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Classes give parents ‘an owner’s manual’

Tue., April 24, 2007

Colleen Combs started teaching Love and Logic classes to Spokane area parents 11 years ago.

“Parents were coming to me with the same concerns over and over again,” said Combs, a counselor at Spokane’s Arlington Elementary School. “They had questions and frustrations about parenting.”

Now the Spokane Public Schools prevention program, created by the Love and Logic Institute in Colorado, is taught to parents and school staff at elementary and middle schools across the region, Combs said. She’s also been asked to teach the class at churches and local community centers.

“The best thing about Love and Logic is that it gives you specific skills and techniques that help with parenting children of all ages,” Combs said. “It raises the odds that we as parents will stay more in control when it does become difficult and challenging.”

The program’s philosophy is focused on providing adults an alternative way to communicate with children. Adults are taught to recognize that children need to make mistakes, and need to be responsible and accountable for their behavior, Combs said.

In turn, parents are taught not to blame themselves and to control their anger.

“It gives parents the skills to disengage their emotions, because when we are acting on emotion we aren’t always acting in the best interest of the child,” said Wendy Bleecker, a student support services director for Spokane schools. “It takes the anger out.”

The classes are funded mostly through federal and state grants, school officials said. Some schools elect to pay for child care for the parents taking the class.

The classes are typically held in six sessions, once or twice a week, and are taught by counselors, such as Combs, at schools.

To learn more about the program, parents are encouraged to contact their neighborhood elementary or middle school.

“Parenting can be overwhelming,” Combs said. “After researching many different parenting approaches, this is the closest I’ve seen to an owner’s manual.”


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