Attending a parenting programme shows strength not weakness. We all need support with raising our children. When a parenting group starts we are all strangers but as the group progresses and we work together it is so important and obvious that we can learn from each other. If you attend you will learn something for yourself, for your family and you can help other parents.
Do we repeat the same parenting that we received?
It is really hard to know what is appropriate discipline these days. Times have changed since we were brought up and it can get confusing. Our own parents may have been great, but the environment that we are bringing our children up in has changed and that might mean changing our approach to parenting. If our parents didn't do such a good job we need to think about what we can do to improve things in our own family. If you want to do things differently or think that you would like to adapt your parenting to the modern environment then you would definitely benefit from finding a parenting programme.
With TV programmes and their ‘parenting experts’, the news and the government lecturing us on a regular basis it is difficult to work out who is right and how do we support our families effectively. Do we have a naughty step or not? Do we ground our children? Do we stop their pocket money? Send them to their room? Do we ignore bad behaviour and presume they will grow out of it? Do we give our teenagers the freedom to make their own mistakes or do we watch them like hawks in case they take drugs, join a gang or show signs of being bullied? Do we make excuses for their bad behaviour because we are too embarrassed?... It's is a minefield!
The 'Single Parent' Parenting Dilemma!
If your children behave badly, do you like people expect single parents to have badly behaved children? Do you feel judged? Have you heard people say that children from single parent families do worse than other families? Are you harder on your children for these reasons?
Do you and your partner disagree about discipline? Do you see things the same way as the school does? Do you feel that you would get a better response from the school if your ex was also involved in school meetings?
Is our own behaviour or the behaviour of their other parent good? Do you swear, bang around, shout, lose your temper sometimes and then feel angry when your child does it? How does it feel when you go visiting another family and their children seem well behaved and yours are having a tantrum? Do we feel like a failure as a single parent family?
So, should I attend a parenting progamme?
These and other questions and issues that single parents face on a daily basis are bound to make parenting feel all the more pressurised. So if your question is 'should I attend a parenting programme' then do yourself a favour and at least find out if there are any in your area. You will find other parents with exactly the same dilemmas.
Before you attend a programme it might be worth thinking about a few things in advance. When your child behaves badly are they bored? Tired? Upset about something? Had a sugar overdose? What are the issues here? Perhaps you could keep a behaviour diary for a couple of weeks; it will help you get the most out of a programme if you are aware of what the triggers regarding bad behaviour in your household.
Looking after YOU!
It is really important to have time out for yourself when your child is displaying bad behaviour, it can get deeply distressing and feel quite difficult dealing with everything on your own, so put the kids to bed early and luxuriate in the bath with a good book and candles. Find out from your local college if they need guinea pigs for Indian head massage or arrange child care swaps with friends or neighbours. Talk to your friends and family (and if possible your ex) about the difficulties that you are having. Ask for help, even if it is just for a bit of time out.
Where can I find out about Parenting Programmes?
- Confident Parenting - Our very own online parenting course for single parents
- Strengthening families Strengthening Communities - Parenting courses in many parts of England
- Parenting UK offers a search for local parenting classes
You can also ask your Health Visitor, GP or a parenting practitioner at your local children's centre or school.
*Please note, extremely bad or worrying behaviour that a parent feels is outside of normal expectations should be dealt with quickly, seek out support agencies, e.g. Health visitor/GP/School