Be a Part of the Conversation understands the challenges of
parenting in today’s world.
This page features information about programs specifically for parents, grandparents, guardians and other caregivers. You’ll find recorded presentations and other supportive information.
You’ll find some of the presenters and panelists who have shared their expertise and experience at various programs listed below. Their contact information may be found by clicking on the “Learn More…” buttons.
Be a Part of the Conversation programs do not provide behavioral health advice and are for informational purposes only. Our programs are not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding substance use disorders or related family needs. Never disregard professional advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read or seen in any Be a Part of the Conversation program or video.
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Learn about Parent Partnership meetings taking place weekly throughout the region and on Zoom!
Parent Partnership engages parents, families and caregivers of those impacted by addiction through a network of support groups led by compassionate volunteers with lived experience. Weekly meetings provide access to expert resources and help navigating a healthier path forward for families.
For parents of adolescents and young adults:
“Healthy Boundaries, Healthy Family”
Many parents struggle with finding balance in their relationships with their kids. What does having healthy boundaries mean? We want to have a close connection, but are we trying to be their friend? We know we need to keep an eye on their behaviors, but are we invading their privacy?
This program helps us to prepare our children for healthy independence and tools for establishing and maintaining healthy boundaries with our kids.
Our special guest on March 7, 2023 was Lex Remillard, MSW, LCSW, a licensed therapist from Therapeutic Alliance who works with adolescents, young adults and their families. Also on are panel were Sarah Brooks, LPC from Downingtown Area School District, and Christine Dziembowski, MPH and Bethann Cinelli, D.Ed. from Communities that Care of Greater Downingtown.
Thank you to our Community Partners: Communities That Care of Greater Downingtown and the Downingtown Area School District.
This program was funded by the Chester County Department of Drug & Alcohol Services.
“Stress, Anxiety & Teens”
Stress and anxiety present challenges for many high school students. We are still learning the effects of the COVID pandemic on adolescent mental health. Join us to learn tools that will help you to support your kids as they manage stress, anxiety, and other challenges.
This program was hosted by the Hatboro-Horsham School District & funded by the Hatboro-Horsham Educational Foundation.
“Parenting On Your Feet”
What are the challenges you are facing as parents, caregivers and educators? We’ll provide tools for talking with teens that will lay the foundation for healthy behaviors.
Our presenters address risk and protective factors, changes in behavior and other warning signs, substances frequently used by teens and emerging adults, and more.
We often begin with a tour of our “Mock Teen Bedroom,” which helps adults to identify signs of substance use, and trends in the use of cannabis, vaping and alcohol that put kids at risk.
Together, we’ll develop helpful tools to support our youth!
> Drug use severity in adolescence affects substance use disorder risk in adulthood
> Early Warning Signs of Teen Substance Use (Hazeldon Betty Ford Foundation)
> Teen Drug Abuse: The warning signs. (American Addiction Centers)
> “Hi-Fi” High Fidelity Wraparound at Child and Family Focus
> Dextromethorphan (DXM) Fact Sheet
“Healthy Boundaries for Family Recovery”
When someone we love becomes addicted to drugs, alcohol or certain behaviors, parents and other family members can be impacted in profound ways. We often isolate, or become consumed by fear or frustration, no longer recognizing our life as we once knew it.
We’ll explore strategies for creating healthy boundaries that benefit the entire family, as well as gaining a deeper understanding of the impact of addiction, and the possibilities for family recovery.
Keys to Family Recovery
Many family members who love someone with a substance use disorder (addiction) have experienced pain, frustration, fear, or trauma. Isolation due to stigma and a feeling that no one understands can erode family well-being. This program explores family recovery and shares healthy strategies for healing.
Panels include Rick Shugart, MFT, along with family members who have been impacted by addiction.
Standing in the Storm:
“What Worked and What Didn’t Work” Handout from Bill:
Learn about Parent Partnership:
Q) What does a person’s life look like after several months in a sober house? Where do they go to start living independently?
A) In my personal experience, there is no one answer. Some grow. Some stagnate. Some relapse. But they are getting something out of it, especially if they want it. Time takes time and it’s different for everyone.
Beyond sober living, most go home or get an apartment with other sober people. The hope is they continue to stay sober in the less structured environment.
Q) What can family say or not to say to help the loved one with addiction issues?
A) In my personal experience, I’ve found that the family can be a help or a hindrance. We can trigger things. It’s best to talk about yourself rather than them. While they are getting sober, you should work on yourself. Lose the anger, lose the guilt, learn about addiction and recovery, then get vulnerable and share your experiences rather than ask them a ton of questions.
Q) My adult son with frequent relapse history has moved closer to hometown. He does not share much about his recovery process with me.
A) In my personal experience, that’s ok. This is his journey. Avoid becoming his therapist, his banker, his attorney, his sponsor, etc. Be mom. Be dad. Love him with patience but be consistent that you support recovery only – more in deeds than in words.
Q) How does a family recover when the person struggling with addiction is not in recovery?
A) In my personal experience, you focus on your own issues. Are you kind, but firm? Are you enabling? Are you focused on self-care and sharing time with other family members?
Q) What were the turning points for each of you in your own recovery, where you had an “epiphany”?
A) In my personal experience, my daughter was in rehab, my son was in rehab, my other son was out of control. I believed if I didn’t get sober and change the trajectory of our family, one of us would likely die. I was fifty. My father had gotten sober at age 60. I knew this was a family disease and felt I could help change it. I was not worried about appearances – I just didn’t want anyone to die and decided to do whatever it took, starting with getting myself sober.
