13 November 2020
Professor Sanders's words of encouragement to U.S. providers: "Keep children at the center"
Hundreds of positive parenting practitioners from all over the United States attended today’s webinar by Triple P founder and clinical psychologist, Professor Matt Sanders, on the topic of supporting children and teenagers through challenging times by offering evidence-based parenting support to their families.
Professor Sanders’s presentation, also interpreted live into Spanish, covered some of the specific challenges for children and parents right now, and how to help them cope, as well as looking at some ways in which positive parenting can be used to tackle various social problems.
“Families have never needed parenting support more than right now,” said Professor Sanders. “I think we’ve experienced a sense of loss of personal control. The safe, the familiar, the predictable, the ways we do things – all of these have had to be really reconsidered.”
The webinar featured short video clips of children and parents talking about some of the issues raised by the COVID-19 pandemic, such as anxiety, increased sibling and parental conflict, the difficulties of home learning, dealing with grief, children’s over-exposure to news, and more.
Participants showed great interest in new Triple P programs in development and soon to be released, including a program for parents of children with anxiety, and a program to help parents address their own past trauma and develop life skills to help break intergenerational cycles for vulnerable families.
The webinar reminded organizations of the many free Triple P resources available to parents and professionals to help with specific COVID-19 related concerns. Support to adapt in-person to remote and online delivery of various Triple P interventions is also available.
Professor Sanders said that since the pandemic began, there had been a substantial increase in the demand for the online program versions of Triple P and Teen Triple P. An extra COVID-19 module has been added to both programs.
Also discussed were some encouraging research findings on reducing conduct disorders and ADHD symptoms by having parents do the online program as a form of early intervention.
Taking questions from various providers around the country, Professor Sanders spoke about engaging more fathers in parenting programs, how to conduct role-plays and coaching sessions with parents via remote technology, and adapting Triple P Online for parents of children with special needs through the use of Stepping Stones resources.
He also talked about how to manage the stressful issues many are facing: racism, poverty, concerns about the future.
“Our main mission is the well-being of our children and families,” said Professor Sanders, “and you, as parenting practitioners, are just so vitally important right now.”
He said that by continuing to promote self-regulatory skills and promoting the sense of a capacity to get through problems, we would demonstrate to our children we as a society could solve problems, however in order to do so, there was a need to “put children at the center”.
For a limited time, a recording of the first part of the presentation (but not the full webinar) is available here.