New series provides support and best practices

In this millennium, parents are facing challenges their own parents could hardly have imagined. Whether it is texting, time management, tantrums or toilet training, being a parent, and adjusting to a child’s ever-changing developmental needs, has always been a shock to the system.

Most parents can benefit tremendously from expert advice and the opportunity to share concerns with fellow moms and dads. “How to Raise Great Kids in Today’s World,”  a series cosponsored by Jewish Community Services and the Jewish Community Center, will help parents at every stage feel more prepared for the most challenging job they will ever have.

In preparation for the series, JCS held focus groups and consulted with parenting professionals at the JCC, at local preschools and across the community to determine the needs of today’s parents. With topics such as “Marriage after Kids,” “How to Talk to Kids about Death,” “Welcome to Kindergarten,” “Single Parenting” and “Parenting When You’re a Grandparent,” the series offers something for everyone, according to Joan Grayson Cohen, JCS senior manager of access services.

“It’s humbling to be a parent, and our premise is the more we share with each other, the more likely we’ll be better parents,” said Howard Reznick, senior manager of JCS Prevention Education and a facilitator for the series. “Most people want to be the best parents they can be.”

Reznick said the free workshops, which take place once a month on Tuesday evenings from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at JCS Owings Mills, will present “Best Practices” for parenting and provide a venue in which parents can ask questions and share their struggles and successes.

“The sessions will be part presentation but heavy on discussion and engagement,” said Reznick, who noted that workshops in the series may “morph” into ongoing “subseries” if participants wish to explore a topic in greater depth.

“Kids grow us up,” said Reznick. “They make us into parents. Being a parent forces us to look at whatever [childhood issues] we have not dealt with. ‘Now, I have the privilege, the challenge of being the authority. If I just parent by doing the opposite of what I fought against as a child, that’s pretty unproductive.’”

The workshops, Reznick explained, can help parents raise children in a thoughtful and balanced way.

In addition to choosing topics of interest to 21st-century parents, Cohen said JCS is also exploring how best to provide the information that today’s busy mothers and fathers need. Currently, JCS offers parenting information on its blog, but it is also considering offering content through other online formats such as webinars.

For more information on parenting programs through JCS and the JCC, visit jcsbaltimore.org and jcc.org.

Visit the JCS parenting blog at jcsbaltimore.org/blogs/parent-talk.

Phase II

Three more JCS parenting workshops

  • June 18 — Marriage and Kids: Keeping the Spark Alive in Your Marriage Once the Kids Come Along
  • July 23 — How to Talk to Your Child about Death and Dying
  • Aug. 13 — Welcome to School! Helping You and Your Child Transition to Kindergarten

All of the above workshops will be facilitated by Loren Walsh of the JCS child therapy services division. For more information, babysitting (fee charged) or ADA accommodations, contact lwalsh@jcsbaltimore.org. Workshops take place from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at JCS in Owings Mills, 3506 Gwynnbrook Ave.

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