Our challenge is to recognize the gift in every child and create the circumstances in which all children have the support and resources to reach their potential.

One Session: Parents Need to Know How Much They Matter

No single parenting session can be expected to make a permanent change in parents’ approach to parenting, especially if it differs from how they were raised. What it can do is empower them to understand that parents really matter and can make a large difference to the well-being of children.

Although this statement — parents matter — seems so intuitive to child experts and professionals that it borders on the condescending, please understand that society often reinforces that parents become powerless when puberty hits and only peer influence matters. Some books fan this incorrect assumption. Media messages often suggest parents have no control and in many shows with teen stars, the parents are nearly absent. It is no coincidence that so much public health messaging is invested in counteracting these messages and letting parents know how much they do matter.

The most dangerous and influential force suggesting parents are powerless come from parents who have lost control of their children and who are emotionally invested in the belief that there's nothing they could have done. They stir anxiety and hopelessness in other parents. For these reasons, it is imperative that parents receive reinforcement for the fact that they remain the most influential forces in their children’s lives continuing through adolescence.

The real goal of a single session, therefore, is to inspire, empower, and motivate attendees to continue learning. That means that you should draw on their emotions of how deeply they love their children. Be prepared for parents who enter saying “I am ready to find out that everything I have been doing has been wrong.”  It's imperative that they learn that the 7 Cs model usually only reminds them of what they already know. It may give them a language to better discuss this with their partners and friends, but it is likely they already possess the wisdom. You also want parents to walk away knowing that self-care is the greatest gift they can give their children.