Restorative Thinking e-learning for Parents/Carers

Exciting development of our successful restorative parenting programme as an e-learning resource for parents/carers in the UK.

Unfortunately, this project was not successful

Our idea

Lots of parents and carers struggle with child/ren's behaviour, and relationships too often descend into tension, argument, stress and violence. Parenting is obviously not all about intuition and it is possible to enhance our skills to improve parent/child relationships dramatically. We have been running restorative parenting group sessions for three years with notable success and now seek to expand the availability of our classes through online services to allow many more people to benefit.  

Restorative Thinking's parenting programme has received the Department of Health's CANparent Quality Mark.



If you are a parent or carer or individual

Your support will help improve parent-child relationships, leading to improved life chances for children.  A £50 donation will go towards the costs of developing our programme as an on-line resource and you will receive an access code to use the full programme from Autumn 2016.

If you are an organisation

Your support will help us to reach families in your area/region.  A donation will help us pay for the development of the online e-learning resource and we will be able to offer you a number of access codes for families in your vicinity to access the programme from Autumn 2016.  There's also an opportunity for up to three organisations to partner with us to develop this project.

What parents/carers say about our classes

Parents who have attended our group classes in Children's Centre, School and Prison settings tell us:

I learnt patience and listening and taking my child’s needs on board.  

“Making a positive change so everything is a win-win situation.”

“Learning to see things differently.”

“I’ve learnt to sit my son by me and to explain wrong from right.”

“To work in line with my partner.”

"All about how the brain functions."

"Not punishing: no naughty step or smacking."

“To show children the behaviour you want to see.”

Who we are

Restorative Thinking Limited is a not-for-profit Social Enterprise based in Preston, Lancashire.  Over the past four years we have developed a range of restorative intervention programmes for parents and carers, adult offenders and young offenders, primary and secondary pupils.  All of our interventions, delivered by experienced facilitators with groups, have been very successful, developing key life skills in conflict resolution, relationship building, understanding needs and unmet needs, developing positive self-talk and resilience-building.  Please get in touch if you'd like to know more about us:



What the money is for

We need £54,000.  Restorative Thinking Limited will invest £17,000 into this project and we are seeking a total of £37,000 from Crowdfunding.  This will pay for IT expertise and an online e-learning package to develop our parenting programme as an online resource, accessible to many more parents, not only those who live in an area where our group classes are delivered.  The funds will be used to develop a multi-media, professional and accessible on-line e-learning resource for parents to access, appealing to all learning styles.  The e-learning classes will be charged at the point of delivery, a small fee to cover ongoing IT support, webinars and programme development.


Good and effective parenting gives children the opportunity to reach their potential.  We believe that effective parenting skills can be learnt and enhanced.  After all, we wouldn't set out to climb a mountain without due preparation and training...what could be more important than learning how to parent well?  

Our group parenting classes, delivered since 2013, are popular and successful and we want to reach many thousands of parents across the UK, giving all parents and carers the opportunity to be the best parent they can be and to improve the life chances of children.



Our e-learning parenting classes will cover the following topics:

  • communicating and staying calm
  • restorative practice principles and skills
  • coping with difficult behaviour
  • parents working together as a team
  • understanding different stages of a child’s development
  • managing conflict
  • the psychology behind behaviour and conflict
  • taking care of ourselves


Why restorative parenting?

Restorative parenting is an emerging field.  We know it is engaging and successful because parents and carers tell us both during and after our group classes.  Restorative principles and skills can underpin all our relationships.  In parenting, a restorative approach helps families to manage and reduce conflict, better understand child development and the reasons underpinning behaviour, develop emotional literacy and empathy, understand the relationship between boundaries and support, understand some of the key restorative theories and how to put these into practical everyday use.  Children respond enthusiastically to restorative parenting.

The theory

The classes are underpinned by Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT), Solution Focused Therapy (SFT) and developmental psychology.  The learning units have been developed by specialists from the fields of psychology and education, including Dr. Helen Flanagan. 


Our programme supports current government initiatives around improving family relationships, character education and improving life chances for our children.

The Department for Education published the findings of their 'Helping Children Achieve' study in 2010, to show how parenting styles are related to child antisocial behaviour.  Antisocial behaviour is  linked to future adult crime, drug & alcohol misuse, unemployment, poor physical health and mental disorders (Cohen, 1998; Moffit, et al., 2002; Odgers, et al., 2007).  A major risk factor is parenting style, in particular harsh and inconsistent parenting, which research has shown is associated with child behaviour problems (Scott, 2008; Finzi-Dottan, Bilu, & Golubchik, 2011; Dadds, 1995).

Previous research has suggested some of the parenting behaviours that can improve or exacerbate children’s behaviour problems. Parents of children with antisocial behaviour are likely to be less positive, more permissive and inconsistent, and use more violent and critical discipline (Reid, Webster-Stratton & Baydar 2004). 

Restorative Thinking's parenting classes equip parents and carers with a key set of life skills to better understand their child/ren's needs, to better understand and manage difficult behaviour and to form strong and secure attachment and attunement with their child/ren.  The classes are universal, suitable for parents and carers from all social, religious, ethnic and economic groups.

Research into online parenting classes

We are keen to point to recent research, which shows the potential of online parenting classes.  We know that the proportion of parents actually participating in (face-to-face) evidence-based parenting programmes is small (Sanders, Markie-Dadds, Rinaldis, Firman & Baig, 2007). Completing a parenting programme is still not socially normative and numerous barriers can hinder parental involvement and programme completion. The primary reasons for families' lack of participation include logistical problems (e.g. transportation difficulties, work-schedule conflicts, availability and affordability of childcare), mistrust in providers due to negative prior experiences, perceived ethnic and cultural barriers, perceived stigma (Prinz & Sanders, 2007) and limited access particularly in rural areas (Radey & Randolph, 2009).

The use of the internet has been proposed as an alternative way for delivering parenting programmes. By overcoming barriers common to face-to-face services, normalising parenting support and using the power of video-based modelling, interactivity and personalisation (Self-Brown & Whitaker, 2008), the internet could bring parenting programmes to a much broader range of parents. Internet delivery is considered a cost-efficient way that has the potential to tailor programme content to the needs and interest of parents. As Metzler, Sanders, Rusby & Crowley found (2012), it is also an increasingly popular method of accessing parenting information and advice in comparison to traditional approaches such as home visits, therapy and parenting groups.

In terms of parent characteristics, several studies show interest in and widespread use of the internet by disadvantaged parents including young, single parents (Radey & Randolph, 2009) and among ethnically diverse families (Metzler et al., 2012). A meta-analysis conducted by Barak and colleagues (2007) provided strong support for the adoption of online psychological interventions with effect sizes comparable to face-to-face delivery.

Final word

One of the key principles of restorative practice is to do things WITH others, rather than do things TO or FOR others, or NOT to do anything.  Jump on board and help make this significant development possible WITH us!