Friday, October 27, 2017

National Work and Family Month - 10 Tips for Moms Seeking Work-Life Balance

Tips for Moms Seeking a Work-Life Balance

1. Let Go of the Guilt
"Rather than dwell on how you're not with your child, think about how your role in the company is benefitting the family."

2. Find Quality Childcare
"Ask your network of friends and family for references to nannies, babysitters, and daycare centers."

3. Make the Mornings Easier
"Avoid starting the day on a frazzled note by getting organized the night before."

4. Create and Organize a Family Calendar
"Figure out your family's priorities. A calendar can include dates when bills are due, a chore chart for the kids, a list of school and family events, extracurricular activities, birthdays, and more."

5. Communicate with Your Employer
"Before talking to your employer or HR representative, construct a written plan detailing what you need."

6. Stay Connected During the Day
"Stay connected with your children even when you're not together."

7. Limit Distractions and Time Wasters
"Be disciplined and set time limits when checking email or making phone calls, things you can do when the kids are sleeping."

8. Create Special Family Activities
"Making time for your kids is crucial, both during the week and on the weekends, to nurture your family dynamic and allow everyone to bond."

9. Spend Time with Your Partner
"Remember to nurture your relationship with your partner, who will often be the number one person by your side."

10. Create Moments for Yourself
"By managing time wisely, you can fit in valuable "me" time regularly."

Call Families First for any questions, information or resources on parenting for the working mom. 877-695-7996

October is Bully Prevention Month

Being bullied by peers is the most frequent and damaging form of abuse encountered by children, having more severe long-term consequences than adult abuse, according to a recent study. One in three children report being bullied at some point in their lives. Of the children that reported being bullied, nearly half stated they were unlikely to tell their parents or a teacher about it. Instead, these children often internalize their emotions due to shame and suffer in silence.

Bullying is any type of aggressive behavior that is used repeatedly to dominate someone. It can result in physical and emotional harm that often lasts into adulthood—especially for those who were bullied more frequently or more severely. Researchers found that bullied children have an increased risk of developing anxiety disorders and depression in adulthood. They are also more likely to have poor relationships, few friends, low self-esteem, poor school performance, financial issues, difficulty keeping a job and poor general health, including a higher risk of psychiatric disorders and serious illness.

According to a study called The Youth Voice Project, students reported that having allying adults and peers that they felt comfortable talking to helped them the most when coping with bullying by providing positive support through connection, encouragement, affiliation, and listening.

Families First is here to support you if you suspect your child may be involved in bullying. We offer classes that teach communication skills to get kids talking. It is important for adults to have conversations with children about bullying so they understand that it is unacceptable. Every child deserves to grow up feeling safe and valued.

Call 877-695-7996 to receive help for you child or more information about bully prevention.

Find out more about bullying at stopbullying.gov.

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

The frequency and severity of domestic violence can vary dramatically, but the unfortunate physical, emotional and psychological damage that can be caused by it can last a lifetime and often passes from parent to child, creating a cycle of abuse. An estimated 30 to 60 percent of people who commit violence against their intimate partner are also violent towards their children.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, one in 15 children are exposed to intimate partner violence each year, and 90% of these children are eyewitnesses to this violence. Witnessing violent behavior has a huge impact on a child's health and can increase a child's risk for developing anxiety and sleep disorders as an adult. It can also lead to mental and behavioral health issues including, higher levels of anger, disobedience and withdrawal. Witnessing domestic violence is also a major contributor to it becoming passed from one generation to the next. Boys who witness domestic violence are twice as likely to abuse their own children when they become adults, according to the Colorado Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Unfortunately, it is not always easy to know if someone is abusive in the early stages of a relationship. Abusers tend to become increasingly more abusive and controlling over time. It may start subtly with name-calling, threats, possessiveness, or distrust. It might be easy to dismiss or downplay this behavior at first, especially if the person is apologetic, but eventually it will escalate to extreme control and abuse, including intimidation, threats, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or emotional abuse.

The abuse inflicted by the perpetrator can cause victims of domestic abuse to experience a variety of emotional responses, both while in the relationship and once they leave. Since the victim knows the abuser best, it is important for them to think carefully through their situation and circumstances and do what is the best for themselves.

