A New Concept in Parenting Education

Connecting with the moments of today, building for tomorrow

and finding our way together—with our children, family, friends and each other.

Diane McGregor, Kitchener, ON

 

 

Parenting Now is a new concept in parenting education developed by KW Counselling Services.

KW Counselling Services is well-known for its parenting education programs. In fact, we have been offering parenting education to the parents and caring adults of Waterloo Region for the past 50 years.

While we are proud of our successes, we also began to ask ourselves, “What is the future of parenting education?” We had some ideas but we also wondered if our ideas were what parents actually wanted. We decided to find out!

Early in 2015, with the support of the Lyle S. Hallman Foundation, we set out to transform the way that we do parenting education. Over a two-year period, we connected with hundreds of parents and caring adults and asked, “How do you learn your parenting skills and knowledge?”

What seemed like a simple question led us into the complex and intense world of parenting. It guided us in understanding not only how parents learn but why they strive to be the best parent they can.

We heard that learning is present in almost all aspects of parenting. From the unexpected moments of insight to the intentional act of reaching out for support or guidance, parenting skills and knowledge are continually changing and growing.

Parents told us that they often learn from the people around them—family, friends, neighbours, spouses, co-workers, support workers, counsellors. We heard that parents learn first and foremost through connection with others, both online and in-person. They look for information, practical ideas and real parenting experience. They watch other parents for ideas and they learn from sharing stories with each other. We heard clearly that parents wanted to connect with other parents—to share stories about both the joys and challenges of parenting. In fact, one parent in our study told us, “It’s good to know everyone struggles.” We heard also that they wanted to share these experiences with someone who has “been there” or is facing similar challenges. With experienced parents, in other words.

Parenting Now grew out of everything we learned from the parents and caring adults we spoke with. A detailed report of the first phase of our project, Exploring the Future of Parenting Education, is available by clicking this link, http://www.kwcounselling.com/community-report-exploring-the-future-of-parenting-education/.This report also explains the process by which we developed the three “prototypes” that make up Parenting Now.

 

This graphic shows the interaction between the three key components—prototypes—of Parenting Now. We combine a highly interactive website with parenting conversations and a team of experienced parents.

The main objective of Parenting Now is to provide multiple ways for parents to connect with each other, both on and off line, to learn new parenting skills and ideas, and to find support through local services and resources.

 

Let’s Talk Parenting is our concept for parenting conversations.

On the website, a “Let’s chat…about parenting.” button will pop up and visitors are invited to engage in a conversation with an experienced parent. We invite conversations about anything related to parenting and caring about children. Facing a challenging behaviour? Wondering how to help your teen at school? New to parenting? Have a story or strategy you would like to share? Looking for strategies to encourage your grandchild? All—and many more—are topics we are ready to talk about!

Let’s Talk Parenting also happens in communities around Waterloo Region. These are informal, in-person conversations, also with an experienced parent. They occur in community centres and other places where parents collect and connect. If you would like to explore having a Let’s Talk Parenting conversation in your community, please contact us at parentingnow@kwcounselling.com.

Meet our Experienced Parents

During our design phase of this project, we heard that parents want to connect with someone “who has been there”, someone who has experienced both the joys and the challenges of parenting and who is able to share their wisdom and ideas with other parents.  As one parent put it, “I am not necessarily looking for a proven strategy—I’m looking for someone who has had a similar experience, what they did and why it worked. Then I can try to replicate it.” Our team of community-based, experienced parents are able to provide support and “lived-expertise” to the parents and caring adults of Waterloo Region. Their goals are to listen to the experiences of other parents, build relationships with website visitors and community group participants, and facilitate connections among parents. They have been fully trained and are ready to engage conversations.

Have you chatted with someone yet? We are online for nine hours per day, seven days per week. Click on the button at the bottom of the page and say hi. We would love to have a conversation with you!

Parenting—and caring for the children in our lives—is perhaps the single most important activity for any of us. Our children, from before they are born and throughout their lives, bring us our greatest joys and our greatest challenges. And—our greatest learning! We truly hope that you will find what you are looking for on Parenting Now.

­As Parenting Now unfolds, we are confident that we are firmly grounded in the stories and learning experiences shared with us throughout this project. At the same time, we know there is more learning to come.

Please connect with us to share your feedback, insights or stories. We can be reached at: parentingnow@kwcounselling.com

 

Diane McGregor is the Editor of parentingnow.ca and the Manager of the Parenting Now project. She was also the principle researcher for the design project that led to the development of Parenting Now.



Did you know?


All of the content on parentingnow.ca is by or about someone who lives, works or is connected to Waterloo Region. Our stories, pictures, graphics, videos and articles are all written or produced locally. The images, words and voices are from people you could meet in the street. There are no stock photos on parentingnow.ca! In our articles, we often link to outside sources but the article itself is written by someone local—it is their point of view on the topic.

Our website is intended as a place to explore. We invite you to wander around, check out the various articles and stories. Read the comments posted by other parents. Go into our Discussion Space and read the conversations that are happening there. Join in the conversations yourself by becoming a registered member of our Parenting Now Community. Our focus is on parenting and the parenting experience. Tell us what parenting is like for you.

Parenting Now is a place for all caring adults. We believe that it truly does take a village to raise a child and our website is intended for all of us who are part of the life of a child, youth or young adult. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, coaches, teachers, neighbours–everyone is welcome. We hope you find the articles and conversations helpful to you. Do you have something unique to your role that you would like to add? Let us know! Connect with us through our chat line or email us.

Do you have something you would like to contribute to parentingnow.ca? We would love to hear from you!  Contact us at: parentingnow@kwcounselling.com


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