The Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) will introduce evidence-based programmes to support parents in building strong relationships with their children in the teen and pre-teen years. This was announced by Parliamentary Secretary for Social and Family Development Ms Low Yen Ling at an appreciation lunch for schools onboard the FamilyMatters@School programme.
From middle of 2014, MSF will work with MOE and the community to pilot the Positive Parenting Programme (Triple P) and Signposts, which are widely regarded as effective parenting programmes in the schools. Based on experiences worldwide, these programmes have proven to be effective in improving children’s behaviours and reducing parenting stresses, by equipping parents with practical and easy-to-understand tools to encourage positive behaviour in their children. Parents who participate in the pilot will be provided support through different avenues, such as seminars, individual consultation and group sessions, to best suit their individual needs. MSF will assess the effectiveness of the pilot through studies with the schools and parents.
Parliamentary Secretary Ms Low shared, "Parenting is one of the most rewarding yet toughest jobs in the world. Besides loving our children, we need to learn the practical skills of parenting. This is all the more important today as we face the pressures of a fast changing world hastened by media and technology. Our tweens and teens are vulnerable to the onslaught of influences that meet them every day. By bringing Triple P and Signposts to schools, we strengthen the partnership between parents and teachers. Raising a child takes teamwork – and we want to foster great teamwork – so that at home or at school, our children have guiding posts lighting their way to a secure and bright future."
Under MSF’s FamilyMatters@School, 277 schools have been organising family life education programmes for parents and students in the last financial year. These programmes currently cater to a wide range of families, and were well received by schools and parents. Out of this, 198 schools achieved or surpassed the 100-hour target, which is an increase of about 20 per cent from the previous year. Since its inception in 2002, the School Family Education programme has reached out to near 2 million participants. About 9 in 10 school staff and parents surveyed recognised the importance of family life programmes in schools and are pleased with the programmes.
Family life educator Ms Evelyn Khong welcomes the move by MSF to pilot evidence-based parenting programmes in schools. “I have heard much of how parents and children benefitted from evidence-based parenting programmes overseas, and am excited that MSF is piloting these programmes locally in schools. In the past, we have helped many parents improve the relationship with their children through the various family education programmes. It is now timely to adopt a more targeted approach and I certainly look forward to seeing significant behavioural improvements in our children as they mature into young, responsible adults.”