Mums Say Parenting Course has Changed Their Lives

NINE mums have celebrated successfully completing a 14 week parenting programme with Reading Borough Council.

The parents attended the sessions at Whitley Children’s Centre, in Northumberland Avenue, and were full of praise for the course when Cllr Jan Gavin, Reading’s Lead Councillor for Children’s Services, joined them for their final day on Wednesday 20th July.

One mum, who preferred not to be named, said:

“I would give it 100 per cent. If it wasn’t here I don’t know where I would be.

“I was feeling quite angry and aggressive, which isn’t like me, now I feel I can take on the world and hold my head up high as a mum.”

The programme, called Webster Stratton – the Incredible Years, is an evidence based course from the United States which is a mixture of fun and hard work, including homework between sessions.

The mums were generally finding it hard to cope with the challenges of parenthood and were mainly referred onto the course by family workers, schools or GPs.

The aim of the programme is to reinforce the importance of positive praise and positive time with their children to minimise the extent and frequency of poor behaviour. It teaches a level of negotiation skills and an understanding of how to influence a child’s behaviour for the long term.
Parents share their experiences and learn from each other and reflect on how they were brought up and how that has influenced their own style of parenting.

One mum said:

“It’s a massive journey. You learn about yourself and learn about your child. It’s amazing.”

Another said:

“Every time I used to get a call from the headteacher or class teacher I’d think ‘what’s he done now’. But recently all the calls have been to say how much he’s changed. For the headteacher to notice, I really feel I’ve achieved something.”

This Webster Stratton course is an addition to the parenting programme run by Reading Borough Council and was a pilot in preparation for a joint research project with the University of Reading to explore the long term outcomes for children whose parents attend the programme.

Cllr Gavin said:

“Babies don’t come with handbooks and parenthood can be very difficult and very lonely.

“The women on this course have shown a huge amount of commitment. They have been together for 28 hours over 14 weeks and they have been given homework between sessions.

“But the more you put in, the more you get out and I was touched to hear the positive comments from the mums who have clearly gained so much from being on this course.”

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