MSU announces expansion of online resource for parenting support
by Marshall Swearingen, MSU News Service
With the addition of resources for foster parents, tools for nurturing the development of children under age 4, podcasts featuring national parenting experts and more, a unique online parenting resource developed by Montana State University continues to expand.
Created by MSU’s Center for Health and Safety Culture in partnership with the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, ParentingMontana.org provides guidance for effectively parenting children through age 19, covering dozens of topics such as building child confidence, dealing with conflict and coping with stress.
“This is a very unique resource,” said Annmarie McMahill, the project’s principal researcher and Center for Health and Safety Culture manager. “No other state has this depth of information laid out in such a user-friendly way.”
The additions, spurred by feedback after the website was launched in January 2019, come with a general reworking of the website to make it more accessible and easier to use, McMahill said. Much of the information is now available as audio files that can be downloaded and listened to on a phone, for instance. All the information is designed to be easily viewed, downloaded or shared electronically, including over social media. The website is also a resource for teachers, health care providers, law enforcement and others working with youth and families.
“We’ve built the website to address topics that Montana parents are asking about,” McMahill said. The information focuses on strategies that help children as well as parents develop social and emotional skills that can help them be more successful in school and work and more resilient in the face of life challenges, she said.
The Center for Health and Safety Culture will continue to add to and refine the website, according to McMahill. “We’re really encouraging anyone in a parenting role, including extended family, to explore this resource and learn from it,” she said.
The Center for Health and Safety Culture, housed in MSU’s Office of Research, Economic Development and Graduate Education, serves communities and organizations in their efforts to cultivate healthy and safe behaviors and is dedicated to applying research to develop sustainable solutions to complex social problems. •