Workshops aim to help any family pull closer together

A workshop series is coming to Hazelton to help families become more cohesive.

The free eight-week Strengthening Families Program is coming to the Hazeltons next month and any family interested in decreasing everyday stress levels is encouraged to attend.

Before the workshops can happen, however, more than a dozen local facilitators needed to run the workshops received training last weekend.

The SFP workshops are presented by Northern Society for Domestic Peace’s Jason James and funded by the Ministry of Children and Family Development.

“This is meant to be more of a bonding with your kids approach which is called attachment parenting,” James said.

James has been conducting these workshops for nearly two years, but this is the first time the SFP workshops will be offered by him in the Hazeltons.

Families of all shapes and sizes have been involved in previous workshops and James hopes to have six or seven interested families participate next month.

Raising children in today’s fast-paced world is challenging in its own right and these workshops aim to provide ideas that will bring families closer together, James said.

“It’s all about what parents expect out of their children at certain ages,” James said. “A lot of parents who’ve participated in this program have noticed a decrease in stress after applying just a handful of the techniques we share in the workshops.”

The workshops happen once a week and split parents and children up into two separate groups to work on the same topic, such as listening or speaking in a respectful manner.

“Kids and parents are doing the same thing delivered differently to each group,” James said.

Once the children and parents finish with their respective activity the groups are brought  together, James added.

This round of workshops is for families with children age six to 11 years old.

“We work on getting parents to communicate with their children more and also rewarding good behaviour,” James said.

One of the SFP techniques is making a ‘spin chart’ where rewards are written on a wheel and when the parent recognizes their child do something good they go to the wheel and spin it to determine the reward.

“One of the rewards could be 15 minutes with dad,” James said. “If that’s the case we encourage parents, when spending time with their kids, to follow their lead instead of being an authoritative figure all the time.”

There is also a drug and alcohol component, which is already part of the world of young children, James said.

“Even at a young age kids are pretty aware,” James said. “I’ve had kids who say things like, ‘Yeah, I know about that stuff.’ If it’s in the community the kids most likely know about it because they pick things up quicker than most adults realize.”

If you are interested in participating in the eight-week SFP workshop write to Jason James at sfpcoordinator@gmail.com or call 250-847-9000.