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"Triple P" course at odds with attachment theory... anyone done it?

(50 Posts)
pookamoo Mon 10-Nov-14 21:41:19

DH & I started a Triple P course run by our local Children's Centre last week.
We have read ahead in the handbook and there is a huge emphasis on praise, time-outs, consequences and so-on.

It feels wrong to us. We have always leant towards attachment parenting, and have read plenty of research on time-outs etc which suggest they are not effective in the long term (no judgement on those who use them, though!).

Has anyone completed the course coming from this angle and found it to be helpful?

I am reading Dr Laura Markham's "Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids" book at the same time, and while the advice she gives is far more inline with our way of thinking as a family, I can't help feeling we may be massively judged if we question (politely) the advice given on the course...

pookamoo Mon 10-Nov-14 21:45:03

Also, Markham's book has lots of research references (properly credited) whereas the handbook we have been given on the course seems to be along the Supernanny lines, although apparently it was developed by psychologists.

It seems really out of date but the most recent edition (which we have) is 2012.

ROARmeow Mon 10-Nov-14 22:33:29

What was the course for?

If you're happy to lean towards an attachment parenting style then just go with that and don't fret about what other's people's styles are.

I too lean toward an attachment parenting style with both my DC. With DC1 I was bit more nervous and seeking validation that it was 'okay'. With DC2 I don't give a stuff and we just live our lives in the best way that we want.

Even though the handbook seems quite supernanny-esq don't dismiss it as tosh. A lot of doctors and psychology experts think that way in very black and white terms.

Basically it's hard to find qualitative research on this topic which is completely solid as there are so many individual variables. eg. not all households run the same way, not all kids have the same health abilities etc.

At the end of the day, you do what works best and feels the most caring for your family and what keeps you closest to the right side of sanity.

DollyTwat Mon 10-Nov-14 22:36:25

I'm interested to hear what people have to say on the PPP course
I've been told it's really good and am waiting to go on it

I was kinda hoping it would be the magic bullet I need to deal with ds1

KatyMac Mon 10-Nov-14 22:46:51

I think it may depend on why you are on the course

If it's just because you fancy it - then it just might not be the right course for you

If it's because what you are doing isn't working for your DC (which I don't think is the case) then trying something else might help

If it's been suggested (by school or nursery) then you may need to think about whether the methods are the ones used by the nursery/school they attend and if running 2 divergent systems of behaviour management is going to help your child

pookamoo Mon 10-Nov-14 22:59:23

Thanks for the replies.

The course was suggested by the school as DD1 (5.11) has been struggling at home (and so have we) with behaviour, boundaries, etc. I asked the school parent support advisor for help, and she suggested this. She has said that it is not a course she has sent parents on before and is interested in hearing our feedback.

Dolly we were also hoping for the magic key to success!

The course runs for 4 weeks as a group course we attend, then 3 weeks phone calls and one more group session.

We've not dismissed the handbook, and we're filling in the table of "behaviour" as requested for homework. It's only week 1, so we will see how it goes. We read ahead in the handbook and were surprised to see the flowcharts just basically saying "if child doesn't do as they are told, put them in time out for x minutes" and similar. It just seems a bit out of date...

The thing is, like all parents, we want to do the best we can for our children (we have two DDs), and we've done a bit of reading around the subject. We fell into attachment type parenting and then found that what we were doing by virtue of our family's culture and natural instincts (breastfeeding, sling carrying, co-sleeping, BLW, no sleep training, gentle discipline etc) had a label!

Finding ourselves in a position where we seem to be effectively being told that what we have done is wrong and the reason why we're in a tricky situation with our lovely DD is a bit scary - especially when we don't think it is wrong - we just need a few tools and a bit of support to help her handle her emotions.

The course handbook is written in a way that is designed to make children suppress their emotions and obey their parents, rather than strengthening the attachment and creating trust - leading to a more comfortable life for everyone!

pookamoo Mon 10-Nov-14 22:59:53

ooh sorry, that was quite waffly!

KatyMac Mon 10-Nov-14 23:05:44

Not waffly at all - is her behaviour at home new or recent or is it an extension of what has been happening before?

I find that multiple sets of rules can confuse some children; so if at school your DD has to comply with school & classroom rules (& if they are significantly different to yours) she may find it difficult she may 'play up' at home in order to compensate.

StarlightMcKenzie Mon 10-Nov-14 23:10:35

I'm not sure the two are incompatible. Tbh from what I know about PPP is that it is a simplified version of a more behavioural approach, which is what makes it feel a bit crude or blunt.

Myself, I am both a behaviourist and an attachment parent and find the two compliment each other nicely. I think the two most important aspects of both are knowledge of motivations and boundaries. That is not the same thing as unwavering compliance.

pookamoo Mon 10-Nov-14 23:14:11

We started having problems before she started school, and put it down firstly to being ready to leave preschool and start school, then being bored with me at home over the summer holidays with her baby sister, then being tired when she started school, then it just got to the point where I realised I couldn't make any more "reasons" up for her, and we had to do something about it.

She is incredibly anxious. I see myself in her very clearly, and I would love to give her the tools I never had as a child to help her deal with this. She throws huge tantrums and has massive outbursts of emotion, often directed at me or DH. It can be like living with a teenager, almost "I hate you you are not my real parents!" territory. We certainly get slamming doors and running off screaming.

As parents we feel ineffective as neither DC (DD2 is 3.1 now) seem to listen to a word we say, and it is making us question whether we have been "soft" on them. Our instincts say no, we are just tired!

DD2 has not yet slept through the night, although she does start off in her own bed, I have to lie with her until she is asleep. This makes me tired and often shouty, which I really, really dislike.

