It's important to understand the ways that parenting can be an asset to a high school education. If you are a high school student and are thinking about taking parenting classes, rest assured that there are many benefits to taking a few classes about parenting.
Seven Benefits of High School Parenting Classes
When speaking to the U.S. House of Representatives, Congressman Bob Filner stated that school-based parenting classes can help prevent future child abuse because they help future parents gain crucial skills and understanding of child development. Below are seven benefits that await high schoolers who take parenting classes.
Get Insights on Adult Responsibilities
Although it is designed for young people, a high school parenting class thoroughly conveys what parents have to face when raising children. The full weight of what it's like to be responsible for another human being, 24 hours a day, every day of the week, is hard for a lot of teens to truly grasp. However, planned activities and lessons can shed light on this aspect of parenthood. These classes help teens realize what you have to be able to take on in order to be a capable parent.
Find the Difficulties of Teen Parenting
The class should also educate students about the limitations that teen parenting imposes on one's life. While going to prom and other school dances is a given for many teenagers without a child, a young parent has to juggle finding a babysitter, paying for the babysitter, and how to make sure she can be reached at all times in case of an emergency. If she has an after-school job, she may also then have to request time off from work - and there's no guarantee she'll get the time requested. None of the pleasures of youth are simple once there is a child to care for. That idea needs to be explained in depth.
Learn Basic Skills
One of the most practical benefits of parenting classes are the vast variety of life skills that they teach students. In order to be a competent parent, most teenagers would need to learn a lot of skills in a relatively short amount of time, and the sheer volume of things they need to comprehend can easily be overwhelming. By going through the skills step by step in a classroom environment, these necessary skills become much more manageable, and all students can reap rewards from these newly learned skills, even those who do not plan on having children.
Some of the most memorable skills a teen should learn in parenting classes include:
- Domestic skills like cooking and cleaning that will help teens later on in life
- Growth and development of a child, and learning how to handle each stage as the child grows
- How to obtain child support and government help for single parents
- Learning how to change diapers, bathe infants and young children, and other things that are important to know as a parent
- Mastering self-control and focus to avoid losing one's temper when dealing with a demanding child
- Learning how to do fun projects that children will enjoy, such as arts and crafts or building projects
Sex Education and Pregnancy Prevention
Some schools cover sex education and pregnancy prevention as part of the parenting classes. Even if they don't, most parenting classes offered for general high school students do cover these interrelated topics that teens face. Many schools approach this topic differently, depending on the objective of the class, whether the school has a religious affiliation, and if permission slips have been signed by parents.
These classes can leave students with an in-depth understanding, and a very real grasp, of why they should finish school and have job and financial security before becoming parents. Parents of teenagers might want them to take childcare classes during their high school years so they can see just how hard it is to be a parent, especially at a young age. This might help keep them from facing an unwanted pregnancy. Also, if a student wishes to go into a field with children, such as teaching or pediatrics, taking parenting classes in high school will look good on college applications.
Improvement of the Parent-Child Relationship
For teenagers who are facing unexpected pregnancies, a parenting class can help foster a strong start to the parent-child relationship. Also, by being well prepared for the fact that having a baby is not all fun and games, young parents will be better able to cope with the big responsibilities that come along with a child. Teaching the teen coping skills for moments of stress can even help prevent child abuse and neglect.
According to the latest research done by a group called Parents Under Construction, some students report having a greater capacity for empathy after taking parenting classes. That will serve all students, even the ones who choose to remain child-free, and it will potentially increase the quality of their relationships with others. As reported by Psychology Today, when we are able to experience increased feelings of empathy, we also have less suffering and better resilience. Empathy also helps people connect and better deal with conflict.
Pregnancy plays a big role in why people drop out of high school, so teenagers who are already parents are much more likely to drop out. When schools have supportive parenting classes for teens who are already parents, it can help them learn how to better handle the balancing act of being a parent and student at the same time. While there should be no sugarcoating the challenges of that situation, teens need to have a positive, non-judgmental, and supportive school environment, and parenting classes can be an important part of that support system.
Some schools may not offer a parenting class to high school teens; smaller schools that have less room for elective classes may choose to offer a language class or extra history class over a parenting class. If your school does not offer parenting classes, but you still want to learn more about it, there are hundreds of books written about parenting available to teenagers.
- Nurtures: New Thinking About Children by Po Bronson
- What to Expect the Toddler Years by Hedi Murkoff
- Parenting for Dummies by Sandra Hardin Gookin
- Pregnancy for Dummies by Joanne Stone, Keith Eddleman, and Mary Duenwald
It's easy to accept that teaching kids all about the hardships of parenting is a good way to help avoid unwanted pregnancies. In addition to teaching teens valuable skills that they may use later in life, high school parenting classes might even teach kids something that saves a life; CPR is often a part of the curriculum. Most schools offer some type of parenting or family planning class as part of their curriculum.