A training program for professionals who offer parenting classes

This innovative parent education program is designed for educators and professionals working with parents in comprehensive prevention/mental health services. The program has two components: one for new parents and the second for parents of older children and adolescents.Materials include: Compassionate Child-Rearing, by Robert W. Firestone, Ph.D.; The Developing Person by Kathleen S. Berger and Ross A. Thompson; the Glendon Association’s Parent-Child Relations Video Series (available in closed caption); Instructor Guidelines; and Parent Workbooks. The Glendon Association provides all instructors with a comprehensive 2-day training program and ongoing support for up to one year. Instructors are required to have a master’s degree in psychology or other mental health descipline, or in education, and must be parents themselves. B.A. level trainees or interns may be supervised by a master’s degree level professional. A person without parenting experience may co-teach with a parent.

Topics covered in the Six-Week Course

  • Parental ambivalence
  • Emotional development of the child
  • Emotional hunger versus love
  • Independence and individuation
  • Socialization and discipline
  • Interfering with the formation of a negative thought process in children
  • Fostering positive attitudes toward sexuality
  • Supporting self-esteem through growth-enhancing experiences shared with other families in a parents’ support network.

Distinctive Features and Focus
The Compassionate Child-Rearing Parent Education Program differs from other parent education models in that it focuses on (1) parents’ interactions with their children and (2) parents’ own experiences in growing up. The program addresses the personal development of parents. The underlying philosophy emphasizes that effective parenting grows out of parents’ knowledge, insight, and understanding of themselves as individuals, separate from parental roles or expectations. The approach is nonjudgmental, non critical, and truly humanistic in its view of parents.The curriculum makes extensive use of videotaped excerpts from specialized parenting groups in which parents recounted personal stories of their own upbringing and childhood experiences. This combination of videotaped screenings and open discussion uncovers the core issues in parenting and impacts parents on a deep emotional level so that long-lasting changes in attitudes and behaviors are possible.

A wide range of socioeconomic groups and minority populations (from prison settings to urban inner cities, military personnel, and rural farming communities) have been exposed to the videotapes and have reported increased insight and understanding of themselves.

Learning Objectives:
To support parents in their personal development through increased self-knowledge and self-esteem.To explore new perspectives on socialization and discipline in order to prevent the development of a “bad child” image in children.To examine attitudes toward sexuality and help parents develop a pragmatic approach to teaching constructive attitudes about sex to children.To help parents value themselves and their experiences; to help them develop compassion for themselves with respect to their own childhood experiences.To facilitate the formation of an ongoing parents’ support group, utilizing available community resources that provide activities for families and especially for adolescents at risk for drug abuse and gang-related crime.

Results from a small pilot study designed to measure the effectiveness of the program indicated an increase in parents’ positive feelings, and a reduction of negative attitudes and rejection toward their children following the training. Results also indicated positive changes in parental attitudes toward self and the other partner. See Preliminary Research Results: Effectiveness of the Compassionate child-Rearing Workshop.

Program Development

The program has expanded to include 36 sites in seven states and in Costa Rica and Canada. The videotapes have been closed-captioned for hearing-impaired individuals.

To see a complete list of upcoming workshops click here

To request a workshop in your area contact [email protected]