dribbble google rss

Resize Text

Zoom in Regular Zoom out

Our Residents

Talking to teens — honestly

Talking to teens — honestly

As the mother of two teens, Springfield Housing Authority resident Petra Manger knows all about the quieter forms of young people communicating with parents – things like eye rolls, shrugs, and silence in response to questions.

But now, thanks to a program called ‘Let’s Be Honest,’ Manger has a few tricks of her own.

“You know you have to talk to your kids, especially about the important things – the stuff they don’t always want to hear,” said Manger. “This gave us some concrete ways to do that.”

The seven-week program featured Thursday afternoon sessions with Brenda Reyes of the Education Department at Planned Parenthood of Springfield. In her visits, she shared strategies and practices to help break down barriers – and find new comfort levels – when raising people just off of childhood and on the brink of adulthood.

Brenda Reyes of Planned Parenthood of Springfield guides Robinson Gardens parents and grandparents through the sometimes murky waters of talking to their teens.

Brenda Reyes of Planned Parenthood of Springfield guides Robinson Gardens parents and grandparents through the sometimes murky waters of talking to their teens.

“With kids, it’s not always easy to talk about things like sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies,” Reyes said during one animated session. “But you have to tell your kids: Be safe. Bring your own condoms. Protect yourself.”

Reyes came to that session with an array of condoms, and instructions on their use. Parents and grandparents also heard over the course of two months ideas on promoting good values, communication strategies, puberty, anatomy, sexually transmitted diseases, HIV/AIDS, self-esteem and positive connections.

SHA facilitator Zenaida Burgos, who is parent engagement officer in the Talk/Read/Succeed! Family-based literacy program, said ‘Let’s Be Honest’ makes important and long-lasting connections between adults and their teens.

“The workshops were not only informative, they also gave the opportunity for the residents to learn so much about how their body works, and how to talk to their children about sex and their sexuality,” Burgos said.

“Ms. Reyes was able to foster an environment that was safe, and at the same time fun. This helps the residents to ask questions and feel empowered to have honest conversations regarding communicating with their children,” Burgos added.

Petra Manger has found ways to be open and honest with her two teenagers.

Petra Manger of SHA’s Robinson Gardens Apartments has found ways to be open and honest with her two teenagers.

To be sure, participants were very happy with the program, which is also delivered in Spanish. In the sessions at Robinson Gardens, located in the Pine Point section of the city, neighbors became friends, and friendships blossomed with shared stories and much laughter over content that was at times private and potentially embarrassing.

“It’s good stuff to know,” explained Elba Escalante, whose grandchildren are ages 17, 15 and 9. “We learned a lot of things about how to help our kids and grandkids. This has helped me a lot.”

Among lessons learned by her were how to talk to people when you’re angry, how to calm other people down in a conversation that is threatening to turn negative.

“I liked this. It was a very good class. It was fun,” Escalante added.

Annmarie Greene’s boys are 18, 16 and 13, and she said for certain that the program helped her family.

“This gave me more ways to talk to them about things they don’t always want to talk about,” Greene said. “How to behave with girls, how to behave in general. At their ages it’s so important that they really get the information, and from someone who cares about them.”

Ann Greene of Robinson Gardens Apartments said she has successfully used the communication tools that she learned at the 'Let's Be Honest' program.

Ann Greene of Robinson Gardens Apartments said she has successfully used the communication tools that she learned at the ‘Let’s Be Honest’ program.

Reyes said that point – that sensitive information should come from the home – is key to ‘Let’s Be Honest.’ And for many teens, it doesn’t happen that way.

“We try to create a climate where parents are comfortable talking about sexuality with their kids, so they become the primary educators,” Reyes said. “We want the information to come from the parents, and we know that kids want to hear the information from their parents.”

As far as this particular group went, Reyes summed things up nicely.

“I always have so much fun with them, and I never fail to learn something from them,” she said.

 

 

 

 

 

3227 days ago / Our Residents
Site by 816 New York