A handful of parents learned some more lessons Tuesday night in the Barrington library that are designed to strengthen their families.
The lessons came at the second session of The BAY Team’s “Strengthening Families Program” – a five-session family skills training program that has been found to significantly reduce alcohol and drug abuse in children while improving social competencies and school performance.
The program is part of the Barrington prevention coalition’s ongoing Parent2Parent workshop series.
“It’s a nationally and internationally recognized program,” said Kathy Sullivan, program director for The BAY Team.
Three more sessions will run on Jan. 29 and Feb. 5 and Feb. 12 at 6:30 pm, she said. Parents do not need to attend every session to benefit from the program.
For instance, said Kristen Westmoreland, project director for The BAY Team, the two lessons offered last night were “5 R’s for a Happy Home: Rules, Rewards, Responsibilities, Routines and Happy Rituals” and “Limits and Consequences.”
The former uses the 5 R’s to establish a reliable family structure for children. It lets children choose rewards that are meaningful to them and use these rewards to encourage good behavior, Westmoreland said.
Research shows that children and teens who do assigned chores are more assertive, competent, and self-reliant as adults, she said. At the same time, the 5 Rs can help prevent chaos in a home, increase good behavior and build loving relationships.
“Limits and Consequences” demonstrates how parents and their children can give and receive consequences for their behaviors calmly.
The session showed how parents can establish limits and reasonable consequences and then follow through. It incuded deciding and posting “family rules” with the consequences for breaking the rules, and making a “chore jar” for breaking rules. The session included seven steps of positive discipline.
Next week’s session will focus on “Problem Solving and Negotiations” and “Stress and Anger Management Skills.”
The former will learn and teach pre-problem solving, problem solving and negotiation skills using the POKE test: Is any Part of the behavior illegal, immoral, unkind or unethical? Is it OKay with my parents? If Everyone did it to me, would I like it?
The latter will learn to identify triggers to anger and make goals to reduce angry outbursts.
Parents are provided with entertaining and instantly available tools to help all kids make healthy choices to stay alcohol and drug free, said Sullivan. Reaching parents and kids together results in a huge increase in family bonding and a dramatic decrease in alcohol and drug use, she said.