Saying that parenting is hard is a complete understatement. It is tiring, draining, challenging—and did I mention tiring? It’s also the most rewarding thing that I have ever done, and is worth all the late nights, smelly messes, and stressful car rides.
I am very blessed when it comes to parenting. My wife and I work well together when it comes to our kids. As we were growing up, we both had great examples of what good parenting looks like. We have enough resources to take care of the needs of our kids, and sometimes we can even provide them with an extra experience in life that we didn’t have when we were kids ourselves.
But even with all of those advantages, parenting is still really stressful and hard for us at times. Removing any of those other supports—two parents in the home, good upbringing ourselves, or a lack of resources—would result in making it even harder.
Lifting the Burden
Because of this, there are some organizations outside of the school system that are designed to help support parents with these challenges. From budgeting to discipline and chores to extended family dynamics, these varying programs can help parents to be more successful and lift some of the day-to-day burden of parenting.
If you are a teacher, counselor, principal, or concerned citizen, you may be interested in offering these programs to the parents at your school. Here is a starting place for parent supports that would be worth considering:
- Love and Logic: Love and Logic is a parenting program that helps with discipline and communication with kids. The premise is that we should show our children a lot of empathy (love) while at the same time letting them experience the (logical) consequences of their choices. The information spans the age spectrum, so parents receive tools for working with preschool students and adolescents. There are national workshops that are offered, but schools and churches can also bring them into the community for a parent information/training night.
- Strengthening Families: This program offers parents support in an ongoing basis. The researcher-based structure gives parents tools over time to support them in improving their parenting skills, thereby decreasing the likelihood of abuse or neglect in the home. Parents are provided with guidance in social connections and information about where to go for help when it is needed. For more information about the specifics of the program, see this overview document.
- Cradle to Community: This program, based out of Oakland, California, focuses on early childhood. The objective of the program is to decrease violence and trauma that is too often experienced by our most vulnerable kids, but by doing so through a lens of prevention. The program offers training opportunities along with technical assistance. The model is one that sees the community as the source of the solution, so it requires a collaborative effort between the school district and community partners. For more information, click here.
- Project DULCE: The Developmental Understanding and Legal Collaboration for Everyone (DULCE) program offers parents intensive support from the birth of their child for the first six months of life. The program is typically coordinated through a hospital, offering parents in-home visits and access to guidance at the start of a baby’s life. Currently, the program operates at six sites in the state of California, but the model of the program is one that is similar to others around the country (Reach Out and Read, Whole Child, etc.) Here is more information about the program.
For each school district, there are most likely regional and local community level organizations that can help parents. The programs shared here are intended to demonstrate the types of programs that are out there—some with a focus on the relationship between the parent and child, and others with a focus on helping the parent to know where to turn for help.
The reality for schools is that we need these community-based programs. Because resources are limited within schools, these complimentary groups can help to support the overall mission of the school and district. Many parents need help and support for a variety of reasons; these individual families can feel supported by these community-based groups, which is great for schools in the long run.
Hopefully, these programs can allow educators to feel supported and know where to turn if families need help. Parenting is hard—we need all the help we can get. Do you have a favorite parent program we missed? Let us know in the comments below!
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