More and more parents are choosing to enroll in parenting classes. It could be because there are so many parenting classes out there to take or maybe because today’s parents are more interested in learning about the latest parenting strategies. Either way, parenting classes can be a great way to learn about your child’s developmental stage while also making connections with other parents. That said before you rush off to enroll in a parenting class, know that no parenting class is perfect. Here are some pros and cons to parenting classes.
Meet other parents
One of the main reasons that parents enroll in parenting classes is to meet other parents. When you have a little one on the scene, it suddenly becomes important to put yourself out there and meet others who are in the same boat as you. Having some parenting solidarity friends is key to finding some stable ground when the waves of parenthood throw you off balance.
A place to ask questions
Parenting classes are the perfect safe place to ask those awkward questions. Is my baby’s poop normal? How much should she be sleeping? Is it okay that he’s not walking yet? Should she be talking by now? What if my toddler hits? Does anyone else cry because all of this is overwhelming? Yes. Yes. And yes! Ask away, concerned parents! More often than not you’ll get reassurance that not only is your baby normal but someone else is going through exactly what you’re going through. And if you do have some serious concerns about baby’s development, someone can give you a referral to where you can go for help. Parental support is tremendously important.
Improve as a parent
I’ve never met a parent who wants to parent badly. Are there bad parents out there? Unfortunately, yes. But generally speaking most parents are doing their best and genuinely want what’s best for their kid. Those parents who are specifically enrolled in parenting classes are often looking to improve their parenting skills, and I think that’s really important. No matter the age of your child, working on improving your parenting is a life-long goal for all of us that changes and develop as our children get older.
Too many comparisons
I know people tell you all the time not to compare your kid to other kids–but it’s so hard not to! Especially if your kid is behind on walking, talking, potty training, or still not sleeping through the night, you might start to worry that you’re doing something wrong. When in reality your kid might just take a little longer to develop certain skills. Also, as an adult, I still wake up in the middle of the night. Some people are just like that. But somehow, parenting classes become this little microcosm of parenting that makes you think whatever is happening in this specific class is what is normal out there in the bigger parenting world. Try not to fret over all the comparisons.
The mom judgment is a real thing. And I do mean mom judgment. I know there are some judgy dads out there–but ladies, let’s be real. We can be our own worst enemies. Those judgy moms are almost certainly in the same parenting class you’re in. Great. There is nothing worse than trying your best as a mom and getting caught doing something “wrong” by a judgy mom. Why? Because she is going to make it known, be it passively or directly, that she thinks she’s a better mom than you. Moms don’t need that. We are hard enough on ourselves, and we are all in this motherhood thing together. No mother is perfect. We all make bad calls. We’ve all lost it at Target with witnesses and everything. Don’t let your mistakes define you as a mother. I also think that we as moms need to shut down the judgy mom haters and work hard to counter their negativity with positive parenting messages. That said, the sad truth of it is those judgy moms are literally everywhere. Your parenting classes, the park, PTA meetings, you likely have some relatives like this. My advice is to learn how to either shut it down or tune it out.
Parenting classes often meet weekly for a set number of weeks. Depending on your schedule either the available classes are perfect for your schedule or there is nothing that works. I’ve learned there is little in between. These limited class availability can be really frustrating especially if you are a working mom. Stay-at-home moms, I know, you’re busy too. You have your own unique challenges. This is not a platform to start a mom war. But working moms, in particular, have a difficult time finding parenting classes that work with their work schedule and can quickly feel isolated as moms. Working moms need a support group too, and parenting classes are, unfortunately, biased towards stay-at-home parents.
Since there is no such thing as a perfect world, we shouldn’t be surprised that there is no such thing as a perfect parenting class. It’s up to you to determine if the pros outweigh the cons when you sign up for a class. My advice is to be open-minded and realistic about what it is that you want to get from your parenting class.
Share your advice, parents! What kinds of parenting classes have you taken and what were they like? Did you love them? Hate them? Share in the comments below!