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Parenting: Mission Possible

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a woman holds a sleeping toddler

One module will help you anticipate your child’s reactions.

by Hans Petersen, staff writer
Thursday, December 5, 2013

 Trust yourself. You know more than
you think you do. 
— Benjamin Spock

A Great New Free Interactive Online Course for Parents

VA and the Department of Defense have created a free online course that features key tools to support your parenting.

It’s called PARENTING for Service Members and Veterans.

The helpful modules on the home page include topics many parents have encountered at one time or another:

  • Back into the Family
  • Promoting Positive Parent-Child Communications
  • Helping Your Child with Difficult Emotions and Behavior
  • Positive Approach to Discipline
  • Managing Stress and Emotions as a Parent
  • Parenting with Emotional & Physical Challenges

Selecting one of those modules takes you to a helpful and easy-to-navigate exercise in understanding and dealing with that aspect of parenting.

If you select Back into the Family, the course begins:

Reconnecting May Be Challenging

The transition back to family life can be full of joy, but the experience can also feel overwhelming at times.

Select the play button to watch a video of Matt, now home for four years, talk about his reintegration.

Setting aside the time to watch one of the modules in this course may be the most important thing you could do for you and your family this year. Watch the videos and you may recognize a familiar situation and discover a great solution.

See if this next page in the module sounds familiar:

Within each Challenge Lies an Opportunity

Although you may experience some bumps in the road when you return home, you and your family will have an opportunity for a new beginning. To help make your road toward reintegration smoother, in this module you will learn how to:

  • Manage your expectations for reintegration.
  • Anticipate your child’s reactions.
  • Reestablish your parental role.

And the course is not just for Veterans and service members returning from a combat zone.

As Dr. Peter Shore, project lead for the program, explains, “Parenting is complex and whether you just got home from deployment or whether you’ve been home for 20 years, this course has information that may be helpful to you. Parenting is not black and white. Parenting has many shades of gray and we felt it would be helpful to give our Veterans, service members and their families a wide variety of topics to choose from that best fits their interests.

“Parenting challenges are dynamic and change over time. Just because you may have addressed issues with your child when you returned from deployment doesn’t mean you won’t have other parenting challenges when they become an adolescent.”

The course is free and available on the internet and does not collect any personal information.

 Parenting challenges are dynamic and change over time. 

Dr. Shore adds, “Folks don’t need to register or enter any personal information. And they can take any module they wish. The course does not have a beginning, middle and an end. You can start at any point in the course. Maybe you just want to learn about disciplining your child, or how to manage parenting in the face of personal challenges such as PTSD, you can simply go to those modules. Again, we built the course specifically to give our learners complete flexibility.”

In addition to the course curriculum, there are nearly 100 videos located on the website. Matt, the Veteran in the videos, commented to Dr. Shore after they completed the interview that he wished a course like this had been available after he returned home. Both Matt and Ed, the service member, were grateful to have been part of the course in the spirit of helping others through their real stories.

To view more of the videos, click on the RESOURCES tab on the home page and then on one of Module Resources links.