matt and shannon

Queensland Government rollout of Triple P launched with free parenting seminars

A large media contingent was present for the official launch of the Queensland Government and Triple P International’s Queensland-wide roll-out of the Triple P – Positive Parenting Program at Broncos Leagues Club last Wednesday.

Triple P founder and director of the University of Queensland’s Parenting and Family Support Centre, Professor Matt Sanders, pictured above with Queensland Government Communities Minister, Shannon Fentiman, officially launched the rollout with a seminar on the Power of Positive Parenting at Broncos Leagues Club for more than 100 parents and carers.

Later that night, it was standing room only for around 150 carers at the same venue. These seminars were followed by three more in the Logan district.

“We know parenting is hard work, and we are committed to making sure all Queensland mums, dads, grandparents and caregivers know they are not alone in raising the next generation of Queenslanders,” Ms Fentiman said.

Ms Fentiman said the Government was not in the business of telling Queensland families what to do.

“It’s about letting them know that it’s okay to ask for help,” she said.

Professor Sanders praised the Government for intervening early to help Queensland families before major problems develop down the track.

“Lots of programs focus on the pointy end, the difficult families who have already experiended major, major problems,” Professor Sanders said at the launch. “This is about the prevention of those problems.”

Earlier, in an interview with ABC Radio 612 that morning, Professor Sanders explained how Level 2 Triple P Seminars give parents a taste of other, more intensive forms of help available, should they need it.

“Doing a seminar is a bit of a taster: you come in, you’re given a chance to really pause and reflect on the parenting issues you’re confronting, and how you’re dealing with them,Matt Ch 7” Professor Sanders said.

“You decide whether or not what you’re doing is working. If it’s working, keep doing what you’re doing. It’s not about preaching to people that they must do differently.”

Professor Sanders said it was rewarding to see the work of so many researchers and students from the PFSC acknowledged by the Queensland Government’s support of the two-year trial. It was also gratifying to see the Government get behind this Queensland success story and become the first government to offer the full suite of Triple P programs, including Triple P Online, to families of children up to the age of 16.

Channel Seven Brisbane News also featured Professor Sanders in the studio, pictured at right, in its coverage of the event. That coverage is available here.

Minister Fentiman’s press release announcing the launch is available here.

Parents can find out how to participate in a Triple P session here.

 

New direction in Triple P research looks at harnessing the power of the family

 

An unusual collaboration is looking at whether a solution that has already helped millions around the world can be adapted and integrated to tackle some of the world’s toughest problems.

University of Queensland researchers across the behavioural sciences, engineering, business and marine environmental management are working together with researchers from the newly formed Triple P Innovation Precinct to tackle issues such as food security, sustainability and energy poverty.

“Working through the family, we are seeking to overcome the obstacles currently preventing the successful deployment of reliable, affordable and sustainable solutions for the developing world,’’ Triple P founder, Professor Matt Sanders, said.

As part of this new direction in research, the Triple P team is collaborating with the Global Change Institute (GCI) and the UQ Energy Initiative to apply behaviour change mechanisms to some pressing regional problems.

The first collaboration, an environmental management initiative, applies behavioural principles from Triple P to the Capturing Coral Reef and Related Ecosystem Services (CCRES) project, managed by the GCI, and funded by the World Bank.

CCRES Chief Scientist Professor Peter Mumby said coral reefs, mangroves and seagrass beds in Indonesia and the Philippines were under threat from human pollution, unsustainable development, overfishing and climate change.

But often, simply educating people about the benefits of cooperation and the science behind sustainability failed to change the way these communities interact with their environment.

The second collaboration brings together behavioural parenting researchers with engineers form the UQ Energy Initiative to examine how clean cook stoves can be successfully deployed within India to prevent diseases caused by household air pollution.

The International Energy Agency estimates that 2.7 billion people lack access to clean cooking and heating technologies, a number which includes an estimated 1.3 billion people without access to electricity.

UQ Energy Initiative Director Professor Chris Greig said the Initiative had recognised a transdisciplinary approach was needed for the past two years.

