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Child-parent relationships are benefitting from Utah County classes

October 27, 2018 GMT

Parents and children are strengthening their relationships through classes taught at Wasatch Mental Health.

The Child-Parent Relationship Therapy classes have been giving dozens of families the tools needed to improve their lives.

Foster parents, adoptive parents, people working with Division of Child and Family Services to get their children back, parents of children with difficult behaviors, those trying to cope with divorce or other difficult situations or parents who are simply struggling with the goings-on of everyday parenting are taking the course. Wasatch’s American Fork clinic has been holding the classes for ten years. Recently, classes began in the Provo and Spanish Fork clinics as well.

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Sheri Rowley, who runs the American Fork classes, said that the course is a 10-week set of classes that build upon each other from week to week. They are designed to teach parents how to use some of the same skills that play therapists use to help children who are experiencing social, emotional or behavioral problems.

Rowley said that in 10 weeks, parents will learn how to regain control, help their children develop self-control, discipline effectively, limit inappropriate behavior, gain an understanding of their children’s emotional needs and communicate more effectively.

“We’ve seen many different people and situations benefited by this class,” she said.

Parents who have taken the course agree, according to comments that they have left with Rowley.

“Before I came to class, I really didn’t like my role as parent and I felt my child could feel how I was feeling. Now my child seems so much happier and more loving,” said one parent.

“I am a single mom of five young children. I recently, in the past year, escaped my ex-husband of extreme control and domestic violence. Upon the freedom of myself and my kids, they shot off like fireworks at the new life of freedom. I was unable to direct them and refused to use fear tactics. This class gave me the courage and knowledge to teach my children with love, give them choices and still gain respect as their mom,” said another parent who took the course.

Parents attend the class without their children. Then, they go home and put into practice what they have learned in the classes. Parents of children of all ages have learned from the program, even though it is designed for those with children age ten and younger. “I’ve had multiple parents or guardians of teenagers that have used these same things to great success,” Rowley said.

Many of the participants get involved in the course because of referrals from their therapists, court or Division of Child and Family Services. Others, who are clients of Wasatch Mental Health, have heard about the course and asked to be involved. The courses run continuously. When the 10 weeks are finished, a new course begins. For more information, check out http://www.wasatch.org.