Why Are Parenting Classes So Important and Should I Start Them?
By: Dylan Buckley
Updated August 19, 2021
Medically Reviewed By: Heather Cashell
If you're an expecting parent, there's likely a lot on your mind. You're thinking about how to paint the nursery, what toys and books you should buy for the baby, what goes on your baby shower registry, and even how to childproof your home. However, one resource for parenting that's often overlooked and understated are parenting classes.
Parenting classes are one of the most important investments you'll make because they'll teach you everything you need to know about raising your child, what you should expect as they develop, and what you should do throughout. Classes can also help parents navigate more complicated issues, such as death or divorce. Regardless of the type of class that you're seeking out, we'll discover some of the benefits associated with taking these classes as we take a closer look at them.
Is A Parenting Class A Necessity For Every Single Parent?
Some parents may be hesitant to seek out classes because they think that they may look or feel less like a real parent for needing guidance. The truth's that no one knows exactly what they're doing when they have a child. If going to classes proves anything, it shows that you're a great parent for wanting the best for your child and for being able to go out and get the best possible tools to do it. To get you started, let's take a look at what parenting classes can provide for you.
What Are Parenting Classes And What Do They Do For Parents?
What are parenting classes? They are, you guessed it, a class where you can go to learn how to be an awesome parent. It teaches you everything you need to know before you expect a child and all of the important milestones and tips that you'll need once they've been welcomed into the world.
If you're looking at more advanced parenting classes for children who are already a little older, you may be going through a divorce or another major life event. In this case, you need to help your child, as well as yourself, figure out better ways of parenting without another parent in the picture. These types of classes deal with even more valuable content, like discipline, co-parenting, and how to work with blended families.
Some Of The Things Your Parenting Class Will Do For You And Your Children
Below are some everyday things you'll learn about in parenting classes.
Learning About Your Child
If you're an expecting parent, you're going to learn more about your child and their development throughout life in your classes. You'll learn about their initial capabilities and how they're going to develop throughout their life. You'll discover what they're capable of at three months, six months, and even further than that. Understanding your child a little better and how they're going to develop and grow helps you prepare for how you're going to parent them through all of these changes. These classes will help you know what to expect as well, such as when your baby could start crawling or when they'll start interacting with you.
Learning About You
Understanding yourself is another crucial aspect of parenting classes. You'll find out more about your strengths and weaknesses and how your own childhood may have impacted you. If you're taking these classes with a partner, you'll learn how to complement each other, where you each work to improve your strengths and support each other's weak areas. You'll also start to learn more about how to build up those weak areas before you even run into these parenting challenges, which is going to be very beneficial for your little one.
Learning About Discipline
Understanding how to properly discipline your child is an important trait for parents to have, and learning what styles of discipline you do and don't like's crucial before your child is born. After all, you want to make sure that you're consistent with discipline once they're old enough to understand it. Teaching them one parenting method and then changing your mind doesn't work so well unless you learn that one type of discipline doesn't work for your child. In parenting classes, you'll look at the different methods, such as grounding, writing, or timeouts, before your child is old enough to need them.
Learning to Work Together
Whether you and your partner are going to be parenting your child together or separately, it's important to learn how to work together. You need to present a united front to your child as parents, and you need to support each other. That means not going out of your way to undermine one another or to be the 'better parent' or the 'fun parent' while leaving your partner with all of the 'dirty work.' If you aren't working together, your child will notice and may begin acting out because of it.
Learning to Work Through Problems
What if something significant happens in your life or your child's life? Are you prepared to handle the worst? Understanding how to deal with these major parenting problems can be a vital aspect. You want your child to be strong enough to work through and accomplish anything, which means you need to know how to support them in their endeavors. These classes will teach you need-to-know parenting skills like how you're going to work with them when things get tough and help them understand that they can and will get through it.
What Your Child Learns
When you attend these classes, you're teaching your child that it's okay to ask for help. You're teaching them that their parents may not always know all the answers, but they're willing and able to reach out to someone else and go to classes to get the necessary help. Going to classes for parenting shows that there are people out there who can help them with all of those answers and that they can and should look for someone who knows more than they do if they have questions in life.
You're also teaching them that they're important to you and that you want to do anything and everything you can to help them whenever they need it. After all, going to parenting classes means you're learning how to be the best parent for them! You're teaching them that you and your partner, even if you aren't together anymore, are putting them first and want to do everything you can to make sure that their life's going to be as happy, productive, and healthy as possible. This is important because so many separated parents can fall into unhealthy habits like name-calling or fighting that hurt the child more than the ex-partner.
Overall, you're teaching them how to be successful as children and as adults (and maybe parents), because you're taking all of the things that you've learned in those classes and using them to help raise your child healthily and happily. This is going to make a huge difference in their life and knowing that their parents support and love them, even if they don't love each other anymore, is crucial, especially when going through a divorce.
For infants, you're going to be teaching them all the things that they need to be successful in their life because you went through those classes and learned how to be a better parent before they even came into your life. While they may not know it, they're going to reap the benefits of all your time and effort.
Some Parenting Tips That Every Parent Should Know Before Their Parenting Classes
Parenting classes can give you all of the knowledge you need to raise your child, but that doesn't mean that you can't pick up a few helpful tips along the way. If you're curious as to what you can expect to learn in a class, here are some valuable parenting tips that'll give you a better insight into your own practices.
Parents Should focus On Using Positive Reinforcement As Much As Possible With Their Child
Getting angry or engaging in parenting styles that place a heavy emphasis on punishment isn't as effective as focusing on positive reinforcement. When a parent praises and rewards a child for what they're doing right, they're more likely to continue pursuing that positive behavior rather than making poor decisions. Take the time to make sure that your child knows they're praised and loved, and they'll respond appropriately.
Childhood Is Fleeting– A Parent Needs To Spend A Lot Of Time With Their Child
No matter what age your child is, it's vital that you set aside portions of your busy day to spend time with them. Engaging in bonding activities that nurture their minds and make them feel loved and noticed by their parents will help them to grow up healthy and happy.
Don't Project Your Own Problems On Your Children
When you see certain qualities or behaviors in your child and how they interact with you, it can bring you back to your childhood and impact your parenting. It's important that you let your children discover themselves and learn their own personality rather than trying to push your own childhood onto them.
Get An Expert's Advice And Outside Opinion
If you're looking for parenting classes or if you're looking for a little bit of personal help to go along with those parenting classes, you may want to reach out to a professional to find out more. Getting help from a psychiatrist can help you to understand what's going on in your life and how these parenting classes are going to affect you and your child. If you're looking for a professional opinion, you should consider turning to the counselors at BetterHelp. BetterHelp is an online counseling platform that helps users in need to find certified therapists that are the most suitable for them. No matter what kind of parenting assistance or counseling you may need, you can easily connect with a great counselor from the comfort of your own home and on your own schedule. Below are some reviews of BetterHelp, from parents experiencing a range of issues.
Whether you're an expecting parent or are currently watching your child grow up, it's never too late to learn more about parenting. Use the tips above, and know that by seeking outside help, you're simply adding to your parenting toolbox. Take the first step today.
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