By Susan Shinn Turner
Rowan smart start
Margaret Stridick has a soft, soothing voice. She speaks with confidence and assurance. And she can be your go-to person for parenting advice, all for free.
With a three-year grant, Stridick is the full-time facilitator of the Terrie Hess House / Prevent Child Abuse Rowan Parenting Program. This agency and Smart Start Rowan are teaming up to offer a series of free parenting programs starting September 19 at Second Presbyterian Church, 732 Lincolnton Road.
The Triple P – Positive Parenting program has been used for over 30 years in 25 countries. It helps parents struggling with everyday issues that make family life stressful.
The program teaches five pillars:
• Have a safe and interesting environment.
• Have a positive learning environment.
• Use assertive discipline.
• Have realistic expectations.
• Take care of yourself as a parent.
There are five levels of engagement for parents:
• Community awareness.
• One hour seminars. Topics include “The Power of Positive Parenting”, “Raising Confident and Competent Children” and “Raising Resilient Children”.
• Personal attention to the management of a particular misconduct. These individualized sessions meet at the Second Presbyterian Church.
• Group sessions at various locations in the community.
• More intensive services focused on adaptation and anger management. These are for parents who complete the group session but still find parenting difficult.
Because both agencies offer family support programs, Triple P was a good fit for them, said Beth McKeithan, executive director of Prevent Child Abuse Rowan, and Amy Brown, executive director of Smart Start Rowan.
“Triple P has a proven track record in helping families,” says McKeithan. “The beauty of it is that it is tailored to the needs of each family.
“This is not a cookie cutter program,” adds Brown.
“We want parents of all shapes, sizes and backgrounds to participate,” says McKeithan. “It focuses on the issues you are dealing with and works on those issues.”
Triple P is intended to serve all families in Rowan County with children 16 years of age or under. The program is partially funded by a grant from Smart Start Rowan, which helps county families with children up to age 5.
In addition, Sherry Vechery, Smart Start Rowan’s in-house bilingual educator, will serve Spanish-speaking families.
“It’s meant to be a community-wide effort,” says Brown. “We are trying to get community-wide collaboration to better serve our children and families.”
“There is no parenting instruction manual, and every child is different,” McKeithan says. “It’s hard.”
“It’s hard enough to navigate parenting when you have the resources you need,” Brown notes. “When you fight for your survival, your needs increase. ”
Both women have young children and are delighted that they and their staff also have the opportunity to observe some of the sessions.
For the community, Stridick will supervise a cohort of 12 people in his Triple P group sessions.
Stridick will be offering four sessions from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesdays starting September 19 at Second Presbyterian Church. A $ 5 gas allowance is offered for each class. Additional cohorts will be offered at various times and locations throughout the year.
“We recognize that all parents struggle sometimes and we want to eliminate the stigma associated with getting help,” she says.
During group sessions, caregivers learn typical reasons for children’s inappropriate behaviors, ways to promote good behaviors, and proven techniques for dealing with remaining difficulties while taking care of themselves. These are followed by three phone calls and a final home visit to make sure the caregiver knows how the same skills apply as the child grows.
If attendees need more intensive services, Stridick says, those are available. “Triple P prides itself on providing only the level of help parents need.”
Stridick has visited preschools, daycares and schools to offer the free one-hour sessions available through Triple P. She calls Triple P a portable program, which is one of the reasons it is offered in the community. and not at the Terrie Hess House.
“It’s not just for the people who are served here,” says Stridick. “It’s for all the families in the county. ”
Anyone wishing to participate in the free Triple P program should call or text Margaret Stridick at 704-431-2015 or email her at [email protected] Spanish speaking parents can register with Sherry Vechery at Smart Start Rowan, 704-603-3367 or [email protected]
More information about the agencies is available at www.rowan-smartstart.org and www.preventchildabuserowan.org.
Smart Start Rowan is a Rowan County United Way member agency.