Parents most common complaint is that their kids won’t listen.
While the same frustration has been expressed for generations, there’s a program in Greater Victoria that just might help find a remedy.
Since 2008, educators around southern Vancouver Island – within schools, community centres and public health units – have been trained on Triple P, or Positive Parenting Program, a system of parenting techniques based on behaviour monitoring and designed to reinforce positive actions and prevent the negative ones.
Previous parenting systems haven’t been evidence-based and haven’t allowed parents to access the level of information they seek, said Cindy Knott, Vancouver Island Triple P co-ordinator.
That level of information, Knott added, can range from one-time sessions and take-home materials to registration in free parenting workshops and ongoing group support sessions.
“We’re not saying this is a program for people who are having difficulty or (who are) bad parents,” she said. “It’s for everybody. And that’s how it differs. … Some parents just need the basic information, others may need more intensive support.”
Triple P offers both early prevention and treatment, added Knott, who trains Island Triple P practitioners.
“Because it is being offered at multi-access points, if you talk to someone at a school, or in public health or at your neighbourhood house, they’re all speaking the same language,” Knott said. “They’re all talking about the same strategies and techniques.”
In Greater Victoria, Triple P is offered primarily through community centres, such as Saanich Neighbourhood Place.
Patricia McKay, co-ordinator of family support services at Saanich Neighbourhood Place, said the feedback she receives from Triple P programs is generally quite positive, even if some of what’s taught is more about reviewing what works than learning new techniques.
“Parents typically feel like it’s really helped them,” McKay said. “Some (teachings) are things that parents already know – like time outs – but they learn a different way to do it.”
For McKay, key components are knowing how to curb escalating behaviour, engaging in activities and implementing logical consequences.
And while she can’t guarantee Triple P will remedy the most common concern she hears, it brings parents one step closer.
“That’s the one thing that parents tend to say to me: ‘My kids don’t listen to me.’ This gives (parents) some strategies.”
Between March 1, 2009, and Aug. 31, 2010, nearly 2,500 families on Vancouver Island accessed the program. For more information on Triple P programs in Greater Victoria, visit triplepvip.ca.