He says a behaviour change program that targets a family’s motivation for using cleaner stoves could change the community’s norms for cooking technologies.

Both collaborations are being led by John Pickering, Head of Innovation and Engagement, from the Parenting and Family Support Centre.

After a recent trip to Selayar, a remote island in Indonesia, as part of the CCRES project, Mr Pickering said initial research was encouraging.

“The single strongest message that came through when we spoke with these communities is that people want the best for their children and don’t want to see them go through the same hardships they had,’’ Mr Pickering said. “They want their children to have a better education, better health, better quality of life and they’re motivated to work with us to shape the solution.’’

This story first appeared in UQ’s new magazine for investors of change, Changemakers.

 

school the conversation

Is your child less likely to be bullied in a private school?

 

Is it really the case that more bullying occurs in public schools? And should this affect a parent’s choice of school for their child?

Do these results reflect what’s happening?

HILDA tracked a sample of 13,000 households in New South Wales between 2001 and 2012. The data on schools comes from 2012 when participants were asked a range of educational questions.

Households with school-aged children were asked whether or not their child was bullied at school. A higher proportion of parents of children in state schools reported their child was bullied compared with private schools. The differences were greatest for high schools, with 22% of parents at state schools reporting their child was bullied, compared to 15% in Catholic and 11% in other private schools.

So is this information likely to be accurate? There is no reason to suggest the sample is not representative of the NSW population. However, given the question about bullying is based on one question only (with no definition of bullying apparent in the report), it would be useful to draw comparisons with other research.

Do bullies discriminate by sector?

There is actually very little research comparing bullying rates at private versus state schools. This is probably because schools are unlikely to agree to take part in research that makes direct comparisons between schools on such a sensitive topic.

There is, however, a similar population sample survey conducted by the US government. In this study, parents whose children attended state schools (29%) also reported higher rates of bullying than parents whose children attended private schools (22%). So does this mean an individual child is less likely to be bullied at a private school?

Parents want the best for their child and are attracted to schools that report good data for students on academic, behavioural and social outcomes. But whether your child will have the same experience as children who have gone before depends on whether the results reported are the result of what happens at the school or whether they are inherent to the sample of children who attend the school.

Misinterpretation of statistics

A team of New Zealand researchers conducted some interesting research on individual and school factors affecting students’ academic success at school and later success in tertiary education.

They found the success of a school can be judged by educational programs but not by the demographics of who attends the school. Given general school-leaving results reflect both demography and education programs, they are not a valid measure of a school’s educational quality.

Students’ academic achievement is influenced not only by the educational program a school offers – but by what the individual student brings to the school in terms of genetic capability, family support and prior learning.

Almost all state schools are required by law to accept all students in their catchment area. Private schools are not bound by this requirement. Private schools attract a selective population of students whose parents can afford the fees and who are conscientious enough to have enrolled their child many years in advance.

Most private schools also have enrolment applications that exceed their quota, so they can screen for academic ability and behaviour. These schools do not end up with a representative sample of students (and neither do the minority of state schools that have merit entry).

It is therefore a fallacy that we can deduce the relative benefit schools can provide for our child by simply comparing outcome data across schools.

More at-risk minorities in state schools

There is no research to my knowledge that examines the differences in effectiveness of private or state schools in preventing or addressing bullying. However, we do know that private schools start with different populations of students from state schools.

Not surprisingly, the HILDA report shows that family income and the proportion of parents holding university degrees are highest in non-Catholic private schools and lowest in state schools; state schools also have a higher proportion of single parents.

There are more at-risk minorities in state schools.

The greater diversity of students at state and private schools results in state schools educating more students at risk of being bullied. Several demographic factors on which state and private schools differ have been found to be relevant to the risk of a child being bullied.

Children with a disability are much more likely to be victims of bullying and violence at school than other students, as are children enrolled in special education classes.

Parents’ educational level has also been found to discriminate bullied from non-bullied children. Children whose father is absent (likely to be more often the case in single-parent families) are also at greater risk of victimisation.

This suggests that the differences in victimisation between private and state schools may not be due to a higher level of victimisation across all state school students; rather they may reflect a higher proportion of a minority of children who are frequently victimised.

