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Parents face a challenging task today in bringing up their children. Ministry Associate Felipe Cortes, Family Program Director for New Hope Ministries, is making it a little easier.

He is helping parents improve their skills through classes taught monthly in Haledon, N.J. New Hope Ministries is a diaconal outreach of several northern New Jersey Christian Reformed churches.

Wilton and Susana Méndez participate in parenting classes.

Yanet Rivas

Cortes follows a curriculum called Systematic Training for Effective Parenting (STEP). Topics include the physical, emotional, intellectual, and behavioral changes during the teenage years; how to encourage cooperation in children; how to develop listening and speaking skills that  encourage respect; different parenting styles and their consequences; discipline that makes sense.

Volunteers provide dinner and child care for the participants in the program.

Cynthia Segovia, a mother of two children ages 11 and 18, said the classes have strengthened her relationship with her children by helping her learn more direct communication methods. “I now know it is never too late to learn more effective approaches to help our children,” she said.

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