The Incredible Years Story
A piece of paper taped to the wall listed the eight parents’ dreams for their babies.
To be healthy. To be strong. To be respectful. To be independent. To go to college. To one day start a family. To not live paycheck to paycheck. To be happy.
Those eight parents want their children to have incredible lives and they know for that to happen they must be incredible parents. That’s what drew them to The Incredible Years, an innovative parenting program launched locally by Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County.
The parents — Jessica, Erica, Raymond, Yolanda, Renata, Paulette, Nadaige and Hilcimar — are the first graduating class of The Incredible Years Parents and Babies program. They attended sessions every Wednesday at Village Academy in Delray Beach for 10 weeks.
“It’s a really good place where you can ask questions and see that you’re not alone,” said Hilcimar, the mother of 7-month-old Serena.
The Incredible Years focuses on a child’s social and emotional development with the goal of preventing behavioral problems. The program has been taught in more than 20 countries. Besides The Incredible Years Parents and Babies program, Children’s Services Council is offering The Incredible Years Toddler Series for parents of children ages 1 to 3 and will be offering The Incredible Years Preschool BASIC Series for parents of children ages 3 to 5.
Lucinda Colon, a group leader of the babies class at Village Academy, said she saw the parents grow, sharing their joy over their babies’ milestones — the first time sitting up, the first time babbling and the first time eating solid foods.
“I saw them getting more involved, more in tune with their babies,” she said.
Yolanda and Raymond already had four children, ages 7 to 11, when their little Aaliyah was born. The program was a refresher for them, but also opened their eyes to new things.
Yolanda said what stuck with her was the discussion of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) and how wrapping a baby in blankets was unsafe. She said that in her culture, parents tend to bundle up their babies.
Raymond said the class came at the perfect time. They learned that when giving Aaliyah new food, they should feed it to her for a week to see if she has any reaction. They started doing that and quickly learned 5-month-old Aaliyah is allergic to bananas.
“I had never really thought about it,” he said. “I would recommend (Incredible Years), especially if it’s your first child.”
Jessica said that when she started The Incredible Years program she was concerned her baby Jon’Darius wasn’t smiling.
Lucinda said that out of all the parents in the program, Jessica attended the most sessions and it showed. The way she interacts with Jon’Darius has changed. When he gets upset now, Jessica said she massages his back, legs and arms.
Jessica said since trying out new parenting techniques, something wonderful happened.
“He smiled,” she said.