My son is now five and in his first year at school and my daughter is nearly three. I would definitely hold my hands up and say that there are plenty of times that I don’t understand their behaviour, or how to deal with it effectively. Since my son was born, I’ve read a few ‘attachment parenting’ style books and mailings, but I do find that I struggle to put everything in practice, especially in the heat of the moment.
I was given a chance to try out the WeParent website, which is designed specifically to support parents of ‘mid-childhood years’ children, that is children aged 4-8. Their site is for parents who are faced with a specific problem, or just to get a head start on their child’s development. There is a big focus on positive mental health, both for parents and children, and especially for establishing foundations for children to experience good mental health in the future. The site has been put together by psychologists, and they share their strategies for dealing with everyday parenting issues.
There are five categories on the website, each with separate ‘modules’ / topics, although some are repeated across the categories:
- Friendship & Social Skills
- Positive Sense of Self
- Sibling Rivalry
Each module has three components, with Psychology Fun Facts to start with, then a quick assessment of where your child currently is on the topic, and then some exercises and activities to carry out. There is a featured module of the week, which has full access for free to non members as well. There is also a great module on Preventing Bullying, with the strategies including “knowing what bullying is”, assertiveness, and a focus on reducing the effects of bullying in the future.
Testing It Out
I started with the Consideration module within Friendship & Social Skills. The Psychology Fun Facts that start the module are clear and concise, and written in plain English. Once you have read all of them, you then complete a short set of questions which tests where you child currently is against a particular skill. It is split into years, with ages from 4 to 8 covered. The questions are straightforward, but you do have to answer them honestly!
When the assessment is complete, it will tell you how your child has scored against their age group. It then goes on to give you three strategies to use to help improve the situation. Each strategy is explained fully, and you are given exercises to complete and concepts to think about. It certainl made me think about whether I am being consistent with my son, in terms of the things I am telling him off about. It also raises the point about whether you are consistent when you are tired or have had a bad day yourself.
What I found really nice about this site is that there’s no judgement involved, it’s just plain and simple advice. This approach would definitely encourage me to look into other modules. The advice given would also be applicable for younger children, especially for elements such as setting boundaries!
I think that as a parent, we get caught up in the whirlwind that is daily life, and often lack the time to fully contemplate on what is causing your children’s behaviour (good or bad). Sitting down to work through the WeParent website means that you do have to think about things, including how you yourself have dealt with situations. In some cases, this can be hard to take, but focus on the fact that you are taking positive steps for your child and yourself.
*We were given access to the WeParent modules in exchange for an unbiased review.