Stepping toward a brighter future

10 Apr 2014

UQ's Triple P-Positive Parenting Program is looking for new ways to help children and parents around the world.

The most important thing we can do as a community is to ensure that children experience good parenting at home.

Positive parenting is related to so many outcomes for children – social skills, language development, emotional stability and intellectual development, to name just a few. Well-adjusted children are more likely to grow into capable adults that make positive contributions to society.

The simple idea behind Triple P is to provide as many parents as possible with the opportunity to participate in a high-quality parenting program, regardless of their financial status. While the research and development hub is based at UQ, Triple P is now a truly global phenomenon. Translated into 18 languages, delivered in 25 countries, it’s estimated that more than 65,000 practitioners have been personally trained to deliver Triple P to parents. However, many important challenges facing parents around the world, such as parents of children with a developmental delay, are still to be addressed.

The recently launched Stepping Stones Triple P population trial is the first-ever research project to look at how effective a parenting program, specifically designed for families of children with disabilities, is at reducing behavioural and emotional problems when applied across entire communities.

Professor Matt Sanders, who created the Triple P program 35 years ago says, “Stepping Stones Triple P aims to assist parents to develop practical solutions for common and potentially stressful behavioural and developmental challenges. One of our key areas of focus for Stepping Stones Triple P is children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.”

Parents caring for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder often feel isolated and disconnected from their community, due both to the challenges that the disorder can present, and a lack of general understanding about what ‘autism’ actually is.

Funding from UQ’s generous donor community has gone towards a trial program to be run in Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales with free courses to parents under the Stepping Stones Triple P Project. These funds, coupled with funding from the Federal Government, go towards providing opportunities for graduate students and early career researchers to be part of the project and work alongside some of the world’s best parenting and family researchers.

From the many families who have benefited from Stepping Stones Triple P, Debbie is but one, she describes how the program has made a real and positive impact on her family. The difference the program has made to her six-year-old son who has a developmental delay, was life changing for her family.

“Before the course, things at home were challenging, to say the least, and I was surprised just how much we were all struggling as a family. In complete contrast, as I completed the online questionnaire after the course it was if I was writing about a different child and family. Recently we had a major set-back and the tantrums, defiance and anger were back. Initially I had reverted to my old ways of handling these situations. I then had a moment of clarity and started to again use the tried and tested strategies we learnt at Triple P. We are now happier, more relaxed and seeing significant improvement in our son’s behaviour.”

If you would like to make a difference to communities world-wide by supporting The Triple P – Positive Parenting Program, click here.


Image credit: eNews May 2014 Philippe Put