Seeking a Parenting Class

Parent Q&A

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  • Looking for Parenting Class (Toddler age)

    (5 replies)


    I am looking for a great parenting class that helps parents who have toddlers. My husband and I have very different parenting styles and we want to learn more about how to best raise our daughter who is now 2 years old. Ideally, it would be a class on what to expect from a toddler and the best ways to raise them moving into preschool. I prefer zoom so it doesn't have to be local. 

    Thank you!

    I highly recommend (zoom!) classes with Early Childhood Matters Rebecca is a mom of three herself and she is a supportive coach - my husband and I were in a similar position to you when we were able to take a class with her, and it really set us up for success moving into the challenging new phase that is toddler/preschoolers. 

    Katrinca Ford is a therapist who has been hugely helpful to our family and she is running a new parenting class starting soon.  We had more 1:1 help from her but the class looks like it covers a lot of what we learned from her.

    Hand in Hand Parenting: life and sanity saver when mine were little. 

    I follow these ladies on Instagram and they have tons of great, free content. The approach is respectful parenting with a focus on toddlers. I have not paid for their course, I just utilize their free Instagram resources, but it sounds like what you are looking for:

    Highly recommend Jennifer Curtis' online parent guidance and support group called Free to Be. It's been a HUGE help for us to have a community to talk about the struggles of baby & toddler life. It's RIE based, which is an amazing approach for respectful parenting. Jennifer has a lot of experience in child development including Montessori and RIE training - plus she's a doula, so she has a lot of wisdom and kindness to offer.

  • Infant Care Class

    (6 replies)

    Hi All,

    I'm a new dad (my daughter is 4 months) who recently got served divorce papers. My lawyer has suggested taking a infant care parenting class that ideally should be in-person and between 6-8 weeks long... I've scoured the internet but haven't been able to find anything that would meet this specific criteria. Does anyone have any suggestions? 


    I don't know about one class that will be specifically that long but maybe a combo of programs?  Call Then Comes Baby, the offer lots of New parent classes and would be a good resource to help you out.

    If you're a Kaiser member, they offer parenting classes, including "baby and me", which sounds like the kind of thing you're looking for. You can check their website or ask your pediatrician. Often they're free.

    Also look at First Five. I don't know where you live, but every county has one, and they offer classes. The San Pablo location, for example, this month had a "positive development for young children" class and a "nurturing parents" class that should fit the bill. Their classes are free but require registration. The June schedule and registration info should be posted soon. Check whatever location is closest to you.


    Birthways have infant care classes. 

    Bananas ( is another resource for parents.

    Good luck!

    Try Family Paths 800-829-3777 in Oakland. They have a Fatherhood Program with series of classes. 

    You can also call 211 for more resources.

    Good luck!

    Good luck, Dad.  This is a fun, rewarding time for you and your child but also occasionally challenging because their motor skills and communication skills are still in their early stages.  I would suggest contacting your local hospital (that has a prenatal, neonatal department) and ask if they have infant care classes.  I would also ask Bananas in Oakland if they know of any classes.  They have lots of info and resources on their website on children, parenting and child care.  A good website for milestones and tips on infant care is What to Expect ( When your baby is about 10 months old and you're ready to introduce her to some fun outside of the typical local park system, I would take her to Habitot Children's Museum where there are a lot of toddlers learning exploration and confidence.  Most everything there is toddler friendly and t's also a good place to meet other parents.  They also have some helpful handouts.  When my son was a baby, I took him to Gymboree music classes starting at 6 months old.  A little pricey but we made some good friends during the 6 months he was taking classes.  I'm sure there are other classes but this is a start.  The thing that is the hardest at this time is patience.  Take it easy on yourself, your baby and her mom.  Even if you're no longer married, you're still a team when it comes to raising your baby.  Your daughter is more intuitive and smarter than she seems yet she is not able to clearly communicate her feelings---yet.  All of you are learning so definitely don't be too hard on yourself or her. Finally, remember that hugs and a song go a long way.  Good luck.

