Real Talk programme creates a ripple effect in communities

Families in Strathmore and across the Wellington region are learning about conscious parenting and breaking the cycle through  the 'Real Talk' parenting programme.

Three trials over a 12 month period has helped developed the Real Talk parenting programme, run by Wesley Community Action in Porirua. 

“Parents who have come from challenging backgrounds told us that they wanted a forum for discussing parenting, but never felt they could relate to existing programmes” says Tualie Smith (parent leader).

Wesley responded by taking the best ‘fit’ from a variety of parenting programmes and developing something unique that resonates with the local parents they want to reach.

Within the programme, parents are encouraged to take the best of what they had growing up and build on it. They reflect on the negatives from their upbringing and make a conscious decision to parent more positively so they can share a happier life with their children.

Encouraging parent leaders

The programme will soon be trialled in Wellington’s eastern suburbs as part of Wesley’s initiative to engagemore of the community in positive parenting. Developing parent leaders is a fundamental part of the programme.

Wesley identified four parent leaders in the Eastern Suburbs who could facilitate the first course.

“Two of the parents already have experience in becoming parent leaders and another two were identified from their participation in a previous course,” Tualie said.

They were approached to see if they were interested in leading a course and have since been trained in Real Talk. They are currently planning and organising the initial course to be held in the area.

Photo montage of the real talk whānau

Developing parenting capability

From here, parent leaders will identify and support other parent leaders to promote positive parenting.

Tualie says “a ‘ripple’ effect is created that enhances confidence and increases self-belief in the parents, helping to create a community within a community.”

Wesley want to engage parents who are facing a lot of life challenges and are yet to build any trusted, supportive connections in their community. By taking this approach, parents in isolated situations are being helped to form meaningful connections with other whānau who live close to them.

The Real Talk programme was made possible with support from the SKIP Local Initiative Fund. If you have a great idea to make positive change for whānau in your community, get in touch with us.