Working parents no longer have to do it tough

Jun 15, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Many parents find balancing work and family tough but now help is available. Research from The University of Queensland has found parents who complete a parenting program targeted at improving work life balance do better than parents who try to manage on their own.

The research evaluated the efficacy of Workplace Triple P, a variant of the world-renowned Triple P - Positive Parenting Program, using a sample of teachers. And the results were positive.

“To our knowledge this is the first time a parenting program has been shown to improve the lives of at work,” said Dr Divna Haslam who conducted the research in conjunction with Professor Matt Sanders, founder of the Triple P - Positive Parenting Program.

Workplace Triple P aims to teach parents how to more effectively manage competing work and family demands through a variety of practical parenting and stress management strategies.

Parents who completed the program reported lower levels of work and family conflict, workload related stress, and depression, and higher levels of work efficacy compared with parents who did not complete the program.

Parents also reported improvements in their home lives including lower use of dysfunctional parenting styles, lower levels of child behaviour problems and high levels of parenting confidence.

“Being a working parent can be challenging but there are simple practical things parents can do to make their lives easier,” Dr Haslam said.

“The goal is for parents to get more enjoyment out of both their work and home lives.”

The program may also be important for organisations wanting to support staff and maintain a skilled workforce as family-related stress and quality of life issues play a big role in why some employees leave jobs or reduce working hours.

The researchers are now examining whether a shorter version of the program consisting of two seminars provides similar benefits.

“Attending brief seminars might be more manageable for busy parents who looking for some strategies to improve work life balance but don't have time to attend an intensive program,” Dr Haslam said.

The seminars cover topics like leaving work at work and home at home, managing stress, relaxation techniques and some general positive parenting strategies.

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