    Thank you all, really appreciate all suggestions and kind words!!!

  • Our almost fourteen year old son has been demonstrating a lot of poor judgement and decision making lately.  Yes, I know it's part of being a teen, but as a parent I can't help but worry about those patterns continuing when the repercussions are more significant.  

    Does anyone have any recommendations of local workshops, classes, or therapists / coaches that have been helpful in giving your teen some more tools to make empowered, safe, "smart" decisions?  

    I highly recommend Kaiser's Parenting Strong Willed Kids class. I've heard you don't have to be a Kaiser member to take it, or getting your hands on the class book can be a huge help. (It's called "Changing Destructive Adolescent Behavior: Empowering Parents, Transforming Teens - Parent Guide.")  What you describe can be their wanting to have some control over their life and trying to control them can push them further in the wrong direction. One excerpt from the class manual: "Generally speaking, strong-willed adolescents learn about life by trying it themselves. They do not accept parental input nor are they willing to use the mistakes of others as learning experiences for themselves. The frequently heard adolescent phrase, "it's ok; that won't happen to me," is especially true for this child. This is why just talking to the strong-willed child about unwanted behavior is generally ineffective... Strong-willed children often engage in such behaviors quite impulsively."  

    Our son is overall a good, smart kid but he became extremely difficult and combative his freshman year and made some bad choices. It was a relief to hear from his guidance counselor that what he was doing was quite common but we were concerned things could get worse.  I do think much of the attitude is normal hormones and teens needing to separate, but I also think temperament is a huge factor. We were given the Kaiser class book by a friend who took the class and just following the first couple of chapters has greatly changed the dynamic in our house.

    Two main premises from the book are 1) love and affection are the keys to effective parent/child communication and discipline. It's hard when your kid does stuff that angers you or seems like he hates you, but telling them daily that they are loved is vital. So are sign of affections, be it a pat on the back, a hug, a kiss. My son slipped an 'I love you' back to me for the first time in probably 6 or 8 months the other day and after just about as long has allowed me to hug him once in a while (he doesn't hug back but he stands there. Progress!). They might not show affection or acknowledge yours but they need to know they are loved. The 2nd premise is that you can't control your kids but you can have influence. If you try to control, they might rebel just to show you that they can't be controlled. You can influence them by giving the positive strokes/consequences for desired behavior and negative consequences for unwanted behavior.  

    Good luck and hang in there. 

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Specialized Parenting Classes

Organizations with reviews

Parenting class/support for 5/6 year old?

April 2012

We're struggling with a 5 year old who is testing limits like crazy, at home and at school. She's bright, very verbal, and can derail an activity she doesn't want to engage with (including in her classroom) like nobody's business. Right now there's way too much yelling and not enough improvement in the house; my partner and I were both like this as kids, but we agree that our parents' approach (spanking) is not OK nor effective. Still, we're trying to figure out what IS ok and actually works.

I could use some practical support dealing with this, a place to learn/practice new skills. Suggestions of a book or a class or group that works on these issues? I'm with Kaiser, so if you've had experience with any of their classes, that's an option for me as well. Thanks! On my last nerve

Below are some ideas for parenting support of the kind you are asking about. The Positive Discipline approach might be helpful. You could look into it with the book ''Positive Discipline'' by Jane Nelsen. Or if you prefer a class, several are offered locally by: Catherine Bronnert, M.A. (510) 847-7578 (CBronnert [at] in a one-day workshop, or in a weekly series with Lisa Fuller, MSW ( at (510) 504-2412. Another option could be classes in ''How to Talk so Kids will Listen'' for example by Julie King,, (415) 939-3553. MarRem Remington, MFT offers parenting classes, including for parents of kids ''wired differently'' (510) 835-4357. If you are looking to address more specifically how to manage your own frustration and challenges, and find better ways to parent as well, I offer an 8-session series in Anger & Stress Management for Parents. For more information:, (510) 528-9551. An easy-read parenting book, which can give you some effective ideas, is: ''The Secret of Parenting'' by Anthony Wolf, PhD. Hoping this is helpful to you and other parents having similar struggles. Yvonne Mansell, MFT

