Behavior Development Program – Parent Groups By: Anna Barlage, MA, RYT

We often get questions about what actually goes on in parent group.

  • How much work outside the program should parents expect?
  • Do both parents need to attend each group in a two parent household?
  • What if the parent(s) can only come once per week?

Often parents are juggling work, other children, and the many other demands of being a parent in today’s busy society. They may be hesitant to take on another commitment or feel it is unrealistic given all they already do.

We get it- two nights a week can feel like a lot to commit to for six weeks, but so is not working on their child’s behavior and allowing it to continue! Parents play a huge role in helping children with behavior problems find other ways to cope and we work to support them in their efforts. We have also seen that the commitment level of the parent(s) is a huge indicator of how well their child will do in the program.  Parent group is meant to connect parents with other parents struggling with similar issues, offer new skills and hold parents accountable to the goals they want to achieve.  Ideally parents do attend all 12 sessions over the 6 week program, read the chapters each week before we discuss them and both parents in a two parent household come together. But we want to work with families as much as we can to make the program a good fit for their family. We have seen families be very successful at the end of the 6 week program who haven’t been able to attend every group or read each week. The effort they put in at home is just as important, if not more important, than the groups themselves.

Parent groups are held each Monday and Wednesday in the Maple Grove conference room and Edina conference room from 5:00pm-6:00pm, followed by a 30 minute parent-child activity. During group, the group leader works with parents to set goals such as be more consistent in their expectations/ follow through, improve their stress management, decrease negativity with their child and get on the same page with their spouse. Parents identify steps to how they will achieve their goal and at least weekly discuss how they are doing. Each night we have one or two chapters to focus on from Dr. Mike Bloomquist’s book Skills Training for Struggling Kids. Chapter topics include setting house rules, complying with parent directives and teaching your child about stress management.

In parent group the group leader works to have parents focus on themselves and their goals, as often times parents get so focused on their child and wanting to help them they forget they need to be in a good place themselves to be an affective parent. If you have further questions about the BDP parent groups feel free to contact myself or Emily Buell.