As a parent educator, I get to see the changes parents make as they complete our parenting classes. The following is a story of a mother named Chelsea who was able to repair her relationship with her son through our Parent to Parent Classes.
Chelsea came into our first class at Franklin Elementary looking frustrated and disconnected. She sat and listened to the other parents silently, rarely discussing her opinions. I noticed that her demeanor started changing after the first few sessions. Chelsea started getting involved, asking questions, and even sharing personal experiences.
The last day of class I asked the parents to share if they had seen changes in themselves. Chelsea had become the most talkative parent in the class and was eager to share. She raised her hand and told the class her story. Chelsea began by confessing that initially she didn’t want to attend the class. However, after seeing the enthusiasm in the classroom she decided to give it a try. She then explained that the class had helped her to realize she was a very authoritarian parent. Before the class she would yell and often lose her patience with her two sons. Chelsea then proceeded to share the following story:
My son Tony came home from school the other day. I was in the living room watching television. He came over and sat down next to me. This is something he hasn’t done in a long while. Tony put his head on my lap. I was surprised because over the last several years we had begun to grow very distant: I suppose it was because of my yelling. I was unsure of what to do, so I thought about this class, about the lesson of giving attention and praise. I began to run my hands through his hair and asked him how his day was. He started talking to me and then asked me how MY day was. Tony had never asked me about my day. It was in that moment that I realized the importance of this class.
Chelsea explained to the class that not all has changed, and that she still yells every once in a while, but that she is trying her best not to take out her frustrations on her sons. If she ever slips up, she makes sure to always apologize. Change takes time, but it is not impossible, and that day Chelsea showed the class the power of small changes in her transformation as a parent.
–Jessica, Parent Educator, Parent to Parent program