There are times when people need help. That was me in 2003. Under court order, I came to the ManKind program where I learned some skills that has helped me tremendously. I continued attending even after the court no longer required it but was unable to complete the program. Last year I chose to re-enter and finish the program.
This time most of my struggles really did not stem from abusing my wife, but from my relationship with my 12-year old son. It was at ManKind that I heard about a Parenting Class. Although I had already learned a lot from Mankind, I definitely needed something else to help with my parenting.
One problem I had with my son was sarcasm. I figured if I could find out why he was behaving this way, then I could help him change. I found out he had learned this behavior from me. To help him change, I had to change how I talk to people, especially my wife. When I stopped being sarcastic in my responses to people and then talked to my son about it, he started to change.
Another issue was how to handle my kids when they fight with each other. I learned they should deal with it on their own for the most part, with help from me only when asked. Before I had always yelled, and then talked about the issue. Now I calmly ask what the problem is and give them choices to make and consequences for their actions, like if they continue fighting, they get to go to bed early.
Kids learn behavior patterns from their parents. I had some unhealthy patterns from my parents that I had passed on to my children. When I would yell, they would yell. Now I choose to pray and then get down on their level and talk. This requires patience and an understanding of each child.
I’ve made changes to become a more positive parent, to help my children feel secure and safe in my home. A few weeks ago my wife complimented me on how I am dealing with my son. By not yelling at him, I am seeing him change in many ways. Our relationship with each other is getting stronger all the time.
What I gained through has truly helped me with my children. Though every day is a struggle, I know I am a better parent now.