Yes, I want to help more families like Marie.

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Parenting on her own after leaving an abusive relationship, Marie* is determined to
break a generational cycle of abusive behaviour and protect her son, Jack, from
replicating his father’s violent habits.

Sometimes a little push is needed to set us off in the right direction. It was more of
a shove that motivated Marie to sign up for a Building Awesome Whānau course; a
scuffle at daycare involving four-year-old Jack, and another small boy who came
out slightly worse off.

When Marie saw her sister’s Facebook post promoting a Building Awesome Whānau
course, she recognised the opportunity to strengthen her parenting. “We’re a little
family, but I want to make our bond as strong as possible.”

Marie started the Building Awesome Whānau course first, and one week later joined a
Toolbox parenting course too and loved drawing from both programmes at once.
She attended these Parenting Place courses online during the nationwide alert level
4 lockdown, and the camaraderie shared with other parents was another valuable
means of support for Marie.

“We could relate. One parent talks about their struggles getting their toddler into
their carseat and we’re all nodding – ‘Oh yeah, I know what that’s like’. You realise
you’re not alone.”

Plus there was no need to arrange babysitters, not that leaving the house in level
4 was really an option anyway! “Everyone got to know Jack – he would climb onto
my knee and have a cuddle while I was on Zoom. At that stage he wasn’t great at
staying in bed!”

Marie admits she can be shy by nature, and signing up for parenting courses pushed
her out of her comfort zone. “It was a huge step, quite scary, but I knew it would be
good for me. It was also an important part of my healing process.”

Teaching around different parenting styles and terms particularly inspired Marie. “My
mum was a ‘jellyfish’, Dad was a ‘Sergeant Major’. In the stress of the separation,
I caught myself going a bit ‘jellyfish’, and I knew that wasn’t the best for Jack.”
Now, Marie explains proudly, Jack knows the boundaries and understands his
responsibilities. “He pushes at times, but that’s natural. He grizzles, but then he gets
over it as he knows the rules are there for a reason.”

Marie has a dream for her son to grow up to be a great man who knows how to treat
people well. Working through the courses has given Marie the tools she was looking
for to enhance her parenting of Jack. “Raising our kids to be the best they can be,
that’s our job as parents.”

Your support helps to empower parents like Marie, in their most important role
in life. The beauty of online courses is that inspiration, ideas and encouragement
can be delivered to parents right where they are.

“You don’t know what you don’t know. We’d talk about something in a session, I’d try
it later and find myself saying ‘Oh yeah, that works!’”

I deeply want to see thousands more parents empowered and
families strengthened, but we can’t do it without your support. Will you help us
again? If you are able to make a special gift using the enclosed donation form,
more parents like Marie will be able to receive the life-changing tools they long for.

Ngā mihi,
Dave Atkinson

P.S. Thank you so much for considering making a special gift to help parents like Marie.

*Names have been changed to protect this family’s privacy.


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As a charity, it is the time, energy and money given by thousands of New Zealanders that make the delivery of our life-changing programmes possible.

Established in 1993, Parenting Place is New Zealand’s charity for families, working to enhance the lives of families and young people in communities and schools throughout New Zealand. We do this by encouraging and strengthening parents with parenting programmes and resources that make a difference while being accessible, fun and inspiring.