By: Mickale Carter
Do you know someone –
Having problems communicating with their child’s other parent?
Whose children have begun misbehaving since a breakup or divorce?
Who has a child having trouble with drugs, alcohol or bedwetting?
Whose child gets into trouble at school or just doesn’t seem to fit in?
Who is a new parent without a parenting support network?
Who is a step-parent?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might want to find out more about the Dodge County Parenting Project (DCPP).
DCPP is designed to enhance parenting skills and is made up of three interconnected, complimentary programs: (1) TransParenting Seminar, (2) Parenting Support Group, and (3) One-on-One Mentors.
As a Guardian ad Litem, I am excited about DCPP because I have dealt with many Dodge County families who could use a little help. Many parents realize that they have a problem, but they do not know how to get from their current point A to their desired point B. DCPP can help them get to where they want to be. Here are some examples. The names have been changed to protect identities.
Elizabeth is divorced. Her former husband Tom was very hurtful to her during their marriage. Now three years since their divorce, Elizabeth still harbors anger toward Tom. She cannot seem to speak of him without getting angry – even when their child Joey is present. Joey is 10 years old. He does not want to tell his mom anything positive about his dad because he knows that it will just make her mad. Joey is depressed a lot. Joey has stopped handing in his schoolwork. Elizabeth is at her wit’s end as to how to help Joey. DCPP can help Elizabeth sort through her own feelings and help her understand how her anger toward Tom is affecting Joey. DCPP will also provide a forum for her to discuss techniques that would allow Joey to enjoy the time he spends with his father.
Josie loved the idea of having a baby. She wanted to be the best parent ever. She decided that she would be her son Rob’s best friend, but Josie noticed that she was having trouble controlling his behavior, especially when they went to a store; Rob would throw tantrums until she gave him what he wanted. Rob has been kicked out of every daycare provider in town. Josie does not know what to do, but with the help of DCPP, Josie will realize that the role of a parent is to provide guidance and teach boundaries. DCPP will give Josie suggestions as to how she can give her son the guidance he needs and teach him boundaries. Then, DCPP will help her try out her new parenting strategies.
Debby married Albert a couple years ago. They both have two children who are around the same age. Debby is a strict disciplinarian. Albert is more lenient, so he turned over the discipline of his two children, Alice 8 and Mary 10, to Debby. Both Alice and Mary are very resentful of Debby and do not want to do what she tells them to do. Debby is trying really hard to make the blended family work, but if she hears “You are not my mom” one more time, she is going to scream. Debby needs help! DCPP can help Debby and Albert understand that discipline cannot be handed over to a step-parent until there has been a bond created between the step-parent and the step-children. DCPP will help Debby and Albert work on creating a bond between Debby and Albert’s daughters. Then, once that bond is created, DCPP will suggest strategies for gradually shifting some of the discipline responsibilities to Debby.
Ralph is the parent of an 11-year-old girl Alexis. Ralph did not see much of Alexis while she was growing up and have only recently been reunited. Ralph is an orphan and was raised by foster parents. He was never in a household for more than 2 years. Ralph was just awarded primary placement of Alexis. Ralph feels sorely lacking in his knowledge of pre-teen girls. He feels that he knows very little about parenting. What Ralph knows is that he wants to be a good dad to Alexis. DCPP can help Ralph through its mentor program, where a mentor is available to answer questions as they arise.
TransParenting is a program developed by Families First, Inc. and presented by Lutheran Social Services (LSS). Its focus is helping parents provide a nurturing, non-threatening environment for children during and after a divorce or other traumatic transition. Church Health Services has agreed to provide a place for the training seminar at their new building at 115 N Center Street in Beaver Dam. After completing the four-hour seminar, participants can then take part in a support group facilitated by a licensed therapist. The group meets once a week and is designed to provide a non-judgmental, welcoming environment that enables parents to honestly and openly discuss their parenting dilemmas. In conjunction with the support group, there is also one-on-one mentoring.
This program is funded by donations, except for a $35 fee for the TransParenting Seminar. Initially, the program will be centered in Beaver Dam, where the cost for one year of the program is about $4000. We are hoping to expand to other towns in Dodge County as funds become available.
DCPP is an investment in the future of the children of Dodge County.
If you would like to donate to the program or request a mentor, please contact Mickale Carter at DodgeCountyParentingProject@gmail.com or call (920) 219-9520. If you would like to sign up for the TransParenting seminar, please call LSS at (920) 887-3171.