When parents of small children hear about kids who have problems with alcohol, drugs, smoking, unsafe sexual practices, cutting or gambling, they tend to think something along the lines of “Wow, I’m so glad I don’t have to worry about that stuff YET. My kid is only in a) day care b) kindergarten c) 5th grade. I’ve got YEARS before I need to think about it.” They are wrong. Decades of research on risk and protective factors underscore the importance of the things we do with our kids when they are small. What do I mean by that? Not necessarily discussing the nitty gritty details of prescription drug abuse, binge drinking or condom use on the way home from the playground (though if you are waiting until they are 12, it’s too late). I mean understanding what factors put kids at risk and what we can do to make them more resilient. Learn strategies to teach them self-control, problem-solving and decision-making. Teach them how to speak up for themselves. Help them practice active coping skills. Next: Give them information about these things in small, steady, age-appropriate ways from the time they are old enough to appreciate your family values – do you have a glass of wine with dinner? Does Grandpa like a glass of scotch in the evening? Does anyone you know smoke? Avoid – at all costs – lecturing them in one single Talk (which usually comes well after they have (mis)educated themselves with schoolyard theories and Google). You can see here for one example of how we can turn this kind of conversation into a less awkward, more practical everyday affair. Want to know more? Come join us tomorrow to hear the how’s, where’s and why’s of these strategies in a talk at the YM-YWHA tomorrow evening, November 12th at 7:30 p.m. 5400 Westbury Ave. (corner Cote Ste. Catherine). Register: 514-737-6551 ext. 258 or firstname.lastname@example.org
risk(within)reason – Alissa Sklar, Ph.D.
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"What a crucial conversation, and what a talented speaker! Dr. Alissa Sklar’s presentation to Akiva School’s parent body was full of clear, relevant, down-to-earth facts presented in a highly engaging manner. No jargon, no scare tactics – just solid information and excellent advice. A no-risk program for parents."
-Frances (Cooki) Levy, Head of The Akiva School ("The Power of Positive Parenting: Preventing Risky Behaviors for All Ages")
"Alissa is the consummate professional and speaks with great authority. We hope she will be one of our feature speakers at many future workshops."
Kelly Wilton, editor and co-publisher of Montreal Families Magazine
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