Free parenting classes sending the right message

It started with one of our providers noticing that many parents of her pediatric patients seemed to be frustrated with some of their children’s behavior and maybe they could use some help.

Enter Shane Moore, our patient care coordinator. Working with patients to see what they would like to see (and when), Family First Health now brings in our friends from Family Child Resources once a month to provide FREE parenting classes. Plus we’ll entertain your kids during class.

During warmer months, the class has seen 16 or so people. Many of them are new faces each time. The classes started in May, and Shane’s calculated that they’ve helped 34 individuals.

January’s class met last night, and I got the chance to sit in. The topic was self-esteem and that how you feel about yourself can influence how you parent. Full disclosure – I am not a parent, but there are many tools to dealing with people (and kids) that you can take from this.

It was great to see parents opening up about how their own parents shaped how they want to be (or don’t want to be) with their own kids. The things we hear as kids – “You can be anything you want to be,” “You’ll never amount to much” – can affect how we see ourselves.

At one point, we started talking about “labels” we use to describe our kids. Even negative ones – when fostered correctly – can lead to great things later in life. Say your kid is stubborn now, hopefully that will lead to a more persistent and focused adult.

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Another great takeaway was:

“Your attention is your biggest tool as a parent.”

If you encourage and reinforce your child’s good behavior, they’ll continue to act that way to receive praise. If they only get your attention when they do something wrong, they’ll continue to misbehave.

Personally, it was really cool to see patients opening up about parenting – their successes, their fears of not doing it right. Even in their struggles, you can see how much they care.

At one point, our Family Child Resources instructor mentioned a quote that really stuck with me and Shane. She told a patient:

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We all try to do what we can for others, but in the end, you have to take care of yourself (and your kids). What powerful words to live by whether or not you’re a parent.

Interested in the next class? Contact Shane by calling 717-801-4838 or email him at smoore@familyfirsthealth.org.

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