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Parents Receive a Pep Talk

By Kate Rogers, Special to the Independent

: Liz Jorgensen during her Coffee Break presentation last week.

Liz Jorgensen during her Coffee Break presentation last week.

Award-winning speaker and therapist Liz Jorgensen urged parents of teens to revive the collaborative and collective parenting environment that began when their children were young when they shared tips and strategies.

This open, supportive environment is missing during the teen years when the stakes are so much higher, Jorgensen said last week, Wednesday, March 19, during PTA’s Coffee Break workshop at Top of the World School. Liz Jorgensen during her Coffee Break presentation last week.

With humor, insight and plenty of studies backing her up, she covered very simple, inarguable facts.   She went over the now-familiar truth that children’s brains aren’t fully functional, particularly the critical judgment area, until they reach well into their 20s.  And she allowed parents to fully comprehend the inevitability of their misbehaviors and limit-pushing with a compassion towards these awakening young adults.  Her message was simple.  Parents must “love them for who they are,” she said, but importantly also provide limits to their behavior.  “Limits are love,” she explained.

Jorgensen quoted Peter Lanza, the father of the infamous Newtown shooter. While he speaks from unspeakable horror and sorrow, his message is universal: “We need to parent for the years and not for the day …,” meaning parents who fail to go beyond the feel-good moment now, will jeopardize their children’s development and futures.

Parents must be willing to wear with pride the button, which claims they are the meanest parent in town (handed out at the conclusion of her talk).  Only by willing to play this role can we really guide our children through their inevitable goofs as they stumble through their teens.

Particularly relevant to Laguna Beach parents, Jorgensen said affluence has been cited in a study as a “unique qualifier” for increased drug use, depression and suicide.  She explained that this is because of the perceived higher expectations put on such children combined with their greater sense of distance from their parents, which creates tremendous, even toxic stress.   Depression, drug oblivion and ultimately suicide are at a higher risk for these youth, she said.

Jorgensen had much to offer, reminding parents they can help each other in parenting children to adulthood. Watch the video at gotocoffeebreak.com.

Kate Rogers is a Laguna Beach parent.

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