Families are their child’s first and most important teachers and role models, with critical relationship building and brain development occurring in the first five years of life. Yet, studies show that many parents and caregivers have limited understanding of how their interactions impact their children.
First 5 Contra Costa offers families a variety of ways to enhance their knowledge of children’s development and positive parenting practices that promote strong families.
Parenting can be one of the most important and challenging roles in a person’s life. While each child and parent or caregiver are unique and live in their own specific circumstances, research demonstrates that increasing parents’ understanding of child development and positive parenting approaches can have tremendous benefits for both parents and their children. Parenting education can improve the quality of child-parent interactions, increase parent’s sense of self-efficacy, confidence, and satisfaction in parenting, and improve children’s behavior.
First 5 Contra Costa funds a nonprofit called Counseling Options & Parent Education (COPE) to provide free evidence-based parenting classes, called Triple P (Positive Parenting Program). The classes are offered in English and Spanish online and at locations throughout the county to families with children ages 0 to 5. Participating parents attend weekly group sessions and can receive individual coaching to help them develop strategies and meet individual goals. These classes help parents and caregivers to be emotionally healthy, maintain safe and nurturing environments, foster positive childhood experiences, and participate in their children’s early learning and development. Triple P is responsive to a diverse group of parents improving the parent-child relationship. The program has demonstrated effectiveness in decreasing parental distress and reducing children’s challenging behavior.