Expecting parents have valuable resource at McChord Clinic
September 20, 2010
- Staff members at the McChord Clinic have developed a great resource available to Soldiers and Airmen expecting their first child
- Becoming Parents Program is an eight-week course for expecting parents that strengthens Family relationships and communication
- Both parents must be married or in a committed relationship
Staff members at the McChord Clinic have developed a great resource available to Soldiers and Airmen expecting their first child.
The Becoming Parents Program is an eight-week course for expecting parents that strengthens Family relationships and communication, leads to better outcomes for children and helps for a more stable Family, according to program director Cyndi Mellor.
The free course focuses on couple-building, self-care and an "owner's manual" for the baby, and uses hands-on, interactive skills facilitated by Mellor and two other staff members.
Both parents must be married or in a committed relationship.
The McChord Clinic is part of the Madigan Healthcare System, and is the first in the Department of Defense to offer a new parenting program like this one.
"These first-time parents are learning new communication skills prior to becoming parents because everything changes when you bring the baby home," Mellor said.
The instructors give special attention to the military personnel to help these future parents deal with the myriad of difficult challenges that arise due to the current operational tempo.
Factors like deployments and 24-hour missions make it hard to be a parent and this class should help to lower the divorce rate, said Vicki Lunghofer.
"We are teaching the class about friendship, infant care, communication, time outs, problem-solving - all the things that go into a relationship, in order to really help them when that new baby comes home," Mellor said.
The inaugural class is ending, and the results have been fantastic, Mellor said.
The three couples currently in the class are expected to finish the course and deliver within the month.
Then, they will come back to see instructors Mellor, Lunghofer and Katie Hager, at the end of this year for a class reunion and a checkup on how well the couples are communicating together.
"The evaluations have been great, and we've been constantly hearing that they want more information," Hager said.
The next class begins Sept. 27, and registration is required for the class.
For more information, call the McChord Clinic at 253-982-8717 or 253-982-9040.