Are you a parent? Do you know someone who is a parent? Of course, we all know folks who are parents or are parents ourselves. It is after all, how the human race continues to populate the earth.
If I were to ask you if every parent parents perfectly, what would your answer be? I’ll go out on a limb and predict that you would quickly answer of course not! Parenting is difficult and challenging and none of us do it perfectly. We have our good days and our bad days as do our children. And just when we think we have it figured out they transition into a new developmental stage which brings a whole new array of joys and challenges. We ask ourselves continually- what do I do now? I just figured out the last stage. They were sleeping through the night and now they are waking up three times a night crying uncontrollably. What do I do?
Parenting books and blogs can be helpful. They can also be confusing because every child is different. Your mother-in-law’s advice can be helpful and also hurtful. Teachers offer insight, but see your children during the day, not at night when everyone is exhausted and frustrated. Advice offered you by random strangers in the grocery store are almost never productive. It is not unusual to want to cry out, “Help, I’m a parent. What do I do now?”
Parents come in all sizes, shapes and styles. Some drive fancy cars, some walk. Some are men, some are women. Some have large families, some have small. Some have college degrees, some don’t. Some live in houses, some live in shelters. Some have children with special needs, some don’t. All have children. All need support. The River Center is a family and community resource center. We support families through our parenting groups and classes, focus groups, home visiting program, play group, and individual meetings. The only requirement to join a parenting group at The River Center is to have children. Nothing else. If you do have children, support is here. Our groups offer a safe, welcoming atmosphere. Our Children’s Enrichment program offers a fun and safe environment for the children while parents meet with our experienced parent educators. Group discussions will address real issues parents are facing at the moment such as teens and technology, getting everyone out the door in the morning, toilet training, bullying, homework, holidays. Parents also learn about developmental stages, discipline, communication, the importance of play and unstructured time, etc.
We have groups that meet at various times during the week at 46 Concord St. in Peterborough. We also have a group meeting at the United Church in Jaffrey in collaboration with Shelter from the Storm and led by Kelli Tourgee. A focus group for mothers of teen daughters meets at Conval High School. A five week prevention class with Carol Lunan will be offered at South Meadow School this spring. Tuesday morning parents of tweens and teens meet with Bonnie Harris. A new group has just started on Thursday mornings focusing on building your child’s self-esteem with Wendy Hill. You are welcome to join any of these groups.
Tina Kriebel has this to say about being part of a parenting group; “I am so grateful for the Parenting Programs at The River Center. I really feel like it has been an investment in my family. It is a couple of hours a week where I really focus on how I want my family to be and how I want them to treat each other. None of us is perfect, but it’s the process that we use to grow and better connect with our kids – and our spouses. When my dad passed away eight years ago, it was a safe place to share the struggles I was having with parenting. As my children have grown, I have moved from topics on sharing and sleep issues to how to move into the new role of counselor with my middle school boys. These classes have made a world of difference in my own growth.”
Another parent relates her experience: “My son had behavioral issues when he was young. I was quite overwhelmed and even afraid to get pregnant again. He was diagnosed with ADHD & Sensory Processing Disorder when he was 5, which gave me some explanation but didn’t help with dealing with all of it and school and the school bus. A lot of people didn’t get him (teachers, bus drivers, family, other parents, etc.) He was that kid that adults justified being mean to because he was annoying. Bonnie taught me how to listen to him and what his behaviors were telling me, and it was eye opening. It was the first time in my life I didn’t look at my son as being a problem but having a problem. I started reacting differently, and he responded. He wasn’t the “bad kid”. I learned to explain to others what he was doing, why he was behaving certain ways, how he perceived other children and their intentions, why he reacted the way he did (sensory), and how to handle him without making him feel horrible about himself. His recent report card indicated above average conduct in every class.”
My father once told me that raising his children was the most important job he ever did. He was right. Don’t you want to have every tool available to you to do it the best you can? The River Center is here to support you and your family. To help you do this very important job to the best of your ability. Our children are the future of this community. Let us help you.
To find out more, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 924-6800.