Bismarck - Being a parent is hard, there's no question about it.
For many, it's helpful to have a soundboard with some useful feedback and tools to help you through the difficult times.
In this week's Raising North Dakota, Alysia Huck shares a resource available to parents in all walks of life.
Parenthood can be exhilarating ... and it can be exhausting.
As parents, we face challenges from the day our children are born, through the teen years and beyond.
For those like Christina Fogarty, struggling and yearning for some extra guidance, there are resources like the Nurturing Parenting program, available to any and all parents.
"Coming here everybody comes for a different reason, mine was recommended. I've struggled and right now my children aren't with me, I was kinda on my own doing whatever was best to get my children back, and be better for them and it's been pretty great, so," said mom Christina Fogarty.
The 16-week program not only focuses on increasing parenting skills, but developing nurturing and healthy family relationships.
One of the most useful tools for many is the discussion between parents, as program facilitator Constance Keller can attest to.
"I learn so much from parents! I've been doing this for 9 years and I'm a parent and still am learning. So wonderful to see them grow as parents and people," said Constance Keller, program facilitator.
It helps parents to see 'oh yes, I'm struggling with that too,' or 'my child has done that too and I didn't understand it,' 'that happened and I didn't know what to do for discipline, what do you think I should do"
Each weekly session kicks with a family dinner, an activity, and then it's time to get down to business. Parents break into groups, and the kids head to their own group to learn about the same topics as their parents.
"So if we are talking about nurturing in class, what is nurturing? The children are learning 'how are my parents nurturuing me, how do I nurture myself?' So they can talk about these things when they go home," said Constance Keller.
And what challenge do parents struggle with and talk about most from week to week?
"Discipline and rules," said Constance Keller.
"Consistancy, discipline, things like that. Finding a routine and sticking with it. We are all busy, we all work hard and sometimes maybe our mental health isn't quite the greatest and we're a little stressed and overwhelmed, so still being able to keep calm and stay consistant with the children I think is where a lot of people find difficulties," said Christina Fogarty.
So whether you're a seasoned parent in search of a new ideas, or a brand new mom or dad, grasping at straws trying to navigate parenthood, there is help out there.
"This has given me a whole new perspective that it's not just about the children, but taking care of self and children," said Christina Fogarty.
The Nurturing Parenting Program is an international program and is made available to parents all across the state.
Click here to find a program near you.
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