New parenting course is ‘Incredible

A new program at Mount Sterling Community Center offers guidance to parents and caregivers of children ages 2 to 8.

“The Incredible Years” will begin Jan. 10 and meet each Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m. for 12 weeks. The program is free.

“A program goal for the Community Center was to offer parenting classes,” said Annie Tomlinson, interim director. “Lori Thomas from the Madison County Department of Family and Children First approached us about putting on The Incredible Years to meet that goal.”

Family and Children First is providing the instructor and materials for the program. The purpose is to provide parents, grandparents, guardians and teachers with support and strategies for caring for and rearing young children.

“We’ve put this program on five different times with other groups in the county since February,” said Mary Burns, a prevention coordinator with Family and Children First. “Using the strategies they learn in class, participants say they are seeing less behavioral problems in their kids, and they are feeling a stronger connection to their kids.”

The classes at Mount Sterling Community Center will follow a textbook written by licensed clinical psychologist Dr. Carolyn Webster-Stratton. The textbook, which is free to all participants, is based on Webster-Stratton’s 25 years of research with over 3,000 families.

“The focus of The Incredible Years is on the positive, rather than the negative,” Burns said.

The course covers a wide array of topics, including: how to play with your child; positive attention, encouragement and praise; tangible rewards, incentives and celebrations; limit setting; ignoring; time out to calm down; natural and logical consequences; teaching children to solve problems; helping children learn to regulate their emotions; teaching children friendship skills and ways to cope with peer problems; controlling upsetting thoughts; stress and anger management; communication skills; problem-solving between adults; and working with teachers to prevent problems.

“There will be a lot of hands-on activi-ties and short videos of real-life situations,” Burns said of the class structure. “There will be a lot of open discussion, rather than lecture. Participants will share their experiences and get ideas from each other and from the program.”

Participants are encouraged to bring their children to the Incredible Years. While the adults are in class, the children will be invited to take part in development activities.

Anyone who would like an application or more information about The Incredible Years may call the Community Center at 740-869-2453. The center is located at 164 E. Main St. in Mount Sterling. Information on the program also is available through the Madison County Department of Family and Children First at 740-852-5343.

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