Workshop Profile – Online Counselling for Adolescent Parents

By | January 26, 2019

This online workshop is comprised of 9 sessions where a combination of both synchronous and asynchronous conferencing is used to counsel adolescent parents.  The workshop leader and participants will use Google Classroom to access materials used for this counselling workshop as well as Zoom.Us for weekly, face-to-face meeting times that are a requirement for the facilitation and success of this workshop.

Online Workshop Objectives

  • Educate mothers and fathers on the connection between co-parenting and child development.
  • Encourage participants to identify their abilities and deficiencies in the areas of communication with their co-parent and allow them to understand how to best direct self-improvement efforts.
  • Educate mothers and fathers on the benefits of father involvement and ways in which fathers can play an active role in co-parenting.
  • Assist mothers and fathers in identifying stressors in their lives and recognizing healthy ways to cope with stress.
  • Bring awareness to participants of supports available to adolescent parents within the city of Regina.

Online Workshop Content

Session 1 – Welcome & Introductions

Self-Care

Session 2 – Managing My Stress 

Session 3 – Mother/Baby Yoga

Session 4 – Energy Zappers & Juicers

Session 5 – Mother/Baby Aqua Fitness 

Baby Health & Development

Session 6 – Baby Development

Session 7 – Baby Health

Social Supports

Session 8 – Family & Social Supports 

Session 9 – Group Closing

Rationale

In June 2014, I became a first-time mother.  I experienced the joys and challenges of parenthood alongside my husband.  Despite having a stable relationship, income, prenatal knowledge and great family support, motherhood proves to be a challenge.  I often found myself wondering how teenage mothers survive the daily demands of motherhood and what society is doing to support them.  This interest led me to create a nine-week counselling program during the fall of 2014.  The purpose of this program was to support adolescent parents, on a weekly basis, by teaching self-help care and baby development as well as providing education on social supports available to them, within the city of Regina.  This project was research-based and served as a project in the class, Group Counselling Theories and Practice with JoLee Sasakamoose.

Fast forward 5 years and I have experienced, first-hand, the convenience of online learning for parents with infants and/or young children in the home. For example, online learning has accommodated my infant children who were reluctant to take a bottle from their father because they preferred breast-fed, nighttime routine.  It was during these stages with infant children that I did not have to travel to a face-to-face classroom but rather, log into a class through my computer in the comfort of my home. This online learning example can also be applied to the opportunity for parents to tend to sick children who require parental care. I feel passionate to design an online course for adolescent mothers and their co-parents because of these types of demands/stressors of parenting. I strongly feel that online education could allow young parents easier and more convenient access to resources and education that would benefit their personal health and in turn, their child’s growth and development.

The following is research that I conducted for the purpose of this workshop’s design and facilitation:

Concern to be addressed by the online workshop

The issue of teenage pregnancy is widely researched and studied amongst scholars across the globe.  In Canada, teenage pregnancy rates have been calculated and reported by Statistics Canada since 1974 by using data collected from various medical sources across the country.  However, in 2005, Statistics Canada stopped calculating and publishing teenage pregnancy rates, leaving a wide gap in teenage pregnancy data (McKay, 2012, p. 162).  Although this results in limitations to current research, studies show that teenage pregnancy continues to occur throughout Canada.  Research conducted by McKay (2012) examines teen birth rates within the Canadian provinces and territories for the years 2007 to 2010.  As McKay (2012) states, “While the teen birth rate was stable or fell slightly during these years in some provinces/ territories, the rate rose by 28.2 % in Newfoundland, 16.6% in New Brunswick, 15.7% in the Yukon, 8.5% in Nova Scotia, and 5.0% in the Northwest Territories.  In sum, the long-term trend, spanning several decades, in which the Canadian teen birth rate was in decline appears to have levelled off after reaching its low in 2005 and teen birth rates increased in some regions of the country, most notably Atlantic Canada, in recent years” (p. 169).  Based on these findings, it is apparent that teenage pregnancies continue to exist throughout Canada.  

Postpartum depression is a threat to all women who give birth.  Extensive research conducted by Kleiber and Dimidjian (2014) describe rates of postpartum depression among women of all ages ranging from 6.5 to 12.9% during the immediate postpartum period.  However, they further explain that studies focusing on adolescent mothers show much higher rates, with estimates of nearly one-third to two-thirds of adolescent mothers suffering from moderate to severe levels of depression symptoms.  Studies also identified that adolescent mother’s postpartum peaks between one to six months after delivery and declines afterwards (p. 49).  Based on these findings, interventions and workshops for teenage mothers are necessary to assist in the prevention and management of postpartum depression. 

Conceptualization of the problem & solution-focused strategies

“Concerns about the well-being of young mothers have led to a number of studies examining factors that are associated with their depression.  These studies frequently focus on the availability and quality of social support for the mother.  Several studies have found that the support provided to a young mother by the baby’s father is correlated with lower depression levels” (Fagan & Lee, 2009, p. 1110).  As research suggests, there are theoretical frameworks which explain the link between father involvement and mothers’ depressive symptoms.  The first explanation relies on the ideas from the self-determination theory, which suggest mothers’ often feel a sense of parenting competence from the act of co-parenting; the ways that parents work together in their roles as parents.  Researchers have recognized that feelings of low parenting competency are associated with higher levels of depressive symptoms in new mothers, especially those who are adolescent (Fagan & Lee, 2009, p. 1110).  Based on this information, fathers of teenage births should be encouraged to play an active role in co-parenting as it is likely to contribute to lower depression levels in their female co-parent.

