NEWS HEADLINES

Wise Choices encourages parents to ‘plug in’

By Erika Pedroza | Published Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Parents who hear their children talking about “chasing the rat” or “skeeching” may not realize the conversation probably isn’t about rodents or a snow sport.

In fact, the terminology denotes alarming behavior – huffing Freon and car surfing on the highway.

Those are just two examples of a large slate of ambiguous jargon used by today’s kids.

The staff at Wise Choices Pregnancy Resource Center encourages all parents in the community to become “plugged in” and aware of the trends and messages to which their children are exposed.

The center has contracted with Jeffrey Dean – a Christian teen speaker, ordained pastor, counselor and author – to present Plugged In Parenting 6 to 8 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 29, at Crossroads Church in Decatur.

The parenting program will cover a broad range of topics, including the messages magazines exude; Internet accessibility; online safety; social media uses; unhealthy websites kids are plugged into; disturbing behaviors; and other terminology kids use that parents may not pick up on.

“I’ve been five times, but every time I go, I learn something new,” said Branda Thomas, executive director of Wise Choices PRC. “You’re blown away by what’s out there. We need to get our heads out of the sand.”

Thomas, along with Sheana Silvertooth, Wise Choices PRC youth education director, admit that although some of the presentation may be alarming, it helps to know.

“It’s very useful information that’s not intended to scare parents but to inform them,” Silvertooth said, “It opens that line of communication with your kids. We’re all busy, especially if you have more than one kid. Sometimes we get into autopilot. This kind of just wakes you up.”

For the last five years, Wise Choices has contracted with Dean, whom staff describe as likeable, relatable but commanding of attention.

“He pulls everyone in,” Thomas said. “He’s someone we know and trust to be a face our youth could recognize, remember and confide in. We know he will give them information that is accurate and truthful.”

He speaks on a variety of topics including bullying, making good choices, abstinence, self-esteem, self-image and healthy relationships.

In addition, he writes a blog for Wise Choices – www.thewisewayblog.com.

The parenting program Sunday is open to everyone in the county.

There will be a nursery on-site, and childcare for kids in kindergarten through fifth grade will be available at the Rann Elementary School gym.

Organizers encourage those who plan to take advantage of those services to arrive early and check their children in before the program begins.

“Kids are our most important asset, the most important gift we have,” Thomas said. “We want to protect them in any way that we can. This (program) enlightens us and helps us be better parents.”

For more information, call Wise Choices at 940-627-6924.

PLUGGED IN PARENTING

with Jeffrey Dean
6 to 8 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 29

Crossroads Church
1400 S. Deer Park Road
Decatur

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