5 Parent Education Options: Which is Best for Your Family?

Parent Education OptionsParenting. No one ever told you it would be this hard, did they? Well, maybe they did, but you didn’t believe them.

After all, you didn’t even have children. And because you didn’t have children, you wouldn’t know how hard it is…that is…until you had them.

And now you know.

You know parenting is the most gut-wrenching and simultaneously rewarding job on the planet.

You know it’s equal parts frustrating and life-giving.

You know it’s possible to love spending time with someone so fiercely but also jump for joy when they fall asleep.

But maybe you don’t know how to navigate the temper tantrums. Or how to stop the hitting. Or how to curb the backtalk.

You’ve tried timeouts and consequences and counting to three, but nothing seems to work.

So now you’re looking for answers. And with the limitless amount of parenting advice your search engine produces, it’s impossible to sort through it all.

Can I help you, my friend?

I’ve been a parenting educator for over a decade and have seen thousands of families transformed by newfound parenting knowledge.

There are a plethora of parenting resources available to you, and I want you to find one that works best for your family. While I teach an online parenting course, it is the goal of this article to compare the different types of educational resources so you can make an informed purchasing decision.

While there are other resources available, I find parents look to the following options most frequently for help. So for the sake of this article, I’ll compare the following parent education resources:

  • Books
  • Public Facebook Groups and Pages
  • In-Person Parenting Classes
  • Online Parenting Classes
  • Private Coaching/Counseling


Books

Cost: Under $50

Accessibility: Lifetime

Scheduling: Flexible

Expertise: Varies

Support: None

Books are a great lifetime resource for parents and often address particular behavior issues or age-specific questions. If you’re looking for a comprehensive solution to your parenting woes, however, books are going to fall short.

Don’t get me wrong, I love books – I’ve written two of them – but when parents use books as their only resource, you’ll find they have to constantly purchase new reading material to address the issue du jour.

While books are a relatively low-cost option, they don’t offer any additional support. Therefore, if you have questions over something you read or need answers as they pertain to your family situation, you’ll need to turn elsewhere.


Public Facebook Groups and Pages

Cost: FREE

Accessibility: Lifetime

Scheduling: Flexible

Expertise: Varies

Support: Low

Facebook Pages and Groups are a blessing and a curse. Here at Positive Parenting Solutions we have an incredible Facebook community that we’d love for you to be a part of! But, as is true in any social media group, while there might be good bits of advice scattered throughout the posts and comments, it’s going to take a great amount of work to piece together a comprehensive parenting strategy.

I love the opportunity for community that Facebook groups provide, but because anyone can participate, it’s hard to determine the credibility of people offering advice.

When it comes to Facebook, I’d view it more as a casual coffee date with friends and less as a place to reshape your entire parenting approach.


In-Person Parenting Classes

Cost: $25-$800+

Accessibility: Limited

Scheduling: Strict

Expertise: Varies

Support: Moderate

As a former classroom educator for parents, I know parents can find great value in this setting. While you can usually verify the credibility of your instructor and receive personal support in a classroom, there are some limiting factors to be aware of if you choose this option.

First, you must ensure that the class fits into your schedule. If you aren’t free on the third Tuesday of every month from 5-7 p.m., for example, then you’re out of luck.

Secondly, while you may have incredible support during the 7 weeks you are in the class, you will inevitably face another parenting challenge a couple years down the road. And then what? Will you still have access to your instructor? Or will you need to seek out other help?

When I taught in-person classes, I struggled with this exact issue. I wanted to help my parents see lasting changes for years beyond our time together, but it was logistically impossible to help them several years after the course had completed.

Lastly, the cost of in-person classes varies greatly, so it’s important you do research to ensure you make a solid financial investment if you choose this route.


Online Parenting Classes

Cost: $40-$500+

Accessibility: Limited to Lifetime

Scheduling: Flexible

Expertise: Varies

Support: Moderate to High

Online parenting courses offer maximum flexibility in terms of scheduling. For most online courses, parents can access information when it’s convenient with their schedule without being tied to a calendar.

In addition, online courses usually offer high levels of support – Members-only Facebook groups, email support, group or private coaching, etc.

Quite possibly the greatest benefit to online parenting courses is that some courses offer lifetime access to course content. (For what it’s worth, I’d be wary of an online course that DOESN’T offer lifetime access).

By offering lifetime access, instructors are saying, “I want to support you for your ENTIRE parenting journey, not just a portion of it.Courses that offer unlimited, lifetime access understand parents are extremely busy and challenges with kids are constantly changing.

With so many online parenting courses on the market, however, it’s important to ensure you are learning from an expert in the field – someone who is trusted by media outlets and educational institutions. And while the cost of online parenting classes varies, so do the levels of support. Before you hand over your credit card information, confirm the course offerings fit your family’s needs for support and accessibility.

Related:
Pros and Cons of Online Parenting Classes

Related: How Much Does an Online Parenting Class Cost? 5 Key Considerations


Personal Coaching/Counseling

Cost: $250-$2,000+

Accessibility: Limited

Scheduling: Strict

Expertise: High

Support: High

I am not one to deter people from private counseling or professional coaching. The truth is these methods can be very effective…for a time, that is. As is true with in-person parenting classes, private coaching or counseling usually occurs over a finite period of time. And while it can be incredibly beneficial for that season, you will most likely face other parenting dilemmas down the road that require attention

The other downside to private coaching is undoubtedly the cost. This is easily the most expensive option for parenting help. And again, even though you fork out a lot of money for personalized solutions, you’ll only receive the expert’s assistance for a set time period.


Final Thoughts

First off, you should feel incredibly proud of yourself for seeking parenting help. You know that parenting is the toughest job in the world and you want to do it right – after all, your kids are deserve a calm and confident parent, and you deserve to FEEL calm and confident as a parent!

As you weigh the different options I’ve discussed above, let me leave you with these final two questions to consider:

  1. What type of schedule do you keep? Do you have a lot of free time or do you need a parenting solution to fit into YOUR schedule (not the other way around)?
  2. How long would you like support on your parenting journey? For a month? A year? A lifetime?

By answering these questions, you’ll have a better idea of what kind of parenting solution your family will benefit from. Find an option that fits your scheduling, accessibility and support needs and you’ll be well on your way to a family transformation.

If you’re looking for parenting help today, I’d love for you to join me for a free parenting class and you can see for yourself if Positive Parenting Solutions is a good fit for your family.

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.