HJ-ED-DHJHerald Journal Columns
May 7, 2007, Herald Journal

Where is ‘Parenting 101?’

By KRISTEN MILLER

In addition to a recent column I wrote, “What they don’t teach in college,” I’ve found another crucial area in most people’s lives that seems to be thrown at us without much or any proper education . . . parenting. Not that I am a parent, but if, and when, I am, I’m pretty sure I’m going to need some help in this area.

Lucky for me, I have been taking care of children since I was 11 years old, but this doesn’t come close to raising them.

All the “What to expect when you’re expecting” books cannot prepare you for what lies ahead as a parent.

Nurses seem to hand over the babies to the new parents and send them off to fend for themselves. But babies are easy. It’s the 1-, 2-, 3-, and 15-year-olds that tend to be a bit challenging.

Most of the time, parents imitate their own parents. They raise their kids similar to how they were raised. But in an age of single-parent households and kids raising kids. It seems some parents didn’t have a good influence when it comes to parenting.

Also, parents are facing challenges with their kids that were never faced before.

I don’t know how many times I’ve heard people say, “My kids never acted like that.” Of course not, because “these” days are much different than “those” days.

With these additional challenges, how can parents become equipped to raise their kids to the best of their abilities?

Some parents may feel they can do it on their own and don’t need assistance or education other than their maternal or paternal instincts, but those instincts can only go so far.

Recently, I learned more about what Early Childhood Family Education really was. Every parent should take advantage of this type of education and support received from other parents facing the same issues.

Even parents with low income won’t be turned away.

Not only can this education help guide a person through parenthood, but the support given by other parents in attendance may help prevent them from killing their own flesh and blood!

Seeing my siblings and friends as parents, I understand the frustrations and stress that comes with parenting. It seems at any age, a child brings new challenges. But a parent shouldn’t have to go through it without any guidance or direction.

Speaking with ECFE parent educator Jane Ryan, she said she uses “The Field Guide to Parenting,” for everything. It’s her Bible, she said. Parents shouldn’t just wing it. They should use all the means available to make sure they are properly “trained” to be a parent at every stage of their child’s life. This can only make it easier on the parent and child.

Parents need to know things like how to properly discipline their children, and how to talk to their kids about drugs. These things rarely just come to a parent.

In a world filled with unpredictabilities, parents should be armed with the necessary knowledge to deal with unique situations, and since no “child” education is forced down our throats, it’s up to us to go looking for it.

Appreciate a teacher week

Enough about what’s not being taught, there is so much teachers do teach that deserves recognition. This week happens to be National Teacher Appreciation week and teachers who have, or had, an influence on an individual’s life should be acknowledged.

I was asked to write and article highlighting the men and women who educate the boys and girls of the Dassel-Cokato School District. This is a hard task trying not to leave out any one person who has an influence on the lives of DC children. I would have to write a book.

As a reporter who works closely with teachers on a weekly basis, I too commend them and their hard work and dedication, as do the parents and families that I hear speaking very highly of them.

So instead of an article, I challenge each reader to acknowledge a teacher who has either influenced them or their children during this week dedicated to teachers.