Today, parenting information is everywhere and it can be a challenge for parents, for workplace wellness directors and for meeting planners for determine who would be a qualified, credible speaker for their event.
There are two things that you can easily check. First, if you are looking for a facilitator, trainer or keynoter; determine if they are members of their professional speakers association. In Canada, that means CAPS (Canadian Association of Professional Speakers.) To check in other countries go to the Global Speakers Federation site and find their members.
Second, check to see if they carry the appropriate accreditation. We will talk about that in the following article.
But What Are Your Credentials?
It’s a good question and an important one. Whether you’re looking for a home handyman, family physician, bookkeeper or parenting skills trainer, you need to ask.
Unfortunately the history of parenting programs is not stellar when it comes to credentials. Some people leading groups took a course, bought the workbook and started to lead a course. Some had complimentary but not specific training. Examples of this include therapists and life coaches of all stripes. So, how do you determine whether a potential speaker has the credentials?
Let’s first look at the three most common unqualified speakers in the field. The first are parents who took a course, believe in the material and started to teach or facilitate groups. They are well-meaning and likely also doing some good work, but they are not trained in running groups or in the actual content. They can easily end up inadvertently straying into fields beyond their competence and can end up doing more harm than good. Teaching parenting material is a skill requiring training.
Psychologists and therapists would seem like a good choice. It takes years of university education to complete a psychology degree. They are well-educated people. And in order to practice psychology, one must be licensed. So what’s the problem? Psychologists are trained to help mentally and emotionally distressed people and people going through traumas such as death in the family, illness or divorce. Parenting skills training is not about any sort of dysfunction, but is simply a way to learn how to raise typical, healthy children. Having a psychologist speak about parenting or lead a program can give the message that only those dealing with very serious problems need apply. Then all the parents dealing with the daily reality of temper tantrums, toilet training, picky eaters or trying to get kids to do their homework will stay away because they need advice, not therapy.
Increasingly life coaches are joining the groups of those offering parenting materials. Life coaches are trained to listen and observe and help the client to find within themselves the skills and resources they need to move forward. It is not part of their training or mandate to teach specific skills in any area including parenting.
It makes sense that professionals who work with children and families would be interested in parenting. And certainly social workers, librarians, physicians, therapists and coaches may well decide to train to speak and write on parenting. They could then apply for the accreditation.
Parenting skills training or parenting education teaches specific skills and strategies for raising children. Parenting is a challenging and an important job and one for which we need training. There isn’t a university degree or a college program giving credentials for doing this work. But there is a national accreditation program. It is a recognized and formal process for certifying those offering family life education programs including parenting. When you are looking for a speaker, workshop leader or consultant, check for their credentials. They will have earned the Certified Canadian Family Educator designation and you can know that they are qualified to deal with typical families and healthy kids. Their stories and examples will be about regular people. And they will have the training to give your participants skills, strategies and advice to make their job easier.
It’s easy. Does any potential speaker at your conference or in your workplace have the initials C.C.F.E. after their name? If so, consider hiring them. Kathy Lynn. B.A., C.C.F.E.
How Can I Find Kathy?
Do you want to arrange a parenting event and save money on the travel expenses? It’s simple. I will let you know my travel plans and you can take advantage of the fact that I will be in your town and keen to work with you and the parents or professionals in your life. I am going to be in Ottawa in early May and in Calgary in early June and can easilty adapt my schedule to fit your needs.
I will also be traveling along the Pacific Northwest in Washington and Oregon in June.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Bringing Parenting Today to your event.
Parenting Today is keen to speak as part of your professional development event, parenting workshop or workplace wellness support program. I offer keynotes and workshops, have written books and have ongoing newspaper columns, books, blogs and newsletters. And, no matter what the actual topic, they all share a basic value that I call:
P — is a parenting plan
U — is unconditional love
R — is respect for your child as he is right now
E — is encouragement
These make up the framework of any resources that will come from Parenting Today. These four pillars are the essential ingredients for raising healthy children who will develop into capable young men and women.
Speaking of Professionalism in Speaking
Sieglinde Malmberg, chair of the CAPS Speaker’s School posted this and I want to make it available to you.
The Vancouver chapter of Canadian Association of Professional Speakers is hosting this speakers school event in April. It only happens once a year, so I thought I’d share with a few strategic people in my network that I think on a professional level should be there. Please pass along to any others that you know who may have shown an interest in developing the speaking/presenting side of their business as well! It’s a two day conference – but can be attended in its entirety, as a single day or a la cart. Fri Apr 26 is centered on your topic (find your passion, storytelling, crafting a keynote, building in interaction & participation). Sat Apr 27 is on the business of speaking (branding yourself, marketing, treating it like a business, writing & publishing your book). In a nutshell, it is structured to ramp up the speaking side of your consulting business, help you leverage speaking in your work, or to perhaps put you center stage in your next career step!
Frankly it was one of these events that I attended 5 years ago that really opened my eyes to developing this side of my business, so I wanted to share the opportunity with people on my LinkedIn connections that I thought could most benefit.
Please go to the CAPS Vancouver website for more information, or to register. Message me if you have questions. If you have ever thought about speaking about your passion, this event will launch you!
Thanks for a great post. You are right, every most body who has seen a child thinks they are experts in child care.
Let me tell a little true story. I was seeing a 14 y/o boy for his annual exam and asked him how he deals with peer pressure he told me that peer pressure doesn’t really exist. I asked if peer pressure didn’t exist why did the expert spend so much time on it? His reply, “Experts should start seeing normal kids and stop comparing us to weirdos!” Then he added, “Peer pressure is an excuse to do what you know you shouldn’t.” Quoted from “Messengers in Denim”, my how to be a parent book.
Even experts can miss the mark sometimes!
Thanks for all you do! Par
Great Comment. Reminds me of the time when everyone was talking about quality parenting and a teenager said, “Quality time is a way for parents to spend very little time with kids and not feel guilty about it!”
Kids teens especially teenagers, are such great teachers! Just a quick correction in my first reply, the end of the first sentence should be “most every body.”
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Hi Kathy, I think your post falls short of recognizing that there are horrible presenters everywhere and good ones too. A mere credential of one sort or another does not a good presenter make. The passion to learn, put yourself out there And learn from each presentation does. Your blog feels a lot like a puff piece to promote yourself.