Real Talk parenting course makes a real difference

Christine Remuera’s great-granddaughter no longer gets lollies and money as rewards for getting dressed in the morning or putting away her school bag when she gets home.

Instead, the five-year-old, who lives with Christine several days a week, can choose different rewards, such as spending more time in the park or taking a friend with her to the pool.

And the results from such a small change have been amazing. “It’s so good, the house is so peaceful,” says Christine (pictured with her great-grand-daughter), who took part in Wesley Community Action’s first Real Talk parenting course which finished on June 26.

The six-week course also helped Christine appreciate the benefits of spending even small amounts of focused time with a child.

“I learned how to be an active parent, not just passing them off and saying ‘go and do something else’. What’s 10 or 15 minutes a day?”

In fact, Christine found the Real Talk parenting course so useful she encouraged two of her grandchildren, both of whom have young children, to sign up for the second course. The next course will start on October 16.

Real Talk was developed by Wesley Waitangirua staff members Lizzie Makalio and Rosa Ariu. It was inspired by the Incredible Years parenting course which Wesley ran for several years but it’s shorter – six weeks instead of 15 – and it’s been refocused to meet the needs of parents and grandparents living in the Porirua area.

“It’s about taking parenting classes designed for the Brady Bunch and delivering them to the Hekes,” says Lizzie.

The course covers a range of topics, including the difference between discipline and punishment, and the importance of praising good behaviour rather than focusing on bad behaviour.

“A lot of the whānau don’t want to praise, they see it as a bit fluffy and upper-class. So we look at why children need to be praised, and how it lifts their self-esteem.”

Real Talk is the first programme being funded by a three-year grant from the JR McKenzie Trust to help ensure children in eastern Porirua have happy, healthy childhoods and their parents, carers and extended whanau experience being part of a caring and supportive community.

For more information about Real Talk contact Wesley Waitangirua: 04 235 5750

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