South Tipperary Parent Network
Membership of the S.T.P.N. has changed over the years and we always welcome new members. Experience as a parenting course facilitator has led many people on to further studies and many are counsellors and life coaches today. We recruit parents who have demonstrated a depth of understanding of the principles of the parenting course . Training and up-skilling is an integral part of a facilitators brief.
In the mid 90s we looked at different ways to reach out to parents who were not availing of parenting courses. We were fortunate to get financial assistance from the Health Board and the Adlerian Network which enabled us to recruit and train volunteers for a Parent Helpline which opened in 1997. We advertised the service and received calls about various family problems. We operated until 2001 when changing family circumstances and commitments meant we were unable to continue.
Over the years the course we facilitated was that of the Family Caring Trust. Many of our members attended the Adlerian summer schools where Amy Lew and Betty Lou Bettner presented the 4 Cs i.e., Connect, Capable, Count and Courage. We realised the value of their course and we decided to develop a programme that would meet the needs of families here.
Amy Lew and Betty Lou Bettner very generously gave permission for the adaptation of their course material and also allowed the Adlerian Network of Ireland take out copyright on the adapted course. Ruth Farrell, Michael Delaney, Tess Collins, Ann Dwyer, Breda Heffernan, Ailis Collins and Eileen McCarthy worked selflessly over many months to produce the new course. It is entitled "A Guide to Coping with Everyday Life as a Parent" and we have been using it since the beginning of 2001 and it is well received.
The course is run over 6 weeks in 2 hour sessions. It is experiential with all the work done on a flipchart. Parents buy the book "A Parent's Guide to Understanding and Motivating Children" for further reference.
Session 1 begins with the ground rules - most emphasis is placed on confidentially and everyone's understanding of it. The needs of children are explored and charted. The Adlerian Child Guidance Principles are distributed and discussed in detail. The 4 Cs which are the core foundation of the course are explained.
Sessions 2,3,4 and 5 begin with a check-in with each participant and a recap of the previous week. That day's C is then explored in detail. The parent is asked to remember a time when he/she felt he/she did not Connect, did not feel Capable, did not Count or had no Courage (as appropriate on the day). They are then asked the opposite questions and its all charted. Based on this we explore in depth how a child might behave if he/she feels the C in a negative way. The group is then given suggestions on how to help the child feel the C in a positive way. The course deals with the goals of misbehaviour, shared responsibility, the courage to be imperfect, natural and logical consequences, mutual respect, winning co-operation and encouragement. Relevant handouts are distributed each day. .
The final session brings the whole course together as it introduces the family meeting which is a very effective way to improve relationships. The family members learn how to communicate with one another, to listen, to value each one's uniqueness, build self esteem, share responsibility, the importance of helping others, and learn the skills of problem solving.
We run courses regularly in Cashel and Clonmel. Please contact us for details of upcoming courses.