Editor’s note: Every parent wants his or her child to get a great start in life. Sometimes, however, that is not such an easy task. That is where The Incredible Years program can step in and guide parents through some of the issues they might face with a preschool aged child.
ASHEBORO — The Incredible Years is a program offered through The Randolph Partnership For Children, in conjunction with the Family Service of the Piedmont, and funded through a Children’s Trust Fund grant through the NC Department of Health and Human Services.
The 14-week program (one class a week, with a meal and daycare provided for children) is held in Archdale and Asheboro and is free for parents or even grandparents raising grandchildren — anyone who might find it beneficial in helping to raise young children.
Andrea Moore is the facilitator of the program for the Randolph County area.
“In 2014, I brought the pilot to Asheboro,” Moore said about the program, which was founded in 1987 by Dr. Carolyn Webster-Stratton. “This is our fourth year and more people are learning to trust us and the program we offer.”
Moore said the program is geared to parents or family members such as grandparents, aunts, uncles raising a child in the 3-5 years old range.
“It’s a great time for parents to develop that relationship and culture with their children,” she said. ”What parents learn is not just for one child but what they learn will affect their entire family.”
According to studies done through The Incredible Years program, ineffective parenting skills (such as spanking or smacking), a lack of parental monitoring and nurturing relationships with children and low involvement in school-related activities are related to the development of children’s aggressive behavior, poor social skills and academic underachievement.
Parent programs have resulted in increased nurturing parenting, decreased harsh discipline, more parent/school involvement and decreased behavior problems.
Training in effective parenting cannot only reduce violence and boost parents’ self-confidence, but also contribute to children’s enhanced social competence, which will then in turn promote stronger bonding and relationships with parents (which are linked to positive child outcomes).
Moore said that families of all cultures have taken advantage of the program — one parent was from Ethiopia, while another was from Pakistan. The classes are bilingual — taught in both English and Spanish.
“We recruit everyone in the program, and each week, provide a meal and caregivers for their children during the time they are here, and if transportation is an issue, give them a $5 gas card to help out,” Moore said. “Life happens, so I work to make it easy for those who attend.”
The Incredible Years program’s goals are:
* To develop comprehensive treatment programs for young children with early onset conduct problems and ADHD.
* Develop cost-effective, community-based, universal prevention programs that all families and teachers of young children can use to promote social and emotional learning, emotion regulation and problem solving.
* Prevent children from developing conduct problems in the first place.
Recent Incredible Years program participants include Jacqueline and Miguel Montañez, parents of sons Angel, 4, and Rafael, 8.
“I decided to participate in the Incredible Years program because I had some concerns about my little boy’s behavior this past spring,” Jacqueline said. “He was throwing things, had a strong temper and would often cry when he didn’t get his way.”
Jacqueline and Miguel are both graduates of the program series that was held earlier this year.
“While attending the class, it helped me help decrease the behavior issues I had with my son,” Jacqueline added. “Going into the program, I was going in for one specific, but coming out, I learned so much more. Since my husband and I took the course together, it helped us to be supportive to each other and we were able to reach our goals better.
“Before going to this class, my family and I would spend time together at home, but now we have really good intentional quality time.”
Moore said that through parents like the Montanez couple, she has seen positive results during the program’s existence.
“There are parents who say that their child is having behavior issues that they don’t like, throw tantrums, or just not listen when Mom or Dad, even Grandma, tries to guide them,” she said. “We are all adults and something such as disciplining your child is sometimes hard to do. Our goal is to get to people before that happens.
“If there is one facet that improves for you from this program, that is a win.”
Moore said that the program will help prepare children for school as well.
“What we are teaching parents can help improve skill sets and the children will be better prepared for school,” she said. “For example, instead of yelling, the parents learn how to get their child to express their emotions in a quieter way. You need that foundation — that trust with your child.
“These parents want what is best and will do what is necessary for their children.”
* The Incredible Years Parenting Program is a 14-week, evidence-based education curriculum designed to improve positive parenting skills. The program builds on parents’ strengths and addresses areas of growth. The objectives for the children are to strengthen social and academic competence, reduce behavior problems and increase positive interactions with peers, teachers and parents. While parents meet with the facilitators, their children play. There is no cost to participate. The classes are also bilingual. Child care, meals and transportation assistance are provided at each meeting.The program is offered throughout Randolph County. To learn more or enroll, contact Andrea Moore at 336-259-6265 or firstname.lastname@example.org.