From July 28 through Aug. 27, Bellevue College is offering free and public summer parenting talks. Participants range from actual parents to expecting couples and those who plan on conceiving. Subjects that are discussed are how to educate young children, manage emotions, provide positive discipline, develop friendships and figure out what kids need to succeed.
Kristin Nasman, a parent education faculty member, led the parent talk on Aug. 5, which was an introduction to positive discipline. “When we start parenting we kind of fall back into the way we were parented, or we’ll do exactly the opposite because we do not want to be like our parents. So parents usually fall into one of two categories, an authoritarian parent or a permissive parent,” Nasman explained.
According to developmental psychologist Diana Baumrind, authoritarian parents have strict rules and expectations, are very demanding but not responsive, rarely give the children choices or options and do not provide much warmth or nurturing to their children. A permissive parent has few rules or standards, behaving more like a friend of the child rather than an authority figure, though they are usually very nurturing and loving towards their kids.
“So we really want to try and find this middle ground and this is where you’re a firm and kind parent at the same time and this is called the authoritative parent,” said Nasman, “with an authoritative parent children learn boundaries and learn their limits and there is a real harmony in the household.”
This is one example of many free parent talks hosted by Bellevue College over the summer. In addition to the free parent talks, BC also hosts a variety of classes that last throughout the school year.
“The parenting program has been around for over 50 years and all Washington colleges have these programs but Bellevue College has been the most established one in Washington,” said Nasman.
There are many classes offered but each class combines two elements, play-based learning with age-appropriate, developmentaly stimulating activities for kids, and parent education along with expert advice that focuses on providing information a parent needs to be successful. Different classes are labeled by ages, infants zero to nine months, wobblers nine to 12 months, first year toddlers 13 to 24 months, second year toddlers, two to three years, and cooperative preschool three to five years. The parent education program also offers enrichment programs that focus on certain subjects such as art, science, a new inventor’s lab summer program or a summer camp.
Nasman has been teaching at the Bellevue College location for five years and was at Seattle Central College prior to coming to Bellevue. This is Bellevue College’s second year offering the free parent talks. “We offer it to the community just as an outreach and to give our parents in the program a little bit of something during the summer while they’re not with us during the school year.”
For more information on the classes or how to register for the classes visit their website at http://www.bellevuecollege.edu/parented.