A program to help parents communicate with their teenagers is coming back to Galt after a decade long hiatus.
The Parent Project is open to any parent of a student in the Galt Joint Union High School District, and addresses both everyday parent-child stressors and the unique ones created by the coronavirus pandemic.
District Director of Student Services Jason Lopez said that the subjects would be largely determined by what parents want to talk about. Those topics could include ways of empowering teens, communicating effectively and avoiding arguments, intervening in cases of alcohol or drug abuse, and resolving social media-related issues.
Registration is free of charge. The meetings will be held at the Liberty Ranch High School library, from 6:30 to 8 p.m., on every other Monday starting Sept. 27. Mental health counselors Kevin Brown and Carmen Carl will facilitate the discussion.
Free on-site childcare and Spanish interpretation will be available.
The service was last offered more than 10 years ago, but Lopez said the district has decided to bring it back, in partnership with Lodi-based One-Eighty Youth Programs, to help parents and students handle the impact of lockdown and the return to in-person education.
“Obviously, during the pandemic was great stress for not only parents but for students, of course,” Lopez said, “and a lot of social-emotional issues come out of being at home for the last 18 months.”
As students transition back into classrooms, some are confronting issues such as anxiety, depression and panic attacks, he added.
“And so there’s never been a greater time, a greater need for these kinds of services to be in our communities, in our schools.”
There are about 10 meetings scheduled through February, and the district will decide whether to continue them beyond that.
He hopes that parents will turn out for meetings and that the communication skills they learn will contribute to improved confidence and higher grades for students.
“They (parents) are not alone,” said Lopez, himself a parent of teenager. “It’s difficult to know what to say and how to address your teens at times. And just remember that we’ve all been teenagers before ourselves and sometimes we need just as much help and support as they do.”
To attend the meetings, fill out a registration form at https://forms.office.com/r/WY0kvsAXpp. Parents of students can find more information through their accounts on the ParentSquare platform.