First-Time Parents: Should you Take Parenting Classes?

First-time parents

Surprised to learn that you are expecting…unexpectedly? Parenting can feel intimidating even when your pregnancy is planned for a lot of reasons, the same as getting to prenatal appointments or preparing for the cost of diapers and formula. But outside of those logistics, knowing how to raise a child can also feel overwhelming.

Children require different things from parents at different ages and stages throughout their childhood, and no two children are the same. Furthermore, our own experiences as infants, children, and adolescents can influence how we raise our own children – positively or negatively –

 unless we understand what our children need from us and why we think and behave the way we do.

Whether you are facing unplanned pregnancy or just looking for guidance and support as a first-time parent, the free classes at Willow Womens Center check all of those boxes.

Should First-Time Parents Take Parenting Classes?

As you work through your ‘first-time parent checklist,’ parenting classes deserve a spot on that list.

A few of the reasons you might take a parenting class:

  • Just like childbirth classes put your worries about giving birth at ease, parenting classes can ease your anxieties about raising a child.
  • Nobody is born knowing how to raise children in today’s society; there is no handbook,  but there are classes that help make the gray areas black and white.
  • Your own experiences may influence the way you parent – sometimes unintentionally in a way that can be harmful to your child’s development. Parenting classes help you better understand exactly what children need and how to overcome your own experiences to parent effectively.
  • How you parent will impact your child more significantly than whether you bottle or breastfeed, what brand of diapers you use, or what clothes or toys you buy.
  • Parenting classes at Willow Womens Center are free, so you can improve your skills without spending anything at all.

When you think about the reasons not to take a parenting class, the list is short. Perhaps the only disadvantage is that parenting classes require a small investment of your time when you are already trying to juggle a busy schedule.

What are the Benefits of Parenting Classes?

Parenting classes can help you raise children who are able to cope with their feelings, recognize and respond to the feelings of others, overcome adversity, and make good decisions. All of these skills help your children lead healthy, happy, and successful lives – and some day they will raise healthy, happy, successful children themselves!

Some of the benefits of taking parenting classes include:

  • better understanding of how your child is developing, thinking, feeling, and behaving, which improves your parenting style
  • an enhanced support network as you connect with other parents and hear their stories, struggles, feelings, and resources while they work through the same ages and stages
  • improved parental mental health and ability to cope with the feelings that can accompany caregiving, such as guilt, anger, anxiety, and depression
  • fewer negative behaviors and more positive, pro-social behaviors among your children when you participate in parenting classes and use what you have learned in practice
  • lower likelihood of child abuse or using corporal punishment when you have the skills you need to understand your children, drive positive behavior, and avoid power struggles
  • more confidence in yourself and your parenting skills as you learn and connect with others, practice those skills, and see the results

Parenting classes are helpful for everyone, but they can be especially helpful for those who are worried about their ability to parent. We don’t always get to choose our experiences in life, and the most difficult experiences can influence our skills and ability to cope. You might be worried if:

  • you struggle with anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues that make it challenging to cope with stress and negative behaviors or emotions
  • Child Protective Services has been involved in your children’s lives in the past
  • you were not planning to have a child right now or are not sure you want a child right now
  • you may be raising the child alone or with minimal support
  • your own parents were lacking parenting skills and you are  not sure how to raise children because you never had a great example yourself
  • You are facing challenges meeting basic needs, such as food, water, and shelter
  • You are struggling with substance abuse or addiction

It is never too late to improve your confidence and competency as a parent, and parenting classes provide compassionate, empathetic, and loving support as you work to learn and grow.

How do you Choose the Correct Parenting Class?

Willow Womens Center offers three parenting classes, and choosing the right class for you is relatively easy.

Love and Logic: Early Childhood Parenting Made Fun® teaches skills for parents of children ages to birth to six years old. If you only have children who are six and under, this is the right class for you.

Parenting with Love and Logic® offers skills for parents of all ages. If you have older children or children in multiple age groups, this program will work well for you. Because the classes at Willow Womens Center are free, many parents take more than one class.

Love and Logic: Adults Supporting Youth with Challenging Pasts® is geared toward the parents and guardians of children who have experienced trauma during their lives. These children need a different kind of support, and with training and education you can provide exactly what they need to overcome adversity and lead happy and fulfilling lives.

Free Parenting Classes at Willow Womens Center

To summarize, there is no textbook for raising children. It is hard for even the healthiest adults and even more challenging for those facing adversity. Parenting classes provide a compassionate, loving environment in which you can learn, network, and build confidence, preparing you and your child for long-term success together.

Are you ready to make the most important investment you will make as a current or expectant parent? You can get more information on the free parenting classes at Willow Womens Center here. Willow Womens Center offers pregnancy counseling, pregnancy testing, early pregnancy ultrasound, STI testing, and parenting classes in Beloit, Wisconsin.