Posts Tagged ‘Antisocial behaviour’

Thousands to get lessons in parenting

Thursday, November 20th, 2008

Why do you think we have these out of control 0-7 year olds?

Thousands to get lessons in parenting

By LANE NICHOLS – The Dominion Post | Friday, 21 November 2008

A Government scheme that sends parents of violent or misbehaving children to parenting courses is to expand to up to 15,000 more families.

Officials estimate that children with severe antisocial behavioural problems each cost society $3 million during their lives through crime and other state spending.

Parents of chronically disruptive children are now being sent on state-run parenting courses in a bid to address their children’s antisocial behaviour – some through court and Probation Service referrals.

The 12 to 20-week group courses, which include homework assignments on how to play with children, teach parenting skills such as rewarding good behaviour, setting boundaries and discipline.

Hundreds of parents have taken part since last year.

Officials intend to expand the scheme to the parents of 15,000 children thought to have chronic behavioural problems, who amount to 5 per cent of the country’s three to eight-year-olds.

Initial research involving about 200 parents suggests the courses – known as the Incredible Years programme – have resulted in vastly improved behaviour for up to 75 per cent of the children whose parents took part.

Principal Youth Court Judge Andrew Becroft praised the broadening of the “excellent” initiative. He said early intervention was crucial in preventing children from growing into a life of crime.

“So often the battle is won or lost at that age. The longer I am in the Youth Court, the more I realise the problems we get are really formed in the 0-5, 0-7 ages.”

The work is part of a five-year plan targeting severe antisocial behaviour in young children involving education, health, justice and social agencies.

The Education Ministry says an Auckland University study estimated that the lifetime cost to society of a chronic adolescent antisocial male is $3 million.

Officials hope the ministry-led project will help save billions of dollars by preventing an unchecked slide into unemployment, mental health problems, substance abuse, crime and prison.

“If we get in early we can curb aggressive behaviour in children and decrease disobedience before they develop into permanent behaviour patterns,” ministry documents say.

Severe behaviour displayed by children as young as two included tantrums, swearing, yelling, hitting, kicking, talking back and refusing to share toys. Problem children were identified through before-school health checks, teacher and GP referrals, or parents.

Special education deputy secretary Nicholas Pole said the key was intervening early. “It starts with good parenting skills.”