For support and assistance in finding helpful resources, call the Families First Support Line (877-695-7996).

Find out more about domestic violence at ncadv.org.

For anonymous, confidential help, 24/7, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY).

Friday, May 19, 2017

Jeremy's Journey

When Jeremy first came to Families First his only coping mechanism was extreme anger and violence. Every time he became overwhelmed or agitated he would exploded violently, punching holes through walls, causing major destruction to everything in sight. Unfortunately for Jeremy he was never taught how to deal with his anger, and only projected what he had learned while growing up. Luckily for him Families First was there to help. After quite some time and extensive therapy and treatment provided at the Families First Treatment Center, Jeremy began to exhibit improved behavior. It wasn’t until Jeremy faced an overwhelming public moment that we knew how much he had truly changed for the better. During, what was supposed to be a fun afternoon shopping, Jeremy was faced with a tough situation that he would have normally acted out in a violent manner. Instead he remained cool calm and collected, processed his anger and overcame the situation. We are happy to report that Jeremy now lives in a happy adoptive home and continues to make strides in his progress.


For more information about Families First's Children's Treatment Center please visit our website.

For parenting tips, parenting resources, or support call the Families First Support Line at 877-695-7996 OR 866-527-3264 for Spanish-speaking parents. You can also e-mail SupportLine@FamiliesFirstColorado.org with questions or concerns. Comments provided by non-Families First individuals are not the opinion of Families First.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The topics and suggestions in my Families First Circle of Parents® group have helped me significantly in becoming a better person and in learning how to treat my daughter in our daily exchanges. I'm in a Spanish speaking group at Families First. I am learning how to educate my daughters each day. Since I have attended the Tuesday night parent group, my life with my family is more beautiful because there is more communication between me and my daughters. I have two daughters aged 14 and 10 years. It is not easy being a parent, but thanks to this group, I am learning new tools on how to be a better mother and about dealing effectively with them at their respective ages. We also learn much more when sharing our parenting experiences of other group members. I came to this group experiencing problems with my daughter’s behavior and have gradually begun to find solutions that have helped modify her behavior in very positive ways.
– Circulo de Padres® group participant


For more information about Families First's Circle of Parents® program please visit our website.

For parenting tips, parenting resources, or support call the Families First Support Line at
877-695-7996 OR 866-527-3264 for Spanish-speaking parents. You can also e-mail SupportLine@FamiliesFirstColorado.org with questions or concerns. Comments provided by non-Families First individuals are not the opinion of Families First.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Turning to Families First for Strength

Megan’s heart is in the right place. She has been legal guardian and adoptive mother to a twelve year old boy since he was two, and this boy is the son of a child Megan fostered years ago. The foster daughter had seen her share of troubles as she began using drugs when she was still a teen and ultimately was reduced to living on the streets. The little boy did not bond to his biological mother or to Megan in his early years and was subsequently diagnosed with attachment disorder.

Megan chose to attend Families First Circle of Parents® groups in the hope of finding the support she needed. She also wanted some guidance to help reinforce her parenting style. Megan now provides a firm, consistent and loving environment for this child and relies heavily on the group as a trusted gathering of parents who allow her to vent her frustrations and find companionship and support from the group as a whole.


For more information about Families First's Circle of Parents® program please visit our website.

For parenting tips, parenting resources, or support call the Families First Support Line at
877-695-7996 OR 866-527-3264 for Spanish-speaking parents. You can also e-mail SupportLine@FamiliesFirstColorado.org with questions or concerns. Comments provided by
non-Families First individuals are not the opinion of Families First.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Charlene's Circle of Support

Charlene began attending our Circle of Parents® about 8 months ago. She is single, has two children and one has a very serious disease. This mom, just a short two years ago, packed up and left a very abuse relationship. She has been on her own to raise her young children since. The youngest has a rare disease and as has been in and out of the hospital many times. Charlene almost lost custody of her kids because of having to work and not being able to care appropriately for them.

