Morinville to offer parenting classes beginning this fall
By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – The Town of Morinville will be offering a variety of parenting classes this fall and winter, targeting different areas of interest to parents of toddlers to teens. In addition to a drop-in parent group and program for teenagers with children, three special programs are being offered: Positive Discipline, Self Esteem in Children and Active Parenting of Tweens and Teens.
Family and Community Support Services Coordinator Amy Dribnenky said the special programs are being facilitated by Parent’s Place, a family resource group in St. Albert. The programs are being offered at a reduced rate in Morinville. “FCSS is subsidizing them so you do get them at a better price than if you were to go to Parent’s Place to do them,” she said.
The series starts in October with Positive Discipline, a one-night course for parents that will give parents the skills they need to encourage independence and exploration while setting appropriate boundaries.
“Positive Discipline is aimed at pretty much all age groups, so they’re going to offer strategies on everything from potty training issues to lying, misbehaviour,” Dribnenky said. “There are so many mixed messages out there about how to discipline your kid. A lot of times you just need those tools in your tool box to make it easier for yourself to be more effective in preventing behaviour from reoccurring.”
Dribnenky said discipline need not be about punishment but about changing the behaviour, something she said the Positive Discipline Course will teach parents how to do.
The seminar will be held Oct. 13 from 7 to 9 p.m. and the cost of the program is $25 per person.
Self Esteem in Children
Another one-night program on offer is Self Esteem in Children, which will take place Nov. 17 from 7 to 8:30 p.m.
Dribnenky explained children with low self-esteem are at a greater risk for high risk behaviours. “They tend to be not as able to handle pressure and conflict and all of these things,” she said. “Because of that, a lot of times they make poor choices to try and gain that acceptance and to feel valuable and valued.”
The FCSS coordinator said self-esteem is absolutely vital to any child’s development, something she said occasionally parents forget about. “We get busy with the day-to-day and don’t think about actively building their child’s self-esteem,” she said, adding the two-hour class is an easy way to learn easy ways to raise their children’s self-esteem. “It’s going to give you some really good ideas and options.”
However, Dribnenky pointed out the intent of the program is not to teach parents how to make their children believe they are perfect. “There is a very big difference between filling your child with the idea that they’re perfect and they can do no wrong and self-confidence and self-esteem,” she said. “There’s a huge difference. Those kids that believe they’re perfect and above anybody else don’t necessarily have a healthy self-esteem. This is about creating a healthy self-esteem in your kids.”
For Dribnenky healthy self-esteem in children is a realization of their own worth wherein they feel valued and valuable. They do not feel better than others but they feel good about who they are.
Cost of the November program is $25 per person.
Active Parenting for Tweens and Teens
February will see the Active Parenting for Tweens and Teens program, a three-week seminar series that will run Thursday evenings from Feb. 2 to 16. “It’s a really important one, especially for anyone that’s got kids that are transitioning into junior high right now,” Dribnenky said. “We know from research that the ages 11 to 13 is kind of when most adolescents start experiencing a drop in their developmental assets, which means they are at a higher risk. The level of conflict tends to be higher. So this will be really good to give them [parents] some strategies.”
Cost of the program is $60 per person; however, Dribnenky said couples can attend for the one price of $60. Included in the price is a free guidebook on the program.
Teens with Tots
Another program being offered this year is for pregnant teenagers and teenagers with children. The program contends parenting is a tough row to hoe; being a teen parent is even tougher. The program will take the form of a support group where teen parents can share both their joys and challenges.
“There has been a huge increase in teenage pregnancy in Morinville,” Dribnenky said. “The number of teens in Morinville that are pregnant or are young parents is very, very high. “
Dribnenky said her hopes for the group, which is being supported by Big Brothers / Big Sisters and Boys and Girls Club, is to help teen parents deal with issues most parents are not confronted with.
“You’re dealing with things like your friends are all getting together after school but you’ve got to go home and take care of your child,” she explained. “Everybody else is talking about finding a job or trying to get homework done and you’re worrying about getting diapers and these different things.”
Dribnenky said she has been keeping a list of interested participants and is hoping the program can take place this fall.
For more information on the Teens with Tots program or any of the Town of Morinville’s parenting programs, see the fall / winter Community Guide or contact Amy Dribnenky at 780-939-7832.