Labor of Love

Bridget Barnes is the director of Boys Town's Common Sense Parenting® program. Her involvement with parents and kids goes back over 30 years. Here, she shares a parent's remarkable story of dedication, commitment, and willingness to make changes in her and her children's lives in order to help make her family a success. 

It has always been my pleasure to conduct parenting classes. I have met thousands of parents over the past three decades from all walks of life. Due to the pandemic, the Common Sense Parenting® program is being conducted in a virtual classroom. This change has made it easier for parents to attend the classes no matter their location. It has also allowed us, on occasion, to see in real-time the impact of our positive, practical approach to parenting.

In one of our evening online parenting classes, I met a young mother who was bringing up five children and had another one on the way. On the first night of class, I could tell it was going to be a challenge for her. The older kids were bickering in the background, which made her stop and leave class several times to get things settled down. She would yell out commands, doors would slam, or kids would just run away laughing. Still, this young mom kept coming back each week to participate in the class. She asked lots of questions and arrived early to get help with certain problems.

Each week, this mom would tell the other parents how she really used the skills, strategies, and activities with her kiddos – and that the skills we taught really worked! She was genuinely surprised. The real proof, however, was that other parents in the class could see the change that was taking place each week. Parents noticed how the children were quieter, there was less crying, and no one was bickering in the background. I noticed that mom had changed, too. She smiled more and seemed more upbeat each week. She was confident and in control. It didn't matter if the kids were quiet or if they needed a teaching moment, she calmly responded to their needs.

And this wasn't the end of the story displaying this mom's commitment. What happened next really blew us all away!

On the last night of class, I noticed that the mom was in a different location and she had a breathing mask on her face. I inquired if she was feeling well enough to be at class that evening. She happily shared that she was in the labor room, but really wanted to complete the class with the other parents she had met. Before leaving the online class, she shared how the program had helped her really love being a mother again. Everyone seemed inspired by this busy mom's dedication and willingness to make positive changes in her parenting approach.

I know I will never forget her.

— Bridget Barnes​