Navigating the Teenage Years workshops prepare parents and carers for tackling important issues

Parents and carers of Year 7 students at Immanuel College were invited to take part in a series of workshops, organised by the School’s Chaplaincy Department using resources provided by the charity ‘Care for the Family’, aimed at highlighting important familial and social issues that young people and their families can face throughout their time at secondary school.

Fran Bailey, Philosophy, Ethics & Religion Teacher at Immanuel College and part of the team who organised the workshops, explained the reasons why it was important for parents and carers to take part in the sessions:

“Being a parent is the hardest job in the world! We know that there are many challenges to bringing up children and as they enter the teenage years many parents can feel overwhelmed and unsure of how best to support their children.

“This course is an opportunity to develop understanding of the issues teenagers face, to discuss strategies for dealing with some of the thorny issues that can arise and consider how to parent through the teenage years. It is a chance for parents to hear evidence-based information, to talk to others who are also parenting teenagers and to reflect on what they want for their family moving forwards.”

One of the parents taking part in the workshops, Vikki Deegan, has a daughter in Year 7 at the School. Vikki, who has found the sessions incredibly useful, said: “I didn’t have the greatest relationship with my Mum when I was growing up and I didn’t want to make the same mistakes that she made. This seemed like a good way to improve my knowledge. I wanted to find out about the mindset of teenagers; why they think the way do and how they process things.

“Throughout the course we have looked at; different parenting techniques, how we feel as parents, communication and challenging behaviours, the effects of alcohol and substance misuse and psychological reasons for disciplining.

“The sessions have definitely taught me a lot. They’ve shown me different strategies for dealing with situations before rushing in and shouting; it’s about taking a step back and thinking about the reason why things are happening.”

Angela Dobson, a parent of students in Years 7 & 9, was keen to learn more about communication techniques and feels the sessions would prove useful to anyone who is a parent or carer. Angela said: “I wanted to learn ways of tackling challenging behaviour and communicating in a way that works as my daughters go through their teenage years. The memories of yourself as a teenager are very different to the experience of parenting one.

“It can be difficult to know why your teenager is behaving in the way they do; is it because of hormones or changes in their environment or school? I particularly noticed a huge change in my daughter from primary to secondary school. The course has helped me to understand why that was; a lot of it’s down to chemical changes for a teenager and how their brain functions. It’s not necessarily anything you do or they’re doing.

“I would definitely recommend these sessions to anyone, not only to learn more about your teen and how to parent them, but also to speak to other parents that are going through the same or similar situations; it’s a really good support network!”