- Chen Yishu
Why parent education program?
Adoption: I want the audience to think about taking parent education program before they become parents.
Policy: Parents should take parental courses before they have children.
Taking parental courses can benefit not only parents but also children.
Audience’s current opinion:
Neutral: Some people think parents should take parental courses while some don’t think so.
Introduction: (example 1, pathos and ethos) When talking about children, what do you commonly think of? Well, if you asked me half a year ago, I would throw out various adjectives like cute, energetic, enthusiastic, and so on. However, now I’ve changed. Last summer vacation, one of my cousins came to visit my family, together with her two-year-old son, my nephew. He is a pretty boy with extraordinary big eyes and long black eyelashes, and when he stared at you wishfully, you will never wish to reject any of his wishes. Even though people always say we shouldn’t judge by appearance, I couldn’t help holding him up and kissed him as soon as I saw him. At that time, he was the loveliest creature in the world until we went to take a nap. I had no idea that he didn’t feel asleep at all and got up secretly after my parents and my cousin went shopping. In just two hours, he broke into my study room and destroyed all my collection of Japanese animation figures. He tore down their heads, dismembered them, and then threw them away. The moment when I found him, he was surrounded by corpses, with my favorite comic book in his hand. He cocked his head and just smiled at me, like an angel proclaiming the end of the world. I was so shocked that I couldn’t even speak a word. But the worse thing happened when his mother, my cousin, arrived at home. The only comment she made after hearing the disaster had only four words: “Oh, you naughty boy.” She didn’t say sorry, not even express that emotion. When I asked her to compensate for the damage, she was even more astonished than me: “They are just toys! How can you be so stingy?!” I wanted to argue more but my parents wouldn’t let me do so. She walked away easily. It’s impossible for me to say that I don’t blame my nephew for what he did, but I did attribute his naughtiness to his mother for she lacked the ability and awareness to educate her child.
Preview statement: Today I like to speak about the necessity for parents, especially parents with their first child, to receive parent education as well as the reasons for taking such courses. To illustrate the points, I’m going to divide the issue into two parts: first, what is parent education; second, why should parents take parent education.
Transition: If you look around in your life in China, perhaps you will notice that many of our next generation are actually raised by their grandparents instead of their parents. Certainly one of the reasons is because they have no time to take care of them, but the deficiency of parenting knowledge and skill also has something to do with the situation. In China, parent education is a brand-new concept that worth our attention for the well-being of our offspring.
- Main Point 1: (logos) Parent education programs contain mainly three categories.
- Sub-point 1: (evidence 1&2, ethos) The authors of the academic paper Facilitators and Barriers to Engagement in Parenting Programs: A Qualitative Systematic Review point out in the article that “Parenting programs are short-term interventions to promote changes in the behavior of parents that result in improved relationships with their children and changes in child behavior” (Julie Mytton, Jenny Ingram, Sarah Manns, James Thomas 127-137) and aim at “activat[ing] the strengths, competence, and possibilities for change that exist in parents and in the social context,” according to Professor Ching-Man Lam from Chinese University of Hong Kong, in order to enable parents to take good care of their children (Lam 147-168).
- Sub-point 2: Roughly, there are three types of parent education program as the child grows.
- Programs that get parents prepared for the new birth.
- Programs that aim at parents with toddlers and young children
- Programs that cover common issue with teenagers.
Transition: Honestly speaking, it is very hard to divide the types of parent education program for each couple has different demand and as a result, hundreds of thousands of parent education programs that focus on different aspect of parenting exist in the market. Whereas, the influence of parent education program is relatively easier to categorize.
- Main Point 2: (logos) Parents play a vital role in children’s development.
- Sub-point 1: When searching online, numerous articles and research papers that emphasize the influences of parents on their children from personality to lifelong goals can be found. (evidence 3, ethos) For example, in the article The Role of Parents in Children's Psychological Development, Jerome Kagan, an American psychologist, stated that “The profile of cognitive abilities, beliefs… that characterizes each child… is the result of diverse influences operating in complex ways… the most important determinants of the different profiles include parental practices and personality” (Kagan 164-67). (evidence 4, ethos) At the same time, a newly published article Parents influence suicidal children in the journal The Australian, pointed out that “PARENTS are more likely than school bullies to influence children's suicide attempts” (Bita n.pag.).
