Many parents feel alone, isolated, and frustrated by the very systems of support designed to help them. Caring for children labeled as “problems” rather than people, these families have precious few resources available to them.
G.E.A.R. Parent Network, a program of Crisis & Counseling Centers, will host two free presentations by Dr. Ross Greene, a well-known educator and author who has devoted his life to helping children and teens with behavioral challenges. Greene is the celebrated author of “The Explosive Child” and “Lost at School,” has appeared on nationally syndicated television shows like Oprah and Dateline, and founded a nonprofit organization, Lives in the Balance (www.livesinthebalance.org), providing web-based resources to parents, educators and other caregivers of children with social emotional and behavioral challenges.
“Like most parents, the changing of the seasons reminds me how little time we have with our children,” said Carol Tiernan, G.E.A.R. Parent Network Director. “As we walk them to the bus for their first day of school, I think it’s natural to hope we have done all that we can to prepare them for the challenges that lie ahead.”
“I want parents to know that we’re in this together and there are resources available to them,” Tiernan said of the free presentations being held in Fairfield on Sept. 25 and South Portland on Oct. 19. G.E.A.R. hosts free monthly support groups, workshops and a toll-free phone line for parents of children with behavioral health needs.
Dr. Greene emphasizes that “kids do well if they can” and that challenging behavior is due to lagging skills, not lack of motivation or poor parenting techniques. “We help parents and kids solve issues collaboratively and proactively since research has shown that many children don’t respond especially well when we try to exclude them or work unilaterally or emergently.
The two presentations will teach parents how to problem solve collaboratively “Maine is particularly receptive to our message,” Greene said. “There are numerous schools throughout the state that have been implementing my model, impressive reductions in discipline referrals, detentions, and suspensions. And the model played a meaningful role in help to improve care in the state’s two juvenile detention facilities, where the lower recidivism rate has become a national example.
“We are fortunate to live in a state that is an example to the rest of the nation,” agreed Tiernan. “But there’s still a lot of work to be done. Families are the bedrock of our culture and it’s important that we recognize the vital part they play in shaping the world of tomorrow.”
Dr. Ross Greene will present from 6 to 8:30 p.m on Sept. 25, at the Williamson Auditorium in Fairfield, and from 9 a.m. to noon on Oct. 19, at the South Portland Community Center. Both presentations are free and open to the public. If you are interested in attending you are encouraged to register online by visiting the G.E.A.R. website (www.gearparentnetwork.com) or by calling the program toll-free number 1.800.264.9224.