Councils invited to lean in
By Professor Matt Sanders. Founder, Triple P —Positive Parenting Program
Every New Year is a chance to take stock, reflect, and plan what we’re going to achieve in the next year.
Come January, I hope council leaders will join me in making positive parenting a priority in our communities in 2018. I promise, it’s easy to do, and it won’t cost a thing!
Evidence-based parenting support through the Triple P – Positive Parenting Program is already free in Queensland, so my goal in 2018 is to harness the power and community connections you have in local government to make sure every parent and carer in Queensland knows help is available (if and when they need it).
I’ll be asking councils to get involved by doing two things: by actively promoting local Triple P sessions and seminars through council newsletters, websites, social media and community networks; and by hosting Triple P seminars in council venues.
It may not sound like much but doing these two things has the potential to change people’s lives and the benefits will flow on to your communities. There’s a clear need for quality parenting support, and Triple P is a proven program with the funding behind it to provide that support.
So far, more than 142,000 parents and carers in just over two years have accessed free seminars, group, one-on-one and online Triple P programs through this state-funded initiative, which shows the demand for parenting support is already out there. This comes as no surprise.
These days, many parents are raising children with less support from family networks. This can make parenting extra tough. While we have to accept that as a reality of modern life, as a community we can do more.
I believe parents are doing the most important job there is – raising the next generation of workers, students, parents, neighbours and citizens. Why wouldn’t we try and help connect families with a program that can make that job easier? And why wouldn’t we, as a community, want to enjoy the extra benefits happier families can bring.
Triple P’s simple strategies encourage parents to provide a safe, nurturing and low-conflict environment for children. They help parents find ways to set consistent and age-appropriate rules, boundaries and consequences to guide their children’s behaviour.
As any parent knows it’s the simple things – like getting the kids to eat what’s in front of them, or to go to bed on time – that can really make or break family life, and relationships. As kids get older, teaching them how to get on with others, and follow routines and instructions is another area which can be stressful and frustrating. And, in the lead-up to the teen years, parents who have strong and respectful relationships with their kids are best placed to support them if times get tough or behaviour gets more challenging.
Giving people from all walks of life access to practical, non-judgemental parenting support is the mark of a community that values its children. Interestingly, research shows the home environment in which we raise our children is far more important to their future life outcomes than the suburb they live in or the school they attend. So it’s not difficult to imagine the flow-on social and economic benefits to our community from these outcomes.
Consider some of the evidence of Triple P’s effects on families. Children who grow up with positive parenting are more likely to do better at school, have better emotional and mental health, and experience more positive relationships. Parents who do Triple P also report feeling less stressed and depressed and have less conflict with their partners.
And Triple P has been shown to reduce child conduct disorder, reduce rates of child maltreatment and reduce rates of foster care placements – all issues that can continue to cost communities across a person’s lifespan.
Good parenting is a great investment in the future of our communities. Think about a more effective workforce, greater community and consumer participation, and lower crime rates. Doesn’t that sound like a community we’d all like to live in?
This is where councils come in. Councils really can change lives in 2018 by getting more involved in the free roll-out of parenting support in Queensland. To find out how your council can lean in, email email@example.com.