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Power Source Parenting Course in Teen Living Center

16/12/16 COMMENTS 0

Dr. Bethany Casarjian has just finished another class with young mothers at one of a number of teen living centers in Boston.  The class is based on Lionheart’s “Power Source Parenting Program”.  The young mothers participating in many of the classes, offered for Free, have demonstrated gains in parenting sensitivity and attunement, greater levels of parenting competence, increased levels of attachment to their children, greater levels of perceived support from their partners, and improved knowledge of parent/child roles.

Lionheart is committed to securing a loving start for children at risk and has donated more than 20,000 free copies of the book, Power Source Parenting: Growing Up Strong and Raising Healthy Kids, to thousands programs nationwide.

To learn more about Power Source Parenting follow the link below:  http://lionheart.org/youth/the_power_source_parenting_program/

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What young mothers have to say:

“I learned how to actually bond with my daughter because we always had a little issue where she wouldn’t listen to me. And she’s starting to listen to me now. The sheets you guys give us on learning how to talk to them, hold them, play with them, look them in the eyes… like she likes that. She likes the attention.  My temper is just a bit off.  When she doesn’t do something, I get really angry. Like I don’t hit her, but I yell. And now I’ve learned how to talk to her.  Everyone liked this group. It was just helpful because we all have kids and we all have trouble handling them. It made it a lot easier.  I just want to say thank you. It really helped me with her.”   Tiffany 16 years old

“Power Source Parenting group really helped me out with punishment. It taught me a lot about how to deal with temper tantrums and so much more.  Its like I see parenting in another way now. I don’t want my baby going though what I went through. Like no love shown to me. I want to give him all the love I got.”
Ginny 17 years old

The Lionheart Foundation, Boston, MA

www.lionheart.org

JP

 

 

Exciting News for the Lionheart Foundation!!

04/11/16 COMMENTS 0

 

 

EXCITING OPPORTUNITY FOR LIONHEART!! This week a donor stepped forward with the pledge of a $40,000 MATCHING GIFT – IF Lionheart can match this amount by February 1, 2017. If matched, this $80,000 will support Lionheart’s expansion into public schools, programs for high-risk youth, and prisoners across the country. For 25 years Lionheart has made a life-changing difference in the lives of tens of thousands of people on the fringe of society. Please help Lionheart provide life-altering resources to thousands more individuals. To learn more about Lionheart please go to:  www.lionheart.org  To donate please go to: www.lionheart.org/donation/

THANK YOU for responding to this important and urgent request . Any amount is greatly appreciated. PLEASE PASS THIS APPEAL ON TO YOUR FRIENDS. Thanks again!!!

Lionheart’s Houses of Healing, Power Source, and Power Source Parenting Programs are changing lives and building futures.

JP

Teen Parents: “Not Together Anymore”

03/10/13 COMMENTS 0

Power Source Parenting: Growing Up Strong and Raising Healthy Kids, by Bethany Casarjian, Ph.D., is the centerpiece for Lionheart’s social-emotional literacy program for at risk teen parents.  It gets to the heart of what it means to be a teen parent, the struggles that these young parents face, and practical guidance to help them become loving, effective parents so their babies get the loving start and promising futures they deserve.  Below is an excerpt from Power Source Parenting on a topic that many teen moms struggle with….”The relationship with your baby’s father or mother.”  jp

One of the biggest questions we get during our parenting groups is about how to be a parent with an “ex”.  What’s right for the baby?  What if you and your ex don’t get along at all?  We strongly believe that it is possible to raise a baby with the other parent even if you’re not together anymore.  But it requires both of you to act as mature and level-headed as you possibly can.  Some might say you have to step up to the plate, bite the bullet, turn the other cheek, be a bigger person, or just get the job done.  It’s not always easy to coparent with someone who has cheated on you, let you down, or made you angry.  But having a working relationship will actually help you in the long run.  And it will certainly help your child.  Here are some tips to help you make the best of what can be a tough situation.

If your baby’s other parent is a safe and responsible person (and by this we mean will keep the baby safe while they are together), it’s best for him or her to be in your baby’s life.  Period.  Sometimes we tell ourselves, “Well, he (or she) doesn’t give us enough money, he hangs out with his boys too much, he doesn’t call us for weeks at a time, he makes promises he doesn’t keep.”  All of this may be true.  But is it important enough for you to keep your partner from being a part of the baby’s life?  NO!  Just because you might be angry at him doesn’t mean your child should have to be.  Don’t ruin her relationship with her other parent out of your own hurt and anger.  That means no nasty faces when his name comes up, no hanging up the phone when he calls, and no badmouthing him.  Research shows that kids who constantly hear their dad or mom is bad, think they are, too, because their parent is part of them.  You’re not doing it for him.  You’re doing it for your kid.

