29 Years of Hand in Hand Parenting Support for Parents

For: Hand in Hand Parenting
Palo Alto, CA
Organizer: Patty Wipfler, Noelani Pearl Hunt, and Paul Russell
of $29,000 goal
100% Complete
Raised by 284 donors

The Story

"This Hand and Hand learning experience was transformative for me to become a more empathetic parent who knows how to navigate the ups and downs of a young child.  I highly recommend Hand in Hand Parenting to all parents. It will change your lives for the better!"

~A mother in San Francisco, CA 

Join us in changing the world!  

Your generous contribution will impact 80,000 families in 2018! 

It will also:

  • Develop Programs in Early Intervention and Trauma Recovery
  • Strengthening Family Support in Limited-Resource Communities
  • Increase Outreach to Mental Health and Social Service Professionals
  • Build Community Through Local In-Person Meet-Ups

Help share simple, practical tools with the world!  Enable siblings to get along, anxieties to ease, aggression to subside, sleep to return, and children to learn.   

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on April 26, 2018


Posted on April 26, 2018

Thank you for your thoughtful generosity. Thanks to you we can support moments of realisation like the one in todays story, below, and help guide the change that follows:

"It happened about two years ago, when I was fairly new to Hand in Hand Parenting.    

We were in a toy store and my son, who was three at that time, knew the rule: he was allowed to choose only one toy at the time. 

He looked carefully around him, taking his time and, when he felt ready, he made a decision: He chose a stegosaurus, although he would have liked the triceratops too, he made that crystal clear.    

We left with the stegosaurus. 

The day continued smoothly, with a play in the park, a stop at our favorite ice-cream shop and us holding hands and simply enjoying being together.
And then, out of nowhere, a storm arrived. “I want to go back! Back to the store! I want the triceratops! They can have the stegosaurus back! I do not want it anymore!” 

When I tried to explain that we could not return a toy he had already played with, things only got worse. He kept crying more and more, then he started screaming and stomping his feet. I kept calm in the beginning, but soon after that, I became flooded with frustration at my own inability to “soothe” him, my own incompetence, as I perceived it at the time.    

It brought me to the edge, and my own, so-called, “coping strategy” kicked in. I raised my voice at my son, yelling and hurrying him into the car.

I felt terrible afterwards so, just as soon as we arrived home, I tried a clarification. I am sorry that I yelled earlier, I said. I just want you to know that it was wrong of me to do that and that it is not your fault. 

I looked him straight in the eyes.

“No problem, mommy,” he answered. “Everybody makes mistakes sometimes, even Thomas the Tank Engine!”    

Although I was not an engine, I accepted his explanation and attempted to leave the room.

His little voice followed me. 

“Only, the moon is upset, mommy. And the stars. And the sun will be, too, in the morning.” 

Argh! So the entire Universe was upset with me? 

That was the moment I decided that I really needed to get my act together. To figure out what was stopping me being the parent I wanted to be.  

So here are some of the things that I have managed to learn here, at Hand in Hand Parenting, in my attempt to become a better, and more educated, parent:

Crying is not a parental failure, but rather a part of a recovery process: our children cry in order to shed some hurt feelings. 

Often, children choose moments of extra-connection, happy times that help them feel safe and close to us, as opportunities to express old feelings of upset. All a child needs in those times, which Hand in Hand calls the “spoiled outing phenomenon,” is the caring and reassuring presence of an adult who listen. 

When the child cries, his limbic system, the social and emotional center of his mind, is flooded with feelings and unable to coordinate communication between all parts of the brain. His prefrontal cortex, the seat of reasoning, stops working properly and as a result, the child cannot think. Giving advice and reasoning with the child at this time, like I tried to do, is not effective. 

The child is busy doing the work of recovery and cannot process the information offered by the adult. 

“When you listen to your child’s upset, his feelings will become intense, last awhile and then evaporate. His limbic system heals fastest when it has his full concentration, and yours, on this feelings. Then, feelings ejected and connection made, it rights itself” - Patty Wipfler. 

With my newfound knowledge, I can only hope that the moon, the stars and the sun himself will give me a second chance!"

Please do scroll through the past updates for all of our inspiring stories of change. And thank you for investing in this change. When you change parenting, you can change the world.  

Posted on April 25, 2018


Posted on April 25, 2018

The beautiful thing that happens with this parenting approach is that parents invest in themselves and their journey too, and in doing so learn greater insights and greater understanding about their children's behaviors.

Many times, that parent brings this same understanding to their parents, their families, their friends and their community. 

This is how Hand in Hand, and you, by giving, will #changeparenting. 

Today's story is a wonderful demonstration of connection between a mother and her son. We hope it inspires you. 

"I had the opportunity to set a limit with our oldest child, who is 7 years old, early in the day, when I needed to stop him repeatedly bugging his sister. 

He has been going through a really angry period recently, lashing out with words and physically. 

On this day, he was clearly showing that he was struggling with something. It was a huge session, and he became very violent towards me. At first I felt frustrated and that I was going through the motions with what I was saying to reassure him. I was letting him know I was there, that I wouldn't leave him, and that he was safe, but I wasn’t really feeling where he was coming from. 

And then I managed to see past the anger to the frightened little boy underneath, and to really see the fear he was trying to push down. I managed to stay really calm and warm, and eventually he cried, which he rarely does, and wanted lots of cuddles. He became very affectionate towards me.    

I felt very close to him and quite tearful myself. Just being there for him when he needed me reminded me so much of his first month of life. He had been stuck in the hospital and I couldn't be there for him.   

I had my parent support group later that evening, and decided to brave it and talk about his first few weeks. I have known for a while that I needed to go there, but I don't really like to! I cried for only the second time ever in a listening partnership.    

I know that there's so much I'm holding on to around his birth, guilt and regret, wishing I could go back and do it again, and knowing how differently I would do things if I could.    

My oldest, of all my children, seems to rub me up the wrong way the most, and I do wonder if it's at least partly because he reminds me of what I perceive as my 'failings' around the time of his birth. I'm not sure I would have ever got to the point I did that night in my Listening Partnership, if it hadn't been for the big Staylisten I'd done with my son earlier.    

I felt I was really able to feel the fear that could be underlying some of the anger he has, and that helped me to feel more compassionate towards him about the behaviours he is sometimes showing us right now.   After the support group, I felt like I was able to see much more clearly the hurt he expressed through his angry outbursts, and not get so triggered by them myself.    

I felt much more like we were in it together, that I could see past the anger, to empathise, and remember that I was dealing with a hurt little boy."     

Invest in change. When you change parenting, you change the world.

Posted on April 24, 2018


Posted on April 24, 2018

"About a year ago we were struggling with aggression and sleep issues, the kids as well as our own. I ordered the Hand in Hand Parenting booklets and devoured them immediately. Then my doula posted about a Hand in Hand class. We signed up immediately and our lives completely transformed. We still have issues, but we are on the path to healing and parenting and living in such a way that allows all of us to be more of our true selves."  

It is our pleasure to help parents find new and empowering ways to raise their families. We are almost at our target - please help us spread the word! 

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