Op-Ed: It is never too late to be a better parent

Fresno Bee
August 9, 2019

It is never too late to learn to be a better parent. It doesn’t matter how old your kids are, or how many you have, or what you did in the past. I know because it happened with my fourth child. And learning with her made me a better mother to my other three.

My oldest daughter lives with me. She is 21 and has schizophrenia, and that can be hard. My middle kids are 10 and 13, and they live with their dad. I used to scream at them and they would throw a fit, and then I would self-medicate with alcohol. I didn’t know how to deal with them at all.

I realize now that I was repeating the patterns of how I grew up. My dad was an alcoholic and he was always angry. My siblings and I would eat dinner really fast and run and hide from him. When he was around we had to follow the rules and not talk, or he would yell. Once I had my own kids, I became my dad without even trying.

I took parenting classes when my middle kids were younger, but I never applied the lessons to my life. Last year, when I was pregnant with my daughter Mariana, I learned I could have someone come to my house through First 5 Fresno’s Help Me Grow program. Once I started doing that, things really started to change for me.

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