Get connected with your teen with local program

Story by Stacie Gaetz


Photos by iStock

The Thumbs Up Foundation (TUF) and Peer Mediation and Skills Training (PMAST) have partnered together to help connect parents and their teens in a meaningful way.

The Connected Families Program is designed for parents and caregivers of teens (12 years old and older) to put the fun back in family and enjoy improved family dynamics for years to come.

“The program is designed to have both parents and youth in the room to work together,” says Kim Titus, director of the TUF.

“We loved the concept and the program as it is designed to connect families through teaching better communication skills.”

TUF is an Airdrie organization that is advocating to improve access to mental health care.

The Connected Families program will run Oct. 2 to Dec. 2 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. The program will start as an online course and organizers hope to change it to an in-person format when possible.

“Research shows that the ability for families to effectively manage conflict creates better relationships and benefits mental health,” says Brenda Christie, president and founding member of PMAST.

“Through TUF’s previous experience, they recognize the value of PMAST’s programs in helping people of all ages deal with issues that if left unattended, can become overwhelming with negative outcomes.”

Christie goes on to say Connected Families is designed to help participants handle issues together before they become overwhelming, which is crucial to building strong and resilient relationships.

The program will include conflict management training designed to allow participants to discuss what conflict is, while exploring issues such as power, gender differences in perspective, the root cause of conflict and practical skills to help families listen to one another and learn to resolve problems together.

“Do you ever feel like your family isn’t listening to you or to one another?” asks Christie.

“How do you resolve conflict in your family – is it the fight or flight method, or do you just suck it up and move on without really resolving any issues. Do these issues keep recurring? Come and bring your family and learn how to deal with these issues and create a respectful communication style which will lessen the stress for your whole family and have fun while doing it.”

She adds that raising teens today is very different than in the past.

“They are constantly inundated with so many thoughts and ideas, good and bad, and technology brings it all into their world like never before,” Christie says.

“It is confusing and difficult for the teens and also for the parents to try and guide them through a maze for which they have little knowledge and is totally unfamiliar to them. The stress this causes to all parties can easily become overwhelming if they don’t find a way around it – a way that works for the whole family.”

Registration for the free program is open until Oct. 1 and limited to 10 families. To learn more or register, click here.