The Parent Practice

What Parenting Skills Classes Did To My Family

My life used to be a hot mess. My two year old ruled the roost and didn’t listen to a word I said. He and my five year old squabbled incessantly. I felt like I was losing my mind.

My husband and I disagreed over discipline and ended up having huge arguments in front of the kids. I remember him leaving on a business trip and saying he couldn’t wait to get out of there. I sat on the floor and bawled my eyes out.

This wasn’t the happy family life I’d envisioned. No one told me it would be so hard. In fact everyone else was making it look easy. Maybe I wasn’t cut out to be a mother? I didn’t seem to be made from the right stuff.

I’m ashamed to admit that I took my frustrations out on my kids. I overreacted, shouted, punished, and I was heavy handed with them more than once. I even feared a new version of ‘Mommy Dearest’ being written about me one day.

My kids deserved better, but I had no idea how to change things. I read some books on discipline and parenting, but didn’t manage to implement anything that made a difference

One day I happened to spot an ad for a parenting skills workshop run by The Parent Practice near my home in London. I went along for a free taster class, unsure if I’d actually commit to the money or time of the full 10 week course.

I found myself surrounded by mothers who were also finding parenting tough. I realised I was not alone and that there were many ways to make things better.

I walked away with some valuable tips and was able to put them into practice with immediate results. But I still dithered about whether to sign up as it seemed expensive… and I’d be missing my beloved spinning class at the gym for ten Fridays in a row….

Somehow I ended up going for it and The Parent Practice gave me homework each week with fill-in-the-blank sheets so I could identify our hot spot areas and put focus where it was needed.

Ultimately it changed our family life and I shudder to think of how things would have continued if I hadn’t done that course.

I used to think that everything was my kids’ fault, but soon I figured out that changing my own behaviour improved theirs too. Within a few weeks of concentrating on my parenting skills, my boys were happily playing with each other, following through on instructions and our home took on a whole different, happier vibe. I learned how to problem solve and I discovered the importance of setting some time aside each week to concentrate on how I could make things better and easier.

If you’d told me back then that I’d one day go on to work with the Parent Practice, helping other stressed-out mothers get a handle on their family struggles, I’d have honestly laughed in your face.

Me helping anyone else with their kids?! But within a few short months that’s exactly what I found myself doing.

My boys are now teenagers and incredibly respectful and lovely to be around. I’m often complimented on their politeness and great personalities. They’re wonderful friends and have a lot of fun together.

Once I got past all of the behavioural difficulties, I was able to forge a deep, meaningful relationship with them and encourage their sense of values, ethics and communication.

When my older son was 14 he won a national award and money for university in recognition for modelling the character traits of persistence, a willingness to take risks, acceptance of other cultures and points of view, and a genuine interest in a sustained commitment to the welfare of others. At age 17 he became an elected member of UK Youth Parliament. If I were still screaming at him every day, I don’t know if he’d have been able to shine in this way.

The investment I made in money, time and energy have paid off for all of us. It freed up a lot more headspace to devote to other areas of my life. I did a Life Coaching for Mothers course, started my own business and my husband and I went back to being best friends. (My ten week spinning class wouldn’t have brought me such long lasting results.)

For years I’ve been wholeheartedly recommending The Parent Practice to everyone I know in London, but it’s only now that I can shout it from the rooftops to anyone in the world who wants to improve their parenting skills and get a handle on their family life.

The Parent Practice have now turned their live programme into an on-line course that you can do from the comfort of your home with guided videos, worksheets, course notes and audio recordings. 

You’ll learn all of the same juicy stuff that has helped me and thousands of other parents over the years, such as:

  • how to stay calm and stop shouting
  • how to stop nagging, repeating and reminding, cajoling, threatening and bribing!
  • how to communicate so your kids listen
  • how to ensure your kids follow instructions first time
  • how to motivate them
  • how to build a strong sense of self-worth in your children
  • how to pass on your values to your kids
  • how to build resilience and character
  • how to build strong connections with your children so that they will share problems with you and feel understood
  • how to understand your child’s temperament and stage of development
  • how to deal with misbehaviour in a positive and effective way

You can continue to wing it, or you can give yourself the chance to enjoy your children – bringing them up with your family values, instead of always just putting out fires.

