Good strong programs vary in specific and very important ways. Choosing a program that meets your specific needs will make the program more helpful.
Parenting education is delivered in a variety of ways for groups or individuals, which may include:
Consider which format will make you feel most comfortable.
Parenting education programs can:
Which structure do you feel will be most beneficial to your style of learning?
Are you looking to find help with a specific issue such as a baby not sleeping, an adolescent not coming in at curfew, how to discipline, or dealing with divorce?
Are you looking for a program that deals with a specific aged child such as a two year old or adolescent?
Are you looking for a general program on development and nurturing children? Or, are you looking for a program that teaches specific parenting and/or children’s skills?
In-person programs for parents and families are offered at various locations within communities which are vetted or approved by the provider of the programs. These may be at schools, faith communities, public health providers, agencies and healthcare providers.
There are also individual parenting educators who offer excellent programs. Many offer individual consultations to parents and families in their office or via digital technology.
When selecting a program, ask the parenting educator some questions that will help you assess the quality and effectiveness of a program and its professional leaders:
- …inherently good? bad? difficult? curious?
- …needing direction and opportunities to learn skills? Or, do they basically have these if given the needed food, shelter, and love?
- …needing ample opportunity to express their feelings?
- …needing time to play? Play is seen as a means of learning as well as having fun, often developing friendships and social skills.
- …needing guidance in developing social skills such as how to listen and how to resolve conflict?
- …needing to follow adult schedules or be totally on the child’s schedule, or somewhere in between?
- …needing to be comforted and cuddled as opposed to learning to self soothe in early infancy?
Your answers to these questions should help you choose a parenting education program and educator that will meet your needs.
Parenting educators often use a strengths-based approach to support and empower parents to be effective decision makers and change agents for their families. Look for professionals whose work centers on promoting positive parent-child and family relationships and family life.