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Drawing upon the experience of other parents

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

Anyone who has been involved in raising a child knows how valuable advice from other parents can be.

To learn more about advice that parents have for each other, the Notebook interviewed parents at Southwest Nu-Stop, Inc.’s Parenting Degree Program. Parenting groups like Southwest Nu-Stop, which offer classes for parents and children of all ages, are available citywide and are a valuable source of information and support for many Philadelphia parents.

Funded by the Department of Human Services’ Parenting Collaborative, which oversees more than 70 parenting programs throughout the city, Southwest Nu-Stop provides parenting skills enhancement to parents of all ages and backgrounds, including teens, non-custodial parents, and parents in recovery from drug and alcohol abuse.

According to Sharman Lawrence, a parent educator for the past four years, the program “tries to create a comfortable and nurturing environment” and is a forgiving place for those who are “trying to get a new start, in life and as a parent.”

Here five parents pass on some helpful tips that they have learned.

Kevin Tucker, 22, and Tanya Parker, 18

Two boys, ages 3 months and 3 years old

Tanya: I’ve been coming for three years. I’m a good parent, but I can always use more help.

I’ve learned how important it is to understand the different cries that a baby has. You shouldn’t automatically just feed them in order to get them quiet. You have to see if the baby needs to be changed, then walk them around, and give them attention. You will find out the things that the baby likes, and then you can do that more often.

Kevin: As a parent, it is important to find ways to control your anger and manage your stress so that you don’t take it out on your child. When my son cries and gets into everything, it makes me want to flip out. But I’ll take a walk outside, sing to myself, lift weights, or practice yoga.

Linda Smith, 50

Three boys and three girls, ages 14-31
One grandchild, age 6

I’ve been coming to Nu-Stop for 15 months, on and off. I kept coming back even after I graduated, to learn how to be a better parent. You have to learn how to talk to your child. Always tell your kids that you love them and you are proud of them. You’ll see their face just light up.

Ron Baker, 38

One son, 7, and one daughter, 16

You have to put yourself in your kids’ shoes sometimes. When my son was having a hard time, I was able to talk to him in a more calm way, and he responded better. We worked through it.

Pete Pickett, 31

Three boys and three girls, ages 2-12

I’ve been coming to Nu-Stop for about 3 months. My attitude now is completely different.

It’s important to learn that your babies aren’t always right and you can’t always cater to them. Before, I was too quick to automatically defend my child. Let your child know when they are wrong, or you’ll give them the idea that they can do anything they want.

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