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Region Stories

These stories illustrate how early childhood programs and services funded by First Things First make a difference for young children and families in communities across Arizona.

Mom of two finds support at family resource center

​​​​​ “Even though you think you know it, there’s different ways to parent. It’s not the way we were taught how to parent,” said Elizabeth after attending parent education workshops offered at the Thrive to Five Family Resource Center at Wood Elementary in Tempe. The family resource center is funded by the First Things First Central Maricopa region with the goal of strengthening families by providing community-based access to programs such as parent education.

“We were always learning something different” during the parent education workshops, Elizabeth remembered. She first learned about the resource center and the free workshops they offer when she received a flyer while picking up her daughter, Lisette, from kindergarten.

Elizabeth had never attended anything like this before, but the flyer piqued her interest. Over the next two years, the family attended parenting, literacy, nutrition and music workshops. The new parenting skills helped Elizabeth and her husband, Juan, communicate more effectively with their children, reduce their children’s frustration levels, be more patient with their children and model positive behavior.

Elizabeth shared an example of how she used those new skills with her son, Matthew, who was 2-years-old at the time. Matthew would become upset and hit his parents when he wanted something and didn’t get it. Instead of engaging in a power struggle, Elizabeth and Juan learned a new way to handle this aggressive behavior. “We told Matthew, let’s do it this way, and we cuddled him and told him to take deep breaths until he calmed down,” said Elizabeth.

Elizabeth says that Matthew’s temperament is much calmer now and they’ve noticed that his learning has increased as well. He asks more questions, explains what things are, repeats words until he gets them right and picks out books to read.

“I would have done things differently with my daughter,” said Elizabeth, “It’s important to start communicating with kids as babies because the brain starts feeding itself with all this information.”

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