Positive Parenting

Healthy children and healthy communities begin with healthy, empowered, and supported families.

Lead4Tomorrow’s Family Hui initiative is a bi-generational program to support, encourage, and empower families to meet the challenges of raising children. Hui (hoo’ee) is a Hawaiian word for a cooperative group working together for a shared purpose. Hui are safe places where participants can increase their resilience—and the resilience of their children—and learn and practice positive parenting. Hui participants freely discuss and strategize about a diversity of topics—ranging from how to potty-train to coping with postpartum depression or domestic violence. At any given time there are approximately 20 active Lead4Tomorrow Family Hui in multiple regions in California and, more recently, also in Minnesota, New Mexico, Oregon and Texas. Each hui aims to engage a group of six to eight families and is initially active for three months. Many hui participants continue to meet — sometimes for many years — providing both parents and children with support, community, resources and lifelong friendships.

Group of people sitting at a table showing their certificates of acheivement

Hui helps parents:

  • Nurture their children more effectively
  • View and empower themselves as leaders in their families
  • Discover their potential as advocates for their children and families
  • Engage in developing healthy and resilient families and supportive communities

Hui are community-based and may meet at a local partner organization, neighborhood common space, or Peer Leader’s home. Each hui is customized to the needs, dynamics, and characteristics of the parents, families, and community being served. When beginning a hui, program coordinators take into account factors including, but not limited to: participants’ primary language, culturally relevant meeting venues, and community strengths, challenges, traumas, and opportunities for leadership growth.

Parents and children working on projects at a table

Training in positive parenting is a central component of the first 12 weeks of a hui. Our Bloom 2.0 positive parenting curriculum focuses on supporting children’s healthy development during the particularly crucial years between zero and five years of age when, research shows, 85% of brain development occurs. Training is interactive, incorporating the unique culture and experience of each participant. For example, one parent described the profound impact of taking time to explore the way she was raised in an environment where corporal punishment was the norm (and was also the norm for the way her father was raised). Examining the traumatic impact this form of discipline had on her and her father has guided her towards alternative methods of discipline to break this cycle of family violence. Key elements of our training include:

  • Trauma-informed, resilience-focused parenting curriculum
  • Developing an enhanced understanding of the ages and stages of child development in the first five years of life
  • Resilience-building activities to enhance parent, child, and family resilience
  • Connection to other parents and services to build a strong support community
  • Leadership training for peer facilitators and opportunities for parents to recognize their role as leaders in their families.

 

Research has demonstrated the importance of peer led programs for building trust and community. Thus, each hui is guided by two Peer Leaders. Lead4Tomorrow’s Family Hui Coordinators—many of whom are former Family Hui participants—train Peer Leaders and support them through the initial 12 weeks of hui programming. Lead4Tomorrow provides all materials for hui meetings and stipends for peer leaders and childcare. We also conduct pre- and post-participation assessments as one measure of the program’s impact.

As community-based and parent-led initiatives, hui have the flexibility to meet the unique needs of any culture or community. A hui can be stand-alone, or a component of a larger program, as exemplified by our East African Initiative, where parents of students at Family Hui preschools in Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda participate in hui to gain positive parenting knowledge and skills to align with the principles applied at the school.

How Does a Hui Begin? Meet Muzhgan Fakhri.

“I came from a land where women have to fight for their rights. If a woman wants to study, she has to fight with society to reach her goals. I came from a country that being born as a girl is not good news for her parents…”

Muzhgan came to the USA from Afghanistan in 2016 with her family, including three children ages seven, six, and two years old. “I came from a land where women have to fight for their rights. If a woman wants to study, she has to fight with society to reach her goals. I came from a country that being born as a girl is not good news for her parents…”

Muzhgan was in second grade when the Taliban Regime took control of the Afghan government. During their five years of rule girls and women were not permitted education or the right to work. Muzhgan describes this as a dark time for her family. “I loved studying. I loved to go school with my brothers.” Recognizing her interest in education, her parents sent her to another province of Afghanistan with extended family where there was a “hidden girls school”. “I continued my school up to grade six and came back to Kabul when the Taliban Regime was gone. I should mention that I was also working at carpet weaving from the age of 7 years old and I supported my family during financial hardship. I weaved more than 100 of carpets with my small brothers until I graduated from university.” Muzhgan went on to earn her degree in Law and Political Science despite “many challenges and hardships.”

After graduation, Muzhgan worked extensively in the fields of women’s rights and domestic violence response. However, as a woman cooperating with the US government, Afghanistan was not a safe place for her and her family. Therefore, she made the difficult decision to leave her homeland and come to the USA. “As you know, being a refugee has it is own difficulties. New country, new people, new culture, new language…” In spite of these challenges, Muzhgan started work as a translator for Afghan women refugees and secured a license to open a home daycare in 2017. During this time, she belonged to an online group of Afghan women. “In this group, we all discussed our lives, how to cook, how to treat our sick kids, and other women-related topics.” This group is where Muzhgan met a family Hui Leader in San Diego who connected her with Lead4Tomorrow. With the support of Lead4Tomorrow, Muzhgan began a local Family Hui group for Afghan women. This hui was a safe space for women to affirm the importance of self-care and to learn to raise children in a “positive and peaceful way”. Participants mentioned the role of the hui in helping with depression and the isolation of parenting as a new immigrant. Many shared that belonging to a hui was valuable as they faced all kinds of life challenges. Inspired by her experience, Muzhgan became a family Hui Coordinator and has gone on to help launch hui groups locally and in other regions of California.

Martha’s Story 

Martha is a former Program Coordinator for Family Hui, working with families and children ages 0-5. Martha began her involvement with Lead4Tomorrow as a Family Hui participant.

“I discovered Family Hui when I took by babies to story time at the Rise office in Winters. Family Hui taught me about the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences on parents and children and how to work to overcome them. I was born in Mexico and came to the United States when I was ten years old. My father was often absent, but when he was home, he was a strict macho figure. At times, I felt frightened of him. Our culture expected women to obey men and to not work outside the home. When I got married, my husband initially held similar beliefs. But with confidence and information I gained through Family Hui, I helped him gradually change his mindset. He allowed me to continue my college education and his trust pushed me to strive harder in school to show him women have the potential to succeed outside the four walls of our home.”

“Family Hui helped us talk about our childhoods and we came to an agreement that we didn’t want to repeat the negative parenting patterns we experienced. Between my school and his long work hours, it was not easy to break those patterns. But over time, I began to lead us in practicing positive parenting techniques that have improved our whole family’s mental and physical well-being. Being part of a Hui helped me value myself as a woman, mother, wife, and leader. It gave me the confidence to go to work and put an end to negative cycles in our family.”

“Parenting is not easy. I am grateful to be part of bringing trauma-informed parenting to our community. I’m just one person, but I’m part of a larger group of parents striving to create caring families and supportive communities.”

 

“Being part of a Hui helped me value myself as a woman, mother, wife, and leader. It gave me the confidence to go to work and put an end to negative cycles in our family.”