Kaiser Parenting Classes
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.
Kaiser Richmond offers a parenting series in 4 week sessions, rolling starts throughout the year. We have taken it and found it useful for reframing the challenges with our kids, who present pretty close to out of the range of normal.
I highly recommend the Parenting Strong Willed Kids class that Kaiser offers, I believe you don't have to be a member to take it. I know several families that have taken the class and we have been using the class manual to guide us in parenting our oppositional, strong willed teen. It has been extremely helpful with concrete advice on setting the appropriate boundries for a teen with this sort of temperament as well as giving him more space in certain areas so that he doesn't feel the need to power trip via rebellion. The book is called "Changing Destructive Adolescent Behavior." Strong willed kids are more likely to engage in destructive behavior and less likely to accept parental input or use the mistakes of others as learning experiences for the themselves. There's a stubbornness, curiosity, lack of fear and desire to experience things first hand. One key to becoming a more effective parent is realizing that you don't have "control" over your child, but you do have "influence." Trying to control will lead to rebellion when strong willed teens want to show they can't be controlled.
Archived Q&A and Reviews
Re: HS Junior Not Caring/Unmotivated
I feel for you. We have a son the same age and are finding a lot of help in a Kaiser parenting class. (We are both education professionals and had to admit we needed help!) If you are not a Kaiser member, you can still purchase the workbook at Kaiser (health education dept)--it has a wonderful step-by-step (Parenting Project) curriculum to deal with difficult teenage behavior. It's a behavioral system and the consequences are kept simple and short term (TEASPOT: take everything away for a short period of time); otherwise kids feel they are on death row and will give up more. Also, it's crucial to tell our kids (verbally or in writing) the words ''I love you'' every day and give physical affection every day, because they don't necessarily pick that up unless it's stated explicitly. It's also imperative that parents act as a team. If not, some kids feel unsafe, some will work it to their advantage, and some may act out in order to get their parents to work together. In any case, I recommend you and your husband see a therapist the two of you respect to help you work together. Good luck! mom of two teen boys
I am responding to the parent with daughter who had become incredibly disorganized with her academics despite doing well on tests and got an F in an important class. However this is especially for parents of any child whose life has deteriorated into destructive behaviors such as drugs, alcohol, gangs or friendships which involve negative influences and, of course, not attending or failing at school. If you a member of Kaiser Permanente, their East Bay locations have just begun intensive workshops teaching parents how to handle the behaviors which belong in the category of zero tolerance.
I participated this spring in the first Parent Project at the Child and Family Psychiatry department of Kaiser Oakland. The workshops have taught me methods which I can use to apply effective consequences to the decisions which my teenager (who is also a Martin Luther King Middle School student in Berkeley) makes. The workshop's approach is that our teens are correct when they declare that we do not control them. Nevertheless -- as the parent(s)/guardian(s) we do control every THING in our homes. Thus we have the ability to withdraw things they like in order to motivate them to make non-destruction decisions in their lives. We were taught and discussed ways of doing this and other skills so we can be effective with strong willed teens.
Parents who come questioning whether they even love their own child because of the pain of watching and living with a person who is being destructive have the opportunity to realize they are not so uncommon and that very ordinary families from diverse backgrounds share the same problems -- and can share the same techniques at directing their child away from decisions with life altering consequences.
This Parent Project does require a commitment of time for 12 weeks. The first half or so of the weekly evening meetings took 3 hours and then the meetings shortened to only 2 hours. After the workshop, efforts are being made to continue to have parents able to come once week when they want to a parent support group because the challenges of parenting strong-willed teens never ends.
For interested Kaiser Permanente parents of destructive teens, I suggest calling the Dept. of Psychiatry in the Mosswood Building for more information.
I was very happy to hear a parent tell people about the Parent Project at Kaiser in Oakland. I was trained to teach the course and found it to be one of the best parent programs I've seen. I am not teaching it currently, but want to let people know that it is also available at Kaiser in Richmond and in Walnut Creek (other Kaiser's are also teaching it). The program is for parents of strong willed or acting out teens (most classes will except parents of children 10 years and older, I think). It offers both education and support (activity-based parenting skills curriculum) and people can call their local Kaiser Hospital (Mental Health or Health Education Department) and find out when the classes are offered. I also think Kaiser in Oakland will be doing a similar program for parents of younger children in the Fall. This program is also offered at other agencies throughout the Bay Area.(There is one in Spanish at Familias Unitas in Richmond). If you want more information about the Parent Project and the trainings for facilitators you can find them at http://www.parentproject.com.
As parents we need all of the resources we can get, and if you have an older child who is starting to get into trouble or who has been for awhile, this program can help you help your child.
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