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Desperately Seeking Parenting Classes

When parenting styles clash, what's a family to do?  Jenn asks:

Our son is 2.5 years old and i'm well aware that his often crazy, unpredictable behavior is normal for his age.  my husband, however, is losing his patience minute by minute and simply shuts down in the face of it. It's causing serious stress on our family and our marriage, and i feel we're at an impasse - we need some outside help. I was wondering if anyone out there knows of a good toddler parenting/family communications class or workshop we could attend either as a couple or all 3 of us.


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I really understand how difficult the transition to parenthood can be on a marriage and how the adjustment can be a really bumpy road in the parenting department as well. There are two ucoming workshops that might be of interest to you -
the connected parenting workshop I co-teach and From Couplehood to Parenthood: Navigating the Transition, By Allen Cordova, Ph.D, Licensed Psychologist (not a parenting class, more about the transition to parenthood *for the couple*. I have pasted the class descriptions and details below. The next connected parenting workshop is during the week in the morning, but we have given Sunday afternoon workshops, as well as 6 week series. We realize that not all times work for all people, and we really want to reach everyone who is interested. If you want to be on future email announcements for upcoming connected parenting workshops, send me an email and i will add you to my list.

Connected Parenting Workshop

Two part class - held on two consecutive Tuesday mornings
10:45 AM -1:15 PM Tuesday April 10th and Tuesday April 17 th
$30 per person/$50 per couple (for two days)
contact Lyla@zenana-spa.com for sliding scale information
Limited childcare available - $15 per child per day

Registration fee includes the option to participate in an online email group for continued support for connected parenting. Participants also go home with the class syllabus, which includes many valuable articles and resources for continued enrichment (or sharing with partners) at home.

This workshop is focused on the primacy of connection in parenting children of all ages and on parenting without punishments or rewards. Look deeply past difficult behaviors to discover the underlying needs of our children (and ourselves), and begin to use concrete tools to respond effectively to parenting challenges. Incorporates concepts from the work of Alfie Kohn, Lawrence J. Cohen, Dr. Gordon Nuefeld, and Mary Sheedy Kurchinka as well as the professional and personal experience of Lyla and Emily.

Facilitated by:

Lyla Wolfenstein, B.S., IBCLC, RLC - Parent Educator, Lactation Consultant and Mother of 2
Emily Troper, ECE - Early Childhood Educator and Mother of 4

To Register:
Reserve your space - register now!
Limited childcare available, with advance registration.
Call (503) 238-mama or email lyla@zenana-spa.com with questions

Cancellation Policy - 2 weeks for full refund, otherwise registration fees can be applied to subsequent workshop

From Couplehood to Parenthood: Navigating the Transition

It's well understood that healthy couple relationships promote better parenting. But the transition to parenthood can heighten stress and conflict between partners. Most classes available for expectant and new parents help them prepare for childbirth and the newborn period - but few offer resources to support couples' relationships once the baby comes home.

This workshop is geared for expectant and new parents (parents of children up through toddler age). We will address communication skills, conflict management, and relationship enhancement during the transition to parenthood and beyond. The workshop is didactic, skill-based, and fun. Research suggests that parents who receive this type of intervention show lasting changes in the quality of their relationship and in the way they communicate, which in turn may confer benefits for their children's cognitive and emotional development.

Sessions are Mondays from 5-6:30, April 9, 16, 23, & 30.

Cost: $175 per couple. Minimum of 4 couples, maximum of 10 couples.

Taught by Allan D. Cordova, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist

Hi...I've participated in several parent/toddler classes. Here are my favorites..
One is offerred through Willamette Falls Hospital in their education center..just off I205, Oregon City exit....very inexpensive, led by Lynn Collins PHD, tlc503@msn.com

Also, Marylhurst Early Childhood Center, also just off the 205, oregon city exit...offers an amazing parent toddler program..led by Ann Brown..well educated and absolutely hysterical! The benefit here is that you can continue at this school through kindergarten. It's a social emotional/emergent program and very parent involved.
Here's the contact info...(503) 650-0978
You can let them know that Michelle Minch refferred you.

I second the "Connected Parenting" workshop taught at Zenana Spa. It was really great.

I also have found that there are some DVD's out there of books that I have read, but that my husband wouldn't have the time for. You might try watching some of these DVD's together until a class starts. Unconditional Parenting is one, and Hold on to your Kids is another.

