In the US, people have an obsession with classes. Of course, we begin our class-taking lives before we are even old enough to attend traditional school. As an infant, you take mommy and me yoga classes, music classes, and Gymboree classes. When you are a child, you take classes to learn how to play the piano, how to swim, and how to paint. As a teenager, you take Driver’s Education classes to learn to drive and SAT prep classes to learn how to take tests to improve your chances of getting into college. Classes don’t stop when you are an adult either. As an adult, we take pottery classes, acting classes, power point classes, dancing classes, Lamaze breathing classes when pregnant, and even marriage classes sometimes. Clearly as a society we enjoy learning new things and find value at perfecting our skills through classes and lessons. So, can someone explain to me why with all of these classes no one takes parenting classes?
Why in our society is it important to learn how to improve your singing but not your understanding of how to put an infant to sleep? Why do adults pay to learn to paint with watercolors but not how to read a book to a child? Why do we learn to perfectly perform the tango at our wedding, but not how and why a child develops they way he does?
I find that many people claim that parenting is innate- something that you are born with the ability to do. Therefore, why should you spend your time and money learning how to do something that is innate? You learned to walk on your own and look at you now, you can even run if you feel motivated enough! You don’t take running classes, oh wait… yes, there are running classes offered at running shoe stores across the country, we do take those. Again I wonder, if we are even taking classes to improve our innate abilities, why not our parenting skills?
Parenting is one of the most important and longest lasting jobs we will ever have. As parents, we help our children learn everything! We read to our children to develop literacy, language, creativity, and imaginative skills. We bring children to parks to help them improve their motor and strength skills. We talk to our children to help them develop their social, emotional, language, and communicative skills. We take our children to lessons to ensure that they learn all that they can and perfect their skills as they develop. We encourage our children to be the best they can be, so parents, lets raise our own bar to become the best parents we can be. And if that requires signing up for a parenting lesson or a child development class so be it! It doesn’t mean you are a bad Spanish speaker when you sign up for Spanish lessons, it just means you want to improve. So parents, lets forget about how it might look to take certain classes and look at the benefits that our children will gain from us having a better understanding of everything child development and parenting related.