March 1, 2012

March is National Parenting Awareness Month

By Elyse Mumford
Child Abuse Council Intern
University of Northern Iowa

March is the National Parenting Awareness Month, although very few people are aware of this. The goal is to make society aware of the role that parents play in shaping their children. When one first hears this, the first thought may be, “Well, is that not common sense?” Yet often times, we seem to become so caught up in our day-to-day activities that we become consumed by everyday life. Sometimes, it is important to take a step back, reevaluate and examine the role we are playing as a parent, and question if we are fulfilling our set ideals and goals. The National Parenting Awareness Month’s goal is to bring attention to the importance of the parenting role is in society today. There are several goals that Parenting Awareness Month wants to achieve. According to, here are a two of the goals and how they relate to any individual.

The first goal is to “draw public attention to the critical importance of effective parenting across the lifespan.” Often times, it is easy to have the mindset that after a child has reached adulthood, they no longer need parenting. Although the roles change as children grow older, they often times are still looking for guidance and support. In order to help parents better understand the needs of children throughout the life span, there are workshops to address childrens’ needs at different stages of life. One example is a lesson on how to teach a college-aged child about becoming a first time parent. This goal aims to address all parents, no matter the age of the child.

The second goal is to “Raise awareness that everyone benefits from parent education and support.” This goal aims to address the importance of parents seeking out educational resources, because it benefits society as a whole, rather than the individual family. These programs address any topic, from parenting under stress to child abuse and neglect. By families utilizing these educational resources, it helps bring support for both their families and themselves. Creating a support system within one’s own family can become very beneficial to the family system as a whole. By reaching out to each other, we create a secure environment for everyone within the family structure. It is important to address that every family is different, and how one defines family is different to each individual. The main idea is to create a support system that offers positive influences to the parent.

The National Parenting Awareness Month campaign reaches out to any parent no matter what stage of parenting they are in. As children grow and change, so do their needs—the Parenting Awareness Month addresses this and the vital role that parents play throughout the child’s life span. I once heard someone compare family life to an airplane flight; both need a clear destination, a flight plan, and a compass to keep them on course. Like airplanes, which can stray from their flight plans but come back and arrive at their destination safely, families (the best of which go off course) can come back on their flight plan and reach a desired destination through knowledge, organization and commitment.

The Child Abuse Council provides programs and services to children and families that focus on prevention, education and treatment. For more information visit us at