The 2015 Productivity Commission report also provides evidence that a much higher proportion of at-risk students attend state rather than private schools.

In 2013, 84% of Indigenous students and 76% of students with a disability attended state schools. Nationally in 2013, the proportion of students with disability was significantly higher in state schools (6.2%) than in private schools (3.6%).

Around 10% of children in Australia are bullied on a daily basis. For these frequently bullied children, victimisation tends to be chronic over time. It can continue even when children change schools, which includes crossing from primary to middle or secondary school contexts.

In a study at the Parenting and Family Support Centre, where making a fresh start at a new school was part of an intervention for some of the children, there were at least as many successful transitions for children moving from private to state schools as for children moving from state to private schools. What was more important was the ability of the child to fit in and make friends at the new school.

So is a child less likely to be bullied at a private school?

Although more parents from state schools report their child is bullied than do parents from private schools, this could result from the higher proportion of at-risk students who attend state schools. Therefore we cannot conclude that an individual child will be less likely to be bullied if they attend a private school.

There is bullying at all schools. A number of factors impact a child’s risk of being targeted for bullying. These include school management, the child’s social and emotional skills, support from friends and the parenting they receive.

Children’s friendships at school are an important protective factor against bullying. So whether your child already has good friends or is likely to be able to make good friends at a school is an important factor in choosing a school for your child.

Supportive family relationships help protect children against the emotional consequences of bullying at school, so families should take lifestyle factors such as the financial burden of school fees and long travel times into account when choosing a school.The Conversation

Karyn Healy is Program Coordinator (Psychologist), Resilience Triple P program Parenting and Family Support Centre at The University of Queensland.

This article was originally published on The Conversation.

Read the original article.

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Treat men as active participants, rather than supporters, and they’ll happily participate in a parenting program

New research into a modified version of Group Triple P in New Zealand could be a game changer when it comes to encouraging fathers to participate in a parenting program.

A randomised controlled trial of a version of Group Triple P for fathers in New Zealand has shown that when men are treated as active participants in the parenting process, rather than being assumed to be there to play a supporting role, men are just as likely as their partner to actively participate in group sessions. They’re also just as likely to benefit and so are their children.

Study authors Tenille Frank, Louise Keown and Matt Sanders said that following the trial, both parents were more likely to report significantly fewer child behaviour problems and increased use of positive parenting practices.  There was also less conflict between parents about child rearing, mothers felt more confident and also reported that their partners’ parenting practices improved.

Given social changes around gender and parenting issues – particularly in middle to upper income countries – it would seem obvious that fathers these days would be more interested in playing an active role in parenting. However, little research had previously been done to see how best to engage fathers or investigate the kinds of issues that fathers would find relevant.

“Parenting programs often involve women training other women to be better parents. Ninety per cent of those who conduct courses are female, and mothers make up 70 per cent of attendees,” Professor Sanders said.

Louise Keown

Louise Keown

Tenille Frank

Tenille Frank

This trial of Group Triple P incorporated a number of new strategies to engage fathers and this began well before actual participation in the program.

Program advertisements were worded to include positive messages about father involvement. Dads as well as mums were also involved in screening interviews about their child’s behaviour and to explain what their participation in the programme would entail.

New content was incorporated to maximize fathers’ engagement and teamwork between parents. Additional topics included explaining the benefits of both father and mother involvement for children’s development and strategies to manage father-identified parenting challenges.

Findings from previous research was used to identify the kinds of issues or problems that dads would be interested in. These included how to balance work and family, how to gain co-operation with their partner in parenting, the range of ways to show physical affection with their kids and how dads can contribute to enhancing their child’s self-esteem.

Other father-identified areas of interest included improving their children’s social skills.

During the group sessions each parent had their own work book. Fathers were asked about their specific concerns, as opposed to just asking the mothers about their children. Fathers and mothers were encouraged to set their own homework tasks between sessions and to each report back their progress on implementing parenting strategies.

When telephone consultations were conducted, the researchers included both fathers and mothers together using a speaker phone or multiple handsets and each parent was encouraged to contribute.

