Wife and Mother of 4: Girl age 12, Boy age 8, Twin boys age 2. Voluntarily requested parenting services (No DCF Involvement). We provided in-home services to her family for 6 months.
My name is Lucia. I was a mother who always approached everything by screaming and yelling. I was repeating the same story from my parents. My parents raised me with many insults and abused me until I left my parents at the age of 13 years. I was abused as a girl and a family member tried to rape me three times but I never had the confidence to tell my parents. I became a violent person. I always have in my mind everything that happened and I feel I remain marked forever.
Then, I got married and formed my family with my husband and my children. I repeated the same story of insults, shouting and violence with my children. Just as my parents told me that I would never amount to anything, I was telling the same thing to my children. I never received love from my parents, just beatings and mistreatment which I always did with my children. I just thought and believed that providing a clean home and food to the children was more than enough and that’s all I needed to do as a mother.
I was a doormat mother in that my children did what they wanted to do, did not respect me at all and passed over my authority. They also repeated my shouts and insults, that’s what I built.
All that has changed at my house. There is no more shouting or insults. Our lives are different now. I dedicate time to talk, play and have fun. We are now a family and dedicate quality time. Now I have time for my children and my husband. Several times it has crossed my mind to leave everything and not do this – I wanted to leave my husband too. How wrong I was, thanks to this program, Parenting Matters changed my life forever. I thank you for your patience and work. I tell mothers to never give up and seek help and continue moving forward.
I was a teen mom. I had my first son at 16 and as a young mom, sometimes I felt isolated. I thought I was at the age to party, therefore my boyfriend and I didn’t take parenting very seriously. My oldest son had gone through bad experiences since he was very small as my boyfriend and I always fought in front of him. When he was about to go to Preschool, I realized I didn’t want this to happen to my youngest son. This is when I found out about Parenting Matters. I wanted to learn how to communicate with my son as he could not speak a single word at the time. He was going to therapy, but I would become very frustrated and yell at him.
I convinced my boyfriend to go at least the first day to parenting classes with me. He did and we loved it because there we met other parents that were going through the same experiences we were going through. That was huge for us as now we had a way to talk about what we were going through and not feel so alone. We did not have friends and there we made great friends with other parents. We also began in-home parenting with Parenting Matters.
As parents, we have changed a lot. We have learned how to live with our children, I don’t yell anymore, now I talk. I also learned not to do things that harm my children, as I used to lock my son in a closet with the light off, I was harming him without knowing. Little by little we are learning.
These programs have helped me not feel so alone, I found support and learned about my children’s growth and development. We now do a lot of activities with our children and we love being with them.
When Rosalba Soperanes first called Parenting Matters, it was more out of desperation than out of hope. Her marriage was shaky, and she could barely stand being with her four children: Maria (8), Jose (7), Brian (5) and Katie (1). Screaming and fighting had become their way of life. The house’s atmosphere was hostile and unsettling. Her husband worked long hours to avoid the constant crying and turmoil, and Rosalba felt trapped, isolated, and suicidal.
Rosalba also felt like a horrible person. How could she not know how to parent her own children? Where was her maternal instinct? She had grown up without a strong parent model, and she did not have anyone to ask questions about child rearing. Rosalba felt confused, yet committed herself to seek help.
With a Parenting Educator at her side, Rosalba felt heard and not just criticized or judged. She began to see the importance of setting rules and limits, of having routines and of logical consequences. She began to look forward to spending time with her kids. No longer feeling alone, she relaxed enough to enjoy being a mom and truly nurture her children.
The troubled household slowly began to change. Today, hardly any arguing takes place. Rosalba and Jose are finally enjoying their family and each other. They spend time together with their children: laughing instead of fighting, and talking instead of screaming. When there are rough days, they are the exception, not the rule. Recently, simple words spoken by their oldest, Maria, gave testament to this family’s life-altering and successful transformation: “Mommy, I thought you were a mean mommy because you yelled at me so much. But your teacher has helped you become a good mommy and I wouldn’t trade you for all the toys in this world!”
“My name is Alfredo A and when I first met my Parent Partner, my son Pedro had just started experimenting with drugs.
At that time, my wife of seventeen years had left us to go back to Honduras without giving us a reason for leaving. I was left with three teenage children, Lucy 16, Carol 14, and Pedro 12.
Pedro seemed to take his mother’s leaving the hardest. He became introverted and kept to himself. He started hanging out with some rough kids from our neighborhood and staying away from home. He stole some sleeping pills and drugged himself to the point he could not even walk. I was scared and didn’t know what to do. I was losing him to the streets!
We have very modest means and he would always demand more money to keep up with the kids who run in gangs. I began to feel like a failure as a parent. I had no idea how to communicate with my children. All my life I had always provided for my family financially but had almost no say in the day-to-day parenting— that had always been my wife’s job. My Parent Partner taught me communication skills that I could use with my children. She helped me get Junior into counseling and to work on my relationship with him by listening to him and by giving him my time. We started having family meetings once a week where all the members of the family could express what was going on in their lives and what was bothering them. My Parent Partner helped me believe that a good father is not only defined by what you can provide financially, but by the time you give and the relationship you develop with your children.”
“When my Parent Partner came into my life, I was really struggling. My fiancé, Robert, had just passed away from cancer after a long illness. My 5 year old son, Tony was struggling too. Losing Robert, the only father he had known, affected him tremendously. He was angry and hurting other kids at school. He talked back to his teacher and cried constantly. He was demanding and sullen. When I heard about Parenting Matters, I called out of desperation, not knowing if they truly would be able to help at all. From the time my Parent Partner came into my home, I felt that she really cared about us as a family. She encouraged me and validated my skills as a mother. She gave me information about how to set boundaries, how to implement rules and how to use routines. She showed me how to help Tony deal with his anger and encouraged me to seek counseling for him. As time went on, Tony and I began to do better and things began to slowly improve.
But Tony and I were in for more heartbreak. A man I had been dating for about three months who had become a wonderful friend and a sounding board to all the new ideas and skills I was learning, was involved in a fatal automobile accident.
At that point in my life, I was in shock and so very alone. I became depressed and isolated. I could no longer face the world. I even tried to avoid my Parent Partner, but thankfully, she kept calling and showing up! I lost my job and had to find a new apartment. I felt like an awful mother. I seemed incapable of meeting anything but Tony’s basic needs. Yet my Parent Partner continued to offer me support. She gave me information on how to deal with our grief. She encouraged me to seek counseling. She taught me how to encourage my son by focusing on his positive behaviors and how to just have fun with him. Today, I have the strength to put one foot in front of another. I still see my Parent Partner twice a month. I work part-time and attend MCC. I have enrolled Tony in Tai Kwan Do classes after school and he is getting involved with the Boy Scouts. Now, Tony is doing well in school and with his friends. My relationship with him has really improved and I feel closer to him than ever. We communicate well. The skills I have learned from my Parent Partner and the love and support she gives me have made all the difference in the world to my family. I don’t think we could have survived without her!”