My wife and I recently purchased a set of you DVD curriculum and
we love it. The techniques are working with amazing success. We cannot
believe the change in the climate in our family, and both of us feel so
much calmer since we are actually approaching our three kids with a real
plan. We are about halfway through the Assignment sheets and have just
finished with Segment 5.
Our question for you is regarding the starting of a class. We love
the curriculum but on your website you are continually trying to get
parents to get together and watch the sessions as a group or class with other
parents and we are not sure that we see that added value in going
through the curriculum with other parents. Why should we put forth the
effort to meet with others since the curriculum is working so well for
Father and Mother from West Virginia
Dear Father and Mother,
Your question is very
perceptive and it is one that I receive almost weekly, so I will answer
your question (and the questions of others) regarding the value of holding
Parenting with Dignity classes!
It is really quite simple
when you think about it; from the day your kids enter school at the
common age of five they will spend more waking hours with the kids of
other families than they spend with you! Those kids from other
families are going to exert a very real and powerful force in the lives
of your kids (this is commonly called "peer pressure"). You don’t say how old your kids are but if you have three
it is probably pretty safe to assume that at least one of your kids is
already of school age and maybe all of them are already in school.
Just like it says in our
curriculum, “The ideas in the heads of you kids will rule their world!
And it does not matter where those ideas come from”. In the
American culture many of the ideas in kids heads come from the kids that
they spend time with at school! If you are NOT willing to engage in
discussions with the families of those kids and insist on doing “your
own thing in your own home” with little or no interaction with the
families of the kids that your kids go to school with and play with, then you are committing a
fatal error. Those other kids and families will exert lots of pressure on you
kids with some pretty dysfunctional ideas; and if you are unwilling to
interact you must accept what you get! But peer pressure need
not be a negative force!
It works like this: It is so
much easier for you to teach something as simple as saying “please” and
“thank-you” at your dinner table if, when your kids visit another family
home and your kid says, “Hey gimme a biscuit,” and then someone at that
table asks them to use “Please!” All of a sudden you are not so weird
for demanding the same in your home.
Roll the camera ahead a few
years and your daughter or son is on a date to the Prom. It is so much
easier for your kid to practice appropriate dating behavior if the kid
he or she is dating is practicing the same behavior!
It is so much more reasonable
to expect your kid to say “no” to drugs if he or she has friends who are
cool, and who are also saying “no” surrounding them! It is much easier to
place productive and healthy ideas in your kids’ heads if the kids that
they go to school with and hang out with have similar ideas in their
“How do we get there?” you
ask. Well it is really pretty simple; you have to get together with the
parents of the kids that your kids play with, and go to school with, you
need to sit down with the other parents and
look each other in the eye and agree on some similar techniques and
At this point so many parents
say, “But we will never agree with other parents on everything!” Granted, but, you know, I
have now been in communities in every one of the fifty states, and let
me tell you it is not nearly as hard as it may appear at first glance!
If you put twenty adults in a room and ask them to form a list of the
twenty biggest problems that they anticipate that their kids will face
before they are twenty-one, almost every group will come up with the
same list! The key is to anticipate what your kids will face and to give
them the guidance BEFORE they are in the situation. If a whole
group of parents have agreed that they want their kids to know what to
do in the event that drugs are offered, then they must develop those
positive expectations in the heads of their kids! This works so
much better if those same actions are in the heads of many of your kids
friends and classmates!
Our classes are a great
medium for stimulating those discussions in a very non-threatening way!
If you will hold the classes with twelve other families then you will
have twelve allies in placing productive and positive ideas in your kids
I cannot encourage you
strongly enough to set up a class with Parenting with Dignity solely for
the purpose of engaging with other parents in building strategies for
collectively creating the community to raise your kids. Believe me it
works! (And the review of
the curriculum will not hurt you either!)
In closing let me offer just
one more side benefit to holding classes… you will learn more from the
other people in the class than you learn from the curriculum! It is
true. You will learn more from the ideas and experiences that the other
parents bring to class than you will learn from the curriculum itself.
The other families will bring in examples
and situations typical to your community and your local culture!
Good luck and if you need
help setting up your class just go to
and print that page. It is a compilation of things
we have learned about setting up successful classes.
Go for it and let me know if
I can be of help in setting up your class.
Mac and Barbara Bledsoe