Parenting Education

Questions & Answers


Do you have a question related to facilitating parent support groups or are looking for resources – ask it here – someone may be able to help you out.


What do you do when someone in a group monopolizes the whole time?

Suggested answer

A group member who talks too much, rambles on repeatedly and is generally dominant may be related to:

  • a natural need for attention
  • feelings of inadequacy or insecurity in relation to the topic
  • wanting to flaunt a large vocabulary or extensive knowledge
  • having the most authority

Some possible suggestions to consider are:

  • glance at your watch while the participant is speaking
  • during a pause for breath, thank the participant for their comments, and restate the agenda
  • emphasising relevant points and time limits
  • ask the participant to explain how their comments adds value to the topic in hand
  • reflect their comments back to the group
  • remind everyone of the time limit
  • privately speak with the person outside of the session.


I have one participant who always comes late for group, sometimes by almost 1/2 hour. She is usually not too disruptive but sometimes she has to ask questions of others if we are in the middle of something. Do you have any ideas to help solve the situation?

Suggested answer

Communication might work here. Have you spoke with her (away from others) to see if you can help to get her to group on time? It may be she has trouble getting out the door, maybe having someone offer to give her a ride might help. Have you checked to see how she gets to the group, maybe the bus connections make her late? Maybe ask her to help you set up for the group; asking her to come early may help. Have you checked to see if she has the correct time for the group? Are you making assumptions about why she is late? It maybe she is late for everything and your group is no different. Do the others in the group become upset with her being late? Has someone brought it to your attention?  Ask yourself the classic question…Who owns the problem?


When I run a parenting group people register through organization that contracts my services. They are the only contact and I usually get messages after the group. Last week one of the parents phoned to say they couldn’t come and I never got the message till the next day. Do you think I should give the group members my home number?

Suggested answer

This is a big question. Giving people your home number opens you up to recovering calls any time about any parenting issue. Some people might never call, however others may see you as their private and personal parenting resource person. You have no way of knowing whether a person is respectful of your private time. I would try to figure out a better system with the organization that takes the calls so you can get the messages. Giving out your phone number is likely not the best solution.


Bev Digout
306, 506 25th Street East
Saskatoon, Sk.  S7K 4A7
306.934.2087 Fax
[email protected]

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“The assumptions you hold about parents influence your success or failure.  Seek to understand the beliefs and functions underlying these differences rather than making assumptions about parenting in families with backgrounds and characteristics different form your own.  Purposively observe and listen and respectively ask questions, developing cultural competence through increased understanding.  When encountering perceptions of parenting roles and responsibilities and guidance different than your own, be flexible and open.”

A.L. Jacobson, “Parent Education and Guidance” in Bredehoft and Walchinski, (2003) (Eds.) Family Life Education:  Integrating Theory and Practice. Minneapolis: National Council on Family Relations. p. 113
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