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                                                           The Wheatley Centre Annexe
                                                Littleworth Road, Wheatley, OX33 1PH
                                                               Tel/Fax: 01865-875482
                                                                                                  April 2010
Dear Colleague,

      Groups & Individual Support and Skills for Parents of Older Children & Adolescents

1.    Groups for Parents of 10-19 year-olds

We start our next round of groups this month. They last for 12 weeks and are for parents only
(not for young people). Details as follows:

     TOWN            TIMES        DAYS         DATES                      VENUES
Abingdon          7.30-9.30pm     Wed      21 April-14 July   S. Abingdon Children’s Centre
Banbury           10am-12pm       Tues     20 April-13 July   The Sunshine Centre
Bicester          7.30-9.30pm     Wed      21 April-14 July   Children’s Centre
Blackbird Leys    10am-12pm       Tues     20 April-13 July   B Leys Health Centre, Dunnock Way
Blackbird Leys    7.30-9.30pm     Wed      21 April-14 July   Pegasus School, Field Avenue
Witney            7.30-9.30pm     Tues     20 April-13 July   Space to Learn, Wood Green School

We also work closely with those organising the Strengthening Families programme so will try to
co-ordinate the group dates and venues so they don’t clash.

2.    One-to-One Work with Parents of 6-14 year-olds in Rural Areas
Unfortunately funding for this work has been cut back, so we can no longer offer this service.
See p.4 of the referral form for other 1:1 options.

Please share this information with your colleagues.

Rosie Hill
Project Manager
Oxfordshire Parent-Talk Programme
See below for further information about the projects
       F ee
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                      L ost?
                                                        Oxfordshire Parent-Talk Programme
                                   Despera te?
                                   D e s pe r a t e ?

     N e e d H e lp ?
                                     Co pe?

                                Need help?
                                                                                         Supporting parents of
                                                                                              10-19 year-olds
                                                                                            across the county

Information for Professionals
About the Group programme

       This is a group-based parenting support and skills programme which runs for 12 weeks, 2 hours a week. It
        is designed for parents of 10-19 year-olds whose behaviour is causing their parents and/or the community
        problems. It is likely that they may also
         have school attendance problems
         have been (or be in danger of being) excluded from school
         be in trouble with the police or courts.

       Parents need to be referred. The most common referrers are Social Services, Education Services, Health
        services or other agencies. Most parents attend voluntarily, though some are on Parenting Orders.

       Occasionally one-to-one work is done with parents when they are
         unable to access a group because of their physical circumstances (location, lack of transport or child-
            care etc.)
         unable to cope with being in a group for psychological reasons.
        In this case the referrer (or another agency) may need to provide funding. (But see also p.4 for
        information about Parent-Talk’s 1:1 work with rural parents, and see p.4 of the referral form for the
        criteria parents need to meet to receive 1:1 support in Banbury, Bicester, Oxford, Abingdon or

Theoretical approach

Research into group work for parents whose teenagers are in trouble has shown that programmes using
Behavioural and Social Learning techniques have the greatest impact on changing the behaviour of the young
people, whereas programmes using a Social Skills Developmental model that help parents to understand and
reconnect with their young people are more effective in changing parental feelings and attitudes, improving
parent-child communication, enhancing family cohesion and reducing conflict. It is therefore recommended by
the Trust for the Study of Adolescence that a combined approach is used. It has also been found to be more
effective to work with family strengths, rather than concentrating on areas of perceived failure or pathology.

About the programme content

The project manager, Rosie Hill (who is based in OCC’s Parenting Development Team), has run parenting
groups for many years and has written a programme called Take 3 for facilitators to use with the groups,
incorporating the use of a dvd called Teenagers in Trouble (both are published by Young People in Focus).
Most parents attend groups because they want to learn effective ways of disciplining their adolescents and
reducing conflict, but it is a basic tenet of the programme that parents need to be connecting with their young
people before they can even begin to manage conflict or agree on any boundaries. The programme therefore
encourages parents to re-connect with their young people, by helping them improve their communication and
relationship skills. It also puts them in touch with the nature of adolescence and the difficult choices and
emotions that young people are dealing with. When parents use better communication skills, become more
assertive (rather than aggressive) and demonstrate an understanding of what adolescents are going through they
find that their young people are more co-operative. We then teach them conflict management and negotiation
skills to enable them to set effective boundaries and deal with the challenging behaviour of their adolescents.
The core content includes the following:
    strong feelings & self-care                                 negotiation/problem solving
    understanding adolescence                                   using consequences
    listening                                                   encouraging responsibility
    encouraging                                                 modelling the required behaviour
    assertiveness                                               parent disagreement
    conflict management                                         neighbourhood and peer-group influences
    setting boundaries                                          seeking further support.

The sessions An important strength of this programme is its flexibility. All groups are different and parents
have varying needs. Once they have covered the core content, facilitators can use the later sessions of the
course to tailor-make it to suit parents. Typically parents choose sessions on some of the following:
    drug and alcohol abuse                                    being assertive, especially with professionals
    sexuality and sexual health                               sibling rivalry
    more anger management                                     step-parenting
    anti-social behaviour and offending                       changing roles of parents
    an open ‘problem-solving’ forum where they help each other find strategies to deal with ongoing
Apart from learning new skills and strategies, parents grow in self-esteem and confidence through being in the
group, talking to other parents and realising they are not the only ones feeling isolated, guilty or disempowered.


There are always 2 trained facilitators who have been trained to work with parents and have an understanding
of how adults learn. Many of them bring to the work skills and experience from their other jobs, e.g.
Community Psychiatric Nurse, Education Social Worker, Health Visitor, Children’s Centre or Mental Health
worker. All facilitators receive regular clinical supervision.

The facilitation style of these groups is supportive and the teaching style is highly participative. Parents are
encouraged to build on their strengths and the facilitators attempt to model clear, effective and encouraging
parenting skills at all times.

Funding The programme is funded locally by Oxfordshire County Council.

Referrals and Information for Parents
 We have leaflets telling parents about the programme, and referral forms.
 If you know of parents who would like support from us (via a group or otherwise), it's best to show them
   the leaflet and check it out with them. If they're happy to let you give us their contact details, please e-mail
   (or fax) the completed referral form and we can then contact them directly. (N.B. It generally works best if
   you send us a referral first so we can ring them, since we put a lot of energy into engaging them
   through phone calls and visits. Parents are often too depressed to contact us direct, even if given the
   leaflet, and if they do manage to ring us direct and find us in, we still need to come back to you for a
   referral form before we can proceed with further support.)
 If you know of parents who are desperate for support but would never attend a group, you can still refer
   them to us. We have facilities to do a very limited amount of 1:1 work (see p.4 of the referral form for
   details), or you might need to find funding for it. We can sometimes give some telephone support.
For further information about the Programme such as details about forthcoming groups, or to request referral
forms or leaflets for parents please contact: Diane Crocombe, Oxfordshire Parent-Talk Programme, The
Wheatley Centre Annexe, Littleworth Road, Wheatley, Oxon OX33 1PH, Tel: 01865-875482/875813 Parent-