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Local institute creates program to help parents through pandemic stresses

Published: Mar. 5, 2021 at 12:56 PM CST
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - The changes brought on by the pandemic have taken a toll on us all individually, but almost exactly a year in, Baylor Scott & White said the changes have had a big impact on families.

In order to help, the hospital’s Warrior Research Institute has created a program to help deal with the stresses of this year.

It’s a parent skills training program to help parents learn more about emotions and how to work through them, not only with their children, but also for themselves. The program lasts about 12 weeks, and participants would meet virtually with a therapist once a week.

Dr. Elizabeth Coe, clinical director and assistance investigator at the Warriors Research Institute, said with all of the stresses coming from the pandemic, they’ve recognized the need to offer families, and especially parents, a little more help, and this is where the program comes in.

Dr. Coe said there can sometimes be a stigma against asking for help, especially when it comes to parenting. She said parents should not feel like bad parents if they need to ask for help.

“That’s not what parent skills training is all about, it’s really about kind of this larger idea that we all need help,” Dr. Coe said. “Parenting is inherently challenging, that living can be inherently challenging. It’s hard to be a human.”

Dr. Coe added there is already research available showing that young people and families have been impacted by the stresses of the pandemic.

“Whether that’s you know school going virtual, or whether that’s everyone under the same roof, all the time or, especially for young people that disconnect from their peers, all of those things have come out in some big ways, and at times some concerning ways,” Dr. Coe said.

She added there’s an opportunity within families for parents to teach their kids about emotions and what it means to feel them. With the skills training, parents would be trained to act like therapists to offer more support for their children.

Dr. Coe said there are often barriers between people and getting care they may need, and that’s become more obvious during the pandemic. Through a program like the parent skills training, Dr. Coe said parents can develop the skills they need to take advantage of all the resources they have within their home.

The program is being offered for veterans and veteran family members, although Dr. Coe said that is open to people like parents of veterans, not necessarily military dependents. If you’re interested in participating in the program, you can call 254-716-6208 or eamil wri@bswhealth.org.

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