The Incredible Years® Blog


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A Word From One of Our Parents

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dreamstime_m_2733423 adjThis summer we were delighted to hear from a mother and her family whose daily lives were improved by attending an Incredible Years® parenting course. We received a message from an IY group leader in New Zealand with an article published by a mother in their group. We were excited to read the article and get in contact with this parent. Ashley and her family went through the course not once, not twice, but three times! In her own words, “It might be possible to be addicted!”

This mother wrote a wonderfully kind article about The Incredible Years® that was published in her local paper, as well as two detailed blog posts (PART 1 & PART 2) dedicated to her experience – which you can find on her parenting blog, The Motherhood Project. Ashley’s blog posts come from an honest and reflective perspective – she discusses her initial hesitance to attend a parenting group and how it eventually helped her family.

“I’ve just finished IYP for the second time! I chose to take the course a second time because it was easy to slip back in to bad habits and I enjoyed the extra support from the group. This time I did it with my partner, which was awesome and well worth the juggle to get time off work, because then we could parent together and support each other. The strategies are simple yet very effective – and they really work! What I love most about The Incredible Years® is that it is based on a foundation of a respectful relationship with your child. We adopt an attachment parenting approach in our home and The Incredible Years® builds upon that. Thus, parenting is more positive-focused using these techniques and each day with our children is happier.

Interacting with other like-minded parents is a blessing; a support network we need. The facilitators guide the group to adopt the techniques, one at a time, into home life so the changes are sustainable. We enjoyed each week of our course. I highly recommend it to every family, because there is something there for everyone. Imagine the difference in your home if you don’t have to spend so much time yelling and debating with your children! In particular with kids on the spectrum (we have one), the strategies really worked for him. I really love that all the techniques are life skills so we are setting our children up for success.”

It is so incredible to hear about their experience using the program and the effect it had on their lives as a family. Thank you Ashley for your willingness to share and be open about your experiences. These stories are what keep us going!

– The Incredible Years®  Team


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Guest Post: How to Create Fun Incentive Bags for Parents

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Guest post by Certified IY Group Leader: Bernadette (Bernie) Donaghy

Gina Biggerstaff and myself (Bernie Donaghy) delivered the Incredible Years® Basic Parent Programme in St Kieran’s Primary School in Colin, Northern Ireland, from March to June 2014. The Incredible Years® places strong emphasis on building positive relationships with children, and play time serves an important role in this.

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Carolyn Webster-Stratton and Bernie Donaghy

“Play benefits children in many ways by providing opportunities for them to learn who they are, what they can do and how to relate to the world around them.” (The Incredible Years: A Trouble-Shooting Guide for Parents of Children Aged 2-8 Years, by Carolyn Webster-Stratton, Ph.D.)

After discussing the importance of play time with children in our parenting class, we wanted to provide parents with something tangible to bring home for this special time spent with their children. We decided to give parents the opportunity to work with a range of art activities and resources, to enable them to fully engage with their children during their play time.

Gina and I used every opportunity to pick up different art resources as we were out and about (beg and borrow). We collected chalk, paper, paint, and more.  We asked local Nursery Schools, Primary Schools, Play Groups and Community Organisations for any unwanted or unused art materials or books. This also gave us the opportunity to publicise and spread the word about our Incredible Years® classes!

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The bags were used as an incentive each week and on completion of the IY Parent Programme we added a toothbrush and toothpaste, a book and a blank jig-saw. The parents loved their resource art bag and they reported that their children really enjoyed their play time together.

To learn more about The Incredible Years® implementation in Northern Ireland, see the recent blog post about this!


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Guest Post: Center for ADHD in Denmark

The Center for ADHD in Denmark implements Incredible Years® Parent Training

Guest post by Tea Trillingsgaard
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No cost and no entry conditions

In Aarhus, Denmark, the Center for ADHD invites parents of young children with ADHD or related behavioral difficulties to attend the Incredible Years® Parent Training program at no cost and with no need of referral or diagnosis. And this approach works!

