Parenting. The hardest, most trying, taxing, challenging job you’ll ever love. Sure in the moments of unbearable stress you’ll feel like a complete failure, but in the eyes of your child you’re the sublime example of perfection. The pressure of being a “perfect parent” is complete torture and truly an unrealistic expectation for anyone to put on themselves. Everyday your mind is swimming with questions like “Is time-out still accepted?” “Should I just ignore that irritating tantrum?” “How do I get my kid to stop biting?” “Is there really something called ‘the five second rule’?” One way to release yourself of this stress is to commit to continued parenting education.
Imagine the parallel of parenting education to learning how to swim. When you first learn how to swim you start with water safety, blowing bubbles, and floating. Over time you begin to learn different types of strokes and maneuvers in the water that increase your confidence, speed, and overall efficiency as a swimmer. One starts out as a doggy paddler but eventually works up to more Olympic style of swimming (yes, pun intended). This same type of training applies to being a parent. We all jump in the pool of parenthood to eventually doggy paddle our way back up to the surface. We tread water for a bit with what we know or knowledge that has been passed down to us but eventually, we need to try different strokes to keep moving forward. The only way we learn new strokes, or approaches to parenting, is to take classes and workshops focused on how to be a better parent.
There are many evidenced based parenting programs or curriculums available in Oregon. The first step, however, is to decide which will best meet the challenges that you are facing as a parent. Some parent programs focus on skills needed for particular age ranges, such as infants/toddler, preschoolers, school age, tweens, and even teenagers. Other parenting curriculums may tailor toward families facing multiple high risks, families with particular cultural values, or families that have a child with a disability. A parenting educator once told me, “There are two types of children—teenagers and children who will become teenagers.” That being said, parenting education is a journey that starts from infancy to adulthood. You will not encounter the same kind of dilemmas with a preschooler that you will with a tweener. It’s important to stay abreast of the needs of your children by being equipped with the parenting skills that will apply at that developmental moment. The advantage of enrolling in parenting classes is two-fold, you will feel confident and successful in your role and your children will benefit from the skills you’ve learned.
Where do you start to search for parenting classes? A great place to start is by visiting the Oregon Parenting Education Collaborative (OPEC) website. OPEC is dedicated to supporting parents in Oregon. You can sign up for their monthly newsletter to receive up to date information on parenting tips and events in your county. Specifically for Marion Counties, you can access a calendar of events where you can see a list of parenting classes offered through the Early Learning Hub. Polk County has a robust calendar of events. Parenting is a daily challenge and will definitely test you, however, trust that there are resources available.
“I wish I never enrolled in parenting classes….said NO parent ever.”
The Parenting Hub would love to about your experiences with any parenting classes you’ve taken. We would also love to help connect you with parenting resources. Please send your questions and feedback to: email@example.com.