Did you know that kids who know their dads do better than average on tests that show how they are growing and learning?  Are less likely to run away?  Are much less likely to be violent, dangerous, and even criminal?  Are better at doing things without help, keep control of themselves, wait longer before they start having sex?  And are more likely to go to school, stay in school, and not repeat a grade?  Boys who grow up without a father are 300% more likely to be put in a state juvenile institution. (Healthy Families San Angelo, 1992)

Being a parent isn’t 50/50.  A young mother, Gina, 17 years old wrote to us and said:  “It just doesn’t seem fair.  We both made this baby, but I’m the one who does all the work.  I have to stay home at night while he goes out with his friends.  Plus, we both have jobs, so why does all my money go to the baby and his goes to whatever he wants to do?” 

We go through life being taught to make things fair.  But when it comes to being a parent, things aren’t always fair.  If you are expecting the other parent to do as much as you (the primary caretaker), you will feel angry and disappointed a lot of the time.  Guaranteed.  If you get stuck in the anger for too long, you begin to pass up moments of happiness and joy.  Soon, you may find yourself reacting to these negative feelings, rather than acting on what is best for your child!”  Don’t let fairness be a reason for keeping the other parent out of your baby’s life.  If you use the baby as a bargaining chip, everyone will lose.  For example, if you keep the other parent away from the baby because he or she isn’t pulling his or her weight, you are training the other parent to stay away.  If you make conditions about seeing the baby that he can’t realistically meet, you are pushing him away.  Sure it would be nice if they paid their share, did as much childcare, and washed as much laundry as you.  But sometimes to be more peaceful and make healthy choices, we have to ignore the score.

Let’s be clear.  You have the right to ask the baby’s other parent for what you want and what you think is fair.  You have to right to tell the other parent what’s on your mind.  But the main question you should ask when making choices about your ex is “What’s best for my child?”  Pushing the other parent out of your baby’s life leaves you with more work, more anger, and a child who sees less and less of his other parent.

One of the best ways to make things work out the way you want is to be an effective communicator.  That means talking in a way so people can listen.  You might be justified in being angry.  But how you express that to the person you are upset with determines whether you’ll get what you want.  If you start screaming at someone, telling him what a no-good loser parent he is, chances are he’ll either tune you out, scream back, or not show up very much.  What if you figured out a way to get him to really listen and understand what you or the baby needs and why it is important?  Think of an Oreo cookie:  chocolate cookie — cream center — chocolate cookie.  Believe it or not, an Oreo cookie can help us be a more effective parent.

Let’s say your baby’s dad was supposed to watch the baby for you while you went out with a friend.  You’d been planning this for a week and you were really excited about it.  When he finally does show up, he’s an hour late and your friend went to the movies without you.  You’re really steamed.  Instead of blowing up and getting into a fight that leads nowhere, try giving him an Oreo.  Before you try this, make sure you are calm and in control of your feelings.  Here’s how it works:

Cookie #1 — Give him a compliment — even if you are angry at the person.  Sounds crazy, but it works.  The best way to capture anyone’s attention is to start off by saying something that’s nice (and also true) about them.  If you start with a criticism, he or she will get defensive and the conversation will turn into a battle.  Start with something he does do right.  Example, “You know, Darryl, you are really good with Orlando.  And when you’re with him, I know he’s safe and happy.”

The Cream Filling — Tell the person how you feel and what you want to have happen.  Use “I” statements.  Don’t start blaming or shaming.  Stick to the facts.  It helps keep the conversation on track.  For example, “I’m so disappointed and frustrated. It’s really important for me to have some time to go out, too.  I take care of the baby a lot and sometimes I need a break.  When you promise to take care of Orlando, it’s really, really important that you show up on time.”  Stay away from statements like “you always” or “you never”.

Cookie #2 — End it with another compliment or something that is good about the person and true.  Example, “I’m glad you want to help out with Orlando.  He’s lucky to have both parents in his life.”

Oreos take practice.  And, they work with all people, not just your baby’s other parent.  Use it with your own mom, dad, sister, or whoever else you need to live with.  It doesn’t solve all problems, but it does make life a whole lot less dramatic, which is good for you and your baby.

To learn more about Power Source Parenting and Lionheart’s other emotional literacy programs, please visit the Lionheart Website.

