What are we doing to help?
Parents Under Pressure™ is a programme aimed at helping parents who are on a treatment programme for drug or alcohol problems to build their parenting skills, manage their emotions and develop a better relationship with their child. This helps them create a safer environment for their child, and support their child’s development. Parents Under Pressure™ was developed by Professor Sharon Dawe of Griffith University, Australia and Dr Paul Harnett of the University of Queensland. It’s underpinned by recognition of the importance of the parent–child relationship. The quality of this relationship is related to the parent’s ability to provide sensitive, responsive and nurturing caregiving - something that can be compromised when the parent is coping with extra stress, such as past trauma or recovering from substance misuse.
Parents Under Pressure™ is made up of 12 modules. Practitioners visit mums and dads at home to carry out an assessment before creating a tailored programme for each family that suits their needs. Sessions are conducted in the home and last between 1 and 2 hours, but parents can access additional support outside the treatment session for issues such as housing, legal advice and school support.
Through Parents Under Pressure™, parents are helped to recognise their strengths and identify potential challenges by:
- using video feedback;
- sharing discussions with the practitioner; and
- completing exercises using the parents’ workbook.
Mindfulness exercises help parents to manage strong emotions and impulsive behaviour. Exercises to help them become fully present ‘in the moment’ during daily activities include taking pleasure in watching their child sleep, having a bath or playing.
Parents learn techniques such as ‘urge surfing’, understanding cravings and learning to manage negative moods without the use of substances, to reinforce what they’re being taught in their drug and alcohol treatment.
Parents Under Pressure™ sessions also cover life skills such as improving problem-solving abilities, or engaging with people who can provide support. And practitioners help parents with day-to-day issues such as housing and finance, which helps them to put everything they’re learning into practice.
All this helps parents to respond sensitively to their children’s needs and build a more secure home environment.