Recently, her little one was hospitalized again and Charlene was beside herself. Unsure how to care for her other child and be at the hospital with her little one, the Circle of Parents® members came. They took turns helping her. One mom came and when Charlene woke up, she was embarrassed she had been sleeping while this mom came by to visit. The mom said to her, “Oh no, you needed the sleep, I watched over your little one. You need rest and I am perfectly fine to sit here so that you can get it.” The mom felt such relief, this group of people she hadn’t even met 8 months ago, had now become a very big support system. She exclaimed at the next group meeting, “I completely understand now why so many of you are “lifers”, I will be sticking around for a long time.”

For more information about Families First's Circle of Parents® program please visit our website.

For parenting tips, parenting resources, or support call the Families First Support Line at
877-695-7996 OR 866-527-3264 for Spanish-speaking parents. You can also e-mail SupportLine@FamiliesFirstColorado.org with questions or concerns. Comments provided by non-Families First individuals are not the opinion of Families First.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Giving Katie's Parents Hope

Parents of six week old Katie, a little girl suffering from challenging physical limitations, found themselves overwhelmed with what they were facing. The mere identification of the disability afflicting their baby was enough to send the frantic parents into a panic. It wasn’t until the family turned to the early intervention services offered by Parents as Teachers, a program of Families First, that Katie began to respond well to treatment.

Families First made it possible for Katie’s parents to be given access to adaptive tools they can use to effectively manage Katie’s disability. The little girl is now thriving in a preschool program. Katie’s parents are now so fully engaged in the scheduled home visits, they report that they look forward to subsequent visits with enthusiasm.


For more information about Families First's
Parents as Teachers program please visit our website.

For parenting tips, parenting resources, or support call the Families First Support Line at
877-695-7996 OR 866-527-3264 for Spanish-speaking parents. You can also e-mail SupportLine@FamiliesFirstColorado.org with questions or concerns. Comments provided by
non-Families First individuals are not the opinion of Families First.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Things Our Family Did to Get by When I Lost My Job

Author: Jannette Matula, Mother of Two & Former Families First Volunteer

In August 2015, my boss came into my office to tell me my position was being eliminated effective immediately, and to please pack up my desk. I turned in my laptop, my keys and badge, and was escorted out of the office an hour later.

While I knew I would eventually find another job, I also knew it would take weeks, possibly months. And my next job would not likely pay as well as this one. Yikes!

While everyone’s financial realities are unique, the impact of abruptly losing an income is often the same for everyone – traumatic and scary. Will we be able to pay our bills? Will we be able to provide food for our family? Will we be able to pay our rent or mortgage?

Here are the things my family did to adjust to our new financial situation…

We came up with a game plan. First, my husband and I sat down to discuss our new budget and find ways to either eliminate or reduce all non-essential spending. This included eating out at restaurants, ordering in delivery (pizza, Chinese, etc.), going to the movies, and other things. We started evaluating every purchase….is this something we NEED (food on the table, gas in the car, electricity)? Or something we WANT (a new pair of shoes, the latest electronic gadget, a Pumpkin Spice latte from Starbucks)? Can I do this myself (fix the light switch, repair the washing machine, etc.) without having to pay someone else to do it?

We looked at ways to simplify. It sounds counter-intuitive, but when you have less money to spend on “stuff” and “extras”, it is easier to focus on basic human needs. These can be boiled down to simply: food, water, shelter, safety, love. There are a lot of articles and blogs that have great tips for how to simplify in many aspects of life. Here are a few I like:

Becoming Minimalist - http://www.becomingminimalist.com/the-10-most-important-things-to-simplify-in-your-life/

10 Simple Strategies - http://www.moneytalksnews.com/10-simple-strategies-simplify-your-life/

Mr. Money Mustache - http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/

We involved the whole family. Once the initial shock, anger and sadness started to fade, I decided to turn my situation into a teachable moment. How we adults respond to life pulling the rug out from under us sets an example for how our children will respond to similar disappointments in their lives. It was important for me to let my kids know we needed to make some changes, while also reassuring them that we would be fine. I also let them know that we are in this together as a family, and here are some ways they could help: do some extra (age appropriate) chores around the house (http://www.webmd.com/parenting/features/chores-for-children), not ask for treats and extras, think of fun things we could do that do not require spending money (http://www.kiplinger.com/article/saving/T065-C011-S001-50-free-or-cheap-things-to-do-with-kids.html)

