There are courses out there for everything these days and whilst we at MMM are firm believers of educating ourselves to the best of our resources, it does get a bit overkill sometimes. However, when we came across this course, run by an inspiring Mama and Entrepreneur Shaheen Merali, we were intrigued. Coupled with the glowing reviews it had received from numerous friends and colleagues, we decided to bite the bullet and take the plunge as we had been told it would change our life. And boy did it.
What is it?
This six week course is designed to teach you five tools which will help you to connect with your child. Hand in Hand parenting was originally founded by Patty Wipfler, an inspiring lady who has dedicated her life to training parents in how to emotionally understand their child whilst also believing in the need for parents to be supported on the crazy journey that raising children is. The course can be taken in person or remotely*.
The remote course consists of three key components:
Online classroom and material
The online classroom contains a plethora of resources; videos from Patty herself which explain the tools to be utilised as well as booklets of written information focusing on each tool and much more.
Six coaching calls – led by a certified Hand in Hand Instructor
Each week you are expected to review the material and implement the tool with your own child before reporting back on a group call (maximum of 6 people). The group calls occur every week for the duration of the six week course and usually lasts up to an hour and a half for a full class of six.
Access to a community of like minded parents following the principles learnt
After signing up to the course you will be added to a network of parents who have completed the course and are using these tools in day to day life. You will also be encouraged to develop a ‘listening partnership’ with someone from the course or network in order to allow you to work on yourself in order to prevent any of your own issues from impacting your parenting.
The in person course essentially combines the online classroom material and the coaching calls and this forms the basis of an in person teaching session (with paper handouts) with some play thrown in.
How much does it cost?
£265 for one £440 for if a couple signs up together (yes, there is a specific starter course for Dads too!)
What does it teach?
The Hand in Hand approach focuses on ‘listening’ tools and the use of listening in multiple ways to engage with your child. The knowledge on this course covers some really important questions which we as parents often find ourselves asking including:- What drives your child’s behaviour? Why children get upset and how to help them, and how to elicit the natural cooperation, flexibility and empathy of a child? However, that isn’t all it teaches, one of the key focuses of this course requires you to dig deep and work on yourself and learn how to support yourself emotionally when you are doing the hard work of parenting (and don’t sell yourself short, it is hard work).
Is it worth it?
Speaking from personal experience, this course can change your life if you truly believe in the principles it teaches. The concepts are really thought provoking and they challenge the disciplinarian method of parenting. We found that everything we learnt on this course rang true and whilst it seemed like implementing the tools in our day to day life would be difficult (not using bargaining or what effectively is a threat ‘stop throwing your food on the floor or I’ll take it away’) actually ended up being a lot easier. In fact, to our surprise we saw co-operation flourish and honestly felt like as parents we were doing the best we could. More than that, this course taught us a lot about ourselves. It really requires you to reflect on your past and get into those skeletons in your closet, thinking about why you parent the way you do and why you react in a way when something irks you and this is intensely powerful. Really taking the time to delve into your own needs is something as mothers (and fathers) we all really can benefit from and this is what makes this course stand out from so many others out there. It’s not just about your children, it’s about you too.
The price may be considered steep, but it’s comparable to other similar parenting courses out there (e.g. The Parent Space). Payment plans and reduced rates are also available depending on circumstances, so get in touch if you are interested. Our take on it – if you have a thirst for parenting knowledge or are feeling uninspired and struggling and want to try something different, it is definitely worth a shot. The course not only broadens your understanding of your child, but also gives you the opportunity to work with them to connect with them deeply. It’s not for the faint hearted and if you’re going to sign up, we would say you need to put in the work, read the material and try the techniques on your child/ren before the call in order to really make the most of the time you have with the instructor. Write down any questions, concerns, comments you have during the week as you reflect and go back to these during the call. Really invest yourself in the course and inshAllah you will see the fruits of your labour.
How do I sign up?
*Currently, only the remote course is running due to the Pandemic.