Using poems and creativity to approach positive and negative ways of parenting.

Learning goals

  • Identify stressors and their possible causes.
  • Develop strategies for keeping calm during parenting challenges.

Read poems

Have a selection of poems available for sharing – either reading aloud or passing around.

  • Ask the group if anyone has a favourite poem, or remembers one they learned at school.

As an example, write the ‘When I hit my kids’ poem below on the whiteboard. It uses the ‘senses’ technique.

When I hit my kids...

it looks red and sore

it sounds like yelling, screaming then whimpering and sobbing

it smells like rotting meat

it tastes bitter in my mouth

it feels like a paper cut and

intuitively I know I have bruised our relationship.

Write a poem

Have the group create their own poem using the senses technique, and putting their feelings into words.

  • The facilitator should write one too and share, as this may encourage others.

First choose a ‘negative’ state, such as stressed, tired, worried, angry or upset, to create a poem using the structure below:

When I’m [for example, ‘tired’]…

it looks…sounds…smells…tastes…feels like…

and intuitively I know…

Or use the topic above, ‘When I hit my kids…’

Repeat this exercise using ‘positive’ states, such as happy, joyful, content, excited, cheerful.

Ask for volunteers to share their poems with the group. Discuss the choice of words used in association with each of the two states.

Extension activities

Have suitable card, coloured pens and so on, to help create a final product to take home and display.

To practise not always focusing on the negative, play the ‘look for a positive’ word game:

  • Brainstorm a list of all the negative emotions that the group associates with stressed parenting.
  • Alongside the list, add the opposite, positive word.