Classes Can Bring The Joy Back Into Being a Parent

Too bad babies aren’t born with manuals and parenting isn’t a required course for graduation. Most of us parent on instinct based on how we were raised and on societal clues such as television. Unfortunately, we were all raised by less than perfect parents and, if “Married with Children” or “The Real Housewives” is your role model, we need to talk.

No matter how our pattern of parenting evolved, most of us could use a little solid advice—especially during the rough patches such as a colic, potty training, tantrums, picky eating, sleep issues, discipline, homework struggles, dating…yeah, pretty much the whole way. The reality is, parenting is a tough job, and most of us are ill-prepared.

Show me the joy

While parenting is hard work, it should also be a source of joy. If you are feeling consistently burned out, confused, overwhelmed, or angry as a parent, or if you just know your parenting skills need a tune up, help can be a just phone call away.

Carrie Little, program coordinator for Family Life Education at Family and Children’s Services encourages parents to ask themselves if their current style of parenting is working.

“You don’t have to repeat the things your parents did and you don’t have to stay the same [in your parenting style]. You can learn to parent in a positive, healthy way,” Little said.

Family and Children’s Services offer a wide variety of parenting and relationship classes. “Being with a group of people who are going through the same stuff with their kids really helps,” Little said. “It’s easy to feel closed off, in your own head, and not realize that other people are going through the same things.”

Family and Children’s Services draws parents from all walks of life to their beautiful, high tech, welcoming facility on South Peoria. In this comfortable setting parents from all backgrounds bond as they realize others are experiencing the same tantrums, the same clothes-on-the-floor, the same homework hassles they are.

“The conversations between parents are great,” Little said.

Family and Children’s Services offer specific classes for parents of 1- to 5-year-olds; 5- to 12-year-olds; and teenagers, 13 and older. There are also classes for stepfamilies, families with difficult children, families going through divorce, and parents who are co-parenting with an ex-spouse.

Improve Your Relationship

Finally, they offer couples relationship classes that not only fortify the bond between parents, but fortify the family as a whole.

“Research shows that if you strengthen the couple relationship, you provide a more stable atmosphere for the kids,” Little said. “Good things happen with kids when they have a stable home life.”

According to Little, when couples learn to communicate effectively, manage conflicts and have fun together, children are less likely to display acting out behaviors and abuse drugs and alcohol. Additionally, kids from stable families are more likely to graduate from high school and go on to college. All good reasons to make your couple relationship as strong and healthy as possible.

Little is quick to add that there is no reason to think that being a single parent means you can’t raise great kids.

“If a single parent is striving toward the goals of positive parenting,” she said, “research shows the children are just as likely to be happy and healthy.”

Happy Parents = Happy Kids

Finally, don’t forget to pamper yourself a little when you think about enriching your parenting. If you are a happy parent with a variety of outside interests, you will bring your enthusiasm and positive life experiences home to your children.

Parenting and Relationship Classes:

Active Parenting: The First 5 Years

Becoming a parent is a life-changing event, and life as a parent keeps changing too. This four-week program:

  • Covers the first five years of parenting, from birth up to age 5.
  • Contains a session dedicated to school readiness and parent engagement.
  • Includes topics about temperament, mindfulness, brain development, self-calming and special needs.

$20 per session; $20 book purchase optional. Mondays, 6-8 p.m. Family & Children’s Services, 650 S. Peoria. Info: 918.560.1112, 918.560.1114, or

Active Parenting Now

For parents of 5- to 12-year-olds. Learn effective discipline techniques, how to give logical consequences and how to encourage responsibility and cooperation. $25/session. $15 book purchase required. Tuesdays 6-8 p.m. Family & Children’s Services, 650 S. Peoria. Info: 918.560.1112, 918.560.1114 or

Active Parenting of Teens

Home life and family relationships are still one of the biggest influences on a teen’s development. Six-week program for parents of teenagers, ages 13 and older. $20/session, $5 for each additional family member. $20 book required. Call for starting dates and times. Family & Children’s Services, 650 S. Peoria. Info: 918.560.1112, 918.560.1114 or

Active Parenting For Stepfamilies

When a stepfamily is formed, everyone needs to build good relationships with new family members. In this 6-week class parents will learn realistic expectations, styles of parenting, relationship-building skills, effective communication tools, how to handle problems, how to merge family values and cultures, how to handle kids who live in two households. $100/person or $150 for two. Call for starting dates and times. Family & Children’s Services, 650 S. Peoria. Info: 918.560.1112, 918.560.1114 or

Cooperative Parenting and Divorce

Your relationship with your partner may have ended, but your children need both of you to be involved in their lives. In this six-week class, either one or both parents can learn to: manage anger, take control of conflict, negotiate agreements, allow children to love both parents, and cooperate, because co-parenting is forever. $100/person or $150 for two. Call for starting dates and times. Family & Children’s Services, 650 S. Peoria. Info: 918.560.1112, 918.560.1114 or

Within MyReach

In this interactive, five-week, workshop, you and/or you and your partner will learn how to:

  • Replace communication danger signs with proactive strategies for respectful talking and listening.
  • Explore sharing fun and satisfying intimate needs by working as a team to nurture and support each other.
  • Practice managing stress and reducing the negative effects of stress on a relationship.
  • Recognizing and communicating issues and expectations, including planning for the future.
  • Investigate the impact that past experiences can have on a couple’s future.
  • Acknowledge long-term satisfaction through the gift of commitment.

Thursdays, 6-8 p.m. Family & Children’s Services, 650 S. Peoria. Info: 918.560.1112, 918.560.1114 or

Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

We address both grandparents who are daytime caregivers and grandparents who are taking over as the primary parent for their grandchildren. You’ll learn:

  • Communication principles for all ages
  • Positive parenting techniques
  • How to avoid conflicts over childrearing
  • Practices in self-care

Fee: $20 per session / $25 per session for two. Three sessions.

Other Parenting Resources:

JumpStart Tulsa: Parent support and childcare provider support services.

Parents As Teachers: Provides free parent education and family support for parents of children from birth to age 3.

Tulsa Public Schools Parents As Teachers: 918.925.1403 or Website:

Union Public Schools Parents As Teachers: 918-357-7380 or or

Jenks Public Schools Parents As Teachers: 918.299.4411, ext. 2579 or

Healthy Start: Free program providing information and support for expectant parents and parents of children ages 0-3. Contact: Corrina Jackson at 918.595.4220 or

Children First: Free program preparing first-time mothers for parenthood. Available for expectant mothers and mothers of children ages 0-2. Offers home visits, parenting information, nutrition information, child development, health information and more. To register or for more information call 918.732.4600.

Sooner Start: Free program offering support and services for parents of children from birth to three years old, who have disabilities or developmental delays. Services may include: family training and counseling, health services, parenting information, nutrition information, diagnostic and evaluations services. For more information call: 918.835.8691.

Community Action Project/Head Start: Offers early childhood education at numerous centers in the Tulsa and surrounding area. Prepares children for kindergarten. Also offers home-based parent education. For children from birth to age four. Free, based on income. For more information call 918.585.3227 or


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