She and Baxter moved their young family to Peterborough. By this time she had a vision for providing parenting education and had an opportunity to do classes at Monadnock Community Hospital. The renovations at the hospital resulted in her decision to go out on her own.
She tells about the first time she answered the phone with, “Hello, you reached the Parent Guidance Center, how may I help you?” It was 1990 and she was sitting at her desk in her home office. This fledging organization became an official nonprofit in 1992, moved seven times in the first few years before settling into space at 46 Concord St. The Parent Guidance Center became The Family Center of Greater Peterborough which then merged with The River Center Community Resource Center and became The River Center Family and Community Resource Center in 2010. Throughout the history of the organization Bonnie has been involved as founder, parent educator, Director, Board member and now consulting parent educator.
Thirty years later, Bonnie has decided to step back from her regular groups and involvement with what is now known as The River Center. Many local families have been impacted by Bonnie’s groups and classes over the years. What have been the themes of this parent education? Helping parents develop and foster lifelong connections with their children. Taking a step back and try to see the world from your child’s perspective. Respecting your children. Empowering and validating them in age appropriate ways. She has helped parents address the challenges of toddlers, early elementary years, pre-teens, teens, empty nesters. She has seen parents struggling with strategies to deal with TV, Nintendo, cell phones, and social media. Throughout the changing times, the basic need of staying connected with your child has remained the same.
In addition to her contributions as a parent educator at the River Center, she is the author of When Your Kids Push Your Buttons; Confident Parents, Remarkable Kids; and the Effective Parenting Workshop. She is a counsellor as well as international speaker and workshop leader. The founder and director of Connective Parenting, her newsletter, blog, and podcast can be accessed at bonnieharris.com. And of course, her monthly column can be read right here in the Monadnock Ledger Transcript.
Bonnie’s passion for the parent and child relationship is well known by many. She recently reflected on this work and concluded that ‘this is the work I was meant to do.’
Thank you Bonnie for getting an idea, a vision, a passion to help parents connect with their children; to be their best in this parenting role; to raise confident, caring children.
Executive Director, The River Center