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Workshop set to help parents, students negotiate dangers
Feb 25, 2013 7:32 pm
The safety of their children is on the forefront of every parent’s mind. With recent school shootings, much emphasis is placed on school safety.
But Beth Petty, Lebanon Special School District's Family Resource Center coordinator, cautions parents that while research shows that students are safe at school, parents also need to look at other places that pre-teens and teens can fall into danger. The FRC is planning a two part workshop designed to help parents and students negotiate some of the pitfalls of today's world - "Teens on a Crash Course.”
For the first time, the LSSD will take up the topic of texting and driving. Petty said statistics show wrecks associated with texting while driving are on a rapid increase.
“When we are presenting on this topic, we first need to be honest. It is not just teenagers who are texting and driving. Adults are guilty too," Petty said. "No one can drive and text at the same time, but it happens on a regular basis. So do wrecks and, too often, fatalities.”
Petty, a graduate of the 2009 Leadership Wilson Class, said that a group of this year’s Youth Leadership Wilson Class will present on texting and driving.
“Each year, several youth groups partner with us to present at our parent workshops. In addition, we partner to write grants to Middle Tennessee Electric Customers Care. To date, we have been awarded more than $10,000 for parenting materials associated with the workshops. The workshops are free to anyone who wants to attend. Without the help of Customers Care, we would not be able to continue to offer these workshops at no cost to parents. The materials, refreshments and childcare are always free,” Petty said.
In addition to the Youth Leadership group, Terry Burns with Allstate Insurance will also speak about texting while driving. Petty said Burns, a member of the current Leadership Wilson Class, is an expert in the field, not only because of the nine years he worked with Allstate, but also because he works with students to educate the public on this topic. Last year, Burns, along with 25 Mt. Juliet High School students, committed to a yearlong project to raise money and awareness to combat texting while driving.
The group created public service announcements and encouraged students to sign parental contracts to not text and drive.
“When talking to Mr. Burns, he said, all too often, parents cause part of the problem of kids being on their phones while driving. We call them, especially if they are running a few minutes late, or if they were supposed to call and check in. We also text them and both cause kids to be distracted and look at their phones," Petty said. "Burns went on to say that tragedies have occurred when the teenager was just a few miles from home, but felt like they needed to answer their parent.”
It's not just technology that causes problems for today's students. Petty said bullying is another topic parents continually site as a problem.
Officer P.J. Hardy of the Lebanon Police Department will talk to parents about bullying and cyber bullying. Hardy, who works with Walter J. Baird Middle School and Winfree Bryant Middle School students on a regular basis, is also the coordinator of the Lebanon adult and youth police academies.
“On Saturday, we held a Parent Sanity Academy. We covered lots of topics, but parents had many questions about how to help their children if they were being bullied, or were witnesses of a bullying situation. The quick answer to that is that they have to report the incident to someone at school," Petty said. "Counselors, administration and teachers will then work together to address the problem. However, with the increase of technology, bullying is not always occurring at school, and that makes it more difficult for school officials to address. Parents want answers on how they can help, and Officer Hardy volunteered to follow up at this workshop.”
Finally, the workshop will also look into the best way to parent teens with retired school counselor Nancy Guethlein who will facilitate "Active Parenting of Teens."
According to Petty, some parents identify themselves as a "dictator parent," who always gets his way and is not flexible. Other parents identify with a "doormat parent," who allows the child to make the rules, and feel like they get taken advantage of in most cases.
“We want all parents to become active parents, who work with their child and get desired results through mutual respect, logical consequences and the use of 'I' statements,” said Guethlein.
The “Teens on a Crash Course” workshop will be March 4 and March 7 in the Castle Heights Elementary School library from 6-8:30 p.m. Parents should attend both nights of the workshop, and foster parents are encouraged to attend as the workshop will count as five credit hours.
To RSVP, contact Petty at 615-453-2693 or email@example.com.