First 5 Mendocino Celebrates Positive Parenting Month

Board of Supervisors Highlights the Value of Triple P to Support Positive Parenting


Contact: Townley Saye, Executive Director (707) 462-4453 |

Ukiah, CA — Every January, First 5 Mendocino uses Positive Parenting Awareness Month to educate local parents–and the organizations that support them–about the practices, programs, and services that can strengthen family relationships, increase parents’ confidence, and support children’s social, emotional, and relational health and development.

Through the championship of First 5 Mendocino, the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors adopted a proclamation sponsored by Supervisor John Haschak highlighting the value of positive parenting programs. The proclamation aligned the Board’s priorities with the California State Association of Counties’ 2023 priorities in enhancing and advocating for prevention services in early childhood that advance whole child and family approaches such as the Positive Parenting Program (Triple P).

Given the enormous influence of parenting during the first five years of a child’s life when 90 percent of brain development occurs, First 5 Mendocino works in partnership with community organizations to connect parents of young children with free and low-cost resources such as classes, information, and practical support (like diapers or help getting a car seat installed).

For more than 13 years, First 5 Mendocino also has collaborated with local family resource centers, North Coast Opportunities’ Early Head Start and Head Start programs, and Mendocino County’s Family and Children Services and their Behavioral Health and Rehabilitation Services to provide Triple P (classes and other support) in English and Spanish countywide, serving approximately 1,000 parents and children of diverse backgrounds in Mendocino County every year.

First 5 Mendocino Executive Director, Townley Saye, explained, “Parenting is hard and it’s normal to feel like you don’t have all the answers. If you’re connecting with your child and supporting their needs, you’re doing great, even if it doesn’t look like your neighbor’s version of parenting. But if you’re struggling or feeling uncertain, it’s okay–actually really smart–to ask for help. Sometimes the people you know and love don’t have all the answers. That’s where we come in.”

It is well documented that children who experience safe, stable, and nurturing relationships and environments learn empathy, impulse control, anger management, communication, and problem-solving skills that help protect against interpersonal, family, and community violence. And positive parenting helps prevent, buffer, and foster healing from adverse childhood experiences such as abuse, neglect, and household challenges.

Even under the best of circumstances, parenting can be difficult, but the COVID-19 pandemic, climate-related crises, and racial injustices have exacerbated economic insecurity, mental health challenges, domestic violence, discrimination, and other trauma experienced by many families, particularly Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, and other families of color that already experience inequities rooted in structural racism, according to the county proclamation.

This is where Triple P helps parents and caregivers by providing an evidence-based toolkit of proven strategies such as quality time, giving affection, and descriptive praise that strengthen family relationships, promote children’s development, and prevent or manage common parenting challenges.

Saye said, “Even though a huge percentage of people graduating from high school go on to become parents, we do not provide education about childhood development, so it’s no wonder that many parents feel lost–especially if they didn’t have a good role model.”

Parents who feel overwhelmed, or even those who simply want to increase their confidence, are encouraged to check out current classes offered through First 5 Mendocino’s Triple P – Positive Parenting Program. The free, evidence-based classes and seminars offer tips on how to manage the challenges of family life, such as tantrums, bedtime battles, disobedience, and aggression. Triple P also teaches restorative wellness practices, like taking a mindful minute or prioritizing self-care to help parents shift their perspectives. One-on-one sessions, seminars, and ongoing classes are available at a variety of times in English and Spanish, so parents can choose how much support they want.

Saye explained, “We don’t always see things as they are; rather, we see them as we are–based on how we’re feeling,” Saye said. “When you’re tired, everything takes a lot of effort. When you’re hungry, everything feels urgent. We can help parents learn how to be more self-aware–to stay calm, take a deep breath, process what’s going on, and respond effectively.”

Community partners can refer clients (or others) who want some extra support with parenthood to First 5 Mendocino’s website (, which includes an updated schedule of events. Even something as simple as sleep training for an infant or toddler can improve a marriage, creating less stress at home for everyone.

“Asking for help early is important rather than waiting until a situation hits a crisis point,” Saye cautioned.

First 5 Mendocino also provides professional development services, including trauma- and resilience-informed training for community organizations, especially family resource centers. These local community centers support families with classes, playgroups, and help connecting with local resources. Here in Mendocino County, family resource centers include Raise & Shine, Nuestra Alianza de Willits, The Arbor Youth Resource Center, and others. Visit the FRC Network of Mendocino County’s website for more information and a complete list of local FRCs.

For ongoing parenting tips and news about classes and events, follow @first5mendocino or your local FRC on Facebook and Instagram.

“Just remember that you are more than enough if you love your kids and you are doing your best,” Saye said. “But it’s always OK to reach out and ask for help when you need it. Just know, you are not alone and that everyone needs help at some point.”

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