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Sometimes a light touch is all it takes: Triple P Seminars show benefits for Indonesian parents and their children

A randomised controlled trial involving Indonesian parents has shown a low-intensity parenting program can significantly improve children’s behavioural problems and parents’ confidence while reducing dysfunctional parenting practices and parents’ stress.

The delivery of the Triple P seminar series to 143 parents in Surabaya, Indonesia, is the first study to show that an evidence-based parenting program can be both effective and culturally acceptable for Indonesian parents.

It is also the first to show that a light-touch intervention can be effective in a developing country and one of only a few studies worldwide to have done so, regardless of the level of the intervention.

The Triple P – Positive Parenting Program takes a population health approach to parenting support with a multi-level system of programs available, from light-touch programs to more intensive, treatment-based approaches.

Professor Matt Sanders, director of the Parenting and Family Support Centre, said the finding was further support for a central tenet of this population approach, the principle of minimal sufficiency.

“We now have a significant body of work that shows that families, whether they are in Indonesia, China, Japan, or Australia, can derive real benefit from having parenting support that is adjusted and delivered in a dose that is appropriate to their needs,’’ Professor Sanders said.

“These were families with moderate problems yet the program still showed effects. It shows that reaching large numbers of parents with a low-intensity program that is both cost-effective and time-efficient is a practical as well as a particularly effective preventative health approach to take in low-resource settings.’’

A graduate of The University of Queensland’s Parenting and Family Support Centre, Dr Agnes Sumargi, currently a lecturer with Widya Mandala Catholic University in Surabaya, conducted significant research work in the lead up to publication of this study in the journal, Child Psychiatry and Human Development.

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Dr Agnes Sumargi.

An initial survey of 273 Indonesian parents living in Indonesia and Australia conducted in 2013 indicated that Indonesian parents often struggle with ineffective parenting practices such as making children apologise for misbehaviour, lecturing or shouting. And a large majority (78 per cent) said if help was available they would attend a parenting program.

In 2014, Dr Sumargi trialled the 90-minute Triple P seminar, The Power of Positive Parenting, with 30 Indonesian parents living in Australia. She delivered the seminar in Indonesian and results of the pilot showed the program was both culturally acceptable and likely to lead to less emotional and behavioural problems in children and less permissive parenting styles.

Then, in the randomised controlled trial published last year, Dr Sumargi invited Surabayan parents of a typically developing child between the ages of 2-12 years to attend the three 90-minute Triple P seminars: The Power of Positive Parenting, Raising Confident, Competent Children, and Raising Resilient Children, once a week. The seminars were delivered in Indonesian and most parents (88 per cent) attended all three seminars.

Dr Sumargi, and co-authors A/Prof Kate Sofronoff and A/Prof Alina Morawska, of the Parenting and Family Support Centre, point out this trial shows that a brief parenting program should now be tested with a wider audience in a community setting.

“Holding the seminar series in community sites, such as child care centres, schools, health care centres and religious sites may be especially beneficial as it can increase parents’ accessibility to and participation in the program.’’

They also suggest that not all parents require an intensive level of intervention, and this research demonstrates that providing a brief parenting program is effective for parents from diverse cultures.

 

 

 

 

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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.