Should You Take A Parenting Class?

It's too bad that new babies don't come with training manuals. That's why some moms and dads enroll in a parenting class.

A few generations ago, family members often lived in the same community and helped each other raise children. Nowadays, family clans have disintegrated with members moving all over the world. Many young parents today have no older relatives living nearby to offer child-rearing help or support. That is one reason why some organizations offer parenting classes.

Who should take a parenting class? There are many reasons for enrolling in a community- or church-based course for parents who want to do a good job raising their kids:

1. If you plan to have a child. Whether adopted or born into your family, kids will have a serious impact on your lifestyle. If your expected arrival is something of a surprise, a training course might be just what you need. Trained professionals, most who are parents as well, offer insight and advice on topics like child discipline, household chores, sibling relationships, peer influences, and educational options. Find an introductory parenting class that can help you learn the basics.

2. If you have several children. The more kids you have, the more you will realize that each one is unique. You may face some unexpected challenges in responding to your kids in different ways. A parenting class can put you in touch with other adults who are going through situations that are similar to yours, and with whom you can exchange ideas and support.

3. If you have a difficult child. Sometimes one or more kids can put a parent through the wringer. Through genetic traits or learned behavior, some kids can drive their parents crazy. If you're not sure how to respond to one of your children, a parenting class can provide access to resources that can provide helpful answers.

4. If you have limited parenting experience. This goes beyond having a first child. If your own parents left your life before you were grown or were unsuitable role models, you may not know be familiar with healthy parent-child relationships. A parenting class will bring you together with many kinds of parents, usually of all ages and backgrounds. Sharing experiences and resources can make the class seem like a large family gathering.

5. If you have a blended family. When spouses enter a marriage with children from other relationships, havoc can ensue. Couples need to learn how to establish a healthy parenting framework that may have been missing from earlier relationships. Second marriages have an even higher divorce rate than first marriages, so it is important to get all the help you can making the second marriage work, since problems often revolve around child-rearing issues.

6. If you want to become a better parent. If you are aware of weaknesses in your parenting style, or if you feel adequate but wish to adopt an above-average approach, a parenting class can help you set new and higher goals. Talk with the instructor and other parents to find out what worked for them, along with what didn't.

Education is a valuable tool at any stage of life. Raising children is an important process that requires all the tools a parent can lay hands on.

© High Speed Ventures 2011