There is a huge shift in brain development as kids become teenagers. It can be a difficult time for parents as they try to find different ways to communicate and to shift from giving hands-on care to becoming more of a guide. The Boys and Girls Club tries to ease that transition.
A common concern with parents is around technology.
“Parents are pioneers in raising children in this digital world,” says program facilitator Miriam Miller. “There are a lot of questions. People are trying to figure out their own value systems as adults with their own technology, let alone role modelling what they would like to see in their preteens or teens.”
The Boys and Girls Club, aiming to help parents with some of those questions, brings their Parents in the Know program back to Oak Bay. The eight-week program involves education and group support and runs every Thursday night from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. starting the second week of January.
“It sounds like a big time commitment for people at the outset, but there is so much information and once people get going there is quite a close-knit community that is formed within the group,” says Miller.
In the education portion, the program facilitator will share cutting-edge, evidence-based research on topics like adolescent brain development, the relationship bond, communication methods, technology, behavioural issues, boundary setting, and more.
In the group support portion, people can share as little or as much as they want. Most parents are really open about what’s going on in their homes which creates an instant bond among the parents. But there are also parents that don’t want to share that much, they are more interested in the parent education portion, and they feel just as comfortable. Post-program surveys show that 98 per cent of participants in the program are satisfied with the program and would recommend the program to other parents.
“We have an amazing focus on empowering youth and empowering families in a non-judgmental approach, where people feel really accepted and cared for,” says Miller.
The Boys and Girls Club has been operating in B.C. for over 50 years and they offer programs for children, youth, and parents. All of the programs are open to any socio-economic groups. They also offer subsidies for the membership fees.
They offer three parenting programs. There is an ongoing support program that runs all year round called Parents Together, which is every Tuesday night and is based out of the Esquimalt headquarters. Parents in the Know, the program coming up in Oak Bay, is for parents of teenagers and runs periodically in neighbourhoods around Victoria. Parenting Without Power Struggles is a program for parents of preteens.