Growing Stronger

The Strengthening Families program gives countless families the tools, resources, and confidence they need to thrive in uncertain circumstances—COVID-19 and otherwise.

Single mom Erica and her 7-year-old daughter, Isabella, are putting these lessons into action much sooner than anyone expected. They were thrilled to be a part of our most recent cycle of Strengthening Families, but they’d only made it halfway through the curriculum when COVID-19 forced an extended break.

“We miss it, we definitely miss it,” Erica said.

Erica shared that she and her daughter have wanted a stronger, more cohesive relationship all along—they just didn’t have the tools to get there. Strengthening Families has already offered small adjustments that are making a world of difference!

Erica first realized that she struggled with discipline. “I asked my daughter the other day what she thought a good mom does,” Erica shared, “and her immediate response was, ‘A good mom puts their kid in time-out if they’re not being good.’ Whether she will admit it or not, she wants discipline, and she thrives when I’m there to hold her accountable.”

Erica also wants to be more intentional about listening. This was especially clear in a recent Strengthening Families activity called “the child’s game.” Parents are instructed to sit back and watch their child do an activity—but they aren’t allowed to help or instruct in any way, just encourage and praise.

“I didn’t realize how much I interrupt or try to do things my way until that activity,” Erica said. “She loves the attention, and now one of her favorite rewards on her reward chart is ‘do something with Mom’.”

Now that Erica and Isabella are facing extended time at home together, without school or work, they’re implementing these changes and focusing on their relationship more than ever before. They’re prioritizing family meetings, listening to one other, and making the most of this time.

“We’re learning so much from each other right now,” Erica shared. “Instead of focusing on the negative, I’m enjoying this time to do schoolwork and be with Isabella. I’m learning how smart she really is!”

Erica loves the program, and she says that when she graduates, she’s going to immediately look into the other programs Thornwell has to help her grow further.

Looking to the future, Erica says, “I want to teach my daughter responsibility. I want us to have a really good system that’s tightly woven within our family, so Isabella has the basics she needs throughout life.”

Erica continued, “The Strengthening Families staff is incredible! I hope I can be like that one day—I want to give back and help other families learn what I’ve learned.”

Thank you for believing in a world where everyone belongs to a thriving family!

You can give today to impact more families like Erica’s.

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