Trusting in your wisdom, your community, and your bond with your children can help parents in challenging circumstances.
BY EDEN PONTZ | SEPTEMBER 17, 2021
Parents who are dealing with issues such as violence, substance abuse, and food or financial insecurity often feel blamed, shamed, and judged by society. Even well-meaning initiatives designed to help them often focus solely on the problems and challenges they are facing, as if that were the whole of their story.
But a new group of community-based parenting programs are acknowledging the host of strengths and wisdom inherent in these parents. These programs help parents recognize what they are doing well, trust their own expertise, honor their resilience, and witness how much their love means to their children.
Three organizations supported by the GGSC’s Raising Caring, Courageous Kids initiative have been working to help parents recognize their individual parenting strengths, promote positive connections with their children, and enhance their ability to raise caring, resilient children. Participating in these programs often leads parents—as well as kids—to begin strengthening their sense of purpose in the world and articulating their goals and dreams for the future.
Resilient parenting at Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota
Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota (LSS) works with families to create stability and success at home. LSS assists parents involved, or at risk of involvement, with the child welfare system.
After listening to parents’ concerns and needs, they created the online “Resilient Parenting” program—a blended learning experience with a combination of online units, face-to-face meetings, and interactive learning activities. The program promotes character strengths such as purpose, gratitude, forgiveness, and love. For example, mindfulness activities might involve breathing, yoga, or visualization breaks that parents can try.
Woven into the program were stories voiced by real parents going through similar experiences. Hearing from other parents offered hope and helped participants trust their own parenting decisions. It also helped create what Carol Dweck, professor of psychology at Stanford University, calls a “growth mindset,” in that parents in the program came to believe their basic abilities could be further developed through work and dedication.