Writer: Kevin Robinson-Avila
ALBUQUERQUE - Parents can learn healthy ways to raise their children while taking better care of themselves through free parenting classes that begin in August in Albuquerque, Moriarty and Belen.
"We help people learn to be better parents by teaching positive nurturing skills," said Charolette Collins, program coordinator with New Mexico State University's Strengthening Families Initiative in northern New Mexico. "Anybody in a parenting role can benefit."
The classes from NMSU's Cooperative Extension Service are open to all care-giving relatives and parents, including single parents, expectant teens, teen parents and others, Collins said.
Classes run for six months and are available in English and Spanish. Participants meet weekly for two-and-one-half hours.
The first half of each class focuses on parents' issues, such as handling stress and anger, communications skills, healthy relationships and substance abuse. Educators also review life skills, such as goal setting and money management, and nutrition issues such as food safety, stretching food dollars and healthy eating.
The second half focuses on nurturing children, including information about child development, positive discipline techniques, family rules and establishing routines.
Parents are encouraged to bring their children because child educators work with kids while the parents meet.
"They learn about feelings and getting along with others," said Luis Soto, who works with children. "We provide educational games, and we do role playing with the older children. The goal is to work with the entire family."
At the end of each class, children and adults come together for family nurturing time, which includes a healthy snack and an activity.
Three separate classes will be held in Albuquerque, the first starting Aug. 26 at the John Marshall Multi-Service Center at 1500 Walter St. SE, the second beginning Aug. 23 at the First Choice Community Healthcare office at 7704 2nd St. NW and the third starting on Sept. 20 at the Youth Development Inc. Head Start administrative office at 901 Pennsylvania NE.
Classes will begin in Belen on Aug. 24 at the Jaramillo Community Center at 900 Esperanza Road, and in Moriarty on Aug. 10 at the Torrance Works Career Center at 2005 West 66 Valley Plaza.
For more information, to enroll in a class, or if you are an individual with a disability who is in need of an auxiliary aid or service to participate, please call (505) 332-3765.
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