Guiding and Supporting Teens: Taking a Triple Focus, Girls,
Boys and Parents
This project had three prongs that targeted twelve Year 9 girls, nine Year 9 boys
and their parents. The students were assessed by their teachers as being at risk of
disengaging more from school. They were experiencing social problems or isolation
or they demonstrated challenging behaviour problems. While the project built on two
existing programs for parents and girls, this was the first time the school had had the
opportunity of offering a boys program and a simultaneous parenting program that
targeted the parents of selected students.
Girls Going Great--a seven-week program of 2.5 hours each week held during school
time and consisting of craft, companionship and learning behaviour strategies to
improve connecting and communicating with others. The female chaplain and School
Guidance Officer facilitated the program.
Boys Bouncing Back--a seven-week program of two hours each week held during
school time where boys participated in school sessions and other active pursuits,
eg playing pool, laser force. The program included assisting the boys to develop
resilience, improving their communication, setting goals and practising anger
management. A Head of Department and a deputy Principal facilitated the program.
Teen Triple P (Ralph & Sanders, 2002)--a four-week program of two hours per session
held once a fortnight for parents of the selected young people. The Positive Parenting
Program aimed to manage common developmental issues and teenager behaviour
problems such as disobedience, aggression, peer relationship problems, school-based
difficulties, family conflict and other everyday difficulties experienced by parents and
teenagers. The school chaplain and guidance officer facilitated the program.
This secondary school in Queensland has 950 students who come from families with
a lower-middle to middle socio-economic background. A large number of parents
experience financial hardship and find it difficult to meet costs associated with their
child's education. About half of the students live in single-parent or blended families.
The school has a reputation for supporting students who have challenging behaviours
and as such it often attracts students who have had difficulty in other schools.
Approximately 20% of students have English as a second language and the school has
a reputation for high levels of tolerance and inclusive practices. Young people with
physical and intellectual disabilities are integrated into the school, and staff work with
families to ensure positive outcomes.
Personal contact was the key here. Many of the parents were disaffected by schooling
and needed direct personal encouragement from the school staff to become involved.
The school also provided programs which supported what parents were trying to do in
sometimes very difficult circumstances.
The program resonated with parents: it met their needs in this area. It was not so
much a case of finding out what the needs were--this much was fairly obvious--but of
persuading parents that the school could help them and was willing to do so. It took
26 CASE D Guiding and Supporting Teens: Taking a Triple Focus, Girls, Boys and Parents This project had three prongs that targeted twelve Year 9 girls, nine Year 9 boys and their parents. While the project built on two existing programs for parents and girls, this was the first time the school had had the opportunity of offering a boys program and a simultaneous parenting program that targeted the parents of selected students.