Some of the problems experienced by the children we help through our therapeutic work are caused by poor parenting.
We have therefore developed a school-based course Before Becoming a Parent for teenage boys and girls with the aim of: ‘Meeting the emotional needs of your future babies, children and yourselves as parents’.
There is no comprehensive preparation for all parents about the realities of parenthood, especially the emotional aspects. It therefore makes sense to try to prepare young people in good time in ways which they will always remember.
This area of work is led by its own Steering Group and with Dr Clare Gates and Sue Gerhardt as Patrons and we welcome new members.
If you are new to Carefree Kids and want to help us implement this course, please get in contact.
We now want to:
- build on our experience and plan a comprehensive ‘syllabus’
- find further schools in which to run the project
- evaluate the results
- go national
Background to the course
Pilot course at McEntee secondary school, Walthamstow, 2006
Carefree Kids ran a two term pilot:
A weekly session for 20 girls aged 14 during their Health and Social Care course for two terms.
A local mother with a toddler, and then a new baby, came in most weeks to talk about what parenthood is really like.
We discussed many aspects, sang a song, answered anonymous questions (about ‘anything’ — they had little sex education) and did role play.
The questionnaires at the end showed that all the girls found it of great interest. Most wanted it to continue for longer. One girl who skipped school regularly used to come in just for this lesson!
A weekly session for 15 boys and girls aged 14 during their drama lesson for one term.
We employed a drama teacher, experienced at working with teenagers, to do role play, dealing with difficult situations in family life.
All the young people participated with great gusto. In our discussion at the end, they all reported their enjoyment of the lessons.
At the end of the course, girls in the two term course wrote:
‘This project helped me very much because they explained a lot about how to be a good parent, and it’s not easy to handle a baby.’
‘The thing I have learnt is that you should always be patient and how to look after kids if they are crying and think who needs you most.’
‘I have learnt many ways of communication. It will definitely help me when I become a parent.’
‘It was good for us because we need to know all these things before we have boyfriends or get married.’
’I love the project. It’s fun and a better way of learning about being a parent.’
‘I want this project to go on until we leave in year 11.’
‘I have learnt how to love my baby no matter what.’
Visit the Before Becoming a Parent website: www.beforebecomingaparent.org