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HAWC hosts parenting skills class

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Instructors from the Family Advocacy agency instructed enthusiastic parents at the Survival Skills for Parents class held at the Health and Wellness Center here Monday. 

"This class is specifically designed to help parents speak clearly to their children, define rules for their household and stand by them, be consistent parents and recognize the importance of praising children," said Julie Ramsey, a parenting skills instructor from Family Advocacy. 

Upon arrival, the participants filled out a short questionnaire to test the parent's knowledge on parenting issues. The purpose was to see where the parents stood on questions ranging from "What is California's law for child abuse?" to "What are some examples of power and control issues?" It gave the parents a better idea of the topics to be covered in the class. 

"Parenting is the hardest job in the world," Ms. Ramsey said. "Every parent needs to be knowledgeable on parental issues when raising children to increase the skills needed for healthy family lifestyles." 

The class does not have the typical lecture style and setup often seen in college classrooms. The students do just as much talking as the instructors. With only seven couples in attendance Monday, the class mainly comprised of discussion. The instructors and parents conversed over different scenarios and problems the parents had with their children and talked about possible solutions. 

"Icebreaking is one of the methods we use in instructing this class," said Ms. Ramsey. "We encourage everybody to participate in discussions. We all learn from each other here." 

There are no official manuals as to how to raise a child. However, with the experience of other parents and a little communication, people are able to take the information and turn it into knowledge that is useful to their own style of parenting. 

"I enjoy the fact that the class is an open forum allowing everyone to communicate during the discussions," said Staff Sgt. Mark Swanson, a space mission manager from the 30th Launch Support Squadron. "My wife and I hope to learn how to raise healthy children through proper nutrition and about different ways of dealing with day-to-day stresses associated with parenting. My wife and I decided to come to the class because we want to make sure that we are being the best parents that we possibly can be." 

No matter what reason parents might have for attending the class, chances are good that their questions will be answered the parenting session. There are many different ways of parenting and the class accommodates for this, giving the parents directions for different households. 

"There are no perfect parents; everyone, whether on or off base, can benefit from this class," said Tracy Bramlett, a parenting skills instructor from Family Advocacy. 

Parents, soon-to-be parents and those people interested in what the Survival Skills for Parents class has to offer can catch the second class beginning at 1 p.m. Monday at the HAWC.