a difference together
Examiner, December 1995
Parents discover their kids can do it
By Donna Danyluk
Karen Morin is making a difference in the lives of
Morin is one of 30 Oro parents who participated
in the Making the Difference
Together program through the Simcoe
County District School Board.
“I came because I'm thirsty for knowledge,” said
Morin, mother of six-year-old twins, Rachael and Michelle and four-year-old
For 10 weeks the parents gathered in the community
room of Shanty Bay Public School to hone their parenting skills and learn
new methods to help build their children's self-esteem.
“I wanted to try some new things. Sometimes
parents get stale with using the same old methods all the time,” said Morin.
“The course also reaffirmed some of the things I
am doing at home. I learned that I’m not as bad of a parent as I
think I am at times.”
What Morin didn’t expect to learn was more about
herself. She quickly discovered that in order to understand her children’s
behavior she had to take a good look at her own.
“I learned a lot about myself. That can be
scary at times,” she said.
Parents attending the course had many different
reasons for making the trek to Shanty Bay.
“Some parents come because they are in crisis and
some come to affirm the good parenting skills they are already using,”
said Joanne McFarland,
coordinator of the Making the Difference Together program.
“And some come because they want to choose a different
way of parenting.
“But all parents come because they care very much
about their kids. They want to be the best parents they can be and
support their children’s journey to success, not just in learning but in
Wayne Halyn is one of those parents.
He wants to equip his daughter Alyra for life by
developing her self-esteem. As a single parent he is on a quest to
learn as much as he can about positive parenting. The Making the
Difference Together course is just one stop on that journey.
“One of the things I’ve learned is how poisonous
a negative self-esteem can be,” said Halyn.
“This course gives you the tools to identify it,
deal with it, and get rid of it.”
Halyn says both he and his daughter are laughing
together more during situations which, prior to this course, would have
been a source of conflict.
Monica Valleau says the course has brought a sense
of calm to her home.
“I seem to be talking differently to the kids and
I have more patience,” said Valleau, mother of Alex, 7, and Stephanie,
“I don’t yell as much as I used to. I try
to stay calm and that’s difficult for me because I’m like a volcano, even
a little thing can set me off.”
Like Morin, Valleau came to the course to become
a better parent and thanks to the techniques learned at the course she’s
“I think I’m doing that too,” said Morin.
“And I feel good about it.”
The workshop is financially supported by the Kiwanis
Club of Barrie and the Barrie Rotary Club.