See also, Video Testimonials for more parent, teacher, and group leader reflections!

Special Thanks to D&E Counseling for providing this testimonial!

Stacey is a mother of two children; she lives in Youngstown, Ohio.

Recently she participated in the D&E Center’s Incredible Years Parent Training Course, which is a 14-session educational program in the management of children whose behaviors and/or emotional disorders present multiple parenting challenges to their parents.

+Read more

Stacey raised herself, she told us, relating how she grew up in a home where her mother suffered from drug addiction, alcoholism and schizophrenia. Stacey said, “It was a very bad bringing up. Child welfare took me and my sisters at 7, but then put us back home after a little while. It was terrible; my mom had no idea how to raise us. I learned nothing from her on how to be a good mother.”

Stacey came to D&E because her son had autism and one of her nephews (who lived with her) was having a lot of problems in school. Stacey, through her children’s therapist, was connected with the Center’s Incredible years leaders, Shirley Ferguson and Gary Baughman, and joined 17 other families in the 14 week course.

“Before I took the course,” she said, “I had no concept of how to deal with my children’s behaviors, their tantrums, their fighting, their yelling at me. It was frustrating and a lot of times it was so stressful I would just cry, but all that has changed since I took the Center’s parenting classes.”

Asked how it has changed, Stacey said, “I have learned how to stay focused on what I have to do to properly respond to their behaviors, what to do if they show aggression, don’t get along with each other, get verbally abusive and try and make me feel bad.”

When asked about the other families in the training group that she got to meet, she said, “It was great, we keep in contact with each other, support each other. Knowing other parents have had to deal with the same problems as me makes me not feel along, like before. I used to feel I was a bad person because me and the kids were always fighting. Now I feel I’m just a parent who, like other parents, have to work hard to stick to the right responses when my kids get difficult to manage.”

When asked what she would like to say to sum up her experiences with the program, she said, “I feel now I have the ability to raise my kids in a way that won’t lead them down the path that some of my nephews and cousins have gone down – school suspensions, drugs, trouble with the law. I would recommend this program to any parent with a young child they are having problems with. Everything they taught me works and I am going to stick with it.”

Tena korua,

I felt that it would be beneficial for you and the programme for me to give a more in depth evaluation. This is something I really wanted to do.


I have three children aged 7, 5 and 1. I am a full time mama and kaitiaki (caregiver) of my whanau and household. My partner works full time and is sometimes stationed in Christchurch for work.

We are very fortunate to have the unconditional love and support of my mother, who attended this course with me. We signed up for the Incredible Years programme as recommended by my son’s (age 5) early childhood educator.

We have had difficulty in dealing with my son’s behaviour since he was two years old and while we have tried many strategies, it felt inadequate in dealing with his behaviour.

+Read more

I now know that we lacked the skills and strategies, as well as the understanding, to parent effectively and manage undesirable behaviour. Our life has changed substantially since starting IYs this year, 2013.

I am so happy and grateful for all the learning, readings, tools and relationships that have made this possible.

I am a primary school teacher and although we have strategies for classroom behaviour management, this was not always applicable to parenting.

My mother and I have learnt so much and grown so much in the past few months. It is my opinion that all parents, regardless of their children’s temperament and character, should attend IYs as this would greatly benefit all parents and children and grow a strong community and a strong generation. The children would then have great examples (models) of good/effective parenting that they can imitate as/when they become parents, thus a cycle would be created. The effects would be far reaching. I feel luck that my children have benefited in this way.

Now to the evaluations –

Evaluation of learning:


The folders, readings/handouts were great ways of consolidating the learning of the lesson and followed on well from each class. It was great to read over topics that were really important to me and focus on my goals for each week. The fridge magnets, charts etc were great tools for helping me to remember what I was doing and what I could be doing as the week went by and I was involved in daily family life.


It was awesome to see examples of good and not so good parenting to visualise what it could look like and was a great way to encourage discussions on the topic.

Group activities

I feel that one of the most helpful components of the course was the group discussions. It was awesome to hear of other parents’ situations, ideas etc and I think the main reason I loved it was because I felt that I was not alone and there were other people like me, or even had worse times or weeks than me. The connection with other parents like me, role modelling and ‘acting out’ scenarios all benefited me greatly.


I loved that each lesson was structured, well prepared, timed, vignettes, modelling, discussions, follow up reading and resources all created a great learning environment that fostered development and ‘togetherness’.

Evaluation of teaching:


The group leaders are a couple of awesome, intelligent, professional and beautiful individuals. I felt that they worked really well as a team, supporting each other and facilitating our learning.

They are extremely ‘on to it’ and know what they’re doing. They both were very good at getting people to share, keeping us on track and answering all our questions.

Mum and I love you both very much and wish you well in the future. You are both in our prayers.


I felt that the way the lessons/course was structured utilised the time well and that they catered for all learning styles using a variety of approaches to learning.

Feed forward

Sometimes learning material such as handouts and homework was mixed up. It would perhaps be a good idea to have a folder prepared with all the materials in it as a reference for each lesson.

