Guest speaker offers parenting tools


Irvin Trigueros

Karen Torres listens to Ramona McCoy during her CARE parenting workshop.

Guest speaker Ramona McCoy, early childhood education instructor, visited Los Medanos College on Thursday, Nov. 8 for a special workshop for students in the EOPS (Extended Opportunity Programs & Services) and CARE (Cooperative Agencies Resources for Education) programs.

The workshop, labeled as “Parenting Skills and Child Development,” focused on being a role model as a parent and the process of setting boundaries with love and respect.

“Having a child doesn’t come with a ‘how-to’ book, you kind of just have to wing-it or get educated as you go and find out,” said Robin Harrison, EOPS Retention and CARE Coordinator.

Harrison invited McCoy, who is a First Five program coordinator at Contra Costa College, to speak and share her 30 years of experience in early child development in an interactive workshop at LMC to help single parent students in EOPS and CARE.

“I met with the director of EOPS and we discussed how all of my students are parents, and we discussed what their needs are and they need to have an opportunity to learn more about parenting,” said Harrison.

At the workshop, McCoy introduced her simple parenting method that works for pretty much any scenario, not just in parenting. This method is what she calls “the Five P’s” which consist of: a plan, a purpose, preparation, promise and prosper.

When children want something or want to do something, parents can essentially ask their children: What is your plan and what is the purpose of it, and how will you prepare for it? If their responses are reasonable, then as a parent, according to McCoy, you must set the limits in order to maintain control. This can be done with a promise, a condition that the child must meet in agreement. With that, you can then prosper as a parent and reap the benefits of a stable and trusting parent-child relationship.

Attendance at the workshop was a bit low, with about 10 students attending, but the information that was there was very helpful to those who needed it.

“I have two kids, my son is seven and my daughter is seven months, so I’m kind of going through it all over again, but this time I’m older.” said LMC student Karen Torres. “When I had my son I was 16, now I’m 23, so I wanted to not make the same mistakes I did when I was 16. That’s why I took this workshop, and it was very helpful,” said Torres.

McCoy offered advice that single parent students can hang onto as reminders to stay in control and help their children grow and mature. She maintained the importance of respecting children, but also avoiding the mistake of becoming friends with your own children.

“Set the limits. You give [children] a choice and you tell them what the consequences are,” said McCoy. “You want to develop a relationship with your children, but you’re not their friend. That doesn’t mean you don’t love them, but you are not their friend, you’re their parent and they see you for that and love you for that. You will have to tell them things sometimes and set limits that they don’t like.”

The 90 minute workshop was a great opportunity for students to learn the important basics of parenting from an expert, an event that was only available to students enrolled in EOPS and CARE.

EOPS is a program that offers assistance and aid to students who may have educational or economic disadvantages. It’s designed to encourage enrollment and the completion of a degree, certificate, license or transfer.

Alternatively, CARE is a program for single parents who are enrolled at LMC in order to attain a career, degree, certificate or training to provide for their children and avoid dependence on welfare.

EOPS and CARE students have access to workshops, counseling, financial aid and peer support, among other perks. Students are encouraged to join and spread the word about the programs to those who will benefit from it.

“I’m in the CARE program and I have a son,” said LMC student Hasia Najib. “My sister wanted to come because she’s also a single mom, but she’s waiting for next semester,” said Najib.

The chance to join EOPS & CARE is available to students who qualify and it offers invaluable help to those who need it. Workshops such as McCoy’s help students gain new insight in surviving the real world, or in this case, the demanding task of parenting.

For additional information about EOPS and CARE, visit CC257, or online at