The Parent Institute of Lourdes University was founded to bring about research and policy change on equipping parents to raise their children. The Institute also strives to put parents back at the forefront of their children’s lives and parental importance in a child’s education, health, behavior, and life as a whole.
Retired Juvenile Court Judge, Andy Devine, has been instrumental in setting the building blocks for the Parent Institute. Devine was born in 1921 when high expectations were placed on parents and they were given the primary task of raising their children. According to Devine, over the last few decades there has been a shift in thinking to deemphasize the role of the parents and place the burden of raising children on the “village.”
Oftentimes when a child has an educational, behavioral, health, or abuse issue; the parents can get lost in the shuffle of teachers, specialists, nurses, social services, and/or criminal justice. Service workers from the various institutions take over, and the parents don’t know what to do to help the child or they kind of take a back seat.
Beginning this fall at Lourdes University, all students majoring in social work, nursing, or education will be required to take a course on the importance of parents in their children’s lives and how to make parents a part of various situations with their children. This course was developed by the Parent Institute, and is surprisingly unique. Most degree programs in these areas, do not even mention parents or their role.
Devine believes that it takes a village to raise the parents who raise the child. He would like to see various service workers be equipped to teach parents how to help their children in different life situations. After serving in the juvenile court system for 28 years, he knows that if you don’t educate and change parents, then the kids won’t change either.
In June of this year, The Parent Institute invited various service providers in to brainstorm and get their thoughts on what they feel the parents’ role is in a child’s life. He’s hoping to do more discussions like this, to streamline training for parents amongst various institutions. It’s easier to get the community involved in helping parents before the courts have to get involved.
Devine ultimately wants parents to be recognized as heroes and to be celebrated because it’s a hard job.