The Incredible Years® Blog

The Incredible Years® Parenting Course – reflections from a group leader on her first course

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Accredited Incredible Years Parent Group Leader Kate Bentley has recently written an article sharing her experiences the first time she led an IY group.  She has shared her article with us.

Incredible Parenting, by Kate Bentley

PigbuildWhen I was first told that I would be facilitating The Incredible Years Parenting Group, I was petrified. I felt I would look like a fraud and a hypocrite as I don’t profess to be a ‘perfect parent’, I’m definitely not getting it right all of the time. The first lesson I learnt is that I would be a facilitator not the teacher – the course does the teaching. It’s evidence based – tried and tested.

The first day of my first course I was a nervous wreck. As we welcomed everyone into the room, I could sense their nerves too, this reassured me some what and I was thankful of having an experienced co facilitator by my side. Then Sophie stormed in, late. She didn’t want to be there, she didn’t need to tell us as her body language was shouting it.

Her presence was not helping my nerves, especially with her intimidating death stare. As the 1st session got going, and everyone shared their goals, what they hoped to get out of the course. Sophie made it clear that she wasn’t there by choice, although she did reluctantly say she wanted to stop shouting at her daughter. She was a tough audience but I’m so thankful for Sophie, as she showed me how powerful parenting courses can be. It was in that moment that I put my faith in my training and in the course material.

Week 2 Sophie was still prickly, Week 3 she was participating a bit and starting to thaw.

By week 4 the group had bonded. They looked forward to seeing each other, hearing about how the homework had gone, they were celebrating each others successes as well as offering support and encouragement. I nearly fell off my chair when on week 4 Sophie offered a really positive suggestion to a fellow participant who was struggling.

parent_spotlight pos behav cropIt was Week 6 when I really understood the value of this course. The members were already starting to comment ‘I can’t believe we only have 6 weeks left’, ‘I don’t want it to end’. They were seeing really positive differences at home and enjoyed the space to talk, share and learn.

Parenting Courses are not about learning to be ‘perfect parents’, they are not about judgement or showing people up. They are about building confidence, seeing parenting from the child’s perspective, sharing experiences and gaining a toolkit of positive strategies.

On our last session, Week 12, we celebrated the end of the course, the certificates were presented and it’s a time to reflect. Sophie gave her speech, ‘ I’ve loved this course, everyone should be made to do it. I’ve told all my friends about it’. This blew me away and I felt quite choked but then she went on to say ‘I’ve stopped shouting at my daughter, she isn’t scared of me any more. Our relationship is a 100% better. Thank you so much’.

I have been passionate about delivering the Incredible Years Parenting Group ever since.

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Thanks so much to Kate for sharing her experience with us!  Kate’s article originally appeared at Raring2go!

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