This semester the UCD CHilD (Childhood and Human Development) Research Centre in collaboration with a number of partners including UCDSU are presenting three separate one-hour long seminars on the strategies of positive parenting for UCD students and staff who are parents of young children. The seminars are part of the #UCDPARENTING campaign.

The programme which is funded by SPARC (Supporting Partnerships and Realising Change), a programme is led by the UCD Career Development Centre. The centre enables UCD students and staff to work together on projects that make UCD and/or the surrounding community a better environment.

These seminars will be free to attend and create awareness of the benefits of engaging in positive parenting. The seminars will provide professional tips drawing from the programme known Triple P Positive Parenting Programme. This programme, which originated in Australia, has been implemented in over 25 countries and has been tested in several different trials finding positive effects on parent-child relationships, child behavioural outcomes, and parenting strategies. This universal programme also helps to destigmatize parenting programmes as it provides advice that is applicable to all parents, as well as providing more intensive interventions for families with more complex issues.

Triple P has 5 different levels, beginning from media information up to targeted support for individual families. The Triple P system works on the concept of proportional universalism – meaning that the support offered is applicable to all families, but those with the most need receive the most support. The seminars which will be provided in UCD are at Level 2.

The Level 2 Seminars are designed to introduce parents to the strategies of positive parenting, such as how to better deal with conflict, which may in turn reduce familial stress and increase parental confidence. For parents interested in learning how to better manage everyday problems and how to prevent them, the UCD seminars will provide useful advice and strategies.

Many people assume that parenting programmes are only for families with children who have high needs or for parents who are struggling with their children, but this is not alwaty the case. Parenting is difficult and everyone struggles sometimes. Triple P attempts to normalise looking for parenting advice by making the programme available to all parents. With the numerous benefits of changing parenting behaviour to improve child outcomes, and from research which shows the earliest years of a child’s life are the most important, the benefits of these programmes outweigh the costs.

The key behind the #UCDPARENTING campaign is to enable the UCD community to fully understand the scope of parenting programmes, and open the blinds that keep people closed to the idea of seeking out parenting advice.  

Triple P was implemented and trialled for the first time in Ireland in 2010 as a population intervention in Longford and Westmeath. Using comparable regions as a control group, the purpose of the study was to analyse the effects of the programme on children’s behavioural, emotional, and social outcomes as well as parenting behaviours.

The current research by Dr. Orla Doyle from UCD’s School of Economics, co-authored with Mary Hegarty and Conor Owens from the HSE, discuss the positive effects generated by the programme.  The programme had a significant impact on children’s overall behavioural problems including emotional symptoms, and conduct problems. It also reduced the amount of children in the borderline/abnormal range for behavioural problems and reduced negative thoughts and opinions on parenting.  

With a lack of proper knowledge about parenting programmes and their numerous benefits, or who they are targeting, the free seminars open to the UCD’s community this semester will hopefully bring about a new understanding of the purpose of these programmes. As said by Triple P, the positive parenting seminars are laid-back discussions for “parents, grandparents, and anybody that has ever had to manage or felt stressed out by a difficult situation with a child 0-12 years of age”.

The first free seminar, called “The Power of Positive Parenting”, will be offered on February 14, 2018 from 1-2PM in C006 Health Sciences Building. It is open to all staff and students who are interested. A link for tickets to the event can be found here.

Alyvia Mc Tague