What is the Strengthening Families Programme?
The Strengthening Families Programme for 12 – 16 year olds is a 14 session family skills training programme. It is an evidence based family skills training programme developed by Dr. Karol L. Kumpfer and associates at the University of Utah in 1982. This programme has been proven to help build communication skills, address and decrease risk factors in families and promote protective factors, all whilst having fun in the process!
The programme is designed to give parents and their children the opportunity to learn new, healthy communication skills that create positive relationships within families. These new skills also assist and reduce the risk of young people getting involved in adverse behaviours.
Each evening, three classes are run:
- Parent skills training
- Teen skills training
- Family life skills training
These sessions are run in two and a half hours blocks for 14 weeks. All the groups are run by facilitators who have trained in SFP and have experience of working with young people and families in the community.
To mark the end of the programme, a final graduation ceremony will be held to celebrate the families’ achievements and a family photograph will be presented.
How Does it Operate?
Families attend each week for two and a half hours. The evening begins with a family dinner for the first half hour in order to meet and socialise with facilitators and other members of the group. Once dinner has finished the group splits in to two. During the next hour the parents/caregivers come together with the teens going in to a separate room. In the second hour, groups will come together to discuss and practice new skills as a whole group.
- Parents Skills Training
- Parents will learn new skills to increase desired behaviours in their teens through:
- Clear Communication
- Substance Use Education
- Problem Solving
- Limit Setting
- Teen Skills Training
- In the Teen Group skills are presented on how to:
- Communicate Positively
- Understand Feelings
- Cope with Criticism
- Manage Stress
- Develop Social Skills
- Learn Problem Solving
- Resist Peer Pressure
- Understanding the consequences of substance abuse
- How short term consequences affect long term dreams and goals
Benefits for Families
- Increased family quality time.
- Learning of effective communication skills.
- Coping and Managing Skills in relation to feelings such as anger.
- Learning how to manage stress.
- Resisting Peer Pressure. (Teens)
- Improving parenting skills and family relationships.
- Incentives for Attendance.
- Makes learning “Life Skills” easier for high stress families.
- A formal graduation with family portrait.
We understand that it can be difficult for families to attend. In order to help overcome this barrier a meal is provided every night for all the family to enjoy before the session begins. In addition, childcare is provided on site for younger family members aged 4—11yrs while the programme is running.
Weekly Family Support
Throughout the running of the programme families will link in on a weekly basis with a Link Person or the agency that referred them in order to access support and guidance around the programme for that week. Additional supports and guidance around implementing some of the ideas that have been learned each week are also offered.
Who delivers the programme?
A variety of professionals from the community of County Limerick deliver the programme. These include youth workers, family workers health promotion workers and volunteers. All the facilitators are fully trained and also have a lot of experience working with young people and families in the community.
The photograph shows existing members of the Strengthening Families Programme here in Hospital Family Resource Centre.
Quotes from previous parents who attended the Strengthening Families Programme:
Strengthening Families taught us how to see each other as individuals and that we can be happy together as a family.
I am really glad that we had that time just the two of us ..…. He is now gone on to college and I am really glad we had those fourteen weeks together.
Feedback from previous facilitators of the Strengthening Families Programme:
I really enjoyed the challenge and experience of being part of the interaction between agencies, facilitators and families. The relationship of parent/teen and facilitator is I believe the cornerstone of any programme.
The learning is amazing and there is a great connection with parents, teens and other facilitators. I loved being part of that group and to have the opportunity to have helped.
Seeing the effect the graduation had on the parents and teens was fantastic.
How do you find out more?
Please contact: Martha Potter, Coordinator
Hospital Family Resource Centre,
Tel: 061 383884 or 087 0872813341