Over the last few months I have been able to deliver several workshops to parents about their pre-teen and teenage children. The idea of the workshops was to hand back the power and expertise to the parents, to aid and empower them through some very dramatic years. Adolescent years are the most complex years of parenting yet there seems to less support than ever before. Some of the reasons for this is varied from lack of provisions to a more fragmented society. Parenting has always been a unified task and not individualised. We have always required lessons from those more knowledgeable than us, whether that was a professional or a parent/grandparent. If we are educated on how to feed babies why is there nothing available during the next major phase of our child’s development i.e. teenage years.
The workshops have been wholesome and rewarding, inviting people from different backgrounds, races, classes, faiths and communities. Parents have left feeling up lifted and supported. Some walk away with the knowledge, others seem more hopeful, some call out for additional support, other parents have realised they have their own healing to go through and are more aware of their fears and expectations. The workshops are not a magic wand with healing powers, but it does give the necessary developmental insights to parents and allows them to modify behaviours.
Although, I have facilitated the sessions, the parents take some control over the direction of the sessions, the session becomes a safe space to share and not to be judged, which for me is one of the most rewarding elements. I am delivering content and insights and the parent themselves are unravelling patterns and solutions throughout. Parents require support and knowledge, this isn’t a new phenomenon but something we have lost – so how do we reconcile this absence? The workshops are a method that feel beneficial and progressive to parents who are often preparing for teen years or going through turmoil with their child.
I have come from a varied background from working with vulnerable adults, families and children. Advocacy taught me how the greatest achievement is when someone feels empowered enough to feel capable of tackling issues life throws at them, and then knowing where to turn when necessary. One workshop I delivered focused on how we see to our overall needs as parents and I invited a reflexologist and an aromatherapist to talk about alternative treatments which parents could use, they learnt about pressure points on hands, oils for ailments or aids for stress relief. The session was well received and one I thoroughly enjoyed delivering, the session embodied a holistic and nurturing environment.
The workshops are a forum to aid change within families, and to provide an additional layer of provision. The road however has not been easy, I have battled hard on a variety of levels from parents being sensitive to stigma attached to needing support and attending the sessions, to local authorities wanting to provide the provision but struggling to resource the service.
The desire to see a more just and wholesome society continues.