Parent Education for Raising Children

5Oct

For children to develop fully as human beings, they need love, attention, understanding and support from adults. When parents do not fulfill the essential needs of children, they are denied a solid foundation for achieving their potential. There is a great need for parent education and support.

Even in the best of circumstances, the abruptness of the new parental role, the uniqueness of each child, coupled with the child’s rapid physical, intellectual, and emotional development, make the parent’s job demanding, and at times overwhelming.

Add to this equation, social isolations, lack of personal and economic resources and external stressors (dangerous and resource-poor-neighborhoods). It is not coincidence that most child abuse begins during the first three years of life, with a high occurrence during the first year. In 1994, the Report of the Carnegie Task Force on Meeting the Needs of Young Children cited a “quiet crisis” among our nation’s families with infants, toddlers and preschoolers. The Carnegie report underscores the critical importance of nurturing this age group. It is simply how individuals function from elementary school years all the way through adulthood. It hinges on their experiences before the age of three.

Of the twelve million children under the age of three in the United States today, the report states a staggering number are affected by one or more risk factors that undermine healthy development. One in four lives in poverty, one in four lives in a single-parent home; only half of all infants, toddlers, and preschoolers in our country are routinely read to by their parents.

Worse than neglect is the evidence of abuse. One in three victims of physical abuse is a baby under the age of one. Almost 90% percent of children who died of abuse and neglect in 1990 were under the age of five, and 53% percent were less than one year old. The leading cause of death among children age one to four is unintentional injury.

As a Trained Parent Educator, it is helpful to address the diverse skills needed in raising a young child through the formative years. Many programs only focus on single issues such as discipline or communication. These programs do offer great advice, but parenting is complex. There is a need to target specific groups within the zero to five ranges, i.e., infants, toddlers and preschoolers.

Do you know what the standardized curriculum is? It is needed as a basis for valid, reliable evaluation and which would allow for systematic improvements in existing parenting programs.

It is not just parent education, but also a parent development program based on the understanding that information is important for personal growth, and learning ways to change some old behaviors into new skills. It stresses the development of the whole person — both of children and of adults. Our goal as a parent is to help our kids grow roots, and grow wings, and to give them what it takes to make it in the big world outside the home.

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