As a parent and foster/adoptive parent, Andrea Scheen of Carrington continually looks for ways to improve her skills because, she says, parenting has changed since her older children were young and she wants to keep up with the latest information on raising children.
She has found answers from classes offered by NDSU Extension’s Parent and Family Resource Centers, which are a network of eight regions throughout North Dakota. Parent educators in those regions are trained to facilitate parent groups and teach from a wide variety of research- and evidence-based curriculums.
Parent and Family Resource Centers offer classes for parents of children from birth to teens and a large library of resources, some of which are available in Spanish. These resources are “tools” in their parenting toolbox to help with their most important job – parenting.
The classes and other resources help:
- Create a calm home life
- Improve the parent-child bond
- Reduce power struggles between parents and children
- Improve parents’ understanding of child development and what to expect
The classes have been very beneficial for Scheen.
“It helps you as a parent to keep in mind that the children need to practice making choices in their life to help them as they get older and need to make healthy choices,” she says. “The best part of classes is getting to hear the others in the class share their experiences and new ideas.”
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Parent and Family Resource Centers had to pivot quickly to offer classes online. But instead of being a disadvantage, the parent educators found that online classes offered them greater flexibility. They could offer classes later in the evenings or during typical nap times for children, when parents were more available.
“We found a whole new audience,” says Kim Bushaw, NDSU Extension family science specialist. “We plan to continue to offer classes statewide over Zoom as well as face to face in each region.”