As with therapy, adopters are frequently offered a variety of courses, mostly intended to help them parent their children more effectively. Below are summaries of some of the courses I have come across.
Some of them are offered by local authorities or charities and you will be expected to attend a number of sessions. Others are offered as online or home study courses. The latter can be very useful in that you can squeeze them into a crowded schedule. But the main drawback is that you won’t get to meet other adopters who are “in the same boat” as you. The friendships I have formed with other adopters have been, in my experience, easily the most helpful outcome of any parenting course I’ve attended.
Again, contributions from course providers, as well as reviews by those who have attended the courses, will be most welcome. Potential authors should note, though, that this is not a forum for people with personal axes to grind, and only measured and considered reviews will be published. The reviews do not need to be positive, but criticism must be well-founded and backed up by evidence. Obviously, nothing defamatory will be published. Equally, course providers should only make claims for the efficacy of their particular course that can be substantiated by proper research.
Incredible Years ® aka Webster-Stratton
(Caroline Webster-Stratton being the person who devised the course initially)
This is a general parenting course. The main focus is on time spent on child-led play with the carer commenting in a non-challenging and non-judgmental way. Many adoption agencies and some local authorities run this course, modified to suit adoptive families. For example, techniques such as reward charts and “time out” might be changed to include “time in” and short term reward systems that have proved to be more effective for adopted children who may have attachment and trauma issues.
Inspire Training Online Courses
These are short courses targeted at a range of common problematic behaviours that adopted children can present. The modular design means that you can pick and choose to address whatever is the current most pressing issue in your household. The courses are very inexpensive, with some of the bite-size videos dealing with problems such as “nonsense chatter” and “’mad’ lying” costing as little as £5. The courses have been developed by highly experienced foster carers and adopters and have an authentic “we’ve been there, nothing can shock us” tone to them. You can find out more here: https://inspiretraininggroup.com/index.php/training-and-development/test
Parenting Attachment Challenged Children Home Study Course
A parenting course by American expert, Bryan Post. You can find out more about it here: https://postinstitute.com/store/parenting-attachment-challenged-children-hands-on-home-study-course/ and more about The Post Institute here: https://postinstitute.com/
It is quite expensive, and I have not seen any reviews of it, but I do know many parents who rate his approach, especially when it comes to dealing with stealing and lying.
Parenting our Children
Together with Family Futures, Adoption UK has developed a new parenting programme to replace their previous course, “It’s a Piece of Cake”. According to the Adoption UK website: “It has been designed to equip parents with knowledge and understanding of developmental trauma and give them the tools they need to parent children who have had experienced this(sic), along with attachment issues.” You will need to be assessed beforehand, and the course can be funded by the Adoption Support Fund.
After Adoption also offer a therapeutic parenting programme for adoptive family. It consists of a family session (based on Theraplay®), a 4-day parenting programme, followed by ongoing parent support groups. You can find out more here: http://www.afteradoption.org.uk/i-am-thinking-about-adoption-support/as-an-adoptive-family/safebase/
Therapies and Courses are presented in alphabetical order and not in order of importance or efficacy or any other subjective measure.
All pictures used in this article are stock photos and are not directly associated with any of the therapies or courses mentioned.