To help parents keep their skills sharp, the Lebanon Special School District's Family Resource Center has come up with a new workshop, the "Parent Sanity Academy."
“Anytime we host something new, we think about what to name our new workshop. With all the chaos associated with parenting, it is hard to keep our sanity, so we decided to address some of the issues that parents share as common ground areas of stress,” said coordinator Beth Petty.
Petty said with a recent school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., everyone her organization talks to is concerned with safety. To address that, Sgt. Scott Moore with the Wilson County Sheriff’s Department will be the first speaker. Moore is supervisor of the School Resource Officer program and will talk about the addition of new SROs at elementary schools in both the city and county schools. Moore will also talk about how parents can do their part to keep their children safe at school and at home.
“Wilson County is among the first to have an SRO in every school. We are very proud that our community joins us in pro-actively addressing this need,” said Sheriff Robert Bryan.
Self-esteem is another hot topic that can also tie in to school safety. Lebanon Officer P J Hardy will be the second speaker, addressing ways parents can increase their children’s self-esteem.
Children who have positive experiences in extracurricular activities get caught up in success cycles that lead to future positive experiences. Hardy will talk to parents about the LPD Adult and Youth Police Academies he supervises, Petty said.
Discipline is an ever-present source of stress for parents. Most parents fall into one of two categories – either the "doormat" - a parent who allows their child to “do their own thing” most of the time, or the "dictator" - a parent who has absolute control.
Retired LSSD school counselor, Nancy Guethlein, will facilitate a video format presentation of Active Parenting. First, parents will identify with their style of parenting, then get tips on how to work with their child and learn to parent in the “active” style, which represents freedom within limits. Parents will learn to become better communicators. They will also learn about polite requests, “I” messages, firm directions and logical and natural consequences. Petty said self-esteem comes in to play as parents discipline and involving children in establishing proper consequences can often lead to good behavior on the front end.
Finally, parent sanity can seem like an elusive or unobtainable dream when it comes to finances.
“Some of our families have lost one income, a few have lost both. Parents are re-entering continued education programs to obtain better jobs. Money is tight and tensions can run high. That can lead to conflict in the home,” said Petty.
Amy Adsmond, LSSD School Age Child Care Wee Care worker, will present the final segment of the day’s topics addressing financial conflicts, and ways to more than make ends meet.
“Amy recently conducted a coupon lesson for our Basic Financial Training Workshop. We had more than 20 people attend, and everyone was very excited to start their coupon adventure,” Petty said. "She talked about how to use more than one coupon at a time, and even shared how she has obtained products absolutely free. Learning to coupon to work within her family’s budget, she estimates that she saves up to $8,000 per year in her grocery, toiletry and cleaning supplies budget."
Petty said she was telling her family about the Parent Sanity Academy, and her son was a bit skeptical.
“My son said four hours of workshop sounded more like insanity to him,” Petty said.
With that in mind, attendees will have several breaks during the academy. After the first hour, there will be coffee and muffins and mid-way through, attendees will take a pizza break. At the end of the event, attendees who commit to the four hour academy will receive a $10 gift card to be used as they start to coupon.
The workshop will be Feb. 23 from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. at Castle Heights Elementary School. The workshop, materials and refreshments are free. Free childcare will also be provided.
The Parent Sanity Academy is free to anyone in Wilson or surrounding counties. LSSD teachers may attend to receive in-service credit. Childcare workers may attend to receive state credit. Foster parents and any parent needing court appointed hours of credit are also encouraged to attend.
To RSVP, call Petty at 615-453-2693 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.