Great parents are not born. We learn how to raise children much like we learn any other skill-through consistent practice and by trial and error. Although you may now be able to successfully send faxes across 50 states, you probably started out punching the wrong buttons and receiving error messages. Well, parenting is very similar It took my sister years to discover how to puree fresh vegetables for my niece’s dinner, and she has just now found the best remedy for diaper rash.

Parents are not all knowing. As a teacher, I sometimes forget that myself. In reference to their child’s behavior, I have often heard parents exclaim, ‘He won’t listen to me,’ or ‘What am I supposed to do with her?’ And each time, I remember thinking, ‘isn’t he your son? Shouldn’t you be giving me pointers on how to handle your daughter?’ Raising a child is a full-time job, and some parents have a hard time managing it all

Parenting is one of the most admirable jobs in this world, yet it is also the one most taken for granted. Caring for a child needs to be more than just a task. It should be treated as a career, where one has to continually study and grow in order to become the best. Teachers continually become better teachers through professional development workshops. Electrical engineers become better skilled in their field by attaining advanced licensures. Doctors become more knowledgeable by reading the latest medical journals and attending medical conferences. And parents should do the same. What distinguishes a great parent from a mediocre one is self-improvement. Life is continually changing, and parents need to stay abreast.

Great parents constantly improve by treating the role of parenting as a profession. Instead of throwing up their hands, they learn new ways about how to get their children to eat vegetables. They read articles on how to motivate their children to study. And they discuss different methods of discipline within a parent support group.

Below are just a few tools available to parents. These resources will allow individuals to become even better in the field of parenting by providing them with the information needed to increase their child’s academic, social, and emotional development.

There are many literary works available for parents besides the ones read to their kids at bedtime. Parenting magazines are filled with articles that are both informative and interesting. A local favorite, Chicago Parent Magazine, includes editorials, columns, and features regarding children’s education, health, and many other topics of concern. You can find this free magazine at many Chicago Public Libraries.

Although Chicago Parent Magazine is a more general parenting magazine, there are many other parenting magazines that deal with more specific parental concerns. For example, Exceptional Parents is a magazine geared towards parents of children with disabilities, and Fathering Magazine is a publication specifically for men who want to play a more important role in their child’s life. Other parenting magazines and journals include Our Children (the official magazine of the National Parent Teacher Association), Parents, and Adoptive Families Magazine.

Join Parenting Groups

When in doubt, it is only natural to look to other individuals for comfort or insight. These are the goals of most parent support groups. By attending support groups, parents gain the reassurance and knowledge needed to raise their children successfully. There are several support groups for parents that offer free information and workshops specifically for parents. One in particular is “Because I Love You,” a non-profit, nationwide support group for parents with troubled children. The National Congress of Parents and Teachers also offers parent support groups, where issues such as child safety and student achievement are discussed and given solutions. Look to your church, community organizations, and child’s school for parent support groups in your area.

Frequent Parent Teacher Stores

Although many parents are caught shopping at stores, such as Wal-Mart and Target, it is equally important for parents to regularly visit parent-teacher stores. Parent-teacher stores are ideal for obtaining the materials needed to tutor a child or enrich a gifted child’s educational experience. Parent-teacher stores sell academic workbooks, educational games, and supplies needed to increase a child’s skill level in almost any subject area. The parent-teacher store Bright Ideas in Oak Park is just west of the Austin Community, located at 909 S. Oak Park. The Chicago Teacher Store, 1855 N. Milwaukee Ave, is approximately five miles from the North Austin Neighborhood. These stores offer an array of educational tools that both teachers and parents can utilize successfully.

Use these resources to help you in your parenting career. Become a professional parent, and take the role of parenting seriously so that your child can reap the benefits and view your job as an imperative undertaking as well.