Parenting Education


Premiere Edition / January 2005

This issue of Parenting News is all about creating memories and building relationships.

Memories are always waiting to be created, regardless of the situation or those involved. Time taken to think about how we create memories and meaningful relationships, sustain them and enhance them is time well spent.

We know that human nature determines that people crave a sense of belonging or purpose – this can be found within the context of family, friends, formal or informal support settings or the community at large – and is true for all members of our society – children, youth and adults.

Mary Gordon (Roots Of Empathy) in an interview with Voices for Children (November 2003) states that ‘one person makes a difference all the time (in the life of a child) because children have relationships one by one. Ms.Gordon goes on to explain that ‘the vulnerability studies say that it just takes one person to be totally engaged and interested in the child to motivate the child. We have to start now to create the kind of society that will embrace all of the children, that will feel responsible for yours, mine and ours’.

I hope this newsletter inspires you to make that difference! For more information on Mary Gordon and the Roots of Empathy program, please visit - is also a wonderful resource.

Building Relationships and Creating Memories

I have found in my work. Everybody longs to be loved. And the greatest thing we can do is let somebody know that they are loved and capable of loving.

Instead of giving them rewards and bribes, we can encourage our children. Promised bribes, rewards, stars, praise—all of these come after the deed is done the way we want it done. They are highly judgmental and say, “You have done well what wanted you to do; you have pleased me.” The emphasis is all on the parent. Encouragement, on the other hand, can come at anytime, is nonjudgmental, and emphasizes the child’s importance by expressing confidence and trust in the child.

A child learning to walk falls flat on his face. He doesn’t need praise. (You fell well. Good fall!”) He doesn’t need a bribe. (“Come to me and I’ll give you a cookie.”) He certainly doesn’t need punishment.. (“You klutz, when are you going to learn to walk?”) What he needs is encouragement, someone to be there to help him up if he needs it and to tell him, “I know you can do it. Try again.”

Encouragement inspires. It imparts courage and confidence. It fosters and gives support. It helps a child develop a sense of self-pride and enhances internal motivation. Encouraging a child means that one or more of the following critical life messages are coming through, either by word or by action:

• I believe in you
• I trust you
• I know you can handle this
• You are listened to
• You are cared for
• You are very important to me

The ways these messages can be expressed are as various as the parents expressing them. These six critical life messages are concrete and unambiguous. They need no definition or explanation. There is no way they can be faked and no chance they won’t be received if they are truly offered. (B.Coleroso, Kids are Worth It, p78-80)

So how do we convey the message of connecting and creating memories?
Some things to think about…

55% body, posture, facial expressions
38% tone of voice
7% words

How messages are filtered
Incoming message – my filter –
1. not heard,
2. actually gets through,
3. turned aside – what we think we heard – how we feel about what we heard – response.

Communication comes in many forms.
Way a person holds his head
Mouth, facial expression
Actions and gestures

Tone of voice
Soft or loud
Speed of talking

Distance between us
Making our space

Shaking hands
Hand on choulder
Holding hands

Arrivals & Departures

Bringing a sense of community to a group – particularly at the first session


2-5 minutes

Possibly a model airplane for visual appeal

In Arrivals and Departures, participants list behaviors they would like to attain or get rid of. Use this activity at the beginning or end of a session in which people have been focusing on behavior change, either procedural or personal. This activity works very well in management and supervisory, communication, conflict, diversity, motivational and personal effectiveness sessions

1. Explain that when we take personal responsibility for our own actions, we take the time to examine our own behaviors to decide whether to keep, modify, or change them to get the results we want.

2. Ask participants to consider the behaviors they choose to keep or would like to implement as arrivals, and the behaviors they would like to get rid of or change dramatically as departures.

3. Ask each person to talk with a person next to them about behaviors they have been in touch with during the session and identify at least one arrival and one departure that they are committed to working on.

If the group is small, ask each person to talk about arrivals and departures aloud.

Ask the group for stories about observations on arrivals and departures.

