I was delighted with our extremely positive feedback following this event, which was attended by 75 people, mostly parents. The average score for our speaker, Suzie Hayman, was an overwhelming 4.97 out of 5 from 68 forms! Congratulations and a big thank you to Suzie for her informal, practical style and huge knowledge and experience.
I was struck by how engaged people were, listening to Suzie’s pearls of wisdom and experience during her presentation which covered a range of topics including:
- understanding this transitional stage of change and loss both for your child and for you;
- how to listen and talk with your teenager using “I” statements and open questions;
- brain changes which helps us to understand teens’ behaviour
- top tips such as:
* understand this is a transition from child to apprentice adult; your teen needs to separate. You are no longer their boss!
* Your task is to help them live their lives, not yours
* Show you care, are prepared to set some limits but trust them and don’t try to control them
* Don’t take it personally, but look at what is going on for you. Look after yourself
The second half of the seminar was dedicated to questions, answers and discussion, and we were lucky enough to have four St John’s 6th formers present who were willing and brave enough to offer their own perspectives. It was evident from the feedback forms how much the audience appreciated and valued their comments; and how confident and eloquent they were. When asked what they wanted from their parents, their comments included:
- support but also “space” to discover their own identity (not a version of their parents)
- help to think things through for themselves, rather than being told what to do/think
- less pressure, as there is already a lot of pressure within school
- to continue to be told “I’m here if you want to talk” which they will remember and be comforted by (even if they don’t want to talk right now!)
- less shouting; can we talk calmly and more objectively (less emotionally)?
Parents also wanted to know how to manage their teenagers’ use of digital devices; how to talk to their teens about sex and pornography; step-families; and how to manage when other families have different rules from their own.
Suzie encouraged us to try to feel more comfortable discussing sex with our children. Additionally, she suggested, we may consider lobbying our schools to put on educational sessions about “relationships, love and sex”, which focusses on the emotional side of sex within the context of relationship, rather than the biology of sex, as well as the dangers of learning about sex through pornography.
The general atmosphere was supportive and collaborative. I think many of us were reassured that we are not alone; that parenting is challenging but that there is hope, and there are tools and tips! There was a general consensus that people wanted more! A number of people expressed interest in further seminars in smaller groups, which we will be happy to consider.
Thank you to all attendees for making it a constructive event, and for your generous feedback. A summary of the feedback is below. Additionally I wish to thank:
- Sally Bere from St Johns
- the four 6th formers (Abi, Dulcie, Steffie and Sabrina), and their teacher Tom Nicholls
- my colleagues and helpers: Michael Garreffa, Briony Martin, Jo Turner and Debbie Chapman,
26 October 2016
Written Feedback following our event
From 67 feedback forms, the average scores are as follows:
- “Speaker of the seminar”: 4.97 out of 5
- “Helpfulness with parenting skills and tips”: 4.82 out of 5
- “Overall assessment of event”: 4.69 out of 5
A selection of written comments:
“Everyone should hear this talk!”
“Very informative, helpful, producing good open discussions”
“It has been fantastic to involve 6 formers – thank you”
“I wish the session could have lasted longer!
“Teens were great, more of this!”
“Incredibly helpful with understanding problems and having a toolbox for constructive coping”
“Thought-provoking event, challenged my comfort zone of parenting! Excellent.”
“Very useful perspective on key issues”
“Extremely worthwhile. Thank you”
“Really insightful – could have been twice as long”
“Suzie was brilliant. Huge thanks”
“Excellent – so useful”
“Fabulous, very helpful, thank you”
“Excellent presentation and discussion session, found it extremely informative, thank you”
“1 minute timer for talking and listening – great tip, I will use”