Parenting Matters: Learning about parenting

There are good parents and some parents who aren’t very good. We read about some of the poorest kind of parents in the newspapers with all too much regularity. So what makes the difference?

All of us know something about parenting. We were parented so obviously we know how our parents parented. But your own experience is usually just one kind of parenting and there are many different ways to be good parents and also to be not so good.

So what have you learned about different ways to parent your child? Who do you talk with when you are having difficulties with your child? Have you read a book on parenting recently? Have you taken a class on parenting?

No one way is the only good way to parent. You need to find a way that you are comfortable with and that is good for your child. Often this takes really looking around to figure out the best way for your family. When you read a book on parenting, you may find some ideas you like and others you wouldn’t touch.

Some books will emphasize just one aspect of parenting. Books such as “Positive Discipline,” “Setting Limits with Your Strong-Willed Child” or “ScreamFree Parenting” are some of the kinds you look to for information on how to discipline your child. If you have a child who is fearful and worries a great deal, look for books such as “Freeing Your Child From Anxiety.”

If sleep problems are your issue, look at books such as “Helping Your Child Sleep Through The Night.” To understand the importance of language including reading and writing, “Literacy Begins at Birth” is a good place to start.

“How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk” is filled with ideas that will give you ways to talk to your child rather than yelling or pleading.

As your child grows into the teen years, there are many books for the problems you confront. One you can just leave out on the coffee table as well as read is “Yes, Your Teen Is Crazy.” The message is clear to your teen. “Parenting for Dummies” gives lots of advice on many topics.

If you rely on your neighbor or friend for advice make sure you see the results of what they have done. If their child is out of control, look elsewhere. Ask for help from your child’s preschool teacher if that seems appropriate.

Go back to school

Another good way to learn about parenting is to take a parenting class. Different groups in our area offer classes during the year. Ones that are funded by United Way, by Clallam County Prevention Works or by the local school district have been tested to make sure they are effective.

First Teacher in Sequim is just finishing a class this week that has been very successful. Beginning in the middle of September, we will be offering another class for parents of young children.

Taking a class usually will allow you to hear from others in the class as well as the instructor. Most classes allow for free discussion so you will hear what others are doing that seems to work.

No one source is the only way to go to in order to improve your parenting skills. Check out several. The books mentioned above are just few of the many books that are there to help.

If you want to take a class, give us a call at First Teacher (681-2250) and we will try to help you find one. Do something to become the best parent you can be; your child deserves your best.


Cynthia Martin is the founder of the First Teacher program and director of Parenting Matters Foundation, which publishes newsletters for parents, caregivers and grandparents. Reach Martin at or at 681-2250.


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