On a Tuesday night in October, in an auditorium filled to capacity at the Nightingale-Bamford School, parents viewed “Out of Reach,” a documentary film about prescription drug use among adolescents. Cyrus Stowe, a 17 year-old high school student and filmmaker from Dallas, Texas, produced the 22-minute feature in collaboration with director Tucker Capps (of A&E’s Intervention) and Partnership for Drug Free Kids Medicine Abuse Project.
“When you pictured having a family, what did that look like? Who was your child going to be to you, and for you?” So began the interactive presentation by Andrea Spiritos, a psychotherapist specializing in young adulthood and parenting. Her workshop, “Parenting with an Open Heart” on October 23rd, was attended by PIA school reps, facilitators and their guests. The workshop focused on the ways parents can communicate openly and honestly with their children, listen without judgment and allow their children to develop into adults who are comfortable in their own skin.
Parents have a lot more power than they may realize to prevent teens from sliding into substance abuse. That was the strong message a sell-out crowd at the Harmonie Club heard on the evening of November 12, when Joseph A. Califano, Jr., headlined a panel discussion on “How to Raise a Drug Free Kid: The Straight Dope for Parents,” which is also the title of Califano’s recently updated book.
Califano, who served as United States Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare during the Carter administration, is a founder of the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA), which co-sponsored the event with Parents in Action. Serving on the panel with Califano were Drs. Joe Woolston and Claudia Califano, both of the Yale Child Study Center, and Dr. Herbert Kleber, director of the Division of Substance Abuse at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. Dr. Sam Ball, the newly elected president of CASA and a professor of psychiatry at Yale, moderated the discussion.
Robin Berman, MD, Wows Audience with Wit and Wisdom – Fall Benefit 2014
By Melanie Wells
“Hate Me Now, Thank Me Later” - Dr. Robin Berman’s UK book title - succinctly captures the message and tone of her very entertaining presentation to a delighted audience at the NYC-Parents in Action Fall Benefit on November 13.
Deceptively comedic, Dr. Berman’s energetic style (and the frequent laughs it drew) actually delivered substantive data and some profound food for thought on what goes into successfully guiding children to confident maturity. In one of her many lively and accessible axioms, Dr. Berman advised parents: “Be an emotional grown-up. You don’t want your children to be so aware of your needs that they have to swallow their own.”
Dr. Berman’s message begins with the parent, not the child. She stressed again and again that parents must sit in the driver’s seat. Quoting children (whose voices are not always included with expert advice) Dr. Berman offered excerpts of interviews with kids who turned out to be strong advocates for her message. According to one: “They [parents] say don’t yell but they yell, they say don’t lie and they lie. It’s not kids who have to change, it’s the parents.” Kids need a parent firmly in charge, says Berman, but that’s not the whole story.
Some of the almost 200 fathers who came to the auditorium of the Hewitt School on the second Monday of March did so because their wives told them to come, others came of their own volition. Everyone in the standing room only crowd who attended this year’s NYC - Parents in Action’s signature Fathers Only event, stayed to see excerpts of the Academy Award nominated film Boyhood and hear a panel discussion moderated by George Davison, Head of Grace Church School. The evening, hosted by PIA Board member Chris Theodoros, proved that indeed, Fathers Matter, the aptly titled book by author and panelist Paul Raeburn. Along with Dr. Jonathan Cohen, a child and adolescent psychologist at the National School Climate Center, and John Sloss a producer of Boyhood, the panel proved that fathers are among a child’s most valuable asset.
Foodfight.org Founder Offers a Brief Lesson in "Food Literacy"
By Melanie Wells
You care deeply about your child’s nutrition. You’ve read the rising – and frightening - statistics on the overweight/obesity/diabetes epidemic surging in America. You don’t want your child to join those statistics. So you read labels. You limit sugary treats. You search for a nutritional regimen to protect your child.
But is that enough? According to Deborah Lewison-Grant, Ph.D., founder of FoodFight.org, this fight is way bigger than saying no to an extra can of Coca Cola. It’s about redefining our relationship with food, and even more importantly, with Big Food.
At the April School PIA School Rep Luncheon, the audience got an eye-opening look at the forces underlying our current overweight/obesity/diabetes epidemic, and learned that guiding children on a path to healthful eating is not as simple as just counting calories.
Six weeks ago Faye de Muyshondt’s second child, Oliver, was born; six years ago she gave birth to socialsklz:-). Before Oliver came marriage and a baby daughter; with socialsklz:-) came books, a website, workshops, and a unique way of giving young people the social interaction and communication, or “life,” skills they may lack. On the second Monday of May, Ms. de Muyshondt spoke at Parents in Action’s annual Mother’s Day lunch. Social skills, dubbed by a CASEL study “the missing piece in American education,” are what de Muyshondt calls essential “skills to use every day” and the foundation for “every single thing we do.” She believes they build self- esteem and confidence, affect our life drastically and are vital to success in today’s fast paced, technological world.