by Suhani Dewra | 03 OCT 2017
Parenting is an unparalleled joy. Watching your child through many firsts in life is priceless. But, when your child suffers from a chronic health condition, it is heartbreaking and, often, frustrating. Many children become ‘difficult’ and have problems mingling with other kids in school, and show behavioural problems in social situations.
In dealing with such children, parents often take one of two routes-- permissive parenting or strict parenting. Unable to find the balance and seeing no improvement in the child’s behavioural and emotional spheres, the family undergoes a lot of stress.
A new study shows that a short intervention program for parents can help deal with the child’s behavioural and emotional issues-- and more importantly, improve health outcomes.
The study published in Science Direct, a platform of peer-reviewed scholarly literature, was written by Alina Morawskaa and her team of researchers from the University of Queensland, Australia. Morawskaa’s team interviewed with 107 parents of 2 to 10-year- old children with asthma and/or eczema who took a parental intervention programme called Triple P.
Triple P-- short for Positive Parenting Program-- is a program to help parents balance styles of parenting. The program “draws on social learning, cognitive behavioral and developmental theory as well as research into risk factors associated with the development of social and behavioral problems in children”.
“Triple P showed us ways to control the behavior and taught us that getting into a routine would make our lives easier and better. It all sounded so simple and the best part was that once we put into practice what we were taught at each session, it did actually work!” Cathy (name changed), mother to a six-year- old autistic son in Australia, reported.
How Triple P helped families ?
In children with chronic conditions, families often find it difficult to stick to treatment regimes, partly due to the stress of having to deal with the illness and the associated emotional and societal problems.
“Chronic child health conditions are common and children experience more behavioural, emotional and academic problems than healthy children,” the study noted. “The majority of conditions require daily management, yet non-adherence with treatment and prevention is around 50%.”
More research is necessary to confirm the relationship between parental intervention programs and positive health outcomes including better health-related quality of life, but the researchers believe that, once they are able to show results, more parents would opt in for and benefit from such programs.
“Helping families of children with chronic health conditions to follow medical advice and stick with a treatment regime would have an impact on the costs of supplying medical services, such as unplanned hospital admissions, as well as improving the lives of these children and their families,” says Morawskaa.
Researchers also proposed using technology to help families stick to treatment regimes and firm up the research. For instance, the authors proposed using electronic monitoring technology attached to children’s medication devices to objectively monitor treatment adherence.
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