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Taking a parenting class is one of the hallmarks of being a good parent, right?
Not so fast.
A parenting class is sometimes a good tool but they are often expensive, time-consuming, and no more helpful than what you can get from chatting with your friends.
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Reasons Parents Should Not Take Parenting Classes
I am not saying that parenting classes are all bad but they definitely are not what they are cracked up to be. Here are 10 solid reasons you should avoid parenting classes.
1. A Parenting Class Can Be a Crutch
Too many parents rely on taking classes to prove that they are good parents.
You might convince yourself that you don’t have to do the hard work of being a parent as long as you’ve listened to a lecture about how to reward and discipline a child.
Going to the class is only one part of parenting. Applying the lessons you learn and implementing them is extremely difficult.
While you’re patting yourself on the back for taking a parenting class, your child might be suffering from your lack of attention.
2. Better Instruction is Available Elsewhere
I took a parenting class that taught CPR and first aid. It was a four-hour class that was almost as pricey as it was useless.
I learned nothing that I could use in daily life while I wasted a perfectly good Saturday. Soon thereafter, I earned CPR, first aid and AED certification from the American Red Cross.
These classes are excellent. They are taught by trained professionals. They are also inexpensive. Some of them can be taken online, which allows you to learn around your family schedule.
3. Classes Are Not Regulated
There is no governing board for teaching a parenting class. Anyone with some ambition and free time can put together a parenting class and teach it in a group setting or online.
While many parent educators have degrees, there is no certification requirement. The only way to know for certain that the person teaching the parenting class you attend actually has the necessary knowledge is to do some digging into their background.
Even if you find they have certification, you will need to study where they received their education and if those classes are regulated by a governing board. All of that is a lot of work for a busy parent.
Most of us don’t have that kind of time.
4. They Confirm Our Biases
When you search for a parenting class, what do you look for?
Are you seeking a course that tells you something you want to hear or are you looking for a lesson that you find unappealing? Most of us will choose the former. Confirmation bias is very real and can be dangerous.
For example, if you’re looking for a parenting class that explains the dangers of vaccines for young children, you will find it.
You will also put your child at risk of needlessly contracting a deadly and preventable disease. Few of us choose to take classes that are counter to our already ingrained beliefs.
5. Classes Take Us Away From Our Children
Your child needs you. The more time you spend away from them, the less you can help them with their basic needs.
Taking a parenting class is unlikely to improve your parenting. It is certain to keep you from spending time with your child. Skip the parenting class and spend an afternoon communicating with your child.
Even babies can communicate their wants and needs if you give them enough attention. Your child will thrive much more from your attention than they will from whatever platitude your parenting class provides.
6. You Might Not Enjoy the Community
I can only speak for myself, but I don’t feel comfortable in all environments. I’m not one of those people who can sit down with a group of strangers and walk away with 20 new friends.
It is worse when I find that the group doesn’t think like me. For example, when my son was young, I had a lot of trouble nursing. I joined a parenting class run by a lactation consultant.
During this class, the lactation consultant and the other parents shamed any mom who used formula.
They also explained how to make ice cream with excess breast milk. I’m not judging those who choose to eat breast milk ice cream, but the face I made when it was brought up was both called out and derided.
I knew I didn’t belong there. If you fear you will have a similar situation, it’s best to avoid it.
7. Parenting Classes Are Often Very Expensive
You can spend hundreds of dollars for one parenting class. Why do that when you really don’t have to? Talk with other moms. Get advice from your doctor. Ask questions in online forums.
You won’t always get everything you need answered, but you are far more likely to have success when you seek your own solutions than when you pay someone else a ridiculous amount of money to talk at you for a few hours.
8. Books Are Better
Instead of taking a parenting class, buy a book that supplies you with the lessons you need. You can return to that book again and again.
Later, when you no longer need the book, you can pass it on to another mom who is also trying to avoid parenting classes.
9. Classes Don’t Cover Everything
You may have very specific needs that simply aren’t covered in your one-size-fits-all class.
You can come away from the class feeling even more frustrated when you realize you spent your time and money to learn things you didn’t need to know.
It is best to make a list of questions you have about child rearing and bring them up, individually, with a professional. This could be your doctor, your child’s teacher, a spiritual leader or a trusted friend.
10. You Might Already Have the Best Teacher in Your Life
Instead of looking for a class, look for a mom. Find that mom that has raised happy children and ask her for advice. Mine is Kelly.
She has four children who are kind, considerate, smart and well-rounded. They are good people because they have been raised to be good people.
She is the parent I go to when I have questions about what to do with my kids. I don’t follow her advice verbatim all of the time, but Kelly’s words have helped me far more than any parenting class I have ever taken.
You might still decide to take a parenting class.
If you do, remember that they won’t cover everything you need nor do they take the place of doing the hard work it takes to be a good parent.
Do you agree or disagree? Tell us in the comments!
Have You Read These Yet?
- Being a Mom is Too Much For Me: What to Do?
- How to Tell Someone They Are a Bad Parent
- The Pros and Cons of Having Kids
- Should Parents Have to Earn Respect From Their Kids?