July 30, 2014
Parenting is full of challenges from time management, power struggles and dinner table battles to sleep deprivation, school difficulties and media exposure. Children in today’s society face risks associated with bullying, social media, drugs, sex and violence. For some families, poverty, homelessness, grief and loss or physical and mental health challenges may compound these struggles. All parents deserve support no matter their family configuration or socioeconomic situation.
At the United Methodist Children’s Home, we believe that one of the best ways to help kids is to help their parents. Across the North Georgia Conference, we support parents and prevent child abuse and neglect through parent education. When parents receive the tools that they need, children win. When more children are safe in their own homes, we see less child abuse and neglect. In 2013 alone, the Children’s Home reached 132 families in 39 counties through parenting classes.
Recently, we had a young, first-time mother of twin toddlers complete our parenting classes. Jennifer* came to her first class overwhelmed by the huge daily task of keeping up with two energetic little ones all by herself. Through the classes, she learned the importance of self-care, household safety, building a support network and developing a strong parent-child relationship. Jennifer shared her experiences and connected with other parents in the class. Most importantly, these classes helped her gain confidence in herself as a parent.
We work with first-time moms and dads as well as seasoned parents, with the parents of unruly teenagers and with those that are just learning how to care for toddlers. We help those who just want a little extra support as well as the parents who are desperate to regain custody of their children after unfortunate circumstances. Families come in all shapes and sizes. Through our parenting classes, we have the opportunity to shape those families toward a stronger and healthier future.
We use an evidence-based curriculum from Active Parenting developed by Dr. Michael Popkin. In the words of Dr. Popkin, “Parenting is both important and difficult…and like any job that is both important and difficult, it deserves both training and support.”
In each class, we create a supportive, discussion-oriented environment. Our staff work with parents to provide both the training and support needed for successful families. We teach parents about child development, making good choices, discipline methods and how to build a strong, positive relationship with their children. Parents ask real questions and share their struggles with our professional staff and other parents. Parents realize they are not alone in their journey, and it is okay to seek support.
Contact us in your area to find a parenting class near you OR invite us to host a class in your church or organization.
August District Office
706-722-8669 or firstname.lastname@example.org
325 8th St., Augusta, GA 30901
Gainesville District Office
770-531-3063 or email@example.com
604 Washington St. NW, A-6, Gainesville, GA 30501
Northwest District Office
706-278-4010 or firstname.lastname@example.org
1615 Hickory St., Ste. 118, Dalton, GA 30720
Rome-Carrollton District Office
706-295-3911 or email@example.com
206 E. 2nd St, Rome, GA 30161
Decatur Main Office
404-327-5873 or firstname.lastname@example.org
500 S. Columbia Dr., Decatur, GA 30030
Tips for Parents and Caregivers
- Set a good example through words AND actions
- Be proactive instead of reactive
- Give energy and attention to positive instead of negative behavior
- Keep your promises, and only make promises you can keep
- Use consequences, not punishments and rewards
- Include and encourage your child
- Take care of yourself
When to Seek Help for Your Child
Parents know their children better than anyone else. Through active involvement in their children’s lives, parents are usually the first to notice when there is a sudden change or problem with a child’s behavior or emotions. Asking for help can be difficult for both parent and child. Parents can reach out to their family’s pediatrician, pastor, school or other adults in the child’s life to get support and guidance. Here are some signs that it may be time to seek professional help for your child:
- Sudden drop in school performance
- Low grades in school even when the child is trying very hard
- Hyperactivity, fidgeting and difficulty controlling behavior
- Worry or anxiety affecting a child’s participation in age-appropriate activities
- Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares
- Frequent, unexplainable emotional outbursts
- Frequent disobedience or aggression
- Inability coping with problems
- Sexual acting out
- Frequent physical complaints with no identifiable illness
- Abuse of drugs or alcohol
- Self-injury or harm to others
- Threats or attempts to run away
- Strange thoughts or unusual behaviors
If your family is struggling or you would like additional support, please contact one of our offices for information about our parenting classes, counseling education, emergency financial assistance or additional community resources.