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Help for the world’s toughest job

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By Kirsten Laskey

Parenting has got to be the toughest job in the world. It’s a career that doesn’t come with training sessions or an instructional manual. Plus, there is a lot of responsibility placed on a parent’s shoulders.

The good news is parents are not alone. Help is available.

From 6:30-8 p.m. Thursdays, starting this week and running through July 1, Family Strengths Network is offering a class titled, “Ages of Discovery.”

Jennifer Moss, an expert in early childhood development, will instruct the class.

The material she will cover during the program includes ages and stages, parenting styles, building bonds with children, discipline and guidance strategies, the importance of routine and self care for the parent.

Moss added, “the curriculum is outlined in a book that the parents will receive. We will also watch video segments followed by discussions and problem solving strategies.”

There may be responsibility, but Moss reminds parents there is also a lot of excitement that comes with the job.

“Development occurs at an individual pace and as teachers and parents we are fortunate to witness it’s stride,” she said. “I remember when my children were young being so excited about the milestones of development. As parents we are busy balancing family life and the time goes by quickly. As we tackle one problem, another arises. I guess I am saying spend time with your children, know who they are and enjoy their laughter when you can.”  

Additionally, “I would advise a parent to talk with other parents and network,” Moss said. “There is so much information available now with the Internet and educating yourself as a parent can be helpful. Sometimes problems arise where a specialist is needed and we have valuable resources in this community. Family Strengths Network is a great resource as well as a meeting place for parents and children.

Moss also reminds parents that every child develops differently.

“Children develop at their own paces and have their own personalities which can determine how they react to the world,” she said.

“The development path is typical but the timing is individualized. Young children seem to know what is important for their development and will seek those learning opportunities. Remember the importance of play and its impact on the developing child and adult.”

“Ages of Discovery,” can help guide parents down the development path.

“I think the class offers some helpful parenting skills, provides a network for parents and encourages discussion and interaction for parents,” Moss said.

“The FSN library also has a nice variety of books and the toy lending center is fun.”

Moss herself offers a lot of experience and knowledge on the subject.

“I began working with children and families in my 20s,” she said. “I have taught in a variety of settings: Montesorri,

UNM Childcare Center, a private elementary school in Red River, the art camp at Fuller Lodge and at Little Forest Playschool.

I of course learned a lot by parenting (my) two grown children.”

The class costs $50 for individuals or parenting couples and scholarships are available.

Child care is available but must be requested before the class begins. To register, call FSN at 662-4515.