Parent Education is the provision of structured, parenting skill development experiences to parents, grandparents, foster parents and other caregivers. Education regarding parenting, discipline, and child development is a means to provide parents with at-risk children with tools to discipline, understand, and love their children. FFC provides a combination of individual and group parent training since it is the most effective approach when building skills that emphasize social connections and parents’ ability to access social supports. However, the individual approach will be used when serving families in need of specific or tailored services, as this is most effective.
Families First Center’s Parent Education group classes make use of various teaching methods to accommodate for different learning styles. Teaching methods include lecture, video, activities, role playing, class discussions, a book (for Classes B and C), handouts, and other teaching methods based on the needs of the group. Families First Center offers three separate Parenting Education classes which are divided by age groups. Parents who have children in different age groups find it helpful to attend more than one class.
A. “The Baby Nurturing Class”
This 10 week class covers pregnancy thru preschool (ages 0-4) and focuses on bonding and nurturing. Topics covered include: prenatal care, the dangers of drug and alcohol use during pregnancy, new mother care, basic baby care, breastfeeding and bottle feeding, nutrition, safety in the home, health and illnesses, basic child development, bonding and attachment, language development and communication, discipline, stress management, increasing support systems, avoiding Shaken Baby Syndrome, avoiding SIDS, discipline, boundaries, choosing good caregivers, etc.
B. “1-2-3 Magic”
This 10 week class focuses on parenting children age 2-12 and teaches the 1-2-3 Magic Discipline approach developed by Thomas W. Phelan, Ph.D. Class topics include: controlling obnoxious behavior, tantrums, testing limits, whining, pouting, sibling rivalry, getting up and out in the morning, homework, eating, chores and bedtime. Nutrition, safety in the home and protecting your child from abuse is also covered.
C. “STEP Teen”
This 8 week class is for parents of teenagers (age 13-17) and teaches the STEP (Systematic Training for Effective Parenting) approach. Topics include: understanding teenagers and changing your response to your teen, communicating encouragement and respect, problem solving, encouraging cooperation and building responsibility by using consequences.
Parent Educators are like parent coaches and are often more involved in sessions than Visit Supervisors. They offer guidance during parenting time with the children. The Parent Educators typically meet with parents briefly before sessions to plan and afterward sessions to process how the session went, discuss the parents’ goal rating, praise parents for what they did well and offer suggestions for improvement.
Families First Center’s parenting education program is strength-based, family centered, offers individual and group sessions, is led by Masters level Parent Educators, and includes specific, measurable parent education goals.
Parent Educators will encourage peer support, involve fathers, promote positive family interactions, use interactive training techniques, and provide opportunities to practice skills during parenting time.
Families First Center completes in-home assessments with parent(s) and children before, during, and after program completion. The assessment will identify appropriate developmental expectations, empathy, use of corporal punishment, role reversal, family cohesion, family expressiveness, and family independence.