There have been debates about the need and the advantages and disadvantages of parenting classes for teenagers. Individuals who oppose parenting classes believe that it may encourage teenagers to engage in premarital sex. Consequently, being sexually active puts teenagers at risk for early pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. In addition, opponents think that teenagers should focus on other subjects that would be of use in their university life. On the other hand, proponents of parenting classes argue that teenagers should be required to take parenting classes because they will learn the responsibilities of becoming a parent and those lessons will encourage them to wait until they are mature enough to have children and appreciate the efforts and sacrifices of their parents for them. Thus, despite the arguments against parenting classes, teenagers should be required to participate in these lessons because it helps them become responsible individuals and reduces parent-adolescent conflict.
Some adults express their disapproval over parenting classes as requirement for teenagers because they believe that adolescents may be encouraged to engage in premarital sex. The Guttmacher Institute (2012) reported that on average, adolescents become sexually active at the age of seventeen and that not every teenager who engage in premarital sex use protection, which puts them at risk for early pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases. Only 78 percent of female and 85 percent of male teens who are sexually active use contraceptives. Therefore, the danger of allowing adolescents to participate in parenting classes is that their knowledge makes them feel secure about their decision in engaging in unprotected sex. This outcome worsens the problem of early pregnancies and health risks associated with unprotected sex. However, proponents of parenting classes say that the lessons will help students become responsible. When parenting classes are done right and with the right intentions, it could provide teenagers the opportunity to understand their parents and their responsibilities as children and realize their parents sacrifices, which will lead to better relationships between parent and child. Therefore, the classes are considered reformative for both parents and teenagers and adolescent psychologists use parenting classes as strategies for behavior modification on the part of aggressive teenagers.
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Some parents believe that parenting classes distract them from focusing on subjects that are more important and that time for parenting classes should be used for gaining extra credit or participating in remedial lessons. The argument against parenting classes for adolescents, however, is a restrictive and close-minded way of approaching or understanding what parenting classes have to offer. The knowledge that teenagers may glean from parenting classes, however, are founded on facts and the benefits and advantages of those classes far outweigh the possible disadvantages. Miedzan (127) worked with parents, teachers, and other adults who teach parenting classes to teenagers and based on their experiences, teens learn many things from those classes that help them become responsible people. Miedzan (127) interviewed Willis who worked with teenage boys and based on his observations, the boys in the class often realize the hardships of parenting and as a result, take precautions when they are sexually active. Like Willis, Howort also teaches parenting classes and argued that parenting classes provides teenagers “a sense of importance” and helps them understand “the demands and the responsibilities of parenting to dissuade them from becoming parents too early” (Miedzan, 128). Moreover, parenting classes teach adolescents to be responsible when it comes to making decisions about parenting and premarital sex.
Although opponents believe that parenting classes distract teenagers from focusing on their academics and may encourage them to be sexually active, the arguments of proponents highlight the advantages of these classes. Parenting classes should be a requirement for teenagers to accomplish because although some pinpoint probable disadvantages, the benefits and advantages outweigh those risks as the classes help lessen parent-child conflicts and nurture mature and responsible adolescents. Moreover, parenting classes help students in making mature and rational decisions and become responsible adults and parents in the future.