October 4, 2008 in Voices

Project teaches parenting skills

Learning to understand teens first key point
By The Spokesman-Review

At a glance

Parent Project parenting skills program, 6-9 p.m. Thursdays beginning Oct. 9 at First Presbyterian Church, 521 Lakeside Ave., Coeur d’Alene; cost is $22.50 for workbook.To register contact Kootenai County Juvenile Diversion, 446-1970

Presentation on drugs and gangs

Open to the public, date and time, to be determined.For information, call Kootenai County Juvenile Diversion, 446-1970

One mom told Kootenai County commissioners that the Parent Project saved her son’s life.

“She says we saved her son,” said Carolyn Peterson, one of four volunteers who teaches parenting classes through the county’s Juvenile Diversion program. “Really we didn’t. She did. We gave her some of the skills.”

Peterson over the past 17 years has taught for the Parent Project, which aims to help parents change “destructive adolescent behavior” and “raise difficult children in a difficult world.”

A 13-week class, geared for parents of children 12 and older, begins Thursday.

“When we got our wonderful children at the hospital, they didn’t come with a set of instructions, unfortunately,” Peterson said.

The first key to helping teens is understanding how they think, Peterson said, and how it’s different from how parents and adults think.

The classes address adolescent drug use, dealing with “out of control” friends, involvement in gangs and cults, intervention and prevention.

Peterson and others who teach the class will help parents develop personal action plans for dealing with their children.

“Every child is different,” she said. “It’s not one size fits all.”

As chairwoman for the district council for the Idaho Juvenile Justice Association, Peterson is involved in writing the group’s action plan for Idaho’s five northern counties. One goal is to increase the opportunities for parenting classes and to do a better job of connecting parents to those programs.

By December the group hopes to have an online database where parents can find the help they need.

In the meantime, parents can learn about classes through the county’s Juvenile Program, which Peterson oversees.

“It’s just real hard to raise kids when you have working parents and we’re all trying to make ends meet,” she said. “It isn’t like it was in our grandparents’ day when mom could stay home and take care of the children. We’re just trying to give some pieces to people for them to have a different structure.”

Reach Reporter Taryn Hecker at (509) 927-2150 or by e-mail at tarynh@spokesman.com.

Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email