Online Help for Parents: Classes and Resources

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By Donna Dowdy

Children don’t come with instruction manuals or troubleshooting guides, though parents often wish they  did. They arrive one happy day and suddenly make us parents.

While we feel the love and anticipate the rewards, we have been thrust into the most important and challenging job of our lives. We have no degree in parenting, we don’t get to clock out at 5:00 and we will often second guess ourselves. As parents, we’ve entered into an unwritten contract to nurture and guide our children along the road to responsible adulthood. We worry about the potholes and unplanned detours along that road.

Parenting can be overwhelming, for sure. But take heart, help is just a few clicks away. You can take advantage of numerous online parenting classes and resources to help you build upon your skills to become a better parent. You can learn the best parenting style for your child’s personality, how to better handle daily issues and conflicts, and what to expect at different ages and stages. Best of all, you may find new confidence and a support network.

Let’s take a look at some of the parenting classes and resources available, starting locally. There just might be one that directly targets your current parenting challenges or concerns.

Parenting Classes in Prince William

Prince William offers virtual parenting classes through the Virginia Cooperative Extension. All classes are currently virtual via Zoom and are very reasonably priced. Below are examples of their current class offerings. Visit for upcoming spring classes and dates. Preregistration is required.

  • Systematic Training for Effective Parenting is for parents who want to learn how to communicate better with their children and how to discipline them more effectively. The facilitator uses videos, handbooks and a textbook in a discussion format. The class is offered for three age groups: young children, school-age children and teenagers.
  • When Families Get Angry – Is there too much yelling in your house? Anger can take its toll on a family. This class was developed at Virginia Tech and focuses on the effects of anger on families and how to deal with it more constructively. The anger may be between parents, siblings, or parents and children.

Parenting Classes from Well-Known Sources

  • Positive Discipline classes are based on the best-selling Positive Discipline book series by Dr. Jane Nelsen. The class includes six video lessons, access to those videos for a year, a downloadable workbook and an e-book version of Positive Discipline. You can watch an introductory video on the
    website that introduces the five criteria of Positive Discipline.
  • From Conflict to Cooperation: Understanding and Preventing Power Struggles with your Children is a course by Meghan Leahy, the Washington Post parenting columnist. The objective is to “cultivate an easier, more peaceful relationship with your child.” If you’re tired of fighting with your child or find that punishments are no longer working, Meghan Leahy can help.

Free Parenting Resources and Classes

If you’re unsure about online classes and want to try one at no cost, check out the sites below. You will also find many helpful resources, like articles and videos.

  • Peace at Home Parenting Solutions offers free online parenting classes that let you ask questions and receive answers from parenting experts, as well as chat with other parents. You can also choose the option of recorded classes to listen to at your own pace. Peace at Home’s mission is “to connect parents with inspiring experts and each other so they easily gain the skills and support they need to build positive, peaceful and playful families.”
  • Up To Parents, formerly, offers free co-parenting classes for separated, divorced and single parents. Upon completion, you will receive a certificate. Watch their two-minute video to learn more about the program.
  • At Generation Mindful, you will find parenting articles and the offer of a free positive parenting class, as well as tools and toys you can purchase to help you implement new strategies. The free class is
    the first class of the six-part online program. You can decide if it’s right for you before investing any money.
  • At Verywell Family, you will find seven of the best online parenting classes, with summaries and direct links to each one. The Verywell Family website is, in itself, an excellent online source for parents. Their wealth of valuable content is “written by more than 100 healthcare professionals and industry experts including experienced pediatricians and parenting coaches, and is then vetted by board-certified physicians.” The site has a Parenting page and an Ages and Stages page with links to
    information on all aspects of parenting.

Whether you’re just feeling a little unsure of yourself or in constant conflict with your child, parenting classes and online resources can help with your parenting challenges. Invest a little time exploring these resources; it may yield a big pay-off. Perhaps you’ll connect with other parents and discover the powerful benefits of a support network. You may also find the tools and knowledge to make parenting a little easier, to make you feel more confident and to make the precious days with your child more enjoyable.

Donna Dowdy is a parent, grandparent, former teacher and published children’s writer.


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