September 13, 2018
Smart Start Rowan
Margaret Stridick has a soft, calming voice. She speaks with confidence and reassurance. And she can be your go-to person for parenting advice — all free.
Thanks to a three-year grant, Stridick is the full-time parenting program facilitator with the Terrie Hess House/Prevent Child Abuse Rowan. That agency and Smart Start Rowan are partnering to offer a series of free parenting programs beginning Sept. 19 at Second Presbyterian Church, 732 Lincolnton Road.
The Triple P — Positive Parenting Program has been used for more than 30 years in 25 countries. It helps parents who are struggling with everyday issues that make family life stressful.
The program teaches five pillars:
- Having a safe, interesting environment.
- Having a positive learning environment.
- Using assertive discipline.
- Having realistic expectations.
- Taking 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, Competent Children,” and “Raising Resilient Children.”
- Personal attention with managing a particular misbehavior. These individualized sessions meet at Second Presbyterian Church.
- Group sessions at locations throughout the community.
- More intensive services focused on coping and anger management. These are for parents who complete the group session but still find parenting challenging.
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 successful track record for helping families,” McKeithan says. “The beauty of it is that it is tailored toward each family’s needs.”
“This is not a cookie-cutter program,” Brown adds.
“We want parents of all different shapes, sizes and backgrounds to participate,” McKeithan says. “This hones in on the issues you’re dealing with and works on those issues.”
Triple P is meant to serve all families in Rowan County whose children are 16 or younger. The program is partially funded through a grant from Smart Start Rowan, which assists families in the county with children to age 5.
Additionally, Sherry Vechery, Smart Start Rowan’s in-house bilingual parent educator, will serve Spanish-speaking families.
“It’s meant to be a community-wide effort,” Brown says. “We’re trying to get community-wide collaboration to best serve our children and families.”
“There’s no instruction manual for parenting, and every child is different,” McKeithan says. “It’s tough.”
“It’s hard enough to navigate parenting when you have the resources you need,” Brown notes. “When you’re fighting for survival, your needs escalate.”
Both women have young children and are excited that they and their staff members will have the opportunity to observe some of the sessions, too.
For the community, Stridick will oversee a cohort of as many as 12 people in her Triple P group sessions.
Stridick will offer four sessions from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesdays beginning Sept. 19 at Second Presbyterian Church. A $5 gas stipend is offered for each class. Additional cohorts will be offered at various times and locations throughout the year.
“We recognize that all parents struggle at times, and we want to remove the stigma of getting help,” she says.
During group sessions, caregivers learn typical reasons children misbehave, ways to promote good behaviors and proven techniques to manage remaining difficulties while caring for themselves. These are followed up with three phone calls and a final home visit to be sure the caregiver knows how the same skills apply as the child grows older.
If participants need more intensive services, Stridick says, those are available. “Triple P prides itself on only giving the level of help that parents need.”
Stridick has been visiting preschools, child care centers and schools to offer the free one-hour sessions available through Triple P. She calls Triple P a portable program, which is one reason it’s offered in the community and not at the Terrie Hess House.
“It is not just for people who are served here,” Stridick says. “It’s for all families in the county.”
Anyone who wants to participate in the free Triple P program should call or text Margaret Stridick at 704-431-2015 or email her at THHparenting@gmail.com. Spanish-speaking parents may register with Sherry Vechery at Smart Start Rowan, 704-603-3367 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information about the agencies is at www.rowan-smartstart.org and www.preventchildabuserowan.org.
Smart Start Rowan is a Rowan County United Way member agency.
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