I am currently helping to plan and facilitate an Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) workshop for parents through Family Support Newcastle. We have a good team of four facilitators with a variety of experience and backgrounds.
While this workshop will be open to any parents, we are hoping to mainly attract parents who are facing significant challenges. We are working towards a number of short-term outcomes for the parents:
- Improved conflict resolution and negotiation skills
- Improved ability to show warmth and love towards their children
- Increased confidence in parenting
- Greater self-awareness in relation to parenting, making choices and conflict
- Improved ability to create boundaries with their children in a respectful, caring way
- Improved connections with their families, their community and support services.
Because Alternatives to Violence Project workshops are based on a number of building blocks and approaches to conflict resolution and nonviolence, rather than having a standard agenda or structure, the workshops can easily be adapted to a variety of contexts. We aren’t aware of other AVP workshops being run specifically for parents (although many parents have done AVP of course) and are confident that they have a lot of relevance to parenting.
Typically Alternatives to Violence Project workshops are a weekend or consecutive days but they can be structured in a number of different ways. In NSW we are now generally running them on two consecutive Saturdays (in Sydney) or Sundays (in Newcastle). Because AVP workshops should be at least 18 hours, they are long days and we decided that this approach would be difficult for the parents we are hoping to attract. We are trialling it as a series of seven workshops each of 3.5 hours (including a light lunch) during school hours. Because this is a total of 24.5 hours, if a parent has to miss one session, they will still complete the required 18 hours and be eligible for a certificate.
Childcare can be a significant barrier for parents without strong support networks, so Family Support Newcastle is providing childcare if needed.
One of the things we are incorporating into the workshops is the notion of parenting styles. An authoritative style (or active style as we’re calling it) is both high in warmth and the expectations placed on children. We think the Alternatives to Violence Project’s emphasis on respect for self and caring for others fits in well with this parenting style and active parenting provides a useful framework for many of the ideas from the workshops.
During the workshops we will also reflect on our own childhood and how we were raised, think about what we hope for our children, and focus on parenting when debriefing activities often found in AVP workshops.
I’m looking forward to doing some more direct work with families, reflecting on what worked or could have been improved, and exploring the impact the workshops had on the participants.
If you liked this post please follow my blog, and you might like to look at:
- What are Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) workshops?
- What are authoritarian, permissive, uninvolved and authoritative parenting styles?
- Parenting styles – another look
- Parenting for a better world
- Domestic violence, family, friends and neighbours
- 12 principles of a problem solving approach to conflict resolution
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