National | Parenting

'It works': Parenting support moves online

Going back to school may be a difficult time for some tamariki, rangatahi and whānau feeling anxious about the huge impacts of the pandemic and the ongoing uncertainty.

The Ministry of Health coordinated by Whāraurau, a parent and whānau support group, are moving their support services online so that more whānau can access their services from across the motu.

Sarah Thomas from Te Whānau o Waipareira in Tāmaki Makaurau works for the Positive Parenting Programme, 'Triple P', and says whānau may be experiencing all sorts of stress and difficulties right now.

"Their transition back to school can be a really big time for some family, not only for the parents but the tamariki and rangatahi. Parents can be feeling less positive about different things happening in their homes. They can be feeling really stressed and feeling really anxious about what going back to school looks like. Also, children's behaviour can become a little more challenging at times throughout this period."

Strategies for whānau

Thomas says the Triple P programme has strategies that can help whānau manage some of the day-to-day challenges.

"Over my time delivering Triple P, it's been absolutely beautiful. We see families coming in and saying to us: 'It works, it really works. I'm happier, my house is happier. I like picking up the kids from school. Getting the kids out of the house in the morning it isn't a chore, it's a pleasure.'

"So we really see that on a daily basis whenever we deliver the programme. There's just so many beautiful stories that we could talk about, but it really would take all day."

Triple P is aimed at parents of 0 to 12-year-olds, says Thomas.

"We have parents in a room together, have a discussion group, we have a facilitator and we go through strategies that parents can choose from. We never tell parents what to do. We provide them with a range of strategies and they can decide what's going to work best for them in their home," she says.

"It's a four-week programme that we deliver face-to-face. And we do how to develop a good bedtime routine, hassle-free shopping, and managing anger and aggression. What to do when our kids do get anxious and really angry and don't know how to cope with those feelings."

Lasting skills

Thomas says the programme provides tamariki and whānau with lasting skills.

"They're learning life skills, they're going to have coping strategies, they're going to have a happier outcome. They're learning life skills that are going to last them.

"It's not only the tamariki but for the parents. The parents are gaining life skills, and it's going to continue right the way through their immediate family that they have right now, but also to their grandchildren, their mokos and right the way down for future reference."

Her message for parents is simp[ly, "Give it a try."

"You know, there may be just one thing that isn't quite right in your home and you'd like some strategies," she says.

"We offer tools that you can take away and try within your home and see what the outcome is. We can always fine-tune. We've always got people around to help."

Whānau across the motu interested in the programme can access it through the Triple P Parenting website.