As well as the implications for the way in which practitioners engage with dads, Professor Sanders said the Auckland findings could create a much more compelling case for flexible delivery times by Triple P practitioners as well as making allowances for childcare so that both parents can attend sessions together.

“In the past, the view seems to have been that fathers are reluctant to engage in parenting programs but this study shows that when fathers’ concerns are actively raised during participation to encourage their involvement, gender differences disappear,’’ Professor Sanders said. “Fathers and mothers recorded similar levels of completion of the program, which was high, and similar levels of satisfaction.”

Since the study did not compare a mothers-only intervention with a group involving both mothers and fathers, it’s too early to say from a research perspective that children are more likely to benefit, or more likely to move out of the clinical range of behaviour problems, when fathers as well as mothers attend a parenting program.

However, there is a lot more that can be gained by researchers, providers and agencies from this study, particularly when it comes to the relatively high retention rates. The study authors suggest this might have been due to the fact that because both parents attended together, each was accountable to the other and therefore completion was more likely.

They also suggest that efforts taken to increase teamwork between mothers and fathers, such as joint telephone sessions and tailoring the content for fathers and mothers, may also have contributed to the high levels of program satisfaction.

 

wa meeting

Triple P parenting seminars in Western Australia earn top marks

Feedback from both practitioners and parents at a recent West Australian Triple P parenting and professional development seminar has been overwhelmingly positive, organisers say.

The professional development forum, organised by the WA Department
of Health, Department of Education and Department of Local Government and Communities Department, was also attended by the acting Commissioner for Children and Young People in Western Australia, Jenni Perkins, along with more than 130 representatives from government and non-government agencies.

More than three-quarters of responding providers who attended the March forum said they would attend similar events in future.

Acting Commissioner Jenni Perkins’ report on the forum can be found here.

A summary report on the two-day event also showed that satisfaction levels were high among the vast majority of parents who attended the Triple P Seminar, Raising Resilient Children, featuring Triple P founder and director of the Parenting and Family Support Centre, Professor Matt Sanders.

Parents from the seminar overwhelmingly reported the information presented was meaningful and useful, met their expectations and they came away knowing enough to implement the advice received.

Highlights for parents included the fact that they felt reassured they were doing the right thing, that the strategies they were learning might have an impact on later life outcomes as well as the fact that they now felt able to teach their children emotional and social coping skills as well as how to manage strong emotions.

 

Innovation scholarships announced for Triple P

A new research initiative at The University of Queensland, the Triple P Innovation Precinct, has announced four scholarship positions.

The TPIP is an activity of the Parenting and Family Support Centre, led by Professor Matt Sanders, the founder of the Triple P – Positive Parenting Program.

The TPIP will explore how Triple P can be applied to address some unique and interesting challenges.child-beach

Projects will explore how innovation in a system of child and family interventions (Triple P) can be applied to such things as improving the way people interact with the natural environment and the value of parenting programs in developing countries. Read more

Do boys suffer when mothers go back to work? Not necessarily

The rise of workforce participation by mothers is regarded as an international social phenomenon.

And while studies have suggested that girls with working mums are likely to enjoy a range of advantages, provocative new research suggests that boys over time might not do as well.

This was the subject of discussion on a recent Radio National Life Matters program hosted by Natasha Mitchell featuring Professor Matt Sanders, Professor of Clinical Psychology, director of the Parenting and Family Support Centre, and founder of the Triple P – Positive Parenting Program, Professor Marian Baird, Professor of Employment Relations and Director of the Women Work Research Group in the University of Sydney Business School, and Dr Xiaodong Fan, research fellow at the Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research in the University of New South Wales.

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ireland

Data bank could ensure early intervention research for years to come

AN eight-year study into the effectiveness of early intervention programs in an historically disadvantaged community in Ireland could have research implications that last a lot longer than the original study.

Dr Orla Doyle

Dr Orla Doyle

Funded by Atlantic Philanthropies and the Irish Government, the experimental evaluation of the Preparing for Life early childhood intervention in a community in Dublin, Ireland, is now reaching the end of its data collection period.

Read more