What Benefits Can You Get From Parenting Classes?

Updated January 31, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Parenting is the very definition of on-the-job training, but it doesn’t have to be. A vast network offering a full spectrum of parenting classes and resources is waiting to help you become a better parent. No matter what issues or challenges your family faces, rest assured that someone, somewhere, has also been through it. With the internet, you can connect to parents from around the world. Read on to learn about parenting classes, what kinds of benefits they offer, and how to choose the most appropriate style for you. 

What Are Parenting Classes?

Parenting classes are a method of providing additional training and education to parents in order to improve parenting knowledge and skills, target specific issues, provide a support network, and become better parents. The general goal of these educational opportunities is to provide support and guidance to help parents connect with their children and teach them ways to be involved in and focused on their child’s development through every stage of life. 

Recent studies show that not only are parenting classes effective at improving parenting skills, as shown in this 2017 study, but they also lead to long-term benefits after the class has ended, as seen in this 2018 study

Parenting Classes Are For:

  • Soon-to-be parents

  • First-time parents of a newborn

  • Parents of older children with behavioral or developmental issues

  • Parents who want to learn new skills

  • Parents struggling to connect with older children

  • People who regularly care for your child, like grandparents, family, etc. 

  • Foster and adoptive parents hoping to build strong connections with your new child. 

Do You Want To Learn Ways To Be A Better Parent?

Do All Parents Need Classes?

Some may think the need for a parenting class calls one’s parenting ability into question, but the opposite is often true. Recognizing the need to learn more and taking action indicates an active, engaged parent in tune with their and their child’s needs. 

Parenting Class Categories

  • Expecting Parents

Before you become a parent for the first time is an ideal time to take a parenting class. Learn what to expect through pregnancy, childbirth, and your child’s infancy. Classes for expecting parents may also cover the basics of newborn care, with topics such as feeding, bathing, soothing, and safe sleeping. Infant CPR training is also a common component of these classes. 

  • New Parent And Baby

Now that your child has arrived, you may be overwhelmed with caring for a tiny person. It can be helpful to take a class for new parents. You will likely cover topics that teach efficient ways to care for and connect with your baby, receive advice from experienced parents, and make supportive connections with other new parents. 

  • Child Development

As your child ages, you’ll likely face many challenges related to child development. Learn what the typical milestones are and when you should be concerned with your child’s progress, how to handle behavioral issues like temper tantrums or sibling rivalries, and tips from experts on how to help your child grow up happy and healthy.

  • Specific Needs

Parenting can often make you feel isolated and as if you are the only one experiencing a particular parenting issue. However, you are not alone. There are usually specialized classes to help parents with specific problems, such as challenging gifted children, managing developmental disabilities, or handling medical difficulties. From co-parenting after divorce to fostering or adopting and everything in between—there’s a class for that. If your local community doesn’t provide the type you want, consider taking an online course to meet your needs.  

“Parent education reduces the risk of child abuse and neglect by encouraging positive parenting practices that promote safety, well-being, and permanency for children and families,” said the Child Welfare Information Gateway

What Parenting Classes Can Teach You

Parental education can be an excellent tool for learning effective, positive strategies to raise your children. From learning the basics of caring for an infant to finding the most useful ways to adjust your life after your child is diagnosed with a medical or behavioral issue, parenting classes can help you learn the valuable skills necessary to be a positive, engaged parent.

Preparation For The Most Important, Complex Job You’ll Have

The key to success at most jobs is preparation, and raising children is no different. Taking a parenting class can give you a realistic idea of what to expect as you become a parent for the first time. From learning to swaddle your new baby to knowing how to soothe their screaming in the middle of the night, experienced teachers are waiting to help you get ready for the most important job you’ll ever have. 

Learn About Yourself And How To Be A Better Parent 

Children will generally model their behavior after yours. As a parent, you will be your child’s first and most crucial teacher. Classes can help you learn healthy ways to manage stress and model positive behavior for your child. Learn practical strategies to manage your anger and frustration and how to turn your child’s missteps into learning opportunities. 

How To Provide Boundaries And Positive Discipline

With the support and guidance of experts, you can learn how to provide reasonable boundaries and limitations for your children. Kids need to learn responsibility in age-appropriate stages, and parenting classes can help you decide when they are ready for more. Classes can teach you to use positive discipline to turn mistakes and misbehavior into chances to grow and learn.  

Working As An Effective Team With Your Partner

Whether you are co-parenting after a split or learning to raise your child alongside your partner, parenting classes can help you develop strategies to work together as a team. It can be essential to agree about critical aspects of parenting and to present a united front.

Manage Problems With Positive Practices

You may face many complex and challenging situations as a parent or guardian. Learn helpful ways to work through problems while offering your child the support they need. When things get tough for your child, and they need help getting through it, you’ll be there and ready with positive parenting practices.

How To Choose The Right Parenting Class For You

Start by looking for classes geared toward parents with children the same age as your child. A course on newborns isn’t going to offer much helpful information to the parent of teenagers. If your child hasn’t been born, it’s a bit early to worry about toddler tantrums and potty training. Once you find classes appropriate for your child’s age and developmental stage, narrow the list by factoring in any relevant diagnoses, what you want to learn, and your parenting style compared to the instructor’s.

You can often find parenting classes at hospitals, pediatrician offices, and social service facilities, along with nearly countless online options. 

Benefits Of Parenting Classes

  • Learn about multiple parenting philosophies. Take the parts you like and build something that fits your family. 

  • Build a happier, healthier family dynamic. 

  • Correct harmful or counter-productive parenting practices.

  • Parenting is stressful. Learn practical coping skills to help you positively manage the stress and frustration. 

  • Gain a vast and varied support network. Even when they cannot help, it can be beneficial to feel you’re not alone. 

  • Build and maintain a healthy, lifelong relationship with your child through every age and stage of their development. 

  • Learn to facilitate difficult conversations with your children. 

  • Be aware of your child’s developmental stages so you know what’s normal and what may need to be addressed with a medical professional. 

  • Set realistic expectations for the future and prepare for them. 

  • Elevate your problem-solving abilities with creative approaches to parenting situations. 

Do You Want To Learn Ways To Be A Better Parent?

How Therapy Can Help

If parenting classes alone aren’t making enough impact, consider speaking with a therapist for individual or family therapy to work through the issues you’re experiencing. Working with a licensed therapist can be beneficial as you learn communication skills to connect with your child and coping strategies to manage stress. Many people choose online treatments through virtual therapy platforms like BetterHelp for the flexible appointment formats—phone, video call, or online chat—significantly reduced costs and wait times, and the convenience of receiving treatment from home.   

Recent studies show online family therapy to be as effective as the in-person alternative. In many cases, the virtual environment and added convenience led to higher participation rates and comfort for younger patients. For individual therapy, online cognitive behavioral therapy is a helpful way to identify and correct harmful behaviors and thought patterns and a viable alternative to treatment in the traditional office setting. 

Takeaway 

Children do not come with an instruction manual, and sometimes it can be beneficial to seek expert advice to stay on course with your parenting goals. The information outlined in this article may make it easier to see the value in parenting classes and choose the perfect style to build your skills, manage your stress, and be a healthy, positive influence on your kids. 

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