Issues affecting teens are constantly changing, but Summit County parents can find support for a number of family problems.
Dialogue Over Dinner is a monthly session designed for parents and students to come together to get advice from local experts and talk with other parents experiencing similar situations.
Jordan Schultz, Healthy Futures Initiative coordinator with Youth & Family Services, will lead an interactive discussion on “Talking with Teens About Healthy Decision Making,” from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. tonight, Wednesday, Oct. 23, at Summit Middle School in Frisco. Schultz said this is an opportunity for teens to discuss healthy decisions when it comes to drugs, alcohol and everyday freedoms.
“We want to create a space to have those important conversations,” she said. “Parents know this information but starting that talk is harder than they might think.”
The presentation will address trends in the community and look at what it takes to raise a teen in Summit County. Parents are encouraged to bring their adolescents along as a way to encourage open communication.
“Some parents have never said, ‘These are our values and hopes about how you’ll make decisions’ to their kids,” Schultz said. “The more information teens have, the more specifics they get, the better they do.”
The Family & Intercultural Resource Center (FIRC) has coordinated the Dialogue Over Dinner sessions for the last two years and has seen attendance grow, with 30 to 40 parents attending every session.
Karri Bowen, FIRC parenting class coordinator, said when parents are engaged in their teens’ lives, it has significant impact on decision making when kids are faced with difficult situations.
“Parents are the No. 1 reason kids don’t get involved in some of these risky behaviors,” she said.
The program is funded through the Colorado Office of Behavioral Health Community Prevention Programs, but Shultz said the programing is fairly open.
“We’re not there with an agenda,” she said. “We just want to give families the chance to have these conversations.”
Bowen said the sessions are open to anyone, whether they are already experiencing problems or just looking for ways to help a child avoid potential bad decisions.
“We hope to support parents and support whatever their families might be going through,” she said. “If we get interactions between parents and teens, to start the conversation and learn, that’s better than the parents just taking the information back home.”
Dialogue Over Dinner is a free monthly session from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Summit Middle School. “Talking with Teens About Healthy Decision Making” is Wednesday, Oct. 23. The evening is free and includes dinner and child care. Adolescents are invited to attend with their parents. Dinner is provided by All Seasons Catering. Please RSVP to Kerri Bowen by calling (970) 262-3888 ext. 330 or emailing email@example.com.
“Parents are the No. 1 reason kids don’t get involved in some of these risky behaviors.”
Coordinator with the Family & Intercultural Resource Center