Supporting families by strengthening TIES

I sat across from her and looked into her tear-filled eyes as she said, “I LOVE my kid, but sometimes I just don’t LIKE him.” This confession was filled with a heavy dose of parental guilt that often accompanies navigating daily life with young children. As the program coordinator of an early intervention parenting program, I understand, and hear this sort of confession on a regular basis.

Nothing can prepare us for how to handle challenging behaviors from the tiny humans that we bring into this world, but luckily, TIES can help. I don’t write this to brag, or to boost the program’s enrollment; but instead to provide hope and information for parents who feel like they are stuck in a bottomless pit of negativity and patterns of undesirable interactions with their children.

TIES stands for Teaching Interventions to Empower and Strengthen Families. The program addresses behaviors that range from temper tantrums, aggression, non-compliance, bedtime issues, mealtime issues to separation anxiety. We are free to all families, with a true passion for igniting positive change in the lives of children and their parents.

TIES uses a positive reinforcement model through hands-on strategy sessions, a classroom setting where children and parents can practice their skills, and one-on-one case management time. To embody the spirit of our motto that, “happy parents make happy kids”, a goal of the program is to reduce parental stress levels; and in the last year, data has demonstrated that for families involved in TIES, their parental stress levels decreased by an average of 26 percent.

My personal motto is: “of this be sure: you do not find the happy life, you make it.” If you’re reading this and feel like you need to make a change toward a happier life with your children, please know we are here and we are ready to help.

• Caitlin Hauskins is the Program Coordinator of TIES (Teaching Interventions to Empower and Strengthen Families). Comments: (319) 558-4861; caitlin.hauskins@unitypoint.org

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