What is the Evidence-Based Parents Anonymous® Program?
Parents Anonymous® is an amazing support group. It has helped me gain friendships, learn useful child rearing methods, and discover community resources. It has helped me make a transition from stay at home mom to working single mother. The friendships I and my children have made have helped us work through the loss of my daughter and have helped my boyfriend gain valuable child rearing information as well. ~ Marie, mother of 4 girls
Parents Anonymous® has given me the opportunity to meet some amazing people that I now call friends. It had also made me see that I am not alone with my issues in my parenting; others are in the same boat. ~ Erin, mother of 2 boys
The evidence-based Parents Anonymous® Program is a comprehensive family strengthening program based on the principles of mutual support, parent leadership, shared leadership® and personal growth and change including weekly Adult Groups and Children and Youth Groups. Parents Anonymous® Groups offer a caring and supportive environment where parents and caregivers support each other and explore new parenting strategies, address underlying emotional issues, and create long lasting positive changes in their families. This vital community-based program includes weekly, free of charge Parents Anonymous® Groups which are co-led by a Parent Group Leader and Group Facilitator engaged in shared leadership® who are trained and supervised in the Parents Anonymous® model. Parents and caregivers of all age children can join a Parents Anonymous® Group at any time and attend for as long as they wish. Parents Anonymous® Groups meet for 1 ½-2 hours weekly and are conveniently located in a wide variety of settings such as local community centers, family resource centers, churches, schools, early childhood centers, Head Start, shelters, mental health centers, drug and alcohol agencies, military installations, and prisons. Parents model and support one another in their leadership development through the process of shared leadership®. In addition to English, many Parents Anonymous® Groups are conducted in Spanish, and others focus on a particular population such as fathers, special needs children or child welfare involved families. We celebrate all Parents as leaders the minute they attend a Parents Anonymous® Group and begin their personal journey of change. Hopelessness and helplessness are replaced by empowerment and inspiration. Through help, support, strength and hope, parents and their children and youth make long lasting changes in their lives. These evidence-based, culturally responsive results are demonstrated in diverse communities worldwide with many generations of families every week for more than 45 years.
While parents are meeting, their children and teens attend the Parents Anonymous® Children and Youth Program where they engage in a variety of rich, fun, hands-on activities that stimulate positive emotional growth and development. Parents Anonymous® Groups and Children and Youth Programs honor and respect the diverse backgrounds, cultures and interests of families. Teens mentor younger children in the Group and develop their own leadership abilities.
Accredited organizations have access to a state of the art on-line, confidential National Database for the collection and analysis of group development, participant demographics and attendance data and analytic reports. Validated Group Fidelity Tools are utilized to ensure quality programming and outcome results. Also Site Visiting Tools are used to measure the implementation of the four principles of mutual support, parent leadership, personal growth and change and shared leadership® through observation of both the Parents Anonymous® Adult and Children and Youth Groups. Research has shown that Parents Anonymous® groups promote the 5 protective factors of the Strengthening Families approach. Parents Anonymous® Programs are based on National Standards to ensure that all parents and children have access to quality Parents Anonymous® Programs anywhere in the world.
Who Attends the Evidence-Based Parents Anonymous® Adult Group?
Parents Anonymous® Groups welcome any parent or individual in a parenting/caregiver role seeking support and positive parenting strategies regardless of the age or special challenges of their children. Parents may be married, divorced, single, grandparents, stepparents, foster parents, teen parents, or even aunts and uncles. Parents at risk or involved with Child Protective Services, domestic violence, homeless shelters, correctional and/or substance abuse programs also attend. In Parents Anonymous®, our important message is “Asking for Help is a Sign of Strength®,” meaning that we celebrate each person’s individual journey of change the minute they commit to attending a Parents Anonymous® group.
What Happens in the Evidence-Based Parents Anonymous® Group?
- Parents are welcomed to the Parents Anonymous® Group and receive information about how the group operates
- Parents are invited to share responsibility for planning and operating the Parents Anonymous® Group including engaging in outreach activities to recruit parents to the program
- Parents provide vital emotional support, talk and problem-solve with other parents about parenting issues and personal challenges
- Parents determine their own goals, how they are achieved and when they are met
- Parents receive a variety of Parents Anonymous® program materials such as the I am a Parents Anonymous® Parent along with newsletters such as Across the Nations, which features stories written by parents for parents
- Parents give and receive support from other parents during and after meetings. Our motto is the more you give, the more you get!
Parents have access to the National Parent Helpline® in between meeting to address their issues
- Parents expand their network of support with others to help reduce stress and isolation
- Parents model leadership development with one another
- Parents learn about community resources and how to link to them
- Parents join the Parent Leadership Network and attend National Certification of Parent Leaders
- Parents have the opportunity to take on meaningful leadership roles in their family, the Parents Anonymous® Group and their community.