New challenges or unexpected questions can cause many parents stress, worry or worse as they navigate how best to address their children’s needs. Moreover, those needs often come before their own, exacerbating the problem.

A new Parent Café aims to provide a solution. Launched in October 2019 by Strong Families/Strong Kids, a subcommittee of the Price County Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse (AODA)/Mental Health Coalition, Parent Café provides parents a support system.

Facilitated by Price County Extension Human Development and Relationships Educator, Libby Huber, Parent Café now meets monthly, on the second Tuesday, at the Park Falls Library from 5 - 6:30 p.m. According to Huber, “Kids generate lots of questions; they aren’t often known for providing answers. The café provides a relaxed environment where we recognize that every family situation is completely different. Therefore, there are no lectures on how people ‘should’ or ‘shouldn’t’ be parenting. Instead, participants share what works for them during a facilitated conversation, with an intent that suggestions might spark an idea for a strategy that could help someone else.”

Parent Café serves a wide audience. According to Michelle Schmidt, co-director of the Price County AODA/Mental Health Coalition, “In thinking about what makes kids and families strong, we wanted to acknowledge that strong communities are key. Parent Café embraces the idea that it takes a village to raise the next generation. Therefore, we invite participation from parents and grandparents in the throes of raising kids, and also caring adults without kids, especially in mentoring roles, who want to see our youth succeed. Anyone can be an ally. Our conversations focus on how we can all support one another.”

Through a series of questions posed in small groups, this conversation often focuses on resilience through tough situations, highlights the positive relationships and social connections guardians have as a source of their strength, and further builds communication skills and other tools employable as parents do their work.

To participate in the next Parent Café on Tuesday, Jan. 14, one need only show up. The Café will be held at the Park Falls City Hall on Jan. 14 due to construction at the library.

To learn more about Strong Families/Strong Kids, or about this or other initiatives, including Music in the Park, Flicks on the Flambeau, or the Hines Park Annual Cleanup, contact Schmidt at Flambeau Home Health and Hospice, 715-339-4371.

(Copyright © 2020 APG Media)

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