Parents and prospective parents choose to take a parenting class for a number of reasons. Some are new parents of babies or are pregnant and want to know the basics of caring for infants, including diapering, handling crying, sleep difficulties and developmental issues. Most are taking the class because they are nervous and want to parent their child well from the start.
There are specific parenting class offerings for parents of toddlers. This includes the “terrible twos” and three year olds. By this time, the parent may be having difficulty with an out of control child and may need to learn aspects of disciplining the child that don’t involve hitting or spanking the child. They may also wish to learn about things like helping their child socialize and toilet training. Parents may have other children and are worried about sibling rivalry. They may have a new baby on the way and may be trying to establish a calmer household with more than one child in it.
School districts will offer a parenting class for parents of school age children. This may be geared toward helping the child maintain friendships in school, helping children overcome learning disabilities and sibling rivalry. Children have occasional discipline issues as well, which can be handled in this type of parenting class.
An often overlooked type of parenting class is that of parenting teens. Children from ages 13-18 will change a lot during these years. They will test the limits of the parents and may get involved in sexual behaviors, drugs, alcohol or smoking. Parents of teens need to know that they aren’t alone in dealing with a difficult teen. They may need advice on how to set limits with a teen who is gradually growing into adulthood.
Parents may take a parenting class because they want to improve their abilities as a parent. They may also be ordered by child protective services or the court because the parent has had difficulties with the law or with child abuse issues. These classes are designed to help the parent cope with going back to parenting after the legal system says it’s okay for the family to be reunited. Parents who go to these kinds of parenting classes often are not happy going to them but must go to them before they can get their children back.
Couples may take a parenting class prior to adopting a child. As they did not know the child from the moment of its birth, they may choose to or be asked to take classes that help them be the best kind of parent they can be. In some cases, there are parenting classes for parents whose children are diabetic or parents whose children are autistic. These kinds of classes are highly specialized and bring together a group of parents who definitely have something in common. Such parents can also get together on a parenting forum to discuss issues even after the classes are over with.
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