Should I Take Parenting Classes? What Can You Learn at Parenting Courses?

Can you Improve Your Parenting Skills and Become a Better Parent?

Any of us with children have likely wondered about these questions:

Can you improve your parenting skills?

How can you become a better parent?

It is a bit of an understatement that parenting a child is a challenging undertaking. Even your best days are filled with seemingly endless responsibilities and tasks from laundry to preparing dinner or bottles, driving the kids to school, or changing a diaper. Sometimes all of the above!

I have four children, ranging in age from 9-14, including a set of twins. When we found out that my third pregnancy was going to result in two more babies, we got a barrage of advice. Then, three months after the twins were delivered, I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Suffice it to say, 2003 was a challenging year!

However, I joined a twins/parents group, which probably helped me save my sanity for the first 12 months. Then, I found parenting resources offered through the preschool and later the elementary school and our pediatrician's office. Believe me - I took advantage of every opportunity, especially when free!

Keeping your cool, parenting with love and firm discipline, and - perhaps most importantly of all - learning how to handle "advice" or criticism from other people who might parent differently are all things you can learn at a parenting class.

I found parenting classes were helpful after my daughter and son were born
I found parenting classes were helpful after my daughter and son were born | Source

Types of Parenting Classes

Depending on circumstances of your family, you can choose from a broad range of parenting classes that may be offered in your region:

  • Parenting multiples (twins, triplets, etc.)
  • Parenting special needs children (autism, cerebal palsy, critically ill children)
  • Parenting step children
  • Parenting a gifted child
  • Parenting skills for older parents
  • Parenting adopted children
  • Parenting an only child
  • Parenting a teen
  • Parenting a child with medical issues (ADD, hyperactivity, eating disorders, etc.)
  • Parenting as a single parent
  • Parenting as a teenage mother and/or father
  • Parenting after the death of a parent
  • Grandparents raising a child as their own

In addition to live parenting classes, there are increasing numbers of online parenting courses that you can attend virtually. Reference materials, including CDs, books and DVDs are also helpful. These options are much easier for people concerned about setting up child care, or traveling long distances

Parenting Advice to Address Sibling Rivalry

Learn how to manage crying and tantrums at a parenting class
Learn how to manage crying and tantrums at a parenting class | Source

What you can Learn at Parenting Courses

Participating in a parenting class can be helpful for a number of reasons. There is something about discussing your concerns about raising children with other people that are in the same boat. Opening up and talking about specific challenges and asking questions in a "safe" environment can usually result in the discovery of effective ways to handle common situations.

Plus, its nice to hear that you are not alone! Other moms and dads are addressing similar issues in their households. You are there to help each other.

Parenting courses are led by an expert - usually a pediatrician, social worker, psychologist, etc. They usually bring years of experience to the classes and can respond to questions raised by you or other participants.

When all the advice and instruction from the various parenting courses is boiled down, the basic skills taught include:

  • How to protect your child from physical or mental harm
  • How to effectively discipline and set limits
  • How to ensure your child gets proper nutrition
  • How to teach your child skills and provide necessary education
  • How to manage anger (the parents and/or that of the child)
  • How to experience joy in parenting

Parenting the Picky Eater

Where Else Can You Get Parenting Advice or Support?

If you need advice on where to find a quality parenting class, your best resources are:

(1) the pediatrician's office;

(2) your child's school or day care; and

(3) your religious institution.

You may ask a trusted adult to refer you to a parenting course with a sound reputation.

I have also found that online forums can be a helpful place for obtainin parenting advice, with several important cautionary notes.

First, choose a forum that is moderated. It is helpful to have someone in control and enforcing the rules to stop personal attacks and to ban people from participating when necessary.

Second, take advice with a grain of salt. Unlike parenting classes or courses offered by trained professionals, forums tend to be populated by untrained persons, many of which are looking for an outlet to gain attention! If you have questions about the information you receive in a forum, be sure to ask a pediatrician.

If you have medical questions, always seek professional advice, rather than rely on information gained through a forum.

Parenting Classes for Grandparents

Parenting classes can teach proper nutrition for your children
Parenting classes can teach proper nutrition for your children | Source

Tips for Attending a Parenting Class

I have been there! I know that it can be stressful and intimidating to walk into a room full of strangers and share personal information related to raising your child.

Consider these tips for attending a parenting class:

1. Listen more often that you speak

2. Ask questions when information is unclear or confusing

3. Wait until the end of class or a break if you would like to speak with the instructor about a sensitive issue

4. Give the class a chance - it might not seem like you have learned much after the first session, but you may be surprised after a week or two

5. Follow up at the end of the course - ask about book recommendations, DVDs or CDs, or additional courses that may be offered to address your specific parenting concerns.

I definitely had my hands full after the birth of my twins!
I definitely had my hands full after the birth of my twins! | Source

When it comes to Parenting, Keep These Things in Mind!

