Parenting classes are often the result of a guardian ad litem recommendation that the court accepts. The course is usually suggested in response to concerns of the other parent that the guardian has been able to validate through an investigation. In other cases, such as an emergency hearing, the court may not have the luxury of having time to obtain a GAL’s insight and orders parenting classes as a precaution based on the evidence available at the time.
Some of the issues that could be raised to trigger parenting classes can include:
- The house regularly being unkempt
- The children having poor hygiene
- Lacking the ability to properly discipline your children
- Failing to ensure school work is always complete and the kids get to school on time
- There is constant friction between you and the children
- Chronic medical needs have not been attended to as instructed
The important thing is not to view these classes as a punishment, but rather an opportunity to show that you are a good parent who would do anything to prove that to your children and a judge.
Something else to be aware of is that it may not always be one parent who is ordered to take parenting classes. Depending upon the circumstances, especially in a contentious divorce, both parents may be required to participate in a program.
What happens during parenting classes?
When most people hear the words “parenting class” they envision expectant mothers and fathers learning how to hold a newborn or change a diaper. Depending upon the age of your child, that could be part of the experience, but that is not all there is to it.
There can be multiple benefits to taking a parenting class, including to satisfy requirements for an adoption to begin a family. In the case of a child custody proceeding, when a parent is ordered to take these classes, the court is typically looking for the parent to learn:
- What to expect during each stage of child development so that you can adjust your way of addressing different situations.
- What your child’s daily needs are – physically and emotionally – and how to meet them.
- Appropriate discipline techniques based on your child’s age.
- How to recognize your strengths and weaknesses so that you can find ways to improve.
- Coparenting skills to help you raise your child together in a health manner.
- Problem solving skills that will allow you to maintain a better parent-child relationship.
- How to build self-esteem in your child to enable him/her to succeed.
- How to be a good role model.
If you have not yet been ordered to take a parenting class but some of these situations sound familiar, it is not too late to turn things around. By taking your own measures to correct some of these issues, you can show the court that you take your child’s wellbeing very seriously. Every parent can stand to improve their parenting skills along the way and recognizing that in a proactive way can serve to undermine a claim your spouse or coparent plans to make.
Holland Law LLC has offices conveniently located in Fort Mill on Gold Hill Road, or Rock Hill on Oakland Avenue. To schedule a consultation with an experienced family law attorney, call 803-219-2630 or fill out our contact page. Proudly serving clients in and around Chester, Lancaster, and York Counties.
Tom Holland previously served as the General Counsel for the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office, the City Solicitor for the City of Lancaster, and as a Special Assistant United States Attorney for the Sixth Circuit Solicitor’s Office. He is a single father, and through his own divorce gained valuable insight he now uses to provide Fort Mill and Rock Hill, SC families with the best representation. Learn more about Tom Holland.