Advanced parenting skills focuses on increasing self-awareness, improving communication, finding positives in a situation and finding a balance of parent and children’s needs. It offers parents an opportunity to investigate their children’s behaviour. Parents are encouraged to look at why they react in the way that they do and to explore possible alternatives. This can result in a calmer home life and improved quality of life for families.
Advanced Parenting Skills (APS) is a programme that offers parents access to real-time therapeutic support in their own homes via web-based teleconferencing. Parents take part in a face-to-face session which is guided by an APS Practitioner. They will be given the opportunity to explore the techniques and approaches from the book ‘Parenting a Violent Child’. Through these sessions, parents are supported in making lasting changes to their own and their child’s behaviour. Providing support over the Internet enables sessions to be easily accessible, flexible and individually tailored.
Who can benefit?
Parenting is hard and, at times, all parents need support. Therefore, any parent can benefit regardless of their child’s age. Depending on the level of support required, APS provides parents with an opportunity to explore their own parenting skills; this maybe a one-off session or a 12-session programme. The benefits of APS include: improving relationships within the family, increasing school attendance and building confidence and resilience within the family.
This project will give you the opportunity to;
- Discover the art of communication
- Experience less parental stress
- Feel more competent and confident as a parent
- Consider your own and your child’s needs.
- Support your child’s goals and dreams
- Have a better understanding of the reasons behind your child’s behaviour
- Communicate clear rules and expectations of your child
- Learn to set and maintain appropriate boundaries in a loving manner
- Use improved joint problem solving skills
- Have a deeper understanding of your own and your child’s strengths and values
- Have more fun together as a family.
July 2017 saw Islay and Kim discussing parenting issues on Premier Radio. Following the radio discussions, parents were invited to take part in an initial pilot of the APS programme.
The parents participated in 12 one-to-one sessions with either Kim or Islay. This was over the Internet. Each parent was given a copy of the book ‘Parenting a violent child’. The chapters were the basis of the sessions.
At the start of the programme the parents were asked to fill in a questionnaire and at the end the same questionnaire. This was used to see any changes that had occurred during the APS programme.
At the completion of the programme they each participated in a telephone evaluation.
Islay and Kim would like to share some of the feedback.
What was it like before you started working with HarveyAshe?
Life was very hard, very frustrated with the children. I was shouting continually and my son has anger outbursts.
There was no light at the end of the tunnel, I was experiencing chaotic feelings. I felt hopeless; there was a lack of self-awareness. Through the course I have been reminded that children respond well to structure and boundaries. I have also been reminded of the importance of sticking with it. I realize that I lack consistency. It takes a lot of energy to deal with issues
It was a bit challenging with the children. I learnt more about myself. It was an eye opener
I found life quite stressful, and I wasn’t as confident as I am now.
What is it like for you now?
Things have become much calmer. I am listening to my children – talking to them and understanding how they are feeling. Not shouting. My son’s outbursts have reduced dramatically. He is much calmer and hasn’t been physically violent for a while. Before Christmas his attitude was aggressive but he didn’t hit. If he gets angry it’s usually due to his Xbox being stopped. He calms down much quicker and when sent to his room, stays there for about 20 minutes and then comes out and apologies. I am dealing with things much more calmly. I feel my son is like me. When anxious it can turn to anger.
Things can still be hard and challenging, but getting easier
Life is still a bit stressful, but calmer. I’m more in control, and the children are more contented.
Now I am not fantastic but it has given me hope. I will build on what I have learnt. I can now teach my children to put things in place for future generations. I have faced up to some things that were difficult. I have learnt to use humour more, it diffuses things and I am more relaxed.
What would you say has changed? How have you changed?
I am more aware of the issues and will walk away and think a bit before saying things. I will at times try to be in their shoes.
We talk more about things as a couple, I am more assertive and feel stronger in myself to deal with situations
I need to be more light hearted – I have started to be. I recognise the importance of being self aware and listening more. Picking a time and a place – for example talking away from the house, maybe in the car. I am a lot calmer, I am trying to let things go and I am picking my battles more. I am letting the children take more responsibility. I have had the time to look at how I am parenting – I’ve come from telling my children what they have to do to realizing there are ways of talking to children that get a better response. We now have family meetings.
Is there any difference you have noticed in your children?
Yes, they listen to me more. They’ve changed and they have noticed a change in me
They seem to be getting on better and they listen to what I’m saying. They seem more content.
In what way has the HarveyAshe intervention had an impact on your confidence?
I am stronger and more confident in myself. It helps having different approaches and knowing what to say. I found the de escalation techniques useful.
I think my confidence is growing and it will build – I have a lack of confidence in my communication especially with my eldest child. I think it will get better over time. The strategies have helped me greatly.
Considering all you did in your sessions, what was the most relevant/important thing?
Wording things differently has made a big difference to us.
Developing strategies to lessen stress – creating boundaries and routines. There was a lack of respect. I am learning to communicate respectfully, taking feelings into account. I get emotionally overwhelmed and I need to stay calm. One of the strategies was earning points for completing tasks and it is working. I wish I had done this a long time ago. I have been sharing the strategies with other people.
I feel that the book and working with Kim over the 12 sessions has been of huge support to me as a parent. I feel my communication, listening skills, self awareness and thinking before I react, have all hugely improved over this period. Having felt desperate and at the end of my tether with one of my children, hearing the Premier radio interview in June was extremely timely for me. Thank you so much for this opportunity to be involved in your pilot, it has been an incredibly valuable experience for me and will help me for a long time into the future as a parent of 4 children.
This is just a snapshot of some of the evaluation questionnaires.
All the parents said they would recommend the course to other parents.
If you would like to be involved in the next pilot then please do get in touch at
This project is funded by Paul Hamlyn Foundation