How to Choose the Online Parenting Class that’s Right for Your Family

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Have you had enough of the temper tantrums? Or the backtalk? Or the helplessness?

Do you feel like you’re repeating yourself every second? But your kids are still glued to the tv and refuse to budge?

You know things have to change and you can’t continue on like this. But what’s your next step?

You’ve probably considered the pros and cons of in-person courses and online parenting classes.

You’ve researched different parent education options and have come to the conclusion that an online parenting class is the best choice for your family.

But, how do you pick the right one? Your Facebook newsfeed is filled with offers and every Google search generates different course options all touting excellent results.

I’ve been a parenting coach for over 15 years, and I know there is a wide spectrum of course offerings. Before you hand over your credit card information, let’s break down some key differences in online parenting classes, shall we?

In general, there are 3 types of online parenting courses you’ll find:

    1. Court-ordered courses
    2. Compartmentalized courses
    3. Comprehensive courses.

To make the most informed purchasing decision, it’s critical you understand the differences between each type of course.

Court-Ordered Parenting Courses

Cost: Under $100

Support: None

Accessibility: Limited

Description: These courses were originally designed as just that – court-ordered. In the same way online defensive driving classes can remove points from a person’s driving record, court-ordered parenting classes were intended to offer parents an option for reduced sentencing from the court.

Pros:

  • Cheap Price Tag
  • Immediate Access

Cons:

  • No Support
  • Limited Access
  • Varying Credibility
  • Not Interactive
  • Unverifiable Results

Key Considerations: You’ve heard the saying a million times: You get what you pay for. While you can find a court-ordered online parenting class with an incredibly cheap price tag, these courses will not provide long-term, sustainable change in your home.

By spending four hours online clicking through PowerPoint presentations, it will be nearly impossible to retain enough information to sustain you for the rest of your parenting journey.

Just think about it: Kids grow up. New issues arise. The battles you thought were over simply rear their heads in a new way.

Sure, you will receive a certificate of completion after going through the course, but if you’re looking for proven, lifelong results, a court-ordered class will fall short.

If you aren’t equipped with lifetime resources and support to help you implement what you’ve learned, you won’t have the tools to fall on when your parenting circumstances change.

Compartmentalized Parenting Courses

Cost: $30-$150

Support: Varies

Accessibility: Limited to Lifetime

Description: Compartmentalized courses are designed to target specific behavioral issues or specific age groups. You may find a “potty training course” or a “tackling the temper tantrums” module. A site might offer strategies for “Toddlers” or one just for “Teens.”

Pros:

  • Usually offer Immediate Access
  • Cheaper Price Tag
  • Target specific problem areas

Cons:

  • Don’t offer a comprehensive solution
  • Only include moderate levels of support, if at all
  • Varying credibility

Key Considerations: The truth is…not all compartmentalized courses are created equal. Some may offer limited access to course content (6 weeks, 6 months, a year, etc.) while others will give you lifetime access to the material.

While the idea of compartmentalized courses might sound appealing at first, there are two major drawbacks to these types of courses:

  1. They only help for a season. Whether that is an age season (while your kid is under 5) or for a behavioral season (while your child is struggling with bedtime routine), the course will only provide temporary solutions.
  2. They fail to address the underlying issue. While you may curb your child’s backtalk by taking the “Backtalk course,” if you don’t address the root cause of the issue, this power struggle will simply manifest in other ways (lying, failure to do homework, swearing, etc.). It might sound appealing to tackle a specific issue, but this thinking is misleading because all misbehaviors are SYMPTOMS of deeper issues. If the compartmentalized course doesn’t tackle the problem at its roots, you’ll be left looking for more answers down the road (and consequently forking out more money).
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Comprehensive Parenting Courses

Cost: $150-$800

Support: Moderate to High

Accessibility: Usually Lifetime

Description: Comprehensive courses were designed to offer parents solutions for ALL behavior issues for the entirety of their parenting journey.

Pros:

  • Usually offer Immediate Access
  • Comprehensive solution to parenting problems
  • When they offer lifetime access, you will have constant access to information
  • Less expensive than private counseling or coaching

Cons:

  • More expensive than other compartmentalized or court-ordered courses
  • Varying credibility of experts

Key Considerations: During my time as a parenting expert, I’ve had the privilege of serving thousands of families. In this process, I’ve learned families are most successful when they have a course that offers these three things:

  • Immediate access
  • Lifetime support
  • Instruction from an expert in the parenting field

In selecting an online training program for your family, you’ll want to check all the boxes above.  

To do that, ask yourself these questions:

Do I have a busy schedule? If so, choose a course with unlimited access that’s also accessible any time of day. You don’t want to be committed to showing up on Tuesdays at 7 PM every week if your family’s busy schedule varies throughout the month.

Have others seen success in working with this instructor? You don’t want to be the guinea pig here! You want to know you’ll get quick and lasting results. Be sure to check out the testimonials from other parents in the course. (As an example, here is what parents say about their results in our course.)

