Parenting is never easy, but during the never-ending COVID-19 pandemic, it has become even more challenging.
“Parenting is so hard!” said Dr. David P. FitzGerald, assistant professor and director of the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Clinic at UConn Health. more difficult. “.
FitzGerald reports that during the ongoing pandemic, depression and anxiety in families have risen sharply, while during COVID, calls from parents seeking treatment appointments for their children at UConn Health’s Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Outpatient Clinic have increased due to increased stress levels double.
But pandemic or not, parents and children sometimes feel stressed, angry, sad and anxious. But that’s especially true during a pandemic with additional stressors like homeschooling and quarantine requirements, UConn health experts say.
Given the increased demand for child psychiatry appointments during COVID-19 and the lack of capacity for providers to meet these heightened demands, UConn Health specialists hope to increase access by offering parent group counseling sessions.
Thanks to a generous $150,000 grant from the Bradley H. and Leila U. Barnes Memorial Trust at the Main Street Community Foundation, a new innovative parenting group pilot project has been launched at UConn Health Southington launches as the Child and Family Development Program.
“Parents have a great willingness to be their children’s advocates and teachers. Having more support and educational resources is critical for parents to stay on a productive path,” Fitzgerald emphasized.
On the evening of January 26, UConn Health Southington and the Main Street Community Foundation came together with local Southington officials and clinicians to celebrate the successful launch of a new free parent group pilot.
Speaking at the celebration, Southington Town Council Chairperson Victoria Triano called the new Child and Family Development Program “a jewel” for the Southington community.
The new pilot program offers several different parent groups, including groups to help parents manage behavior problems in children, groups to improve parent-child emotional connections, and groups for children/teens with neurodevelopmental disorders, particularly autism spectrum disorders. Support groups for parents. The free parenting group program also offers free educational resources to help parents cope with behavioral issues during this period of heightened stress that affects the mental health of both parents and children.
“Group-based parent training on child behavior strategies is effective. Research shows that if you work with parents, you may be able to help them better manage their behavior and link their more effective behavior to improving your child’s behavior combined,” Fitzgerald said.
“Working closely with parents can really improve the social-emotional development of their children,” said co-director of the new program, Dr. Carolyn Greene, associate professor of psychiatry and clinical psychologist at UConn Health’s Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Outpatient Clinic, whose clinic Research also focuses on emotion regulation and emotionally socialized parenting behaviors
The new program can also refer parents to UConn Health’s clinical services if they or their children need them.
The pilot project at UConn Health Southington is utilizing co-directors FitzGerald and Greene from watch kids and adjusted to teens The program and its online platform resources of materials, videos and lecture notes developed by the University of Melbourne, Australia. These programs teach emotionally intelligent parenting and help parents better understand their children’s social-emotional development. Additionally, UConn Health Southington educational resources include a lending library for children, teens and families.
“Parents can literally learn to better understand their children’s emotions so they can better interact with them on a daily basis and protect their social-emotional development as they grow,” FitzGerald said. “Parents, as their children’s first teachers, can Act as an emotional coach, helping kids and pushing them to figure things out on their own.”
According to FitzGerald and Greene, parenting success is all about collaboration. Parents and children can work together to identify their negative emotion, verbalize it, accept it, and figure out what to do together to help the child learn to problem-solve. In addition, parents should always avoid emotional avoidance or emotional rejection. Also, always instill positivity whenever possible to help guide your child’s future responses.
The pilot program began this fall at UConn Health Southington and is already having a positive impact on Southington parents.
“The parents in our group are really feeling better. The parents are learning together and each other,” Fitzgerald happily shared. “They see that they are not alone in their children’s behavioral struggles, that other parents have the same issues.”
There is a lot of parental enthusiasm. One delighted parent shared with UConn Health that the parent group was “sent from heaven.”
“We’re teaching parents how to work better with their kids to be more effective,” FitzGerald said. “Parenting takes practice. We want parenting that makes parents feel confident, competent and comfortable.”
“Parenting is very important to a child’s identity and to all the children in the family,” FitzGerald emphasized. “We need to make sure
Take an adaptive path and everyone in the family stays on track. If we can identify problematic behavior, we can work to regulate it and help children reduce conflict at home, at school, and with other children. “
Going forward, the pilot program looks forward to further developing and expanding its library of tools and resources for Southington parents and children, as well as expanding its partnership with Southington Public Schools to provide additional opportunities for school staff training and resources for school professionals library.
at UConn Health Southington Child and Family Development Program In pilot phase. Southington parents with children aged 5-17 are eligible for the scheme. Interested Southington parents can join the parenting group by calling (860) 523-3783. The parent group meets at 1115 West St, Southington, CT.