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Creative Commons License

Teen Parents: “Not Together Anymore” by Bethany Casarjian, Ph.D. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License. Based on a work at www.lionheart.org/youth/   The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author is credited and that the original publication Power Source Parenting: Growing Up Strong and Raising Healthy Kids  (Copyright 2008) and excerpts in this blog (www.lionheart.org/blog/) are cited.  No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

Teen Parents: “Creating a Close Bond with Your Child”

30/09/13 COMMENTS 0

Power Source Parenting: Growing Up Strong and Raising Healthy Kids, by Bethany Casarjian, Ph.D., is the centerpiece for Lionheart’s social-emotional literacy program for at risk teen parents.  It gets to the heart of what it means to be a teen parent, the struggles that these young parents face, and practical guidance to help them become loving, effective parents so their babies get the loving start and promising futures they deserve.  Below is an excerpt from Power Source Parenting on a topic that many teen moms, sometimes lacking in role models, have questions about….”Making a Tight Bond”  jp

The first and the most important job you have as a parent is to form a healthy bond to your child.  Another word for the close connection you form to your child is “attachment”.  What does that mean?  it means that your number one job from the minute you set eyes on your baby is to make her feel that she can trust you.  Babies who can trust their caregiver believe that the world is safe.  Feeling safe with their parent is absolutely necessary for babies to learn and develop in emotionally healthy ways.  Think about it.  Your baby comes into the world completely dependent on you.  (Did you know that your baby for a long time actually thinks she’s the same person as you? For real!)  You’re her entire world.  If she’s left to cry, treated roughly, not held or rocked or soothed, what is her world like?  How will she feel?

The lessons she learns from you in the first few months of her life will teach her whether she can trust.  And being able to trust is a big advantage in life.  In these very early months, you are giving her a picture of the world that will stay in her brain for the rest of her life.  If she feels loved, she will grow to feel good about herself.  She will feel secure.  We don’t mean to scare you or freak you out, but these early months are incredibly powerful and important.

The good thing about bonding with your baby is that it’s totally in your power.  You don’t need a degree to do it.  You don’t need money to do it.  And you don’t need any special toys or gadgets.  Anyone can bond with their baby if they know what to do.

Denise, a 20 year old mother had this to share with us:  I don’t want my baby to grow up being scared of the world like I was.  I am going to be there for her every step of the way.  When she cries, I will let her know that she’s safe with her mother.  When she hurts, I will comfort her.  I didn’t get that from my mother.  Maybe that’s why I always feel alone.  Or maybe that’s why it’s so hard for me to trust people.  But I’m going to do my best to make sure that my baby doesn’t have those same scared and empty feelings like me.”

So, how do I make her trust me?  For something that is so incredibly important, it’s actually easy to do.  When your baby is very young (newborn to 4 months) this means picking her up whenever she cries.  It also means feeding her whenever she is hungry (whether it’s convenient or not).  If she is upset or uncomfortable, soothe her by rocking her gently and singing in a low, quiet voice.  Always touch your baby gently.  Babies who are handled roughly learn that the world is rough.  If they are treated carelessly or harshly through the first year, they will start treating the world (and all the people in it) the same way.  Even if you are very tired, stressed, or frustrated, dig deep and find the patience to treat her softly and with tenderness.

When she is little, she can’t be ‘spoiled’.  Stephanie, a 16 year old mom wrote this:  “I’m not sure what to do when she cries.  I don’t want to pick her up all the time because my grandmother says that will spoil her.  I got some people telling me to hold her.  I got other people telling me to let her cry it out.  I don’t know what to do.  Help!!!”  It can be confusing when you get a lot of different advice coming at you.  But the real deal is that you can’t spoil a very young baby.  If your very young (0-4 months) baby is crying, she needs your help.  Maybe she’s hungry, tired, scared, or cold.  Sometimes it’s hard to figure out what’s wrong.  That’s okay.  Soothe her the best you can.  Sometimes you can’t make a baby stop crying.  That’s okay too.  The most important thing you can do is to show her that she is safe and cared for.  And remember, no amount of love and affection will spoil any baby.

If your baby is older, like from 5 months and up, take a minute and listen to his cry.  You’ve probably figured out that babies have different cries for pain, hunger, boredom and frustration.  If a seven-month-old baby is frustrated, you might wait a second before rushing into the living room to help him.  Maybe he’ll work it out on his own.  If he does, give him lots of praise.  If a nine-month-old is hungry and crying, explain to her that food is on the way.  Let her know that you understand what she needs — even if she can’t have it right away.  Tune in to your baby and let them know you “get” what they’re feeling.  This isn’t spoiling.  It’s part of building trust.

So why is bonding so important?  Babies who have strong and positive bonds to their parents 1. Do better in school.  2. Make friends more easily.  3. Have fewer behavior problems, like fighting and breaking rules.  4. Are less likely to use drugs when they get older.  5. Feel better about themselves.  6. Grow up to have better relationships.  Your baby is lucky to have a mom or dad who can do this for her.

For more information about Lionheart’s emotional literacy curricula, please visit the Lionheart website.

