Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Talk is not just a four-letter word

So often, parents and teens don’t know how to talk to each other. Simple discussions quickly turn into arguments and confrontations.

Dialogue Night has been scheduled at Eastwood High School Thursday night in an attempt to change that.

Dialogue Night is an activity funded by the Reducing Alcohol Abuse in Secondary Schools (RAASS) grant from the Wood County Educational Service Center. It will be offered at schools throughout the county to teach parents and teens how to talk and listen to each other about a variety of subjects in a calm, respectful manner.

During Dialogue Nights, parents and their children are separated into different groups so they each have the opportunity to speak freely about the subjects. Each group has both a youth and adult facilitator to ensure all parties feel listened to and their opinions are valued, not challenged.

Topics are chosen by teens from the high school, as well as by adults from the community, and cover a wide range of current subjects. It is the goal of Dialogue Night that a conversational comfort level will be reached and parents and teens will consequently be more inclined to talk together in the future.

“There are no winners or losers,” said Debbie Marinik, the community organizer for the Reducing Alcohol Abuse in Secondary Schools (RAASS) grant through the Wood County Educational Service Center. It’s not about one person’s opinion being better than another persons’. It’s about being heard and leaving Dialogue Night feeling that their opinions have been valued.”

“One of the things we know is that parent opinion is very important to teens when they are making decisions that can effect their whole lives,” she continued. “Yet so frequently, teens and their parents have a very difficult time trying to broach important topics without pushing each others buttons and starting a major disagreement.

Dialogue Night will be held in the Eastwood High School library from 7 to 9 p.m.

Additional dialogue nights have been scheduled for:
• Dec. 3, from 7 to 9 p.m. at Perrysburg High School, in the commons area
• Dec. 8, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Rossford Recreation Center, 400 Dixie Hwy.

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