By Jenn Finders & John Geldhof, Ph.D.
(Oregon Parenting Education Week Newsletter – 2015)
Parenting education classes are an important resource for families. Sadly, common myths keep many families from taking part. Many parents see these classes as a way to correct other people’s bad behaviors. They do not understand that all parents have something to gain from classes based on the latest research.
We tend to see interventions as something that “fix” people. If parents see parenting education only as an intervention, they assume the classes are only meant for bad parents. Parents who go to the classes must be doing something wrong; otherwise they wouldn’t need to go.
Parenting education is not an intervention. Parenting classes can teach all parents important new skills. In fact, research done at Oregon State University shows that low-income, higher-income, court-mandated, and voluntary parents all benefit from parenting education equally.
Education is just as important for raising a child as it is for having one. For example, many parents learn about giving birth from friends and family, but they also take childbirth classes to better prepare for the event. By working to remove the stigma from parenting education, we can teach parents that these classes can likewise supplement the advice they get from their friends and families, teaching them:
- Children’s age-appropriate behaviors
- Positive ways to discipline
- Better ways to communicate
- A clearer understanding of their own parenting goals and values
To find out more about parenting classes in your area, contact your local parenting education hub: http://health.oregonstate.edu/hallie-ford/oregon-parenting-education/opec-hubs