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More dads enrolling in LCPC parent ed classes

March 23, 2011|By Sara Cardine, Special to the Valley Sun
  • Pasadena stay-at-home dad Gunter Kocourek plays with his 2-year-old twins, Liesel and Gunter Cole, at a La Canada Presbyterian Church Parent Education class. Kocourek, who was raised in La Canada, said his mother took him to the class when he was young.
Pasadena stay-at-home dad Gunter Kocourek plays with…

Life doesn’t come with an instruction manual, and perhaps no one knows this better than parents. Gary Dennis, a pastor at La Cañada Presbyterian Church, recalls actually looking for a set of directions years ago when he brought his first child home from the hospital. Needless to say, the truth was disappointing.

“We finally got a copy of Dr. Spock,” Dennis says. “Everything that happened, we’d try to find the page that related to what was going on.”

Now, Dennis and his wife are raising their three grandchildren, and need look no further than their own church for help throughout the parenting process. For nearly 33 years, La Cañada Presbyterian Church has offered weekly classes for parents brave enough to admit they need assistance through its Parent Education program. The paid classes are led by experienced educators, professionals and parents and cover a broad range of ages, from newborns to teenagers.

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Most of the program’s participants are mothers seeking advice or an opportunity to meet other moms dealing with the terrible twos, teething or teen angst. But lately, the program is seeing a different trend as more and more fathers enroll, according to LCPC’s Parent Education Director Anne Bierling.

“As circumstances in the home change, more families are asking what’s best for them,” Bierling said. Sometimes, a father’s job can be more easily performed out of the home or the wife’s job brings the family more income. Other times, fathers enroll because they are raising children alone or are looking for support and the company of other parents.

Pasadena restaurateur Jack Huang was raised in a traditional Taiwanese home, where children did not talk back to parents. He wants his relationship with his 6-year-old daughter, Nicole, to be more dynamic than that but realizes there’s a lot to learn.

“In the Chinese culture, the mom or dad just tells us what to do and we don’t ask,” Huang said. “Here, today, the teaching is quite different.”

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