.
Each year the enrolment has increased (6 the first year, 13 the next and 14 last year). We were especially impressed with the number of Dads that participated with such great enthusiasm. We met once a week for 2 hours over 8 weeks.
We all found it helpful to stand back and reflect on how we could reduce tension, squabbling and fighting in our families. We had lots of laughs, made new friends and many of us found it did make a difference in the atmosphere at home.
The course gives ideas and suggestions on how parents could lead their children to grow both emotionally and spiritually along the path of becoming mature, responsible adults, something we all want for our children.
We are encouraged to concentrate on one skill each week and gradually make it part of our daily life. Some parents suggested we should continue this weekly practise of one "skill" at a time in order to have continual benefit from the course and not lose what we had learnt. The "skills" we discussed are very simple and when put into practise do make a difference.
Each week we discussed a different "skill:
What Is a Child Looking For? Changing How We React
We look at our children’s “misbehaviour” and ask ourselves the reason for this behaviour and then work out what we as parents can do to try and change this behaviour.
Encouragement As a Tool
Here we look at the difference between praise (which is often exaggerated) and encouragement (which is low key and specific). It is suggested that through encouragement the child gradually learns to accept more responsibility.
From Hearing to Listening
The way we communicate with our children will make a difference in our relationship with them. Listening to what they have to say and encouraging them to express themselves is one way of building their confidence and helping them to make mature decisions.
Treating Each Other With Respect
As parents, we easily fall into the trap of communicating with our children through instructions in order to protect them. In our eagerness to help, we take control and don't allow them to make mistakes. This does not allow our children to learn through experience nor do they feel valued. We need to allow our children to gradually take on more responsibility in order to become responsible, co-operative adults. Treating children with respect is about parents and children having equal value.
The first step in resolving a problem is to decide who owns the problem as this gives an idea how to approach the situation. We then discuss the different stages of problem-solving.
Setting limits in a way that allows children to make choices, demonstrating the consequences of those choices and helping them to become responsible. This can be the most difficult part of disciplining children but once mastered, it leads to self discipline.
Become a Facilitator
Due to different circumstances some of the present facilitators have moved on and now we are desperately in need of more people to volunteer as facilitators. If anyone is interested please contact the office, or Wanda Patten at 021 761 5238 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Training is provided and you will get all the help you need.
The Parenting Skills Programme Runs As Follows:
- 2 hours per week
- 8 weeks
What People Say
From Alison and Mike Killick
"When I started the course I assumed I was coping in the parenting field. I soon learnt that I had room for improvement. When parenting I tended to use 'action skills' instead of 'thinking skills' first. The course helped me to first think and then act. The sessions also had a humorous side to them especially the role playing parts and I enjoyed meeting other parents in our parish"
From Annabel Horn
"I benefited from the parenting course by having important and conciliatory approaches to interacting with my children being brought to the forefront of my mind. I also enjoyed meeting other parents in the parish, which has made me feel more integrated into the Constantia parish."
From Megan Veldhuis
"A great way to met more people in the church and to understand why you do the things you do. I learned a lot of pointers to start on our two year old, its definitely helped with the tantrums"