It isn’t easy being a good parent. Even in the best of circumstances, the challenge of parenthood can be overwhelming when there are problems in the home, dysfunctions in the family and/or an inability on the part of the parent(s) to manage the family system–thus leaving the parents and children at high risk for emotional upheavals and devastation.
Raising a family can be one of the most rewarding and frustrating jobs a person undertakes. Most parents aren’t prepared for the hassles, worries and constant demands of parenting. What’s more, everyday problems can be overwhelming to a parent who often expects the joys of family life to resemble “The Bill Cosby Show” or “Roseanne” where every problem no matter how difficult or demanding was resolved in an hour with four commercial breaks.
Society fosters the perception that being a parent comes naturally when the doctor hands them that ‘bundle of joy.’ Even if a parent wants help, there are few places to turn to unless the situation is a crisis. The stigma of asking for help is a strong deterrent for most parents. Parents are embarrassed to admit, “I’m at my wits end; I need help.”
Often families are having problems long before the situation reaches the crises point. Parents can be at risk for child abuse, or even in danger of losing a child to foster care, because of a dysfunction in the home before they are willing to ask for help. It isn’t until the child is severely abused or taken away from the family that we question, “Why aren’t there any classes for parenting? That is what is needed.”
One reason there aren’t more parenting classes is because parents don’t attend in sufficient numbers to warrant having them. They don’t attend because they have the misconception that it is admitting a failure to seek parenting help. What a travesty! Parents are set to fail before they are a parent, because parenting doesn’t come naturally and yet, parenting classes aren’t mandatory.
Everyone can improve their parenting skills. Parents do the best job they know how. Their own growing up experience was often less than ideal, and they may not have witnessed competent parenting, communication skills or appropriate interactions with children. Frequently parents have not learned what is: child misbehavior or a developmental issue that the child will soon master. Parents need to learn to see a child as a work in progress rather than incorrigible from the outset or short adults. And most of all parents need to accept that the child needs to learn through trial and error. Avoid taking it personally as your child being rebellious to your parental authority.
Parenting classes can help parents know that some things are appropriate at different stages and aren’t a series of challenges to their authority. A child who is disagreeable may not be naughty, they may not be ready to handle this responsibility, or their impulse control still needs work.
Parenting classes need to be taught by qualified spiritual and emotional health professionals. Because they are spiritual and emotional health professionals, they can often help parents with issues like low self-esteem that can be hindering their effectiveness. When parents feel empowered and grounded in their own spiritual and emotional empowerment, they are able to be a whole and healthy parent raising whole and healthy children.
Dorothy M. Neddermeyer, PhD is a Life Coach, Single Mother of two adult children and grandparent to four Grandchildren and author, If Id Only KnownSexual Abuse in or out of the Family: A Guide to Prevention. http://www.drdorothy.net