Published: | By: Kim Gulbrandson Topics: Activities, Bullying Prevention, Curriculum, Middle School, Parenting, Social-Emotional Learning Educators, Here Are 6 Ways You Can Encourage Parents to Visit ParenTeenConnect.org Have parents ever approached you about challenges with their teens? Have you seen the look of exhaustion on their faces? Maybe you’ve had one or more of those moments with your own teen. Do you remember feeling at a loss for what to say or do, or did you find yourself wishing you had more information, ideas, or resources? Did your search for support end in frustration because you couldn’t find the information you needed? Parents of teens are excited about ParenTeen Connect (ParenTeenConnect.org) because it offers free, easy-to-access online support to help families deal with challenges about communication, responsibility, screen time, and independence. When I asked a few parents about this resource, they reported having learned a lot from it, including developing a better understanding of their teens’ perspectives. One parent said, “I changed the way I interacted with my son after learning more from the resource. Our relationship has already improved, and I haven’t even used all the resources in ParenTeen Connect yet.” There isn’t always a perfect opportunity or moment to share a resource like this one with parents, especially because parenting can be a sensitive and emotional topic. So how can you provide opportunities for parents to learn about ParenTeen Connect without making it personal? Here are six ways to keep it simple. 1. Host a Back-to-School Night At the beginning of the school year, or after a holiday break, host a parent/family night that includes resources, food, and fun. Offer a big-screen video tour to highlight the features of ParenTeen Connect. Ask parents who have used it to share what they liked with the group. 2. Share It During a Phone Call Home During a regular, positive phone call home to parents, tell them about ParenTeen Connect, how to access it, and how others have been using it. 3. Make It Part of Everyday Communications Mention it during everyday casual conversations in which you’re discussing teen issues and challenges. 4. Create a Photo Board Invite parents to go online to ParenTeenConnect.org. Take screenshots of the site and photos of parents using it. Feature these photos throughout the school or on a board near the front door or office, and add parents’ comments about ParenTeen Connect to the photo board. Make sure the photos represent all families in your school. 5. Put It in a Newsletter Parents are likely to feel more comfortable trying ParenTeen Connect if they know other parents have found it useful, so ask them to check it out and share what they liked about it. Include their quotes in one of your regular school communications, such as a newsletter, email, or letter. Ask your Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) to mention it or include information in your Parent Resource Room. If you’re already teaching the Second Step Middle School Program, you can also make use of the ParenTeen Connect family communications provided as part of the program. Not teaching the curriculum? Here are two message templates you can send out to engage families about this important resource: CHECK OUT PARENTEENCONNECT.ORG ParenTeenConnect.org, a free website for parents and their teens created by the makers of the Second Step Program, is a great resource for middle school families. It provides expert advice and practical tools for dealing with real parent-teen issues. GET TALKING WITH PARENTEEN CONNECT At ParenTeenConnect.org, you can hear from real parents and teens about the issues that cause conflict in their lives—including screen time, independence, responsibility, and communication—and get expert advice. Visit ParenTeenConnect.org at home with your child, select a topic together, and get talking! 6. Show It to Teens Show a few ParenTeen Connect quiz questions to your students, play them a Real Voices video from the site, or, if you’re teaching the Second Step Middle School Program, try out one of the program’s eight ParenTeen Connect advisory activities in your classroom. Students who are interested in what you show them will be more likely to tell their parents about the resource. These are just a few ways you can give parents access to the tools they need to handle the challenges they’re facing in connecting and communicating with their teens. The opportunity to hear from other families who are dealing with similar struggles and get expert advice might be just what they’ve been looking for all along.