Ouachita Children's Center is offering a new program to equip parents of younger children with the skills and tools they need to communicate with their children to help prevent future problems, according to Cicely Hicks, outreach and volunteer coordinator for OCC.
A news release of OCC's current programs describes the six-week program, Parenting of 5-12 Year Olds, as an "educational and interactive program created by Active Parenting Publishers."
The listed goals for the program are to "teach parents effective ways to use nonviolent discipline, open lines of communication, teach responsibility, courage and other character traits, encourage school success, prevent future problems with drugs, alcohol and sex, defuse power struggles with children, stimulate independence in children and 'stop scolding and start smiling.'"
Hicks said the parenting program is about teachi-risk behaviors in both the children they serve and in the community, and positive parenting has been shown as an important tool in preventing those behaviors while children are still young.
According to Hicks, OCC is using the program by Active Parenting because it is evidence based and has been shown to reduce recidivism in juveniles. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has the program listed on its National Registry of Evidence Based Programs and Practices. The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention has it listed in its Model Program's Guide.
The class started the first workshop Jan. 26. Hicks said parents can still join the program through the third session. After that session, she said it would be better to wait until the next workshop starts. The parenting program will cycle through the sessions every six weeks, meeting from 5:30-7:30 p.m. each Tuesday at the Webb Community Center, 127 Pleasant St.
Hicks said they prefer each class to have about 14 participants so they can focus on individual parents, and at the same time have productive group discussions. The class is free to attend.
"The program is an extra resource we want to provide to the community," Hicks said.
Childcare will be provided for parents attending the class. Hicks asks that parents let them know how many children will be attending so they can prepare activities and a small snack.
If a class is canceled for any reason, a note will be placed at OCC and the Webb Center, in addition to notices on their Facebook page and website. Hicks said they will also try to contact any referring agencies.
Anyone interested in taking part in the parenting program, or any other of OCC's programs, can contact Hicks at 623-5591 or email [email protected] or [email protected] Hicks said they can determine which session parents should join and determine how to meet their current needs.Local on 02/08/2016