Source: The Big Book of Icebreakers – Quick, Fun Activities for Energizing Meetings and Workshops, Edie West, McGraw Hill ISBN 0-07-134984-7 Available through ODIN BOOKS 1.800.223.6346

Stages in the Life of a Group

(exerpt from the wonderful resource by Peter Renner, The Art of Teaching Adults, How to Become an Exceptional Instructor & Facilitator, ISBN 0-9697319-0-6, [email protected])

As groups of adult learners work together, they pass through successive stages of formal and informal relation-ships. Attention to such development is important. For example, asking relative strangers to share personal information could result in an awkward silence, but that same group may quite easily dis-close information later on. A new group may have difficulty completing a coop-erative task until it has acquired experi-ence in problem-solving.

Several researchers have developed the-oretical models of the predictable stages in a group’s life. I find such theo-ries to be worthwhile reference points when observing and managing group activities. According to Will Schutz, individuals and groups want and express three needs: inclusion, control, and affection. A learning group typi-cally begins with the first, then moves through the second, and on to the third. However, these stages overlap and the cycle may reoccur several times before the course ends.

Need for Inclusion
How might these needs express them-selves in the classroom? The beginning need for inclusion is triggered when the group first meets in the new setting. People wonder how they will fit in and what they have to do to be recognized and accepted. Very little academic or content work can be accomplished until these and related questions have been dealt with. Warmup activities and sim-ple small-group tasks are ways you can assist participants to satisfy their initial need for inclusion. Through such activi-ties, people begin to reveal themselves a little bit at a time, tackling increasingly risky tasks as their comfort level rises. Still in every group, one or two people will be unable to meet their inclusion needs.

Need for control
The second phase of group develop-ment touches on control issues. They become apparent, for instance, when you ask learners to share responsibility for the course and when the group struggles with deciding how decisions will be made. During this stage, each participant strives to establish a com-fort able level of influence with the teacher and other members.

Need for affection
The next issues members face are those of affection and closeness. Natural affinities in the group may affect who support whom during discussions, and how project teams are formed. Compatible groups, says Schutz, have members who complement one another’s needs. That’s why some groups seem to click, while others stum-ble and struggle. By anticipating these needs, perhaps mentioning them as legitimate and natural occurrences, you can assist in the development of indi-vidual and group competence and cohesion.

Share It Forward:
A Positive Approach to Sharing Parent Information on Early Childhood Development

The first years of life are a period of tremendous growth. A child’s early nurturing experiences impact the way a baby’s brain develops. Research tells us that brain development is linked to activity. Touching, holding, comforting, singing and talking provide the best kind of stimulation for their growing brains.

The Invest In Kids Foundation out of Toronto has conducted a Parent Poll that tells us that 92% of parents surveyed think parenting is the most important thing they can do and 94% enjoy their role as a parent. Despite these positive feelings 34% of the parents surveyed were not effective in their child management. Before their first baby was born, 44% reported they were prepared for parenthood. After their first baby their confidence plummeted to 18%.

The good news is that parenting is related to knowledge and confidence. The more knowledgeable parents are about child development, the more confident they are about parenting.

The Parent Poll also tells us that 58% of parents go to their friends for information about their children’s development, therefore a peer-to-peer information concept would be supported.

Here is the opportunity! Share It Forward provides an opportunity for parents to learn key messages on early childhood development based on the concepts of Comfort, Play and Teach (developed by the Invest In Kids Foundation). If you comfort, play with, or teach your child, you are in fact supporting your child’s development.

Comfort, Play and Teach is a simple approach that builds on every day activities that are part of a parent’s routine. Every day things like putting a bandage on a “boo boo”, playing hide and go seek, and cuddling your baby – are in fact among the most important ways a parent can help their child reach their full potential.

How does Share It Forward work? Share It Forward is not a program, it is about sharing the key messages on Comfort, Play and Teach with others so that they can share it with others, and so on and so on…

The Southeast Regional Intersectoral Committee (RIC), in partnerships with Invest In Kids and the Yorkton KidsFirst Program have made a commitment to enhance opportunities for early childhood development. The Share It Forward Model is based on the notion of sharing information on early childhood development in a strength-based, peer-to-peer, and no cost/low cost approach.

