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Parenting classes bring awareness and safety to expecting mothers

By Amanda Lear
On March 31, 2014

As a child development major at Central Michigan University, I have a great deal of knowledge in areas such as child development, parent-child relations, and family studies. I am aware of all the responsibilities that come along with being a first time parent. However, many first time parents are not aware of this knowledge, nor are they prepared for how their life will change after the birth of their baby.

So what do we as a society do to keep expecting mothers and their soon to be children safe and prepared for what is about to come?

The answer is simple.

States should require parenting classes in order to ensure safety and awareness for all expecting mothers.

After completing an infancy growth and development course at CMU, I discovered that up to the 18th century, parents would learn by trial and error on how to treat, comfort, and raise their children. Many of these initial parenting techniques were believed to help infants grow and develop properly, however, many were actually harmful practices.

Still, in the present, many first time parents lack important parenting knowledge; this is supported by child abuse and neglect, parent burnout, and preventable child emergencies such as choking, sleeping, and car seat precautions.

So let’s put to use researchers most current theories and parenting techniques in order to prepare mothers for this wonderful experience.

Parenting classes would teach the fundamentals of raising a baby such as feeding, cognitive development, motor skills, sleep schedules, emergency situations, common illnesses, nutrition, car seat safety, and overall proper care of a baby.

Some parenting classes are already available for parents who are considered high risk for child abuse, neglect, or have a history of domestic violence.

But why stop there?

Just because a person may be financially, mentally, and physically stable, no one is born knowing all of the knowledge needed in order to raise a child. Furthermore, these classes would not only help a mother’s parenting skills, they would also have a great influence on their life and overall wellbeing.

Researchers Mido Chang, Boyoung Park and Sunha Kim recently conducted a longitudinal analysis (a method using the same variables over long periods of time) between parenting classes and cognitive development in early head start students in Illinois. The researchers article, ‘Parenting classes, parenting behavior, and child cognitive development in early head start’, published in a journal of ‘Research in Childhood Education’, found that there was a positive correlation between parenting classes and steadily advanced language and cognitive development between children who’s mothers attended such courses. 12

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