Life changes: managing parents' and children's emotions
A proven programme based on mutual respect, designed for local community initiatives
By Wendy Goddard

To see sections of this book in a PDF, please click here.

Tried and tested with hundreds of families, in a variety of contexts and often with those facing life's most difficult circumstances... a deserted wife having to raise her children alone in unsuitable accommodation; a teenage mother without the comfort of a family to support her; those who are struggling through ill-health and financial insecurity... often such losses cause anger and despair, with many parents believing there is nothing they can do...

This course's easy-to-follow sessions let facilitators take parents - of children of any age - carers, grandparents, foster-carers and parents-to-be - through a variety of exercises to:
  • understand their anger and depression
  • become more able to cope with changes
  • become more confident, resilient and positive about life, and so be more able to recover from events and to move on with their lives.

    Children and young people are uncertain about themselves and their future, and often very uncomfortable with change. Our attitude, as parents, sets an example for our children: if we are self-aware, able to cope with our emotions, and able to relate well to others, we will model for our children a way of dealing with adversity.

    In common with other successful parenting programmes, this course: has been developed through regular monitoring, evaluations, and review, with quality ensured through training and supervision; uses evidence-based content for the sessions with a comprehensive manual of guidance; has been effective with parents from many different backgrounds and has sustained their attendance for at least 6-10 sessions.

    In addition, unlike many other courses and manuals, this course:
  • is easy to follow for both parents and facilitators
  • eliminates the need for expensive training
  • may be adapted to suit specific needs of trainers and parent groups, and in response to parents' own ideas and evaluations
  • is accessible for use by smaller voluntary agencies, with restricted time and budgets, as easily as by larger organisations
  • provides user friendly handouts for parents
  • can be used entirely on its own; or be linked to other training delivered by the author and her colleagues (search on 'Wendy Goddard' on our website for links to other manuals)
  • encourages further learning about the underpinning ideas of Individual Psychology; a Person-Centred Approach; Cognitive Behaviour Therapy; Solution Focused Brief Therapy; Neuro-linguistic Programming; Emotional Literacy; and Resilience.

  • Life Changes: Managing Parents' and Children's Emotions offers guidance and materials that enable practitioners (counsellors, nurses, teachers, youth workers, social workers, family and children's centre staff) to offer a complete course of 6-10 sessions, including 12-20 hours contact time with parents, in groups of up to 15, or individuals. The session plans, facilitator's notes, photocopiable handouts and extension exercises can be adapted to suit local needs. No audio-visual or IT equipment is necessary. The course's manageable length and bite-sized chunks reduce drop-out rates and tempt parents on to further learning. Purchasers of the manual can subsequently obtain - free from the publisher - the course's photocopiable material in electronic format.

    A4 wiro. 176 pages. 978-1-905541-50-8. Published 2009. £44.95.


    Practitioners working with parents, carers, grandparents, foster-carers and parents-to-be. Such practitioners include counsellors, nurses, teachers, youth workers, social workers, family and children's centre staff and indeed parents themselves who have appropriate confidence and skills to work with other parents, learning and sharing what is in these manuals.


    Wendy Goddard
    was a secondary school teacher for 20 years and retired as a Deputy Head. Before that she was a psychiatric nurse. On retirement 15 years ago, she founded a small local charity, The Listening Ear, that provides counselling and training to young people and their families. She remains very involved, developing materials for their training, supervising the counsellors, and providing training for parents and professionals working with young people.


    What is Life Changes: Managing Parents' and Children's Emotions about?
    Why does it matter to families?
    A brief guide to the principles underlying this work with parents
    Who is this manual for?
    The background to the manuals
    Copying permissions
    Electronic supply of the copiable materials
    Notes on using this manual
    Organising the course
    Marketing the course
    Further reading
    Guidance for facilitators
    Facilitating groups
    Stages of group development
    The facilitator
    Some useful interventions
    Coping with individual behaviour
    'C' Groups
    Giving effective feedback
    Icebreakers and closures
    Guidelines for sculpturing
    Guidelines for role-play
    Guidelines for relaxation and visualisation
    Supervision for reflective practice
    Some examples of evaluations
    Additional icebreakers and closures
    The Sessions
    Scheme of Work
    Course components
    The National Occupational Standards for Work with Parents
    Session 1. Beginnings for change
    Session plan. Facilitator's notes. Handouts for parents
    Session 2. The experience of loss
    Session plan. Facilitator's notes. Handouts for parents
    Session 3. The legacy of anger
    Session plan. Facilitator's notes. Handouts for parents
    Session 4. Practical suggestions for change
    Session plan. Facilitator's notes. Handouts for parents
    Session 5. Moving on
    Session plan. Facilitator's notes. Handouts for parents
    Session 6. Endings and beginnings
    Session plan. Facilitator's notes. Handouts for parents
    Suggested further reading
    Electronic supply of copiable materials


    "I have run the Life-Changes programme and the parents really enjoyed it and learnt from it" Parent Support Worker.

    "The manuals are great and every Parent Support Worker should have copies. They provide some really good material you can use on a one-to-one basis as well as with groups." Parent Support Co-ordinator

    "I find the programmes so easy to use" Counsellor.

    "Evaluation does not have to be dull and lengthy it can be fun and these books show you how" Counsellor.

    "One of my fears from facilitating the first workshop was that people wouldn't join in and they'd be awkward silences. I need not have worried; there was lots of discussion, interaction and lively debate." Teacher.

    "I'm very glad with the way the sessions have gone. My confidence has grown and it is great to have plenty of exercises, examples and relevant resources available to pull out when and if needed." Parent Volunteer.

    "The school is very pleased that the courses are getting parents involved and that all it costs is the manual and my time!!" Teacher.

    "These courses are now an established part of our yearly programme and are well attended by parents." Children's Centre Manager.