In a position to help friends raise their kids
YouthZoneSarah WoodsFour of my best friends have given birth to beautiful baby girls in the last three months. Yes, I am in that time of life, where everyone around me is multiplying at an alarming rate. It is magical to witness these women cross over into the next phase of their lives with their partners – parenthood. These new parents have been blessed to have the help of family, friends, and their communities as they embark on this journey. Everything is fresh, new, scary and thrilling all at the same time. It’s interesting for me to be a part of all of their experiences as I work for YouthZone, where “We work with youth who want tools to succeed and parents who want to raise more responsible kids.” I myself am not a parent, yet I work with youth and their parents on a daily basis. Families come through our doors looking for assistance and answers to the struggles they are having with their loved ones. As I have awaited the calls announcing the arrivals of these four precious girls, I have found myself wondering if my friends will ever walk through these doors looking for support and guidance someday.Most parents, when they have their first child, imagine that they aren’t going to make the same mistakes their parents and friends made, having every intention to raise healthy, strong, good kids. Despite these good intentions, life happens and somewhere along the way some kids and parents lose their way and make choices that affect the way they relate to one another. There is a misconception that parents are doing something wrong if their family ends up at YouthZone. That if the parents had only done this or that, the children wouldn’t have made this or that decision that created a rift in the family rhythm. Almost all families find themselves in a situation where no one knows what to do. They have some choices at this point. They can throw their hands up in the air and walk away, they can start screaming and blaming, or they can ask their family, friends, and community for support. It is the families that ask for support that have the most success in getting through whatever issue that has come up. That isn’t to say it is easy, or that the issue won’t come up again. The difference is they are willing to look at what they can do to have the most successful family experience possible.I hope that my friends do end up coming through the doors at YouthZone someday looking for assistance. Not necessarily because they were referred for a particular reason, but for aid in finding ways to help their family be the best they can be. We can’t raise our children on our own. And we don’t have all the answers; no one does. I think it is a relief to realize that and use the resources within our communities. Sarah Woods is YouthZone Pals mentor case manager.
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