Helping Society at a Population Level through Positive Parenting: A lecture by Dr. Matt Sanders, founder of Triple P.

“The most powerful agents of change are parents.”

father and son playing, positive parenting

I had the privilege of attending a lecture today by Dr. Matt Sanders, the Developer of Triple P, and Professor of Clinical Psychology, University of Queensland, Australia, hosted by Jewish Family Service. Most of the attendees were big wigs, from state senators’ offices, the upper-ups from Neighborhood House Association, Episcopal Family Services, Easter Seals, school districts, and many programs associated with First 5, Head Start and the County Health and Human Services Agency.

A fellow Postpartum Health Alliance board member, Lea Bush, is the Director of Positive Parenting for Jewish Family Services. As the organizer of the special event, she extended an invitation to me. To be honest, I’m not sure if I was more interested as the parent of a toddler and a preschooler, or as a provider of mental health to parents. Regardless, I had a feeling it would be worth attending.

Triple P is the most rigorously researched parenting program in the world. It is currently used in 25 countries, helping millions of children each year. Dr. Sanders traveled from Australia to present. He is the founder and lead author of Triple P, and is considered a world leader in family interventions.

If you are going to learn about something, might as well hear it from the horse’s mouth!

“Good parenting is the clean water of mental health.” — Dr. Matt Sanders

Dr. Sanders shared his world vision of a world full of hope, neighbors valuing one another, and community responsibility. He believes the one set of actions related to all these concerns is raising children. His goal is to disrupt the intergenerational transmission of disadvantage.

5 Key Principles of Triple P (Positive Parenting Programs):

  • Safe and engaging environment
  • Positive learning environment
  • Consistent assertive discipline
  • Reasonable expectations
  • Taking care of oneself

“Good parenting is also about good self-care.” – Dr. Matt Sanders

Children’s relationships matter. Positive, nurturing relationships lay the foundation for secure bonding and better self-regulation, which leads to good life course outcomes (Biglan, 2015). Participating in a parenting program is about enrichment. Triple P is not just for families struggling, or children with behavioral problems. If you want the best for your children, here is a very powerful way to make a difference.

Dr. Sanders believes that parenting is a public health priority. Parenting support matters for all children, all families, rich, poor, at risk or financially advantaged. The program is designed for every family, every child.

The goal is to help parents increase their self-regulation. Not to create dependency, or tell people how to parent, but how to be personally responsible for their success. This results in the child being better able to self-regulate.

If cookie can monster can self-regulate like an executive, so can you and your child!

“I Want It (But Me Wait)” – Cookie Monster

Even light touch, low intensity interventions (just 10 hours out of the parent’s life) had positive results. Studies have found significant reduction of child behavioral and emotional problems 10 years later (Hahlweg et al, 2015). And 15 years later Smith (2015) found higher levels of literacy, better school attendance at grade 11, and fewer emergency room visits. Not only children benefit, but 30% less parents had clinical depression.

positive parenting in san diego
To learn more about Triple P in San Diego, visit Jewish Family Services (JFS) here. Dr. Sanders shared that JFS’s results are even better than overall Triple P results. Go San Diego!

Triple P is also available online through a downloadable podcast.

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