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Bringing baby home program comes to Stettler

Educational program for pregnant couples and families with children up to three years of age

By Catherine Robinson

Stettler Parent Link Coordinator

The Stettler Parent Link Centre is hosting a free Bringing Baby Home program. It runs every Thursday from Oct. 4 to Nov. 22 from 6 to 8 p.m. at 6600 – 50 Ave. Stettler. Space is limited to about four to six couples. To pre-register by Sept. 24 call Catherine at 403-742-3600.

Research shows that within three years after the birth of a baby, about two-thirds of couples will experience a significant drop in relationship quality and have a dramatic increase in conflict and hostility. The purpose of this letter is to make you aware of a program that addresses this international social problem.

A growing number of medical centers, faith-based and private organizations, and independent educators around the world are helping to address this problem by adding the Bringing Baby Home Program into their educational curriculum.

Bringing Baby Home is an educational program for pregnant couples and families with children up to three years of age. It was designed and created by relationship experts, Doctors John and Julie Gottman, at the Relationship Research Institute in Seattle, WA. The goal is to improve the quality of life for babies and children by strengthening the parental relationship.

The Gottman’s research demonstrates that when couples become parents, there is a significant decrease in their relationship satisfaction. Further research has shown that relationship discord and conflict have a profound negative effect on the couple’s infants and toddlers.

The Bringing Baby Home Program was developed to support families during this challenging, transitional time. Dr. Gottman’s research shows that couples who have participated in the program experience:

• A significantly lower rate of postpartum mood disorders and depression;

• A decrease in relationship hostility;

• A higher level of relationship satisfaction; and

• A decreased likelihood of divorce.

The content of the program evolved from Dr. Gottman’s 40 years of marriage and family research and is designed to teach parents to:

• Increase friendship in their relationship;

• Deal effectively with conflict;

• Keep dads involved in infant care and parenting;

• Improve the quality of parent-infant interaction;

• Recognize the psychological and emotional needs of their child; and

• Co-Parent effectively.

The program also teaches ways to nurture the family environment through the toddler and preschool years. By supporting couples as they become parents, children benefit. By teaching couples how to build a strong emotional foundation in their family during the very early stages of a child’s life, children are raised in healthier environments. These benefits result in positive changes for families. Once this foundation is established in a family, research shows that children do better in school, adapt better socially, and are physically and emotionally healthier. (Cowan & Cowan, 1995; Gottman, 1999)

All of Parent Link Centre’s programs are free of charge, although most other places charge up to $200 to take this program. Parent Link will supply childcare, a light supper, refreshments, and a draw for a prize at the end for those who complete. The program has eight units.

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