OCCC will offer a parenting class starting this fall to teach students how to raise children throughout the first 18 years of their lives.
The 16-week course is scheduled 1 to 1:50 p.m. Mondays beginning Aug. 23.
The parenting class is the brainchild of Cecilia Pittman, Child Development Program director.
According to the rough draft of the course description, the class will begin by teaching healthy pregnancy tips and end with how to deal with teenage power struggles.
Parenting is a one-credit life skills class, similar to Success in College and Life, and is a requirement for students working to receive child development degrees, Pittman said.
But for some parents, she said, the class will be mandatory as they attempt to regain custody of their children.
Those parents will be referred to the class from the Department of Human Services, and others will be court ordered because of crimes such as child abuse or neglect, Pittman said.
“It’s important for the state to help parents, and offer assistance to people and teach them how to raise their children,” Pittman said.
Pittman said she volunteers as a court-appointed special advocate, representing children who are the victims of abuse in court.
She works with a child whose parents didn’t know children need to be spoken to and read to from the day they are born.
“All their kids do is stare at the TV and watch videos,” Pittman said.
“Now that family has a 5-year-old child that cannot speak, and there is nothing mentally wrong with him — it’s a developemental problem.”
She said she’s contacted more than 20 organizations that deal with child development services, to try to build working relationships between them and the school.
Parent’s Assistance Center is one of the organizations the school is courting a cooperative relationship with.
According to research data provided by the center, parenting classes are beneficial to fixing the problem of child mistreatment.
PAC Executive Director Char Carter said they would love to provide guest speakers to help OCCC’s parenting classes.
On June 26 Pittman sent a mass e-mail to the OCCC community, introducing the parenting course.
She said the response was overwhelmingly positive.
Executive Vice President Jerry Steward responded to her e-mail and told her it was “the best idea the college has ever had.”
But the reaction to the new class is not entirely positive.
Denny Myers, Information Systems and Services director, said he doesn’t understand why the course can’t be a non-credit class, available to everyone.
Myers offered a different solution for struggling parents.
“It’s simple. Just raise your damn kids,” he said.
“If you are struggling, don’t take a college course and waste your money. Buy food for your kids.”
To contact Danniel Parker, email email@example.com.