We just need some support to help us regroup our thoughts (DH & me). We are still hoping the course will help us to do that, and we will be able to work some of their advice around the things we already do.

We have no family near us for a break at all, and we are tired out!

SanityClause Mon 10-Nov-14 23:16:37

Try the "How to Talk So Kids Will Listen...." books. I think they would suit your style more. The main ideas are that everyone is entitled to their own feelings, and that all behaviour has natural consequences. There is no "punishment" per se, but if a child behaves badly, they have to live with the consequences. Eg, if a child had a tantrum at soft play, they might have to have their session cut short, or if they ate a cake you were saving for dinner, they might have to have a yoghurt, while everyone else gets to eat their cake for pudding.

The feelings bit is really important. Children are allowed to express their emotions, and also need to accept that others around them, including adults, have a right to their own feelings.

There are lots of practical tips, which it sounds like you need. You have the theory, you're just struggling in practise (like the rest of us).

KatyMac Mon 10-Nov-14 23:17:30

'Unwavering compliance' that is a lovely term - some things I do want 'Unwavering compliance' things like not hitting or pushing.

Others it's a negotiation about expectation and importance - I prefer children to wear a coat and shoes outside when the weather is a bit colder. So we can discuss it and allow some variation. However when it's wet under foot, shoes are required if the temperature is low (ie now) but not mid summer & if it's frosty & you want to play out - shoes & coat are required.

Remember I do mainly under 3s grin they get harder after that

pookamoo Mon 10-Nov-14 23:18:36

The first session of the course had some very good reminders of why children sometimes behave the way they do. But it didn't really suggest that being there for them was a valid thing to do - i.e. mostly it suggested that you shouldn't reward them for "bad" behaviour by giving them attenion... yet hasn't research shown that most of the time children are playing up, it's because they are craving attention, and pre-empting it by actually giving them the attention is more effective?

KatyMac Mon 10-Nov-14 23:19:42

I like 'natural consequences' too - that is a really great book

StarlightMcKenzie Mon 10-Nov-14 23:20:39

You don't withhold attention, you just give them she'd loads of it when they are behaving well. It helps them to choose the better option for behaving.

StarlightMcKenzie Mon 10-Nov-14 23:21:03


pookamoo Mon 10-Nov-14 23:21:17

As we are fast discovering, KatyMac

Thank you everyone for your input on the thread, by the way. It feels very supportive - I was expecting people to come on and flame us for being pushovers with no boundaries!

(We do have boundaries, by the way)

How To Talk is on the bookshelf somewhere, I must read it through again. Thanks for that, sanity!

StarlightMcKenzie Mon 10-Nov-14 23:22:50

Course not. Boundaries are just as important in attachment parenting. It develops respect of each other.

KatyMac Mon 10-Nov-14 23:24:52

It's hard

You have to ignore the bad and 'catch' them doing good by commenting positively on any small thing that is 'good'

Well done for waiting while I put your sisters coat on (even if you did throw a strop about it)
Good listening (on the third time of asking why couldn't you do it first time)
Thank you for being gentle with the cat (as you know he will scratch if you aren't)
I'm so pleased you finished your tea (even if it did take you 25 minutes)

If you put loads of effort in you can 'catch' them being 'good' every few minutes - but sometimes the 'stretch' for being 'good' is quite large smile

Natural consequences is stuff like the cat scratching if she is rough or missing her TV programme as she didn't finish tea in time

pookamoo Mon 10-Nov-14 23:28:14

Ahh but starlight apparently by doing that we teach them that they only need to exhibit good behaviour when they are being watched, so for example, good sharing happens when children are being watched, but when they are not, they become worse at it when not being watched as they kind of learn that nobody would just share out of the goodness of their own heart.

Shedloads of praise takes the enjoyment out of their own achievements, so constructive encouragement is a better way to go.

Before I sound like a total nutter, I just read that this evening, by the way (NOT in the PPP book which advocates tonnes of praise for good behaviour). Talk about a minefield! I can see where they are coming from though.

KatyMac Mon 10-Nov-14 23:28:28

My mum (parenting in the 70s) said that children thrive on boundaries; I was chatting with my cousins more recently (my mum was one of six) & they all said they loved coming to Aunty X house - because she explained the rules and then kept them.

For some of the cousins she was very lax, for others she was very strict but they liked that she told them the deal & then stuck to it. At other aunties houses one day you might be allowed a biscuit before tea, another you might be shouted at for asking or another time you might only get cake for tea - so you never knew where you were....

StarlightMcKenzie Mon 10-Nov-14 23:31:48

You're describing adult behaviour, not a developing child's. Their sense of self-worth and image is the reflection of their attached parent. Their 'inner-voice' comes from them. Their contextual and culturally embedded sense if right and wrong is learned through their parents approvals or otherwise.

KatyMac Mon 10-Nov-14 23:32:43

I wouldn't say that was true

I had a nearly 3yo come up to me today & say "I'm a good girl - I shared with my dolly and with XX" and she got loads of praise; but no-one saw her

Children will often tell you if they have been 'naughty' (non-conforming) so they can be told off and then put it behind them - they need the acknowledgement that they did 'wrong'

Naughty, good & wrong are all adult views of children's behaviours not absolutes

KatyMac Mon 10-Nov-14 23:33:26

Starlight said that better

Tzibeleh Mon 10-Nov-14 23:36:53

I've done the TripleP young teens course, and felt that (a) it really complemented the Faber & Mazlish books, and (b) it encouraged an attachment-style attitude.

I don't know that the under-10s course would be like, but the teens one reminded us to actually pay attention to our dc, to actively listen to them and respect their feelings - if not necessarily their wishes.

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