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The Parent Project Podcast: Brutal Honesty Builds Empathy in Parenting 

June 18, 2024

Kate Nash, our lead facilitator and program coordinator, hosted a podcast series for The Circle Education about parenting. For the Parent Project Podcast, Kate sat in circle with new and seasoned parents, as well as grandparents to talk about one of the most important but also hardest jobs in the world: parenting.  

Because let’s be honest: every parent makes mistakes and struggles. Kate, mom of three teenagers, is the first to admit that parenting is not easy. Facilitating the Circle Education’s podcast series for parents, helped her to reflect on her own parenting and to make positive changes in her practices. “The other participants offered me compassion and a deeper insight into my actions in relationship to my children. Talking about my struggles left me feeling relieved. It was a stepping stone to change in my family.”

While she thought her role in the circle was to facilitate, little did Kate realize how it would impact her own experience. “Being in this circle with other parents provided me with a place to share my experiences and to be heard. When we recorded the podcast, I went through a difficult time in my parenting life. I was struggling with my youngest who has ADHD and who would have violent outbursts. It was difficult for me to share this. I felt a great amount of shame, but talking to other parents in the circle lessened my burden. As my childhood hero Mr. Rogers used to say: when it’s mentionable, it becomes manageable.”

Fifteen local parents – young parents, experienced parents and grandparents – participated in the podcast. “We were all very different: different ages, stages of lives, parenting styles, traditional and modern families,” Kate continues. “I was surprised by how open and genuine participants were in this podcast. That is the nature of the circle; there is a lot of integrity, and that is why circle sessions are so important. We need spaces for parents to talk. If you’re struggling, reach out to someone, and find people to talk to. If you are able to talk about your struggles, this action alone can change the situation.”

In the podcast series, parents talk about important topics in daily family life. How they use agreements as a tool to navigate the needs and desires of everyone in the family. How they role model empathy with their kids. How they set boundaries. What positive communication looks like to them. How everyone in a family can learn to respect each other.

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In the nine episodes, the parents didn’t hold back. “We were vulnerably honest, if not brutal. As someone said, ‘we love our children, but we don’t always like them’. We all can relate to that. Parenting is a 24-hour job, with successes and failures. It is comforting to know that you are not alone in that. It helps us feel empathy for the challenges of being a parent.” 

Circle sessions are a key feature at The Circle Education. When our facilitators meet with youth, they gather in a circle. In a circle, everyone is equal, able to look one another in the eyes and listen fully. “During these sessions with youth, we discuss important topics like boundaries, consent, empathy and respect. Through our in- and afterschool programs, we give children and youth the tools to communicate, to advocate for themselves and to build healthy relationships with themselves and others.”

The podcast series hopes to contribute to a bigger change and impact in our communities. “That’s why we started to think beyond our usual interest groups, being children and youth. All participants of our programs live with parents and caregivers. We wanted them to experience a circle session as well. Unfortunately, we don’t have the funds and resources to offer adult programs and that’s how the idea of the podcast emerged. Through this podcast, we can talk about important topics for parents and reach parents and caregivers on the Gulf Islands and far beyond.”

With this podcast, in which parents talk about the great things about parenting as well as the hard parts, The Circle Education wants parents to be able to feel validated for the work they do and perhaps offer seeds of insights from our different experiences. “Our tagline is “empowering youth for a better tomorrow”.  We hope that this podcast helps parents to feel stronger in their roles towards achieving this.”

You can listen to the Parent Project podcast here

Thank you to our sponsor:
Island Savings, A Division of First West Credit Union: www.islandsavings.ca

Thank you to the Salt Spring Foundation for developing funds for this project.

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