Problems we Address

Do you feel like you need a life preserver sometimes?

How Can We Help?

If you are embarking on the bold and daring adventure of raising children and launching them into the world, PEN will walk beside you no matter where you are in your journey.

Prevention

As a parent, you want what is best for your child. You want to support, steer, and protect them from life’s risks. The good news is that you play an important role in their development and reaction to changes and challenges.  

Did you know that 73% of teens say their relationship with their parent makes them the most happy? 

Our programs equip you to be knowledgable, confident and ready to help your child learn to bend, not break. Some of these include:   

      • Ages and stages
      • Brain development
      • Healthy attachment
      • Communication skills
      • Healthy habits
      • Identifying strengths
      • Raising resilient youth
      • Planning, monitoring, and regulating behavior
      • Fostering positive self immage

Our Solution

At PEN, we use a strength based approach to build the protective factors that prepare you and your child for changes and challenges. 

Protective factors are defined as the individual or environmental characteristics, conditions, or behaviors that reduce the effects of stressful life events. These factors also increase an individual’s ability to avoid risks or hazards, and promote social and emotional competence to thrive in all aspects of life, now and in the future (CDC, 2016). 

PEN uses a framework from The Search Institute’s 40  Developmental Assets to guide the development of external and internal factors that help you understand your child, have difficult conversations, build resilience and minimize risk-taking behaviors.

Why do we focus on parents?  Because you play such an important role in your child’s resilience, or ability to bounce back when faced with difficult circumstances.

The single most common factor for children who develop resilience is at least one stable and committed relationship with a supportive parent, caregiver, or other adult.  That’s YOU!

Risk-Taking

Risk-Taking is a normal developmental task. Daniel Siegel explains it this way:

During adolescence, novelty-seeking emerges from shifts in the brain’s dopamine system with the downside of risk-taking behavior and injury, and the upside of having the courage to leave the familiar, certain, and safe home nest for the unfamiliar, uncertain, potentially unsafe world beyond.

This quote acknowledges that while risk-taking is normal and necessary, it is also scary and potentially dangerous.  

At PEN, we support parents in both preparing youth and responding to risky behaviors like: 

      • Drug & alcohol use
      • Legalized marijuana
      • Stress and anxiety
      • Depression & suicide
      • Self harm
      • Youth violence
      • Eating disorders
      • Unprotected sex
      • Unsafe driving
      • Technology use and addition

Our Solution

The only thing scarier than worrying your child will engage in risky behaviors is finding out that your child already is.

 We addresses risk-taking behavior by:

Educating parents so they are prepared

PEN shares research-based information about specific risk-taking behaviors.  All of our speakers, collaborators and facilitators are vetted to ensure they can provide accurate information, interactive discussions, and take-home strategies and resources for expanded learning.  

Normalizing their experience so they know they are not alone

PEN engages a community of parents who have had, or been touched by, similar experiences. Connecting to other parents helps you feel supported and gives you an opportunity to learn from one another.

Responding to parents in need

PEN supports and connects you to individuals and resources that will help you address whatever issue you are facing. This can range from having a phone conversation, sharing a cup of coffee, recommending a specific PEN program, or making a referal to expert advisors.

Taking the shame and fear out of parenting 

PEN treats every parent like a caring and concerned parent. Our staff and volunteers believe there is no such thing as a perfect parent. We are prepared to meet you where you are, and don’t believe in shaming or guilting anyone. We will help you love yourself through it. 

Preparation

Preparation makes it easier for children to make healthy decisions. Not only will they have a better idea of what to expect, they will have opportunities to consider their response. This makes it less likely that they will do something impulsive, or that they later regret. 

You have a unique opportunity to act as a mentor, role model, and trusted adviser in areas where your child has less experienced than you.  Some of these include:

      • School transitions
      • Exploring career options
      • Learning to manage money
      • Setting goals for growing
      • Living independently
      • Handling changing relationships

Our Solution

The path to adulthood involves patience, understanding, boundaries and love on your part.  PEN works with you to make your home a safe place for your child to practice, learn from successes and failures, and make adaptations.

We’ll help you know what to expect at different stages, and give you strategies for coaching them through the tasks and roles they will assume as they move into adulthood.

PEN supports scaffolding, or giving children opportunities to succeed at increasingly difficult challenges. Over time, they become more independent and capable of handling themselves.

PEN helps you to engage in conversations about what is important to your child.Through this process, you can help them develop the confidence they need to grow into a healthy, productive adults.

The ultimate goal is that they eventually launch, and they continue to rely on you as a parent and trusted adult as they grow.

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