The Incredible Years is a popular evidence based parent training program that strengthens parenting competencies. Incredible Years is offered through Addiction and Mental Health Services, and the Mental Health Foundation has just signed on to fund it for the next five years.
The Incredible Years program that AHS offers is unique because it has been adapted specifically to assist parents who are healing, as well as needing help with their parenting. The 14 week group incorporates trauma-informed practice and Addiction and Mental Health Intervention to provide relevant support to parents in recovery.
Parents who are struggling with substance abuse can be referred to the program to learn how to appropriately address their children’s behavioral issues, while still focusing on their own treatment path.
The program teaches topics such as emotional regulation, safety, self-soothing, healthy boundaries and relationships, and control.
The program is particularly valuable because it offers parents the opportunity for peer support.
Why this Program is Important:
Parents with substance abuse problems need parenting advice that they can relate to their personal situations. The program’s addiction focus means that there is common ground for all the participants. Everyone already knows you’re there because of an addiction, and help is provided to reflect that. As well as fostering an atmosphere of non-judgment, this removes one of the major barriers to getting help: parents are afraid that their children will be apprehended.
No one should feel like it is not okay to ask for help. Providing an accepting environment means that many parents—who would otherwise struggle alone—will get help. Says one of the program’s past participants: “The group was a safe space to cry and talk.” Supporting parents while their children are still young will help them raise healthy, successful adults.