A Mother’s Grit and Determination Sets Positive Example for Her Sons Friday, Jan 27, 2017 Page Image Page ContentHer marriage was a fairytale until it wasn't. Infidelity, manipulation and verbal abuse had created a toxic home life for Claudia Chavez and her children. She had to make a choice: stay or go?She chose to leave. Claudia mustered the courage to seek a new start for herself and her young sons, Adrian and Erick. With no financial support from her estranged husband, Claudia worked two jobs to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table. It was an uncertain and demanding time, but Claudia didn't complain. Instead, she went to counseling to heal emotional scars and enrolled in parenting classes to be a better mom. She also didn't hold onto grudges. Claudia wanted her boys to stay connected to their father, so she often hired him to babysit. This warm gesture, however, wasn't rewarded. Her ex-husband remarried, became a stepfather and then ignored Adrian and Erick. It felt like a second divorce to 8-year-old Adrian, and he lashed out.Jealous and angry, Adrian took his sadness out on his little brother, his mom and his teachers. There were fights, arguments and tears at home and in school. His grades went into freefall. Adrian was so out of sorts and disruptive, school officials referred the family to Boys Town Nevada In-Home Family Services® for support and counseling. When services began, Claudia was apprehensive. She feared it would antagonize her ex and dash any hopes of reconnecting him to his children, said Boys Town Family Consultant Yoly Smith, who worked with Claudia's family. To overcome Claudia's resistance, Yoly patiently listened to the family's concerns and praised Claudia for being a positive role model. The family quickly felt more at ease, and for the next six weeks, they embraced the Family Consultant as one of their own. Yoly taught Claudia parenting skills, including how to correct misbehaviors, set appropriate boundaries and use praise to reinforce and encourage her sons. Yoly also taught Adrian and Erick helpful social skills so they would know how to channel their feelings in healthier, more helpful ways. The skill teaching had a profound effect on the family, especially Adrian. His daily disruptions at school diminished to the point where he went weeks without a single incident. At home, there was much less tension and far fewer arguments. "Yoly showed us new ways to seek opportunities," remarked Claudia. "We've grown so much and have a new way of seeing the world!" The boys are thriving and although they are not as connected to their father as they once were, they are happy. Claudia continues to work hard and be a provider. She recently began a new job that has expanded her professional opportunities, giving the family more flexibility and financial freedom.With a fresh perspective and boundless courage, Claudia and her sons have reclaimed their future.