While parenting might sometimes seem overwhelming for the most seasoned parents, it can be downright scary for first-time parents, especially those that never had siblings or don't have a lot of experience with kids. Parenting classes are typically available at churches, hospitals and community centers. These classes can help you deal with daily parenting issues and problems, as well as help you understand why problems arise and if what you're experiencing is normal or requires a professional opinion.
Basic Parenting Skills
Parenting definitely does not come with a manual on how to do everything from birth through adulthood. Some parenting classes focus on the most basic of skills like changing a diaper, swaddling and bathing. During the first year of development, an infant typically reaches certain milestones like rolling over, sitting up, crawling and standing. While all children develop at different rates, a parenting class can give you a time frame as to when these milestones should occur -- and let you know when you should consult with your pediatrician if your infant isn't reaching a milestone. A parenting class will generally discuss other issues and problems that parents face like how to get an infant to sleep through the night -- and when and how to start potty training.
As a parent, it's not uncommon to sometimes ask yourself, "Am I doing this right?" Parenting classes can also discuss parenting skills, offering advice on how to handle problems that arise -- from tantrums in little ones to defiant behavior in older children. You can get the affirmation you need that you're making appropriate decisions regarding your child -- and talk with other parents facing the same issues. You might discover that there are other ways to address problems, as well as other methods for disciplining your child or dealing with parent/child power struggles. You might leave a class with a new perspective on your parenting choices.
Parenting classes allow you to make new friends who are dealing with similar issues. Furthermore, your new friends will likely have children the same age, so you can set up play dates, giving your child a chance to socialize with others. Parenting classes are also a good way to obtain recommendations for pediatricians, child psychologists and nutritionists. Once the classes are over, you’ll find these friends valuable if you want another parent’s opinion on a problem you’re facing or a choice you need to make.
Parenting classes are often required as part of a divorce. State requirements for these classes vary; some states allow you to take the classes online. Even if parenting classes aren't a divorce requirement, they can offer valuable information to help you and your children through the divorce process. Divorce parenting classes help parents renew their parenting skills and learn how to restructure their families. These parenting classes typically teach you how to co-parent, deal with blended families and how to help your children deal with the stress of the divorce.