Free courses being offered to improve child development Published Nov. 30, 2017 55th Wing Public Affairs OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Nebraska -- Beginning next year, free specialized parenting courses will be offered to Offutt parents through the Offutt Family Advocacy Program. Dale Sundermann, FAP outreach manager and course instructor, said the courses will provide valuable learning opportunities often overlooked by parents. “We spend time learning and studying things that we’ll never use,” Sundermann said. “Yet parenting and raising kids and our family is what we identify as most important in our lives.” Sundermann said many parents approach parenting as something that comes naturally. However, courses like these offer proven techniques to help your child reach their full potential. “If you’re not learning to become a better parent, your kids are at a disadvantage in the classroom.” According to Sundermann, some of the biggest parenting challenges among military members can be beneficial to child development. “If parents are deliberate about how they’re parenting their kids, you can actually use a deployment to develop your kids to be better, not as something to simply get through,” he said. “And we know how to do that.” The series of courses are conveniently offered from 4:40 – 5:30 p.m. at the Offutt Youth Center. The first course, “Parenting Rewired,” is scheduled for January 11 and uses the latest scientific research to provide valuable insight into why some parenting practices work and why some fail miserably. “Parent-Child Communication” is scheduled for February 8 and focuses on developmental issues for various age groups. It addresses how you can help children process their feelings and how to effectively communicate with them. “Raising Smart Children: It’s not Magic” will be offered in two sessions, March 14 and 15. This fast paced and engaging course is designed to bring out the best in children by effectively using praise to foster growth. “Parenting Skills for the Single Parent Service Member” is scheduled for April 11. This course focuses entirely on the single parent military member and provides useful tips such as child discipline techniques, long-distance parenting and building a support network during deployments. If these courses go well, Sundermann said the FAP office will look at adding addition classes for the remainder of 2018. He said traditional courses will still be available at the Offutt Airman and Family Readiness Center as well. For additional information, call the FAP office at 294-7886 or the AFRC at 294-4329.