Parenting Education is a Useful Tool for Every Parent
One young, low-income parent describes her role as “helping my son know he can depend on us.” Yet another parent fitting the same description is in danger of losing her child to foster care. What makes the difference?
Parenting isn’t easy. We know that most parents want to be thoughtful and effective in raising their children. But sadly, some parents don’t know how to raise children in a healthy way, and it takes more than good intentions and economic advantages to raise thriving children.
We have some good news to showcase during Oregon Parenting Education Week, May 18-24: Community strategies exist that can help all parents gain skills to be more nurturing, effective parents. Throughout Lane County, many parenting opportunities are available. The variety of groups and programs offered by Parenting Now! – and the many parents who participate – proves that parents want information and resources, no matter their situation. However, some families believe that parenting classes are for those with poor parenting skills or those who have been mandated to enroll in a class through a court order. The bottom line is that parenting classes are very helpful for every parent, and even those who have good skills and parenting models can improve their family life by expanding their repertoire of parenting skills through formal parenting education.
Springfield’s civic, business and school leaders recognize the importance of supporting “good parenting” programs as a way to build a healthier community. Springfield is using the Communities That Care national prevention model to promote parenting education as the community’s norm. The model includes classes for parents with children of all ages
In Springfield, residents have access to a wide array of tested and effective programs and classes offered by Parenting Now!, LaneKids, Relief Nursery, the school district’s Family Centers, area high schools and churches.
Lane County residents can access resources provided by agencies that are also on the parenting education bandwagon, such as Healthy Families Oregon. It provides at-risk families with home visits from a parenting educator, and is expanding to serve families with a subsequent birth. These additional services will support families challenged by issues involving parental management or depression.
Head Start of Lane County, along with Early Head Start, prepares children for a solid foundation and healthy future. United Way of Lane County offers Success By 6®, Frontiers of Innovation, Help Me Grow and LaneKids, as well as two Promise Neighborhood programs. Public libraries, the University of Oregon and Lane Community College offer programs as well. Lane County schools provide services for young parents.
For example, Bethel School District uses Parenting Now!’s Program for Young Parents that serves pregnant and parenting youth up to age 22 and their partners. Eugene School District offers support in the teen parent’s home school or in an alternative school housed at Lane Community College. Springfield, Eugene 4J, and Bethel Family Resource Centers offer resources for young parents. Check your school district for its available programs.
Relief Nurseries in Eugene and Springfield continue to provide a broad-range of prevention services and programs to break the cycle of abuse and neglect. In addition, the University of Oregon’s Center for the Prevention of Abuse and Neglect has an initiative, 90 By 30, to reduce the rate of child maltreatment 90 percent by 2030.
Parents seeking resources may want to visit the LaneKids website or start by contacting 211 (call 211 or visit the website). LaneKids continues to expand the availability of parenting education and support programs throughout Lane County.
Parenting concerns cut across all demographic categories. It helps immensely for parents to talk about what’s working and what isn’t. As one mother in a Parenting Now! group said, “My husband is a physician. We thought we knew everything parents could possibly need to know about successful parenting. We did not realize how much parents need other parents.”
Parenting education makes a difference! Knowing that, organizations in Lane County are implementing programs and actions to make parenting education a standard part of raising children. At the Parenting Now! Family Matters luncheon on Wednesday, June 4, we will provide more information about our parenting education mission and programs. To reserve a space, call 541-484-5316 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Parenting Now!, Relief Nursery and other Lane County family-focused agencies are excited to be part of parenting education, this week and every week.
Lynne Swartz is the executive director of Parenting Now!, a Eugene non-profit; Jean Vinson is the director of Keeping Families Together-Communities That Care in Springfield.