Before you pull all your hair out, look into some parenting programs and resources offered by local organizations and a government agency.
While my two daughters are now grown up, I haven’t forgotten the worry and angst of their teenage years. Back then, work and school commitments meant we had to commute two hours a day. The car became our boardroom for discussions and negotiations including what clothes they could or couldn’t wear, curfews, boys, going to clubs and illegal substance use. The conversations weren’t always easy and I would sometimes be left feeling angry and frustrated by my teens’ cunning ability to make me question my decisions (never mind my sanity).
More than once I wished there had been a group I could attend to get help and insights into the process of parenting teens — or at least to have someone let me know I was on the right track. Parents who feel the need for this kind of support can turn to a number of organizations offering programs and groups focused on parenting teens.
Founded by family life educator Gerry Turpin, Parentaide Plus has been helping families since 1977. The organization offers many different parenting programs, including one focused on teens. The nine-week Parenting Teenagers course begins Monday, Jan. 7 from 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. There are also two other parenting courses being offered in January: Survive Being a Parent, which starts Thursday, Jan 3 from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and Parenting Ages 5 to 12, which starts Wednesday, Jan 9 from 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Parentaide Plus is located at 1622 Herron Rd., in Dorval. For more information, call (514) 633-8944 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
AMCAL Family Services
This organization offers both residential and out-patient counselling services for families whose teens are in crisis. The group also offers an eight-week program targeted to young people ages 12-17 on anger management, conflict resolution and character development. For more information, call (514) 694-3161. Programs take place at 7 Ste. Anne St., Pointe Claire.
DM Family and School Services
This organization offers workshops and programs for parents, teachers, lunchroom monitors, daycare operators and early childhood educators as well as individual, group and couples therapy. DM Family and School Services organizes Parenting with Love & Limits groups, that help families with teens who are having difficulties at home, school and in the community. This six-week program includes both parents and teenagers ages 12-17. The organization also offers a Parenting Today’s Youth series that consists of workshops on topics such as bullying and developing competence and resilience in children. For information, call (514) 483-9339 or www.dmfamilyschool.com.
YMCA – St. Laurent
The YMCA’s parenting teens program is called 40 Assets. “These are workshops for parents who get together to do activities and discuss different topics among themselves,” says the program’s coordinator Harry Antoine. A group leader helps the parents share their experiences and discover solutions. Discussion topics include homework, discipline, self-esteem and helping teens have a positive identity. A new session will begin in January, although the exact dates and times have not yet been confirmed. Groups are in French and/or English, depending on enrolment. Cost is $10 per workshop. For more information, call (514) 747-5353, ext. 236 or ext. 245. The YMCA is located at 1745 Decarie Blvd., St. Laurent.
Hooked on School
This organization is dedicated to reducing the dropout rate among youth in Montreal. They work with young people, parents, teachers and other education professionals to promote the importance of staying in school. Counsellors work directly with parents who are seeking advice and tools to motivate their children to stay in school or to return to school. An information and referral telephone line, (514) 286-2346, ext. 209, is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday or visit www.clds.qc.ca for more information.
Government of Canada
The Public Health Agency of Canada website has an excellent reference on its “National Clearinghouse on Family Violence” page for parents of teens. Titled The Parent-Teen Relationship: How parents can make the most of it, the document covers a comprehensive list of issues and topics of concern for parents. This includes viable tips and solutions to problems such as anger management, rules and discipline, positive parenting and the dos and don’ts of parent-teen communication. Visit www.phac-aspc.gc.ca (use the search function with the words “parent-teen relationship”).