Despite our best intentions, parenting isn’t always easy.
It can be hard to stay cool, calm and collected in the midst of a morning rush or a midnight meltdown, and when challenging behaviours strike, many parents feel upset, uncertain or simply overwhelmed.
Fortunately, help is at hand. The research-based Triple P – Positive Parenting Program is free for Queensland families, available across Australia, and it has helped over four million children and parents around the world to feel better, find good routines, and set rules that really work.
To learn more about positive parenting strategies, we spoke with Triple P’s International Country Director, Carol Markie-Dadds.
What exactly is positive parenting?
Some people think positive parenting means no discipline at all (it doesn’t). Others seem to think it’s a set of rules that every parent must follow. But really, it’s a way of parenting based on research about what works best for developing loving and responsive families, essential for optimising children’s development.
So, it doesn’t mean letting kids do whatever they like or constantly praising them, following a set of one-size-fits-all rules, or feeling guilty if you’re not ‘the perfect parent’!
Positive parenting does mean:
- Building strong, nurturing family relationships and good communication.
- Helping parents feel more confident and competent. As a result, parents are less depressed, less stressed, and have less conflict with their partners over parenting issues.
- Using everyday situations and opportunities to help children learn pro-social skills and motivate them to do their best.
- Planning ahead to prevent problems.
- Staying calm and responding consistently and assertively when problems do occur.
- Teaching children to regulate their own behaviour and emotions in constructive and non-harmful ways.
- Looking after yourself as a parent (or grandparent, or other care-giver), including by learning more about regulating your own thoughts, feelings and behaviour to reduce stress.
Children grow up happy and learn what’s expected of them when their parents are warm and loving, yet able to guide them and set consistent limits. So, the best thing you can do for your children is to be calm and consistent in your use of positive parenting strategies.
Parenting is a skill just like any other that can be taught and can be learnt. Whether it’s learning how to get our children out the door on time without yelling, or how to get them into bed and stay there all night, or teaching them how to get on with others, simple and mindful changes in our approach to parenting can make a big difference.
What does the Triple P program offer parents and other care-givers?
The Triple P – Positive Parenting Program is an internationally-acclaimed parenting program that’s based on decades of research about what works for families. It’s backed by more than 340 trials and evaluations, and provides parents of young children, older children and teens with proven parenting strategies.
Triple P helps parents raise happy, confident and resilient children. It shows ways to encourage pro-social behaviour, prevent problems and respond assertively when problems do occur. The program also helps parents to have less stress and enjoy being a parent more, which is good for everyone.
Triple P doesn’t tell parents what to do. It’s more like a toolbox of ideas. You choose the strategies you like, and how you want to use them.
The Queensland government has made Triple P free for parents in the Sunshine State. What are the different ways that Queenslanders can learn positive parenting techniques, and how can they get started with Triple P?
All families are different, so Triple P has a range of ways for parents to learn about positive parenting, and parents can access support in the way that suits them.
If you’d like to do Triple P free in Queensland, then you can choose from:
- Triple P Online – This enables you to learn about the positive parenting strategies in an eight-module online course that you can do whenever, wherever you want. There’s a course for parents of toddlers to tweens, and also Teen Triple P Online for parents of tweens and teenagers.
- Group sessions – You can choose from one-off seminars, two-hour workshops and longer courses, all done in the company of other parents.
Free seminars on Raising Resilient Children are now available via Zoom for Queensland families, and you can register online here. at
- One-on-one sessions with a Triple P practitioner – These personal sessions could be a few quick meetings, or a longer-term arrangement to support you as much as you need.
- Phone consultations – There’s also the option of calling Parentline on 1300 30 1300 (for the cost of a local call) seven days a week, from 8am to 10pm.
What’s the best way for other Australian families to learn Triple P strategies, and what is the cost outside of Queensland?
Different Australian states and territories have different arrangements, so wherever you are, just go to www.triplep-parenting.net for all the information about what’s available in your area, including free programs in some places.
What are the main techniques that parents learn in the Triple P Online course for toddlers to tweens?
This course consists of several modules that teach parents skills that will help them now and all the way through the child-raising journey. The modules are:
Module 1: What is positive parenting?
This module lays the foundations, covers the five basic principles of positive parenting, looks at ways to create a safe, interesting environment, and just basically gets you started.
Module 2: Encouraging behaviour you like
This module provides six simple strategies to help you see more of the behaviour you like, and less of the not-so-desirable behaviour.
Module 3: Teaching new skills
This module helps you effectively teach new skills, including helping your child to regulate their emotions, solve problems and communicate well.
Module 4: Managing misbehaviour
When problems occur, it’s important that you have a plan that you can put in place quickly and decisively. This module gives you strategies to set ground rules and follow through in a way that’s positive and works for everyone.
Module 5: Dealing with disobedience
This module shows you how to help your child learn limits, be more cooperative and spend less time in conflict with you.
Many parents say their homes become much calmer and quieter once they have a parenting plan, and this module contains strategies to get your child to do things the first time, not the 30th!
Module 6: Planning ahead to prevent problems
This module offers proven troubleshooting tips to make life smoother, more predictable, and more enjoyable for everyone.
Module 7: Making shopping fun
Knowing how difficult grocery and retail shopping is for many parents of young children, this module includes some new strategies and a solid plan to put in action when you’re out and about.
Children learn to be savvy shoppers when they’re involved in the shopping trip and how you make decisions to buy different things.
Module 8: Raising confident, capable kids
This module provides positive parenting strategies to build your child’s resilience, social skills and independence.
We all need good coping skills to get over disappointments and stay calm and in control of ourselves when things don’t go our way, or in times of unexpected change and stress, so this module sets your child up for life!
In light of the global pandemic, there’s also an extra COVID-19 module which is all about helping children cope well with change and uncertainty and how to regulate our own emotions. It provides practical tips to manage busy and stressful times.
What are the key messages that parents can take away from the Triple P approach?
Respect for others and personal resilience are life skills that can be taught and can be learnt, and there is no greater teacher or role model than a child’s own parent or carer.
Raising children in a calm, positive, nurturing environment with clear expectations and routines in place is proven to strengthen family bonds, prevent and reduce problems, and improve family mental health and wellbeing.
It can really bring the pressure down at home if parents take the time to learn how positive parenting works. Small changes can make a big difference for your child and family, so I really encourage Australian parents to investigate positive parenting strategies and learn some tips that will make child-raising easier and more fun.