Herald Sun (Australia) September 19, 2007
ABOUT 30,000 young children will be freed from emotional and behavioural problems each year if a trial program to teach parenting skills is rolled out nationally, a study has found. The Federal Government and Labor will today be presented with the results of a four-year “positive parenting trial” that involved 1500 Brisbane families and finished last year. The program aimed to teach parents with children aged between four and seven the skills to deal with their problem behaviour. Many families who took part in the trial reported it significantly improved children’s behaviour and reduced parents’ stress levels. The researchers and a doctors group backing the scheme want the next Federal Government to pay for all parents to take part.The Every Family study revealed almost one-quarter of parents believe their pre-school aged children suffer emotional problems, and almost one-third had conduct problems. Almost one-quarter had problems interacting with other children. Doctors group the Australian General Practice Network said such emotional and behavioural problems were linked with low self-esteem, academic difficulties, mental health issues and increased risk of committing crimes. Before taking part in the program, more than half of all parents said they suffered high levels of stress, and almost one quarter said they were depressed. But the pilot program found a 32 per cent reduction in significant mental health problems in children, and a 22 per cent drop in parents emotional distress.