Although the TV and sound were fine (adequate) it could be better with a bigger TV or screen for those with poor eyesight.

The food was always ready/prepared, delicious and yummy. It was also easy to prepare dinner for the children and not have to worry about feeding ourselves. Kai time was also a great time to interact with other parents and have a ‘brain’ break.

I hope that this is helpful feedback/evaluation and I look forward to catching up with everyone again.

I am so happy in my life, my children are thriving and everything’s all good.

Aroha tino nui

October 13 at 6:38 am Report

I have a very anxious child, who had problems getting to school and even getting out of the house. We did the course for under twelves (Zack was 9 when we started) and it has made such a difference. He can now go out and only misses school when he is really ill. It’s not completely fixed but thanks to your course and the drop-in group I still attend, we have the tools to help him and us with the things that happen. Our goal for the course was to have a happy, confident boy who could go to school and go out to have fun and we could see changes within three weeks of starting the course.

+Read more

We still have the root cause to help Zack with (the loss of both my parents within 3 weeks of each other) but we know now that we are on the right road.

Thank you so much, we are so grateful for all your very helpful and sensible advice through the local Incredible Years course. We really were so worried about his future.

October 13 at 11:45 am Report

Dear Carolyn,
I would be happy for you to use us to give feedback to anyone. I spend my time here telling anyone who is interested how good the course was and how much fantastic advice we got from it. My husband took the time off work to attend the course so after picking Zack up from school we used that to have a good family special time, doing anything Zack wanted which encouraged him to go out (one day we just stood throwing stones in the sea and being three kids having fun!)

Thank you again.

Tan Trappitt
I would recommend your course to anyone who loves their kids, it gave us all so much.

“The training has helped me sort out the issues I face with my foster child. …by learning the most effective parenting approaches I have reduced my child behavioral problems before it got out to control so as to strengthen his emotional and academic competence.”

“After 8 weeks of intensive training, I have been able to implement some of the new strategies and skills I learned with my child and we noticed significant changes.”

+Read more

The Incredible Year Training

I foster along with my wife for hackney social services.
We got our 1st child in July 2008, with little or no experience about fostering, basically we were just using our parental skills acquired from bringing up our two children.
This worked for a short period, later our foster child started to exhibit some difficult and challenging behaviours. This causes a lot of stress, confusion, pressure and misunderstanding within the whole family. Finally we concluded that the placement should be terminated.
While the social workers were busy arranging for another suitable placement, I was lucky to be invited to come and broaden my knowledge by attending the 12 weeks Incredible Year Programme.

The training has helped me to sort out the issues I face with my foster child and set the stage for sensitive nurturing and competent parenting that foster positive social behaviours in children as well as enhanced self esteem, by learning the most effective parenting approaches I have reduced my child behavioural problems before it got out of control so as to strengthen his emotional and academic competence.

After 8 weeks of intensive training, I have been able to implement some of the new strategies and skills I learned with my child and we noticed significant changes in our child both at home and report from his school. This has made the family to change our decision to terminate the placement, and work closely with child and the social services.

While in training it was stressed how it’s very important to value play and set aside playtime with our children. The teachers emphasised that Play helps to build warm relationships and strong attachments between family members and it also creates positive feelings. Also, play time encourages the developmental of vocabulary so that children can learn to communicate their thoughts, feelings and needs.

Through play I have helped my child to solve problems, test out ideas and explore his imagination. Play time also helps him to interact socially by teaching him how to take turns, share and be sensitive to the feelings of others, it promote his feelings of self worth and competence.

With a flexible approach to special time and good quality special time given to my child, it has helped to reduce pressure, his feelings of anger, fear, inadequacy and has provided successes and pleasure which has developed him into a unique, creative and self-confident person.page1image21352

During the training we were also taught the importance of using praise and other social rewards such as positive attention, smiles, and greetings with warmth in our eyes, hugs, stickers, pat on the back and high-fives with our children. Children who receive a lot of praise from their parents develop increased self-esteem. We also learned that lack of praise and attention for appropriate behaviours can lead to increased misbehaviours and that if foster cares take responsibility by modelling positively, there is likelihood of positive change in the relationship with the child.

I have learned to focus on the positive things my child is doing and to encourage and praise him frequently with care and sincerity for his efforts. I used the praise and encouragement strategy to guide my child through the small steps it takes to master new skills, to help him develop appositive self–image, and to provide the motivation he needs to stay in a with a difficult task. Consequently, I noticed that my child likes to repeat and expand those positive behaviours.

Tangible rewards is another important type of reinforced tactics I learned from the training. A tangible reward is something concrete, a special treat, additional privileges, stickers, celebrations, or time spent with some one special. They are usually used to reinforce the achievement of a specific goal. I am using this presently as incentive to motivate my child to change some of his particularly difficult behaviour.

I gave all credits to the organisers of this programme, they are doing a wonderful job, and they are very friendly and supportive.
The training is well presented and easily understandable.

This programme has really give me another dimension to fostering, has added to my parental skills which has taken me to another high level.