If you would like to learn more about the Share It Forward Model or wish to attend a “sharing” session where you can obtain the information, so you can Share It Forward, please contact one of us.

A Video Series about Family Resource Programs in Canada

The Early Childhood Education program of Red River College received funding from Social Development Partnerships Canada to develop, produce and disseminate a series of videos that profiles best practices in Canadian Family Resource Programs.

“Family Resource Programs” is a video series that celebrates the diversity, scope and value of family resource programs across Canada. Told through beautiful images and in the voices of parents and staff, the series reflects how family resource programs support and strengthen both families and communities.

Family resource programs work for all kinds of families and all kinds of communities with a wide range of cultural, geographic and socio-economic backgrounds. The series portrays effective practices that can inspire both new and established programs and is relevant to a wide range of audiences.

Each program in the series focuses on a specific aspect of family resource programs. The following is a brief description of the programs in the series:

Family Resource Programs: Supporting Communities This video provides an overview, showing a wide variety of family resource programs reflecting specific communities while holding common values. The value to society as a whole of investing in families is a central message.

Family Resource Programs: Supporting Babies This program stresses the importance of the first two years as a foundation for development and looks at particular ways in which family resource programs support parents and children under 2 1/2 years through drop-in and other programs

Family Resource Pro grams: Supporting the Early Years The importance of Family Resource

Programs in the fives of children between 2 & 6 years of age is the focus of this program.

Examples of both informal and specialized programs for children and their parents ate highlighted.

Family Resource Programs: Supporting Families This video describes how family resource programs strengthen families and often communities through particular services such as community kitchen, toy-lending libraries, special military family supports, clothing exchange and other activities which in turn, benefit children.

As well, a documentary, for broadcast purposes, that tells the story of several different families who use family resource programs is currently being produced.

For further information contact either Jamie Koshyk at 204.632.2460 or at [email protected] or, Janet Jamieson at 204.632.3070 or at [email protected]

The Cost of Raising A Child

The government recently calculated the cost of raising a child from birth to 18 and came up with $160,140 for a middle income family. Talk about sticker shock! That doesn’t even touch college tuition. For those with kids, that figure leads to wild fantasies about all the money we could have banked if not for (insert your child’s name here). For others, that number might confirm the decision to remain childless. But $160,140 isn’t so bad if you break it down. It translates into $8,896.66 a year, $741.38 a month, or $171.08 a week. That’s a mere $24.44 a day! Just over a dollar an hour. Still, you might think the best financial advice says don’t have children if you want to be “rich.” It is just the opposite. What do your get for your $160,140?

Naming rights. First, middle, and last! Glimpses of God every day. Giggles under the covers every night. More love than your heart can hold. Butterfly kisses and Velcro hugs.

Endless wonder over rocks, ants, clouds, and warm cookies. A hand to hold, usually covered with jam.

A partner for blowing bubbles, flying kites, building sandcastles, and skipping down the sidewalk in the pouring rain. Someone to laugh yourself silly with no matter what the boss said or how your stocks performed that day.

For $160,140, you never have to grow up. You get to finger-paint, carve pumpkins, play hide-and-seek, catch lightning bugs, and never stop believing in Santa Claus, You have an excuse to keep reading the Adventures of Piglet and Pooh, watching Saturday morning cartoons, going to Disney movies, and wishing on stars.

You get to frame rainbows, hearts, and flowers under refrigerator magnets and collect spray painted noodle wreaths for Christmas, hand prints set in clay for Mother’s Day, and cards with backward letters for Father’s Day.

For $160,140, there is no greater bang for your buck. You get to be a hero just for retrieving a Frisbee off the garage roof, taking the training wheels off the bike, removing a splinter, filling the wading pool, coaxing a wad of gum out of bangs, and coaching a baseball team that never wins but always gets treated to ice cream regardless.

You get a front row seat to history to witness the first step, first word, first bra, first date, and first time behind the wheel.

You get to be immortal. You get another branch added to your family tree, and if you’re lucky, a long list of limbs in your obituary called grandchildren.

