PEP – Parents Empowering Parents

What is PEP?

Parents Empowering Parents (PEP) is a program designed to promote effective parenting skills to parents of children with hemophilia, and to educate and support parents through classroom discussions and exercises. Written originally in 1995, the program has spread across the United States, and is has moved into the international bleeding community. Over a thousand parents have been through the program!

Why is PEP so valuable to parents?

Raising a child with a genetic bleeding disorder is a significant challenge that impacts the entire family. The PEP program was designed to address this need by affirming positive parent/child behaviors while focusing on the unique problems faced by parents of children with bleeding disorders.

What are the goals of the program?

The PEP program is designed to enhance the therapeutic relationship between parent, child and treatment staff; increase the parents' understanding of the child's bleeding disorder; heighten the parents' ability to respond objectively and consistently to bleeding episodes; and provide the parent with the skills necessary to effectively parent the child at the earliest age possible.

What are some of the topics PEP covers?

The program addresses many important issues, including the impact of bleeding disorders on child development; understanding and dealing with frustrations, anger and other feelings; compassionate discipline; child management skills; building self-esteem and confidence; parenting styles; and parent/family communication. Content for the course was created from consultations with, and advice from, parents of children with bleeding disorders, a family therapist, a social worker and the nursing staff of the Regional Hemophilia Diagnostic and Treatment Center at the Children's Hospital of Michigan.

How is the course designed?

The program usually takes place over a 2 1/2 day special weekend of pampering parents. Most all of the attendees expenses are paid through a special grant awarded to their HTC for this purpose by the National PEP program organization. Parents may choose to stay overnight/on site of the program or travel back and forth from home each day. The training team includes trained parents who have children with bleeding disorders, along with professionals from the treatment center. This team approach combines the strengths of peer support with professional expertise which in turn reflects the comprehensive treatment center model.

The program begins on Friday evening with dinner, getting acquainted, and a presentation. Over the next two days, the program hours are from 8am-8pm on Saturday, and Sunday from 8am-4pm. Several months after the program, families then come back together for a reunion.

Who created PEP?

The PEP program was created in 1995 and co-authored by Danna Merritt, LMSW, MSW, a social worker from the Children's Hospital of Michigan with consultation with the Treatment Center Staff at Children's Hospital of Michigan, and Sandra Joseph, Ph.D., the director of MapleTree Counseling Centers in Livonia, Michigan. To keep it current, Danna Merritt, along with the members of the National PEP Steering Committee, have updated and revised the program on several occasions.

Financial Contributors

For more information contact  Suzanne Jones, PEP Executive Administrative Assistant at or 248-952-4PEP

Informational Article for Parents and Professionals
Emotional Development in Children Ages 0 to 3 Years by Sue du Treil, PhD, LCSW

New Articles 4/26/12:

Before You Go…How to Identify and Train Another Caregiver by Mary Lou Cygan MSN, RN, CPNP

My World View Made Me Do It  by Michael J. Lammer, LISW

The Bridge of Transition for Adolescents with Bleeding Disorders by: Sue duTreil, PhD, LCSW


PEP News

PEP has begun plans for our next Train the Trainers (T3), coming this Spring 2016 (Dearborn, MI).  If you are interested in bringing the PEP program to your local bleeding disorder community, please contact Suzanne Jones, PEP Executive Administrative Assistant at for more information on our upcoming training.

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