What would you like to share about your past?
I would like to share how I struggled with my addiction and how it just took over me losing a lot, like my kids. Drinking was my main thing. I blocked out everything, it was my main thing and I was isolated from everything. I wasn’t focusing on the wellbeing of my older children; I didn’t care for them basically. I neglected them a lot because I chose my addiction over them. I experienced a lot of grief and loss. At the time when I was drinking, I didn’t know what I was losing. I just focused on “I need that drink.” I didn’t care about anything else. I wasn’t focusing on things with them like school conferences and what’s going on with them because I was drinking.
What led you to need Family and Parenting Development services?
What led me to need parent education was when I had an open [child protection] case with Ray Ray. The first time I met with my child protection worker there were some areas I was struggling with parenting. I was upfront and honest that I needed to work on things that I struggled with with my other kids. I needed to become a better parent. I needed in home parent services to become a better parent.
How did you meet your goals in the Family and Parenting Development program?
I met my goals of learning new parenting techniques and self-care by being able to learn new parenting and self-care [techniques] to become a better parent. Having my one on one weekly sessions. I had an open ear and learn at the same time [to receive parenting services], not that [attitude of] “oh I’m a parent I know it all.” I met my goals by doing the work, asking for help and following through. I though, “I need this and to take a lot from it, not just attend appointments.” I used information and actually read through handouts and learned there is plenty of parenting information out there. And by teaching others too. People can use advice for parenting out there.
What is your biggest takeaway from FPD services?
I will hold on to the different milestone pieces. Learning all the information about child development and milestones and different techniques I can use when he gets older. I definitely have that information stored away. I can ask myself questions, “reach out for resources” – gotta put the company name there! It’s not easy to sit down with somebody and talk about so this, like “this is what you do, this is how you parent.” It’s more information that I can take out there with me. I know what to look for at each age.
Would you recommend the FPD program to others?
I would definitely recommend these services to other parents because it’s beneficial not only for the parent but for the children too. I would let people know that not everyone is a perfect parent, but getting the in home services one-on-one to help you through it. It’s okay and you might not like it at first, but if you work with it you can definitely benefit from it. A lot of people don’t know [of] services like that. With my other children I was working with a parent educator at [another organization] that was sort of different, when I first met her she came to meet me and it was like “okay we are going to work on these goals.” I learned stuff but we weren’t focusing on my goals. It was not personalized to my needs. With this, it is more beneficial because I am sitting down having a conversation and learning. I’m not a perfect parent, but for me I can learn new things and I can use it. I know resources I can use, things like that.
What is your advice to anyone participating in the FPD program?
My best advice would be to stick with it. Ask questions. You can benefit a lot from having these resources and getting the help. After meeting for a few times, I realized it was beneficial. It was mostly my situation in shelter that was embarrassing to sit there and talk in this tiny room, my situation is what was hard for me [to start parenting services at that time]. At the time I was thinking about just getting out of treatment and needing a house. I just stuck with it because I know that not only will this benefit my CPS case, but it will benefit me in the long run. I knew I had a lot going on, but I told myself I had to stick with it and things turned around for me.
Anything else you would like to share?
Alexa was great. Can I please put that in? We like each other and work good together. At first I didn’t want to work together or do this thing. I was like “nope” and about to call CPS, thinking “this ain’t gonna work, what is my child protection worker making me do?” after we watched that TED talk about self-care that first or second meeting. But it turned out really good and I liked it a lot.