DOBSON — An annual program set for February will focus on building stronger parenting skills.
Strengthening Families is a research-based family skills program for children ages 6 through 11 and their parents, said Mackenzie Gillespie, the parent education coordinator for the Children’s Center of Surry that sponsors the program.
Strengthening Families stresses appropriate communication and discipline.
“The program is based on studies that show children grow up best when parents and caregivers communicate emotional support and practice consistent discipline,” said Gillespie. “Participants learn to make these two concepts the foundation of their family life.”
The program consists of one two-and-a-half hour block of instruction once a week throughout the course of a 14-week period. Gillespie stated the first portion of the session consists of a meal served in a family-style setting. Then parents and children break away for instruction.
Gillespie said the program educates parents and teaches social and life skills to children. Every session begins with the meal and ends with a group activity which includes both parents and children.
“Each week a different topic or skill is focused on by the parents and kids. At the end of the night the families come together with the facilitators for a family activity, which is based upon the skill focused on in class that night,” said Gillespie.
Skills which will be discussed or practiced throughout the 14-week program include communication, problem solving, coping with anger and recognizing feelings.
The center does its best to ensure all families who wish to attend are able to do so, according to Gillespie. Childcare for children not falling into the 6- to 11-year-old category is available at the children’s center. A meal is provided at each session, and transportation for families can be arranged.
The first session will be held on Feb. 3 at Rockford Elementary School. The program is free.
Advance registration is required, and those in need of further information can contact Gillespie at (336) 386-9144, ext. 211.
Andy is a staff writer for The News and can be reached at (336) 415-4698.