Support For Parents - LAC PARENTING GROUPS

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What are the LAC Parenting Groups?

They are for parents whose children are accommodated, either in residential care or in foster care. We also run courses for parents whose children are subject to Home Supervision Orders.

The parenting course is different from most other courses because it offers a comprehensive package of interventions.
The differences are:

  • There is a parents group and a parallel children's/young people's group.

  • There is a therapeutic component where parents have the opportunity to reflect on the past and how it fits with the present.

  • There is input on anger management, confidence, as well as parenting, including managing conflict, negotiation, assertion.

  • There is video feedback on parent-child interactions using films taken at home of the parent and child/young person.

  • All the above is offered within a context of strong peer support where parents can learn from each other. A non-judgemental approach is used where parents are empowered, e.g. by encouraging them to write their own reports to Hearings, LAC Meetings - parents said after the group that they did not feel so "small" when they went to these meetings.

The course aims to:

  • Improve the listening skills of parents and their children

  • Improve the quality of parent-child relations

  • Remind parents about how children grow and why they behave the way they do so that this understanding can contribute to improved relationships

  • Offer a range of ideas for managing children's behaviour

  • Provide internal resources for parents and their children so that they deal with feelings, especially anger, better

  • Provide resources (skills and support) such that parents are better able to support the return home of the children

The programme is as follows:

Session Topic
Week 1 Introductions
Week 2 Accommodation - What Happened?
Week 3 Listening and Communication
Week 4 Then and Now (1)
Week 5 Then and Now (2)
Week 6 How Children and Young People Grow
Week 7 Why Children and Young People Behave The Way They Do
Week 8 Managing Anger
Week 9 Communication and Listening (Breaking Old Habits)
Week 10 Assertion
Week 11 Negotiating With Our Children and Young People
Week 12 Getting Co-operation
Week 13 Parents Role in Helping Children/Young People Be Independent
Week 14 Confidence, and What Next?
Week 15 What Have We Learned?

The courses recently won a Celebrating Success award in the category of "Safer and Stronger" in 2010 and has reached the final of the COSLA Awards for 2011 in the category of "Partnership and Parenting In Practice".

The Children's Group:

As stated above, the children's/young people's group runs in parallel with the parent's group. The work done is on giving children an opportunity to reflect on the past and how the supervision order came to be made, as well as covering confidence, negotiating with parents (instead of arguing) and looking to the future.

Who is the course for?:

The course is for parents (and their children) whose children are subject to supervision orders, including Home Supervision, Residential Care and Foster Care. The course is free, it runs in various locations around West Lothian and transport is usually provided.

How do I get on a course?:

Parents are usually advised about the course by their Social Worker or Residential Worker and a referral is then made. One of the facilitators will then visit to tell the parents and the child more about the course and, if they agree to try the course, it starts shortly after this.

Is there a charge?:

No, the courses are free. Transport is normally offered to and from the course.

What parents said about the course:

  • Getting my son home has been down to me and him learning to be calmer and negotiating better. We can sit now and talk and listen and not have to resort to anger. I also feel better in my dealings with Social Workers, feeling more relaxed with them and more accepted.

  • This group has acted as a kind of "bridge" between social work and parents - before it had been a case of "them and us".

  • Communication with my child got better and working alongside relevant people in my son's life - teachers, carers - seems easier.

  • Got a lot of confidence and I am hopefully going to research a college placement for social care, i.e. the kind of work done by us. I'd love to re-do and put back into others what I found for myself.

  • Would recommend the course to help others overcome their fears, change their confidence and to let them see what's there for parents they didn't know about.

  • I listen more to the children and play more - I join in. I am off the drugs and I look and feel healthier. I won't go back to my old ways.

  • The support is amazing. It also changes a lot of you as a person and parent and helps tackle what you did to what you do now.

  • I now see a future for my son that does not include prison.

  • my son and me can now communicate and resolve conflict without resorting to verbal abuse.