Since 1982, PSAS has offered free, grant-funded courses for parents who want to improve family relationships. These courses are hosted and co-sponsored with PTAs, schools, family centers, and other nonprofit organizations. The Seattle Council of Parent-Teacher-Student Associations was the original sponsor of Sanity Circus
, and PSAS became the lead co-sponsor the following year. The SCPTSA had adopted the policy of offering Sanity Circus free, with childcare, and in co-sponsorship with various schools throughout the school district in order to provide easy access for all parents, regardless of ability to pay. PSAS maintains this policy.
The model for the original program was Saturday Circus, an Adlerian parenting program at the University of Oregon (inspired by Rudolf Dreikurs, a student of Adler), now managed by Lane Community College. For 13 years the Sanity Circus presenter was Bob Bradbury. In the mid 1980s, he received a state PTSA award from Gov. Booth Gardiner for Sanity Circus's contribution to the community. (Following his retirement, Bob has volunteered as an usher at a Seattle theater, where Sanity Circus graduates regularly recognize him and let him know how much they still appreciate his help!)
Adlerian parenting courses focus on improving family relationships, not on "behavior management" (reward and punishment). According to recent research, parent education that focuses on improving family relationships tends to result in better mental and physical health in mid life and in greater longevity than does behavior management (see Dr. Sarah Stewart-Brown's article "Improving parenting: the why and the how," http://adc.bmj.com/content/93/2/102.full
For many years, PSAS offered only Sanity Circus in the large lecture format, with up to 200 eager parents participating. Some years ago, Jody McVittie, MD, a Sanity Circus graduate, left the practice of medicine and began teaching Adlerian parenting and teaching. With grant funding, PSAS engaged Dr. McVittie to supervise translation of parenting materials into Spanish and to train bilingual presenters in the experiential version. She uses the Positive Discipline
experiential, small-group format. For several years, PSAS offered that course as well as the original Sanity Circus. Anita Garcia Morales is now our presenter of the Positive Discipline course in English and Spanish. (One school provided translators in several languages for her course!)
With the 2012 retirement of our second Sanity Circus presenter, Stephanie Cross, we no longer offer Sanity Circus, but we continue to co-sponsor both the Spanish and English versions of Positive Discipline, with Anita Garcia Morales presenting. For several years, Sanity Circus participants contributed to a "Pay-It-Forward" fund, which with grant funds, has allowed us to continue offering these courses free of charge.
Since 1989, PSAS has prepared and published The Parenting Calendar
, now a 52-page online quarterly, listing all the parenting courses, support groups, and leader trainings that we are aware of in the central Puget Sound area (www.psasadler.org/calendar.pdf
). We update the calendar between issues as new information becomes available. Our hope is to make parenting resources more widely known so that more families will benefit. The calendar is useful not only to parents, but also to counselors, court personnel and attorneys, schools, churches, and other concerned people and agencies. We receive a great many phone calls for calendar information from parents referred to us by various agencies.
Since 1998, we have been offering free monthly gatherings, now called First Friday Forums
, for members and others interested in human nature and human well-being to become better acquainted with like-minded people and with Adlerian Psychology and its applications.
We are successfully making the transition from Sanity Circus, the large, lecture course for parents, to the small experiential Positive Discipline and Disciplina Positiva courses. The "Pay-It-Forward" fund is covering costs for two such course this year. More donations would fund more courses.