04:44pm Saturday 06 June 2020

Confident Carers Group shows childhood behaviour problems can be resolved

Following the success of the ‘Confident Carers – Cooperative Kids’ parenting group over the past four years, Northfields Clinic at the University of Wollongong and Family Services Illawarra will again be running the program with groups starting in late July and early August.

Parents who previously participated have provided enthusiastic feedback for the program saying they have seen noticeable improvements to behaviour in the family environment and improved interactions between siblings and other peers. Children were now expressing themselves verbally without lashing out as much as in the past.

The Confident Carers Group is a community initiative by Northfields Clinic and the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service to provide Illawarra families with assistance in raising five to 11 year-old children who have problem behaviours.

Supervising Clinical Psychologist Mark Donovan said problem behaviours are shown by most, if not all, children from time to time. There are many causes of behaviour problems, including the child’s temperament, the parent’s inadvertent reinforcement of unwanted behaviours, and the impact of other sources of stress on the family. The more of these factors present, the more likely a child will develop problem behaviours. These problem behaviours significantly interfere with how children get along with their family, friends and schoolwork.

“Confident Carers – Cooperative Kids” is an 8-week behavioural family intervention program for parents and carers that aims to reduce problem behaviours by focusing on improving:

(1) Parent-child relationships through the use of play and other positive activities; (2) effectiveness of praise and rewards when reinforcing appropriate behaviour; (3) effectiveness of instructions when setting necessary limits on behaviour; (4) use of preventative strategies (for example, planning ahead and managing emotions) that limit the causes of misbehaviour; and (5) consistency and type of responses to problem behaviour.

Note: Families can self-refer to this program by simply contacting Northfields Clinic on 4221 3747 or Karen and Sarah at Family Services Illawarra on 4255 5333. Parents/carers attend the sessions, not children. Cost for the program is $75 or $60 concession at Northfields Clinic, or free of charge at Family Services Illawarra (held at Corrimal Community Centre).

The next group begins on: 6pm-8pm Thursday 4 August (Northfields Clinic); and 10am-12pm Friday 29 July (Corrimal Community Centre).

Media – for further information call Jessica Staniland on 0419 977 819 or the Northfields Clinic general number on 4221 3747.

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