Finding out that you are pregnant when you least expect it can be scary. Among questions such as, “Can I afford this?” and, “Do I want to be a parent right now?” you may wonder “Do I know how to be a parent right now?” At Willow Womens Center, we aim to remove barriers to parenthood so that when you are faced with those decisions, you can make the most empowered, informed decision possible. One of the ways we remove those barriers is by offering no-cost parenting classes designed to give advice and teach the skills new parents need to be successful. After attending one of these free classes, parents feel much more confident in their ability to raise a child who will lead a happy, successful life of their own. Then, when you have all the tools and resources you need, you can focus on making a decision on the pregnancy without all those barriers in the way.

Early Childhood Class

Early Childhood Parenting Made Fun® teaches parents of children ages birth through six how to:

  • create an environment at home that encourages responsibility, academic achievement, and resiliency
  • parent through challenging behaviors
  • set healthy limits without fights and power struggles
  • use natural consequences rather than punishment to teach responsibility and character
  • teach their children how to solve problems
  • prepare their children to resist dangerous behaviors like violence, drugs, and alcohol as they get older

The class uses a combination of readings, videos, and group discussions and exercises and offers parents and expecting parents an opportunity to practice each skill as they learn it. It also gives them an opportunity to hear from and connect with other parents in similar situations, which can help them build a support network and feel less alone as they face the challenges of parenting young children.

After taking this class, you will be well prepared to avoid arguments, handle meltdowns, set limits without getting angry, and respond to misbehavior. You will have a better understanding of how children think, why they behave the way they do, and how your response affects the outcome of every situation. Most importantly, you will have the tools and resources you need to encourage the behaviors you want, while creating a safe place where your child feels loved and supported.

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How Effective are Parenting Classes?

Studies have shown that parenting classes are effective in both improving the well-being of parents and improving outcomes for children. Classes are effective whether you take them when you learn that you are expecting, after your children are born, or even when their behavior is already veering off course. It is never too late to invest in your own growth as a parent.

At Willow Womens Center, we know that parenting classes remove only one barrier for men and women facing unplanned pregnancy, and other support is needed for those who choose to move forward with pregnancy and parenting. We partner with other agencies to ensure families have the long-term tools and resources they need to be successful. Those tools and resources might include help with finances, budgeting, housing, health insurance, mental health, domestic violence, basic supplies, and more.

Why is Parenting Education Important?

Very few of us are born with the skills we need to parent children through all ages and stages. Parenting is easiest when we have a variety of tools in our toolbox to parent through common challenges in a healthy way. Proven benefits of parenting education:

  • Decreases the risk of child abuse. Parenting classes help you learn how to prevent situations from escalating and how to issue natural consequences instead of punishments.
  • Improves parental self-esteem. Parents who have taken parenting classes are more competent parents, better able to navigate the challenges that accompany raising children, and their self-esteem grows as a result.
  • Improves the behavior of your child. The children of parents who have taken classes are more likely to engage in positive behaviors such as sharing and empathy, and less likely to engage in negative behaviors such as aggression.
  • Improves your interactions with your child. Parenting classes can help you better understand your child, communicate with your child, and connect with your child.
  • Empowers you to apply positive parenting practices. When you are equipped with the education you need, you will be more likely to nurture your child using routines, positive language, and planned discipline.
  • Helps connect parents. Parenting classes provide an opportunity for parents to build relationships with one another, forming a network of friendship and support.
  • Improves parental mental health. Parents who have the education they need to be successful in raising children experience reduced anxiety and depression.

Parenting classes can benefit everyone, but they are especially beneficial for those who haven’t seen successful parenting in their own life story. If you grew up in a home with ineffective parenting and you have faced challenges and difficult emotions because of it, parenting classes can help you feel more empowered to break the cycle and give your children the comfort, safety, and support they need to lead healthy, happy lives into adulthood.

Willow Womens Center Classes and Services

Do you think you might be pregnant? Willow Womens Center can help. We offer pregnancy tests, confirmation ultrasounds, pregnancy options counseling (adoption, abortion, parenting), testing for sexually transmitted infections, free parenting classes, and referrals to other providers and agencies. We serve as a first point of contact for women and their partners facing an unplanned pregnancy, providing unbiased, compassionate support that promotes your health and well-being and an informed, educated decision that you feel comfortable with in the future. You can schedule an appointment today with full confidence that we will safeguard your private information and provide judgment-free care from the moment you connect with us. We know how overwhelming an unplanned pregnancy can be, and our only goal is to serve as an ally and a support for you as you work through these critical next steps in your journey.