Don’t give yourself (or your kids) a hard time. Get all the support you can. Fortunately, parenting skills can be learned and mindsets can be changed. (I’m living proof of that!)

I genuinely recommend The Parent Practice and I’m happy to answer any questions you have in the comments below – or you can email me: hello(at)myprojectme(dot)com.

Also leave a comment if you’ve ever attended any parenting skills classes or workshops or tell me what you’re struggling with right now in the Family area of your life.

Here’s to a happier home life.

photo credit: Wilson X via photopin cc

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  1. Catarina on January 19, 2015 at 11:49 AM

    This looks great Kelly, thanks for sharing! I will definitely make a plan to do it later this year. It will be nice to do a course that is not business focused 🙂

    • Kelly Pietrangeli on January 19, 2015 at 12:25 PM

      I know what you mean Catarina. When I focus too much on bettering myself as a business owner, I can end up slipping backwards in my family life. At the end of the day, I can tell you which one I value the VERY most 🙂

  2. Adrienn on January 19, 2015 at 12:15 PM

    Thank you for your honesty Kelly! I know all to well how you felt! My kids are 4; 2,5 and 4 months old. My oldest started pre school this year and with the new baby and all my parenting skills are tested each day. So good to know that there are great courses out there that can help us be the mothers we want to be.

    • Kelly Pietrangeli on January 19, 2015 at 12:29 PM

      Whoa Adrienn – that’s a lot of rapid-fire babies! I salute you!

      Yes, I actually love on-line courses for learning and growing – and I can’t think of a more useful topic for any mother to expand her knowledge in as her kids 🙂

  3. Jen on January 19, 2015 at 1:43 PM

    Parenting is absolutely not easy, but I would not change it for anything in the world! So glad that course helped you, it sounds great. It’s nice to know it is online and you don’t have to make travel arrangements (figure out who will take care of the kids etc.) :-).

    • Kelly Pietrangeli on January 19, 2015 at 1:53 PM

      I know Jen, they say parenting is the most important job in the world – and I agree. Yet there’s no other job that gives you NO training whatsoever and just allows you to fly by the seat of your pants and make so many mistakes along the way – ha ha!

      This course gave me the on-the-job training I needed. And now that it’s online, you’re right – no travel or child care arrangements to think of. Great point 🙂

  4. Sonali on January 19, 2015 at 5:06 PM

    Thanks for sharing, Kelly! Parenting is so baffling at times. Just when you think you have a handle on things, your kids move to the next stage of their development along with a new set of challenges for the us. It really seems to have made a difference for you so I can’t wait to learn more about it.

    • Kelly Pietrangeli on January 19, 2015 at 6:25 PM

      So true Sonali! It’s a never ending learning process, but one I take on with gusto 🙂

  5. Suzie on January 19, 2015 at 5:21 PM

    Hi Kelly.

    It’s great that you are passing this advice on. I have done a couple of parenting courses now (not this one, but similar), and they have really helped me to get things back on track when I’ve felt that all my good intentions have gone to ground. It’s so good to have time to really think through how you tackle things, and also invaluable to get together with other parents who are facing the same challenges. Suzie x

    • Kelly Pietrangeli on January 19, 2015 at 6:26 PM

      I’m happy to hear you also had a positive experience with parenting courses Suzie! Thanks so much for chiming in. xx

  6. Seana Turner on January 19, 2015 at 7:35 PM

    First, congratulations to your son on winning that incredible award. Not much could make a parent feel more thankful than to hear that others perceive these traits in her child! My husband and I took a yearlong course on parenting when our children were little. I think the mere fact that we heard a cohesive message at the same time helped us as much as anything – getting us on the same page, as you say.

