Magnuski Family

Boys Town Common Sense Parenting Helps Transition Mom From Participant to Instructor

It’s often been said that kids don’t come with instruction booklets and there’s no manual for being a parent.

Thanks to Boys Town, parents and caregivers have an excellent resource to help navigate the wild world of parenthood. Common Sense Parenting® (CSP) is an interactive program that helps caregivers learn new skills, build upon parenting strengths, and develop healthy relationships with their children. Numerous families from New England and throughout the country benefit from the in-person and virtual classes that are offered by Boys Town New England.

When Jenna Magnuski, a mother of two with a master’s degree focused on developmental education, found herself struggling with her own parenting techniques, she turned to Boys Town New England.

“Knowing the common sense solution doesn’t mean you’re using it in your life,” Magnuski said. “Even adding in my degree and professional experience, I had a hard time putting it into action. I can’t say enough good things about CSP. It taught me how to separate my emotions, make better choices and take more joy in raising little humans.”

Magnuski said her situation was even more complex.

“What makes my situation more challenging is that both of my kids are on the Autism spectrum with ADHD,” she continued. “It’s hard to tell if a parenting program will work well for children that are ‘wired differently’ due to developmental, learning, or mental health diagnoses. I want people to know that CSP is an invaluable resource and a safe place for all families.”

CSP helped Magnuski further develop and build upon her existing parenting skills. It also gave her a full-time job facilitating CSP. In that role, she also uses her experience as a first-generation college student that was raised in a diverse, working-class neighborhood. Magnuski goes out of her way to make sure people from all backgrounds can feel comfortable participating.

“CSP has really changed my life,” she said. “I’m so fortunate to have this opportunity to help other families. Not only do I draw upon my own experiences, but each participant contributes to each other because I learn from them, too.”

CSP offers real-life solutions with easy-to-learn techniques for common struggles -- communication, decision making, relationships, self-control and school success. This program was developed and refined based on decades of implementation and observation by Boys Town Family-Teachers, who nurture, mentor, and educate groups of teens in a Boys Town home.

“If any caregiver is struggling, we encourage you to join CSP -- either in-person or virtually,” Magnuski said. “You can help children with common issues. You can also help those who are showing high-risk behaviors before more in-depth intervention is needed. The materials use practical and relatable language and examples, which really helps drive the points home.”

Boys Town recently built upon the book and workbook that all CSP participants receive. There is a private Facebook group for parents who have completed the CSP program, as a way for them to be connected to one another after CSP ends and allows them to keep learning.

“Parenting is always evolving,” Magnuski said. “We can all be better. Fortunately, Boys Town provides the tools, resources and community to help us achieve our full potential as parents.”