The Pacella Parent Child Center has been the most incredibly helpful
resource. I am a much more confident mother as a result of this group.
The group of women has really bonded; it is a special and incredibly important experience to be able to reveal what you are struggling with and how you are feeling withother smart, sensitive women going through similar things.
You also end up with a lot of practical information and tips on everything. I would go every day if I could!
It's a lot about gaining insight into what your child is triggering in you so you can try to change and better help him or her. Rather than waiting for a major problem to surface, you continually work to make adjustments in your own behavior. I am so much more assertive with my son and not as afraid to hold my authority. I believe he is much more secure - and confident as a result.
The child psychologist who works with the moms, as well as the development specialist, together with the students, are extremely observant. I once reported that my son was biting...and they diagnosed the problem correctly by the end of the class. They are a first-rate team in all senses: discrete, professional, empathic and extremely dedicated. Everyone, from the intake person to all the students is extremely professional and caring.
What is so unique about the program is you can see happening before you the very conflicts we are discussing. For example, we were just talking about various aggressive behaviors, and then witnessed one child pushing another. The development specialist and the students demonstrate effective ways to stop the aggression, help the children calm down, use words, take turns, etc. One child had a temper tantrum as she was entering the class. We tried to analyze what was going on for her and what the behavior made the mom feel. That in turn helped the mom understand how best to help her daughter.
What is extraordinarily helpful and amazing is that you have the opportunity to identify what may have been problematic for you as a child....and work on it so you don't have to act it out with your child.....everything from more global issues for example, having to do with separation, to changing very specific behaviors. For example, I learned that my anxiety about using the nebulizer for my son when he has a cold made it much more difficult for him. My pained expression made it seem to him that I was inflicting something awful...I changed my demeanor and now the nebulizer treatments go pretty smoothly. Similarly, I realized that my anxiety about his going to sleep was in fact making it much harder for him to go to sleep. I worked on this and now he no longer wakes up frequently in the middle of the night. Ditto with struggles going into his stroller. I "took" out the ambivalence I was feeling about putting him in his stroller or high chair - and did it all in a more relaxed and neutral way, and he responded very well.