Hello, I am currently taking a 6 week class series called Building Emotional Understanding with a nonprofit called Hand in Hand parenting. The class builds parenting skills and also provides support. I love their approach and it really does work (my daughter is a little younger than yours - 3.5 yrs, but others in the class have children 5yrs and up.) Check out their website: I'm pretty sure there are more classes & workshops in the Berkeley area coming up. Please email me if you want more info, or want me to ask the teacher about local events. -Thea

Hi, I would like to recommend the books Parenting from the Inside Out by Dan Seigel, and Raising and Emotionally Intelligent Child by John Gottman, and Setting Limits with your Strong-Willed Child by Robert MacKenzie. All of them are great.

Parenting Classes in the South Bay

Oct 2011

HI - Can anyone recommend parenting classes in or around the South Bay? I have a 14 month old and both my husband and I have no clue what to do as far as discipline goes. We would like to take some classes and improve our parenting skills altogether. Thanks in advance! Shannon

My husband and I used to live in Palo Alto and San Jose and took parenting classes at Parents Place in downtown Palo Alto. We really loved them topics and we even used them for individual ''counseling.'' Parents Place has a resource library and they are so open and helpful. They even have a drop-in infant/toddler playtime on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, I believe. The staff is extremely knowledgeable and greatly helped us with our son, who has sensory issues. We love them! The website is: Although they are associated with Jewish Family and Children's Services, they are open to the entire community. I highly recommend them! Maureen

I assume you are looking for a class for new parents. I liked teh Infant CPR/ First Aid class I took with Margarita The organization is in south bay, and it's my favorite way of looking at things as a parent-staying connected with your child, with an emotionally- healthy approach to discipline, not permissive, not threat-based either. It's what I try to strive for, though I try to forgive myself for my lapses! We're all muddling through!

Where to take a parenting class?

March 2010

Does anyone know where my husband and I can take a parenting class? What we really need is couples therapy but he is stubborn, defensive, and totally shut down about going. (We've been before, years ago, before we became parents together and it helped, but we need more now.)He doesn't read any of the parenting books I've tried to share with him and at this point feels like he can't do anything right, and I'm certain our conflicts are affecting our 4 year old son and I'm really worried about this. He is open to parenting classes however which I think is great, except I don't know where these are offerred. Oviously, we don't want to be in a class with parents who just had a baby -- we are older parents (in our 40's) with a four year old. Money is extremely tight so we can't go to one of those $$$ weekend workshops. Suggestions anyone? We live in the East Bay (Richmond/El Cerrito). Thanks in advance. Anon

Bananas has a group parenting class on Wednesday, March 3, 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm Living With Threes And Fours Meg Zweiback returns to Bananas to address the questions and concerns of parents of three and four year olds. Learn how to encourage and preserve the spontaneity and curiosity of this delightful age group while teaching them to cooperate. Sign Up Limited child care is available for this workshop. The fee is $5 per child. Please call 510-658-7353 to register.

Note: If this class is not suited for you or you want one on one classes call Meg Zweiback directly 510-836-1450. She is a specialist in all parent/child issues and she is wonderful with children. oakland parent

Hi There - I know this story well, because it was my own. You must take a look at Hand In Hand Parenting. It saved my family and I highly recommend it. Unfortunately, it is on the pricey side, but I cannot explain how much it is worth it. They offer a class called Building Emotional Understanding, which is the beginning class they offer and the one I took was in Albany, close to your area. It focuses on their philosophy which is called Parenting by Connection, and this includes ways of both navigating the difficult emotions with children, but also the difficult emotions held by parents. They really give space for parents to get things off their chest that is judgement free, and they offer tools to work out stuff that parents are carrying that might be affecting their children. My son is very energetic and was acting out quite a bit at a time when my partner and I were having a rough time, and it did wonders. They have been around for years - my parents took courses with them and used many of the tools with me, so I have experienced it as both a child and as a parent. Natalie

