Yohana's Manual for Parenting

April 10, 2020

Mother and Son

Yohana was referred to Family Tree SafeCare® by a friend after sharing that she was looking for help managing the behavior of her 4-year old son, Jose.

In our first meeting, Yohana told me she was particularly concerned with Jose’s behavior outside of the home. She wanted to see a lot of change in his behavior at doctor and dentist appointments, while shopping and running errands and especially while out at social or other events, as Jose would always try to run away at parties and other outings.

The first time we went through the Parent-Child Interaction (PCI) skills, Yohana was engaged with and curious about the 10 skills, asking lots of thoughtful questions and willing to share her ideas about each. She particularly liked the focus on setting positive expectations and using positive consequences, which was something that hadn’t occurred to her before. At the end of our session, she shared with me how when she was pregnant with her first child, she had always wanted a manual for parenting – she held up her PCI folder and told me, “This is it, this is the manual.”

At one point, my visits with Yohana lapsed due to a personal situation in her life. When we were finally able to meet again, she told me that Jose’s behavior had been improving before, but that it had started to get bad again – that he was throwing more tantrums and acting out more against her. When she described to me the consequences she had been using, she told me she was using consequences such as taking away any devices, toys, etc. When I asked her about positive expectations and consequences, she thought about it for a minute then told me, “Wow that’s true, I haven’t been doing that.”

Yohana committed to practicing focusing on the positive. When we met again, she reported that Jose’s behavior improved again – she said he even stopped throwing tantrums. She said when he would start one, she would redirect him by saying jokingly saying, “Jose, is that you? No, that can’t be you!” and he would burst into laughter instead. She said she was telling everyone that they were focusing on the positive as a family. She said that not only was her son’s behavior improving, but she was also personally generally feeling better and more content as well.

In our last session, I was able to observe Yohana in all of the daily activities she had been practicing. Whereas the first time we had practiced, Yohana had needed lots of guidance and had seemed unsure, now, each of the skills came to Yohana naturally and with ease, and all of the activities went smoothly with her son.

When we talked through how much change she would like to see in activities now, Yohana shared she wanted to see very little change with doctor and dentist appointments, and no change in shopping and running errands and parties or other events – this was a huge victory for her! Jose stopped trying to run away and had, in fact, been behaving so well that she didn’t feel she needed to see any further change in his behavior at all.

In our last session, she told me what she liked best about the program was how much she learned. She believes that everything from reading the theory to practicing was helpful.

When I asked Yohana if there was anything else she would like to share with me before I left, she said she never used to seek therapies or believe in their effectiveness for kids. She said she would now recommend any parent to look into therapy to help with their children because it will help the parent feel calmer and more content, they will see their kids more content and the kids will enjoy everything they do with the parent there at their side.