Meet Sarah and her 6-year-old twins – two bright, precocious boys. After she and their father divorced three months ago, the twins started having serious behavioral problems at school – withdrawing from teachers, difficulty paying attention, and even acting out aggressively with friends.
As parents who divorced amicably, Sarah and her ex were surprised. The boys remain close to their dad and visit regularly on weekends. However, when they get home to Sarah, settling down was becoming more challenging. Between increasing problems at school and at home, Sarah knew they needed help but finances were tight, and she was afraid of being judged a “bad parent.”
A friend recommended The Family Center’s Positive Parenting Program; Sarah’s friend had participated as part of a treatment plan for substance abuse recovery and found the program helpful in understanding how things that happened in her childhood affected her choices in life today and how her choices were affecting her children. Sarah was initially hesitant.
“At first I thought, this isn’t for us. We’re good parents. We just need help figuring out what’s going on with our kids.”
Sarah and her ex-husband checked out the program, saw there was a sliding fee scale, and decided to register. They learned many of the program’s parents had similar experiences with their children and that divorce is one of 10 Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) recognized by the CDC.
As these young parents worked alongside The Family Center staff, they begin to understand how ACEs affect early brain development; gaining insights into the boys’ needs; learning co-parenting skills that help provide consistency, empathy, and enhanced coping mechanisms; and interacting with one another and the boys in ways that are positively affecting the entire family.
“It’s only been a few weeks since we enrolled in The Family Center program and the differences are amazing. The boys are more confident and engaged in their class, the anger and fighting at school has gone away, and the transition from one house to the other is easier. It feels like we’ve been given a second chance.
Being a parent isn’t easy but we can be the best parent possible if we accept a little help. I tell anyone with kids to attend Positive Parenting.”