Raising a child is a big responsibility, and it requires multiple skills and proper knowledge that most people, especially first-time parents, simply do not have. The readiness of pregnant couples to become parents and make educated decisions while raising a child affects the mental and physical health of their future kids. There are specially designed programs that are aimed to provide education and support for parents. Classes can be taken during pregnancy and early childhood. There are different ways to provide training for parents, including courses that people need to attend personally, online resources, and home visiting programs. To ensure that new pregnant couples are prepared to handle the responsibilities associated with raising kids and with helping alleviate stress and support families, it is essential that parents take parenting education programs.
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Parenting education programs provide new parents with proper guidance that is based on the latest research; they help develop the necessary skills and acquire knowledge about raising kids. Expecting parents are given an opportunity to get professional advice regarding the health of their child and a variety of other topics, like proper nutrition and hygiene (Ponzetti 54-65). Such classes teach basic techniques to raise newborns, avoiding common mistakes and pitfalls.
Educational programs also teach parents to understand child development. The curriculum is specially designed to cover all significant aspects of parenting and ensure that couples are given the best professional advice that is based on the latest studies in the field. Variety of relevant to parents topics that are discussed in classes and the opportunity to learn from medical personnel make attending parenting classes recommended for all expecting parents.
Classes for pregnant couples help parents to gain confidence and reduce the level of stress. It is widespread for future parents to be anxious about having a child. Stress during pregnancy affects the development of the child and interferes with the woman’s ability to make decisions. Specially designed programs help mothers to handle this problem. Taking such classes benefits the psychological state of women and is associated with lower levels of depression and stress (Lindsay and Totsika 35). In addition to that, parenting classes support and encourage parents and provide them with an opportunity to socialize and meet with other people who have similar problems and experiences. Thus, parenting courses have an essential function to support and encourage people who are about to have a child.
Parenting programs provide social service to the disadvantaged and thus play a significant social role in promoting equality. Parenting education plays an important role in developing a proper attitude towards children among people from vulnerable families. Such people often just do not know how to approach their kids because they have not had the experience of healthy relationships with their parents during childhood. Taking parenting classes helps such individuals better realize their role and learn to engage with their kids. People who have taken courses are less prone to negligence and violence against children.
Government finances some classes for caretakers, which makes them inexpensive and sometimes even free of charge. It makes such courses equally available for all people regardless of their socio-economic status (“Free Parenting Education Classes” 00:00:30 – 00:02:00). It is important because children from low-income families are especially vulnerable, and their parents might need extra support and guidance to overcome the disadvantages of their position in society.
Parenting educational programs can be ineffective and might overwhelm parents. The critics of parenting education point out that many of the existing programs are not very effective despite the cost and involvement of highly professional medical personnel and instructors. It often happens because the course is too ambitious and does not take into account the fact that parents are already busy with many responsibilities. Difficulties associated with taking excessively detailed programs are likely to discourage people from participating. It has a negative impact on the stress level of mothers and affects motivation.
As a result, parents drop out of such problems and become disappointed in the social support system in general (Salvy et al. 160). The problem is serious, but it does not outweigh multiple benefits of parenting education, and it can be fixed by optimization of curricula and proper implementation of education programs. It is justified to focus only on the most important aspects of parenting and to keep courses reasonably simple to apprehend. It is also essential to consider the emotional state of parents and provide them with appropriate psychological support.
Parenting programs are aimed to help future parents to improve their ability to raise healthy children. Such programs have an important implication in fighting child abuse and educating pregnant couples about the health of their children. These programs have been shown to have a positive effect, and the flaws that have been found in their implementation can be fixed by further improving methods and techniques they employ to provide parents with the best advice and guidance.
All pregnant couples, especially first-time parents, are recommended to enroll in a parenting class to receive evidence-based support and education during pregnancy and while raising a child. Further research on parenting education programs is needed to develop more effective approaches to the subject and to use such classes to their full potential.
“Free Parenting Education Classes,” YouTube, uploaded by Fairfax County Government. 2018. Web.
Lindsay, Geoff, and Vasiliki Totsika. “The Effectiveness of Universal Parenting Programmes: The CANparent Trial.” BMC Psychology, vol. 5, no. 1, 2017, p. 35.
Ponzetti Jr, James J., editor. Evidence-Based Parenting Education: A Global Perspective. Routledge, 2015.
Salvy, Sarah J., et al. “Home Visitation Programs: An Untapped Opportunity for the Delivery of Early Childhood Obesity Prevention.” Obesity Reviews, vol. 18, no. 2, 2016, pp. 149-163.