Parent Group Coaching aims at raising public awareness, fostering exchange of opinions, and educating parents and adolescents on a series of topics that may interest them. It focuses on general and specialised topics, which are selected following close communication between the coach and the parents, depending on the needs and interests of each group.:
The topics are also selected in accordance with contemporary adult learning practices. Examples of the topics that are usually discussed during a coaching session include:
- Human development and its various psychological perspectives; cognitive, emotional, social and moral development; transitioning from infanthood to adolescence.
- Complicated psychological and social manifestations in adolescence.
- Relationships within the family; parent-child and sibling relationships.
- Only and first-born children; challenges faced by the family; the significance of birth order in the cognitive and emotional development of a child; sibling rivalry and sibling abuse.
- The problem of school bullying; perspectives of the problem; the characteristics of the bully and the victim, and the role of the uninvolved bystander; psychological consequences and suitable measures;
- Modifying unwanted behaviours according to the cognitive-behavioral model.
- Children and adolescents vis-a-vis the new digital technology; internet addiction; children and violent video games; children and social networking (Facebook).
- Parenting styles; control and interest; authoritarian, authoritative, permissive and uninvolved parenting.
- Special educational psychology and child psychopathology issues; attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), learning disabilities and pervasive developmental disorders (PDD).
- Stereotypes and social exclusion at school.
- School-family relationships.
- How to explain the economic crisis to your child.
- Sex education issues.
The topics are selected by the coach and the parents during the first session, after establishing the needs and interests of the group members.
The learning process follows the principles of adult learning (participation, interest- and pace-oriented learning), mainly focusing on experiential activities.
There are 8 sessions in total, each lasting 2 hours, which are structured as follows: In the first part, which lasts about 20 minutes, the coach introduces the topic. This is the only part of the session that resembles the traditional educational model. For the participants, the aim is to gain new knowledge on the topic being discussed. This knowledge, though explained in simple terms, is in tune with the scientific models and contemporary scientific trends.
A group discussion ensues, which aims at addressing all aspects of the topic. The participants share their concerns, experiences, effective practices and views.
The last part of the session lasts about half an hour and is dedicated to some form of experiential activity. These often include role playing, experiential exercises and painting. In all events, the experiential activity is related to the topic discussed during the session. This part essentially puts the knowledge and conclusions highlighted in the first two parts into practice.
After the first introductory session, the group decides to discuss the topic of school bullying. The topic is discussed in one of the subsequent sessions to take place, based on the schedule prepared by the group.
In the first part of the session, the coach introduces the main aspects of the phenomenon: definition and frequency; causes; differences with and similarities to school violence; the characteristics of the bully and the victim, and the role of the uninvolved bystander; the role of the school in resolving or exacerbating the problem; the consequences of the phenomenon for all parties involved, focusing on the impact on the victim, whose self-esteem is shattered; presentation of the future consequences of low self-esteem on a social, emotional, educational and professional level; appropriate forms of action.
During the discussion part, parents voice their experiences, questions and concerns. The experiences of parents who have been faced with the problem and the ways they chose to deal with it, whether successful or not, are quite useful at this point.
In the last part of the session, through role playing, parents practice on how to inspire assertive behaviour in their children. Body language, posture, tone of voice and choice of words become the tools that will assist children in protecting themselves from becoming victims, without them having to resort to the use of violence.
The Parent Group Coaching sessions take place once a week at the offices of the Social Cooperative Enterprise, located at 42 Aristotelous Street, Halandri. If necessary, 2 groups of parents with young children and adolescents will be formed, depending on participation and the interests of participants. The first meeting will take place around the end of January and will be announced well in advance.
Note that the initiative is free-of-change and can be attended by all interested parties.
The coach is Andreas Potitakos. He is a graduate of the Panteion University Department of Sociology and Department of Psychology, and a holds an MA in Organisational & Social Psychology. He has been working as a counseling psychologist since 2007, while for the last 4 years he has been employed as a parenting coach at the Lifelong Learning Programme of the Greek Ministry of Education. Andreas lives in Halandri, is married to psychologist Christina Tsagkaraki and has one child.