As a first-time mom, Ann Tope didn’t know what to expect at first when she had her son. Motherhood, as people have always said, comes naturally to most moms, so she hoped to easily slip into that role.
Tope delivered her son in 2014, but unfortunately, she had little time to adapt to her new role in a tiny human’s life when her son had a stroke at just six weeks old.
The tragic event led to Tope’s son developing a mental disability, and his child development moved at a slower pace than other children.
For the first four years of her son’s life, Tope and her husband struggled with learning how to properly care for their child. Tope felt beside herself and frustrated whenever she struggled with not being able to potty train her child or teach him the fundamental tools he would need for future success.
At a loss, Tope turned to Triple P Positive Parenting Program services for help.
“Triple P gives parents a positive influence today,” Tope said. “We (as parents) can get really frustrated, and maybe your first thing is you want to holler and scream, but I think Triple P gives parents a different, more positive outlook on parenting and teaches you different strategies to parenting.”
Triple P is a parenting and family support system designed to prevent—as well as manage—common behavior issues with all children and teenagers. This year, the Parent Support Initiative was able to add education and resources specifically designed for parents of children with disabilities.
“We like to say support versus education because education is one thing that's offered. But being able to navigate parenting challenges, in everyday life, or any parenting issues that come up is what a lot of people reach out to us for,” said Halle Krajenski, a Triple P provider.
The Parent Support Initiative has offered Triple P services for four years in Knox County. The initiative began when the Resilience Team of the Knox Health Planning Partnership identified a community need for more educational support and more resources for parents and caregivers in Knox County. Generous support from the Ariel Foundation and other local and state funding allow parents to access all services at no charge.
Krajenski believes what makes Triple P one of the world’s best parenting programs is having the seal of being “evidence-based.” The program is designed to prevent social, emotional, behavioral, and developmental problems in children by enhancing their parents' knowledge, skills, and confidence.
“The information that we have now, the courses we have now, are all backed by 35 years of research that's gone into why this is so successful, and it's worked,” Krajenski said.
Tope has utilized many of Triple P’s Tip sheets such as toilet training and attended Triple P classes.
“I don't think that (her son) would be where he is in potty training today had I not taken that portion of Triple P,” Tope said. “Because I was frustrated as a parent with potty training. I just wanted him to go to the toilet and it wasn't happening.”
Another learning tool from Triple P that Tope has incorporated into her teaching methods is positive rewarding and giving her son options rather than letting him decide all on his own.
“He seems to be more willing to change,” Tope said. “We've had to stick to a strict routine with him, so he's really routine based. I didn't know anything about routine until I started using Triple P.”
Tope hopes many other parents in a situation like her and her husband’s can use Triple P services to their advantage and give children and themselves the support they need.
“Now that we have a routine, I feel like our days move so much smoother than before,” Tope said.
To learn more about the Triple P Program and the Parent Support Initiative of Knox County, visit our Facebook page or give us a call at 740-397-2840 to get started.