Working with Parents

MO 7Working with Parents

IDEALS offers two Working with Parents workshops.  Both are based on the Parenting Skills Program developed by Louise Guerney.  This program is available in both English and Spanish.

These workshops for therapists, parent educators, child care workers, and teachers teach you how to teach parents practical parenting skills–as part of therapy, as a result of a parent-staff conference, or in a class setting.

The first workshop focuses on helping parents develop Nurturing behaviors.  These include Realistic Expectations, Empathy, and effective Parent Messages.

The second workshop focuses on helping parents develop Structuring  Behaviors.  These include “Heading Them off at the Pass,” setting limits, imposing consequences, and focusing on discipline, rather than punishment.

These workshops will be offered in the fall of 2011.  Specific dates will be posted by August, 2011

IDEALS also offers Intern and Extern experiences in working with parents through our classes at the Fayette County Detention Center and in Lexington.  For information about Intern and Extern opportunities, contact Mary Ortwein at or 859-806-448

Helping Parents Nurture

Help parents learn how to use skills to nurture their children.  These skills include having Realistic Expectations, Empathy, and effective Parent Messages.  During this 6 hr workshop, you will learn strategies to use to teach each of these concepts to parents in a practical way.

Learning Objectives:

At the conclusion of this workshop participants will:

  • Identify indicators that a parent lacks nurturing skills
  • Help parents identify what are realistic expectations for their child
  • Help parents use empathy with their children in play, when a child is upset, and when the parent is upset with the child
  • Help parents use effective expression to get cooperation from their children.

6 hr Agenda


Introduction:  Parents without the Warm and Fuzzy

Behind the Behaviors:  Brief review of attachment, brain chemistry, and learned skills as they apply to parenting behaviors

Teaching Parents to Have Realistic Expectations


Teaching Parents to Listen with Empathy

  • Informal play and conversation
  • When child is upset
  • When parent is upset with child

Teaching Parents to Express for Cooperation

  • When asking a child to do ordinary tasks
  • When child is upset
  • When parent is upset with Child

Using what you’ve learned

Helping Parents Structure

Help Parents learn to discipline, rather than punish.  What’s the difference?  Discipline focuses on helping children self-monitor in age appropriate ways.  It teaches children to be good, rather than punishes them for being bad.  Strategies taught in the course include “Heading ’em off at the Pass–Prevention by Thinking Ahead; Setting Limits; Imposing Consequences; and Thinking about Discipline.


At the end of this workshop participants will be able to:

  • Teach parents how to Plan Ahead to Prevent Problems
  • Teach parents how to set limits
  • Teach parents how to impose consequences when limits are broken
  • Teach parents to see their role as helping children self-regulate

6 CE Agenda:


Setting the Stage:  Children Who Self-Monitor Have ALL the Advantages

Structuring to Prevent Problems:  Planning Ahead for What MIGHT Happen

Setting Limits


Setting Limits, cont.

Imposing Appropriate Consequences

Particularly Troublesome Situations:

  • Working with Parents Who Are Strict Today, Lax Tomorrow
  • Working with Parents Who Don’t Follow Through
  • Working beyond Patterns of Abuse