  • You are not alone! No matter the challenges you face as a parent, there is someone else that has been through the same thing.
  • Professionals can help, and they want the best for you and your child.
  • There is no such thing as a dumb question or a silly worry when it comes to parenting.
  • Trust your gut - if something seems wrong with your child, pursue it until you get a satisfactory answer.
  • It does take a village to raise a child!

Grandparents can learn skills at parenting classes, too
Grandparents can learn skills at parenting classes, too | Source

Would you take a Parenting Class?

See results without voting

© 2012 Stephanie Hicks

More by this Author


Comments 41 comments

rosika profile image

rosika 4 years ago

Wow, parenting class sounds like really useful to attend..your picture with kids is really cute!..Thanks for sharing this informative hub, voted up!


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 4 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Thanks Rosika - I have to admit, I love going through my digital files for photos of my kids when they were really young. My twins are now 9 years old.

And, I did find parenting classes and other support groups very helpful! Best, Steph


susanm23b 4 years ago

Your hub will be so helpful to new parents! I'm past that now but the memory of those many sleep-deprived nights lingers on :)

I love your photos! I have three children--two are identical twins so I really understand how exhausting that can be. Voted up! Useful!


ripplemaker profile image

ripplemaker 4 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

Hi Steph, this is truly very helpful. I was smiling at your photo with your kids. They are so big now...boy time flies so fast. Also about the grandparents joining the parenting classes too, that would be cool. :)


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 4 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Hi Susan - thanks! Identical twins!! I'm sure you remember the day you found out you were having more than one.... ;-) Thanks very much for the kind comments. Best to you, Steph


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 4 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Hi Ripplemaker, yes, its funny how fast time flies. I know several grandparents that have enjoyed taking parenting classes, too. So, definitely cool! Thanks, Steph


the girls profile image

the girls 4 years ago from Los Angeles, California

Your advice on medical question is true. A parent should seek medical attention from qualified medical practitioners. Another parenting advise or support is from Grandma :-) She looks so proud holding her granddaughter!


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

Parenting is quite a challenge for young parents and the questions are many. You address some of the questions I have heard from parents, such as discipline and finding a pediatrician. A support group through a parenting class would really help to answer many questions and help build confidence in raising childlren. I would definitely take a grandparenting class! Voted up.


robie2 profile image

robie2 4 years ago from Central New Jersey

Parenting is the most important job any of us ever undertakes and most of us are totally unprepared. I think parenting classes are a great idea and the range of offering mentioned in this hub is just fabulous. Excellent excellent information.


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 4 years ago from malang-indonesia

Very inspiring hub. I learn many things from you. I haven't be a father, but I should be a father soon. Parenting classes are good idea and solve the problem for parents. Thanks for share with us. Rated up and useful!

Prasetio


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 4 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Hi "girls" - yes, I really caution against going with blind medical advice from the Internet. find out what may be going on, and then ask the doctor. And my mom is a great person to ask for advice! Loves her grandchildren :) Cheers, Steph


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 4 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Hi teaches,

Thank you! I think that any person should not be shy about asking for advice or help. Particularly new parents or those with special needs children. Disciplining a child can be difficult, which is why parenting classes can be an excellent resource in trying times. Best to you, Steph


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 4 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Thanks Robie - if only kids came with instruction books, right?? My friends and I joked about that before we all started having babies. Since they do not (darn it), parenting classes are the next best thing. Appreciate the comment and vote! Cheers, Steph


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 4 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Thanks Prasetio, I wish you all the best when you become a father. Parenting is a very rewarding experience! Cheers, Steph


alezafree profile image

alezafree 4 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

Very interesting hub! I always regretted not taking parenting classes. Not only for the advice, but also for the opportunity to meet other parents. I sometimes feel like the internet is my parenting class. Not sure if that's good or bad. I love your photos!!!


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 4 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Hi Alezafree,

I am with you on using the Internet for common parenting questions. But I have to admit that in those early years, I found parenting courses and other support invaluable. Best to you, Steph


Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 4 years ago from San Francisco

How cool! I was entirely unfamiliar with parenting classes before reading this Hub. I didn't even know they were all that common! It's good to know that resources like this are out there to help new parents. Thanks for sharing your experience!


poowool5 profile image

poowool5 4 years ago from here in my house

Good hub, Steph, especially with regard to special circumstances (multiples, step or adopted children) and also with regards to problem-shooting. I imagine parenting classes would be very useful.

I never attended parenting classes myself, but I did participate in mother & baby groups, mother & toddler groups where all issues are aired and experiences shared.

The bottom line is that you cannot go it alone! Whether classes or groups through preschool, church groups or even just the playground, I agree it is important to connect with others going through the same thing as you. Voted up and useful!


Maddie Ruud profile image

Maddie Ruud 4 years ago from Oakland, CA

I've often thought that perhaps parenting classes should be required, like Driver's Ed. Then, I remember the importance of personal freedom. ;)


kelleyward 4 years ago

Great hub! I don't know how you did it with twins and two more kiddos, in addition to having type 1 diabetes. This is a great hub for all parents and I loved the pics and videos as well. I have read many of the books you suggested and found them helpful!


