Raising children can be physically and emotionally challenging as well as incredibly rewarding.
Sometimes as a parent you need some extra advice and support in order to have the best relationship with your child or children, and in order to deal with common issues as your child develops.
Where to find advice and support:
There are many online sources of advice and support to help parents, children and young people.
- Family Lives website offers an online and innovative ‘Parents Together Programme’. You can work through six interactive blocks filled with helpful techniques and ideas designed to help you become a more confident parent.
- The NSPCC website contains parenting tips for all stages of a child's life, as well as advice on how to deal with difficult situations, including how to manage tantrums, and dealing with separation and divorce.
- Action for Children’s website contains expert advice on topics such as child's development, behaviour and emotional wellbeing.
- The Parentinfo website provides support and advice to parents in matters related to young people and families in a digital world.
There are groups for parents that take place in South Gloucestershire Children’s Centres. These are sometimes run by South Gloucestershire Council workers, but are often run by other parents, or by community organisations. Groups can change through the year, and may not run at every centre, but you can find out what is on offer by contacting your local Children’s Centre.
For support for parents of older children and young people with SEND, this article contains information about support groups locally.
Council-run parenting programmes:
South Gloucestershire Council's Families Plus team run parenting courses (or 'programmes') locally:
The Families Plus 0-5 teams run a number of sessions for parents of small children; these adapt to the needs of families but are largely focused on strong attachment between parents/carers and their children. You can speak with your Health Visitor about these programmes, or call your local Children's Centre to find out more.
The Families Plus 5-18 Teams run the 'Parents Plus' programmes, with one programme designed for parents of 5-11 year-olds ('Parents Plus Children') and the other for parents of 12-17 year olds ('Parents Plus Teens'). Six of each of these programmes run across South Gloucestershire each year and consist of eight group sessions.
Where more specific or direct parenting support is required, all Families Plus work has a whole-family approach and any direct work carried out by our teams will include parenting approaches as well as addressing other challenges with the family.
Sessions are delivered by experienced facilitators and run in groups of up to 12 parents or carers. Both mothers and fathers are encouraged to participate wherever possible.
Each session lasts for two and a half hours, with a short coffee break in the middle. Ideas and information are shared through a mixture of group discussions, activities and watching DVDs. Each week parents will be given notes to take home and things to practice with their children.
Parents need to attend at least 75% (6 out of 8 sessions) to successfully complete the course. There is also an expectation that parents will try out ideas at home and feedback in the group.
Topics covered throughout the course include those that prevent problems arising by improving relationships, as well as effective strategies to manage challenges when they arise.
The children’s course covers topics such as:
Prevention topics (such as: positive attention, play and special time, child-centered play skills, encouragement, prevention plans, problem solving, and active listening)
Discipline topics (such as: pressing the pause button, positive rules, routines, using consequences, assertive parenting, step-by-step discipline plans, and parent self-care)
The adolescent’s course covers topics such as:
Positive parenting topics (such as: getting to know and connecting with your teenager, encouragement, listening, teaching responsibility, problem solving, and parental self-care)
Positive discipline topics (such as: pressing the pause button, establishing rules, communication, effective consequences and consequence plans, and dealing with conflict)
To join a Parents Plus course, you, or someone who is working with you, should contact the Access and Response Team (ART). A referral will need to be completed, either by you or by the worker. An ART adviser can help you with this if you need it. It might be the case that you need a different form of support.
Once a referral has been accepted facilitators will contact parents near the start date of the course. Facilitators will arrange to meet the parents individually before the start of the course to find out how the course can work best for them and set some goals.