Parent Project classes held at TEEG

By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Regional - posted Mon., Jan. 28, 2013

Ten parents sat around a conference table at the Thompson Ecumenical Empowerment Group headquarters in Thompson on Jan. 23. Their children ranged in age from 2 to 15 years old, but it was their adolescents and teens that brought them to the Parent Project meeting. The program was developed for parents raising difficult or out-of-control children. 

According to Kelly Scaplen, the School-Based Services manager at United Services and a Parent Project certified trainer, the program gives parents a new way of thinking. “It's a skills building program designed to give parents tools and techniques to try with their children. Where people see the most difference is in the relationships they have with their child,” she said. “It really builds relationships and everything else falls into place.”

Targeted behaviors can range from running away from home to substance abuse, poor school performance to physical violence. Parents come to the program with different goals in mind. One woman said she wanted to learn how to be patient. Another wanted to help her teen stop hanging with the “wrong crowd.” One man said he wanted skills to make him a better parent. Another said keeping an open line of communication with her teen was driving her. “The course is developed around love and affection,” she said.

The 10-week course gives parents and caregivers no-nonsense solutions and step-by-step action plans for preventing or intervening in their child’s negative choices. “The more excuses we offer, the less effective we become,” Scaplen said. “There is no quick fix. It's about changing behaviors, not personality.”

TEEG's Youth Programs Manager Trinice Holden, who is the mother of a 10- and 12-year-old, said parenting was one of the most difficult things a person could do. “It took me a long time to figure out parenting,” she said. “I think it does take a village to raise a child.”

The 10-week course is offered four times a year by United Services, with locations of classes rotating from Willimantic to Wauregan to Thompson. For more information contact Kelly Scaplen at 860-564-6100.

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