Are you a new parent or expecting a baby soon? Are you having doubts about your parenting skills or having issues about parenting now that your children are growing? Taking parenting classes may be great for you.
Let us learn more about parenting classes and find out if you need to take them.
Table of contents
- What are parenting classes
- Why are parenting classes important
- Types of parenting classes
- Parent-Training Programs in Child Welfare Services
- Key benefits of parenting education
- Why you may not need parenting classes
What are parenting classes
Parenting classes or parent education programs are meant to help parents cope with all the challenges of raising their children. It helps you learn more about taking care of your newborn to caring for your teenagers. By taking these classes, you can develop and enhance your parenting skills in order to promote a healthy parent-children relationship.
Parenting classes are also meant to support parents in effectively fulfilling their parental roles of nurture and structure.
Nurture refers to the parents’ responsibility in caring for the children’s basic needs. These include food, shelter, clothing, education, and security, as well as love, attention, support, and understanding.
Structure, on the other hand, is the parents’ role to guide the children and teach them values. It is when parents set rules and limits, as well as discipline children accordingly in order to raise responsible individuals.
Why are parenting classes important
Parenting classes are important for new parents, as well as parents who may be confused, overwhelmed, or are faced with new and difficult situations.
1. Need for balance
As parents, you must be able to balance nurture and structure to help children develop not just IQ, but also EQ (emotional quotient) and CQ (Cultural Quotient or cultural intelligence). This can be complicated especially for new parents, that is why parenting classes can be very useful to help you provide this balance.
Parenting classes can also help you in balancing your different roles – a parent, a spouse, a son or daughter (especially for multi-generational families), an employee, a business person, or any other role you play. Do not forget, you also have a role to take care of yourself in the process.
2. Need for guidance
If you are a new or expecting parent, you may need guidance on how you can care for your newborn baby. You may need guidance on how to go about breastfeeding, diaper changing, and carrying a fragile newborn. You need guidance and the basic skills to help you understand more about your babies and their development into toddlers, childhood, teenage years, and until they are able to stand on their own.
3. Learning parenting styles
Parenting classes are helpful for parents to learn about the different parenting styles. The way you were raised as a child may be may not apply to your children. Your upbringing or others’ upbringing may also help you realize that you need guidance on how to do parenting right. Parenting classes can help you learn more about the different parenting styles and how they may affect your children.
The need for guidance is endless and parenting classes can help make new parents become able and confident in caring for their newborns and raising them.
4. Dealing with your child’s needs
In any level of parenting, caring for your child’s needs is of utmost importance. It is important to know what your child is trying to communicate. If you cannot figure out what your child needs, it can be exhausting for you and your child. It can become an issue in the future.
Parenting classes can guide you into understanding what your child is trying to communicate, whether verbal or behavioral, and how you can deal with it. It can help you know better what your baby’s cry could mean even after you are done feeding and what you can do next; what it could mean when your toddler is acting out and how you respond to it; or when your teenager does not want to confide in you and how you can build better relationships; and many more.
5. Different needs, different parenting classes
Since parenting classes cover various topics on parenting, you can choose what class to take depending on your needs, interest, situation, and the age of your child or children. You can choose classes like caring for your newborn baby, dealing with toddlers, or managing your teenagers. You may also learn about other special topics, such as first aid at home, caring for gifted children, and even self-care.
6. Support group
Joining parenting classes are a great way to get emotional support from other parents. Chances are, these parents are also going through similar difficulties and dilemmas you are going through. They may be needing the same guidance that you do, so you can take this chance to befriend them.
Types of parenting classes
Parenting classes can be online, where you attend virtual classes, or active, where you attend your classes in person.
There are also various types of parenting classes that fall into the following categories:
1. For expectant parents
These classes are for soon-to-be parents, especially first-time parents. Topics revolve around labor, childbirth, and recovery. There are also safety and emergency classes that expectant parents may take to equip them in emergency situations like administering first aid and CPR. As expectant parents, you can also learn about the basics of caring for your newborn, including, feeding, bathing, changing, and more.
2. For new parents
New parents can take parenting classes with topics about newborn babies, such as breastfeeding, tummy times, supporting infant development, managing sleep, and dealing with emotions. New dads can learn how they can effectively support new moms and help in child care. As a new parent, these classes can help improve your skills and increase your confidence in caring for your baby. You also get to meet and interact with other new parents who can be your helpful support group.
3. Classes on child development and behavior
These parenting classes can help you understand more about your child’s development and their behavior in certain age groups, as well as managing them. You can learn about topics ranging from potty training, sleep issues, food issues, dealing with toddler tantrums, and dealing with sibling rivalry, to your child’s study habits and dealing with teenager issues.
4. For special cases
There are also parenting classes for special cases. These include parenting gifted children, children with medical or developmental needs, as well as foster or adopted children. These classes can help you learn strategies and find reliable resources in raising your child. You also get to have support in dealing with unique child-raising concerns and family issues.
5. Other classes
Other parenting classes include co-parenting classes for divorced parents and parenting classes for certain parenting styles and philosophies. Examples include positive parenting, attachment parenting, spiritual/holistic parenting, unconditional/conscious parenting, authoritative parenting, and more.
Parent-Training Programs in Child Welfare Services
Apart from different parenting schools and private institutions offering these classes, there are also parent education programs offered by the Child Welfare Services. These programs aim to strengthen families and avoid child maltreatment by promoting positive discipline techniques and positive play and interaction between parents and children. These programs allow parents to learn about age-appropriate child-development milestones and skills. They also allow parents to locate and access community support and services to help raise their children.
Key benefits of parenting education
Attending parenting classes is a good way to get much-needed knowledge, skills, and support when it comes to nurturing and providing structure to your children no matter what age. It can help develop your parenting skills and become effective parents who will raise mature and responsible children.
According to Wilder Research, parenting education offer the following key benefits:
- improves parental competence, self-esteem, and sense of satisfaction;
- enhances positive parenting practices, such as positive language, family routines, and planned discipline;
- promotes social connections and provides emotional support to and among parents;
- improves mental health and well-being of parents;
- helps develop positive child behavior (kindness, empathy, etc.) and decreases negative ones (aggression, anger, guilt, etc); and
- decreases the occurrence of corporal or physical punishment and the risk of child maltreatment.
Why you may not need parenting classes
While you may take advantage of the wonderful benefits of parenting classes, you may not see the need for taking them. Here are some of the reasons why:
- You may be getting enough support from your family and friends when it comes to caring for your newborn or raising toddlers or bigger kids.
- You believe that every child, every family, and every situation is different and you are confident that you can raise and discipline your children as you go through discovering your children.
- You are aware of what is good and bad for your children and you are determined to do decide on what is always best for them.
- You believe that you can raise your children best by spending more time with them and getting to know them through conversations and different bonding activities, than by enrolling in parenting classes.
- You are confident that when you need to learn more information or need help, you can always resort to other resources, such as books, the Internet, and by approaching a counselor.
So do you need parenting classes?
The answer is really up to you. If you feel very anxious about caring for your child, you may need parenting classes. Especially if you are an expectant or a new parent and finding help and support from other people is difficult, you may benefit from parenting classes. Parenting classes may also be useful when you have the time to attend them when the kids are at school. Finally, parenting classes may also be helpful when you find it overwhelming to raise a child with a special case.
There are also parent education programs from the Child Welfare Services that you can take advantage of to guide you and help create a better environment for you and your family.
However, if you feel confident about parenting and you have enough support and resources, then you can skip those parenting classes. You can just focus on spending quality time with your children and building healthy relations with them.