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Parents sought for online Triple P Parenting trial

Parents of three and four year-old children who exhibit inattentive and overactive behaviour are sought for a study of the Triple P Positive Parenting Programme.

The Parenting Research Group at the University of Auckland’s Faculty of Education is seeking 30 parents from throughout New Zealand to complete an online version of the programme.

Parents already taking part in the study have reported a decline in inattentive, hyperactive behaviour and that their child is happier and easier to discipline and there is more quality time with the family.

One parent says she wished she had done the course sooner: “I just thought I had one of those kids that you see in the supermarket with their parents not controlling them.”

The online programme involves eight half-hour modules and personalised phone support. The programme is free and parents can complete it in their own time and at their one pace at home.

Research soon to be published in the Journal of Primary Prevention studying 193 families has found that both mothers and fathers of the 97 families who took part in the Triple P online programme reported the same levels of improved behaviour in their children as the families who did the course using the Triple P workbook.

Matt Sanders, Adjunct Professor in the University of Auckland’s Faculty of Education, and Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Queensland, says the first step parents should take is to recognise that taking the Triple P programme is a sign of success and not about admitting failure as a parent.

He explains that parents are encouraged to see involvement in the Triple P Programme research as an empowering step towards developing more positive relationships with their child and increased confidence in their skills as a parent.

“This is an evaluation trial to rigorously test the success of an online model of Triple P specifically with parents of pre-schoolers exhibiting inattentive and overactive behaviour,” says Matt.

“While there is a wide range of clinician and group services available for parents, there can be an associated stigma which can be a barrier to parents’ participation in a parenting programme. An internet-based model for concerned parents will enable them to see what they can do on their own before seeking face-to-face professional support.”

“More and more people are going to be seeking high quality solutions to parenting problems on-line. The programme is not about becoming dependent on internet-based wisdom. It aims to help parents become independent problem-solvers by using the programme as a tool rather than the end game.”

The Triple P online programme has the benefit of being trialled and tested, and is backed by strong scientific evidence – something a lot of internet-based information and support does not offer.

The choice of targeting the programme at the three and four- year age group was made due to the importance of intervention with behavioural problems at an early age, thus preventing further related issues arising later in childhood.

“It is easier to turn behavioural difficulties around at an early age,” says Louise Keown, Principal Investigator. Once children start school these can be compounded by difficulties with peers and teacher relationships. If these behaviours can be managed earlier rather than later, positive outcomes for children are more likely to occur.”

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