Being a teenager is often far from easy. You may remember it as a time when your hormones were raging, your body was changing, and your self-esteem was at an all-time low. For many teens, both home and school can feel like warzones as they struggle for independence and try to fit in with their peers.
But being the parent of a teenager is just as challenging. Even if you think that your child is keeping you in the loop, chances are that he or she is dealing with some pretty serious issues and experiences that you don't even know about.
If you want to make sure that your teenager is safe, healthy and happy, staying informed and involved in his or her life is essential. The Parent to Parent Network of Northeast Ohio formed in 2005 for just this reason [source: P2PN]. When several teenagers in Ohio's Westlake community lost their lives as a result of alcohol and drug abuse and mental illness, a group of parents and volunteers joined forces to prevent more young lives from being lost. Today, the Parent to Parent Network works with 20 communities in three counties to communicate, educate and network with parents about the difficult issues that school-age children face [source: Youth4Youth].
The Parent to Parent Network offers a wide variety of resources, events, programs and information to help both parents and their children navigate through the challenges of elementary school, middle school, high school and beyond. It addresses everything from bullying and peer pressure to dating and social networking. To learn more about how you can use the Parent to Parent Network to help you and your family, read on to the next page.
The Parent to Parent Network emphasizes the importance of parent education. Not only do parents play a huge role in the growth and development of their child, but they also act as their child's first role models. In fact, even when your child acts like he or she hates you (and tells you that over and over again), you probably still have an influence on shaping his or her decisions and behavior. The goal of the Parent to Parent Network is to give parents the information and tools they need to help their children make positive choices [source: P2PN].
If you visit the Parent to Parent Network's Web site, www.parent2parentnetwork.org, there's a wide variety of information and resources for parents and children. The Risk Resource Guide, for example, provides a list of local and national organizations that offer information and support on various issues facing children from kindergarten through college. These organizations specialize in everything from substance abuse to anger management. In addition, the guide has links to information on specific issues and problems confronting children, such as sex, steroid use, school pressure and self-mutilation [source: P2PN].
Throughout the year, the Parent to Parent Network also hosts various events in Ohio for children and parents. Each event focuses on a different topic or issue pertinent to school-age children and includes speeches and discussions with professionals in the community. Topics range from surviving the teen years to tips and strategies for parents of disabled children, and you can learn about upcoming events on www.parent2parentnetwork.org [source: P2PN]. Many, though not all, of these events are free.
Now that you know what the Parent to Parent Network has to offer, read on to learn about the potential benefits of using it.
Benefits of parent2parentnetwork.org
The goal of the Parent to Parent Network is to help build healthy and safe communities by fostering relationships between parents, children, professionals and other organizations. The main benefit it offers is providing parents and children with quick access to a wide variety of information, resources and support via its Web site and events.
But the Parent to Parent Network is more than just a resource database. Volunteers use it to help to connect schools, organizations and professionals who are qualified to work with relevant issues, so they can expand their efforts in educating parents on dangerous youth behaviors. The Parent to Parent Network also helps communities to establish their own local parenting networks and partners with other Ohio-based parenting organizations to help them expand their reach [source: P2PN]. The Parent to Parent Network provides its affiliates with educational resources, Web support, grant writing and programming resources so that these organizations can reach other parents and children in crisis [source: P2PN].
Through its efforts, the Parent to Parent Network is helping families and communities come together to develop strategies for addressing the tough issues confronting teens. Their resources on www.parent2parentnetwork.org can help to get the conversation going -- between parents and their kids and in the community at large, too. For more information on parent-to-parent networks and their Web sites, check out the links on the following page.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- Parent to Parent Network. "About Us." (Accessed 12/28/09)http://www.parent2parentnetwork.org/aboutus.htm
- Parent to Parent Network. "For Parents." (Accessed 12/28/09)http://www.parent2parentnetwork.org/forparents.htm
- Parent to Parent Network. "How We Work." (Accessed 12/28/09)http://www.parent2parentnetwork.org/HowWeWork.html
- Parent to Parent Network. "Mission Statement/Vision Statement." (Accessed 12/28/09)http://www.parent2parentnetwork.org/missionvision.htm
- Parent to Parent Network. "Risk Resource Guide." (Accessed 12/28/09)http://www.parent2parentnetwork.org/riskresourceguide.htm
- Parent to Parent Network. "What We Offer?" (Accessed 12/28/09)http://www.parent2parentnetwork.org/WhatOffer.html
- Youth4Youth. "Director's Corner." Youth4Youth May 2009. (Accessed 12/28/09)http://www.youth4youth.org/Newsletter.pdf