HOPEWELL: Municipal alliance to host parenting conference later this month

Raising a happy, healthy and resilient child is the goal of all parents – but how does a parent do that, since children do not come with a handbook or instruction manual.

Parents, caregivers and guardians can start by attending the Hopewell Valley Parenting Conference, set for Jan. 20 from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Hopewell Valley Central High School – regardless of the age of the child, from toddler to teenager.

The conference features keynote speaker Matt Bellace, a motivational speaker who holds a doctorate in clinical psychology and whose topic is “Helping Kids Reduce Their Stress (and Ours) in the Pursuit of Success.”

The cost of the conference is $20 per person for those who register online at www.hvalliance.org by Jan. 12. After that date, only walk-in registrations will be accepted at a cost of $30 per person.

The goal of the conference is to celebrate parents, caregivers and others who are raising children while providing them with the tools necessary to raise happy, healthy and responsible children, said Heide Kahme, coordinator for the Hopewell Valley Municipal Alliance.

“I’m not sure parenting is more challenging these days,” Kahme said. “It’s more the approach parents are taking to parenting. Today, parents are very involved in their children’s lives.”

Parents have a choice of directing their children or guiding their children, Kahme said.

“Directing a child – perhaps down a path we feel is best for them – takes a lot more energy than simply guiding them down a path that truly interests and is intended for them,” she said.

To that end, the conference will offer assorted workshops – from “Parenting Children with Challenging Behaviors” to “Nurturing Your Child’s Potential,” “Trends in Adolescents” and “Beyond the ABCs and 1-2-3s: Strategies for Raising Resilient, Kind and Empathetic Kids.”

“Parenting Children with Challenging Behaviors” will explore different approaches to managing children who are experiencing emotional, behavioral or learning obstacles. It is geared toward parents of general education and special education students in grades pre-K to 8th grade.

The “Trends in Adolescents” workshop will focus on the current issues and trends that the panel of professionals observed among teenagers. The discussion will touch on social media, stress, anxiety, depression, electronic cigarettes and substance abuse.

On the flip side, attendees can gain some perspective into what teens are experiencing in the workshop entitled “A Student’s Perspective.” Hopewell Valley Central High School student panelists will share their perspectives on academic, social and personal experiences on drugs and alcohol, time management, mental health and teen sexual activity.

For more information or to register in advance, visit www.hvalliance.org.

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