Parenting Classes and Coaching

The harder it is to be a kid, the harder it is to parent. Simply moving through the natural stages of development with your teen-ager can be a challenge on the best days, a nightmare on the worst.

Children are perfectly in tune with our intentions. There’s no pretending in parenting. You have to really mean, and really believe, what you’re teaching your child. Physical, emotional, and economic stress bend our intentions from “the best” to “whatever gets us to tomorrow”. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and pushed out of the picture by today’s stimulating world.

Children aren’t born with a moral compass and wisdom in their heads. We give them those things, mostly with words… but are forced to measure success through their behaviors. What can be done when the behaviors are destructive: truancy, lies, alcohol and other drug use, harmful social relationships, running away, staying out all night, and violence?

The Parent Project® is a 10 week course on parenting a strong-willed teen. When the tools and skills that worked for the compliant child don’t seem as effective with this child…or when what another parent does with her child never works with yours…it’s time to consider a different strategy. In two cycles a year, we teach how to parent the child you have, and stop parenting the child you wish you had. The Parent Project® is offered in conjunction with Northern Humboldt Unified School District, twice a year.

Some parents who attend the Parent Project have been struggling a long time. They are tired, at the end of their ropes, near tears or in tears out of frustration and fear. When we ask them how communication is going at home, they often say “I’ve forgotten how to talk to my child. It’s always an argument, or yelling. I’m so angry I don’t want to be loving and affectionate toward him.”

By the time families are at this point, it’s like a staring contest. Teen and parent are head-to-head, postured for the long-run, not budging. Our advice to the parents is this: you need to be the one who blinks first. And in this metaphorical stand-off, blinking means a conversation that starts with “I love you”.

One-on-one parent assessment and coaching is available through YFS with our licensed clinician. Families who live in Arcata or who have students attending a school in Arcata are eligible for services. For either the course or coaching, contact the Arcata Police Department, Youth and Family Services Unit at 707.825.2508.

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