S.T.E.P program introduces training for effective parenting

Hannah Kopek, Co-Editor-in-Chief

   Teens and parents are building stronger relationships in a workshop that seven weeklong course provides parents with tools to maintain a healthy relationship with their teenage children.
“S.T.E.P. is an acronym for the systematic training for effective parenting,” Josh Bloodgood, catalyst coordinator and social worker, said. “It’s a parenting program that’s been around for over twenty years.”
The twelve registered parents work with Bloodgood and other social workers within the district on skills they can use to better communicate.
“There’s a barrier that can be put up with miscommunication and with how parents perceive their kids’ behavior and how kids perceive their parents’ reactions,” Bloodgood said.
The program is open to parents who want to learn how to better relate to their children. Mendy Davey is a social worker at Drauden Point Middle School, who works along side Bloodgood in the program.
“It’s important because as middle schoolers, their brains aren’t fully developed,” Davey said. “It’s important for them to be able to seek out adult guidance.”
This year, the program has been opened in elementary schools as well. Anya Herlien, social worker at Creekside Elementary, is working with the parents of younger children, preparing them for the changes that will occur in their children’s lives in middle school and beyond.
“Parenting is a tough job,” Herlien said. “As a school social worker, I recognize the systemic factors that affect child development and how much these factors have changed over the years. Things such as an increase in two parent working households, homelessness, school anxiety, the influence of social media, etc.”
The workshop was funded by a grant from the Illinois State Board of Education.
“We applied for the grant for parent ed to provide a forum for parent education and a place for parents to share challenges and successes. Parents can learn not only from the curriculum but from one another,” Herlien said. “Our hope is to continue to provide this opportunity for our families. We feel it is a great way to partner with our parents, provide a forum for parenting discussions, and creating an environment of support for parents.”
New parents are welcome to join the meetings that are every Tuesday at 6p.m. at Plainfield High School through March 24. For more information, email Josh Bloodgood at [email protected].