Frequently Asked Questions
Some parents worry about coming to a parenting class because it feels like they're owning up to being a 'bad' parent or having 'difficult' children. Some parents worry that coming to a parenting class is an open admission that they are failing to do things well.
Coming to a parenting class shows a commitment to your role as a parent, and a commitment to your child(ren)'s future. It doesn’t mean you’re not already doing a good job as a parent but is a recognition of the fact that there is always something to learn and is testament to the dedication you have to your family’s wellbeing.
Some parents worry about the time commitment
The whole course takes 20 hours of class time, plus of course travelling to and from the class. Each week there is a take home mission in the form of tasks you can take on to put the skill you have learned into practice. Within the course, we look at time management and balancing priorities which may help you – most parents feel overwhelmed from time to time about the scale, number and range of activities/commitments they and their children have. Most graduates agree it is a very worthwhile investment of time.
"My husband and I highly recommend the 10 week parenting course. The information and skills learnt were both practical and useful and the changes we made to our own behaviour remain with us to this day. Money and time well spent - 20 hours is a small price to pay for a lifetime of positive parenting, bringing out the best in your children." Christine and Steve, Parents of 2.
There is a lot to cover – parenting is a huge job and a lifelong commitment, like a healthy lifestyle or running a business. Compared to how many times we exercise or how many professional development courses we go on, 10 classes is fairly few! However, we understand the pressures parents are under, and that's why we also offer a 5-week core skills course and workshops in the evenings so parents can have a introduction to and core foundation in the skills.
Why do a parenting course with us?
What differentiates The Parent Practice from other providers is:
"It sounds like a lot of money."
The 10-week course runs for between 4 and 6 months effectively, with breaks for half-terms and holidays. The total cost of the course at £400 (before any discounts) is therefore equivalent to a spend of £75 to £100 a month. Although this is a significant amount, the effects go well beyond the period of the course.
“Your parenting tips still steer our family ship. I don't always remember to respond the way I'd like on reflection but It's like finding a £10 pound note at the bottom of your handbag..............sometimes finding just the right words to smooth through family life. When my children were quite small I had a parent practice top 10 tips printed out on the inside of our pantry cupboard. I could then whip out some skills with the cereal and be sure of a good day. I was always amazed by the results! Happy calm children. Bliss!” Pippa, Mother who’d taken the course some years previously.
“Can I pay by instalments?”
Call us to discuss this. In order for all the classes to run smoothly, we need to know who is coming to each class on each day, so we can book in more people as slots become available. Usually we can organise instalment payments by direct debit or with a series of post dated cheques.
"How many people will be in the class?"
It varies but on our 5 or 10 week courses the number of participants is typically 8-10 people but never more than 15.
For our workshops the numbers are typically about 15-20.
“I'm not sure I want to share information about my family in a group class.”
You don't have to. It helps your facilitator if they know what your goals for your family are, and what issues you’re facing, but this information does not have to be revealed in class. Confidentiality is important to us and all participants agree to keep confidential anything said in class about other families. Many parents find it a relief when they share with the group some of their worries and talk through the situations they are facing. They often find other parents are facing similar issues and they are not alone. Some parents stay in touch after the course has ended.
“My husband/wife/partner/parent thinks I should just sort this out and shouldn't need a parenting course.”
The idea of what we should and should not need as a parent is a hard one. Most of us come to parenting with little or no experience, yet many expectations about how it will be. We tend to think parenting should be instinctive and some of it is - like our loving, nurturing and protecting out impulses but much of it is not and in any case our ‘instinctive’ responses are often based on previous experiences and deep conditioning. One's instincts can leave one torn between two approaches - 'should I be loving or strict'. You have never been faced before with this child, with his temperament, facing the issues that he faces. You may have a different temperament yourself and there is no doubt that you grew up in different circumstances, facing different sorts of pressures. Instincts don't necessarily help us deal with the modern world. Childbirth is one of the most natural processes we can undergo and out instincts guide us through it yet most of us in the developed world prepare for the birth of a baby with ante-natal classes and such preparations can be really beneficial. They help allay anxieties and give us strategies for coping. It makes sesne then to prepare for the rest of the childs upbringing!.Don’t give yourself a hard time but get all the support you can for the world’s most responsible job of bringing up the next generation of adults.