The second theoretical framework which explains the link between father involvement and mothers’ depressive symptoms, draws on the ideas from the stress theory.  The stress theory believes that the success of parental functioning is dependent on the stresses and supports experienced by the parents.  Teenage mothers are at higher risk of experiencing parenting stress as they are often unprepared for the responsibilities associated with raising a child.  Often times, teenage mothers lack proper prenatal knowledge, financial support and relationship stability.  As research has shown, stresses placed on the child-parent system often results in negative effects to the child’s emotional and psychological development, especially during the first three years of life (Fagan & Lee, 2009, 1111).  One means to reduce the risk of parenting stress for teenage mothers is supporting them in attaining proper relationship stability with the child’s father.  “Recent studies have shown that adolescent fathers’ involvement with children is associated with lower levels of parenting stress in young mothers” (Fagan & Lee, 2009, 1111).  Providing teenage mothers with the opportunity to establish a healthy co-parenting relationship with their child’s father will reduce the risk of parenting stress and thus, benefit the emotional and psychological development of the child and decrease depression levels amongst teenage mothers.

Practical Considerations of the Workshop

Recruitment procedures – In order to recruit members, the workshop leader will work closely with public/private school divisions and the health region to identify females, between the ages of fifteen and nineteen, who have recently given birth.  Once identified, the group leader will contact mothers to explain the purpose of the group.  This workshop is voluntary, therefore teenage mothers will then be responsible to express an interest in this support and notify the group leader of their desire to be involved.  Participants must also have access to technology/internet services.

Screening procedures – For the purposes of this intervention, teenage mothers who express interest in this workshop must have a willing co-parent to participate with them. Fathers participating in this workshop can be between the ages of 15 and 24 years of age. In addition to this, participants must have access to technology/internet to participate in the online nature of the workshop.

Selection procedures –
In order to select members, the group leader will conduct interviews with each mother and father who fit the screening criteria.  Based on the interviews, the workshop leader will select five to eight couples who will be best suited for this group.

Size of the workshop –
This intervention will consist of five to eight couples (ten to sixteen individuals).  This workshop size will encourage cohesion and trust amongst participants and hopefully, encourage the adolescent mothers and fathers to share at personal levels. 

Assessment strategies – The assessment procedures used for the purposes of this workshop will consist of a group evaluation form and self-assessment completed by each participant.

  • I look forward to sharing the content and modules of this workshop with EC&I 834 in weeks to come!




12 thoughts on “Workshop Profile – Online Counselling for Adolescent Parents

  1. Nancy Smith

    Hi Kelsey

    Your course outline is very interesting. I was curious to learn how you came up with this audience to serve, and then I read your connection. I think that your passion to help this community with your experience and compassion is both innovative and philanthropic. There is great potential for the scalability of this concept to reach your audience in areas that may not have resources to help young parents such as rural or smaller communities.
    I look forward to seeing this course evolve during our session.

    Reply
    1. Kelsey Clauson Post author

      Thanks so much, Nancy. I appreciate you mentioning young parents in rural or even remote communities as I often think how online counselling would be a great resource for them.

      Reply
  2. Dani Hackel

    This is SO needed and sounds amazing! I don’t have my own kids but I can’t imagine the stress both physically and mentally this puts on someone even with the important supports you speak of in place. For young adults and teens trying to manage the stress of having a child with or without support must be incredible. I think having an outlet such as this where they access information and support systems in our city is crucial…not to mention this would be easy to attend because they can do so from the comforts of home if needed! Congrats on a wonderful unit idea. I am looking forward to following along!

    Reply
  3. Dean Vendramin

    Agree with the previous replies. This has the potential to be a game changer / difference maker. I look forward to seeing the progress you make with this. Good luck.

    Reply
  4. Amy Cross

    I agree with Dani. This course is brilliant! So many families with children in Regina struggle with basic needs. I think a course like this will begin to truly meet the needs of those adults who struggle. It is one of those things where you wish you can do more of this as a teacher, but can’t for a variety of reasons.
    Nice job. Looking forward to seeing how this course unfolds.

    Reply
    1. Kelsey Clauson Post author

      Thanks so much for the encouragement, Amy. Appreciate it!

      Reply
  5. Nataly Moussa

    Amazing course idea! as a parent of two teenagers, I can see the need for these kinds of workshops. I was thinking, at this age, they need life skills coaching, and for sure parenting is the main one. Good luck!

    Reply
  6. Kristina Boutilier

    Hey Kelsey,
    Great idea and I agree with the other replies. I think this course has the potential to be a game changer to counselling. As we talked about in our class discussion, the one thing I would “worry” about is privacy. I am sure you could make a prototype in google classroom as we talked about, but if you ended up using this with clients I think you would want to search out different vehicles to house your course. Well done and super well though out. Bravo!

    Reply

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