Guide to Implementation

There are several possible ways to implement Raising a Thinking Child. Now in workbook form for children ages 3 to 7 (Shure, 1996b), the program provides a set of interactive exercises with pictures children can color, circle, or draw lines through and exercises for parents to help them move to the problem-solving stage of the process.

One training model is for a parent educator to meet with a small group of parents for a period of 6 weeks (after which most will ask for more time). The first meeting consists of parents talking about what is important to them and what they want for their children. The trainer also talks about ICPS dialoging: how it will be a change from the way they are used to talking with their children and how they will ease into it slowly, one step at a time. Each week the trainer assigns homework from the workbook (at least 3 days' worth for the parent to conduct with the child and at least one parent exercise). At each meeting, parents "show and tell" the pictures their children decorated, followed by discussions on how they handled problems they encountered on the four levels of communication described above. As the meetings progress, parents role-play, practice using ICPS vocabulary words in different situations, and talk about their own feelings in various situations, their children's feelings, and ways to guide their children to think of solutions and consequences to problems.

A second model presents parents with Raising a Thinking Child in book form (Shure, 1996a), a format that includes games and exercises but is less interactive than the workbook. Aberson merely encourages the parents she trains to read the book on their own (in that they are all competent readers) and focuses upon dialoging in the group meetings.

Another model, implemented by Sandra Baumgardner at the DuPage County Health Department in Illinois, includes the children in the meetings. In the first hour, one trainer works with the parents, another with the children in a separate room. In the second hour, the children join their parents and show them what they have learned. Some demonstrations of new games from the book or the workbook include the children from the beginning.

Workshops for parent educators can also vary from a half day to 2 days, depending on funding. It is always preferable for followup training to occur, not only to fine tune the trainers' knowledge and abilities, but to support them in their work.

Preventing Violence Juvenile Justice Bulletin   ·  April 1999