One minute you’re pregnant, the next minute you have a baby in your arms. There’s no guide or warm-up; you just get thrown into being a parent.
When I started the parenting programme, it was the day-to-day situations at home that were frustrating me; like the children not listening, which made me jump from one to one hundred quickly. My partner works a lot so I’m with the children 90 per cent of the time; having other parents to talk to made me realise that everyone goes through the same things!
The group was so relaxed; it was the ideal environment. We sat outside with a table and food and drink; it felt like home away from home. Everyone was chilled and there was no pressure. In the first session I felt quite vulnerable and held back a little but because there was no judgment I managed to express myself. The world is quite judgmental about everything but this programme is not like this at all; you’re literally just there to say how you feel and what you’ve gone through and there’s no judgement. This made it easy for everyone to say it how it is.
Just talking with other parents was super helpful and hearing how *Felicity and *Max (the group facilitators) dealt with situations made me think that I could deal with things a bit better and the outcome would be different if I changed the way I did things…because obviously that’s not getting me by. Conversations in the group made me think about re-evaluating what I do.
The love language session was really good; we did the questionnaire as a family (my partner, too!) and it was really nice for us to see where everybody’s mind is because it’s easy to assume, as we go through life, that we know exactly what everybody wants but this might not be true. The reward chart was quite good as well; my older child even got involved because he saw his sister doing it.
Since doing the programme, I’m much calmer and better at recognising certain situations and honing in on key things that are happening with my children, like when they’re tired. Spending more time together has also been really key. I’ve gone from second guessing myself to being more confident in knowing that I’m doing the right thing.
My favourite thing about the group was being around other parents; it’s not often you get to sit in a room with five or six other parents and express yourself without your children being there. Just hearing about other people’s situations was helpful; how children are different (you could have one child who’s super quiet, one child who’s super loud) and everyone has something valuable to share about parenting.
I feel like every parent should go to this parenting group. It doesn’t matter where you are, what kind of environment you’re in; like, if you’ve got the best, most supportive family and friends or whether you’re on your own; I feel like any person can get something from the programme. It gives you a different outlook on how to deal with things because everyone’s going to go through things differently.
Hearing from people in different situations puts everything in perspective. In the group, there were one or two parents who had the same aged children as myself and then there were others who had little ones; it made me think about how I parented when my children were little and how I’d like to be now that they’re older. I feel like parenting is a journey; there’s no like, ‘yea, you ticked all of these boxes and now you’re, like, certified to be a parent now.’ The programme gives you more clarity in what you’re doing as a parent as well as a better understanding of your children.
*Names have been changed to protect the identity of the individuals.