Effective strategy

Results from a new research study in press in Scandinavian Journal of Psychology[1] show that Danish parents who self-refer to free parent training have children with symptom levels similar to those found diagnosed ADHD samples. Furthermore, when benchmarking results from the Danish program against comparable studies by Carolyn Webster-Stratton and her colleagues[2] in recent US studies, the Danish version was as effective with regard to reducing ADHD symptoms, reducing disruptive behavior, and enhancing positive parenting practices. (Find links to articles at the end of this post.)

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The story of Center for ADHD

The Center for ADHD was founded in 2010 by Agnete Kirk Thinggaard, a MsO psychologist and member of the LEGO family, who wished to reduce long wait lists for diagnostic evaluation and increase easy access to parenting support for families of young children struggling with ADHD or related behavioral difficulties. Agnete Kirk Thinggaard also serves on the board of Edith and Godtfred Kirk Christansens Foundation, which supports the center.

What else is going on?

The staff at Center for ADHD consists of a secretary and six psychologists who, in addition to conducting The Incredible Years® Basic program, train and supervise teachers, day care providers, education and social workers and others working with children with ADHD or related behavioral difficulties. Center for ADHD is continually collaborating on research projects carried out at the Aarhus University.

Center for ADHD Staff

The staff at the Center for ADHD, saying hello from Denmark!

[1] Trillingsgaard, Trillingsgaard, & Webster-Stratton (in press). Scandinavian Journal of Psychology. Click here to read article.

[2] Webster-Stratton, Reid & Beauchaine (2011; 2012): Click here to read article.


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Guest Post: Dina and Wally Teach About Staying Safe

Dina and Wally Teach About Staying Safe

By Patti Meyer-Lee, MS. Ed., IY Certified Group Leader

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Objective

At Gateway-Longview Therapeutic Preschool in Bowmansville, New York, our teachers use the Dinosaur School Curriculum as part of the school’s Safety Theme. The objective is for students to understand that teachers will keep them safe at school.

Lesson Presentation

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Incredible Years Calm Down Thermometer Poster

When the lesson is presented Dina Dinosaur talks about being calm and safe. She models calm, safe behavior with deep breaths and a Raggedy Ann body (curriculum cue cards for Wally taking deep breaths and showing a relaxed body are shown). Children practice these calm down skills with Dina.

Next Dina calmly explains that when children get of control and are not safe, the teacher and Dina will keep them safe. They model what will be happen if this occurs and start by reassuring the children that Wally is only pretending to be out of control/unsafe. Wally demonstrates how to go to the calm down chair to take deep breaths and cool down into blue on the calm down thermometer. After Wally does this the teacher and Dina ask Wally how he is feeling. Wally talks about how his breathing exercise is helping him. The children are also given turns to ask Wally how he feels and tell him how they try to stay calm.

Practice

During the practice part of the lesson the teachers take photos of the children practicing safety as they work and play in the classroom. Later the children make a collage of their photos entitled “SAFE PLAY.” Throughout the day children are reinforced for episodes when they practice safe behavior. Parents are encouraged to attend these dinosaur lessons and to use a similar approach at home.


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Guest Blog: IY Trainer response to NY Times Article on Early Education

We are excited to have Peter Loft, Incredible Years Certified Trainer, guest blogging for us today! Peter provides a response to an article published in the New York Times (October 27th) which discusses the importance of early childhood education as a means to address economic inequality, poverty and crime in the United States.

Response to “Do We Invest in Preschools or Prisons?” (written by Nicolas Kristof)

By: Peter Loft, MSW

peter_wallyPeter Loft, with Wally

New York Times’ Op-Ed article, “Do we Invest in Preschools or Prisons?” by Nicolas Kristoff (published Sunday, Oct. 27th, 2013) is a good read.  He makes a compelling case for early child education, and emphasizes actually working with families much younger than preschool is the way to go!  He also refers to the ground breaking research by Hart and Risley, on the importance of verbal interaction with adults for young children, as having  a significant correlation towards better academic outcomes and life skills over time. For those interested in learning more about Hart & Risley’s research, you can click here for the original article (published 1968) or you can view a more recent article which was published online earlier this year.

