Social work

experience and methods

Parental skills training in groups: reflective practice of social workers


The role of parents in children’s life is essential. Constantly changing world, fast life rhythm dictates new needs for parents raising children: what was suitable ffy, thirty or even ten years ago now cannot be suitable for contemporary parents. Parenting skills training becomes more and more popular for parents to learn new skills and to get support while bringing up their children. This article reveals reflective practice of social workers while implementing parenting skills training program “Effective Parenting Skills” using groups format during the period of seven years. The program teaching parental skills – “Effective Parenting Skills” is based upon elements of the Dutch programs “Opvoeden Zo” from the Netherlands Youth Institute (Nederlands Jeugdinstituut, NJI) in Utrecht and “3 x Groei” from PI Research in Amsterdam/Duivendrecht. The elements are adapted for performing parental skill training in Lithuania. The program was developed as part of the project “Positive Parenting” funded by the Dutch Government.
Positive parenting is a way of raising your children effectively and respectfully influencing their behavior. Positive parenting helps to respect children’s rights: parents raise their children in a more democratic (positive, supportive, protective) way. This leads to more competent and healthy children and more self-confdent parents. Parenting skills training was organized in closed groups of parents, the duration of which was from 12 to 14 hours. “Effective Parenting Skills” program was led by two social workers for parents with different parenting experience and needs. Reflective practice reveals positive outcome for parents who atended “Effective Parenting Skills” program. Positive influence for parents was connected not only with training material of the program, but also with such processes in groups as sharing one’s experience, mutual aid between each other, learning from their peers The practical reflection also shows that the role of the trainer in the group is very important: ability to create safe and emotionally positive environment in the group, skills to develop mutual aid between group members, knowledge and skills leading the group and ability to work with not motivated parents, makes the program effective.
Keywords: parenting skills, positive parenting, parenting skills training program, social work with groups.


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