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Life-changing realisations during parenting course

What a difference three weeks can make.

When Harmony* began our parenting program Bringing Up Great Kids, she’d never had support or a safe space to reflect on her childhood and experiences and how these had affected her as a parent and person.

Throughout the program and her interactions with the SHINE for Kids facilitator and the other mothers participating, she had many moments of realisation.

However, despite these sometimes difficult moments, she was absolutely committed to making the most of the opportunity to learn and grow.

Day One…

On day one, our facilitator immediately noted Harmony’s confidence in asserting her opinions.

As she talked about her childhood and family relationships, she had difficulty recognising harmful behaviour and how she’d repeated these patterns with her children.

She felt uncomfortable when others in the group reflected on parenting strategies that had negatively impacted their children.

This was especially hard for Harmony, as she’d vocally supported some of the parenting styles discussed and disagreed with many in the group.

Every group is different, and in situations when parents have conflicting views, as was the case in this group, it’s the job of our facilitator to encourage respect and explain how different life experiences result in different beliefs.

There were times when Harmony struggled with the discussion, but with the facilitator’s support, she always managed to regain her composure and contribute.

During one section of the course, when the brain’s survival responses, ‘fight, flight, freeze, and fawn’, were discussed, Harmony quickly recognised that she was often entering a ‘fight’ response, including during these sessions, saying, “That’s what just happened to me before!”

New skill a game changer

When the group returned for week two, our facilitator was thrilled when Harmony shared that she’d used a mindfulness technique during a challenging interaction that week.

They’d been taught the mindfulness technique of ‘Stop, Pause, Play’ and practised it together, so when a situation came up, Harmony calmly used her new skill instead of her usual ‘fight’ response. Harmony was further encouraged by the good outcome for her the situation ended in.

In the following sessions, Harmony shared some positive parenting strategies she’d used and discussed how she’d continue these with her teenage children.

Our facilitator noted that it was great to see that she could recognise these behaviours now and that this awareness will significantly benefit her children.

At the end of the program, when the certificates were handed out, Harmony stretched out her arms and gave the facilitator a big hug instead!

“It was clear that some things had changed for her over the past three weeks,” said our facilitator.

Harmony is now ready to take on her future, equipped with a better understanding of herself and her children and the tools she needs to build healthier relationships.

*Names changed to protect participants

Life-changing realisations during parenting course

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