I have a six year old and a two year old. I HIGHLY recommend the books "Positive Discipline the First Three Years" and "How to Talk to Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk." They are both very easy to read and put into action. I wish Portland had a class in these philosophies. I recently tried a "Love and Logic" class and although they had some good suggestions the overall tone of the class was about how to "win" battles with your kids, not to help them learn. They promote locking kids in their rooms each time they misbehave and not explaining why you put them in there. It was creepy and I hope no one is actually following these techniques. If they are, I am worried about this generation of kids.

Best of luck to you!

Connected Parenting with Lyla and Emily is phenomenal. We just did that workshop last weekend and while we came away feeling a little concerned about our current parenting, we also got motivated, energized, supported and became far more positive in our approach with our 3 year old. we immediately saw some results.

I would love for them to start an ongoing class like that with new material, that includes some reinforcing of the great info we got at the first one.

I'm the other facilitator of Connected Parenting and just wanted to say thank you to the folks who posted positive reviews here (and elsewhere), and also second Lyla's comment that we are trying to meet everyone's needs re: meeting times and days so that as many people can attend as want to. Someone posted above that they wish Portland offered a class on the "How to Talk So Kids Will Listen" philosophy and that is just exactly what we are offering with the Connected Parenting series/workshops (and a lot more too) but I do recommend that book at a starting point in learning about positive discipline. I feel VERY concerned about the information that is given in Love and Logic classes. Our series is about parenting based on connection instead of coercion, love instead of fear, and PROACTIVE parenting instead of reactive (both permissive and authoritarian parenting are reactive). We teach about developmental norms, show parents how to listen to feelings and set limits respectfully, offer alternatives to punishments and rewards, and walk-through conflict resolution techniques. We realized after our last 3 hour workshop that we needed more time with parents, to address all of their questions and individual situations, and so our 2-part April workshop will be longer and more comprehensive...we are also considering offering a "part 2" for the parents who have already taken the class.

I can recommend three wonderful ladies that have come into my life in the past six month, seemingly just when I needed them most as I have a 2.5 year old and an 8 month old now.

The first is Sarah Ross-Bailly. She does work with parents, as well as children adolescents and women/mothers. She is a really warm, engaging woman and totally rocks. 503-267-1719 or sarah.w.ross@comcast.net

The second is Venus Zaron. She also does parenting coaching, in home consultations and holds weekly parent/toddler and parent/infant classes as well as various workshops throughout the year. She is an excellent listener and great at offering concrete ideas on how to communicate with your child and how to bring harmony into that relationship. 971.207.1167 or vgzaron@msn.com

The third woman I met this past week, Lydia Byrhardt Bollinger. Even though I just met her I can tell she is right on with her advice. She gave me some potty training ideas that were really "light bulb" for me, and I had just met her! She can help you work on supporting kids of all ages, parent coaching and increasing joy. 971-409-5613 or rememberthejoy@yahoo.com

Who doesn't need all of that? I wish I could hire all three of these women to help me find my way.

Hi, I also have a 2 year old boy and was having troubles managing his hitting and biting behaviors. My daughter's preschool teacher has been a huge help. She charges $35/hour and comes to your house and walks you through a response to the troubling behavior. Please email me if you are interested in her contact information. It has been rather remarkable the changes we have had to a more peaceful household!

Sela, that's disappointing about the Love & Logic class. I've read Parenting with Love & Logic and Teaching with Love & Logic and have found both to be excellent resources with the emphasis on helping your kids make good choices and empowering them to be in control over their lives. I do not recall anything about locking them in their rooms or not explaining consequences. I hope that other parents will not be put off Love & Logic because of a poor class. And I hope whoever is teaching that class gets some good contructive criticism as they are obviously skewing the principles of Love & Logic.

I totally appreciate where you're coming from as we too have a 2.5 year old and I've been having the same anxiety about my reaction, my husband's reaction, our reactions together, who takes control of discipline when we're all together, etc. etc.

My salvation in this has not come in the form of parenting classes at all, but in working on myself and where I'm coming from and what baggage I have, encouraging my husband to do some work of his own (such as frustration becoming anger and other patterns we learn over a lifetime), and being particularly vigilant about working on our marriage.

