“Coming to the realization that you’re making mistakes with your children can be hard. We ourselves thought we didn’t need it at first, as I’m sure many parents do. But you can’t think about it, or analyze what you do and don’t do. Just go. Just go and give it a chance.”
I heard about the parenting classes through the Parenting Resource Center at Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers a few times in the past. But I thought, I don’t need classes to raise my children, I’m doing everything just fine. The last time Sarahi, Parent Educator, mentioned them to me, out of curiosity, I decided I would go to listen and see what they talked about. Plus, it would be a way for my husband and I to spend some time together and get out of the house. Little did we know, we were making a lot of mistakes and these classes would completely change our lives and most importantly, the lives of our family.
We enjoyed the first class so much that we continued to attend the entire series without missing a single class. We looked forward to our time there every week and couldn’t wait to hear what we were going to talk about next. We were so excited about the classes because everything we learned was impactful. As the weeks progressed the positive changes at home were obvious and emotional. We wanted to keep learning more. We were overwhelmed with the difference it was making.
We are not from the states. We grew up in a small, cold village with a difficult upbringing and very little education. We don’t express our emotions well and are used to a culture that expects you to be strong. We weren’t going to say I love you all day long. Often you live the culture and customs that you know without thinking twice about what you are doing, or whether or not it is the right way. These classes helped us see that we were not doing many things right and the ways we’ve always done things needed to change.
Before taking the classes, we were dictators at home. We demanded our kids do what we said because we were the parents. We didn’t ask them for input, we didn’t tolerate any slips and we didn’t put our love into action. Our kids were rebellious. If they did what we asked they did it with anger and tension. As parents, we weren’t on the same page and often contradicted each other.
Sarahi opened our eyes without judgement. She gave us practical tips we could take home that day and start doing. We learned to be a team as parents. We learned how to treat our children with respect. We learned if we talked to our children calmly and without anger, they reciprocated. We learned how to express our feelings, give them the attention they need and show our love. We learned too many things to list here. Each more valuable than the last.
We will never forget when we came home from a class and wrote letters to our children, as Sarahi suggested. We wrote how much we love them, care for them and that they are the best thing that ever happened to us. They cried out of happiness and sentiment when they read the letters. They still keep them tucked away in their rooms to read when they are feeling sad or upset. Sergio works third shift, so he doesn’t see the children often. But he continued the letter writing, leaving little notes for when they wake up, or go to bed. For me as well. Our family is constantly reminded of his love through these notes. Things that seem so small can make the biggest difference. This is just an example of one thing we’ve changed. Our house and relationship with our children feel so different.
Coming to the realization that you’re making mistakes with your children can be hard. We ourselves thought we didn’t need it at first, as I’m sure many parents do. But you can’t think about it, or analyze what you do and don’t do. Just go. Just go and give it a chance. Listen to what Sarahi has to say, and listen to the other parents. One of the greatest things about the group is the social gathering and the comradery we found with other parents. We don’t only listen, we collaborate. We help each other because we understand each other. Make the time to go – it’s only once a week and what you will receive in return will continue to be with you for the rest of your life and more.