Parents Anonymous’ Bonus Effect


Members in group dealt with many concerns: lack of money, abusive spouses, school problems, transportation, legal difficulties, housing, employment, health, religious differences and the ever present parenting issues.

“Parents Anonymous is the greatest thing since sliced bread,” I’d say, and the next question is, “If it works so well, then why did you attend for so long?”

By Jackie Saulmon Ramirez | October 5, 2014

The answer to that was easy: “Little kids have little problems, bigger kids have bigger problems; no single parenting solution solves all the problems parents encounter.”

Thinking about that I realize, though, that attending the Parents Anonymous Group did something else for me. What was that?

During the week I would be stressed over various things that may seem trivial to some but to me seemed upsetting stressful. Weekends were even more stressful because Mr. Ramirez would be home all the time and he often picked on the kids. When I could, I would try to take the kids out for an activity or to visit a friend. As Monday rolled around the stress eased up somewhat until I could make it to group – Tuesday at 10:00 a.m.

The peaceful drive to group each week gave me time to think of one or two main issues I needed to address.

On my way to each meeting I thought about what I needed to talk about or things I wanted to ask the group as a whole. Issues were often about my anger (how not to blow up), homework, messy rooms, school or teacher problems and issues concerning my husband’s abusive tendencies. I would choose one or two things to talk about to make the best use of my portion of time.

When members came into the room where group met, we signed in with our first name and a phone number so we could be reached in case of a meeting cancellation. I was usually the first parent there but I would sign in at line six or seven because I did not like being the first to speak.

Raven would often talk about the lack of transportation or money problems. Develyn was very funny but talked about serious problems with an out-of-control child. Caroline was determined that she had the “child from hell” or “the neediest child ever born” and vowed not to have another. There was Annette who worried over everything concerning the three kids and found out she was pregnant yet again. Lacey wanted to go back to work as a journalist but was wrapped up in raising her child. Elaine had three adopted children that were all incredibly difficult with one who was diagnosed with Asperger’s that could scream for hours for no reason at all.

Hearing about other members’ problems helped me to clear the fog and put things into proper perspective, as if I were wearing magic glasses.

A curious thing happened as I listened to each member, my problems all paled in comparison. Mr. Ramirez’s salary allowed me to stay home and raise Katie and Chelsey without too much pressure, my tubes were tied so there would be no more children and the kids were respectful and rarely ever fought. At least while my children were young, my only two recurring problems were dealing with my anger and protecting the girls when their dad blew his top.

Perspective: How much easier life would be if we could all put on magic glasses that enabled us see problems in their proper perspective!

After the weekly Parents Anonymous Group on Tuesdays I always felt much better about my troubles, such as they were. The group gave each of us an opportunity to be heard or to vent and to get feedback from others. We shared our experiences and learned from each other. Members encouraged each other for successes large and small. I always imagined my group standing with me when I had to do something hard but important.

In all that time something else magical happened… We bonded in ways that we never expected. This past October we held a rather informal reunion and found that some of us would like to continue meeting, which makes me extremely happy.

You may come to Parents Anonymous for support and solutions but you may get more than you expect, a journey that never ends.

“Thank you to all my Freehold Sisters.”

PHOTO: Courtesy of Daniel Hoherd Under Flicker/CC License.
PHOTO: Courtesy of Thiago Martins Under Flicker/CC License.
PHOTO: Courtesy of Dave Sutherland Under Flicker/CC License.

Copyright © 2014 Jackie Saulmon Ramirez. All Rights Reserved.

New Jersey 24-Hour Family Helpline: 1-800-THE-KIDS

Parents Anonymous® of New Jersey, Inc.
Phone: (609) 585-7666
Fax: (609) 585-7686
E-mail: PANJInfo@PAofNJ.org
Website: PA-OF-NJ.org

Join the Online Support Group
Wednesdays 9:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. EST
Thursdays 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. EST

Facebook: Parent Rap – Soup To Nuts

Parents Anonymous® Inc.
Phone: (909) 621-6184
Fax: (909) 621-0614
Website: ParentsAnonymous.org

National Parent Helpline
1-855-4A PARENT OR 1-855-427-2736
Hours: Monday – Friday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. PST

About Jackie Saulmon Ramirez

Jackie has volunteered for more than twenty years for children and family issues. Currently she writes for parents in the "Reminder" and "Parent Rap" Facebook page. If you are interested in receiving the "Reminder," send her a message.
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27 Responses to Parents Anonymous’ Bonus Effect

  1. Very good. I am reblogging. Hugs, Barbara

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Strange how we sometimes create these ties that bind us, isn’t it?

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Jackie, are from Freehold???

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jackie Saulmon Ramirez says:

      I actually do not live in Freehold but the Parents Anonymous Group I attended was on Kozloski Road at the Monmouth County Human Services Building. (I’m about 10 minutes away from there.) The Parents Anonymous Group actually ended a short time after I stopped attending regularly and at the time it was the oldest PA Group in NJ.

      Eric, are you from Freehold? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • I lived in Freehold for many years. Attended intermediate and high school while there and then did my undergrad work at FDU in Madison. Might we know people in common? 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      • Jackie Saulmon Ramirez says:

        I doubt it, I am originally from North Carolina. I came to Jersey about 1979 and did not move to Monmouth and Ocean County until 1988-1990.

        I actually called DYFS for help for my anger and I eventually found my way to Parents Anonymous.

        My husband attended FDU for a time and then to Polytechnic University in NY. He also studied at UT El Paso before that. He is a native of Peru.

        However we may know Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      • Funny thing… when I lived in Freehold, The Boss lived just several doors away from our home. I knew him when he was with his first band The Castiles. 🙂
        http://brucebase.wikispaces.com/The+Castiles

        Liked by 2 people

      • Jackie Saulmon Ramirez says:

        😀 That is funny… you were close enough to hear the band play long before they had the fame he enjoys now. I have an older daughter who is a big Boss fan and when she came from NC to visit I took her to the Jersey Freeze and then told her that it was a favorite hangout of his – she was beside herself! We’ve been to the Stone Pony several times. The link you gave s awesome… even if it took time to figure out which person was Bruce. 🙂 When the National Parent Leadership Team met in NJ I was surprised how many did not know who Bruce Springsteen was. With Bon Jovi it was different. It’s funny how things change.

        When I first came to NJ I lived in Long Branch and loved it; the people and culture was very different from NC. Over the years I have truly come to think of it as home. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Hello! I have nominated you for the One Lovely Blog Award. Please pick it up on my blog at: http://idealisticrebel.com/2014/11/09/one-lovely-blog-award/

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jackie Saulmon Ramirez says:

      You are so kind, really. I would really love to accept but Sunday through Wednesday is my busiest time and I am behind. We searched the house top to bottom and FOUND both cameras, thank goodness, but disturbing questions remain about his memory.

      Thank you, Barbara, for giving Parent Rap this honor. Many, many hugs to you; if I ever get to NC I want to meet you.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Sometimes when something works so well, but you keep going ..maybe it’s because you enjoy the company of those with the same problems and their understanding and support you receive.

    Nice article Jackie, as always!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jackie Saulmon Ramirez says:

      Thank you, that was very sweet of you! You are right, of course, and we find that we are our oldest, strongest cheerleaders in life. 🙂 *blush* Glad you enjoyed this offering. ❤

      Liked by 2 people

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