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Police department offers low-cost parenting classes

CARLSBAD — The city of Carlsbad’s popular Parent Project series — a hands-on class geared toward parents of children who act out — will launch its first course of the new year on Jan. 25.
Licensed marriage and family therapists Penelope Velazquez and Lynda Lennox conduct the city-sponsored course, which has an average attendance of 25 to 30 parents. The behaviorally structured sessions cover a “broad spectrum of issues” parents face when their kids are acting out.
“Very practically speaking, it’s convenient and it’s an affordable option for every parent,” Velazquez said. “It’s a great resource that explores a lot of different issues that kids are facing in their lives.”
The course curriculum offers solutions for parents of children who are dealing with more common issues of growing up, as well as those who have more defiant and emotional kids who may be getting into trouble, Velazquez said.
During the sessions, parents learn not only from the instructors, but also from others in attendance who are facing similar issues. Parents are seated in small groups and encouraged to reach out to others for advice and support throughout the course.
“We gear it towards a class that’s not only educational, but a really supportive program too,” Velazquez said. “They use that support to follow through with the strategies that we talk to them about even after the course is over.”
Recognizing a need for an accessible parenting course, Carlsbad Police Department’s Greater Understanding through Intervention Diversion and Education, or GUIDE, office launched the Parent Project course more than a decade ago.
The curriculum is based on the trademarked Parent Project program, which is used to reduce juvenile crime in communities through parents trained to use various intervention methods.
“Kids were actually suggesting that we also talk to their parents so the adults learn to be more effective at home,” Velazquez said. “The parents are now learning how to intervene with their children in a way that keeps their self-esteem in tact.”
The upcoming series Parent Project Junior/Loving Solutions — geared toward parents of 5- to 10-year-olds — will begin its seven-week course on Jan. 25 at the Carlsbad Senior Center, 799 Pine Avenue. Classes meet Tuesday from 6 to 9 p.m. and registration is $25 per individual or $35 per couple.
“It’s very satisfying for Lynda and I, especially because of the parents who are really committed to attending each session,” Velazquez said. “We get a lot of positive feedback and it’s very, very rewarding.”
Additionally, a Spanish-language series will begin in February and a class for parents of pre-teens and teenagers runs in March.
For more information or to register for upcoming sessions of the Parent Project series, call the Carlsbad Police Department’s GUIDE office at (760) 931-2167.