Can someone who has never run a group before lead the "How to Talk..." or "Sibling" program?
Yes. While the programs are widely used by mental health professionals, they were designed so that they can also be run successfully by any motivated person. No special expertise is required. The task of the chairperson is to guide the group through the different exercises by reading the directions aloud and operating the audio or video player. Faber and Mazlish "lead" the group. If a question arises, the chairperson is not expected to be the "answer person." Instead, the question is turned back to the group for exploration and discussion.
Are these workshops designed for parents of children of any particular age group?
Since the communication skills in these workshops apply to people of all ages and all caring relationships, any parent with a child of any age can benefit. However, parents usually feel more comfortable being in a group with other parents whose children are in a similar age group experiencing similar issues and problems.
Can the workshops be used for a range of people with different social, economic, and ethnic backgrounds?
Yes. After reviewing a variety of parenting programs, the Wisconsin Committee for the Prevention of Child Abuse chose the "How To Talk" audio program as their curriculum for parent support groups. Among the reasons stated for their selection was: "It appeals to parents of different backgrounds and educational levels. Although books are given to each parent, those who can't read, learn by listening. Cartoons provide visual reinforcement. Role play practice lets people learn by doing. The workshops have universal applicability because they minimize cultural, religious or socioeconomic status indicators. They incorporate both male and female examples."
I've run groups successfully for mothers. How do I encourage fathers to take the course?
Obviously you need to start by scheduling the course at a time when most fathers are available - usually evenings or weekends. One chairperson told us her "Y" offered families a simple "pizza supper" followed by a workshop for parents in one room and childcare for their children in another room. Another chairperson included the following on all material publicizing the program:
For Mothers and Fathers
An opportunity to learn together new communication skills that can serve you at home and in the workplace.
Can I or my organization charge for the workshops and how much can I charge?
Yes, you are certainly entitled to charge for all the time, preparation and effort involved in organizing and leading a group. How much you charge is up to you, and your assessment of what seems "fair and reasonable" for your area. Of course, you'll need to factor in the cost of the Participant's Workbook and the paperback book or books that are required reading.
Does the chairperson need a separate copy of the Participant's Workbook?
No. The Participant's Workbook, printed on white paper, is included in the Chairperson's Guide. All directions to the chairperson are printed on colored pages. You'll find the white pages of the Participant's Workbook integrated sequentially with the colored pages of the Chairperson's Guide.
Is it best to offer the "How To Talk..." workshop first, or can I begin with the "Sibling" workshop?
Some chairpersons choose to start with the "Sibling" program. They want to address directly the needs of parents with battling siblings. However, those chairpersons who have had experience with both programs tell us that participants have an easier time understanding and applying the skills of "Siblings Without Rivalry" after they've practiced and mastered the basic skills in the "How To Talk So Kids Will Listen" course.
I want to buy "How To Talk...", but how do I decide between the audio and the video versions?
There are advantages to each. The audio program is less costly, requires only the use of a CD player, is easily portable and has universal appeal. Despite differences in background or culture, participants can listen to the examples on the audio tapes and picture themselves using the skills.
The video program offers demonstrations of helpful versus unhelpful methods, shows a parent group in action being led by Faber and Mazlish, and works well with large as well as small groups.
Still undecided? One chairperson who starts with the audio told us that when the seven sessions are over, her group invariably wants to go on. She then continues with the video program as a way of offering additional examples, deepening understanding, and reinforcing skills.
Does each participant in the "How To Talk..." workshop really need both Liberated Parents/Liberated Children as well as How To Talk So Kids Will Listen? Isn't one book enough?
The two hours recommended for each session do not cover all the information parents need in order to make maximum use of their new skills. By doing the short reading assignments in each book, parents gain additional insights that they are then asked to share with others at the beginning of each session. This lively sharing of additional skills and ideas from the required reading gives the group the opportunity to learn from each other and reinforces each participant's new communication skills.
Does each participant really need a workbook, especially since some of the material in the workbook appears in the paperback books?
Although the workbook does duplicate some of the material in the books, it is exactly what its name implies, a book in which to do your coursework: to write down answers to the written exercises, to read instructions for role plays, to keep a record of notes, observations, assignments, homework answers and personal progress.
It is the very act of writing in one's own workbook that reinforces the insights, attitudes and skills that are experienced in each workshop session.
In addition, the workbook was specifically designed to coordinate with the instructions in the Chairperson's Guide in order to create a smoothly flowing session. We wanted participants to be free to focus on the principles and skills rather than having to search for the place in the books that might correspond to the chairperson's directions. At the end of the entire workshop series, each participant will carry away a permanent record of his or her experience.
Is there any way to evaluate the effectiveness of the workshop?
An evaluation sheet is included in every Chairperson's Guide. It was designed for chairpersons who wish to gauge just what and how much participants have gained from the experience.
An article published in the Journal of Extension, Vol. 33, No. 1, Feb. 1995, reports that in a recent study of five different family education programs, "How To Talk..." had the highest percentage (88%) of respondents reporting 1 to 3 positive behavioral changes 2 to 5 months after the last session.
Any other questions?
The above are the questions we have been most frequently asked. If you have any other questions or concerns or encounter problems in the course of running your group, you are urged to contact our customer counselor service.
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