Health Team

'Triple P' approach helps parents create positive, nurturing environment

Posted August 25, 2015

Being a parent may be the toughest job many people ever have.

And when young children refuse to go to bed or cry and cling to mom during daycare drop-offs, the job gets even harder.

More parents, including Houston and Shannon Burroughs, are finding help with a parenting program called Triple P.

The Burroughs learned that parenthood means rolling with changes as they raise their 5-year-old son Atlas.

"Up until age 3, everything is just blissful, happy and fun," Houston Burroughs said.

After that?

"A lot of meltdowns, some complaints from school," Shannon Burroughs said.

The parents turned to Project Enlightenment in Raleigh for help, and there they found Triple P, or the "Positive Parenting Program. "The word positive, that was a key thing," Shannon Burroughs said.

Triple P is an evidence-based approach to improve parenting skills for children from birth to age 5. It was developed in 1978 by Australian clinical psychologist Matt Sanders.

"The main idea with Triple P is that kids are going to do better if they're growing up with five key things happening," Sanders said.

The five keys of Triple P:

  • Develop a safe and age-appropriate environment
  • Positive learning
  • Discipline with clearly understood boundaries and rules
  • Parents keep reasonable expectations of their children
  • Parents take care of themselves

"If you're miserable, if you're lonely, if you're isolated or you're living in conflict, it is so much more difficult to be nurturing, positive and consistent," Sanders said. "When those five things happen, children flourish. They develop the kind of behavior and emotional skills that they need to do well."

Triple P is taught in counseling sessions, small groups, seminars and even online.

"The group classes have a nominal fee. I think it's $30 per couple for the two-hour session," Shannon Burroughs said. "The one-on-one counseling sessions were absolutely free."

Shannon and Houston found that their differing styles of discipline were the root of some of Atlas' issues.

"I don't feel like we're stuggling as much with him," Shannon Burroughs said. "It's more positive now."

Atlas recently started kindergarten, and his parents credit Triple P for helping to make that day a success.

"It was good. His drop-off was fine," Houston Burrough said. "There were no tears."

Grants from the John Rex Endowment have helped Triple P grow to 30 program providers in Raleigh, including WakeMed Physician Practices.

It has also been implemented in 33 counties or regions across the state. For more information on Triple P, visit their website or call 919-856-7777. To contact Project Enlightenment, call 919-856-7800.


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