Gary Stanoff and the City of Vacaville's Parent Project

Gary was a guest speaker at our Little Wing Connections Luncheon last year. He presented his program, Parent Project to our group, sharing with us how we can turn our teens around to be attributing young citizens in our community. Below is the message he left with us.

Parenting—The Great Challenge


      “The most important educational need of the child is to feel himself worthy of love and a worthy dispenser of love. If infants learn what love is, they can go through life with sanity and happiness.” – Herbert Ratner, M.D.
In the last session of the Parent Project or Parent Project Junior, parents universally remark that all parents should take this class. I agree. We live in place which requires a license, credential or some type of documented training for virtually all jobs—except the most important job of all. Is there a more challenging job than being a parent?
What can a parent expect from a parenting class? I want parents to leave with several things after they have completed a parenting class. Hopefully, parents leave with tools or practical advice, support, hope and linkage to services in the community.
In order to solve problems, such as influencing our children-parents need tools. The more concrete and concise the tools are the better. The tools we teach are user friendly and are a blue print for responding to the needs of kids and parents. Let’s face it; many of the tools that we got from our parents are ineffective today. There are many things that my parents did that I use and some I will not retain. Love and affection, positive stokes and family times are all important tools which I retained for my family.
The three most powerful words in any language are I love you. Parents must say this daily to their children. The author’s of the Parent Project curriculum believe, as do I, that parents who understand the importance of these words and who use them will have mastered the single most important concept of effective parenting. When was the last time you told your child that you love them? Never assume that they know. Tell them right now.
Parents also have to express this love. Some parents have difficulty telling and showing how they feel. This often the case with many of the fathers I meet with. Children need to be shown that they are loved unconditionally and for whom they are rather than what they might become. The sooner we begin this with our kids the better. Love must be expressed to our children daily—in the form of hugs, affection and the words I love you. Don’t underestimate the power of this.
Parents who attend the Parent Project Senior (for parents of strong-willed kids ages 11-18) tell me that they wish that had learned these concepts when their child was younger. In fact, they often state with some sadness and regret, that if they had taken the class when their strong-willed child was in elementary school, that they might have prevented some of the problems they are now facing. Drugs and alcohol, pre-marital sex, poor school performance and other destructive behaviors can be prevented. Imagine taking a class which might prevent future problems, offered right here in the community that you live.
The Parent Project Junior is also available to parents of strong-willed kids ages 5-10 in Vacaville. This is a class which has been proven to assist parents with even the most difficult and challenging of problems. The class also addresses issues of ADD/ADHD.
The Parent Project Senior starts on 1/15/12 at the Vacaville Police Department and meets from 6:00-9:00 PM. The Parent Project Junior, a parenting class for parents of strong willed kids ages 5-10 will be offered in February To reserve a spot or get more information contact Gary Stanoff MFT at (707) 249-5223 or For our Spanish speaking members of the community, contact MSW Isabel Montano at (707) 469-6608.