Choosing Parenting Curricula Based on the Interests, Needs, and Preferences of the Parents Who Will Use It

Harriet Heath, Ph.D.
Director, The Parent Center Child Study Institute/Thorne School
Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, PA


Guide to Finding a Parenting Curriculum to Suit the Strengths, Interests, and Preferences of Specific Parents

Part 1. Describing a Curriculum
Part 2. Identifying a Parent's Strengths, Interests, and Preferences
Part 3. Identifying a Group of Parents' Strengths, Interests, and Preferences

Describing a Curriculum

Name of curriculum _____________________________________________________ Cost __________________
Source of curriculum ___________________________________________________________________________
Age of children of parents for whom curriculum is appropriate ___________________________________________
Frequency of meeting recommended ________________________ Availability of curriculum __________________
Goal or Objective of the curriculum ________________________________________________________________

Check all of the following that the curriculum provides--

Information covered

___ Attachment, building and maintaining relationships

___ Beliefs systems

___ Developmental stages

___ Families of Origin

___ Feelings and how to deal with them

___ Parent's goals

___ Learning styles

___ Needs people have in order to survive and to live happily

___ Using needs to motivate children

___ The parental role

___ Relevance of past experience

___ Safety issues

___ Self esteem

___ Sibling and peer relationships

___ Temperament patterns

___ Values and ways of integrating them into family life.

___ Other

Skills taught

How to --

___ Advocate for children

___ Anticipate

___ Balance demands of work and family

___ Brainstorm

___ Calm self--take a perspective

___ Communicate effectively

___ Design an appropriate environment

___ Discipline

___ Empathize

___ Enjoy

___ Implement life skills

___ Manage stress

___ Negotiate

___ Observe objectively

___ Plan effectively

Play with:

___ young children

___ adolescents

___ Problem solve

___ Reflect, assess about situations

Relate to, respond to, interact:

___ young children

___ adolescents

Resolve conflict with:

___ young children

___ adolescents

Teach and guide:

___ young children

___ adolescents

___ Think through an issue

___ Use community resources

___ Other

Implications of Methods Recommended for Presenting Content

Content of the curriculum is determined by the: (select one)
___ curriculum;
___ curriculum and participants;
___ participants.

Source of content is based on: (select one)
___ "scientific" general knowledge;
___ "scientific" general knowledge and personal experiences;
___ personal experiences.

Presentation methods encourage participants to: (select one)
___ master the information;
___ relate the information to their life experiences;
___ focus entirely on their life experiences.

Presentation methods encourage participants to: (select one)
___ follow the guidance of the leader;
___ think through how they want to nurture their children, experiement;
___ continue nurturing their children as they have been.

Parental behavior is expected to improve as participants: (select all appropriate; star major emphasis)
___ master the content presented;
___ interrelate content and life experiences and put insights into practice;
___ reflect on life experiences as guided by the leader and put insights into practice;
___ seek to change environmental circumstances and role expectations.
___ feel better about themselves as parents.

Identify philosophical positions and child rearing advice

Record major philosophical positions of the curriculum

List pages where child-rearing advice is given: Note advice given

Background of Leadership Recommended

___ untrained, may come from group
___ trained in specific curriculum
___ expected to be highly trained in content and group skills

Copyright © 1998 Harriet Heath.

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