As a mum to four kids under five, Kirsty often found herself losing her cool.
“I would find myself getting agitated and go straight to the default of yelling,’’ she says.
“But now I have learned to recognise when I am getting agitated before it escalates and to make my expectations clear using calm, positive language.
“Firmly instructing kids running around a pool, ‘walking please’, tells our kids what we expect of them rather than yelling.”
Kirsty is one of more than 4000 parents who sought help from Anglicare Victoria’s Parentzone programs last year.
Kirsty took part in Parents Building Solutions, an evidence-based, six-week program that we developed here at Anglicare Victoria, which aims to help people caring for children – parents, step parents, grandparents and kinship or foster carers – further develop positive relationships with their children and build their parenting skills.
Program facilitator Michelle Brown says although groups are diverse, participants all have one thing in common – they are tired of yelling at their kids.
“People hear others’ stories, take off their hats of judgement and see that other parents struggle with the same issues,’’ she says.
Sessions are tailored to the needs of each group but typically parents are looking for advice on setting rules, following through with logical consequences, discipline, ages and stages of development and how to limit kids’ use of technology.
“I am very much the facilitator of the discussion, I help people have a voice in the room and help keep the group on track but it is very much about helping parents develop practical skills that work for their families,’’ says Michelle. An evaluation of the Parents Building Solutions program found most parents reported feeling more confident and having a better child-parent relationship after taking part.
An evaluation of the Parents Building Solutions program found most parents reported feeling more confident and having a better child-parent relationship after taking part.
Kirsty says the course has been invaluable for her parenting and her family now has regular meetings to promote togetherness and decide on rules as a group.
“The rules apply to everyone. If my husband and I break them, the kids pull us up.’’