Teach your children well: Good kids start with good parenting
Sean Jeung teaches a course for parents of children ages birth to 12 called “Redirecting Children’s Behavior.”
But actually, “it should be called `Redirecting Parents’ Behavior,'” said the Montessori educator with a smile.
Through her company, Peace by Piece Parenting, Jeung teaches the five-week parenting workshop three times a year at different locations in Glenwood Springs and Carbondale. The class meets once a week from 6-9 p.m.
“The name, `Peace by Piece,’ came to me since parenting is just that,” she said. “It’s one thing at a time. It’s taking one step at a time and working through it.”
Jeung uses the International Network for Children and Families’ workbooks, textbooks and study materials for the children’s – and parents’ – behavior course. The international organization was developed through the teachings of psychologist Rudolf Drikurs, and is headquartered in Gainesville, Fla.
“The premise for the course is that we need to treat our kids with respect, reverence and love,” she said. “If we don’t, our kids aren’t going to treat anyone else that way. If we do, they will. It’s a circle.”
`Children are my calling’
Besides the parenting course, Jeung teaches at Mount Sopris Montessori School in Carbondale. She also travels to Boulder throughout the year and teaches an instructor course at the Montessori Education Center of the Rockies there.
Jeung was first exposed to children and to parenting when she had her daughter Shelby, now 16, in 1986.
“Before Shelby’s birth, I had no idea,” Jeung said about being a parent. “I soon discovered children are my calling, they are my passion.”
At 18 months, Shelby started to attend the Mount Sopris Montessori School – and Mom tagged along.
“I fell in love with the school,” said Jeung, “and so I started hanging out there, helping the director, Mark Ross, and filling in.”
Jeung’s interest in the school and the kids there grew to the point she decided to become certified in Montessori toddler education. Starting in 1990, Jeung spent two summers getting certified at the Boulder center.
About five years ago, Jeung started reaching out to the parents of some of her Montessori school students.
“I noticed some of the children were dragging a lot of emotional baggage around with them,” she said. “I knew I needed to know who these kids’ parents were. If the kids were struggling, the parents were struggling too. They were struggling together. It’s the dance they do.”
That caused Jeung to look around for ways to help parents learn how to be better parents,” she said.
When Jeung discovered the “Redirecting Children’s Behavior” course, it struck home. The workshop materials cover every aspect of parenting, from temper tantrum prevention to dealing with sibling rivalry.
Jeung also liked the course’s emphasis on parent behavior.
“You know, you can’t be a jerk and expect your kids not to be jerks,” she said. “You can’t throw trash out the window and expect your kids to recycle.”
“I thought the course hit on really valuable tools for parents,” Jeung said, so she located an instructor certification course in Denver. “I studied with Kath Kolvs, who helped develop the materials, and got certified.”
Jeung will conduct a behavior course with as many as 20 parents. She doesn’t have a limit on how few parents sign up.
“I don’t have a minimum,” she said. “If parents are interested, I’ll teach the course.”
Jeung’s passion is still working with children, but she also feels the benefits of working with parents.
“To really understand how to parent peacefully, you have to know what it’s like to be in the trenches, on the mountaintops and in the gutter with children,” she said with a smile.
Jeung plans to offer a “Redirecting Children’s Behavior” workshop to start at the end of January or the beginning of February 2003. And she’s contemplating new ideas for working with parents and kids.
“Ultimately, I’d like to develop my own course based on my experiences with Montessori, the behavior course, and the hundreds of children and parents I’ve worked with over the years,” she said.
She’s planning to teach only for one more year at Mount Sopris Montessori – but her work with families is far from over.
“I’m looking at ways to work with healing dynamics,” she said. “And I’m looking at different ways to teach parenting skills. Whatever I do, there will always have to be children nearby.”
Jeung’s “Redirecting Children’s Behavior Course” meets one day a week for five weeks. Cost for the course is $125 for one parent, $195 for two people (not necessarily related). For more information about the course and Sean Jeung, call 945-4465.
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Grace Wesseling is an animal lover, a cheerleader of seven years and another soon-to-be graduate of Bridges High School, class of 2021.