You get education in psychology, nursing, criminal justice, conmunications, and human sexuality that no college can match. In the eyes of a child, you rank right up there with God. You have all the power to heal a boo-boo, scare away the monsters under the bed, patch a broken heart, police a slumber party, ground them forever, and love them without limits, so one day they will, like you, love without counting the cost.

‘The Boy Can’t Sleep’

An excerpt from the short story – The Boy Can’t Sleep - by Ann Dowsett Johnston as found in the collection of short stories, Dropped Threads 2. This story truly exemplifies how the relationship between parent and child must change and evolve – although sometimes difficult – always important!
Dropped Thread 2, edited by Carol Shields and Marjorie Anderson, 2003, Random House of Canada, ISBN 0-679-31206-4

The boy can’t sleep. He can’t sleep because he didn’t get the girl. Or rather, he got the girl, but he lost her. And now he can’t sleep. Nor can you because he wants to talk.

You try to take it seriously. You try to remember what this felt like. You know you went through this very same thing, at the very same age. But that was so long ago. The summer of 1969, to be exact. The same summer that man first walked on the moon—an event you barely noticed, an event eclipsed by a boy with blond hair and an acoustic gui-tar and your first trip to Paris.

You try not to say what you’re thinking, which is, Thank goodness. You’re too young to find “the right girl.” You’ll find someone better Smarter. Less selfish. More nuanced. Take your time. This you want to say, but you can’t.

So, instead you make popcorn. Standing by the stove together in the middle of the night, his tall frame looming close beside yours. Waiting for the first kernel to hiss and sizzle and pop. And as the two of you stand, waiting for the action to start, he bumps in to you – a seemingly nonchalant little hip check.

Which is a good sign. This, you’ve come to understand, is what boys do after they stop hugging and kissing their mothers. A hip check, a knock on the shoulder, a little flick on the wrist. You’ve learned to decipher these casual little moves, along with the adolescent grunts – the code of a breezy male teenager.

And this you’ve also learned: the last thing a breezy male teenager wants is to be grilled by his mother. Yes, you would love to know the details of the evening, how it all unfolded, how it led to this middle-of-the-night session in the kitchen. But you resist. You zip your lip and wait for him to talk. Because, as we all know, mothers of sixteen-year-old boys know nothing. Especially about dating. Unless they’re asked.

Which isn’t to say that the boy has lost faith in you. On the contrary. That’s why the two of you are up in the middle of the night making popcorn. He has faith that you will listen. But it’s a dance, and this time he’s leading. .

For years, you led and he followed. As far as he was con-cerned, adults could fix anything. For starters, they had the power to negotiate with the Easter bunny, a creature he believed had no business being in his bedroom. He trusted you to arrange a front-door drop-off for chocolate. And when, as a toddler, he watched Joe Theismann’s leg snap like a matchstick on the football field, he sat in front of the TV, unfazed in his fuzzy yellow sleepers. “Don’t worry,” he said as the doctor raced to Theismann’s side. “That man will kiss him better.”’ (page 345/346)

Parents Under Siege

James Garbarino, Parents Under Siege, nicely outlines the need for understanding and empathy in todays society as parents are faced with the harch realities of raising children.
‘We do not wish to judge and demean parents locked in to un-productive patterns with their children. One of our core princi-ples in understanding parenting is to insist upon empathy, to recognize that “we” are always “they,” to force ourselves to re-member that “them” are “us.” The great Vietnamese Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh has written in his book Peace Is Every Step:
When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you don’t blame the lettuce. You look into the reasons it is not doing well. It may need fertilizer, or more water. You never blame the lettuce. Yet if we have problems with our friends or our family, we blame the other person. But if we know how to take care of them, they will grow well, like lettuce. Blaming has no positive effect at all, nor does trying to persuade using reasons and arguments. That is my experience. No blame, no reasoning, no argument, just understanding. If you under-stand, and you show that you understand, you can love, and the situation will change.
…Connection is the starting point, recognizing that we are all the same. This does not mean we wait passively. We may have to initiate pow-erful interventions to help the child become better. But we do so on the basis of understanding and love, not blame and pun-ishment.’ (page 62)
A powerful message for all to hear and listen to as we strive for a format to connect and build community!