- Sub-point 2: Therefore, since parents play a vital role in the quality of children’s development, parent education is needed urgently to help shape the well-being of parents in order to support the growth of children. Otherwise, children may experience severe problems as they grow because their parents don’t know how to take good charge of them. (example 2, pathos)One vivid example is my nephew, the two-year-old boy. He is my cousin’s first child and honestly speaking, she knew nothing about how to take care of him, even though admittedly she loves him very much. She went back to work in Changsha after labor while my nephew was left with his grandparents in a tiny village simply because she didn’t want to sacrifice her spare time to take care of him. She promised to visit once a week, stayed for one day and left again. As a consequence, they weren’t very intimate until my cousin changed her attitude suddenly and took him back when he was one year old. Then he was spoiled. My cousin, his mother, gave everything he wanted and praised everything he did. No one could blame his mistakes for he did no wrong in his mother’s eyes. Finally a child with severe behavior problems, or a little evil, was created.
Transition: I believe every one of us has encountered some wild kids in our lives, and mostly, their parents are especially guilty. Therefore, since parents have a great impact on children’s development, it is critical for parents to attend parent education and therefore, gain the knowledge and skills to ensure their children’s well-being.
- Main Point 3: (logos) Parent education programs can benefit children.
- Sub-point 1: Parent education programs are very likely to improve the health of children. When we look around, we may find that many young parents don’t know how to take good care of children and have to rely on their own parents, especially when it comes to infants. (evidence 5, ethos) In the research paper Preventing Abusive Head Trauma Among Infants and Young Children: A Hospital-Based, Parent Education Program, the author indicated that “Abusive head injuries among infants (shaken infant or shaken impact syndrome) represent a devastating form of child abuse” while “25 to 50% of people have not received information about this problem.” What’s worse, “in some cases of abuse, the perpetrators admitted to shaking the infant violently but confessed that they were unaware of the dangers of doing so.” Then the authors evaluated the effectiveness of parent education program on reducing the injuries and found out that “a coordinated, hospital-based, parent education program, targeting parents of all newborn infants, can reduce significantly the incidence of abusive head injuries among infants and children <36 months of age” (Mark S. Dias, Kim Smith, Kathy deGuehery, R Paula Mazur, Veetai Li, Michele L. Shaffer 470-77).
- Sub-point 2: (evidence 6, ethos) Jane Barlow, a journalist from Oxford University, pointed out in an academic paper that Parent education program can improve the mental health of children and reduce the amount of children’s behavior problems (Jane Barlow, S. Stewart-Brown 356-370).
- Main Point 4: (logos) Parent education programs can benefit parents.
- Sub-point 1: It is conceivable that parent education programs can help parents understand their influence on kids’ behaviors and the importance to control their emotions and actions. (example 3, pathos) For instance, one of my mother’s colleagues often complained that her son got angry and irritable easily and frequently as long as there was anything unsatisfied. She tried every method and none of them worked. She finally went to a famous parent educator and counselor for help and found out that it was herself who became angry uncontrollably when troubles occurred and her son was just imitating her. She was recommended to attend a anger management class along with parent education courses where she learned that the uncontrollable eruption of anger may get in the way of parenting her children in a good way. Since then, she worked hard to control her temper and gradually, she also made influence on her son and he changed marvelously.
- Sub-point 2: Parent education programs can improved mental health and well-being of parents, more specifically, it can help ease parent’s stress when facing difficulties at every stage as their children grow, for example, Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs). (evidence 7, ethos) In a research paper A Parent Education Program for Parents of Chinese American Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs): A Pilot Study, professor Hsu-Min Chiang from Columbia University pointed out that “parenting stress of parents of children with ASDs could be decreased through a short-term group parent education program” while “parental confidence in parents of children with ASDs can be improved through the parent education program using a group format.” Besides, the study also found that the parent education program “result[ed] in significant improvements in the physical health and environment domains” (Chiang 88-94).
Transition: However, it is universally acknowledge that every coin has two sides and everything has its benefits and consequences. Therefore, even though parent education program has many advantages, they aren’t exceptions. Problems exist when people begin doing researches on the effectiveness of many programs and the results make them cast doubt.
