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Parents

Welcome parents, grandparents, foster carers, guardians … and anyone working in parenting education or support roles!

For countless people, parenting is one of the most rewarding, satisfying and meaningful roles we can ever undertake. And it can also be one of the most excruciatingly difficult roles at times. Just as big, big love can flow between a parent and a child, so too can really tough times.

At the core of a ‘strengths approach’ to working with families is the belief that all parents want the best for their children.

Anglicare Victoria’s Parents Building Solutions practice manual reinforces the importance of focussing on family strengths:

In strengths-based, solution-focused group work our intent is to provide space for parents to become aware of their own strengths and those of their family. This adds to their capacity to be the solution finders in their own lives. It has been our experience that in this way, parents discover the depth of their own capacities, become more resilient in their everyday encounters, find unique and respectful ways of addressing issues and take up the concept of life-long learning. In this way, over time, skills can be adapted to match the ages and stages of the children’s development and the new situations which arise. (Rutherford, E, Valentine, C & Ryan, F 2015, p. 16).

As any parent knows all too well, a baby, a child, a teenager does not come with a manual. We learn on the job, and without the power of reflection, education or awareness, we tend to unconsciously replicate the role models we’ve had growing up—good or otherwise.

One way to break the cycle and build parenting skills is through talking with others; hearing their stories of what works and what doesn’t, sharing our own stories of being a parent, and most importantly of all, getting in touch with what we most want for our children.

Two leading family practitioners with Anglicare Victoria–Jonathon Cummins, Manager, Strategic Development, and Cathie Valentine, Manager, Community Services Southern Region have written in the foreword for Strength Cards® for Kids:

Sometimes we find that parents are so overwhelmed by the problems in their family that they say they can’t pick even one strength for themselves. At other times their children’s behaviour has become so problematic for them that they can only focus on the ‘bad behaviour’ and they lose sight of their kids’ strengths. For others, their own family background means the concept of focussing on what you or your kids are doing well is a foreign concept. 

In these instances, the facilitator, at times, will gently ask the group to pick a card [from Strength Cards® for Kids or Can-Do Dinosaurs] for a strength they see in the parent, and invite the parent to consider whether they also see that strength in themselves or their family. These moments can be powerful and illuminating. This type of reframing, when parents look at the child’s or their own strengths and potential, can be useful in enabling parents to reassess perceptions of a child and may open up new possibilities for dealing with a behaviour.

Reflecting on parenting and sharing with others is helpful for any parent regardless of whether there is smooth or rough sailing in the family at the time.

Storytelling: Non-didactic Parenting Education

Positive Parenting is a very useful narrative tool for enhancing parenting skills in a non-didactic way. Using simple sentence starters to kick off the storytelling, this delightful set of cards is a simple, non-threatening resource for parents, parent groups, parenting educators, foster carers, school communities, community houses, family support workers.

 

Strengths: What kids CAN do, not what they CAN’T

It is through their strengths and capacities that children grow and flourish. Take a look at:

Strength Cards® for Kids

Can-Do Dinosaurs

‘We love the latest edition of Strengths Cards for Kids, and we’re sure that parents and kids will as well. The bright colours, refreshed illustrations, variety of animals and settings, we’re sure, will have broad appeal. We’re really looking forward to using the new edition in our groups, and we’re sure you will also find many ways to incorporate them into your work with families. We commend this latest edition of Strengths Cards for Kids to you as an invaluable resource for helping kids (both young and old alike) to discover and re-discover what they can do.

Jonathon Cummins, Manager, Strategic Development, and Cathie Valentine, Manager, Community Services Southern Region, Anglicare Victoria.

Picturebooks

The Wrong Stone (inclusiveness and belonging)

Rainbow Fox (early years gender education)

Captain Grumpy (being yourself and expressing creativity)

Byron and the Chairs (sibling jealousy)

Violet’s Voice (children learning the skills of speaking and listening)

Rosy and Jack (sexual abuse)

Turning Problems into Skills

Kids’ Skills book and workbook

Talking Up Our Strengths

Strength Cards®

Early Years

Visit our special Early Years page

Emotions & Body Signals

As human beings, we experience a rich and ever-changing landscape of emotions and body signals. And different people have different levels of skill in recognising and naming what is going on inside them. This is something we can become more skilful at as we grow and develop the awareness and vocabulary to describe our emotions and body signals. However, whatever our age and stage of emotional development, sometimes we scramble to name and ride out the emotions we are feeling. Suddenly, something triggers a panic reaction, and we are flooded with a barrage of messages from our body such as a tight tummy, hair standing on end, trembling in our legs, tight fists. These are examples of body signals. Some body signal may be experienced as unpleasant and others as pleasant (such as smiling, laughing, tingles). But in the end they are all part of our body’s great wisdom; they very useful in helping us navigate what we are really feeling and react appropriately. They tell us that we are frightened, angry or stressed. Even very young children can be taught to recognise and regulate their emotions by tuning into their body signals. Here are some resources for working with body signals and emotions:

Body Signals®

The Bears (cards, stickers, app, cube and tactile characters)

Funky Fish Feelings

The Kangas

The Koalas

Cars ‘R’ Us

Koala Company Therapy Ball (Feelings)

Pocket of Stones

Stones … have feelings too!

Especially for Adolescents

What did we say earlier about no manual? Bottom line: Most parents of teens just somehow want to keep the lines of communication open.

Deep Speak

Talking Up Our Strengths (Indigenous strengths)

Choosing Strengths

Reflexions

Postcards (from me to you)

Anxiety Solutions

Body Signals®

No Room for Family Violence (set of cards for conversations about what abusive and respectful behaviours are in intimate partner relationships, at a time when many young people are embarking on their own intimate relationships.)

Creative Yoga for Teens

Girls at Puberty

Girltopia (digital only)

Self-care for Parents, Anxiety/Worry and Mental Health

Parents care for their children night and day. It’s a big job. Sometimes it can be exhausting. How can we care for others if we don’t care for ourselves? Sometimes self-care is about finding balance in our lives, and sometimes it is about asking ourselves the very best questions we can to help us spiral up and move on to the next chapter in our family life.

Self-Care Cards

Note to Self

Signposts

The Nature of Strengths

Talking Up Our Strengths (Indigenous strengths)

Body Signals®

Strength Cards®

Anxiety & Worry

Anxiety Solutions for Kids

Anxiety Solutions (for young people and adults)

Cars ‘R’ Us

Optimism Boosters

Mental Health Support

Next Steps

Growing Well (cards and pads, watch for the app)

PaperWorks