Are Parenting Classes Worth It?

We learned via an article by Slate that Britain attempted to launch a pilot program which offered parenting classes for lower income families in 2012. They expected “around 20,000 parents of children under five to show up. Fever than 3,000 did”. 

However, British Prime Minister David Cameron announced a second plan, in which a £70 million anti-poverty plan will provide emotional support to families by offering a parenting class program. This plan will also include low income and middle class families in hopes of “shedding the stigma that only poor families need such help; he says he wants it to become “normal, even aspirational, to attend parenting classes.”

Slate reports that the parenting classes may be influenced by Jack Shonkoff, director of Harvard University’s Center on the Developing Child. They report that, “Shonkoff is behind research that demonstrates how young children raised in a hostile or unresponsive environment produce stress hormones that interfere with their brain development. As they grow older, these children tend to have a harder time concentrating, learning, and assessing risk.” 

The United States has not implemented anything like Cameron’s plan, however there are resources available to parents here at home. 

Slate reports that Harlem Children’s Zone’s “Baby College", a parenting program, teaches parents “how to talk to and stimulate their children as well as giving parents a chance to share their personal experiences and hear from one another.” HCZ says that “children of parents who used this program are better positioned to succeed in school; for example, 81 percent of these parents report that they read to their children more often.”

Although a report from the American Institutes for Research found that there is a lack of analysis of these programs, the research completed so far suggests that parenting classes can be helpful in supporting the well-being of children. 

At Community Well, we pride ourselves in supporting parents and families. Starting in February, Intro to Parenting will start off a series of workshops to help parents explore the parenting beliefs and styles and create a consistent foundation for raising their children. Sign up for the series to learn techniques on how best support your child’s well-being, from birth to adulthood. 

Also, feel free to drop-in to our weekly Parents Gathering and New Moms Support Group for more advice and parenting tips. Bring your kids, laugh, learn and be in community with other parents.

Parenting isn’t the easier task, but Community Well is here to help!