Should a mandatory parenting course be required by law for teenaged parents?
As an adoptive and foster parent I have seen more then my share of poorly parented children and often wonder if some of this heartache could have been avoided if young parents were required to take parenting classes and had more support.
First of all, I think it's a beautiful thing to have someone like yourself who donates love, time, and resources to children who need it the most.
Second of all, I'm sure you also know that poorly parented children aren't just coming from teenage parents. Not everyone is capable of parenting, and this also applies to adults.
I don't know about making this mandatory, but I think all parents and/or parents-to-be should be offered this information and support to benefit all people involved.
I work for a therapist and the children we see are all from adult parents - and believe me they could use a course or two. No, I don't think it would help matters. The support would be almost too late in coming. They needed the support, guidance and parental input before the pregnancy occurred.
I think when we have a child, we could all use the support of fellow parents...and in my opinion, it is better late than never no matter the age of the parent...especially when a parent is committed to ending dysfunctional behavioral cycles. The family of origin may still be dysfunctional, so new parents need help in knowing how to treat children with love appropriately...how to guide children's behavior appropriately...to learn alternatives to the behavior they learned from those in their family of origin who did not know better.
A couple of my favorite books were "The Happiest Toddler on the Block" and "How to Talk so Children Will Listen..." If a teenager is pregnant, it may be good to accept them, love them,give them a reading list, and start a discussion circle.
I think it should be required for all parents not just teenaged. Both mothers and fathers should have to take the course. They'll learn a thing or two and forces them to get on the same page with their parenting. I don't believe there should be one technique taught though. My perfect parenting class would instruct basic health and care and then outline 3 or so different parenting styles and how they fit in with different children's personalities.
In my opinion, mandatory parenting classes should be for every person about to be a parent, not only teenage parents. There are many people out there who are quite woefully unprepared to be parents. They idealize the concept of being parents but can be quite nonplussed when the realities of parenthood sets in.
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