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I reflect back on 20 years of Incredible Years and love the fact that all of our programs include a huge emphasis on dialogic reading in age appropriate ways, and descriptive commenting focusing on academic, persistence, social and emotional competence. It is a great reminder to us all that the simple ongoing strategies are often some of the most powerful ones we can offer to families, teachers, and caregivers everywhere.


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Guest Blog: Incredible Years Delivered to Mothers Being Released from Incarceration (Written By: Carolyn Webster-Stratton)

Hi Friends!

An exciting new study has come out evaluating the effectiveness of the Incredible Years® Parenting Program delivered to mothers being released from incarceration. (Published Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, August 2013.)

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This is a study I’ve always wanted to do and now it has been done by a Dutch team at Utrecht University.  Mothers of 133 children (ages 2 to 10 years) were randomly assigned to either an Incredible Years® parent program or a no-intervention control group. Mothers in the intervention condition were offered the program in group format while in jails as well as by individual home visits to enable individual practice work after mothers were released.

The results showed significant effects on parenting and child behavior according to maternal reports.  Marginally significant effects were shown for child behavior according to teacher reports. The results show the short term effectiveness for this high-risk and hard-to-reach population. It is important because a recent meta-analysis indicated that children of incarcerated mothers had about a 10% chance of increased risk for antisocial behavior compared to peers.  This approach shows promise in disrupting the transmission of delinquency from delinquent mothers to their children.

Read the full article here!

Reference:

Menting, A.T.A., Orobio de Castro, B., Wijngaards-de Meij, L.D.N.V., Matthys, W. 2013. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, x(x), 1-16. dx.doi.org/10.1080/15374416.2013.817310 The Netherlands

~Carolyn Webster-Stratton
(Guest Blogger and Incredible Years® Developer)


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Guest Post – New Meta-Analysis looks at Effectiveness of Incredible Years®!

We have some exciting news to share!

This marks our FIRST Guest Post, courtesy of Incredible Years® Developer, Carolyn Webster-Stratton! Dr. Webster-Stratton has taken the time to write a summary of a new meta-analysis that has just been published, examining the effectiveness of the Incredible Years® Parent program. The full paper can be purchased online, here.

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Summary of Meta-Analysis Examining the Incredible Years® Parent Programs

Written by Carolyn Webster-Stratton

A new meta-analysis paper has just been published by a Dutch team. This review examines the effectiveness of the Incredible Years® parent training to reduce disruptive behavior and promote social competence in children.  Fifty studies were conducted where the Incredible Years® parent program was compared with a comparison control group by various researchers. Findings indicate that the Incredible Years® program is successful in improving child behavior, particularly for the most severe cases, and with a diverse range of families in different contexts.  The parent program is considered by this review to be well-established. These positive findings which are comparable across a range of studies may be interesting for policymakers, agencies and practitioners.  
Take a look at this meta-analysis which separates prevention from treatment studies and assesses intervention, child and family characteristics, and effect sizes for different outcomes. Number of sessions attended by parents was positively related to intervention effects.
The authors write, “The Incredible Years® program might have capacity to be tailored to specific characteristics and needs of families in spite of being manualized group training. Group leaders can achieve flexible applications of the manual and help parents learn to use the parenting principles to achieve their own determined goals.”

Reference:

Ankie T.A. Menting, Bram Orobio de Castro, Walter Matthys, Effectiveness of the Incredible Years Parent Training to Modify Disruptive and Prosocial Child Behavior: A Meta-Analytic Review, Clinical Psychology Review, Available online 22 July 2013, ISSN 0272-7358, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cpr.2013.07.006. (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0272735813000949)

We are very excited about this review! We hope you will share this with others who may be interested in the research and/or the Incredible Years®.

~The Incredible Years® Team