Parenting Group Has Become Extended Family
Two members talk about their long-time group, and the parents and children meet for a discussion
“We’re the ‘Birth To Three to Infinity’ group,” Dennis McGrath proclaims. He’s talking about the Infants group he and his wife joined nearly 20 years ago.
Of the group’s families who went through then-Birth To Three’s Incredible INFANTs® curriculum, five have remained close. “Everyone got along from the get go. It just clicked,” Dennis remembers. “We (gained) support in the day-to-day experience of raising children.”
Mary Parthemer, one of the other parents in the group, says, “We didn’t have extended family here. I signed up before my daughter, Elena, was born.”
Dennis says, “We thought that if we had (Parenting Now!), it would be good, that we would pick up new parenting skills. We never dreamed it would lead us to where we are today: one big extended family.”
Mary adds, “It was the connection, the opportunity to get support. I had no clue what the program was. I had no thought that I would end up with lifelong friends. The group provided a lot more skill and ability. I learned that it was important to be connected, to check what’s normal….(Parenting Now!) suggested we continue meeting after the group ended. My kids are real connected to their (Parenting Now!) family.”
Other groups have continued to meet, too, seeing each other through the milestones of life. One parent in such a group calls it her “Birth To Forever” group!
The “Infinity” Group gathered recently and discussed the meaning of the group in their lives.
What is it about our group that keeps us together?
Cathy McGrath – Common values, we really like each other and get along well. Hope that kids will continue being part of each others’ lives.
David Russo – Always have someone to look up to, gives me inspiration.
Austin Anderson – Remembered when he was younger he questioned why we still got together… Now, looking back…A large group of folks that have known me since I was born and support me, exciting to see and hear what we all do and how we grow.
Alex Parthemer – It’s cool, a group of good friends that don’t hang out outside of (our group), but that come together several times a year and have a good time.
Wendy Russo – Remembers the first time we all met and really liked everyone in the group. Critical piece was having the fathers so involved.
Kelly McGrath – It’s fun to see how all the kids have grown, including herself. Support from all the parents have kept us together.
Jeff Kline – Liked the informal times we got together, as much if not more, than the formal meetings. Enjoyed how all the kids bonded and stayed together. Hopes the kids will carry on the group. Sees the group experience influencing the kids in their parenting.
Linda Zang Anderson – We liked each other, all had the same political perspective. The group offers amazing support in good times and in bad. Sharing life’s highs and lows.
Elena Parthemer – Enjoys the tradition of our group getting together, and traditions that we have established – winter trip, Easter get together, summer camping, Christmas cookie decorating and gift exchange. These traditions have helped people be comfortable with each other.
Karen Kline – We are our own “little village” and the kids were the center. Learned normalcy. Birth To Forever.
Mason Kline – The group is a constant amongst a myriad of changes around us. It’s a reference point.
Mike Russo – Great way to share parenting experiences and our individual differences. We went through similar challenges at the same time. The group is unique among all his other group experiences, work or otherwise.
Monica Anderson – The group is constant and comforting, never any drama! Do same fun things every year.
Evan Kline – Did not see himself “coming into the group” as a sibling. The group was always there, which is good.
Mary Parthemer – The group offers support for parenting challenges through time, not just from birth to three but also now as our kids are emerging adults. Hopefully, we all learn from our group.
Dennis McGrath – It’s a large extended family, some of us have become best friends and the closeness we feel with all the kids not just our own.