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Tips for Choosing a Parenting Education Resource

Helpful resources vary in many ways. Choosing a resource that meets your specific needs is important.

Consider the format

Which works best for you?

    • In-person groups or workshops or one-on-one sessions

    • Home visits 

    • Learning remotely via webinars, virtual courses, or one-on-one sessions

    • A single-session educational opportunity

    • Reading resources written by qualified professionals including books, newsletters, journals, magazines, websites, and blogs

    Think about how you learn best

    Parenting education programs can:

    • Follow a fixed curriculum
    • Be loosely structured following the interests of the group
    • Be based on the educator’s discretion

    Which structure do you feel will be most beneficial to your style of learning?

    What specific issue do you want to address?

    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 effectively discipline your child, or how to co-parent during and after divorce or separation or other family challenges? 

    Are you looking for a program that provides an overview of skills and knowledge about a specific aged child such as a two-year-old or teenager that nurtures their healthy growth and development?

    Questions to Ask Potential Resources

    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 education resource some questions that will help you assess the quality and effectiveness of a program and its professional leaders:

    1. What qualifications and/or experience are expected of presenters and what training and supervision do they receive?
      Parenting educators come from a variety of professional backgrounds. It makes sense to ask about their credentials, how long they have been a parenting educator and whether comments or referrals from previous participants are available. Often graduates of a program are only too happy to speak with other parents considering enrolling in a program.

    2. How is the program conducted?
      You’ll want to know when the program is offered, how many sessions it has, what are its costs and where and when is it held. 

    3. What is the research evidence of the usefulness and reliability of the program?
      Many programs are extensively researched to assure desired outcomes and results when parents participate.

    4. What kind of values is the program working towards and do they align with your own values?
      Typical parenting education values include raising children to be cooperative, self-reliant, caring, responsible, and more. Are you comfortable with the values emphasized? 

          Look for professionals who will support and empower you

          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. While you may not agree or use everything taught, you will gain insights and distinctions that will help you become the best version of yourself as a parent.

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