Parenting Program Benefits Children, Community and Parents
Since she was 14, Heather mom to four, has experienced a lot of the challenges and joys of parenting that we all share as parents. These experiences are sometimes complicated by her depression, not having insurance to treat her depression and what she calls 6-7 years of not doing good.“I went through so much stuff a child should not go through,” says Heather, participant in Parents as Teachers at Family & Childcare Resources of N.E.W. “I’m only 30 and my daughter is already 16.”
Heather’s oldest is 16 and she was introduced to Parents as Teachers after she had her youngest who is now 1. She was hesitant about how the program could help her at first and was worried someone would just come and tell her what to do.
“I am a very prideful woman, so accepting of this program was very hard for me,” says Heather. “I got over that, not for myself but for my children.”
Working with Veronica, her Parent Educator at Family & Childcare Resources of N.E.W., was not what she expected. “She didn’t look down on my parenting,” says Heather. “She understands nobody is a perfect parent.”
Heather found working with a Parent Educator to be very helpful with activities for the children, information on parenting/child development and resources in the community for the whole family. She also says it has gotten her to go out in the community and be more social with her children.
Being a parent requires lots of patience. “Even though there are milestones, they still grow at their own pace,” says Heather.
“I love to see them grow up- their first steps, first words,” says Heather. The information Veronica brought helped explain the different milestones and stages of child development. Veronica also brought different activities to help with the different areas of development.
Veronica didn’t just help her with parenting but supported her as a person.
Veronica’s support gave Heather confidence in her parenting and herself. Heather says she doesn’t have many family members that support her and there were more people in her life who looked at her ambitions negatively. She says at times this kept her from moving forward to take steps to improve her life and the life of her family. “I wasn’t doing stuff because I was afraid I was going to fail.”
Heather says Veronica really listened to her and provided words of encouragement. When Heather talked about returning to school, Veronica told her she could do it. “It’s not that she pushed me but she wasn’t negative about it,” says Heather. “She told me, ‘You’re a great parent, you’re organized and keeping stuff on track.”
Veronica helped her with some of the application forms to get started and provided encouragement but it was all Heather. “She had it in her, I just pointed it out,” says Veronica.
“I talked to her about stuff I don’t talk to others about,” says Heather. “I wanted to share exciting news with her.”
Heather is excited to be returning to school in January to pursue a degree in Health Care Business Services and says Veronica has not only helped with parenting but has made a good change in her. “So, with my pride out of the way, I can say if not with one thing- this program has helped with another (part of life). This program is a big benefit to the community.”