If only kids came with an instruction manual. Life dramatically changes when you become a parent, and no matter how much you prepare, there are many unknowns lying ahead. All parents seek to provide the basic necessities to their children – housing, food, clothes, health care and a good education. For parents who are homeless or at risk of homelessness meeting these needs has become difficult, but their desire to keep their children safe is undiminished. Just as the parents are struggling for stability, so too are their children. Children in homeless families can suffer from behavioral issues and developmental delays – adding to the overall stress of the family. Seeking to help families overcome this spiraling stress and its impact on children, ShelterCare has partnered with the University of Oregon’s Center for Family and Children. Doctoral students in psychology from the university are teaching a five-week series of parenting classes. The weekly 90-minute classes are held in the early evening at Family Housing Program to make it easy for parents to attend. Additional student volunteers are providing childcare services on site.
The classes are focused on improving parent relationships and reducing negative behavior in the children. Instructors guide parents in encouraging positive behavior and setting healthy limits for their children. “Hopefully parents will feel better equipped to handle their child’s problem behavior and feel more confident about building a supportive relationship with their child,” explains Kenya Makhiawala, one of the UO student instructors. Another important element in these workshops is developing a sense of community. By creating relationships between the parents, the classes are intended to encourage more cooperation and confidence that the parents can support one another.
To read the full newsletter click here