Parents Under Siege, Why You Are The Solution, Not the Problem in Your Child’s Life, The Free Press ISBN 0-7432-0134-5, James Garbarino, Claire Bedard

Ottawa Parent Survey

In 2001 the City of Ottawa, Community Services Branch commissioned a cross-sectional survey to provide information about:
• Awareness of, access to, and use of services in the community
• Parenting behaviours;
• Family functioning and available support;
• School readiness;
• Health impacts on children;
• Parental behaviours;
• Neighbourhood characteristics; and
• Socio-demographic characteristics.

The following exerpt highlights the information pertaining to parenting support. Although this information is pertinent to the City of Ottawa, the message is important to all people working with parents

Parenting Support
The majority (87%) of respondents to the 2001 Ottawa Parenting Survey reported that when it comes to parenting information, they are getting the support they need most (5 0%) or all of the time (37%). However, it is clear that some parents feel they need more support. Parents who indicate they sometimes, hardly ever, or never get the sup-port they need are those who:

• have children two years of age or older (35%);
• speak a language other than English or French in their home (23%);
• have a large or extended family (23%);
• are single parents(2l%);
• have a household income of less than $25,000 (25%);
• have only an elementary or high school education (mother= l8%; father=l8%).

When asked about their preferred information source for parenting advice if the right information was made avail-able. In order of preference, the following sources are those that parents report they would very likely use.

The 2001 City of Ottawa Parenting Survey provided a picture of parenting practices as they relate to healthy child development. The 1,205 households who responded to the survey were spread across the City geographically, and had an income and education distribution slightly higher than that of the rest of the City. Two-parent and single-parent households were included, as were households where a language other than English or French was spo-ken in the home. Most young children in the survey lived in today’s typical small household with two parents, either as an only child or with one sibling, with parents in their 30s. The Parenting Survey results can therefore be reasonably indicative of common parenting practices in Ottawa.

It was encouraging to find that parents in all households report interacting positively with their young children, prais-ing them, and talking and playing with them many times a day. Although parents report reading to their children, chil-dren are less frequently asked to read or tell a story to their parents, and almost half of the surveyed families never use the library. Of those parents who do take their children to the library, those with children aged 4 or 5 are most likely to go.

More than half of the children in the survey are involved in some kind of early childhood program such as a nursery school, playgroup, or recreation activity such as swimming. Programs that involve primarily physical activity are less popular Parents with higher incomes and education are more likely to engage their child in a pre-school program. About a fifth of parent respondents face obstacles such as cost or transportation in accessing programs for their chil-dren.

Family and friends are the chief source of advice and sup-port for parents. The majority of parents felt they were getting the parenting information they needed. Not surpris-ingly, those that feel less supported are more likely to be single parents, speak a language other than English or French, or have lower household incomes and less educa-tion. Interestingly, parents rated their doctor’s office or the Internet or schools as the top three places they would most likely seek parenting information. Parent Resource Cen-tres or Community Centres were eighth and ninth on a list often sources of parenting information.

Literacy, Parenting…the Relationship between the two…

What exactly is literacy?  Do we really understand the concept of literacy beyond the common definition of reading and writing?  How do parents really contribute to the goal of attaining literacy and does literacy really have anything to do with parenting?  The answers may be simple to some but a stretch for others – literacy is everywhere and is ongoing as is the relationship parents/caregivers have with their children. 

John Daniel O’Leary in his book Creating a Love of Reading quotes the words of Maria Campbell, ACHIMOONA (page 4):

“In my language, which is Cree, the mind is called MOM TUNE AY CHI KUN; MOM TUNE AY CHI KUN is the sacred place inside each one of us where no one else can go.  It is in this place that each of us can dream, imagine, fantasize, create and, yes, even talk to the grandfathers and grandmothers.

The thoughts and images that come from this place are called MOM TUNE AY CHI KUNA which means wisdom and they can be given to others in stories, songs, dances and art.”

Incredible words of wisdom and a true gift to all parents  – a place to start from, a place to grow from, a place from which to stay connected to children.