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 4 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Thanks Simone! Yes, there are just about as many types of parenting classes as they are types of parents! Best, Steph


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 4 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Yes, poowool! Why go it alone when there are so many fre parenting classes and other resources to help? Thanks for the great comment. Cheers, Steph


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 4 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

LOL Maddie - yes, I am with you on both sides of the argument! I wish we could make people learn to be better parents, but then again... Best, Steph


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 4 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Thanks Kelley - if you had told me in 2002 that within 1 year, I would add 2 more kids to the family and be diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, I would have probably broken down! But, one thing at a time. Thanks for the visit and comment! Best, Steph


Don Simkovich profile image

Don Simkovich 4 years ago from Pasadena, CA

As an adoptive dad and adoptive mentor, we've dealt with intense issues including teen pregnancies, alcholism and more. We've seen great progress, though, in the past months and couple of years.

For parents with out-of-control kids, I suggest The Parent Project and Total Transformation.


mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida

When I was in the child bearing years, I didn't have the advantage of these classes. They probably would have helped me a lot. You have a beautiful family!


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 4 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Thanks Don - I love that people can share their own experiences to not only help teach other parents, but also help themselves get through the grief and strife of difficult parenting situations. Appreciate the suggestion, too! Best, Steph


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 4 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Thank you Mary - I can imagine my own parents and grandparents could definitely have benefited from parenting classes. Appreciate your kind comment! Best, Steph


Emma Harvey profile image

Emma Harvey 4 years ago from Berkshire, UK

I must admit I never went to parenting classes, but they were offered to me and I think I would have benefited so much if I had attended them.

I was quite young when I had my son and had the help of my parents - otherwise I would have been so lost! My son now has mild autism and groups are put in place for that.

I could have gained so many friends with children my son's age and spent days out with them. If I have another I will go to parenting classes. You can never learn too much about having children!


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 4 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Hi Emma,

I agree! I firmly believe there is no shame in not seeking help (even if it seems as though you are handling it as a parent). We can all stand to learn something, whether a new technique or simply forging friendships with others attending the parenting class. Glad you had parents to help and other friends your age with children.

Best, Steph


Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

Parenting classes can literally change the way a child is brought up. I used to volunteer for a program that housed homeless families, and we saw many examples of parents who simply didn't know how to properly care for their children. One criteria for families in the program (in cases where there were problems) was for the stay-at-home parent to attend parenting classes. This was an Interfaith program, and several churches and synagogues partnered to help the families get back on their feet and be stronger, more skilled parents.

Excellent information here - what a great hub. Congratulations on winning one of the weekly awards in the competition!


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 4 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Hi Marcy

Thank you! I think that any parent can take something away from a parenting course, no matter what their life circumstances. There are definitely extremes where a family needs immediate help and assistance with caring for children and raising them appropriately. Its wonderful that there are so many low-cost or free programs available, especially through religious and nonprofit institutions. Best to you, Steph


Melovy profile image

Melovy 4 years ago from UK

Congrats on the weekly win.

This is a very comprehensive hub. It sounds as if parenting classes are more common in the States than in the UK. I attended some classes, but more for specific aspects of parenting such as baby massage and although I’ve heard of a few general classes, mostly they cost a bit or are the kind Marcy mentions.

I like that you included "learning how to handle "advice" or criticism from other people!” I could have done with that early on! Although in my case unhelpful advice included that of an instructor at a sleep clinic I went to when my first daughter didn’t sleep well! In the end I turned to books instead.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 4 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Thanks Melovy! It would be interesting to look into the types and ranges of parenting classes offered in countries around the world.

Funny that you mention the unhelpful advice of an instructor at a sleep clinic and that books were more helpful. I wonder how it would have worked had you been in a group setting with other parents experiencing similar issues. Discussions can be so illuminating!

Cheers, Steph


Millionaire Tips profile image

Millionaire Tips 4 years ago from USA

Congratulations on the prize Steph. Well deserved! I have taken some parenting classes, and I did find them helpful. They provide additional options that we may not have thought of on our own.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 4 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Thank you MT! I have taken some courses too - the best thing is that when I get together with friends who have attended OTHER parenting classes, we have some great advice to trade and talk about. Best to you, Steph


sunbun143 profile image

sunbun143 4 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

Great hub with great resources! I would also like to add that there are classes on co-parenting children after a divorce (mandatory to attend in California)...definitely a good idea when there's a breakdown in the marriage and you don't want to hurt your children anymore than you have to.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 4 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Thanks sunbun - great point! Co-parenting is an important skill to learn when a family breaks up. Also important for learning to live with step-children and others coming into the marriage. Best, Steph


Purple Perl profile image

Purple Perl 4 years ago from Bangalore,India

Steph, I was not even aware that there were parenting classes. Thanks for all the enlightenment. Now, I understand how you must manage your house and prize winning first hand hubs.Congrats!


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 4 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

:-) Thanks PP!


emi sue profile image

emi sue 2 years ago from Tennessee

This was a great article. I may look into joining a few classes.

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