'It's a support network': Positive Parenting Program expands on P.E.I.

A parenting program that has been helping parents on P.E.I. with children who have developmental and behavioural issues is expanding to focus on parents and caregivers of teenagers. 

First announced in the fall of 2015, phase one of the the Positive Parenting Program focused on children under the age of 12.

The second phase, unfolding now, will add programming designed specifically for the parents and caregivers of teenagers.

"The beauty of this program is that it helps us to build those communication skills with our children and to really still, as they grow into teenage years, still put emphasis on that quality time," explained Yvonne Thompson, an occupational therapist and trained "Triple P" practitioner. "When they're teenagers, they still need that positive specific feedback because there's a lot of pressures that can bring the negative to their forefront, so this program really helps to build the mental health."

Close to 90 Islanders have been trained to deliver the Triple P Program, offering such as services as large-group parent seminars, parenting skills support and intensive family interventions.

'It's a very very challenging job at times'

"It's a support network," said Education, Early leaning and Culture Minister Doug Currie. "Not only is it about education and prevention, but it's letting parents know that they're not alone with their parenting challenges.

"With the base that we've built over the last three years with 90 facilitators across four government departments, education, health, justice and family and human services, we're building a foundation to support families. The program is growing,"  he added.

The program uses easy-to-follow suggestions for small changes that make big differences to parents, children and families. It is proven to be very successful in developing good attitudes and behaviour.

Thompson said one of the best ways to help children is to help their parents.

"I think what's most powerful about this program is that it's not just handing parents and do this, but It's helping to really increase parents' knowledge, getting them engaged in that problem-solving process," she said. "As they learn these strategies, pick which one works best for them to develop a tool kit actually, so that these strategies meet the unique needs of their family and of their child."

The total cost of the five-year program is just over $800,000.

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