What does all this mean in relation to parenting and literacy…we know that parents are models for their children – good and bad, parents are their children’s first teachers but as any parent knows the education process for parenting is ever evolving.   It is also well documented that strong secure relationships create a solid base to grow from.

Reading to your children at a young age, even prior to birth, enhances the chances of children being successful in areas of reading writing and numeracy. (SOURCE).  What about the parent who cannot read or write, and who has struggled with the guilt of not being ‘a good enough parent’ because this skill was not present?  We can only imagine how as a parent your self-esteem would be affected if you had the desire to connect with your child through a book and was not able to. Or worse yet you felt you needed to hide your lack of literacy skills from your child.  Even the honesty level of your relationship would be in jeopardy.  For this reason alone, it is important to expand the definition of literacy to all aspects of interaction.   This is not to say that encouraging knowledge and skill building in the areas of reading and writing is not important…it is but we need to look at the whole picture and ‘start where the person is at’.

Never should a person be left feeling less than for trying.  The concept of measuring up to other parents creates an atmosphere of competition rather than cooperation and support.

The result can be very detrimental – limiting a desire to grow and flourish as an individual and possibly causing the parent even more guilt and embarrassment about their lack of literacy skills.

Parents need to believe that they are crucial to their children and children need to believe that they are crucial to their parents.  At home children see how literacy skills are used for managing everyday domestic tasks such as taking phone messages, making shopping lists, playing games, following recipes, paying bills. 

Perhaps we need to look at what we are doing well, build on that and then add.  If a parent were blind, would that parent be less of a parent.  The gift of parenting is the capacity to adapt based on the limitations you are faced with.  The challenge is to expand the concept of literacy, build on what we know to be important skills for success all the while maintaining the core of the relationship.

Sue Monk Kidd in her book ‘The Secret Life of Bees’ states that ‘there are thirty-two names for love in one of the Eskimo languages…and we have this one.  We are so limited’ (pg 140).  Imagine a society with thirty-two names for literacy!

A list of wonders to warm your heart and lift your spirits
By Joann Davis

1. The feel of grass tickling your toes.
2. Coming home.
3. Singing in the shower.
4. Spotting a firefly in summer.
5. Dancing until dawn.
6. Catching raindrops with your tongue.
7. Holding a baby kitten.
8. Running into an old friend.
9. Reading a love letter.
10. Writing a love letter.
11. Walking down a country
12. Finding the perfect gift for someone you love.
13. Turning on the radio and hearing “our song.”
14. The smell of fresh-baked bread.
15. Hearing the sound of the key in the lock so you can go to sleep after waiting up.
16. Seeing a splash of color in the sky at sunset.
17. A sleeping baby.
18. The chatter of a babbling brook.
19. Holding hands.
20. Collecting seashells.
21. Lunching with a friend.
22. Taking a nap.
23. Counting a baby’s toes.
24. The smell of morning coffee.
25. Snuggling on a cold night.
26. Finding old photos in the attic.
27. Climbing into a bed with clean sheets. road.
28. Eating vegetables from your own garden.
29. Scoring the winning run.
30. Listening to the voices of a children’s choir.
31. Daydreaming.
32. The fresh morning dew on the grass.
33. Belly laughing.
34. Smelling flowers in bloom.
35. Finding peace of mind.


Grandparents raising grandkids need help
(as reported December, 2003 – CBC)

Grandparents raising grandchildren on their own should get state support for their work, says a group championing the work of grandparents.

The plea follows a Statistics Canada report released Tuesday that says thousands of Canadian grandparents are spending their retirement years raising their grandchildren.

“This is what we’ve been seeing all along,” Carol Weaver, co-ordinator of Grandparenting Again, told CBC News Online Tuesday. She urged that grandparents raising children should get state support, as foster parents do.

‘Grandparents are not getting the support they need to be doing this,” Weaver said. “If a government agency were caring for these children, they would get everything. As it stands, they are getting little support and sometimes no benefits.

