Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Let’s Talk Month: Supporting Parents at Every Stage in the Journey

Credit: Child and Family Mental Health
It’s often easy to say should have, would have, could have, when talking about all types of issues.  But parenting is one area where, in many cases, everyone’s an expert – until they have the experience!  As the parent of a four year old, I realize that I am only beginning this journey, yet I feel like I have already had to deal with some very interesting experiences when it comes to guiding Landen in the ways of behavior and relationships.  One thing is for sure, starting early is any understatement.  Early on, especially during potty training, we had to explore the proper terms for his body parts which led to his most important work of art – the picture of the spider with a penis (see my blog on this episode!)  His friendships with a couple of female classmates have included kisses on the cheek and the tightest hugs ever.  Now, we do our best to not make a big deal about these very cute moments, but they are great teachable moments when we can talk age-appropriately about good touch/bad touch, respecting other peoples’ space and boundaries and respecting himself as a young man.  Deep stuff, right?  Well, it doesn't have to be heavy all of the time – we often talk about his future and how he will be a an adult one day who will have to continue being nice and helpful to others, especially those who he is really close to – like a girlfriend.

Let’s Talk Month has always been important to me as a professional because it emphasizes the importance of supporting and partnering with parents as it relates to preventing teen pregnancy and preparing young people for maturity in relationships.  Now, as a parent, I realize that campaigns like this are crucial in helping us get through every stage of this journey called parenting.  This process is not about teaching parents something they don’t know or judging their performance – rather it’s about SUPPORT. Although this does include education and guidance at the core of this campaign, it is the realization that we are all connected and everyone, not just parents, are impacted by young people’s growth and development within our communities.

I started working in teen pregnancy prevention in my early twenties, when my perspective was all about mentoring young people and providing resources for parents.  Over the past decade, I have grown tremendously as a professional, and I credit the experience of leading local public awareness campaigns such as Let’s Talk Month, with preparing me for this new journey:  parenting and helping develop a mature, respectful young man.

About Let’s Talk Month  
Let's Talk Month is lead by Advocates for Youth. Each October, groups across the nation, including the SC Campaign, promote effective communication between young people and the adults they trust, especially their parents. Let's Talk Month emphasizes the importance of a strong partnership between the community and families in helping young people develop responsible, positive, sexual health attitudes and behaviors.

by Kimberly Wicker, Outreach & Development Specialist, SC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy

No comments:

Post a Comment