I made the choice for this path because I didn't want to involve my child in what was a problem with how I was feeling about the situation--especially when her behavior was not anything out of the ordinary for a two-year-old, which really encompasses quite a lot!

Good luck to all of us!!!

My husband and I took a Love and Logic workshop through Growing Seeds. It was a one night, $20/couple, event that was great to expose us to the Love and Logic concept, provided examples, and most importantly helped us to talk through our own parenting style. We had the option of having the woman do some one on one with us but haven't had to go that route yet because the things we have tried have worked. Good luck.

we do love & logic too - our children go to growing seeds and it's one of the techniques they use. it's calmed our precocious toddler down by teaching us to not lose patience and to offer her choices. i bought the book to teach my husband what i learned in the class and things are starting to go faster around here in terms of getting up, fed, dressed and out the door in the mornings. i don't remember the locking the kids in the room part either -- it really stresses communication and learning to make good choices because all choices have consequences. good luck.

We have just put information on the urbanMamas calendar about "The Language of Parenting", a 5-week series that runs Wednesdays from 10/17 through 11/14, 9:30am to 11:30am held at Sellwood Community Center. Check out the event on the calendar for full details, or contact directly Janet Allison, Parenting Coach at janet.familycoach@comcast.net

Where can I find a Love & Logic workshop? I've googled and all I find are the books and tapes (which I have on hold at the library), but I'd really love for my husband and I to do this together.

Anne, We just looked on the urbanMamas calendar and saw that there is an upcoming session "Putting the Principles of Love and Logic to work for you." It's on Oct 18th, from 6:30-8PM. Check out the calendar for full details or email maia@growingseeds.net.

Also, Jim Fay, one of the authors of Love and Logic is holding a conference at the Convention Center on October 29 from 8:30 am to 2:30 pm. The cost is $99 though. There's more information at: http://www.loveandlogic.com

Growing Seeds Preschool is no longer offering Love and Logic classes (much too punitive and shaming), but instead are now offering (the above mentioned) Connected Parenting, starting in November.

Another great resource for parenting classes is Samaritan Counseling Centers. They use the S.T.E.P. program.

A class for parents of children aged 6 – 12 starts on October 18th and a class for parents of children aged 0 – 6 starts on November 7th. More information at http://www.sccpdx.org/sys/classeslist/

I've recently moved to Portland from Ashland where I've been teaching "The Language of Parenting - Words Weave Magic" class series that urbanmamas recently posted. Rudyard Kipling said, "Language is the most powerful drug known to mankind." We have the power to raise capable, confident children with our wise use of language. This dynamic class includes acknowledging your wisdom, understanding your child's learning style & temperament and your own, using specific language to increase understanding and it includes the 4 simple words that can open up endless possibilities for your child. AND I'll be at Milagros on November 3rd talking about "Your Child's Behavior - What to keep, What to let 'go away' now!" Keeping in mind that children are supposed to be trying out a wide range of behaviors, we can expand on the positive qualities and minimize those behaviors that we want to be temporary all with the words we choose. We're finalizing details and will let you know soon. I'm also a Family Coach and Waldorf Consultant. I'm so happy to be a part of this great community of families! janet.familycoach@comcast.net

As a Love and Logic presenter and Marital and Family therapist I feel compelled to defend recent comments about L&L being coercive, fear-based, punitive, reactive and shaming. As another comment rightly affirms, L&L principles do not advocate any of these approaches to parenting, and any suggestion of such evidences a clear misunderstanding and/or misrepresentation of L&L. Instead, L&L advocates techniques that build healthy relationships between parents and children, encourage responsible behavior/decision-making and prevent power struggles. One such method is to use of lots of empathy to accompany any consequences in order that the relationship stays strong and the child learns the important lessons that consequences teach. Also, parents provide lots of choices so that kids gain a sense of control, as well as use "thinking words" and "enforceable statements" versus "fighting words" to set limits in loving ways. Anyone interested in a Love and Logic class can call Agape Youth and Family Ministries at 503-653-2267 or http:///www.agapeyouthandfamily.org

Here is a good one coming up:


Dr. Ed Hoffman-Smith (our family naturopath) introduced us to the work of Dr. Aletha Solter when Fionn was born, and I have found her to be immensely helpful. And not like anything else out there. Dr. Solter will deliver two half-day presentations at the conference: “How to Respond to Tears, Fears, and Tantrums”, and “Discipline Without Punishment or Rewards”.