Family Paths has parenting classes that could work for you, although they are in San Leandro. They also have other resources, like counseling (even over the phone). Here is a link: Bananas in oakland probably has low-cost parenting classes as well: anon

Bananas, located on Claremont Ave in Oakland. From their website: '[we] are a non-profit support agency... We provide free parenting information, workshops ...' Looking at their calender, they have classes such as 'Positive Parenting', 'Living with Threes and Fours', 'Children with Challenging Behavior' And if you miss a class, I bet they have a free hand-out or other referrals. Mom of Two

Looking for parenting education speakers

May 2009

Hello BPN, I am looking for dynamic speakers and or workshop leaders for my daughter's elementary school PTO. We would be interested in people who can address different parenting topics including, but not limited to: discipline, creativity, motivation, cultural issues (we have a large latino population), study skills, nutrition, emotioanl health, specific educational topics, etc. These would largely be for the parents, but we could consider something to include the kids. The speakers may be educators, counselor's, advocates... Right now we are pretty open as we are just beginning to research Funds are tight, but the group can pay a fee. Michele

Check out Julie King on positive parenting. She does workshops and will definitely work with you to arrange for a group class. This would be more feasible, if you either had a chunk of time in a given day, or would like to work with somebody over the course of about 4 weeks.

or Meg Zweiback R.N. (510) 836-1450 - on almost anything developmental related, be it sleep training, potty training, terrible twos/threes/fours etc. Her classes could be a one time thing for just a couple hours on a very specific subject. Ask about it, she probably has some answers just about anything that might be challenging for parents.

Both are awesome! I highly recommend them to any parent who ends up at the end of their wits - and who doesn't. Check them both out.

Parent/child communication & behavior class

Sept 2007

Looking for a recommendation for a successful parent/child communication/behavior class. That perhaps would focus on boys? The listings on BBN are outdated. Thanks!

Julie King offers workshops for the public or you can also help put together a group if you didn't see a workshop that works for your schedule. I was in two different groups of Julie's - both were excellent! Her workshops are helpful and thought-provoking and provide the guidance my husband and I were in need of. Julie King, Parent Educator (contact information: 415-939-3553, Dana

I highly recommend Julie King's parenting classes. She teaches various classes based on the Faber and Mazlish books ''How to Talk so Kids will Listen and Listen so Kids will Talk'' and ''Sibling Rivalry''. I took her 4-week ''How to talk'' series and learned so much - both from Julie with her extensive experience parenting and coaching parents and from the fellow participants.

Since there was no current class happening in Berkeley, Julie agreed to offer one if I could find enough participants. I found enough parents of 2-year-olds that we were lucky to have a class that focused specifically on the challenges of age 2-3 while also learning techniques that will be useful for the years ahead. For more information, see or call (415)939-3553. Yael

I would recommend the How to Talk so Kids Will Listen class led by Julie King. It's based on the book 'How to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk.' I got some good ideas and learned new techniques. It's great for when your creativity is stretched thin and you need some new strategy. I found the techniques straight forward and effective. You can find out more about her at Jill

Co-parenting classes by court order

April 2007

I've been order by court to attend co-parenting classes. Does anyone know of a place, website, approximately prices, and/or has had experience in such class?

try Kaiser. Rona Renner's classes at Richmond Kaiser are very good. And they are attended by a variety of people including those who are mandated to attend. When I went a few years ago, the class series was free, even if you were not a Kaiser member. j

Help parenting an exuberant 3-year-old

Jan 2006

I'm looking for a good parenting class for me and my husband to attend. We have a very exuberant three year old daughter who gives us a run for our money. I want very much to avoid spanking, as I think it teaches all the wrong lessons, but I find myself so frustrated sometimes that I show anger, which isn't helpful either. My husband, on the other hand, has a real challenge being firm, even though he thinks limits ought to be set. He just doesn't have the skills to do it. Evenings work best, not to expensive preferred. Also, a program more than a few weeks long would be too difficult. Thanks, Lori

