Parenting Classes Helped This Dad
Guest Author, Anne Kass, - a retired District Judge of Albuquerque, New Mexico
Parents in divorce court are frequently ordered to enroll in parenting classes. Our goal is to help them learn more effective parenting skills.
Not long ago a father wrote to tell me how much he valued what he had learned when he went to study how to be a parent. Here are some of his words:
"The last thing that was discussed tonight was how to reason, explain and help my child learn from mistakes rather than punishing him. For instance, he neglected to feed his horse a few times. So my wife and I sat him down, and explained that unlike one of us, an animal is pinned up and can't go to the fridge and get a snack, or can't ask to have something fixed for them. We told him that Salty depends on him for her dinner, and without him feeding her she goes to bed without dinner and is very hungry and that is very sad. He has not missed a feeding since."
From the third class, he reported, "In this meeting we learned that we should treat kids the way we would like to be treated. For instance, if he is on the telephone, we should turn down the TV. and be quiet until he is through. This way he will understand why he should be quiet when we adults are on the phone. This has worked real well.
"Also I have learned in this meeting that it's OK to make exceptions to rules. It is not permissiveness. We should save NO's for really important things."
After the fourth lesson he said he wanted always to remember certain guidelines. They were:
-Have a sense of humor.
-Let your children know you love them. Say it, write it, etc.
-Don't embarrass or correct your children in front of their friends and don't compare them to other kids or their brothers and sisters.
At the fifth session he promised himself that he would try very hard never again to say to his son:
-You've blown it.
-How could you do that to me.
-Are you stupid?
-What's the matter with you?
-You'll never make it.
-Your brothers never put us through this.
-After all I've done for you.
In closing, this father told me, "All in all I was very glad I took this class. I may even take more in the future."
Parenting is the single most important job anyone ever undertakes to do. It is also one of the most difficult and complex jobs in the world. No one should be embarrassed to acknowledge they need help to do the job well, and everyone should know help is available.
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