“What if I start the course but am not able to finish it?”
We understand that ‘life happens’. If you have paid for the full course, and are not able to complete it because of circumstances outside your control, we will allow you to finish the course within the next 12 months. We try to be really flexible and will support you in any way we can to get the full benefit of the course. You can complete the course in any of our locations.
“I don't think I really have a problem”
Some parents come to our classes because they are facing particularly difficult challenges. Many come because it doesn't feel quite right – and they simply want to see how they can feel better about their parenting. Once they start, many parents find that they're doing a lot of things pretty well, and they get a boost to their confidence by understanding what is working, and why, and they hear new ideas and tips on how to maintain and extend it. Many parents are committed to the concept of lifelong learning and come with humility knowing there is always something to learn. This is a reflection of their commitment to the happiness and wellbeing of their families.
" If I'd thought about it all before having children I would have said that all you need to do to be a good parent was to love your kids…and I could do that. Well I could, but I needed so much more than that. What I learnt was how to have rules without being over controlling, how to encourage so much more effectively, how to recognise the causes of poor behaviour and respond to it so much more constructively. I did love my kids but there had been moments when I have to admit I didn't really like one or other of them. This course gave me the ability to show my love more profoundly." Annie, Mother of 3.
“I can certainly say I’m better equipped to handle situations that happen in our household and social life. We as a family are always learning and trying to keep harmony and balance.” Christine, mother of two, on completing the course for a second time.
“What happens if I have to miss a class?”
We're very understanding – and you can make up the missing class either when it comes around again at the same venue, or you can fit in a make-up class at another venue if that is easier. We can hold a place for you for up to a year.
“What happens if I come and decide it's not for me?”
Take our ‘try before you buy’ option and do the first class for free before you commit
“Will there be other fathers in the class?”
We sometimes have fathers taking the daytime classes and often in the evening classes. Some couples will take the course together. We love it when there are men there as it makes for a slightly different group dynamic. It's great to hear the fathers' points of view. We often have fathers at our workshops. Each year we run a Dads only workshop which is run by our male facilitator, John Hood. This is a male only preserve looking at How to be an even better dad.
When we first signed-up for the course I was curious but also concerned about giving up what felt like so much of my time. In the event it wasn't a huge imposition on my time and it was really worthwhile. We had specific issues to tackle and within weeks we found that things were turning round. After the course I am pretty confident that I am a better parent and that my kids are happier too." Leo, father of 2 daughters
“My partner can't do the course with me but I feel we should do it together”
It's wonderful when couples can do the course together. However it's often not possible. Some parents take the decision to get the babysitter booked and take the evening course and go out for a bite to eat afterwards to talk it through. Others decide to take the course with different facilitators on different days and compare notes along the way. If that's not possible either, the other partner can attend a workshop, or have a 1-1 session. Your facilitator will help you incorporate what you are learning with your partner, so your children will benefit from the united approach and you don't feel like you’re both working in different ways.
“I just wanted to say thank you for the few classes that I have had with you and for allowing my husband to attend the siblings session. It had been quite a battle trying to relay information I have been exposed to each week and getting him to buy into it and his attendance at that session has really made a difference. He is now quite committed to trying out some new ways of doing things and somehow seems to ‘get’ more what I'm trying to do differently. Thank you.” Miki.
“What if I don't bond with the facilitator?”
They're pretty easy to bond with – and we have never had this issue. If there is ever any problem, we'd help you sort it out –it may be that a different class is the solution.
“Can I take the course from a distance?”
It is possible to arrange a course of individual sessions with a facilitator via skype and we are in the course of developing a remote course that you can download and use at your convenience.
"What happens if I have booked and paid for a Workshop or Private Consultation and have to cancel at short notice?"
We ask for a minimum of 48 hours notice for the cancellation of a Workshop place and 24 hours for a Private Consultation (for our full Terms and Conditions click here). If you cancel earlier than this you are entitled to either a full refund or can use any money paid as a credit for another workshop (if cancelling a workshop) or Private Consultation (if cancelling a consultation). If the cancellation is less than these minimums then we reserve the right to charge you as per our Terms and Conditions however we will make every effort to fill the place or schedule another consultation in which case we may be able to offer a partial or full credit or refund.