One way Children’s Bureau works to enhance the quality of life of at-risk children is by working with parents and caretakers to enhance parenting skills. With start-up funding from Metropolitan Human Services District (MHSD), the agency offers the Positive Parenting Program, or “Triple P” as it is widely known.
Triple P aims to promote caring relationships between parents and children, and helps parents deal with a variety of behavior problems and common developmental issues. Positive parenting reduces the stress of parenting and makes parenting more rewarding and enjoyable.
“I think for many the expectation is that effectively disciplining a child and teaching them proper behavior as they grow comes naturally for parents,” said Ziesha Every, LPC, a Children’s Bureau clinician who works with parents in the Triple P program. “However, in many situations, caretakers need help to learn these skills.”
Ziesha works with parents one-on-one to coach them on ways they can deal with problem behaviors such as tantrums, disrespect, children hurting others, etc.
“In a lot of cases, we see that the parent’s behavior actually escalates a situation and intensifies the child’s behavior. Parents will accidently reward problem behavior by giving in to a child’s demands or becoming aggressive in some way. If a child is crying loudly and pulling at his mother to get her phone from her, the mom may lose her patience and say something like: ‘here, just take the phone and stop crying.’ This is actually rewarding the child for his negative behavior.”
Ziesha uses role play, provides tip sheets and works through stressors with parents – all in the hopes of enhancing the parenting experience.
“I never talk down to parents or degrade them. I try to get parents to look at their strengths. We all have strengths. And I know being a parent is hard work,” said Ziesha. “My role is to work with parents to encourage them and build their skills so they feel more successful at parenting.”
Parents and caretakers are referred to Children’s Bureau for this program by various governmental agencies, other nonprofits and through schools in the community. Ziesha says she works with parents of all ages, even grandparents.
“When I first started with the program, I thought it would be a lot of young mothers, but we have really seen a variety of caretakers that need help. We work with a variety of children, too, from toddlers to teenagers.”
Ziesha says it’s most rewarding when she hears from a parent after they have moved on from the program, and they still refer to some of the interventions she taught them.
“One mother I worked with was having a lot of problems with her two sons who were close in age. They were fighting a lot, and she was having a hard time with their bedtime routine and getting them to go to sleep at night. They moved to north Louisiana, but she called me to share with me that things were going well and that she was still working with her sons using some of the tips that I had taught her.”
For more information on Triple P or other services provided by the Children’s Bureau, please call (504) 525-2366.