Now it is the parents' turn for training

23rd October 2009 at 01:00
Mums and dads to be taught how to raise confident children in innovative scheme

Classes on raising confident kids are to be run in 10 Edinburgh primaries beginning next term.

"Raising Children with Confidence" is part of the city council's pound;1 million Growing Confidence initiative, which it describes as a world-first scheme to boost the confidence of entire communities. It aims to ensure that young people and those working with or caring for them have a positive outlook, are able to understand their own feelings and can empathise with others.

Growing Confidence manager Pattie Santelices said: "The course recognises that every family is unique. Rather than trying to tell parents and carers what to do, it aims to give them the knowledge to make changes that are relevant to them.

"The programme also helps adults realise how important it is for them to look after their own well-being, as this impacts directly on their relationship with their children."

Already, teachers and pupils have undergone training through the "Confident Staff, Confident Children" course and the "Creating Confident Kids" programme; now it is the turn of parents.

The 13-hour six-week programme has been devised and written in-house by education and mental health practitioners and is being rolled out after the October holidays, following a successful pilot.

An initial workshop will be held at the primaries taking part - Castleview, Towerbank, Dalry, Preston Street, Ratho, Juniper Green, Pirniehall, Roseburn and Royal Mile. Forthview was also keen to try out the materials and will be running the course.

This introductory session will define the meaning of emotional health and well-being, its importance, the risk factors, the protective factors (such as positive relationships, role models, social participation) and the scientific evidence behind this knowledge.

A different topic will then be covered in each of the six two-hour sessions, which incorporate medical research, video case studies, exercises and practical strategies (see box).

Kay Mackay, a trained nurse with two children at Juniper Green, took part in the pilot: "I couldn't understand why I had to keep repeating things to the kids. Now I understand that it's because their brains process information more slowly. I'm so much more relaxed now, they keep asking me what's changed."

Ultimately, Growing Confidence aims to reach 3,375 primary children, 235 staff, 675 parents and carers, and 135 teenagers.

Confidence boosters

Topics covered by the Raising Children with Confidence programme include:

  • What's love got to do with it? (Attachment) Looks at secure attachments and how these are formed, the importance of relationships and how they shape our development.
  • Cotton wool kids? (Resilience) Considers what resilience is, how it is fostered, different approaches to promoting resilience and strategies to help children solve their own problems.
  • Staying connected (Empathy) Includes how empathy develops, why it's important, how to promote empathy, how `mirror neurons' demonstrate that what we do, not what we say, is so important.
  • Why do kids do that? (Brain Development) Looks at how the brain develops ante and post natal, the structure of the brain, 10 things necessary for the developing brain and what happens to the brain under stress.
  • What makes us, us? (Feeling, Thinking, Doing) Includes where beliefs come from, why they're important, how thinking and feeling drives behaviour and changing beliefs and behaviour.
  • Time well spent? (Family time) Includes the importance of family time, what gets in the way, the five key ingredients of Love - Touch - Time - Talk - Play, the importance of looking after our own well-being.

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