Old Ottawa South Community Association

Collaborative Problem Solving Courses for Parents Presented by OOS Churches

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Does telling your child to “calm down” just ratchet up the stress? Are you wondering how to set appropriate parental boundaries? Could you brush up on your parental problem-solving skills? 

In February 2019 area churches, including Sunnyside Wesleyan, Southminster United, Trinity Anglican, and St. Margaret Mary Catholic, will join together to host a series of four parenting workshops led by respected registered occupational therapist Denise De Laat and her partner Dr. Phil Ritchie, a psychologist. Both have served the community through the school system, at CHEO, and in private practice. The free sessions will be held on Tuesdays (Feb 5, 12, 19, and 26, 2019) from 7-8:30 pm will focus on the Collaborative Problem Solving Method (CPS) and are open to parents and guardians of children and youth in Old Ottawa South.

“I initiated this training series because I work with adolescents in the mental health field and believe families could benefit from the skills taught through this method. Our neighbourhood is made up of families who may be struggling in their parenting roles or who are doing well but would benefit from adding these skills to their toolkit,” says Kerry Kronberg, the minister at Sunnyside Wesleyan Church.

The Collaborative Problem Solving method helps children and their adult caretakers learn to resolve problems in a collaborative, mutually satisfactory way, recognizing that many kids lack the skill, not the will, to behave well. During the sessions, parents or guardians of children of all ages will learn to teach skills related to problem solving, flexibility and frustration tolerance, avoiding the use of power, control and motivators. 

Rev. Arran Thorpe opened his church’s doors because he believes the church should be a resource to the neighbourhood. There are personal reasons, too. “I’m a parent. I wonder if I should collaborate with my three year old when she is yelling ‘No!’ Or if I should just give up. It may seem a trivial example but the little things matter. The patterns we establish now might set the tone in the longer term. Aside from this initiative being good for the community, I myself want to learn to be a better parent,” says Thorpe.

(Left to right) Rev. Arran Thorpe (Trinity Anglican), Rev. Kerry Kronberg (Sunnyside Wesleyan), Rev. Trisha Elliott (Southminster United), Father Pierre Champoux (St. Margaret Mary Catholic).
Photo by Gerald and Joyce Pratt

There is no charge for the sessions and no formal registration. The sessions are designed to build on each other but participants are welcome to attend as many as they can. The location of sessions will rotate among neighbourhood churches: Feb 5 (Sunnyside Wesleyan), Feb 12 (Southminster United), Feb 19 (Trinity Anglican), Feb 26 (St. Margaret Mary Catholic).

“I’m happy to be involved in something that all of us can do together. There aren’t a lot of venues where people can go to discuss these issues and so I hope that our churches can provide a safe, open, accessible space for parents to learn together,” says Father Pierre Champoux.

To learn more about the sessions as well as expert facilitators Denise De Laat and Dr. Phil Ritchie, please visit any of the four church websites. We look forward to exploring one of life’s most rewarding and challenging vocations —parenting— together.

Originally published in the December 2018 OSCAR.

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