STEP is taught to parents, educators, and caregivers in an 8-week series of 2-hour sessions, held mornings or evenings.
It consists of lecture and conversational give-and-take, including examples and role-playing. Reading material handouts and a soft cover handbook support the exposition of the concepts underpinning STEP.
- The Philosophy behind STEP: Why do children Misbehave? (It’s not what you may think)
- Learn to Act and not React; the former has purpose and the latter means we are being manipulated
- Displays of Emotion are social: how this affects communication with our kids
- Encouragement vs. Rewards: why the former is wholly preferable to the latter
- Improving communication: Practicing “reflective” listening and the power of empathy
- Whose problem is it?—“I”-messages and exploring alternatives when problems arise
- Consequences vs. Punishment: how the former trains children to be responsible and capable, and the latter may create power struggles and provoke rebellion
- Selecting the best approach in a given situation; applying your STEP techniques
- The value of family meetings
- Using STEP in ALL relationships
The goal: Respectful, effective discipline, and cooperative, independent, happy children.
Q-- My kids are older—is there any point in taking STEP now—or is it too late?
A--As long as you are a parent, it’s never “too late”. Of course it’s easier to implement behaviour changes when you start early. But no matter when you learn and apply the STEP approach, it will reduce your family’s stress and strengthen all relationships, including those of the siblings. Workshop participants have made comments such as: "STEP has given me back my son.” Adults have repaired estranged relationships with their own parents and siblings after taking STEP. The way we see it, any relationship worth having is worth improving.
Q-- There are so many parenting programs out there—why should I take this one?
A-- Unlike other programs that promise “total transformation” of wayward children in minutes, or use points or prizes to bring about desired behaviour, STEP takes an holistic approach, treating children with respect and requiring the same in return. Cooperation is expected. STEP is neither permissive (you are a doormat) nor authoritarian (you are a dictator). Instead it finds a middle ground where the problem behaviour-- NOT the child-- becomes the focus.
When a child is "in trouble", whether or not he is at fault, his natural reaction is defensiveness; this often devolves into power struggles and fighting. This approach can damage the relationship and often has the parent taking responsibility for the problem. STEP puts the focus instead on the bad behaviour; together with a calm response, we can preserve the relationship while teaching appropriate behaviour.
Q-- What do I get when I sign up for STEP with OSA Workshops?
A-- The course itself covers:
- 16 hours of class lecture and discussion;
- the Parent’s Handbook, the primer on STEP written by the authors of the program;
- all reading material and handouts, as well as a recommended reading list covering topics of common interest in depth;
- information and problem-solving tailored to your requirements (divorce situation, step-families, etc.);
- private coaching in the STEP approach for the run of the workshop plus six months;
- a lot of fun, and more than a little relief from stress.
Q-- How much does the program cost?
A-- The open enrollment Workshops classes offered for 2012 have the following rates* for individuals:
For groups of 12+: $225.00 per person;
For groups of 15 or more: $215.00 per person;
For groups of 20 or more: $205.00 per person;
For groups of 25 or more: $195.00 per person;
Spouses attend for a flat rate of $150.00
Maximum number of participants: 35
* Payable in installments if desired. An additional $25.00 discount is available for returning participants; please contact me for further information.
Sponsored Workshops (participant's fee paid by Sponsoring Group such as a PTA or school) are available also, for a flat fee. Please contact me for pricing details.
Q-- My husband/wife refuses to implement STEP/actively undermines my efforts—what can I do?
A-- While it would be helpful and certainly easier to present a united front, with both parents implementing the program, IT IS NOT NECESSARY for success. In your child’s world, many of the adults will still be using reward and punishment or getting involved in power struggles. You can be the constant of trust and encouragement for your child, regardless of what Grandma or her stepmother may be doing. You will also learn to use STEP with the other adults in your life.
Q-- It’s overwhelming—I can’t agree with/apply all of the STEP approaches I am learning. Can it still work?
A-- YES—while it is a system designed to build upon itself, sometimes there are areas of your relationship with your kids that are working and are not STEP. That’s fine. Apply STEP to the problem areas and see that it works. Later on, you may be more comfortable applying STEP to other areas, for example the subject of food (always a tricky one!)
Q-- It’s overwhelming—it makes sense in class but when I get home I go back to my un-STEP ways. What can I do?
A-- Like any other behaviour modification—say a new diet—it’s best to be patient with yourself and realize you are doing it for the long term. Just as a diet isn’t (or shouldn’t be!) for a few weeks only, STEP is a change for the better—for life. That’s why the course takes 8 weeks from start to finish. And that’s why I am here by phone or email to coach you through the 8-week course and for three months afterward, as you are implementing what you’ve learned.
Q-- My relationship with my kids is OK—why should I bother with all this work?
A-- If you’re really happy with your family relationships, you are one of the blessed and are probably doing all this naturally. But if you think things could be a little better; if you are tired of hearing yourself say “How many times do I have to say…??”; if you are worried about the toll that fighting may be taking on your relationships, or if you are worried about worse things-- STEP is the most valuable investment that you can make. The difference will be profound. Your kids will learn to be self-motivated, and self-disciplined. And you may find yourself falling in love with them all over again.