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Creative Commons License

Teen Parents:”Creating a Close Bond with Your Child” by Bethany Casarjian, Ph.D. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License. Based on a work at www.lionheart.org/youth/ The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author is credited and that the original publication Power Source Parenting: Growing Up Strong and Raising Healthy Kids (Copyright 2008) and excerpts in this blog (www.lionheart.org/blog) is cited.  No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

Teen Parents: “Missing Out”

17/09/13 COMMENTS 0

Power Source Parenting: Growing Up Strong and Raising Healthy Kids, by Bethany Casarjian, Ph.D., is the centerpiece for Lionheart’s social-emotional literacy program for at risk teen parents.  It gets to the heart of what it means to be a teen parent, the struggles that these young parents face, and practical guidance to help them become loving, effective parents so their babies get the loving start and promising futures they deserve.  Below is an excerpt from Power Source Parenting on a topic that we hear about from many teen moms….”Missing Out”  jp

One of the hardest things to deal with about becoming a teenage parent is feeling like you’re missing out on the best parts of being young — hanging out with friends, having fun, being free.  If you have a baby, you know that it’s almost impossible to do those things like you used to.  And that can be a hard pill to swallow.  Lots of things get in the way, like finding someone to watch the baby.  If your mom is helping you take care of your child, she might feel resentful if you are going out to hang out with friends.  She might feel that it’s your responsibility to stay home and take care of your child.  You probably have less money to spend when you go out than before you had a baby.  Babies take a lot of money to raise.  And most people taking care of children all day are sometimes too tired to even think of going out.

Lisa, an 18 year old mom, shared this with us:  “Once I got pregnant, things really changed with my friends.  Maybe they thought I was slowing them down.  They couldn’t smoke in the car or around me.  I stopped drinking so I couldn’t party with them anymore.  it’s not that they didn’t want to be there for me, but I just wasn’t as much fun for them to hang around with.  Also they got mad because they thought teachers let me get away with a lot at school because I was pregnant.  Everyone was treating me different.  They never called me to go to clubs because they thought that my big belly would chase guys away.  Their families told them not to hang out with me because I was a bad influence.  Once the baby came, things got even worse.  I couldn’t go out ever because I couldn’t find a sitter.  Then they almost never came around.”

Not going out can make you feel like you’re missing out and can even lead to feelings of resentment toward the baby.  All parents need to hang out with people their own age.  Especially young parents.  You probably won’t go out as much and do all the things you did before you had the baby.  But it’s important not to isolate yourself from other people your age.  Being with friends is important.  It’s a chance to connect and refuel and have a little fun.  So what can you do about it?  Here are a few ideas that other young parents have tried.

  • See if you can find activities your friends are into that you can take the baby along for, like going to a park or the mall for a short time.  (But be realistic.  If you have an active two-year-old, the mall might not be a good choice.  He’ll want to run around and you might just be chasing him rather than hanging with friends.)
  • Explain to your mother that you understand what your responsibilities are, but that you’d really appreciate it if she could watch the baby for just two or three hours a week so you could go out.  (Find something cheap to do if you do go out so you’re not broke for the next week.)
  • Swap babysitting with a friend.  You watch her child for three hours one week, she’ll pay you back the next week.  Pick someone you can trust so the baby is safe.  Make sure the street goes two ways so you don’t get walked on — doing all the sitting and getting nothing back.
  • If the baby’s father is also a caretaker, work it out with him so that a few hours a week you get to get out and enjoy yourself and give him the same opportunity.

Gina, 17 years old, had this to say:  “I want to hang with my friends and go to parties and have fun, but with a baby you can’t really do any of those things.  Now everything is about the baby.  My life has changed a lot.  Now it’s baby this and baby that.  The responsibility and the missing out feel hard.  You got to make sure he’s got his food and that he’s okay.  When my friends call up I feel this pull in my stomach to go with them.  Then I look at my baby and realize I can’t.  It sounds like I’m complaining, but I’m not.  I made my choice and I love my baby.  Still, sometimes it’s hard to sit at home knowing they’re out having a good time.”

There might be times when you’re dying to get a break or go along with friends, but no one is there to cover for you and you just can’t bring the baby.  These are the times it might really feel like you’re trapped or missing out.  These are the times that you might even regret having a baby.  But there are some ways to look at the situation that can bring you peace and remind you of your mission.

Having young children who need you all the time won’t last forever, even if it feels like it.  Little kids grow up fast, and at some point you’ll have more time for yourself.

Every sacrifice you make is worth it.  Doing right by your baby sometimes means you sacrifice something you want.  And missing out on something you want for the sake of your baby is a wise and mature action.  It’s your gift to her.  Give yourself credit for doing it!

To learn more about Lionheart’s emotional literacy programs please visit our website

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Creative Commons License

Teen Parents: “Missing Out” by Bethany Casarjian, Ph.D. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License. Based on a work at www.lionheart.org/youth/   The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author is credited and that the original publication Power Source Parenting: Growing Up Strong and Raising Healthy Kids  (Copyright 2008) and excerpts in this blog (www.lionheart.org/blog/) are cited.  No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

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