Hi Lori, are you familiar w/ Gordon Neufeld and his book Hold On To Your Kids? He is a Canadian author and family psychologist. I read his book awhile back and loved it, then recently found out that a couple in Marin offer workshops based on his book. Dr. Neufeld will lead a workshop over a weekend in March. Here is a link describing the class

You can also find more information re Dr. Neufeld by googling his name or doing a search on Amazon or for his book. I agree that as parents you have to demonstrate a source of authority that relies not on spanking, but connection and the parents' own centeredness and self-assuredness. I think if you have to spank a child to make them do what you want, you ultimately have little instrinsic influence or connection w/ them. good luck, nita

I have been attending classes with an amazing teacher here in the East Bay. Her name is SHARON ELLISON and she has deconstructed modern conversational style to help give detailed instructions on how to communicate clearly, but non- arguementatively. She started her career 30 years ago teaching parents of at-risk youth parenting skills, and has branched out from there. She has classes directly related to parenting, more general ones, and practice sessions. She is very accessible by email, and will respond to any questions. She also has scheduled classes when there's enough expressed interest, so if you don't see what you're looking for, you may want to email her. Her book is fabulous, and I don't know a person who has read it that didn't love it. Here's her website. Her classes are in Rockridge. Andrea

Try the parenting classes offered at Kaiser. You do not need to be a member and I believe the classes are free. We took the class with Rona at Kaiser Richmond. There were other couples there and it was helpful jk

Jill Schugart does parenting classes. She's really great. She does private councelling and groups. She helped our family a few years ago when we were in need of outside input. I don't have her number but I know she's in the phone book. He office is off of Solano ave. anon

Try Bananas. Meg Zweiback, who is a great teacher, holds classes there almost every month on dealing with specific age groups. I've gone to a few, and have found them quite helpful. I believe she also has a private practice, so if you need more specific help, she can meet with you one on one. Kim

Help parenting a difficult preschooler

June 2004

I'm looking for a parenting class/facilitated support group that deals with difficult behavior in a preschooler. The recommendations on the website seemed a bit dated, so I thought I'd see if anyone had taken a class recently and found it useful. I'm not looking for a one-on-one situation with a therapist (already done that), but more of a class that focuses on techniques and getting immediate results. My son is 4-years old and I'm losing my ability to control him. He often screams, runs around the house, throws objects, slams doors, wets his pants and generally does things purposefully to aggravate me. His pediatrician says he does not have ADHD or any other physiological disorder, but has behaviorial issues, with me, in particular. His issues are presenting a great strain on the entire family, so we need to figure out how to address them as soon as possible. Thanks in advance for any suggestions. Exhausted Mom

Here is a list of Parenting Classes in the area.

Jill Shugart recently started doing some classes which are receiving excellent feedback. They are entitled ''How Imperfect Parents Raise Self-Reliant Kids.'' Jillshug AT 510-528-0309
She is also an excellent resource for getting individual perspective on parenting and your child. She has directed Pre Schools for years and is a very good Individual and Couple therapist. Sherry Reinhardt

Parenting the Spirited Child

From: Mary (Feb 1998)

While reading the request from anonymous for a counselor for her four-year-old, I thought this was a good time to report on a class I've been taking in parenting the spirited child. It's been taught through Bananas and Kaiser together and is led by a nurse and a child-psychologist from Kaiser. They are both very nice, the pschologist, Helen Neville, has spoken on campus to a parent's group and is really VERY experienced with children.

I'd suggest calling Kaiser and asking for Helen's number and either see her or get a referral through her. I know she's having back surgery next Wed. so she might not call back instantly ... but she's really very good.

The class, I might add, will be held again in April and is EXCELLENT. For all you parents of spirited kids out there, this workshop is full of ideas, role-plays, handouts, practical strategies ... and just plain support.

