Parenting course works both ways

by Andru McCracken

When she enrolled to in a parenting class aimed at families with young kids, Regena Bergen had no idea the material would help her connect with her teen sons, her husband and even her own mother.

“That’s the thing about the course, it applies to our spouses, our pets, our employees,” said Bergen, who said the course has helped heal her relationship with her mom.

“It’s awesome,” she said. “It’s never too late to take the course.”

Bergen said new parents typically try to do better than their own, but lack a real grounding in what needs to be done.

“We feel if we can stop the pattern from our parents that wasn’t healthy that will help raise secure child,” said Bergen. “(But) that’s a matter of opinion.”

Bergen suggests this strategy might not cover all the bases.

“The root of people’s problems start in childhood,” she said. “I am starting to apply what I have learned to my kids. Our relationship has gotten stronger, but they are pretty much independent and happy.”

When asked if it would have changed how she parented her children at a younger age, Bergen is unequivocal.

“Absolutely,” she said. “I think we would have an even deeper connection. It totally takes the stress out of parenting.”

“The most important thing is you need emotional support, otherwise you don’t feel loved,” she said. “Whether a spouse or a child, if they are emotionally upset, fear, anger, joy, sorrow – we don’t try and fix the problem – we support them tell them it is okay to feel that way and be there for them.”

“Emotional support is the key to a secure connection relationship,” she said.

One of the parents who took the course said that the ‘bad’ behavior that was starting to develop in her child ended because she applied the Circle of Security method.

“When a child is acting out, they are only doing that because they have a need,” said Bergen. “From 11 months on they start miscommunicating to us because we’re not meeting their needs. The sooner we can understand how to help them the better.”

The course is available for one on one and group sessions. If you are interested in taking the course call Regena Bergen at 566-1979.

The course and Bergen’s training was sponsored by the Child and Youth Mental Health and Substance Use Local Action Team, which is a part of Shared Care and Doctors of BC.

“Without them this wouldn’t have happened,” she said.

For folks who would like to learn more she suggests watching a few short videos on the Circle of Security International website:

Bergen said that the first course received rave reviews.

“One participant wanted everyone in town to have this course. Another student said every teacher and daycare worker needs this course,” she said.

That could become a reality. Bergen is now applying for funding to offer it free to parents.