Reflective Parenting Group


The Reflective Parenting Group offers a highly collaborative approach for parents in order to promote family relationships, sensitive parenting and reduce the number of conflicts, bringing about behavioural changes and greater harmony.

The core thread of the programme is to promote mentalizing in parents (i.e. the ability of a parent to understand the thoughts, feelings and needs of both themselves and their children).

There is extensive evidence about the importance of understanding the intentions behind your child’s behaviour, and also getting a greater sense of your own mind (mentalizing) in human relationships and its relationship to attachment (for review, see: Fonagy & Bateman, 2016; Fonagy & Luyten, 2009; Fonagy, Luyten, & Strathearn, 2011). Research also suggests that understanding the thoughts, feelings and intentions behind your child’s behaviour and  your own reaction, (mentalizing) can act as a buffer against difficult behaviour.

Group-based work with parents - The group facilitators are Sheila Redfern and Tim Baker

Reflective Parenting group work is an 8-week manualised group. The topics and themes that we will cover week-by-week are:

 SESSION 1: What is Reflective Parenting? Why is it helpful? Getting to know you and hearing about your child/children. Research background, outcomes related to Reflective Parenting and making the approach meaningful to your parenting.

SESSION 2: How your own state of mind of a parent affects parenting. How can you manage your child's behaviour if you can't get a grip on your own mind?  Thoughts, feelings, beliefs, past history, the impact of emotion. A tool called the Parent Map is used to help parents reflect on their own minds; for example, what triggers strong emotion and how their mind influences their relationship with their children.

SESSION 3: Managing your own feelings whilst trying to manage your child.  This week we continue with talking about the Parent Map. Talking more about the difficulties in parenting and helping you build a map of how you want to parent and when you parent at your best.

SESSION 4:Thinking about the back story to your child's behaviour. Promoting different perspectives and ways to understand the meaning behind behaviour. It helps parents take a developmental perspective (e.g. what behaviour is common and to be expected), and helps parents examine their own assumptions about their child’s intentions.  We teach you in this session how to develop a new stance to parenting. A reflective or mentalizing one in which you can start to understand your child in a different way and help him/her manage his feelings and behaviour with your help.

SESSION 5:  Managing your emotional temperature and that of your child's in order to achieve a better relationship. In this session, we use two tools: the emotional thermometer and the Parent APP to help you to connect with your child in a different way, and manage your own feelings at the same time.  

SESSION 6: How to manage discipline within your relationship with your child.  It is hard to be reflective and not to react strongly sometimes as a partner, particularly when your child does something that really tests you and your relationship with them.  This session and session 7 look at how to be an authority figure in your child's life, but also how to understand why they are behaving a certain way and then to reach a way of helping your child to manage his or her feelings and behaviour without you having to resort to overly authoritarian measures. 

SESSION 8:  Keeping Reflective Parenting going. This session helps you to look to the future and how you can enjoy better times with your child.  The importance of play and good times will be discussed and how reflective parenting can help you achieve more of this. at what influences children to cooperate and examines different ways of disciplining children.

The group approach takes parents’ own example

Expected benefits to the programme

Parents can expect to develop a better understanding of their child’s emotions and behaviours, whilst increasing the connection both they and their children feel towards each other. The programme helps parents to connect with their child’s inner world, helping them feel understood and of value. It also helps to de-escalate difficult situations and reduce behavioural and emotional outbursts.

How to find out more

If you would like to make an enquiry or referral to the Reflective Parenting Group please contact:

Telephone: +44(0)20 7794 2313

Our Parenting Groups referral form can be found here.

To download our reflective parenting group leaflet please click here