Bullying series aims to help parents

By: April Lehmbeck | Advertiser Times | Published September 25, 2012

GROSSE POINTE WOODS — Bullying can be devastating, creating lifelong scars on its victims, but The Family Center is offering a five-week program to arm parents with the tools they need to protect their families.


The Family Center, which serves the Grosse Pointes and Harper Woods, offers many programs throughout the year for parents through working with the schools. For instance, this week they offered an Ask the Expert program on peer and parent relationships in middle school.


“The Family Center prides itself on offering our Ask the Experts programs, which address student and family transitions along with trends that surface within the community,” The Family Center Executive Director Deborah Liedel said in an email. “The Family Center is the go-to resource center for parents, caregivers and professionals who want to better navigate the challenges of raising children in today’s busy world.”


The free bullying series will be held at 6:30 p.m. each Tuesday in the auditorium of Parcells Middle School, 20600 Mack.


Each week will focus on a different topic concerning bullying. The first week will focus on meanness as the “starter fluid of bullying” Oct. 2, which will be followed by “The Psychological Costs of Bullying” Oct. 9. A couple of the other weeks will focus on developing positive relationships in the home and building resilience in young people and their families.


The series will give parents useful information and even intervention strategies to deal with what is a “very difficult and emotionally charged issue,” Family Center board member and private therapist Mary Beth Garvey said in an email.


“The Family Center’s bullying series is one we are especially excited about,” Garvey said. “This series is particularly beneficial to parents because so much of the education regarding bullying is geared toward students.  


“While student education is obviously critical, parents are most often dealing with the fallout from bullying behavior and are struggling with how to best support their children when they are the target,” she said. “Parents are anxious for information that helps them to identify what is bullying behavior, how they can effectively intervene when their child is a victim, how they can empower their children and reinforce their resilience.”


The series will bring together experts in a number of areas, including mental health, law enforcement and schools.


Parcells school counselor Carla Palffy said that knowledge is such an important part in tackling bullying problems.


“One of the central keys to addressing bullying is having a clear understanding of the definition of bullying, the consequences of bullying behavior and most importantly, how to create a culture of respect through resilience at home and at school,” she said in an email. “This series of lectures is solution-focused and will provide parents with both knowledge and tools to navigate many of the socio-emotional challenges of the middle school years.”


She said she is looking forward to attending the series and wants to see parents attend, as well.


“It is beneficial for the school community-at-large to have a common understanding of such an important issue as we work together to ensure a safe and nurturing learning environment where all our students excel,” Palffy said.  


For more information on this series or the many other upcoming programs The Family Center has to offer or to register, call (313) 432-3832 or visit www.familycenter.org.