- Main Point 5: Counterargument
- Sub-point 1: (evidence 8, ethos) Unfortunately, many people tend to believe that parents who attend parent education program are inadequate parent, sometimes even carers think so. Consequently, in order to avoid feeling guilty or stigmatized, parents are less likely to join the program, showed in the article Technique Is Not Enough: A framework for ensuring that evidence-based parenting programmes are socially inclusive (Barrett, 9).
- Sub-point 2: However ironically, the vast majority of the parents who don’t take parent education program are very likely to be the ones who really need to improve their parenting skills, the study showed later. (Barrett, 9). The text also points out that to change their attitudes, government should “empower local voices by implementing new programmes in co-production with local program service user parents so they become culturally congruent” (Barrett 10).
Transition: It is undeniable that the development of parent education program still has to overcome numerous difficulties and problems however, by conducting further research, things will be better.
Summary Statement: In my opinion, due to the influence parents have on their children’s development and the numerous advantages of parent education can bring to both parents and children, it is necessary for young parents to take the course. Besides, improvement still need to be done to increase the effectiveness of the programs.
Conclusion: Briefly speaking, based on the arguments offered above, we as grown up who are very likely to have our own children within 10 years, should think about taking parent education program before becoming truly parents.
Barlow, Jane, and S. Stewart-Brown. "Behavior Problems and Group-based Parent Education Programs."JOURNAL OF DEVELOPMENTAL AND BEHAVIORAL PEDIATRICS No.21 (2000): 356-70. Web. 19 Dec. 2014. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11064964?dopt=Abstract>.
Bita, Natasha. "Parents Influence Suicidal Children." The Australian 29 Nov. 2014, Australian3 ed., THENATION sec.: 11. Print.
Chiang, Hsu-Min. "A Parent Education Program for Parents of Chinese American Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs): A Pilot Study."Hammill Institute on Disabilities Vol. 29. No. 2, (2014): 88 –94. Hammill Institute on Disabilities. Web. 19 Dec. 2014. <http://foa.sagepub.com/content/29/2/88.full.pdf html>.
Davis, Fabian A., Lynn McDonald, and Nick Axford. "Introduction." Technique Is Not Enough: A Framework for Ensuring That Evidence-based Parenting Programmes Are Socially Inclusive. Leicester, England: British Psychological Society, 2012. 9. Print.
Dias, Mark S., Kim Smith, Kathy DeGuehery, R Paula Mazur, Veetai Li, and Michele L. Shaffer. "Preventing Abusive Head Trauma Among Infants and Young Children: A Hospital-Based, Parent Education Program."PEDIATRICSVol. 115. No. 4 (2005): Pp. E470-E477.PEDIATRICS. Web. 19 Dec. 2014. <http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/115/4/e470.full?sid=7ea8cd19-674c-4b9c-9ebe-9dc4d0d048de>.
Kagan, Jerome. "The Role of Parents in Children's Psychological Development." PEDIATRICS Vol. 104. No. Supplement 1 July 1, 1999 Pp. (1999): 164-67. PEDIATRICS. 1 Jul. 1999. Web. 19 Dec. 2014. ï¼œhttp://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/104/Supplement_1/164.full.htmlï¼ž.
Lam, Ching-Man. "Parent Education: Revision and Vision."Asian Journal of Counselling Vol. 10. No. 2, (2003): 147–168. The Chinese University of Hong Kong. Web. 19 Dec. 2014. Mytton, Julie, Jenny Ingram, Sarah Manns, and James Thomas. "Facilitators and Barriers to Engagement in Parenting Programs A Qualitative Systematic Review."Health Education & BehaviorVol.41. No. 2 (2013): 127-37.SAGE Journals. Web. 19 Dec. 2014. <http://heb.sagepub.com/content/41/2/127.full.pdf html>.
Mytton, Julie, Jenny Ingram, Sarah Manns, and James Thomas. "Facilitators and Barriers to Engagement in Parenting Programs A Qualitative Systematic Review."Health Education & BehaviorVol.41. No. 2 (2013): 127-37.SAGE Journals. Web. 19 Dec. 2014. <http://heb.sagepub.com/content/41/2/127.full.pdf html>.
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