Twelve parents got “common-sense parenting” tips and learned how to become better parents at a Division of Youth Services seminar that held a graduation ceremony for them last Wednesday at the DYS main office at Chalan Piao.
The training was called “Early Childhood Systematic Training for Effective Parenting and focused on the aspects of “common-sense parenting and active parenting.”
According to program instructor Lucy Shilling, the participants attended a 14-hour class that was broken down into one- to two-hour sessions twice a week.
Shilling said the common-sense parenting aspect focuses on a parent’s decision to be able to create a more positive environment with their children and it allows the parent to let the child react in an acceptable manner.
In this age of technology, it seems easier for parents to just give their children a device to keep them from reacting in an unacceptable manner, i.e. creating a tantrum, and Shilling believes that this is only a temporary fix because the child will stick to the same manner once the device has been removed from their hands.
With active parenting, it focuses on how parents can discipline and communicate with their children in a positive manner and how to improve the parent’s relationship with the child, Shilling said.
Although hitting children as a way to discipline them seems to be a cultural habit, Shilling said there are other ways how to discipline children and the seminar was intended to teach parents how to do that.
Shilling was a school teacher for about 20 years and has been a certified parenting teacher since 1979 when the first STEP program, or Systematic Training for Effective Parenting, was introduced in the CNMI. She understands that parents may be sure that they are a “good parent” but, with STEP classes attracting more participants, she said this shows that parents are willing to learn new techniques into being a better parent and improving their relationship with their children.
A participant who completed the class said that they were given assignments throughout the program, where they implemented self-assessments on effective parenting, and she said that she is happy to see that she sees an improving relationship with her children.
Shilling said that parents who are interested in joining the STEP program should reach out to DYS as they always hold these classes to implement effective parenting.