Falkirk parents say they are benefiting from PPP training

Behaviour can be kept in check
Behaviour can be kept in check

Temper tantrums, attention seeking, screaming, and feet stamping are just some of the problems parents of young children have to deal with.

For many, a child’s naughty or out-of-control behaviour can test mum and dad’s patience to the limit.

Many look to parenting programmes to help them cope during the early years.

But last month, one of the most popular approaches, Triple P – the Positive Parenting Programme – received scathing criticism from academics in Glasgow who called for the project‘s funding to be withdrawn because it had had a “minimal” impact on the city’s service users.

But in Falkirk, a version of the same project has received impressive results.

Known locally as PoPP, parents of three and four-year-olds have been taking part in sessions over the past year to help them deal with their children’s challenging behaviour.

Overall, the project has been, so far, a successful one, and those responsible for delivering it say they’re confident it is supporting parents.

Beverley Isdale, who leads on the development of the project said: “It’s very clear to us that this has good benefits.

“We are very strict with the way this programme is delivered and measured, so we are confident that this is why we’ve had such good results.”

The Triple P programme is an interactive support sytem for parents which offers practical and simple advice and has been used by millions of parents to instil good behaviour in their children.

Run in various forms throughout the world, it is mainly run by councils and health authorities in Scotland.

Last year, Falkirk was selected, alongside West Lothian, to pilot NHS Education Scotland’s Psychology of Parenting Programme.

It meant that the town could start offering one element of the Triple P system as part of wider parent support.

Beverley said: “The Triple P we deliver is the one with the most robust evidence base, Level 4 Group Triple P (Positive Parenting).

“It was introduced in Falkirk alongside the Incredible Years basic pre-school parenting programme and targeted parents of children of three and four years old who were showing elevated levels of disruptive behaviour.

“We had 250 referrals and 177 parents take part in the majority of the course.

“Among the families who completed data, 82 per cent noted an improvement. Children’s behaviour had improved and the parents’ stress levels had been reduced.”

Beverley explained that when the targeted programmes were introduced, strict nationally-recognised tools were used to keep programmes’ structure and methodology on track.

She said: “We believe that it is this focus that leads to positive results from the programmes.

“We continue to develop these groups and improve on our data collection so we can evidence in future years the difference we are continuing to make.”

Beverley added: “It’s been humbling to hear from people who say this has changed their lives.

“They have a much more positive relationship with their child and less stress in their home. From our experience, the only negative comments we have received have been about organisational issues, such as taxis not turning up.”

A spokesperson for NHS Forth Valley said: “This programme is proving very popular and there have been positive outcomes for children and their families.”