Parents are their children’s first and most important teachers. Many studies show a parent’s influence on a child’s growth and development is more important than any other factor. Yet no one is “born with” parenting skills – it’s something learned through modeling other parents and learning parenting skills. In cultures and families where it’s more common for households or neighborhoods to consist of extended families, help with parenting skills and support can more easily come from those nearby family members.
These days, many families live far apart and the need for parenting education and support from outside the family can be great.
Many families also feel that parenting is more challenging with social media and the “electronic age.” Some parents also may feel overwhelmed by too much differing information on how to take care of children. Some families may have high stress because of their life experiences. Some parents want to parent differently than the way they were raised.
What is Parenting Education?
In a nutshell, parenting education helps parents be more successful in raising their children by supporting them to learn skills so they can parent according to their values, parenting skills, and providing support. Parents learn about the needs of children and the needs of parents too.
Parents can learn about:
- Basic care for children of different ages and stages of development
- Developing strong and healthy relationships with their children
- Activities that help children become healthy and successful physically, emotionally, socially and academically
- Handling the everyday stress of parenting
Group-based parenting education can also help reduce isolation because parents meet with other parents. You might, for example, learn you are not the only one having a hard time getting your child to sleep or be able to find someone for a playdate.
Parenting education groups can connect you with community resources, answering questions like:
- What are good after school programs?
- What can you do if your child is having trouble with their vision?
When you reduce isolation and get more support, resources and information, your stress goes down.
We Could All Use A Little Help
Every parent needs help with parenting skills and support, no matter what your culture, family background, location or financial status. Every parent can benefit from parenting education groups.
The life experiences of some families can also add high levels of stress. There is added stress to parents who are, for example, in families who:
- have financial struggles
- are targeted because of racism, homophobia or other forms of discrimination or
- have a history of abuse or addiction in their background.
Added stress makes parenting education and support even more important.
Does Parenting Education Really Help?
While parenting education groups and curricula are not all the same, numerous studies show that parenting education, in general, is important for families and our communities.
When parents participate in parenting education, their children are more successful in all areas of life. When supported, parents learn to provide:
- Nurturing relationships
- Developmentally appropriate activities for children
In turn, children:
- Feel confident and safe
- Build strong relationships
- Are emotionally stable
- Are more successful in school
- Decrease their chance of
- substance abuse
- teen pregnancy or
- dropping out of school
Parenting education also helps prevent child abuse and neglect, even when a family is at high risk or there is a history of abuse in the parents’ family background. Parents can learn ways to parent differently than they were parented, breaking a sometimes generational pattern.
Parenting Education in Lane County
Parenting education groups are not meant to replace family or community support, but no matter what your circumstances, all parents can use the support and tools parenting education can provide.
Here in Lane County, we are privileged to have great opportunities and options from tried and true organizations and programs. The following agencies offer parenting support and parenting education programs that are worth checking out!
- Parenting: The First Three Years are parenting education and support programs based on the children’s age: Incredible INFANTs, Wonderful ONEs, and Terrific TWOs. Each group is lead by a professional Parenting Educator.
- Make Parenting A Pleasure is for families dealing with high levels of stress with children birth to 8 years old. It focuses on positive parenting and enjoying your child.
- Program for Young Parents is for pregnant and/or parenting teens ages 12 – 21 years old and their children.
- Crecer is for families headed by Spanish speakers with children birth to 8 years old and is conducted in Spanish by bilingual/bi-cultural professional Parenting Educators.
- Baby Connection, a free weekly drop-in gathering for parents with babies birth to one-year old for infant feeding support, baby weigh-in and socializing. There are also workshops offered such as The Language of Newborns: A Parent’s Guide and the Joy of Grandparenting. You can find out about Parenting Now! at www.parentingnow.org.
South Lane Family Nursery (Nurturing Parenting; Make Parenting A Pleasure)
- Cindy Vitelli: 541-942-4835, firstname.lastname@example.org
Siuslaw School District (Nurturing Parenting)
- Lynn Anderson: 541-997-5458, email@example.com
Marcola Family Resource Center (Make Parenting A Pleasure)
- Shana Hockema: 541-933-2411*1216, firstname.lastname@example.org
Bethel Family Resource Center (Incredible Years)
- Anne Johnstone-Diaz: 541-607-1449, email@example.com
Parent Partnership (Nurturing Parenting)
- Karol Kuhn Simons: 541-942-2104, firstname.lastname@example.org
Relief Nursery, Inc (Nurturing Parenting; Make Parenting A Pleasure)
- Leslie Finlay: 541-343-9706, email@example.com
Junction City Family Resource Network (Make Parenting A Pleasure)
- Deborah Adams: 541-998-2386, firstname.lastname@example.org
Moss Street Children’s Center (Nurturing Parenting)
- MSCC front Office: 541-346-4384, email@example.com
Oakridge Family Resource Center (Incredible Years)
- Kack Camerer: 541-782-3135, firstname.lastname@example.org
Fern Ridge Family Resource Center (Make Parenting A Pleasure)
- Olivia Johnson: 541-935-8225 email@example.com
McKenzie Family Resource Center (Make Parenting A Pleasure)
- Lacey Joy: 541-822-1110, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Triple P Online (TPOL) is an online learning program designed for parents of children up to 12 years of age. If you are on the Oregon Health Plan through Trillium Community Health, you can get Triple P Online for free through LaneKids.org by filling out the form below. More information can be found at http://www.lanekids.org/triplep/
No matter what your situation, parenting education in person or online will surely help with the everyday stress of parenting and increase the joy of parenting. Your children will benefit greatly and grow up to be caring and responsible adults. That helps your family and our entire community and society. Check out some of our great Lane County programs today.
This article is brought to you by Parenting Now! Parenting Educators and authors, Tova Stabin, Claire Davis and Lynne Swartz and consultant Jay Thompson (andupdatemywebsite.com). Parenting Now! is passionate about happy, healthy families. For more information about Parenting Now! contact us here.
Want to sign up for Triple P Online? Go to: http://www.lanekids.org/triplep/