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Our under pressure parents and carers need help too; Councils offering advice and support to struggling families during these difficult times.

Byline: NADINE LAST Shropshire Council

Parents and carers are playing a crucial role in helping us all through the Covid-19 crisis.

Sometimes, though, they need that extra bit of support and reassurance themselves as they seek to better understand and manage the behaviour of children.

The parenting team at Shropshire Council is running clinics where parents and carers can book a 45-minute appointment with a parenting practitioner to discuss any difficulties they might be experiencing in handling their children's behaviour.

Usually, these are carried out either face-to-face at a local clinic, or on the telephone. But the Covid-19 outbreak has brought a halt to all face-to-face work for the time being, so all consultations are currently being done remotely.

It's fair to say that some people have reacted better than others to the isolation and restrictions of lockdown, and these unprecedented challenges have left some families in need of support.

For example, many children have begun asking difficult questions and voicing their worries over the current situation. How do you deal with that, and what should you say?

Parents and carers also need to know how to manage challenging behaviour which might be a direct result of the changes to children's everyday lives.

Maintaining good relationships with children during this time, as well as understanding the best activities to do with them, is hugely important, and parenting practitioners are able to provide support with all of this.

They are acutely aware of the important role parents and carers are playing in supporting the emotional health and wellbeing of young people - and the need to provide support and guidance.

Since 2012 our team has been using the evidence-based Solihull Approach with great success.

The approach is all about emotional health and wellbeing, and how we relate to and understand each other.

The aim is for all parents and carers to raise healthy, well-rounded children in a loving, stable environment, and it's our hope that we can support parents, carers and communities to do this. Shropshire Council's parenting team is also providing 'Understanding Your Child/Teen' groups across the county. These 10-week programmes are for families who want to learn more, and who may be experiencing some difficulties with their children.

The groups aim to: ? Promote understanding of children's behaviour ? Promote the development of parent/ child relationship ? Increase confidence and self-esteem in both parents and children ? Give parents a strategy for repair when things go wrong ? Promote reflective, sensitive and effective parenting The Solihull Approach acknowledges that each child and family unit is unique with specific needs, so these groups are also suitable for families with children with Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND).

There are also a series of Solihull Approach online courses which offer parents and carers the chance to reflect on their family situation, and relationships with family members. Courses include understanding pregnancy, labour, birth and your baby; understanding your baby; understanding your child; and understanding your teenager's brain.

Families living in Shropshire can access all these courses for free by logging onto and using the code: DARWN18. It's always reassuring to hear that our courses are making a difference, and we have had some fabulous testimonials from users of our groups and clinics in recent weeks, including: "Loved being part of this group. UYC has helped me to focus on the love I have for my children - not the problems I face."

"Amazing support from everyone makes you realise you're not the only one going through a tough time."

"I learned a lot of tips to help me build confidence in dealing with my children's behaviour."

"I am aware now of my own behaviour and how it affects my child."

n ? Nadine Last is parenting strategy co-ordinator at Shropshire Council. For more details about the parenting support on offer, call 01743 250950 or email to arrange a telephone consultation.

In the Wolverhampton area, help and support is also available. There is a range of help available for families from the Strengthening Families Hubs located around the Wolverhampton area.

Advice and support is available on all aspects of parenting including pregnancy and early childhood, keeping children safe and healthy, behaviour issues, relationships, domestic violence, drug and alcohol issues, problems at school, bullying etc.

These services are often referred to as "Early Help" and the staff have experience and skills in helping families to cope with modern family life and develop their own strengths.

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Maintaining good relationships with children, as well as understanding the best activities to do with them, is hugely important

The unprecedented challenges caused by isolation and the restrictions of lockdown have left some families in need of support
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Author:NADINE LAST Shropshire Council
Publication:Express and Star (Wolverhampton, England)
Date:Aug 12, 2020
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