    • Kelly Pietrangeli on January 19, 2015 at 9:16 PM

      Thank you Seana! Yes, I was one proud mama 🙂

      I’m happy you’ve shared your success story with taking a parenting course too. Yes, it really helps to be more of a United Front.

  7. Helen Butler on January 19, 2015 at 11:07 PM

    Wonderful article Kelly! This is a great example of the power a woman has in ther family! You can keep things as they are – or you can do the hard work, knowing that it will make a huge (positive!) difference to your family, and even better, get your partner on board in a non-confrontational way. I love that you took control and said to yourself that you didn’t want to live in that kind of overwhelm anymore. You are an inspiration Kelly! Xx ❤️

    • Kelly Pietrangeli on January 20, 2015 at 11:42 AM

      Thanks so much for those super kind (and empowering) words Helen. I guess you’re right – I reached a point where I just thought ‘Enough is enough’ and took charge of the situation.

      I think that was my first example of doing that after I became a mother – and I’ve never stopped since! 🙂

  8. Cassie on January 20, 2015 at 5:49 AM

    That sounds like an amazing parenting course. There are times where I have been doubtful about the way I raise my children and whether I am actually doing the right thing. Will check out Positive Parenting Academy to see if it suits me 🙂

    • Kelly Pietrangeli on January 20, 2015 at 8:54 AM

      I know Cassie, it’s all of that second guessing yourself that sucks. You end up being inconsistent and that makes things worse!

      Do check out this course and let me know if you have any Q’s at all 🙂

  9. Kristy on January 20, 2015 at 6:14 AM

    What a brilliant idea for concerned parents! Online courses are a brilliant way to disseminate really important information for parents- especially for isolated or busy parents. It’s great to hear how you’ve personally benefited from these programs too, Kelly.

    • Kelly Pietrangeli on January 20, 2015 at 8:58 AM

      Thanks Kristy! Yes, now that I’m living in Spain I see how hard it is here to find good workshops and courses in English, so this online parenting course would have been the way for me to go. It’s also great for working parents who can’t make the live classes. Thanks for hopping on and joining the discussion here 🙂

  10. Katie @mummydaddyme on January 20, 2015 at 12:46 PM

    Thanks for sharing- this course sounds brilliant and it sounds like you picked up some brilliant tips that have changed your life. Sometimes I think parenting is definitely about lightbulb moments- whether they are simple or slightly more complicated- those little changes that help all round.

    • Kelly Pietrangeli on January 20, 2015 at 5:56 PM

      So true. Lightbulbs flashing up over my head all of the time when it comes to my kids! It all starts with slowing down, listening and noticing more and not just reacting all of the time. But that took some fundamental first steps to even get me to a place where I could do that.

      Thanks for your lovely share Katie xx

  11. Pam on January 20, 2015 at 7:58 PM

    Hooray for parenting classes! As a parent coach/educator, it makes me so happy to read this. Everyone can benefit from parenting support, so the more classes offered, the better! I took a peek and this one looks great;)

    • Kelly Pietrangeli on January 20, 2015 at 8:14 PM

      Hi Pam!! I’m so happy you chimed in on this one. As a parenting coach yourself you know very well the transformations families experience when they get this kind of support! Thank you!! 🙂

  12. Allison on January 22, 2015 at 3:22 PM

    Thanks, Kelly, for sharing your experiences and struggles as a parent. I’m usually a little shy about leaving comments on blog posts, but I’m going to try to step a little out of my comfort zone here. I have a three year-old and a five month-old (it sounds like a similar age difference as your kids). My three year-old started preschool this year (we also live in Madrid!) just two weeks after the new baby was born. Needless to say it’s been rough going! I’ve done lots of tough, challenging things in my life, but being a mama to this boy is really the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I’ve read some parenting books too (currently reading the Peaceful Parent book that you recommended), but it’s hard to share everything that I’ve learned with my husband so we can be on the same page. The parenting course looks like a good option, though I worry a little bit about it’s online format–that it will be less interactive than a regular course, and of course, the expense is also a concern. I’m going to think about it though and maybe we’ll give it a try. Just want to say that I really love Project Me–from meal planning, raising kids, organizing my day, you really seem to know exactly what I’m struggling with as a mom. Thank you!