Ask for help. It is easy to let pride get in the way of caring for ourselves and being honest with others about hard times we are facing. I told my neighbors and parents of my kids’ friends what was going on. I asked those closest to us if they could watch my toddler if I had a job interview I had to drive to. I asked for clothing hand-me-downs for my kids. Any time I did have to make a non-standard expenditure (car repair, utility repair, etc.) I asked what discounts were available. 9 times out of 10, I was offered 5-10% off!

On December 23, about 4 months later, I accepted a new job paying much less than what I had been earning before. In the meantime, many of the changes my family had made while I was out of work became engrained into our lifestyle – our new, more minimalist reality. I still ask for discounts when making non-standard purchases, we still go to “kids eat free” nights at restaurants when we want to have dinner out as a family, and I still gratefully accept clothing hand-me-downs for my kids.

I have been “downsized” 3 times in 24 years of being in the workforce, which has taught me the importance of being prepared for it – emotionally and financially. My goal for myself and my children is financial security, and I believe most of us share this goal. With that in mind, I leave you with this list of values which I found in an article about a recent survey. The survey reveals these values as having likely contributed to the foundation of success for the wealthiest people in our society:

• Failure is not a bad thing.
• Some things are more important than money.
• Be a disciplined saver and an opportunistic buyer.
• Patience is a virtue.
• Be generous to those in need.
• Marriage is a life-long partnership.

Here is a link to the full article http://www.inc.com/marla-tabaka/want-your-kids-to-become-financially-secure-adults-parents-of-todays-wealthy-did.html

Parents, if you are between jobs and need support or advice, please call Families First at 877-695-7996. We are here to help!


For more great parenting tips, parenting resources, suggestions or support call the Families First Support Line at 877-695-7996 OR 866-527-3264 for Spanish-speaking parents. You can also e-mail SupportLine@FamiliesFirstColorado.org with questions or concerns. Comments provided by non-Families First individuals are not the opinion of Families First.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Sadi's Story

Sadi was an introverted child who struggled in group settings and would often isolate herself, running away from the Families First Children’s Group and escaping the room altogether. She seemed to prefer sitting alone on a couch situated outside the room and she refused to participate in any activity, instead turning to her own game or toy. Sadi would often act out and yell, sometimes using profanity that made those around her most uncomfortable. She also resorted to striking other children. Families First team members spent many hours working with Sadi. Lately, she has been calmer, choosing to use her “indoor voice” and to participate in activities chosen by the group. She now seems to understand that even though the group may choose to do something she doesn’t want to do, everyone can all still have fun doing things together. To date, Sadi has participated in making Rice Krispies treats and has learned the names of all the children in her group. When she doesn’t know their name, she does not hesitate to ask them. She is also learning the names of all the group leaders and addresses them by name. Sadi is an engaged and happy child!

The provision of the Children’s Group is one of the most important components of the Family Support Services Program. Without the availability of this program (in the form of a Children’s Group), many parents would not be able to attend Circle of Parents® support group meetings or Parent Education classes provided by Families First. By working with the children while the parents are also receiving education and support, parent support groups and classes become a more positive experience for the whole family. The Children’s Group is more than maintenance level babysitting. It is assessing the needs of the children then developing and implementing activities to meet those needs. These activities are flexible and involve much individualized attention on the part of the Children’s Group Leader. The Children’s Group also provides a wide array of activities that promote positive social emotional development, community building, and a system of support.

Circle of Parents® national support group model offers free meetings for anyone in a parenting role.
· Parents lead the groups with the help of a trained facilitator.
· Parents decide the topics, lead the discussion and are involved in the decision making.

Circle of Parents® encourages the development of parents’ leadership skills—not just as parents and group leaders, but in all aspects of their lives.


For more information on Families First programs and services, parenting tips, and information on local resources please scroll down or click through our blog archive to the left to see our previous posts, visit our website at www.familiesfirstcolorado.org or call us at 877-695-7996.