Q) After years of recovery, how do you deal with communication about the past?
A) Well, in my personal experience, humility should be a goal of treatment – accepting that you have a disease, not a moral failing, and get through the shame you might be feeling. Yesterday is history. Let it go.
Q) Please talk about encouraging recovery in extended families. My brother’s substance use is hurting his daughter and grandchildren.
A) In my personal experience, that’s a hard subject. You’re now a third party and can be seen as butting in or interfering thereby putting your relationship at risk. You have to be careful. I would get professional help.
Q) How do you learn to balance when your help is not helping, but possibly hurting in the healing process for your child?
A) In my personal experience, this takes time and sharing with others who have been in similar situations is very helpful (parent groups, group therapy) or with a sponsor/therapist familiar with addiction. Some book can be helpful provided they explain their suggestions (e.g., tough love isn’t always helpful).
Q) How do you begin to re-build trust?
A) In my personal experience, time and experience are the only tools available to rebuild trust.
Q) How do I not feel like a failure and how do I reach out in love when they don’t want to be around you. Thanks
A) In my personal experience, giving love is never a failure. Be kind, considerate, non-judgmental, and loving, but resolute to only support recovery. You catch more flies with honey than vinegar, but don’t enable.
Q) How do you help a family member who doesn’t want help?
A) In my personal experience, the answer would take up an entire session. Your particular situation, the severity of their sickness, your relationship, their finances and ability to fend for themselves, all come into play.
Q) How do you have an honest discussion with a loved one about their addiction, especially if they’re functioning in an alternate reality?
A) In my personal experience, you can’t have an honest discussion when someone is in active addiction. When they get sober, they may still be irrational. But you can point out that they have lost things (including relationships), gotten into trouble, etc. as a result of their use. Maybe it’s time to stop.
Q) How to heal wounds and get past anger and restore trust?
A) In my personal experience, this takes time, forgiveness, compassion. It’s not easy and a slip of the tongue can set it back
Q) Is it okay not to tell everyone about our child’s situation? Is it more traumatic that we keep it inside?
A) In my personal experience, it’s ok for some and totally taboo for others. Their story is theirs. Don’t announce it wantonly. But your story is yours, and you are permitted to share it as you see fit. Just be discrete.
Q) What works at that key few days when you are trying to get the person to go to treatment?
A) In my personal experience, be ready to go as soon as they say yes.
Those interested in reading Under Our Roof might consider purchasing from a local independent bookstore such as Main Point Books. The title can also be found on Amazon for those who prefer Audiobooks and Kindle.
Madeleine and Harry also published a children’s book, You Are Always Loved: A Story of Hope.
Meet Our Presenters!
“Parents & Our Boundaries During a Pandemic”
Being a parent, grandparent, guardian or any kind of caregiver has its challenges. When we are concerned about substance use or addiction, the challenges are greater. And now that our world has been faced with an historic pandemic that requires isolation, either with our loved one, or further away from them, the challenges can be greater still.
This program helps us to recognize unhealthy patterns we may be experiencing with our child, whether they are living at home, or are grown and moved away. We explore opportunities to create healthy boundaries with our child that help parents to feel emotionally safe, and exhibit appropriate support for our child.
Lisa’s contact info:
> Silk Counseling Group
> Download a PDF of Lisa’s PowerPoint
Adam’s contact info:
ALush@caron.org / 610-655-5139
> Caron Treatment Centers
Adam recommends this webinar taking place next Tuesday, April 21, 2020 at 11 am:
Pam’s contact info:
Pam.firstname.lastname@example.org / 610-716-3613
Bill’s contact info:
email@example.com / 610-716-5608
> Standing in the Storm
Working collaboratively with treatment providers and therapists since 2006, Pam & Bill Roberts organized, attended and conducted a variety of meetings to support parents in dealing with this counter-intuitive disease. In 2013, Pam & Bill decided to write a series of manuals so parents could have a “program” of support to turn to between meetings, much like what is available to people with Substance Use Disorders through their various recovery programs. The resulting parent “program” is educational and supportive, but should not be viewed as a substitute for personal recovery. It should be complimentary to 12-Step programs (such as Al-Anon or Nar-Anon) or professional therapeutic help and intervention.
> Meeting Finder
The parent support group meetings that Pam mentioned take place in Rosemont every Wednesday, and in Phoenixville every Thursday. Details can be found on our meeting finder.
> Recommended Resource from Bill: Peggy L. Ferguson, PhD
Kim’s contact info:
firstname.lastname@example.org / 267-629-2214
Find virtual (online) meetings, phone meetings, Facebook Groups, and more.
> Online Programs
Be a Part of the Conversation is hosting weekly webinars, every Tuesday at 7pm. Visit the link to learn more and register.
Online meetings are taking place every Wednesday at 7pm. Visit the above link for the Zoom meeting ID.
>Podcasts for Parents
We can all benefit from the shared experience of others. Podcasts are a convenient way to access some insight, camaraderie, or support.
Most of the meetings on this page are not taking place “in person” during the COVID-19 pandemic, but keep this link handy for the days ahead.
“Preparing Your Child to Launch”
Whether our kids are just starting high school, planning for college, searching for their first job, or struggling to determine their next steps in life, we may find ourselves teetering on the parenthood fence. Are we still their caregiver? Their disciplinarian? Their problem solver? What are our boundaries? This program helps parents and other caretakers to find the line between being supportive and loving, and being the rescuer/protector, and how that changes once they leave home.