Parenting skills can be learned, taught, and modified when we accept each child. Parents have always sought support in raising their children, regardless of their socioeconomic position or culture. Historically, parents obtained this support from their family network (Zepeda and Morales, 2001). Families today are more mobile, and many families no longer live near extended family members—those who traditionally provided informal support, advice, and assistance.
As families have become smaller and separated by distance, the ease of passing on child-rearing wisdom has decreased. According to the National Commission on Children’s national survey (1991), 88% of adults believe that it is harder to be a parent than it used to be. Since the 1980s, most families have had to have both parents working outside the home to survive economically. This leaves less time for family responsibilities, self-care, or finding social support. Rising rates of crime, the availability of alcohol and drugs, and declining connections with families and neighbors further complicate parenting. Eighty-six percent of parents reported that they are often uncertain about what is the right thing to do in raising their children (National Commission on Children, 1991).
Some families need only basic information and access to community resources to do well. Other families are overburdened by poverty, lack of employment and education, homelessness, physical or cognitive limitations, domestic violence, mental health problems, or drug and alcohol abuse. These families need more intense and targeted education and support to keep their children safe and thriving.
Through a series of participatory workshops, with a strong focus on early childhood development, strengthening family relationships, improving communication and identifying techniques for better relationships with children, teachers and the community, Dr. Bill’s Parenting Academy focuses on core behaviors that demonstrate effective parenting practices that have been identified across cultural and economic groups and communities. Parents will become knowledgeable on those behaviors that nurture children as they develop from infancy through adolescence. Activities throughout the Parenting Academy, will include exposure to the following behaviors that will provide parents the opportunity to evaluate their own parental behaviors and participate in exercises that may enable more effective responses and behaviors from their children, as a result. These behavioral exercises include, but are not limited to the following: Meeting their child’s basic and emotional needs; Attentiveness; engagement; responsiveness; reliability and consistency; Monitoring; mentoring and modeling; setting positive example.