Trauma: Trauma can color the lens that parents see their children through. Whether big “T” trauma or little “t” trauma, we all have “Ghosts from the Nursery” or “Voices From the Past”
we bring with us into our parenting

  • A crying child might remind a mother of the years she spent starving at the hands of her own mother and she may get incredibly angry at a child for communicating a simple need
  • Developing specific relationship capacities of empathy, reflection, and reading a child’s cues with sensitivity, goes further and is more lasting in changing parenting behaviors than just telling a parent what to do and what not to do
  • Learning how to delight in your children and respond in ways that helps them and you organize and manage all the emotions helps build healthy lifetime relationships and empowers children to effectively handle new and challenging circumstances with optimal success

Culture:  Culture Matters: The effects of slavery, continued racism, and oppression may be a       
factor in the use of corporal punishment and other harsh ways of disciplining

  • Whether a parent “whoops” a child to protect him/her from white harm, to teach a child to survive in an extremely hostile world where it has been more difficult for Blacks to advance, or to instill absolute obedience so that a child would not oppose any authority figure, regardless of whether they were right or wrong- most African American parents would say they do so out of love
  • This becomes a matter of importance when we see that the majority of families being served by our systems (homeless, welfare, behavioral health, and the criminal justice system) are African American. For example, although African Americans made up only 12% of the total adult population, in 2007 they represented 47% of the homeless population. Giving these parents options for doing things differently brings hope that their children can break the cycles of oppression and homelessness

To Discipline or Teach: Shifting the paradigm from believing one needs to control or punish in order to embrace a bigger picture that makes kind inferences and looks at what is developmentally appropriate, helps children ultimately take responsibility for their own behavior

  • Children need discipline to grow and feel secure. Helping parents learn to reframe children’s behaviors  through a lens of understanding developmental needs and giving parents ways to act in more patient, consistent, firm but positive child rearing approaches leads to children developing their own internal control, discipline, direction, and motivation to succeed
  • The aim of discipline is not the make the child afraid, especially of the parent, but rather to teach the child how to navigate and act in life so that one day he or she becomes a valuable person, to society and to him or herself

Self-Care: Parenting: often the hardest job anyone will have, especially if a single parent

  • Learning to take care of yourself in the midst of taking care of another gives a parent the stamina to succeed at parenting despite the many challenges
  • Stopping to focus on yourself helps a person be able to reflect- a necessary ability if one hopes to heal from past challenges and trauma- a necessity if one is wanting to understand and reflect on the needs and emotions of another (most of all one’s child)