Various Private Classes

You can get answers to all those questions through a re-directing child's behavior class (based on Dreikur's work). There's one given by Kris Murray, in Alameda (she runs a preschool there), which is really, really good. I took it last year and my daughter is currently enrolled in the preschool. Kris has an amazing way with children and with parents. Her number is 510-521-6752. Susan (6/01)

We're taking a class now with Barbara Hornsleth-Croizat, 510-526-0068. The first session (4 2-hour classes) is based on Positive Discipline, and the second is based on How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk. She also does monthly support groups for reinforcement after the classes have ended. I wouldn't say she's an extraordinary teacher, but she seems to really know her stuff and the class has already been a big help to us (we've been to 2 classes so far). It's really helped my husband and I get on the same game plan. When we're in the middle of a conflict with our son, we can refer to the tools we've learned in shorthand (e.g., let's try problem-solving), which both helps us solve the conflict with our son and prevents us from arguing about how to go about it. Good luck. Rita (6/01)

I've gone to Barbara Hornsleith Croizat's classes and found them indispensable. She bases the classes on the philosophy of the book Positive Discipline. She's located in the Berkeley Hills and is listed in the phone book. Ellern (6/01)

I have a recommendation on a great parenting class. It is called Redirecting Children's Behavior and was taught by Kristine Murray of Alameda. Her number is 510-521-6752. In addition to teach this course she runs a small preschool at her home in Alameda. I think it is a six week course. It was great and has help my husband and myself tremendously in both dealing with our child as well as talking to each other about how we want to raise our child. A synopsis of the course is as follows: Children create a tremendous challenge for adults. Effective strategies for today's adult/child relationships can make parenting a lot more fun. More than communication training, the Redirecting Children's Behavior (RCB) course contains over 100 parenting methods for improving behavior while enhancing your child's self-esteem... More Info can be found on the following website from the International Network for Children and Family: BergaHoo Family (Sept 2001)

Leah Statman offers Respectful Parenting classes and can be reached at 525-5080. She has an MFCC, but draws alot on per personal experience raising 3 very different children. The group setting was very helpful as the problems brought to class were often the issue that arose down the road in our family. I took Leah's Respectful Parenting class 3 years ago and found it be very helpful, although somewhat expensive. Her methodology includes lecture, discussion, problem solving, role playing, and even some good suggestions for diet and body work. She draws extensively on her own experiences as the mom of 3 very different children and obviously has thought long and hard about the work she brings to classes. I wished my partner had also taken the class and would encourage both parents to try take it together. Nori (9/01)

Parenting Classes vs. Birthing Classes

From: Dianna (1/99)

Just wanted to quickly respond to the Dad who gave the very thoughtful response about the somewhat careless Dad . I'm a single mother, but I agreed with much that this Dad had to say, especially about the need for parenting classes.

When I was pregnant I attended an 8 session set of classes Alta Bates ran for Mommies and Daddies to be. 7 of the sessions were on the birth experience and various possible happenings and 1 was on how to actually care for the baby once you had it. I thought at the time and thought much more strongly once I had my son that it would have been better had the ratio been reversed. Drugs or no drugs, lying down or squatting, natural or C-section, one way or another you get through the birth, usually in just one or two days. Then you have this kid on your hands for at least 18 years (more, really).

Since smaller families are common now, many of us have never had to interact with a newborn, other than to say, Oh, how cute, before. Add to that the awesome responsibility of being a parent and making life and death decisions which affect your child and I think most of us could use a little extra help. I suppose that there are parenting classes around if one looks for them, but I think that these should be the norm, something that everyone takes, along with the Lamaze classes, etc.


STEP, which was mentioned by the people looking for parenting classes, stands for Systematic Training for Effective Parenting. It is simply *excellent* and I wish I had taken it long ago at the beginning of my parenting experience. Any effective parenting requires work and usually the un-learning of parenting styles of which we were recipients. The basic theories of STEP make wonderful sense. They also have a different book and course for parents of teens. The course includes audio tapes of conversations between parents and children which makes it easy to see the impact of tone of voice on communications. Check with your local school district or neighboring ones for STEP classes offered in the adult school programs. STEP really works.