The Incredible Years® Blog

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Advance Parenting Program for Building Relationships – a valuable teaching tool during these stressful times

At this time families are experiencing more conflict due to the stress of physical isolation, home schooling, and economic challenges. The Advance Parenting Program for Building Relationships is designed to help families learn to listen to each other, speak up about difficulties, manage stress, reach out for support, and problem-solve parenting and personal issues. Parents of older children (aged 8-12) learn how to set up family meetings where children and parents can talk about a problem, work together to discuss solutions, and set up a family team plan.

The Advance Parenting Program builds on the Preschool and School Age Basic Programs by promoting parents’ interpersonal skills such as effective communication and problem solving skills, depression and conflict management, and ways to give and get support. Parents learn to partner with teachers in problem-solving and developing child behavior plans.

Goals of the Advance Parenting Program:

Supporting Family Relationships, Building Support Networks and Problem-Solving
• Improve parents’ conflict management and communication skills.
• Help parents learn how to cope with depression and life stress.
• Help parents learn how to build support networks.
• Help parents learn how to problem-solve related to children’s problems.
• Help parents learn how to problem-solve their own interpersonal problems.
• Help parents learn how to problem solve with teachers.
• Help parents learn how to teach their children to problem solve.
• Help parents of children (ages 8-12) learn how to set up family meetings.

Learn more about the Advance Parenting Program

Incredible Years Program Developer Carolyn Webster-Stratton will be delivering an Advance Parenting Program Group Leader Training in April!

Advance Parent Group Leader Online Tele-Session Training
Dates: Tuesdays & Thursdays mornings, April 6th – 15th, 2021, 8:00am-11:15am PST
Venue: Online (Zoom)
Led by: Carolyn Webster-Stratton, Ph.D.
Cost: $620 per person
Please Note: The Basic Parent Group Leader Training is a prerequisite to the Advance Training

April 2021 Online Advance Training Brochure And Registration Info

Watch Preview clips from the Advance Parenting Program for Building Relationships

Active Listening, Speaking Up, & Communicating Positively

Problem Solving Meeting: In this clip, parents begin their problem-solving meeting by defining the problem they are having with their child’s behavior.

Giving and Getting Support

A Supportive Friend Helps Find Solutions: In this clip, a mom has been brainstorming solutions focused on meeting her son’s needs. A supportive friend helps this mom remember that it is important for her to take time for self-care. Together, they brainstorm ways to get support.

Teaching Children to Problem Solve: Family Problem-Solving Meeting

Family Meeting About Household Chores: In this clip we see a father defining the problem and inviting his sons’ ideas for solutions.

Learn more about the Advance Parenting Program

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Using the Tool Metaphor for Building Parenting Skills – New Resources!

When helping parents learn key principles it can be useful for parents to see these as “building tools” they are learning to use from their parenting tool kit.

Using the Incredible Years Tool Kit Posters (set of 3)

First poster“Building Positive Behaviors”

The first IY tool kit poster can be used to help parents learn the key “building tools” for strengthening positive behaviors.  When a new parenting principle is identified in group discussions, group leaders can name it using the corresponding tool picture from the Incredible Years Tool Kit poster. Group leaders can expand on this building metaphor by explaining to parents a hammer is not the best tool for fixing every problem; rather it may be better to use the capacity building, foundational scaffolding, and nurturing tools to support healthy social, emotional, and academic growth. Parents will learn that the bottom level of the parenting pyramid focuses on tools that they will use liberally such as attention, child directed play, narrated commenting, praise, support, relationship building, shaping, and support. On the next layer of the parenting pyramid parents learn how to use specific academic, persistence, social and emotional coaching to help their children identify and manage feelings, persist with learning despite obstacles and develop friendly social interactions and language. Once parents have built a firm foundation, they often find they have fewer child problems to manage.

2nd poster – “Reducing Misbehavior”

As the group moves up the parenting pyramid, parents learn new tools to reduce target negative behaviors.  These are used more sparingly. Tools such as predictable routines, rules, and respectful limit setting provide a predictable structure for children’s exploratory behaviors and drive for independence, assuring their safety. Next parents are taught the least intrusive proactive discipline tools, such as ignoring, redirection and distractions, and, finally, at the top level, discipline tools for highly aggressive and dysregulated behaviors.  Parents learn how to choose the most appropriate parenting tool based on the child’s needs, goals, and the underlying reason for the misbehavior.

3rd poster – “Staying Calm”

Integrated throughout the program are tools parents can use for controlling upsetting thoughts, stepping back from stress and anger, and regaining focus on what is essential. Parents learn the value of patience, modeling, self-care, getting support, using calming self-talk, and problem solving. Parents first apply these tools to support their own emotion regulation, and then to learn how this modeling benefits their children’s development and sense of security. The tool kit metaphor helps parents realize all the different parenting strategies they have in their tool kit that will help them weather some of the uncomfortable, but inevitable, storms of parenting and life events.

We have NEW RESOURCES group leaders can use to reinforce these tools with parents!

Tool Award Certificates

To supplement the tool kit poster, we also have tool awards that group leaders can use to celebrate parents’ successes as they master the use of each tool. These are editable so group leaders can fill in parents’ names and print out or email the tool awards. For example: Leon’s social coaching award or Matilda’s emotion coaching award.

 Download the set of Tool Award Certificates – Individual Editable

Download the set of Spanish Tool Award Certificates – Individual Editable

Parent Weekly Self-Reflection Inventory: Tools I Used This Week

Another way to acknowledge parents’ hard work is to give them their own sticker charts!  This mirrors the way that they will learn to use reward charts with their children.  For parents, these are self-reflective charts, and parents learn to self-praise and reward themselves for their hard work. We have developed 3 self-reflective charts, based on the 3 tool kit posters, that encourage parents to reflect on what they have accomplished each day. Parents are encouraged to set up a fun activity for themselves for reaching their goals.

You can download these below:

Parent Self-Reflection Inventory: Weekly Tools Used To Build Positive Relationships (Editable)

Parent Self-Reflection Inventory: Weekly Tools Used To Stay Calm & Get Support (Editable)

Parent Self-Reflection Inventory: Weekly Tools Used To Manage Misbehavior (Editable)

Visit our website to purchase a set of the Parenting Tool Kit Posters (set of 3 posters). These posters are available in English and new Spanish.

Additional resources for parent group leaders are available on our website.