Utilizing my background as a public education teacher and a father of two “homeschooled” children my first book, Not All Teachers Are Parents, But All Parents Are Teachers!, was published in 2006. The focus of chapter one was specifically: The Case for Parenting Classes. Children too often come to school with an objective to vent their frustrations on unsuspecting school personnel. In my after-school mentoring program “From Boys to Men Network,” we teach students the art of discipline, or to put another way, we help them to identify with the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
Treating others how you want to be treated is a conceptual rule that all parents should accept, teach and practice. It is to be taught at an early age and reinforced in schools, churches, communities, and in home environments. If parents have not learned parenting skills early on, they will be less likely to improve as they have more children. This is especially true for teen parents that obtain the title of parent too soon, and who are commonly unwed and unequipped to deal with the complexities of life or its consequences. These facts are played out on a daily basis in the inner cities of America with little or no attention to identifying the problem before children of underprivileged children become parents themselves.
“If parents have not learned parenting skills early on, they will be less likely to improve as they have more children.”
Parenting classes in some progressive churches, for example, is mandatory for all members that express an interest in marriage. Likewise, parenting classes are available as well as family counseling to all parents‑to‑be, married or not. In my view, the reason many pastors and community leaders don’t recommend or support parenting classes is that they know it will create another level of paperwork. It becomes another drain on their already-stressed financial resources and I say this from the perspective of an active parent, teacher, mentor, and former youth pastor.
Parenting classes should never come with a stigma for attendees. If parents have not learned basic parenting skills before their child is born, they are not likely to actualize full responsibilities by the time their children attend school. For most parents, getting their children ready for school will amount to little more than getting them dressed and on their way. Parenting is probably the most time-consuming responsibility in an adults’ lifetime. We must never pass it off lightly to schools that basically monitor our students for six hours a day. The school’s job is to work in partnership with parents and not in place of the parent. Preparing a child to learn is as important as providing them with food, clothing, and shelter. The good news here is that most parents desire the best for their children and see to it that their child’s needs are met. Responsible, loving parents teach their children the basic fundamentals of hygiene, proper nutrition, moral values, and the importance of a good spiritual foundation. Our mission then as parent advocates, by way of a strong church and community base, is to ensure that this process of developing great parenting skills is made clear to all parents that knock, seek, and ask for help with no judgment placed upon those in need for attempting to do the right thing.
“Parenting classes should never come with a stigma for attendees.”
The school systems in urban neighborhoods across the nation should not bear the responsibility of raising children instead, it is the parents mandated duty. Educators also have a responsibility to be knowledgeable of the human capital available within the communities in which they work by being responsive to and aware of the community’s culture, creativity, potential and contributions to society as a whole.
Stanley G. Buford is teacher, entrepreneur, author and father of two, Terrence and Kathryn. He is a winner of the National Leadership Award in business, Executive Director of the From Boys To Men Network Foundation, Inc, and former Co-President of the Oak Park Ill, based, and African American Parents for Purposeful Leadership in Education (A.P.P.L.E.).
After reading; Not All Teachers Are Parents, But All Parents Are Teachers! Former President Barack Obama remarked: “Thank you for your interesting book on parenting.” Email: firstname.lastname@example.org