Of all of the factors that contribute to the healthy development and academic success of children, none are more important than their home environment and the quality of parenting they receive. Since 1982, the Parent Encouragement Program, or PEP, has helped over 50,000 parents raise their children to become capable, confident and resilient. PEP offers a variety of online and in-person programs for parents with children ages 2 to 18, covering topics such as power struggles, effective listening, and positive discipline. PEP’s curriculum is based on the internationally acclaimed work of Alfred Adler, M.D., and Rudolf Dreikurs, M.D., which promotes understanding children’s reasons for misbehavior, mutual respect between adults and children, developing children’s capabilities, and fostering cooperation and a sense of belonging.
Through PEP’s classes, parents are able to better understand their kids’ perspective on issues and their needs. Said one parent, “I was having a hard time talking to my son. We were butting heads all the time. After PEP, I was able to engage with him without competition. I knew I was there to help him. It gave us a better relationship.” Parents also find great support in coming together to learn and share with fellow parents. Says one mom, “It’s so valuable to be in a space with other parents where we’re laughing or we’re crying or we’re just identifying with each other. You learn that you are not the only one struggling with these parenting issues.”
PEP offers its parenting programs directly to parents as well as in partnership with companies, schools, health care providers and organizations to serve their parent constituencies. Since 2016, PEP has partnered with the Linkages to Learning program in Montgomery County Public Schools to provide parenting classes in Spanish to low-income Latino parents in select elementary and middle schools in the county. In 2020, PEP began working with the nonprofit Identity to provide parenting classes to Latino parents who have recently reunited with their teenage children. PEP also works with companies including the US Agency for International Development, GitHub, MOM’s Organic Market, Permanente Medicine and others to help parents in the workplace achieve better work/family balance.
PEP doesn’t promise a quick fix, or a conflict-free home environment, but it does offer parents strategies and an approach to better deal with conflict when it arises. Says one parent, “We (still) have plenty of conflicts, but I feel like we are thriving because of what we learned at PEP. I can’t imagine parenting without it. PEP is the greatest gift to parenting.”