SWAN program addresses how to handle teens and tweens

By Lisa Stone - ReminderNews
South Windsor - posted Wed., Aug. 14, 2013
Virginia Molleur of SWAN offers tips for parents of teens and 'tweens. Photo by Lisa Stone.
Virginia Molleur of SWAN offers tips for parents of teens and 'tweens. Photo by Lisa Stone.

South Windsor And Neighbors (S.W.A.N.) recently hosted a program for parents who are experiencing behavioral difficulties with their children between the ages of 13 and 18. The meetings were held at the South Windsor Community Center on Aug. 7, 14 and 21.

“The class is designed to explore the developmental stages of children,” said Virginia Molleur, the instructor of the classes. “Biology has a great deal to do with what is going on with children today. Girls have their own issues to deal with. The average age of a female’s first menstrual cycle is 9. That means that the hormonal changes start as early as 8,” said Molleur. “Males tend to get aggressive and defensive when called on for mistakes they make. Hormones play a big role in that as well.”

The object of the class is to make the parents aware that they don’t need to react so quickly. “Stay calm. Use your innate intelligence. You should act, not react. Be there when things go wrong, but allow the child to have more say in their life as they get older,” Molleur said. She feels that children are smarter than parents think. “The child knows when they are disappointing the parents and they strive to please them,” she said.

Molleur has been giving instructional classes for 11 years for the South Windsor Youth Services. She has watched families grow over the years and sees that the methods that she is teaching really do pay off.

The adult brain is not fully developed until 24 or 25 years old, Molleur said. This is one aspect that parents need to take into consideration when punishing the child for a mistake or bad behavior. “If a 16-year-old child comes in past their curfew, the real reason the parents get angry is that they are worried about the safety of their child. I recommend that the parents show the child that they are thankful that they are home safe and explain that they were worried about them,” said Molleur. “The in-depth conversation and punishment should wait until the next morning. That way, both the child and the parent are calmer and rested. The chance of saying something that you can’t take back diminishes with time. Then, the parent can reinforce the rules and give the punishment.”

For more information on this and other classes, call 860-648-6361, ext. 314 or e-mail Molleur at virginia.molleur@southwindsor.org.

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