Don't parent alone when guiding your middle schooler around drugs and alcohol

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By Melissa Ford

Coach - Personal & Business

Drop what you’re doing on Wednesday, February 15th at 7 p.m. and bring your middle schooler to IM.P.A.C.T’s Parent/Student Cafe at Brooks Middle School. This interactive event will prepare you and your child to navigate the commonplace dilemmas posed by drugs and alcohol in our community. 

Facilitators for this special event are two dynamic, caring and insightful experts, John FS Williams, Director of Youth Services for Oak Park and River Forest Township, and Margo Bristow, Adolescent Therapist.

Both Bristow and Williams shared with me their uniquely powerful perspectives on the importance of attending this Cafe, an evening guaranteed to inspire and support you and your child.  

Ford: John, why should parents bring their middle schoolers to this event?  

Williams: For me, it comes down to this - parenting is work but you don’t have to do that work in isolation. It’s important for parents to consider two questions: (1) What kind of relationship do you want your child to have with alcohol/tobacco/drugs? and (2) How are you using your influence to effect that relationship? I want all parents to know that they can increase their influence by networking, collaborating and sharing in the wisdom of a group of other parents. 

Ford: How about you, Margo, why should parents and kids attend? 

Bristow: I concur with John and I would like to add another idea - the “honesty of deceit” - and the developmental process teens and young adults go through. Deceit is a core developmental task for kids in order to individuate and parents need to trust what they see and know rather than what their kids are telling them. It’s important to read between the lines. 

Ford: What if someone reading this article thinks s/he really doesn’t need to attend this event because his/her child is not like other kids who make poor choices? 

Bristow: All of us hope are kids are not like other kids - but all of our kids make the same kind of decisions and they make them based on peer relationships. We need to reinforce in our kids that they’re doing something good, something pro-health versus catching them doing something wrong. By attending this event parents and kids will be taking positive action and opening up an important discussion. 

Join other families on February 15th at 7 p.m. at Brooks Middle School to share in wisdom of other parents.

Why make parenting harder than it has to be, especially when it comes to talking to your middle schooler about drugs and alcohol? 


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