Sometimes yoFamilies First Gala 2011 Capability Mom u just know something is going to be good, maybe a friend has recommended it or you can tell when you walk in to a place and you just know. That is how it is for me and anything that Families First does. I know that is a big, bold statement but it is true. Their speakers are always top-notch, their instructors incredible at conveying the (always well-thought out) topic and engaging the group. I wrote about the Spring event last year in this post and this year was just as wonderful.

LaVerne Stephens, Parent Educator at Families First, was again the first speaker (wonderfully enthusiastic, funny and knowledgeable).  She did a fantastic job of engaging the audience and introducing us to the Families First video. She had us laughing and agreeing with her at each turn as we all made connections to her presentation. She is truly a gifted speaker.

Ned Hallowell is one of those charming, charismatic people that you love to listen to – I have heard him speak at a school parenting program so I knew I was in for a treat, I also get his newsletter on Crazy Busy (how-not-to be).  One of the best things I heard him say was that having an ADD or ADHD brain is like having a Ferrari for a brain, it is a great brain…it just came with bicycle brakes.  I really like how this describes – especially to a child – that there is not only nothing wrong with their brain, it is super cool and fast, it just needs a stronger stopping mechanism.

Families First honored Joannie Jaxtimer and Michael Barry with the 2011 Friends of the Family Award for their impact on and devotion to families in the Boston community. A wonderful young couple shared their experience with Families First parenting workshops and then the floor was opened for donations in an auction setting. It was engaging and fun to watch the auctioneer, Kathy Kingston, connect with the crowd and encourage them to donate. It was such a lovely event!

The Families First website is a great resource in itself – there is even a page on Parenting Tips by Age and Topic. Pick Self-Esteem and Elementary School and you will get age-appropriate tips. Here is a sample from the site:

Language That Enhances Self-Esteem

  1. Acknowledge feelings: “You don’t feel like your teacher likes you.”
  2. Offer affection: Hugs, kisses, cuddling.
  3. Avoid comparisons: “Yes, your brother can run fast but you have talents also. Look how hard you can kick a soccer ball.”
  4. Express gratitude: “Thank you for coming when I called.”
  5. Show confidence: “That’s a tough problem, but I think you can do it.”
  6. Focus on the positive: “It’s hard to pour milk. You almost had it in the glass.”
  7. Express anger respectfully: “When you use my scissors and don’t put them back, I feel angry because I don’t have it when I need it.”
  8. Express disapproval without attacking character: “Calling other people names hurts feelings. That isn’t allowed.”
  9. Praise effort: “It looks like you worked hard on that puzzle.”
  10. Offer specific praise: “You tied your shoelaces nice and tight – and with double knots!”

©2011 Families First Parenting Programs. All Rights Reserved.
Phone: 617.868.7687 / Fax: 617.354.2902 /

Families First is a great organization that provides parenting courses and...”builds positive relationships between parents and their children by educating both families and the professionals who serve them through inspiring, hands-on workshops. Our skilled workshop leaders stand beside parents and caregivers to lead them through the crucible of child rearing by transforming their experiences, doubts, and fears into the knowledge and confidence they need to build positive discipline, communication, and self-esteem in families. Our training for professionals enhances their ability to better support and engage families. We help communities thrive by strengthening families first.”

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