County’s parent project offers help

Published 5:27 am Tuesday, July 26, 2011

By BETH CHAPMAN / Community Columnist

School doesn’t teach us much about raising our children. If so, it is usually one course and it is long before we actually have children.

It is hard to remember all those lessons we learned about raising children and question their credibility since some of the books were written by people who never had any.

Shelby County’s Parent Project offers hope for parents who deal with the challenges of “difficult” or strong-willed children and what they do and don’t learn in life. In the program, parents are given the tools they need to help them parent their strong-willed children more effectively, but just like with everything else, practice makes perfect.

The Parent Project is a 10-week program that meets for three hours one night a week. It is presently held at Westwood Baptist Church in Alabaster. Children ages 13 and above are welcome to attend the group with their parents, but it is not appropriate for younger children and no babysitting services are available.

This “tough love” approach was created by Barbara Williams and Penny Kakoliris when a noticeable number of middle school aged children were being sent to the Early Warning Program in Judge Jim Kramer’s Court. The charges were predominantly for truancy and conduct problems which are often warning signs of problems at home and others to come if the truancy and other issues are not addressed.

The Parent Project teaches parents who are often ridiculed, disrespected and mistreated the warning signs of possible alcohol and drug use in their children and how to intervene in the potential threats of such behavior.

The use of information taught in this class has proven to assist parents in helping them to help their children — with their behavior, school attendance, grades and overall attitude.

Participants of the Parent Project are not necessarily there by court order, though some are.

However, any business, church or organization that can gather a minimum of 10 families can have their own group. Charges are $125 per family which covers a workbook and all materials.

The Parent Project has a track record of 10 years of success in providing parents with what they need to help their at-risk children become more productive and their family more successful and enjoyable as a result.

For more information on the Parent Project, call Barbara Williams at 669-3831.

Beth Chapman, Alabama’s secretary of state, is a Shelby County resident and writes a weekly column for the Shelby County Reporter. You can reach her at