Pubdate: Wed, 11 Mar 2015
Source: Tri-Cities Now, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2015 Glacier Community Media
Note: Was Coquitlam Now until Jan 2014
Author: John Kurucz


Outside of the birds and bees, it could be the most important 
conversation parents have with their kids.

The SHARE Family & Community Services Society will host an 
information session for parents and caregivers on Monday, March 30 to 
examine how to talk to kids about drug and alcohol use. The event 
aims to help adults prepare for the discussion itself, while offering 
options to make that talk a productive one.

"We don't promote any particular one right answer and we're not an 
abstinence-based program," said Lisa Ackerman, SHARE's supervisor of 
youth substance use services. "We look at a whole spectrum of what's 
going to be best for different people and how you decide that."

The session will focus on having those discussions with youths 
between the ages of 12 and 18. Information available on the Internet, 
listening skills, setting boundaries and adjusting to cultural norms 
will be some of the aspects covered.

However, Ackerman stressed the importance of setting the stage for an 
environment where both the child and parent are comfortable with 
having that conversation to begin with.

"There aren't any wrong answers," Ackerman said. "You have to frame 
it in the context that as a parent you do have personal opinions, but 
that how you respond to these questions might be different than a 
teacher, an uncle, a sibling or a friend. It's important for parents 
to articulate that they do have personal values around this and that 
they really want to hear what their young person thinks."

The discussion will also be broken down to hone in on specific age 
groups and developmental levels. Parents of 12 year olds, for 
example, may need to discuss proper diet and food types or the 
importance of understanding what prescription drugs are and how they're used.

Emotional and cognitive awareness will also examined: how kids 
process information and react to it, how they deal with friends' use 
and what types of factors influence their decisions.

"If you're having an issue with what they say then maybe you're not 
really prepared for the conversation quite yet," Ackerman said. "You 
want to be able to get to a place where if they respond in a 
particular way you're able to handle it in a way where you're keeping 
your cool and responding in a way that's respectful of their opinions."

The March 30 session is the first of its kind this year, and is 
modelled around similar programs the society offers to educators, 
parents and individual school classes. It runs from 7 to 9 p.m. at 
the SHARE offices at 2615 Clarke St. in Port Moody.

To register, call Tanya at 604-936-3900 ext. 175.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom