At least twice a year, Healthy Babies Project offers Confident Parenting, a skill-building program for parents of African-American children that equips participants with tools to parent their children responsibly.
HBP adopted the Confident Parenting program in 2004 when we observed that many of our African-American clients had falsely accepted a culture of hopelessness and poverty as their only lifestyle choice. That approach, passed on to children, creates a cycle of despair. Confident Parenting equips families to take a different route.
How Confident Parenting helps HBP parents
By enrolling in the program, parents learn specific early care and parenting skills necessary to strengthen their families and raise successful children. Parents are taught to think before reacting, to build the parent/child relationship by spending quality time together, develop communication, and consider the age, maturity, and environment of the children before implementing discipline. Over time, the program has initiated a cultural shift for hundreds of families in some of D.C.’s poorest neighborhoods.
Why HBP chose Confident Parenting
HBP chose Confident Parenting for two reasons:
- It is the country’s first evidence-based, culturally-adapted parenting skill-building program for parents of African-American children
- It is successful in changing African-American parenting outcomes for the better
Parents learn effective discipline skills, enhance their relationships with their children, transfer cultural pride, and raise pro-social, competent, and healthy children. Major evaluation studies have concluded that Confident Parenting produces significant increase in the use of positive parenting practices (along with reductions in negative practices), significant improvements in the quality of family relationships, significant reductions in parental rejection, significant reductions in delinquent, withdrawn, and hyperactive behavior among children, and significant differences in social competencies.
What HBP parents learn through Confident Parenting
Program content helps parents learn to identify the root causes of their parenting struggles, including harsh to non-existent disciplinary measures, an absence of an achievement strategy, and ethnic self-disparagement. The program then equips parents to create strategies to change those structures. Over the course of 8 weeks, participants learn practical skills including:
Culturally-Specific Parenting Strategies: “achievement orientation” to parenting; the pyramid of success for black children; traditional black discipline vs. modern black self-discipline; pride in blackness: positive communications about heritage; coping with racism; avoiding black self-disparagement
General Parenting Strategies: social learning ideas; pinpointing and counting behavior; the thinking parent’s approach; family rule guidelines; children’s developing abilities; children’s thinking stages; developmental swings
Basic Parenting Skills Taught in a Culturally-Sensitive Manner: effective praise; mild social disapproval; ignoring; time out; special incentives
Special Program Topics: single parenting: preventing drug abuse
Finally, Confident Parenting produces systemic change in the African-American community’s attitudes because of its structure. The program’s African-American cultural focus is not only dominant, but it is also integrated with proven parenting skills. That means parent participants are able to embrace and implement long-term changed attitudes towards parenting, family life, and child-rearing.
Learn more about Confident Parenting by calling (202) 396-2809 or when you email program director Ruth Rich.
*Photo by Tim Lundin, Tim Lundin Photography