Headlines: May 18th, 2010

A city council is offering parents and other carers a free course to help them take a positive approach to their crucial role in ensuring children reach their full potential. Bristol Council said three quarters of parents felt there were times when they would like more advice and support.

The authority’s parenting support team is offering courses at various venues for parents of school age children, or teenagers. They are designed to strengthen parenting skills by encouraging co-operation between parents and children and giving advice and skills needed to deal with difficult behaviour.

Subjects to be covered will include the benefits of positive attention, setting boundaries, discipline, how to use praise and reward to get better behaviour and family survival tips as well as communication skills. The course tutor, Saf Cooper, said all parents faced situations in which they were not sure of the best thing to do for their children. “People are not bad parents for needing some support sometimes and getting a bit of outside advice can be extremely helpful,” she said. The courses were designed to give practical suggestions to help families get on.

One mother who had attended a course for parents of school age children said she was planning to go to the course for parents of teenagers. “I was brought up at a time when children were expected to be seen and not heard, but ideas have changed completely since then. The course helped me to think in a more positive way,” she said.