Social Connections and Positive Discipline

My Loving Family Parents Support Program Spells Relief

Meet Triana…  She’s a modern day Mom who, like many, is on the go 24/7.  In addition to her role as the primary caregiver for her three young children, she owns and operates a food service business.  Lucky for her, she finds solace in a weekly parent support group, My Loving Parents, hosted by Family Services of the Merrimack Valley’s Family & Community Resource Center, in partnership with Catholic Charities.  She considers herself “a regular” among the group and is proud to be a part of its community.  The weekly group sessions offer her a golden opportunity to connect with other local mothers, to hone her parenting skills and, perhaps most importantly, a quiet escape from the treadmill of life.  Soft music, healthy snacks, a chance to listen and be heard, and a shared commitment to being the best parent they can be form the foundation of the ongoing support group.  “I’m so happy when I come here,” beams Triana.  This is MY special time.”  That sentiment seems to be a shared one as on any given week the house is quite full with extra chairs being pulled up to accommodate the overflow.

The parenting content in the group’s current series is based on Positive Discipline, a parenting program designed to teach young people to become responsible, respectful, and resourceful members of their communities. Based on the best-selling Positive Discipline parenting books by Dr. Jane Nelsen, the program teaches important social and life skills in a manner that is deeply respectful and encouraging for both children and adults. Parenting with Positive Discipline means being kind and firm at the same time, which is effective long-term and helps children feel a connection — a sense of belonging and significance. 


  1. Is Kind and Firm at the same time. (Respectful and encouraging) 
  2. Helps children feel a sense of Belonging and Significance. (Connection) 
  3. Is Effective Long-Term. (Punishment works short term, but has negative long-term results.) 
  4. Teaches valuable Social and Life Skillsfor good character. (Respect, concern for others, problem-solving, accountability, contribution, cooperation) 
  5. Invites children to discover how Capablethey are and to use their personal power in constructive ways. 

“I love coming here, shares Triana (pictured above).  “I learn a lot of things here – especially how to raise my children with happiness and love and peace.”  Through visual presentations and conversation, together, attendees tease out each week’s lesson.  “Many of the participants who join us don’t have any family in the area,” points out Program Coordinator Noelia Fernandez.  “Here they can find support from other moms and shares experiences.  The beauty of the group is making those connections.”  Felicita Roman is a Volunteer Facilitator for the group.  She brings to the role a health dose of compassion after several years employed in the field of domestic violence.  “It is my passion helping out with this support group and making sure that women are learning to parent well,” she offers.  She also emphasizes the importance of self-care and how she admires the curriculum’s focus on that aspect of family wellness.  “It is difficult to take care of your kids if you are not taking care of yourself.  My Loving Parents helps to increase awareness around this, as it can play a huge impact on the overall family’s well being.”

Family Services of the Merrimack Valley partners with the Department of Children and Families to provide the Family & Community Resource Center to help families raise children in healthy, stable homes. All services are free and open to all families in Essex County.  To learn more about upcoming programming or other offering at our Family & Community Resource Center, please visit their program page, or call 978-975-8800.

Services Include:

  • Assessment and family support planning.
  • Peer-to-peer support groups for youth, grandparents raising grandchildren, and “Parents Helping Parents”.
  • Life skills workshops for youth, parents and families, such as bullying prevention, financial literacy and behavior management.
  • Cultural, social, recreational, and community service activities, including holiday gatherings, bingo nights, and National Night Out.
  • Information and referral services.
  • English as a Second Language classes.



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