Find Strength in Fatherhood
Benefits of Parenting Classes for Dads
Strength is being able to turn a story around, to admit you were wrong, and to listen with an open mind. Steven first found Any Baby Can in 2011 following a custody court appearance where he “lost his cool.” The judge ordered Steven to take a parenting class and he found it helpful.
Years later, he is in recovery and ready to begin the next chapter of his life. Now Steven has come to appreciate the support, camaraderie and guidance that comes from a group parenting class.
Finding Support in Fatherhood
“I signed up because I wanted to learn as much as I could to prepare to be with my kids. But also deal with the co-parenting part of it. I wanted to have better relationships with people in general. And the classes helped me with that,” recalls Steven.
Life challenges, systemic issues and personal backgrounds affect the ways people parent. Many times, this “parenting culture” is passed down from generations before us. But today’s parents get to decide. They can change that culture to reflect the situations they’re in now and what they hope for their children.
Steven wants to be able to support his children and help them learn from his mistakes. He also wants to bring intention to all his personal relationships. His Fatherhood class instructor Aaron Oeser also referred Steven to individual therapy. His counselor Anna helped him be more present and improve his perspective on life. These skills have had a ripple effect on his attitude, relationships, goal-setting, and general wellness.
Taking Care of Ourselves First
To take care of others you have to take care of yourself first. Class participants build skills, such as regulating emotions, meeting their own needs, being patient and seeing things from different perspectives. Managing one’s emotions is a common challenge in parenting, and just being an adult! Parents learn breathing exercises, coping mechanisms, and how to recognize and plan for things that stress or upset them.
“At the end of the day, I can’t help my children if I’m not in the right place. So I show up every day and keep showing up. Eventually a door will open to a better future and I’ll be ready,” says Steven.
What’s a Parenting Class Like?
It can be difficult for parents—for anyone—to admit they can do better. There’s also the time commitment and, unfortunately, stigma that comes with asking for help.
“Men are raised to walk with our chest out and not talk about our feelings – and that’s what got me in trouble in the past. Not being able to deal with emotions. But now I can be my natural self and be confident in that,” Steven reflects.
Parents who come to our classes sometimes feel uncomfortable or vulnerable. But once they start, they want to continue. Everyone fills each class with ideas, goals, reflection, and practical tips for communication and emotional health.
What Impact Does a Parenting Class Have?
Once parents commit to a parenting class, they realize they're in this together, and that they do have skills.
“We’re not here to teach you how to be a parent. I’m not saying: This is what we do and it’s going to work for all of us. Instead, we work together as a group to talk about how we parent. And over the next 16 weeks we begin to develop or improve our different parenting styles. When parents talk about it in class, they often answer their own questions,” says parenting class instructor Cameron Paredes.
94% of our parenting class participants show an increase in one or more parenting behaviors such as empathy, appropriate discipline and expectations of children. Moms and dads come to Any Baby Can’s parenting classes because they want to give their kids the best life possible. In our classes, we create a judgment-free space where everyone can learn and connect. The classes are free and use an evidence-based curriculum.
By Changing One Life, We’re Changing Many Lives
Steven has finished his series of fatherhood classes and individual therapy. He says that he's gained so much from seeing people like Aaron and Anna show up every day, with focus, energy and determination. This has given Steven respect for the people in his “circle” who support him.
He brings that same respect to his work as a residential director at a sober living home in San Marcos. Steven mentors men and women who are dealing with behavioral or substance use issues. He believes that his work is just beginning. Steven now advocates for healthy living and diversity in recovery, especially for parents.
“The potential is in everyone. We have the potential to care, and potential to hurt. At Any Baby Can, we focus on the caring aspect. What it looks like to care, how you can break a cycle of hurt,” says parenting class instructor Nicola Britton.
In the end, it’s our children who benefit the most. Our next generation of parents will make our society a better place for everyone.
We offer a variety of classes for first-time and experienced parents through parenthood.
Find at-home activities that promote learning and encourage bonding.
Get personalized parent education—in English and Spanish—for the tools, skills and confidence to raise a healthy family.