Participation in such classes helps young couples develop their own behavior strategies in the situation of communication; unity of world views and views on family life; ability to create healthy moral and psychological climate in the family, as well as work at the stability of character and feelings and well-developed willpower; prepare for the birth of a baby; understand the particular nature of a child; get practical advice on adjusting the behavior of a child, as well as create conditions for emotional contact with a child and learn to express parental love (McGroder and Hyra; Conners et al. 322-25). Parenting classes typically apply such effective methods as play therapy, art therapy, music therapy, relaxation sessions, emotional imagery therapy, and methods of group discussion (Conners et al. 328).
The analytical stage entails a study conducted among the participants of the program aimed at assessing the effectiveness of the work performed and further application of this expertise for developing innovative technologies in the social work with families. Thus, on average, more than 78% of future parents trained noted such positive changes in their families as improved relationships with their spouses, and 86% of couples were also able to distinctly articulate the answers to such difficult questions as “how close are you to meet the “ideal parent”¯ notion?”¯, “what can you give your child now?”¯ and “what could you give your child in 10 years?”¯ (McGroder and Hyra). Thus, the experiment has generally proven the capabilities of the training programs in the formation of conscious and effective parenting through the development of personal maturity in future parents.
Effective parenting represents itself a system of relationships between a parent and a child, contributing to the development of personality and emotional well-being of both, however, biological ability to be a parent does not always coincide with the psychological readiness for parenthood. In this case, the moral and psychological preparedness for marriage and parenting should be a part of the general up-bringing of any person. The programs of preparation for parenting are surely partly implemented by educational institutions, while family and subjects of the family system are also connected to the process of preparing children for parenting at all stages. However, the most effective approach is applying specialized programs with the support of psychological centers and centers of assistance to families and children which are recommended for all future parents.
The need for the creation and implementation of specific technologies of forming effective parenting through the development of personal maturity in parents is predetermined today by various reasons: the educating function of parents is now mistakenly perceived as a natural function which does not require special skills; parents are often unable to create favorable conditions for their child’s development; urbanization and technological progress resulted in the displacement of values of today’s youth; educational establishments are ineffective in educating parenting qualities, etc., while according to studies, personal maturity is a decisive factor in the formation of conscious parenting.
According to experts, the list of tasks for conscious parenting formation includes the increase in responsibility for marriage and family life; increase of the social prestige of parenthood; raising psychological readiness for marriage and parenting; providing necessary knowledge on hygiene and child care, preschool psychology, child psychology, mental hygiene of sexual life, main problems of relationships between spouses. In general, the implementation of programs to prepare couples for parenting involve the following possible positive results:
- decline in the dynamics of family problems and social abandonment;
- raising the status of the family institution;
- improving psychological and pedagogical competence of parents;
- further positive social adaptation of a child in the society;
- development of empathy and understanding in child-parent relationship.
The implementation of obligatory programs on the development of informed, conscious and effective parenting in the widespread mass practice may turn to be that beneficial social influence, which is designed to protect the mankind from such social problems as crime, alcoholism, drug addiction, mental illness, as they grow out of the family problems. The perspectives for further improvement of parenting classes technology is seen in its modification and evaluation of possibilities to apply it in the practice of school psychological services, in preparing students of any specialties as potential parents, in preparation of young family couples planning for to become parents, as well as in the work with parents of preschoolers and adolescents.