Ed. Note: This highlight is part of a series entitled Highlights from the Field: Office of Family Assistance Programs at Work for American Families. Read the original posting here.
Alfred and Lucinda Loveland expected parenting to have ups and downs. But they were not prepared for their different parenting styles or their different ideas about their son’s needs. Frustrated and growing desperate, they attended Raising Kids Twogether, a relationship and marriage education (RME) course for young parents offered by Healthy Relationships California (HRC).
“I had a tendency to arrange my priorities in a way that wasn’t beneficial to my family,” Alfred says. “That created conflict, but I lacked the skills to address and resolve those issues. I thought we could exchange apologies and our problems would go away, but they wouldn’t.”
Alfred and Lucinda applied the skills they learned with their son, who had difficulty communicating at times. Over time, their son's behaviour improved, which had a positive impact on family dynamic overall. Not only did Alfred and Lucinda learn vital skills and techniques to use with their child, they also acquired life-changing skills to better their relationship. “I feel like part of a team with my husband and better able to parent our child,” Lucinda reports. “I now know that how I interact at home touches upon all other aspects of my life.” Alfred adds, “Our marriage and family have improved immensely because of skilled communication.”
Participating in RME had such a significant effect on Alfred and Lucinda that they became facilitators in the HRC program. They now help to equip others with skills and resources that support healthy marriages and relationships and promote economic stability and self-sufficiency.
HRC is an Office of Family Assistance Healthy Marriage grantee that targets nine of the most populous low-income counties in California. Working with 14 partner organizations, HRC provides a variety of services to youth and adults, including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or TANF-eligible families. Case managers may refer participants to community services for domestic violence, drug and alcohol concerns, child support, or employment needs. In its second grant year, HRC served more than 28,000 low-income youth and adults in California.
HRC uses Raising Kids Twogether, a curriculum that combines a parenting component with a couples communication component to empower mothers and fathers to parent as a team and build a strong marriage. The course is designed for parents of children ages birth to five years old. Participants gain communication skills that help them form a lasting relationship within which their children can thrive.
Healthy Relationships California: Changing Lives
- 60% of married participants were satisfied with their relationship after participating in an RME course, increasing to 69% six months after the course
- 52% of highly distressed married participants experienced a significant decrease in relationship distress after taking an RME course
- 74% of participants experienced increases in problem-solving abilities after participating in RME
Learn more about Healthy Relationships California and other Office of Family Assistance funded Healthy Marriage and Responsible Fatherhood programs here.
Office of Family Assistance