Department of Family Services

CONTACT INFORMATION: Monday–Friday 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
703-324-7500 TTY 711
12011 Government Center Parkway, Pennino Building
Fairfax, VA 22035
Michael A. Becketts

Join the Summer 2022 African American Culturally-Focused Parenting Class

(Posted 2022 May)

Parenting Education Programs (PEP) understands there are many historical factors that influence African American parenting styles and attitudes. PEP offers the African American parenting class to provide a space where families can discuss parenting through their unique cultural lens. We hope you join us this summer for this class.

Why Offer an African American Culturally-Focused Parenting Class?

family smiling for selfieSo often, there is a question about why this class is needed. It’s important to consider that while parents often want many of the same things for their children, Black families sometimes prepare children for life using a different parenting lens and these experiences deserve to be explored, discussed and shared. 

PEP’s African American parenting class began in 2004 with the purpose of addressing racial disproportionality within the child welfare system. Since then, the class has opened up to serve families from all walks of life with a focus on providing prevention services to the community at large. 

“African Americans raise their children differently with different challenges. Classes like this one address these differences and are relevant to people of my culture.” -Parent participant
What is the African American Parenting Class Like?

mom and son sitting together and looking downThe class uses a curriculum similar to the traditional parenting classes offed by PEP. It focuses on helping parents and children increase their empathy, discover new ways to encourage appropriate behaviors, build self-concept and self-esteem, and learn to have fun as a family.  

Additionally, the Nurturing Parenting Program Supplement for African American Families curriculum goes beyond this and looks through the African American lens when addressing general parenting topics such as rules and discipline. It also explores how African American history impacts the lives and attitudes of African Americans today.

“I felt very comfortable in this setting, and I can identify with the teachers and members of the group that have common struggles, ups and downs as I commonly share.” Parent participant.

This unique parenting class covers timely, relevant topics such as parent-child bonding, parenting practices common in African American families, challenges specific to raising African American children, developing pride in yourself and your heritage, and double consciousness – living in two worlds.

After completing this specialized class, parents with African American children demonstrated a higher level of learning in three areas of parenting – empathy towards their children, views of corporal punishment, and power/independence of their children. 

Interested in Attending the Class?

mom dad and son playing video gamesParenting Education Programs consistently receives positive feedback from parents who have completed this specialized class. The classes are open to any family with connections to the African American community including, but not limited to families that: 

  • Are African American or biracial. 
  • Immigrated from Africa or the Caribbean.
  • Adopted an African American child.
The next virtual African American Culturally-Focused Parenting Class (parenting children 5-11 years old) will be held Tuesdays, June 7-August 23, 6-8 p.m. To register for the June session of the African American Culturally-Focused Parenting Class call the Parent Support Line 703-324-7720 or email Lisa Payne-Chesley. 

The Parenting Education Programs is now enrolling for classes that begin in Summer 2022. If you are interested in registering for other parenting education classes, please check out the schedule online and send an email to us with the age range you are interested in (0-4 years, 5-11 years or 12-18 years) and a staff person will invite you to the next available class.

We hope that you join us for more information about positive and effective ways parents can interact with their children at every age and stage of development. We would love to hear from you. If you have questions or feedback about the topic in this article, send an email to us.

This posting is part of the Department of Family Services' Community Corner where you’ll find timely information about upcoming events, parenting and wellness tips, programs and services, and more! Share these helpful posts with your friends and family. Don't miss out on future postings! Sign up today!

For media inquiries, contact Department of Family Services' Public Information Officer Amy Carlini by email, office phone 703-324-7758 or mobile phone 571-355-6672.

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