Parenting Classes OC

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How many of you don’t feel completely effective as a parent at times? ME!

How many of you have ever wished you had someone tell you what to do when faced with a challenging situation with your kids? ME!

How many of you have had behavioral issues with your kids and feel like you have tried everything but nothing has worked? ME!

How many of you have read parenting books or taken seminars only to find that while great in concept, when transferred into real life, were completely unrealistic? ME!

For all those reasons above, I am thrilled to share with you a local parenting seminar offered through Parenting Classes OC. This 8 or 10 week program in Orange County teaches parents, grandparents or caregivers Parent Effectiveness Training.

In the class you will learn how to:

1) Talk to children so they will listen and change unacceptable behavior.
2) Reduce stress, power struggles, and resentment.
3) Actively listen to your child so they feel understood and able to solve their own problems.
4) Resolve conflicts successfully so children will continue open communication into their teens and adulthood.

SIGN ME UP. Seriously!  Plus, Tiny Oranges readers will receive $25 off tuition!  Yay! 

The next OC classes offered will be:

Tuesdays, starting February 7th through April 10th (10 sessions) from 11:30am – 1:30pm at Move it Momma Fitness in Huntington Beach. Childcare is available for $10 per session if needed.

Thursdays, February 9th through March 29th (8 sessions) from 6:30pm – 9:30pm in Irvine.

And, for my South Bay mamas:

Wednesdays, February 8th through March 28th (8 sessions) from 6:30 – 9:30pm in Redondo Beach.

The class is taught in a small group setting by Meike Lemmens, a certified Parent Effectiveness Training Instructor with a B.A. in Psychology and M.A. in Communications from the University of Amsterdam, Netherlands. Meike is also a parenting expert featured on KDOC-TV.  You can click here to watch her recent feature on “Problem Solving Skills for Kids.”

I had the opportunity to chat with Meike on the phone and she told me the classes are taught in a safe and nurturing environment, where parents learn new communication skills  including when and how to use these skills.

Most parents that participate in the course are those with little ones six and younger, but the skills can apply to any age, up through teenagers.

The best part about the program is that you can take the skills learned each week, try them at home, and then come back the next week to share your successes and challenges. You then also have the opportunity to ask specific questions using real life examples.

I think the program sounds incredible and she had me so interested when I hung up I told her I thought I needed to register to take her class myself!

Visit for more information and to register for the upcoming session.

Specials to note:

* Tiny Oranges readers will receive $25 off tuition for the course. “Like” the Facebook page and simply post your biggest parenting challenge so you can join the conversation and stay up to date on their courses and tips! Tell them Tiny Oranges sent ‘ya! Then, when you register, select the first option listed.

* First 10 participants to sign up and pay for their February session will be entered to win 1 free hour of in-home parent coaching. Click here for more information on their one-on-one parent coaching programs.

* First 5 to pay online for the Huntington Beach session will get Free Childcare for the first session. 

[Disclosure: This is a Sponsored Post to help spread the word about their upcoming session, so happy to be able to tell you about it. I know there have been times when I wished I would have known about a class like this!]

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Free Parenting Classes at Pretend City

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Being a parent has been the hardest thing I have ever done. There are many times throughout each and every day where I question myself on how I handled a situation. Many times I really don’t know what to do. If I am being honest, being a mother has brought out a lot of insecurity in me for this very reason.

So, when I heard about a free parenting class offered at Pretend City this month called “Toddler Talk” an interactive parent-toddler class where we could ask questions and vent some frustrations, I said SIGN ME UP! I can use all the help I can get!

Toddler Talk is for 1 – 3 year olds and is presented by Dr. Ann Corwin (a.k.a. The Parenting Doctor) and is for three consecutive Tuesdays from 10:30am – 12:00pm. The first class was last week and I already learned SO MUCH. Even though this particular Toddler Talk class is already full, the next class will be on Jan. 4th, 11th & 18th. {You can reserve a spot in that class by calling 949.428.3900 x212 or by emailing}

The class is presented by the Good to Go from Head to Toe! initiative and Pretend City will be hosting ongoing free classes for parents so be sure to check the website frequently for their upcoming classes and events.

I was a little nervous to take Morgan, I have to admit. First off because we are in that terrible nap transition from two naps to one, and pushing her to stay awake until 12pm is challenging. Second, I was worried about how my primitive little hurricane of a 14-month-old would do with the other kids for an hour and a half. You know that age: no reasoning possible, and they know what they want!

But the best part was, when Dr. Ann started, I immediately felt like this was a NO STRESS environment. She told us to get there when we can, don’t worry about being late, and we were not to worry about how our kids behaved. In fact, if kids weren’t behaving, then it would be used as an example, REAL LIFE, on what to do! Isn’t that amazing?

Here is my daughter (left) in one of such situations, a tug of war over this toy…

Dr. Ann gently removed the toy from both their little hands ensuring no one fell back and said “bye bye toy!” Then she put it on the counter and redirected them to other activities. Worked like a charm.

