One of the most important jobs in the world is being a parent. Parents will have life-long impact to their children. They will influence what values their children will have, how disciplined they will be, what choices they will make and whether or not their children will be healthy physically, emotionally and relationally.
No parenting instruction manual comes with a child
As many parents find out very quickly, no instructional manual comes with a child. All children are different so there is no template that any parent can use.
However, it seems that a parent who is attuned to the needs of the child will always be learning new dimensions as the child grows, changes and develops. And yet, there are mountains of good research from books, the Internet and parenting education that can be of great help to our parents.
New parents may be energized to have children, and may have a sense of idealism to raise their children differently than they were raised—particularly if they have struggled with a particular family relationship—still, transgenerational family legacies become their default mode of parenting. That is, they revert to what their parents did to handle perplexing problems with their children.
While the good news is that parents can access exceptional information from many different resources, many parents do not have time or energy to spend researching what may be relevant to their child. Yet, understanding their stages of development, how to communicate with them, discipline them, the teen years (and many other topics) is vitally important to nurturing children.
Parents learn best when learning with other parents.
Sharing the struggles in the context of learning new parenting concepts and skills is incredibly helpful to parents. I like to see parents in quality parenting education classes and workshops. Parenting education courses and classes can be helpful for many reasons. They create communities of parents who can support one another as the children are raised. With other parents involved in such a process, no parent could feel so alone.
There are many ways to do parenting education.
- You can go to classes.
- Have play groups
- Attend a small book reading group.
- Meet to discuss parenting.
- Or take parenting classes on-line in the privacy of your home at a time convenient to you.
Regardless of when and how parents get training, I like to see them take time to focus on the principles and skills of healthy parenting.
The Center for Parenting Education has options to help you.
One resource that I have been involved with is The Center for Parenting Education (Center). The Center has a variety of parenting education options including on-line parenting education. The Center provides principles and tools for parents that can make a huge different to any family. I highly recommend that all parents visit their Web site.
As a society in a changing and often difficult world, we face many challenges in raising our children. More than ever, parents need significant support, and that support should be readily available in early childhood centers, schools, churches, community groups…wherever children and parents exist.
Parenting education is a wonderful way to take advantage of an opportunity that could prevent a host of future issues with your child. Parenting education helps parents gain both knowledge and confidence in raising their children to be relationally and emotionally healthy.
Gerry Vassar, President/CEO, Lakeside Educational Network