Strengthening Families class returns

Posted January 30, 2013 at 6:00 am

Because of the success of the Strengthening Families class last year, another series is offered again, starting next month according to Carol Schneider, County Extension Coordinator.

“Parents who want to make a difference in their family will want to participate,” she said. “The local Strengthening Families program is offered by a local team and the program is designed for parents and their fourth – eighth grade youth.

The focus or objective is on strengthening the family which the title implies. The objective is accomplished through the use of realistic videos, role-playing, discussions, learning games, and family projects. Parents and youth meet in separate groups for the first hour. Parents learn to increase desired behaviors in their youth by using rewards and consequences, effective discipline, substance abuse education, problem solving, and limit setting as well as learning valuable communication skills.

Youth learn effective communication, understanding feelings, coping with anger, stress management, social skills, problem solving, resisting peer pressure and consequences of substance use.

During the second hour, families practice family meetings, structured family games and activities, communication skills, reinforcing positive behaviors and jointly planning family activities. At the conclusion of the second hour families enjoy a meal before heading home.

The local Strengthening Families class is set to begin February 10 and runs through March 17 from 3:33 pm to 5:30 pm with the meal at 5:30 pm. The location is the Le Mars Convention Center, lower level.

The cost per family is $10 for all sessions which includes the meal and educational materials. Childcare is also available for children younger siblings.

To register, please call Carol Schneider at the ISU Plymouth County Extension Office in Le Mars at 712-546-7835. Registration materials and more information is on the Plymouth County Extension website at:

Last year’s youth said the most valuable things they learned where how to deal with peer pressure, drugs & alcohol and how to deal with stress.

Parents who participated in the series offered a year ago reported that the class helps them keep communication open by improving their listening skills while setting limits and following through was helpful in their parenting role.

“All families with adolescents are eligible and great candidates for the Strengthening Families program, not just those who feel they have troubles with their kids.” says Schneider.

The Strengthening Families Program has been proven effective in delaying the onset of adolescent substance use, lowering levels of aggression, increasing the resistance to peer pressure in youth, and increasing the ability of parents/caregivers to set appropriate limits and show affection to and support of their children. This well documented program has been used in all fifty states a and over eighteen foreign countries after it was developed at Iowa State University by Dr. Virginia Molgaard.

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