A LIFELINE FOR PARENTS
Eileen Jones details the work of Positive Parenting Publications
Today, many parents find they have nobody to turn to. A Headteacher said to me recently that she was saddened by the large number of parents who can’t give her an emergency phone number, because they don’t know anyone they can ask!
Good family life depends upon confident parents but today there seems to be immense uncertainty amongst many parents in the face of difficulties.
With a track record of nearly 20 years’ support for the family, Positive Parenting Publications (formerly Portsmouth Area Family Concern) wants to make a difference! We want to see the smile put back on the face of the family in Britain!
In 1977, a group of Christian sailors, under the leadership of a missioner from the Royal Sailors’ Rest in Portsmouth, tried to protest against the opening of a sex shop near the Dockyard Gate. They didn’t succeed, but that small protest was the catalyst for action. An Action Committee was formed and we started our first hesitant step to resist the encroachment of pornography and began to work to support the family.
We started producing parenting skills resources in 1989. Now there are three Positive Parenting Packs which contain articles covering a whole range of subjects from bereavement to bullying; from conflict in the teen zone to how to build emotional security (£20 for all three packs or £7.50 each). All the articles may be photocopied and are illustrated by cartoons. The idea for the Packs came from work with an inner-city play-centre and were first produced with the idea of giving play-leaders a link with parents, something to support and encourage as well as inform. Today almost 7,500 Packs have been sold and are making friends with parents nationwide. More than a third of all Prisons and Young Offender Institutes use our resources and a women’s Prison recently reported that the articles “were brilliant” for their discussion groups. There are also four parent-friendly leaflets:
Did you know? You’re special! - for teenagers
Robbed of Childhood - protect the minds of your children
Positive Points for Parents - tips to support parents
New Parents! Start Here... described as a “written cuddle”...
Recently a church asked us to send New Parents! Start Here... to put in their marriage preparation packs. They had come across the problem of couples after marriage who are in conflict because one wants children and the other does not!
A recent major achievement has been the publication of the Course Manual Time Out for Parents! This is a five-week basic parenting course (with three optional sessions for Parents of Teens, Single Parents and Dads). Throughout the Course parents are helped to build on skills they already have, as well as consider new ideas through discussion and group work. The sessions cover developing emotional security; how to set loving limits within the family and ways of keeping children safe in the hostile world of today. The model of the Course is parent-to-parent - not ‘expert’-to-parent and so we find parents are very receptive to its messages.
As a Charity our main aim is to provide resources which are low cost (something which a mother and toddler group leader can afford) and which are attractive enough for today’s young parents.
In style the material is not overtly Christian, but is written by Christians. We hope to support Christians in their profession and we want to get God’s wisdom back into society.
To our delight, churches are increasingly using Time Out for Parents! as a bridge into the community, sometimes as a pre-Alpha befriending course.
Since its publication last December, 200 Manuals have been sold and five Training Days have been run. We now regularly have feedback about parenting courses being set up in schools, churches, mother and toddler groups, in Prisons and in Women’s Refuges. Just this week two parents attended a Training Day from a school which has had three Time Out for Parents! courses. From September they will be teaching the Course for their own school! The scope for growth is limitless!
We believe Time Out for Parents! and our other parenting resources will help equip a whole army of people in the community to run small group parenting sessions - and in the process help to change the culture so that parents are, at last, supported and valued for the job they do.
By far the most powerful influence on the social behaviour of children, for good or ill, is parenting, and what our children need most from us is our time! As far as children age concerned LOVE is spelt T.I.M.E. We believe the definition of a ‘good parent’ is one who ‘sticks with it’ - through the ups and downs of childhood.
The lack of supervision of children, of knowing where they are, is the most significant factor in all forms of drug abuse, says Sylvia Ann Hewlett the author of Child Neglect in Rich Nations. She says, “It cuts across all classes, including affluent career women’s families. Substance abuse may start if they are without adult supervision for more than 12 hours a week.” It’s an issue which has to be faced squarely today, because the health and safety of our children are at stake. They need us!
So the major message in all our material is that building relationships with our children is like putting money in the bank! We’ll never regret the wisdom, time and the love we put into their lives.
Parents who come on the Course find they make friends and get a lot of support. The most often heard remark is probably, “It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who has difficulties.’’ At the end of one course a Mother said, “I feel more valuable not only to my children, but to other children I come into contact with and to society itself.” What more could you ask?
* Time Out for Parents! Parenting Course Manual costs £25+£5 p&p and other resources from Positive Parenting Publications, 39 Wallington Road, Portsmouth PO2 OHB. 01705-692425
Registered Charity No: 1053361 and a Company limited by guarantee No. 3162747
Positive Parenting Publications
39 Wallington Road
Portsmouth PO2 0HB
Tel/Fax 01705 3B2061
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