As Mike Dietze's five-year-old son entered preschool last year, he started to notice the challenge parents had in dealing with their children. Not that the kids were "bad," says Dietze, but that we were just dealing with the general challenges of parenthood.
"I realized that we are all going through the same issues in one way or another," says Dietze. "In talking to other parents I found that some had great ideas and had things that were working, while others were at their wits end and didn't know what to do. However, no one was talking to one another about it, sharing ideas on what did and didn't work with their children. I also felt that I knew most parents only by the names of their children instead of their actual names. – 'Hey there Michael's dad!'"
This summer Dietze took a leadership course with Landmark Education, and was challenged to take on a community project. That's when the idea hit him that through community support parents could empower one another to raise happier, healthier families.
"Parents need a place to go to share ideas and to hear new ones," says Dietze. "A place to get to know each other and to rely on one another. We are all in this together. If my son acts out at home, and I don't know how to deal with it, then he takes that back to school and it affects the other kids, and then they take the behavior home and so on. So it really does take a village to raise a child, and that's why I started the group."
"It Takes a Village" kicks off with a family ice cream social on Sunday from 4-6 p.m. at the Clark Rec Center cafeteria. Ice cream will be provided by Colonia's Dairy Maid.
The group will meet once a month on the first Tuesday of the month from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., starting Oct. 2. The meetings will start with an open discussion, then a speaker on a specific topic, followed by an open discussion at the end. The group is open to all Clark parents of children ages 4 to 7, although if someone from another town wants to join they can. Dietze also plans to set up a buddy system so parents can stay in contact in between meetings to talk about what's working and what's not.
For more information, reach out to Dietze at ClarkParentsGroup@gmail.com.