Triple P-Positive Parenting Program, FEAR-LESS Workshops
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Your child (aged 6 to 13 years) has anxiety that is affecting their everyday life. It may stop them, or your whole family, from doing certain activities. Your child may be worried a lot of the time. You may swing between reassuring them and telling them to face their fears. Neither of these seems to work, and their anxiety seems to increase. You may feel like you’ve tried everything, and possibly may be anxious yourself. If parenting a child with anxiety is affecting your life and you’d like to help your child worry less and be more confident, Fear-Less Triple P can help.
Fear-Less Triple P helps you set a good example of coping with anxiety, coach children to become more emotionally resilient, and develop your own toolbox of strategies. You can choose how to best support your child as they learn to manage their anxiety more effectively. Fear-Less Triple P is part of the comprehensive parenting system, the Triple P – Positive Parenting Program®.
Fear-Less Triple P encourages you to use practical strategies with all family members, not just the child who seems especially anxious. In this way, the Fear-Less Triple P program helps the whole family. The program is based on research and experiences working with the families of children and teenagers with anxiety for more than 30 years. (Fear-Less Triple P is co-authored by clinical psychologist Vanessa Cobham, a specialist in the field of child anxiety, based at the University of Queensland, Australia.)
It’s called “Fear-Less” (not “fearless”) because it’s not possible (or useful) to completely eliminate fear from our lives. Sometimes fear is reasonable and helps keep us safe. In other words, being “fearless” isn’t actually helpful. What we can do, however, is reduce unnecessary fear and worry. This means learning to cope with anxious feelings, and becoming more confident. This is true whether we’re adults, teenagers, or children.
Session 1: Anxiety – what is it and how does it develop?
This session provides parents with psychoeducation about anxiety and how it works. Parents are encouraged to reflect on how anxiety impacts their family and how their family reacts to anxiety. The session aims to give parents a better understanding of the development of their child’s anxiety and why it continues. At the end of the session, parents establish some goals for change to focus on through the program.
Session 2: Promoting emotional resilience in children
Parents are introduced to parenting strategies that promote emotional resilience in children. These strategies help parents encourage their children to express, tolerate and manage their upsetting emotions more effectively. Parents are also introduced to a tool that helps to track how anxious their child is feeling.
Session 3: Modelling and the way children think
This session introduces the importance of parental modelling in understanding children’s emotional reactions. The session also covers how thoughts can affect the development and maintenance of anxiety, highlighting the importance of flexible thinking and teaching parents to encourage this skill in children.
Session 4: The way you behave – avoidance and exposure
Parents learn about avoidance, the most common response to anxiety. Practitioners introduce the value of exposure and the use of the Fear Ladder as an approach to gradually confronting anxiety.
Session 5: Parental strategies for responding to children’s anxiety
Discussion on common ways that parents respond to children’s anxiety, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each. Parents are encouraged to reflect on which responses are relevant to them and what they might want to think about changing. Parents will learn to develop a parenting plan to encourage children to confront and overcome their fears using a Fear Ladder and to start using it with their child at home.
Session 6: Constructive problem solving – how to promote it and maintain gains
Parents will learn to develop a constructive step-by-step coping plan and offer some guidelines on maintaining changes over time.