When you become a parent, the hospital doesn’t send you home with an owner’s manual conveniently attached to your newborn.

Parents can seek help from various sources, but trial and error are typically involved. What parents might not always realize is that even when they don’t think they’re parenting, they are. Children tend to emulate their parents’ behavior — good and bad.

A national program is being offered in Jefferson City that will try to encourage positive behavior and reactions among parents so that behavior will be passed on to their children.

As we reported Tuesday, Conscious Discipline is an emotional intelligence program that teaches the brain to respond, rather than react, to life events. Reactions are typically aggressive, quick and tense. Responses, on the other hand, are thought-out, calm and non-threatening.

The program is being presented by the United Way of Central Missouri and Jefferson City Parents as Teachers. It is free for parents of children ages 5 and younger and early childhood educators in mid-Missouri.

Velda McKenzie, a certified instructor of Conscious Discipline, will lead the five sessions, which will start Sept. 10 and end March 10.

Each session will build on information from the previous session. There are only 100 slots available for each session.

The program appears to have promise, but the commitment level needed to make sustainable changes in people’s lives appears to us to be high.

Will the parents/teachers who could benefit from the program participate and commit to the change?

Unfortunately, we think there’s a better chance teachers will commit to the principles of such a program. That’s unfortunate, because parents should be primary ones to pass on behavioral skills to their children.

Still, we believe the program has the potential to make positive change in the lives of people who are ready and committed to such change.

Copyright Jefferson City News Tribune. Reprinted with permission.

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