Hobby Horse House offers parenting classes

Two classes at Hobby Horse House aim to teach area parents how best to care for their children.

The child welfare agency is running its Positive Parenting Program and Parenting Through Divorce classes out of its office at 314 S. Main St. Director Lilly White said the positive parenting class also is taught in Quincy.

The Positive Parenting Program is a 16-week-long course that tries to “improve and build nurturing parenting skills,” White said. The weekly classes are meant to build and strengthen positive qualities the parents already have, increase empathy, create more caring behaviors and implement positive disciplinary measures, she said.

“This is kind of a program to help parents use alternative methods, rather than abusive or neglect(ful) behaviors,” White said.

During the course, meals, childcare and home visits are provided by Hobby Horse House. White said a Zoom-based course will begin Dec. 7, followed by an in-person course on Feb. 28. Each session runs about three hours and typically is held in the evening, she said.

Parenting Through Divorce is a quarterly class designed to guide divorcees with children through the process of co-parenting, White said. Illinois requires divorcing parents to attend a parenting class, which Hobby Horse House’s program satisfies.

“What our class does is it provides skills and education to those attending on co-parenting successfully together,” White said. “It assists … in being able to overcome challenges and adjustment needs during a divorce that may often arise, and it also looks at just providing education and skills to help when one household becomes two households.”

White said Hobby Horse House held a Parenting Through Divorce class earlier in the month. The next sessions will be in February, May and August, she said. Each one runs roughly four hours long and usually is on a Saturday, she said.

Both programs have been around for about a decade, White said, though the Positive Parenting Program expanded to a 16-week course from an eight-week course last year. She said the agency gets referrals from all across west-central Illinois, including Scott, Cass, Schuyler and Greene counties.

White said parents stand to benefit from the support the programs offer.

“This is where you’re going to get some support from a facilitator,” she said. “They’re going to support you through the class sessions and they’re also going to be able to come into your home and support you directly with your children hands-on.”