Programs that offer classes for parents and/or for parents and their children that focus on the developmental stages of maturation from infancy through adolescence and the child rearing problems that arise with each stage. Classes may be purely instructional or may include an experiential element in which parents bring their infants or toddlers to class and observe their behaviour as an example of the specific material being discussed.
Programs that are specially designed for parents who are separated, in the process of divorcing or have divorced or who never married but have children and who need to develop the knowledge and skills to understand and respond to the special needs their children may have as a result of the divorce/separation and to succeed in their ongoing roles as mother and father despite the fact that they are no longer husband and wife or partners. Topics may include the impact of separation and divorce on families, developmental stages of children and expected reactions to divorce, skills parents can use to minimize stress and help children to cope, guidelines for reducing conflicts and solving custody issues out of court and recognizing when a child needs special help and where to find resources. Co-parenting workshops may also be structured for parents in other situations.
Programs that provide educational and supportive services for parents with disabilities and/or parents of children with disabilities who want to acquire the knowledge and skills they need to be effective in their parenting role.
Programs that provide educational and supportive services for new parents or those expecting a child, to prepare them on an emotional and practical level for the impact the newborn will have on their lives and relationships. Initial focus areas include healthy eating for the mother, danger signs in pregnancy, sibling preparation and being ready for labour and delivery, followed by practical information on basic infant care, newborn behaviours, baby supplies, bathing techniques, diapering, breastfeeding and other feeding options, as well as infant and childhood illnesses. Later topics may include walking, talking, toilet training and other aspects of child development, all to help ensure that infants and toddlers are nurtured, live in a safe environment and receive proper health care. Included are programs open to all as well those targeting special populations such as low income individuals or teenagers.
Programs that visit the homes of parents who want to acquire the knowledge and skills to be effective in their parenting role and provide parenting education services in the family setting. The programs may focus on teen parents; parents who need to develop skills to handle a difficult child; families who want to learn school-readiness activities to share with their child; individuals for whom parenting is a new experience; families at risk for child abuse, neglect or out-of-home placement; or others who have issues that are most effectively resolved in the home environment.
Programs that operate a telephone counselling and information line that parents can call when they have childhood development questions, need advice regarding a specific parenting problem or need a referral for parenting resources.
Programs that teach skills that enable parents to deal constructively and consistently with a broad spectrum of child rearing problems which may include sibling rivalry; school behaviour and performance; poor self-esteem; shyness; drug use; sexual promiscuity; and the whole range of negative, acting-out behaviours including whining, temper tantrums, disobedience, insolence and destructiveness. Some parenting skills development programs utilize a step-by-step approach for managing specific problems and may incorporate application at home of techniques that were discussed and practiced in the classroom setting. Other programs may offer participatory family workshops which provide opportunities for parents and children to learn and practice methods for dealing with one another under the guidance of a trained facilitator. Most training programs teach the parent a particular way of talking and relating to their children that reinforces positive behaviours and communication and decreases negative behaviours while supporting the development of a relationship that is built on fairness, mutual caring and respect.
The above terms and definitions are part of the Taxonomy of Human Services, used here by permission of INFO LINE of Los Angeles.