Parenting: From A-Z 

July 25, 2011

Today’s the day! (Yes, it’s National Hot Fudge Sundae Day and National Merry-Go-Round Day, but that’s not what we’re talking about.) It’s the first day of registration for ABCs of Parenting Class! And in honor of that day, seven SCAN staff members took on the entire alphabet to bring you 26 tips and pieces of advice about parenting. Here are SCAN’s ABCs of Parenting from A-Z:

[Rebekah Beck – Education Program Manager]

Shannon (left) and Rebekah (right) pose for a photo during our spring ABCs class

Acceptance – Your child is his/her own person with their own abilities, interests, and dreams…not a carbon copy of you.

Behavior – Focus on the behavior separate from who your child is– we all do things we aren’t proud of from time to time, but that doesn’t mean we are any less of a person.

Compassion – Remember how difficult it was to grow up with all of the ups and downs, success and struggles. They don’t call them growing pains for nothing.

Discipline – It’s a way of teaching your child how to succeed and learn from their mistakes in a positive, affirming way while helping them distinguish right from wrong by your example through patient, nurturing guidance.

[Shannon May – Parent Education Coordinator]

Energy – Keeping up with your children’s energy level can be exhausting, but hang in there and make sure to take care of yourself each day.

FUN! – Find joy in the silly and even frustrating moments with your kids.

Growing – Celebrate each stage of your child’s development and give yourself credit for the ways that you grow and learn in your parenting throughout each stage.

Hard – No joke, there are days when you feel like you’re at your wits end—but hang in there!

[Sonia Quiñónez- Executive Director]

Volunteer Nancy plays with the children of ABCs participants in the spring

Individuals – Every child is different. Being an effective, positive parent means trying to figure out what works best for your particular child.

Joy – Children bring joy into our lives. Even in the difficult times, try to appreciate the joy your child can open up for your family.

Kindness – Treating your child with kindness and respect teaches them to respect themselves, how to care for themselves, and how to treat others with respect and kindness as well.

Love – When you’re at your wits end, ask yourself, “What would love do?” Approaching difficult conversations and the trials of parenthood with love keeps our problems in perspective and allows opportunities for growth and joy in our families.

[Dana Taylor – CASA Case Supervisor]

Moments – Make the most of downtime with your child.  Teachable moments can be implemented in almost any situation. Take advantage of the moment and teach your child a thing or two.

Nurture – Nurture your child’s natural gifts. This helps to increase your child’s self-esteem and sense of well-being.

Outlet – As a parent, consider having a healthy outlet. It is important to self-care by taking care of your physical and emotional/mental health.

Praise – Praise your child!  Use phrases like, “good job,” “you’re awesome,” “I’m proud of you,” and “you’re beautiful.”

[Karen Price – Director of Development]

Quality Time – It’s not just about how much time you spend with your kids, but also about the quality of that time.  Your kids are great people in the making, so make sure you give yourself a chance to just hang out and get to know what they are thinking and feeling.

Role Model – Remember that your kids watch everything you do and will learn more from what you do than what you say.  You are their role model!

Skills – It takes skill to be a parent and there’s no instruction manual, but there are lots of services and websites with tips and advice to parents.  When you hit a snag, use them to connect with other parents and get some new ideas.

Time For Yourself– Recharging and taking a little quiet time for yourself makes you a better parent.  Don’t feel bad for taking care of yourself too!

A spring session ABCs grad and her son pose with class facilitators after receiving their certificates

[Sarah Self – Public Education Coordinator]

Unbelievable – The things kids say. The lengths parents will go. The whole parenting experience. No matter how many times you’ve been told, you never really quite believe it until you experience it for yourself. And even then every day is a surprise/shock!

Valuable – Parents gain skills that can make a difference in other aspects of their lives. From patience to perspective to anger and stress management, working on these skills as a parent can be valuable in other situations too, such as interacting with co-workers or communicating with family members.

Work – Nobody is born knowing how to parent, and it’s one of the toughest jobs in the world. It takes work (and a lot of it) to nurture a child and build a family. And just like work, there are sources of training (like parenting classes) and team-building (like support groups) that can help you constantly improve your skills!  

[Jenna Temkin – Summer Intern]

eXhale – Never underestimate the power of a deep breath. When your children or life in general get to be overwhelming, simply taking a deep breath can make a huge difference.

Years – They go by quickly… or at least that’s what my parents tell me! Appreciate each moment with your children because they’ll grow up faster than you think.

Zonked (Exhausted, Asleep) – Parenting is tiring. And I can guess that  reading the entirety of this post was, too. Good job to those of you who made it to the end!


If you or someone you know would like to learn even more about parenting, you can register for SCAN’s ABCs of Parenting Class in English by calling Parent Education Coordinator Shannon May at 703-820-9001. Classes are held on Tuesdays from August 23 to October 11 from 6-8:30pm at First Assembly of God Church.