In addition, who else depends on this instructor for advice? Ensure you’re learning from an industry expertsomeone who has been in business for a long time, is trusted by media outlets and educational institutions, and has authored books on the subject.

How many years of this parenting gig are ahead? If you have more than 2-3 years with kids still at home, be prepared to face all sorts of parenting challenges. That’s why it’s important to choose a course that offers advice and support for your entire parenting journey – whether that’s another five years or fifteen years.

Additional Considerations

As I mentioned before, there is a wide spectrum of online parenting classes with different offerings.

Once you decide if a court-ordered, compartmentalized or comprehensive course fits your families needs, I encourage you to consider the following questions as you research the different options within each type of course.


When can I begin? Does the course fit in my schedule? What if my partner and I have different schedules – will we both be able to participate?

These questions are vital for you to consider. While some online parenting courses give you instant access to the course, others set a specific date and time the course will begin.

Often in “specific day and time” classes, you’ll work through the material with a group of people and the expert will give you instruction during this specified time.

While this cohort model and direct teaching can be effective, it’s important to ensure it fits nicely into your schedule. If you and your spouse are trying to work together through the course, you must ensure the course fits BOTH of your schedules.

If you need more flexibility in your schedule, there are many courses that offer 24/7 access to the course materials. With this type of course schedule, you and your partner can be learning on your morning commute, while waiting at the DMV, or in the evening when everyone is in bed.

Whichever course you choose, be sure to verify you’ll have access to the course during a time that fits your schedule. If you can’t commit to certain times each week, then register for a course that offers you instant, 24/7 access.


Will I be able to speak with the parenting expert if I need extra help? What other support will I receive?

Sure, you will find the content in an online course to be helpful, but what if you have additional questions? What if you need answers for a specific scenario that isn’t covered in the course material?

If you feel like you might need individualized supportand most parents dochoose a course that provides an opportunity for you to speak with the parenting expert. This could be through a private coaching session or a group session. Either way, ensure this level of support is an option for you. After all, as is true in ANY class, you’re bound to have questions, so it’s important to know you’ll get answers.

In addition to contact with the parenting expert, are there other opportunities for support? Either through a private Facebook group? Email support? Or mentors? Online courses that provide parents with many support options will facilitate greater changes within families.


All of these courses have rave reviews on their sites. How can I verify the testimonials shared on the website are from real parents?

This is a great question! In the digital age, it can be difficult to sift through content and verify whether or not it’s true. Online courses are going to share the most positive reviews with potential clients, so how do you know if these reviews are honest and sincere?

I encourage parents to look for two things: Does the review include a first and last name? Does it include a picture?

If reviewers are willing to share their first and last name in addition to their picture, this is essentially a digital signature of approval. Nowadays it is extremely easy to verify someone’s identity through a simple Google search, so if you’re unsure about the validity of website reviews, I’d encourage you to do a simple search.

It’s also helpful to know outside sources look to the parenting expert or the parenting course for support. Do companies invest in the course for their employees? Do media outlets value the parenting expert’s opinion enough to share it with their readers and viewers?

Lastly, when in doubt, simply send the company a question and verify the course is a good fit for your family! Quality courses will have client support employees who can help you understand if their course is a quality option for your family.


Is there a return policy?

When companies stand behind their product, they are willing to offer a refund for unhappy customers. This is the company’s way of saying, “We stand behind our product and promise it will change your family. If it doesn’t, we will refund your money.”

If you’re worried about whether or not the online parenting course will fit your family’s needs, choose a class with a refund policy and you’ll have nothing to lose.

Final Thoughts

I know you want to see a change in your home, and I can assure you from experience that online courses can be incredibly transformative for families. As you weigh your options and consider different courses, I encourage you to choose a course that fits your family’s needs in regard to scheduling, accessibility and support.

If you’re wondering if Positive Parenting Solutions Online Course might be a good fit for your family, I’d love for you to join me for a FREE PARENTING CLASS where I will teach you how to get your kids to listen without nagging, yelling or reminding.

Wishing you all the best on your parenting journey!

About the Author

Amy McCready
Nationally recognized parenting expert Amy McCready is the Founder of Positive Parenting Solutions and the best selling author of The “Me, Me, Me” Epidemic - A Step-by-Step Guide to Raising Capable, Grateful Kids in an Over-Entitled World and If I Have to Tell You One More Time…The Revolutionary Program That Gets Your Kids to Listen Without Nagging, Reminding or Yelling. As a “recovering yeller” and a Certified Positive Discipline Instructor, Amy is a champion of positive parenting techniques for happier families and well-behaved kids. Amy is a TODAY Show contributor and has been featured on CBS This Morning, CNN, Fox & Friends, MSNBC, Rachael Ray, Steve Harvey & others. In her most important role, she is the proud mom of two amazing young men.