While parenting can be stressful at times, it also has its rewards. Maira Lopez, El Centro de Amistad case manager, discovered the joy of teaching parenting to a group of mothers whose children attend Telfair Elementary in Pacoima.
For 13 weeks, participants come together to learn child development basics, communications skills, anger management techniques, self-care, and positive discipline. An evidence-based group program, Making Parenting a Pleasure empowers mothers for two hours, once a week.
Maira started the first session on September 26 with 17 hesitant women and now has 32 women eager to come to class, ready to participate and practice what they learn at home.
“I teach them the process of what makes parenting a pleasure,” said Maira. “Parenting is a hard job but we show them how they can feel better and achieve something. For the woman in the group, this class empowers them.”
Empowering isn’t new to Maira, who daily provides referrals to clients looking for housing, food, domestic violence classes, social activities, or other different resources in the community “to help them out and better their situation.”
Maira shared three successful tips to improving yourself and getting to know your family.
Communication – Talk to your children. Ask them how their day is going. Sit down and give them five minutes of your time. Sounds easy, right? But sometimes parents are so busy managing the household duties at home that they forget to give children time and attention. So being present to children will enhance communication and build stronger relationships.
Nutrition – Make sure you eat breakfast, plan healthy snacks, and get an adequate amount of vegetables and fruits. Maira explained that moms, after dropping their children at school, become preoccupied with morning routines and forget to eat. When you don’t eat, you become stressed, your energy declines, and you establish poor eating habits. When your children come home, involve them when making dinner and talk to them simultaneously.
Self-Care – So often the moms say ‘I don’t have time to do that,’ said Maira, referring to taking care of themselves. “I tell them they have to take time to sit down and enjoy a cup of tea.” Take up a relaxing hobby like sewing or take a long bath. Walking with children and taking them to the park can be a self-care activity. Consider attending a personal development class. The benefits of self-care will help reduce stress, make you feel better as a person, and reduce anger towards your children.
One mom shared how she now is able to communicate with her children. “She’s been able to open up with her five children,” said Maira. Thanks to this parenting group, parents have the ability to not only know themselves, but get to know their children.