Here is the room where we met {Dr. Ann is in the pink.} There were lots of toys for the kids to play with!

So there was so much I learned, too much to cover in one post, but if I had to share one of my most important take home points, it had to be this A-HA moment.

What I learned (in a different way that I have ever thought of before) is that it is important to CONNECT with your child throughout the day through:

1. Eye contact

2. Touch

3. Talking / Communication

And, the times you want to really concentrate on doing at least one (if not more) of these three above are the times when they are playing NICELY or sort of “stopped” and acting how you want them to.

So if a child is playing nicely with toys, it could be as simple as when they look up, giving them eye contact and a warm smile or wink. Or, just walking by and gently giving them a rub on the back, or taking your fingers and caressing their cheek.

I learned kids desperately CRAVE this sort of connection with their parents, and they will do what they have to in order to get it.

Dr. Ann gave this example.

How many of us are guilty of this? I know I am. Absolutely. When a child is doing something wrong, how many times have you gotten down to their level, put your hands on their face or arms or hands, looked them RIGHT in the eye, and said “Stop that RIGHT NOW!” Or something to that effect?

So, in this case, what did the child receive from you? 1. Eye contact 2. Touch 3. Talking / Communication

They will take connection any way they can get it, both positive AND negative. A-HA!

Over the past week I have made a conscious effort to connect with my girls when they are just sort of peaceful and going about their business….I will give them a kiss, stroke their cheek, hug them, make dedicated eye contact when talking to them, etc. and it not only makes them feel good, but it makes ME feel good too.

It makes me feel closer to them. I LOVED the fact that I learned this. For free!

The Good to Go from Head to Toe! program is simply spectacular and we are so lucky it is right here in Orange County. Again, CLICK HERE for the calendar of events and classes. Museum admission is not included, nor required, so you can go to the class totally for free.

Reservations are preferred for the classes, you can call 949.428.3900 x212 or email

While this particular class is already underway, Dr. Ann will be doing this class again after the new year, and is doing another one called Pocket Full of Feelings in November geared towards 4 – 6 year olds. Again, SIGN ME UP!

Click HERE for more information on the Good To Go calendar.


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Spero Family Services

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I don’t know about you, but I can use all the parenting help I can get sometimes, especially with my ever-so-spirited 3-year-old!  Don’t you wish Super Nanny could ride on your shoulder and coach you with how to handle certain situations?

April Thompson is a licensed marriage and family therapist and parent coach with Spero Family Services and offers monthly parenting classes.  The next one called “Empowered Parenting” will be held on November 7th.    She will cover topics like developmental needs, discipline, parenting styles and setting boundaries.   Did she know to create this class just for me?  Seriously.

Here are the details:

November 7th, 2009 * 10am-2pm (lunch provided)
18023 SkyPark Circle, Ste. G
Irvine, CA  92614
$100/person or $150/couple

Register online by clicking HERE or call 714.924.4325

April was nice enough to write an expert advice article for us on the topic of bonding with your children:

By April Thompson, LMFT

Do you struggle to connect with your child sometimes?  Maybe even all the time?  Was that hard for you to admit?  That’s okay, because you’re normal. Welcome to the world of most parents. Many parents are dealing with the stressors of being a family where both parents have to work, or maybe your job is a stay at home mom and you struggle balancing your needs and theirs, or you’re dealing with co-parenting due to divorce, or maybe you’re a single parent.

No matter what, its tough to be a parent and give your child(ren) everything they need.  So what do you do? Your child is constantly probing you for attention, or your child is notorious for interrupting you when you just started a project. Maybe your child wants nothing to do with you at all, or you have a sibling jealousy issue.  The whining little voice that stays in the back of your head, “You gave Johnny more than me”. Or better yet, “Why can’t you buy me those True Religion Jeans, everyone else at school has them?”  As if $200 jeans are going to solve their problems. So what do you do?

For starters, providing some empathy might help them feel understood (even if you don’t agree with their ploys).  Then offering some encouragement or having them come up with some solutions with you. Example: “Sorry you felt left out, that must have been sad for you, what could I do to help you feel more involved?”

Find out what they really enjoy doing and do it with them, if its playing a video game, playing Barbies, going to the park, etc.  Notice when they are doing a good job, and praise them for it. Surprise them with little notes or pictures in their school bag or on their bed.  Have your child help you when you’re doing chores, give them small tasks such as collecting all the dirty laundry. Have 1:1 time scheduled for each child, and stick to it as much as you can.

Most importantly, have family time together every week. Pick an evening for this, let each member have a chance to choose the activity.  These are a few examples to get you started.

If you are interested in finding out more about developmental needs, boundaries, limit setting, or parenting tips, feel free to contact me.

Spero Family Services offers Child & Family Therapy, Parent Education, School Assessments, and In-home Parent Coaching. Check out the website: 714-924-HEAL (4325).

[Coming Soon ‘Raising Baby Safe Seminar’]

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