Programs that provide educational and supportive services for new parents or those expecting a child, to prepare them on an emotional and practical level for the impact the newborn will have on their lives and relationships. Initial focus areas include healthy eating for the mother, danger signs in pregnancy, sibling preparation and being ready for labour and delivery, followed by practical information on basic infant care, newborn behaviours, baby supplies, bathing techniques, diapering, breastfeeding and other feeding options, as well as infant and childhood illnesses. Later topics may include walking, talking, toilet training and other aspects of child development, all to help ensure that infants and toddlers are nurtured, live in a safe environment and receive proper health care. Included are programs open to all as well those targeting special populations such as low income individuals or teenagers.
Programs that operate a telephone counselling and information line that parents can call when they have childhood development questions, need advice regarding a specific parenting problem or need a referral for parenting resources.
Programs that teach skills that enable parents to deal constructively and consistently with a broad spectrum of child rearing problems which may include sibling rivalry; school behaviour and performance; poor self-esteem; shyness; drug use; sexual promiscuity; and the whole range of negative, acting-out behaviours including whining, temper tantrums, disobedience, insolence and destructiveness. Some parenting skills development programs utilize a step-by-step approach for managing specific problems and may incorporate application at home of techniques that were discussed and practiced in the classroom setting. Other programs may offer participatory family workshops which provide opportunities for parents and children to learn and practice methods for dealing with one another under the guidance of a trained facilitator. Most training programs teach the parent a particular way of talking and relating to their children that reinforces positive behaviours and communication and decreases negative behaviours while supporting the development of a relationship that is built on fairness, mutual caring and respect.
The above terms and definitions are part of the Taxonomy of Human Services, used here by permission of INFO LINE of Los Angeles.