Parenting Programme

CanParent_Endorsement RGB LOGO

* Awarded the Department of Health’s CANparent Quality Mark

* Four 2.5 hour sessions, completion rates are high

* Underpinned by restorative practice

* Supports parents/carers/anyone with a parenting role


Restorative Thinking  (Parenting without Conflict)  has been awarded  the CANparent Quality Mark.   Delivered by our own facilitators and a range of providers, including Children’s Centres and Schools, the programme  helps parents/carers understand their child/ren’s development and behaviour and the reasons underpinning the challenges a child may present.  Drawing on restorative practice, the programme encourages parents/carers to think about responses to their child’s behaviour, what their child’s behaviour is communicating and ultimately to think about responses which meet their child/ren’s needs.

Really useful programme and all parents should be taught this as part of their child’s development.”  (Parent, Bristol)

Ive learnt to sit my son by me and to explain wrong from right.” (Parent, Salford)

I learnt patience and listening and taking my child’s needs on board.  (Parent, Bristol)

“I really like that the programme is delivered over just four weeks…which is reflected in the attendance. Parents are now more aware of what their child may be thinking or feeling during challenging situations.”  (Centre Manager, Bristol)

Recent evaluation has shown that, after attending our classes, 90% of parents feel they understand their child’s development and 91% feel they understand their child’s needs.  The Brathay Trust conducted an external evaluation of the programme, April 2015 – 17, and a summary of their evaluation findings is available here.

Restorative Thinking (Parenting without Conflict) is delivered over four 2.5 hour sessions, with groups of parents, carers, grandparents. We encourage parents and carers to form a support network and to continue to meet on an informal basis following completion of the programme.

The classes cover a range of reflective activities, encouraging parents to consider the impact of current parenting styles and behaviour and allowing mothers and fathers to develop new skills needed to build and sustain positive relationships by addressing conflict in a more effective way.

We encourage both mothers and fathers and those with a ‘parenting’ role to join the programme where possible so that there is a consistency of approach and that all those who look after the child receive the same message and therefore can offer the same support. The programme has been developed so that it supports both mums and dads.

We provide all those who attend with a Parent/Carer Handbook.

Restorative Thinking (Parenting without Conflict) covers the following topics:

  • communicating and staying calm
  • restorative practice principles and skills
  • coping with difficult behaviour
  • parents working together as a team
  • understanding different stages of your child’s development
  • managing conflict
  • the psychology behind behaviour and conflict

We offer this programme within education settings (Children’s Centres, Primary and Secondary Schools).  We provide facilitators to deliver the programme in your setting and also offer the programme via a Licence Agreement. We train practitioners to deliver Restorative Thinking (Parenting without Conflict) in-house, providing a comprehensive facilitator manual and participant handbooks, supporting delivery staff with wrap-around support and annual refresher courses.

For details of forthcoming ‘Facilitator Training’ courses, please contact Lesley Parkinson:

Our ‘Facilitator Training’ course takes place over four training days. Our trainer then observes the second class delivered by each Centre/School and holds a de-brief session with facilitators to support successful implementation of the Parenting Programme.  On-going wrap-around support and an annual ‘refresher’ training course for programme facilitators are part of the Licence Agreement.


Background information on the Restorative Thinking Parenting Programme

A pilot of  Restorative Thinking (Parenting without Conflict) has been running in Skelmersdale, Lancashire, since early 2012.  Parents have been successfully engaged through local Children’s Centres and schools, with families referred to the programme by GPs, Paediatric Psychiatrists, CAMHS, CAPSS, Social Services and schools.

Across the board there has been strong evidence of improved outcomes for children and families. 70 families have enrolled on the course and 56 completed it fully. This in itself developed an ethos of perseverance within families and has been replicated in improved attendance for the children. Schools have reported fewer instances of challenging behaviour with the families participating on the course and also an improved level of engagement by the parents in meetings and consultation events.

Where antisocial behaviour has been a problem the local police and schools have reported fewer incidents and a more responsive attitude to seeking solutions and responding to assistance.

Parents in Skelmersdale who attended the programme through contact with schools had requested some form of parenting support and others attended the course on recommendation from parents who had attended previously. A very interesting factor has been the parents who wished to know more about the restorative approach that their children had experienced in school, from a whole school approach and also through engagement with ‘Restorative Thinking: A Restorative Practices Interactive Toolkit Written by Teachers, for Teachers (KS1 & KS2)’.

In June 2013 Lesley Parkinson, Director and Programme Manager at Restorative Thinking, was selected to receive a Shackleton Foundation Leadership Award, along with funding to work with two schools in Preston, training staff to deliver both Restorative Thinking (Parenting without Conflict) and the Restorative Thinking schools toolkit.  “With this approach, delivering both programmes with parents, teachers and children, our work is child-centred, meaning that children are equipped with the skills, knowledge and understanding to use restorative approaches to manage day-to-day challenges, and children receive the same messages (restorative approaches) from both parents/carers and teachers.”

“We train suitably qualified staff in Children’s Centres, Schools, Secure Care Homes, Youth Offending Services and Prisons to deliver the programme in-house, via a Licence Agreement, which includes support around programme implementation, facilitator and participant resources and wrap-around support for those delivering the programme.  We hold ‘train the trainer’ courses to support the effective roll-out of the programme nationally.”

Restorative Thinking (Parenting without Conflict) is one of a series of programmes for different audiences developed by Restorative Thinking, making restorative approaches practical, accessible, engaging, relevant and effective.  Central to our work are the outcomes for participants – primary and secondary pupils, teachers, parents, offenders and young offenders.  Engagement with our programmes provides opportunities for positive change, responsibility-taking and delivering key life skills.

As a Childrens Centre we offer a variety of parenting opportunities.  ‘Parenting without Conflict’ has been one of the most successful parenting courses the centre has hosted. Feedback from parents has been excellent and outreach workers from the Centre have observed parents effectively using parenting strategies they have learnt from the course.”  (Verla Shaw, St. John’s Children’s Centre, Skelmersdale, Lancashire).


Please contact us for further information.