Bruce came to his fourth session of Positive Parenting at the Family Center. The class leader was talking about the influence of “labels” on kids. “Positive (creative, fast runner, good reader) and negative (slow runner, dumb, fat) labels can influence children in deeper ways than we intend,” she explained.

 

Bruce raised his hand, “The year I was 11, my teacher told me I would never amount to anything,” he said. “I felt like I had been socked in the gut, I was determined to prove her wrong but I have never forgotten how those words felt,” he continued. Another dad in the class could relate, he had heard something similar from a teacher in 5th grade. Both men had experienced how negative labels can become a part of an individual’s identity.

 

Bruce is struggling with his 11 year old son Alex, who is in trouble at school. Bruce wants to help Alex succeed but he does not know how to talk to him. Bruce recalls the pain and confusion of his 11th year and he does not know how to help his son have a different experience.

Bruce left class that night encouraged. He learned that even though his son is looking more and more like a mature young man, his brain is not fully developed. He does not have the critical thinking and reasoning skills that he will have when he is 25, he needs guidance and positive experiences to shape him. Bruce also learned that everything he says (and the way he says it) has an impact on Alex. As Bruce left class last night he said he really wants to be the kind of parent that can say to Alex, “I’m sorry, can we try that again.”

 

Parenting - We Can All Use a Little Help

 

My name is Marcie, as a new member of the Family Center staff, I attended my first Positive Parenting class last week. I have been a parent for 27 years but still learned a lot in that 90 minute class and found myself wishing that I had attended a similar class about 25 years ago. I guess some people think that only bad parents need parenting classes. Not true, healthy parenting is a learned skill, we can all use help.

 

Each of us learn to nurture and care for others by being nurtured and cared for. Sadly not everyone has healthy parents. Some parents are trying to overcome the adverse experiences of their childhoods while also parenting their children. The Family Center offers classes in Rutherford and Davidson Counties to help parents learn new skills and develop strong healthy relationships with their children, regardless of what their relationships were like with their parents.

As a participant that night, I learned that 85% of communication is based on what you do, not what you say. I can tell my kids I love them all day long but if I read texts on my phone while they talk to me, share their secrets with my friends and frequently pick them up late at school, they are not going to feel the kind of love that helps them develop a healthy self-concept or the best possible sense of self-worth. The class also discussed how hard kids are working to figure out who they are –their identity is a combination of the way they see themselves, the way they treat themselves and the way they treat others.

Family Center classes are empowering parents to raise healthy kids – that is good for families and good for the community!