    • Kelly Pietrangeli on January 22, 2015 at 6:15 PM

      Good for you for stepping out of your comfort zone and sharing here Allison. It’s this kind of open sharing between mothers that let’s us all know we’re not along with our struggles.

      I have the same gap between my boys. I remember giving birth and then having to take my 3 year old to his first day of nursery school a week later. The good part was having those few hours each morning alone with my new baby, the hard part… well there are too many to even list here!

      It wasn’t until they were 6 and 3 that I discovered the Parent Practice and I’ve always wished I could have taken that course much earlier so I didn’t have to UN learn all of my own bad behaviours. I wished I’d just learned what to do before I did it all wrong – ha ha!

      I get your reservations about price (I felt that way too, even though now that feels like a silly no-brainer as far as how much value I got from it) and doing it on-line will have pros & cons vs doing it in a group. The good part will be that you don’t have to try to be there on a certain day and time every day of the week and find parking! (and since you live in Spain, you may struggle to even find a good local class in English.)

      You’d also have lifetime access to the modules and can keep referring back to them again and again instead of hoping you take great notes and remember everything.

      How great that you’re also in Madrid! Email me and we can always exchange numbers if you want to chat more about it.

      Thanks for your compliments on Project Me – I’m so happy to know it’s making a difference. 🙂

  13. Janna on January 22, 2015 at 9:41 PM

    Thank-you for being so honest in this post. We all have those moments with our kids but no one talks about it! Mine are 15 months apart so we had a few really stressful years. Regarding the course, did you and your husband do it together? How did you come to agreement on how to parent? Recently my husband and I have been trying to be on the same page with consequences… which can be challenging. Keep up the great work!

    • Kelly Pietrangeli on January 23, 2015 at 9:18 AM

      Hi Janna,

      I had to edit this post because it was so damn long! One of the parts I had to cut was about my husband and I having very different parenting styles. He’s of the ‘Just do what I say OR ELSE’ variety.

      He didn’t do the course with me because it was a morning class and he had to work.For a while it was hard because I was learning all of these new ways and then trying to explain to him what I’d learned in class, but always trying to condense it all into a nutshell for him, which wasn’t easy.

      Had it been available online back then, I think it would have been better if we’d both done the course together and then could have had an open dialogue after each module to discuss it and do the worksheets together.

      I’m just glad I didn’t wait for him to be ‘on board’ with parenting classes before I went ahead and did them. I needed to do it for me and my sanity and to feel I was doing my best as a mother and not just flying by the seat of my pants – and second guessing myself all of the time, which of course leads to inconsistency, which is the #1 evil when you’re trying to make progress!

      Hubby and I still don’t see eye to eye on everything concerning the kids (or a lot of other things for that matter!), but I guess over time I’m just more accepting that we are two different people from two different backgrounds and simply aren’t going to feel exactly the same about everything.

  14. Stacey Orr on June 9, 2015 at 7:36 PM

    thank you soooo much for sharing this. We need this desperately.

  15. […] can read about What Parenting Skills Classes Did To My Family […]

  16. […] I’m a proud affiliate of The Positive Parenting Academy’s online course and can’t recommend it enough to anyone who wants to stay calm and stop shouting, nagging and repeating, keep your child motivated and learn how to build a strong connection. More peace, less pulling your hair out guaranteed! (You can read how their Parenting Skills Classes helped me here.) […]

  17. […] took a 10 week course on Parenting Skills and never looked back. Once I got a better handle on discipline, created clear, written rules and […]

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