By LAURA KOSS
Teens can deplete medicine cabinets just a pill or two at a time. To parents, it often goes unnoticed, much like the booze-filled water bottles and fruit smoothies kids might be drinking.
Teens drive around with friends stuffed in the trunks of their cars to bypass a law that limits the number of passengers they’re allowed to have in their cars. Its called “trunking.”
And as if texting secrecy doesn’t worry parents enough, now “sexting” is making life miserable for teenage girls who send nude photos via camera phone to their boyfriends. After the breakup, everyone gets a copy. Then they end up on the Internet. And stay there.
These pitfalls of teenage life have parents scrambling for ways to help their vulnerable kids navigate away from potential risks. Problem is, many parents just dont know what where to turn for guidance.
To help, Karen Lloyd, parent of two teenage sons and chairperson of the Shrewsbury Alliance, helped organize a panel of area professionals for an “evening of frank discussion on the most important and enigmatic people in your life your teenagers.”
The event is free and all parents are invited to attend, whether or not they live in the school district.
Last years success prompted new additions to this year’s agenda, which organizers hope will draw an even bigger crowd than last years turnout of around 150 parents.
While keeping with the same key topics, this year’s edition will offer a bilingual Latino session running simultaneously for the length of the event in the school auditorium.
Also new this year is a breakout session to address issues particular to African-American teens.
Panelists professionals from a mix of disciplines including law enforcement, mental health and social work will give a brief 10-minute overview of each topic before splitting the audience up by topic for 45-minute breakout sessions. Parents are free to float between sessions.
“Most parents have the same questions,” Lloyd says. “You see a bunch of other parents out there who feel the same way and dont know what to do.”
Parents set the values for their kids and they want to do the right thing, she says. But they cant expect to know everything.
“You never know how strict you should be, or how lenient,” she says. But “its OK to say ‘no,’ and its OK to be the parent.”
“The only thing more difficult than being a teenager is parenting one,” she says.
Teens and Driving
Teens and the Internet / Digital Technology
Trends in Adolescent Behavior
Trends in Substance Abuse
Transition to High School and College
Boys to Men in the 21st Century
The scheduled panelists are:
Patrolman Peter Gibson, school resource officer (RBR)
Lenore Kingsmore, director of student personnel services (RBR)
Stacy Liss, psychotherapist, and the SOURCE clinical supervisor
Sean Macon, social worker, the SOURCE (RBR)
Marison Mondaca, bilingual clinician, the SOURCE (RBR)
Maritza Rodriguez, guidance counselor (RBR)
Gilda Rogers, program director, the SOURCE (RBR)
Juan Sardo, Criminal Investigator Red Bank Borough Police Dept.
Detective Richard Shin, Monmouth Co. prosecutors office, computer crimes unit
Jonathan Sims, Jr., NJ Dept. of Children and Families
John Soper, MA, LPC, Integrated Care Concepts & Consultation, LLC
Lori Todd, student assistance counselor (RBR)