Opinion | Parenting should require classes
September 2, 2020
Parenting is a difficult job that requires a lot of life skills. You need to have an abundance of patience, quick reflexes, easy adaptability and unwavering selflessness. With such demanding requirements to become a parent, one would assume there would be a system in place to check that parents meet all of these conditions. Unfortunately, that is not the case.
Parents need to be able to change their schedules on a whim and deal with an unknown number of crises throughout the day. When dealing with children, particularly babies and toddlers, one must be ready to roll with their ever-changing temperaments and needs.
They don’t call them “the terrible twos” for nothing. Parents need to be able to recognize the different signs their children give off to determine what it is they need, especially before they learn to speak.
Even though we currently expect parents to learn all of this on the fly, there should be some process in place to teach them at least the basics before they have a child. It isn’t fair to put the pressure on people to figure out parenting on their own. We don’t place adults into the workforce without making sure they have an education, some experience or at least basic training in their field of work.
There could be two ways to teach parents these skills and tips. One way is through implementing mandatory enrollment in parenting classes after confirmation of pregnancy and intention to carry to term or to implement classes for adolescents in high school in order to graduate.
For the adult classes, there should be an introduction to the most essential skills to have as a successful parent. Included in these classes should be guest speakers who are current parents and can, therefore, give their best tips for buying the best baby products, handling tantrums and potty-training techniques.
A CPR certification to ensure they know how to save their baby’s life should also be essential, as CPR for a baby or child is different from CPR for an adult. There should also be a comprehensive test of the basics to prove they are competent and ready to raise a baby.
For the high school classes, important basics should be taught, such as how to change a diaper, the proper hold while bottle feeding, how to burp a baby and CPR certification.
An established method of acquiring experience is practicing with a plastic baby for bottle feeding, diapers and rocking sensations with a speaker and sensors that record the time spent crying before being soothed or given what is needed. This gives students a pretty similar experience to what it is like being woken up in the middle of the night and the struggle of determining what exactly the baby needs.
Classes are necessary because everyone, or at least those who are about to have a baby, should have some knowledge of basic childcare and parenting techniques. And, as was the case in my high school, the parenting class was full of young girls with no boys in sight.
It was seen as embarrassing, girly and unimportant for the boys to take a class learning about taking care of babies and children. In order to adapt to the changing times of an increase of stay-at-home dads and working moms, it is important to teach our youth it is not just up to the women to prepare themselves for parenthood, but the men too.
Many adults are thrown headfirst into parenthood with little-to-no preparation except for the information they choose to seek out, and this should not be the case. We should ensure all parents are competent in the skills essential to raising a child.
Marykate Green is a junior in Media.