I don't know the other speakers, but they have all been recommended by people I trust, so I'm going to check them out!

We have also received info on the STEP classes coming up, funded in part by the Portland Public Schools.

STEP for parents of kids aged 6-12:

STEP for parents of kids aged 0-6:

These are 7-week long series beginning in the next few weeks.

Hi. I have the great pleasure of coordinating the parenting classes at growing seeds. we are still offering Love and Logic classes for parents who are interested- we do have one coming up on October 18th at 6:30, email me maia@growingseeds.net for more info.

We are also adding a wider variety of classes to suit the many styles of families out there. We will be offering a class on Setting Limits Without Using Threats or Bribes led by Emily Troper and Lyla Wolfenstein who also lead the Connected Parenting workshops at Zenana Spa.

I took their class in September and found it really helpful. They offer many great ideas in the workshop and they leave you with many great resources. I highly recommend it, and I'm excited to be able to host them at Growing Seeds as well.

I know that this is an old post but there is a great opportunity for a Love and Logic class. Beach School PTA is working with Northwest Family Services to present the class free of charge. The classes will be in both English and Spanish on all the Wednesdays in February. The hours are 7 pm to 9 pm and childcare will be provided (but may be limited).

To register online go to:


For more info about Lasting Relationships programs:
For more information about Love and Logic:
For questions about the class, contact Barbara Brooks
at BrooksieB@comcast.net


Jennifer recently sent an email about her experiences with a parenting class:

"I just finished taking a class from Janet Allison called the Language of Parenting and I wanted to pass on the great resource. I have referred a couple of close friends--they are taking the class right now and loving it too.

I am a pediatric nurse practitioner by profession so I have been pursuing books to see if they are helpful with parenting and communication issues for quite some time. Having a child who is now 6 has put some of those techniques to the fire and I have found a few good ones, but a number of them don't resonate with me, aren't very effective, or too laborious in process. Janet was referred by word of mouth to me by someone who had taken her class. She now has a website languageofparenting.com that you can visit to get more info--she is starting another series in May, I think. She has an extensive background that includes both education and hands on experience in her previous life as a Waldorf teacher and she is a parent. The 5 series class was a mix of
information and activity and has allowed me to break some cycles of negative communication and frustrating interaction patterns that I saw blooming with my daughter. It is amazing to me how the "little things" can derail an entire morning that looked pretty cheery when I woke up! It starts with getting to the table to breakfast, then putting on shoes, to gettingtransitioning out the door in the am for school. It has helped me get clear on what behavior I want in various situations and made crystal clear that how I communicate that desire impacts the process, and therefore the outcome. I loved the analogy Janet used for her class--she was giving us tools for my tool-bag. When I use the tools in my toolbag, I find myself asking different questions, using different language, and the energy is shifting and that feels good for everyone. All that to say that class was great and I learned a lot!
Live, learn, and pass it on with love!

Wanted to let folks know that there will be some wonderful presenters at the La Leche League of WA Parenting Conference next month, in Redmond, WA, in case anyone is up that way... check it out http://www.lllwaconf.org/mambo/index.php?option=com_content&task=section&id=7&Itemid=39 I think I'm most excited to hear Pam Leo talk, her book has been very inspirational.

Metropolitan Family Service offers free parenting classes.
Make Parenting A Pleasure and Guiding Good Choices.
Every day stressors play a role in creating barriers because they exist, because we at Metropolitan Family Service are opticmisitc that these challenges can be overcome, and because we believe families can develop good communication and be successful we offer this curriculm to families.
Communication is a topic covered as well as child development, stress management, and disciple.

Are any of these classes being offered in Clark County?

I loved reading all these posts! What great resources we have in Portland! I am a clinical social worker/parent coach and I teach classes on a variety of topics and provide individual parent coaching. I have presented on Love and Logic at Growing Seeds and other schools around town, so perhaps some of you are familiar with me. Please explore my website... www.PracticalParentingPDX.com -- you can also find me on Facebook by searching "Practical Parenting".

This is my first year to become a mom. When I was still carrying my child on my womb, I was really desperate to attend parenting classes because I want to be the perfect mom to my child.

Come to one of my parenting classes.


hope to see you there.

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