“Childrens Aid in Toronto and Hamilton are actively seeking kinship care benefits. Some grandparents have up to five grandchildren to care for.”
In 2001, 56,700 grandparents, or one per cent of all grandparents, lived with their grandchildren without either of the childrens’ parents. These “skip-generation households” are made up of grandchildren and grandparents, with no middle generation.

The census shows 56,700 children in Canada live with their grandparents. Of those, 25,200 were aged 14 or under. Two-thirds of the grandparents are women, and 46 per cent of grandparents raising grandchildren are retired.

According to the survey, 65 per cent of grandparents living in the “skip-generation” households are financially responsible for the household.
Two-thirds of the grandparents in the skip-generation homes are women and less than half (46 per cent) are retired.

Across Canada, some 5.7 million people are grandparents. On average, each grandparent had 4.7 grandchildren.

The information is based on the 2001 Census and the 2001 General Social Survey.

Balancing Work and Family

The Work and Family Unit, Saskatchewan Labour, has a mandate to assist Saskatchewan employers and employees to create more family-friendly workplaces.

It often seems that there is considerable understanding of how a workplace that is not family-friendly can impact on employees who have family responsibilities

While we see reference in the media to studies that report high work-family stress and fatigue on the part of employees, it seems that the media and policy makers pay less attention to how the experience of parents in the workplace affects their children.

As a means of focusing on how work can affect children and family life, it is useful to focus on 1220 full time employees from Saskatchewan (all of which have at least one child age five or less).

This is what they said about how their work affects their home life:
• 57% feel emotionally drained when they get home from work
• 43% feel used up at the end of the day
• 30% feel that the demands of work make it difficult to relax when at home
• 72% feel they never have enough time for themselves
• 51% feel work has a negative impact on their relationships with their children
• 56% feel their work makes it hard to be the kind of parent they want to be.

When we reflect on these statistics it is useful to ask – how, if you were a three year old, you would feel about having parents who felt this way?
Workplaces that are family-friendly are much less likely to have employees who feel as reported above.

Family-friendly workplaces also make it easier for lone-parents and lower-waged employers to stay in the labour force (since you have key things like paid days to care for ill children).

As was discussed at the Child-Friendly Saskatoon Dinner in June 2003, it is important that those who advocate on behalf of children take up the cause of ‘family-friendly’ workplaces.

Family-friendly workplaces are child friendly!

Telling It Like It Is
Realities of parenting in poverty. Saskatoon, 2001

Published by:
Prairie Women’s Health Centre of Excellence
56 The Promenade
Winnipeg, MB R3B 3H9
Telephone 204.982.6630
[email protected]

To purchase a copy of this insightful report, please call 306.966.7939.
‘This book came out of a project funded by the Prairies Women’s Health Centre of excellence. The project brought together 15 low-income mothers of preschool aged children, who had taken part in programs like collective kitchens and parenting groups. These groups had helped them overcome their feelings of isolation, learn how to work together, and develop better coping skills. The purpose was to move beyond coping with the conditions that affect low-income families’ health to changing these conditions.’



Bev Digout
306, 506 25th Street East
Saskatoon, Sk.  S7K 4A7
306.934.2087 Fax
[email protected]

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“What do you see yourself doing three years from now?” It’s the kind of question one might ponder over a glass of wine by the fire on a long winter’s night. But, if it’s a good question, why save it only for dark and melancholy moments?
A friend and colleague often opens her conversations with just this question. The result? An exchange that goes deep fast.


Where and how do you start your exchanges with others? And, how often do you get past the surface veneer of polite conversation to a more meaningful dialogue?
Susan Scott, author of Fierce Conversations, believes that we can create more meaningful lives, one conversation at a time. She observes, “If you want to transform the relationship, you have to have the conversation.

When the conversation is real, the change occurs before the conversation is over.”
What will you ask about today? How closely will you listen to the answer?
“Speak and listen as if this is the most important conversation you will ever have with this person. It could be. Participate as if it matters. It does.” - Susan Scott

For more on quality conversations, see this article describing the seven principles of Fierce Conversations:
From the e-zine, ‘PAUSE ‘. Copyright 2004 Patricia Katz,
Optimus Consulting.
(877) 728-5289 or

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