Help For The Hard Times in Parenting

Eighteen years ago, when Catherine Fischer became a mother, she was unprepared for the intense emotions and challenges that surfaced in her family life. Raising a child wasn’t what she expected it to be, and she found herself needing help to navigate the process. Fischer looked for and found the support that she needed, and now she’s helping other local families with a variety of parenting issues.

Hand in Hand Parenting

When her son was young, Fischer explains, the Hand in Hand Parenting approach, which emphasizes a strong emotional bond between parents and children, was transformational. “It supported me to become who I wanted to be as a mom and gave me tools to understand what was going on with my son and myself,” she explains. Although she’s now been using the tools offered by Hand in Hand Parenting for many years, last year Fischer completed the 10-month certification process to become an instructor and consultant. She now offers regular classes that help parents understand and deal with the big emotions involved in parenting.

Asking for help

Fischer notes that parents most commonly seek her help “when family life isn’t what they were hoping for, or they’re trying things that aren’t working.” It’s difficult to ask for help because society is hard on parents, often judging both parents and children based on their behaviors. Fischer says that when we’re struggling with our parenting, “We feel isolated and don’t know how much we have in common with other parents. We feel like there’s something wrong with us.”

Benefits of a class

At the center of Hand in Hand Parenting is the connection between parents and children. Fischer explains that understanding this connection “makes parents feel more relaxed and confident. They don’t feel like they’re a bad parent when their kid has a tantrum.” She emphasizes that this approach to parenting isn’t permissive; it helps parents set firm limits for their kids while maintaining the critical emotional connection.

Hand in Hand Parenting reframes parents’ understanding of children’s behavior. It can fill in a lot of blanks for parents and help them understand why the behavior is happening and how they can react to it in a helpful and positive way. “This approach doesn’t take away the challenges, but it helps us handle them better,” says Fischer.

If Fischer could name one wish for local families, it would be that “every family would have the physical and emotional resources they need to thrive.” She stresses that across age ranges and problems, we all need to hear that we’re good parents and that there’s no way to be perfect parents. She hopes to continue to find ways to tell parents that they’re valuable and important.

To register for a class or to get more information about Hand in Hand Parenting, visit Fischer’s website She also has a Facegroup group and a newsletter for those interested in parenting support.

Q&A with
Catherine Fischer

Favorite children’s book: On The Day You Were Born by Debra Frasier. We read this to our son every year on his birthday, and we get choked up everytime!
Favorite park in Washtenaw County: Gallup Park.
Best place to go with kids on a Saturday: We always choose some kind of outing downtown, especially the Farmer’s Market or the Hands-On Museum.