Nepal | November 11, 2019

Parenting education: Gaining in popularity

Geeta Subedi

Parent education should be a part of every child’s public education. Having parental responsibility means assuming all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority that a parent of a child has by law

school-boyParenting education is one of the essential and important concepts to enhance quality education in community schools. Parenting education refers to organized and planned efforts designed to enhance the understanding of and performance in the parental role. The relationship between parents and their infants/toddlers is important because it builds the foundations for the child’s “disposition to investigate”.

The child who develops within this kind of relationship can explore the world around her/him and when faced with stress, can seek and accept help from parents. Such a good start can strongly influence the way the child relates, not only to the parents, but to others now and later. Attachment is very important. The first thing a kid needs to know is that there is someone who ‘adores’ him/her.

Parenting education curriculum teaches parents a particular set of skills and ways of viewing their child and particular attitudes about themselves, their children and their parent relationships. It is essential to include this in school curriculums to understand themselves and others as a whole person. It is believed that it helps in thinking critically, maintainig healthy relationships, and being safe physically and emotionally. These concepts are believed to lead to improved parenting.

Parenting education in school curriculum strengthens families at the critical period of transition to parenthood. It brings together groups of parents who have similar parenting needs, provides them with pertinent information, and helps them to develop supportive peer groups. It offers parents and facilitators comprehensive curriculum materials, providing relevant information about child development, child guidance, health, nutrition, family management and parents’ development. The core of parental services is located in the schools. Parenting education supports services and resources to parents and caregivers to increase their capacity and confidence in raising healthy children. Parent education curriculum is not explicitly discussed in our curriculum.

Research on parenting education shows that parents who are supportive of their children, and provide reasonable controls are more likely to have socially competent children. Social competence includes confidence, independence, responsibility and achievement. Low levels of parental support are related to low self-esteem, deviance, and low risk-taking behaviors. Parenting education is necessary for greater sensitivity and reciprocity too.

We can look at parenting education in a number of ways. At the global level, we, as a society, must realize that there needs to be some change in our values. We must place more values on parenting and on caring for children. At the community level, we must provide general parenting education to all parents. At the individual level, we must target parenting education to those families who have special needs such as a child with a disability, a history of substance abuse, or a background that includes child abuse. Parent educators function more effectively when they are “fellow travellers” with parents rather than teachers. Children need support, care and a nurturing environment. Parents should know realistic attitudes and expectations about child rearing, knowledge of child development and understanding of the developmental meaning of certain key behaviors, secure parent-child attachment, sensitivity to the child’s cues and signals and healthy resolution of the parent’s own childhood issues.

Parenting programs help parents to meet the needs of their young children. The main goals of these programs are to help families make better use of services, build supportive networks of friends, relatives, and neighbors; identify barriers that may hinder school readiness at an early age; identify and offer support to services for families and children; and raise public awareness about the importance of both healthy child development and practices that promote healthy development.

Grandparents program enables grandparents of children with special needs to better understand their own feelings and support their child and grandchild. Parent education classes and family support initiatives are growing in popularity globally. Today’s families are mobile and often do not live close to familial support systems that used to provide information and support for parents. Our culture has changed and the needs of parents and children are different.

Television and the internet have introduced ideas and lifestyles that are often in conflict with parental values. These issues have created changes in parenting. Parent education assists parents in increasing their life skills and success in childrearing.

In a nutshell, from governmental level, funding sources should be provided for parenting education programs that include parent education, juvenile justice, and protective services. Parent education should be a part of every child’s public education. Having parental responsibility means assuming all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority that a parent of a child has by law. Anyone who is recognized as a ‘parent’ has certain rights to receive information, for example pupil reports, to participate in activities, to be asked to give consent to the child taking part in school trips, to be informed about meetings on child.

Subedi is a Training Specialist at REED Nepal

A version of this article appears in print on August 21, 2015 of The Himalayan Times.

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