Supporting Parents Benefits Children and Family Life
July 3, 2018
Russell Diaz, 4, gives hugs when he’s introduced to people. And his eyes light up when he begins playing with the play dough that he and his mom, Leticia, made earlier in the week.
As a stay-at-home mom, Leticia spends a lot of time playing with Russell and helping him complete the early learning activities and “homework” that have helped him ready for kindergarten. She loves seeing his excitement to learn.
But she felt isolated at times, needing to be with other adults. She found that time at the 4C Parent Café held at Boone County Public Library near her home in Burlington, Ky.
“The Cafés are awesome,” she says. “They allow me to meet people in similar parenting situations, learn from their experiences and discover possible solutions to challenges in a nonjudgmental space.
“We all want what’s best for our kids but sometimes I wonder if I’m doing an OK job as a parent. When I hear other parents talk about their parenting struggles it helps me realize that I’m OK—that we’re OK.”
4C Parent Cafés are free events where parents share in meaningful, reflective conversations that promote parent leadership and collaboration.
Leticia liked the Boone County Café so much that she also began attending the Café in Newport. Spanish is her first language and although her English-language skills are excellent, she says having both Cafés in Spanish was a real plus. “It made it easier to express myself,” she says. “I was able to think and speak in Spanish so I didn’t have to second-guess myself as I was speaking and expressing my ideas and feelings.”
Her Parent Café experience has benefited her entire family. Although she’s with Russell all the time, she realized after a Café conversation about the benefits of spending quality time with children, that she needed to provide him with more one-on-one, uninterrupted time—no phones, no TV, no side conversations. And she encouraged Russell’s dad to do the same, even after a long day at work.
“It’s made a big difference,” Leticia says. “Seeing how Russell lights up when he and his dad spend just 15 minutes in the evening playing or reading together is amazing. It’s really strengthened our family life.”
“I hope these programs continue well into the future,” she says. “4C’s Parent Cafés really help people who are parenting get the information and additional skills they need to be the best they can be, which benefits everyone in the family.”