Date: 2/24/2014

A Parenting Choice; Should Parents Take Parenting Classes?

Co-parenting ClassesMark: One of the biggest misconceptions about a mandatory parenting class for divorce, is that the curriculum is about teaching someone how to be a  mom or a dad. It’s never about second guessing your parenting instincts or your good intentions as a parent. It’s more about navigating the often treacherous seas of communication.

In truth, this type of class has a very narrow focus. We teach strategies and skills as they pertain tobeing a parent when your parenting partner is living apart from you but not your child. We emphasize how to parent, to coach, to explain and to guide your children when your home must function divided. When the other parent (or Co-Parent ) is literally apart from you in a separate home.

Acting as a co-parent, it’s a completely different matter. It’s common to have additional external stresses attached to this type of scenario. The complications inherent to co-parenting must frequently be considered. Especially when making a parenting decision that will set boundaries and/or rules for your child. Many times you’ll second guess yourself and ask, “Am I handling this the right way?”

Well, parenting classes, such as discuss parenting skills within the context of co-parenting. It can be argued that all parents can benefit from gaining specific advice & strategies on how to handle problems that arise while parenting apart from the co-parent — In fact, these problems can range from the mundane to the extraordinary. Make no mistake, all the things you say to your children under these divided conditions can escalate or get dragged out unnecessarily .

For example, take into consideration what will happen when a child receives mixed signals or conflicting direction from parents who are living apart. If what you want from the child, fails to reach the child, then even the simplest direction will become difficult for the child to comply with. In this case it’s not about the parents being consistent with their parenting style of objectives, it’s more about helping the child understand that rules are different and that some rules can be, apparently in conflict, but equally accepted and easy to follow.

Wow! This type of thing can even happen to parents who are on the same page and living in the same house.These communication conflicts guiding acceptable behavior are not limited to just divorced or separated parents. Children get handled all sorts of ways by a vast range of people from grandparents to teachers. In many cases the negative impact of such parenting is easily mitigated.

But what happens when the solution is not so simple? Couldn’t knowing a variety of strategies for you to draw from be helpful? I’m talking about parenting skills not parenting instincts. I’ve observed that instincts are better informed in parents who have practiced communicating with their children in a wide variety of situations. The topics can be replaced. You can always find the right words to say given enough time to reflect, but it’s the “how to handle this” (the lack of a strategy) that very often stops parents from taking any action at all!

This is our goal; to inform and prepare parents with ideas, yet leave the words and parenting style up to the individual. It’s not about being a Mom or being a Dad – it’s about being a communicator…

We’re interested to know; What is the best parenting skill you possess?

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