Parent education nights returning to West Shore

Parents and guardians will have a chance to attend a free education discussion tonight at Royal Bay secondary.

According to renowned children’s psychiatrist Dr. Bruce Perry, resiliency is equal to stress plus support.

That’s part of what Cindy Andrew, chair of the Sooke School District’s Healthy Schools Committee, hopes parents and guardians will get out of a parents education night Oct. 12 at Royal Bay secondary.

The evening is billed as Resilient and Flourishing Kids.

“Lots of those typical kids-appropriate challenges are wonderful resiliency-building opportunities … how do we help our kids manage through those? That’s really what this night is about,” she said.

Andrew, who also works for the Centre for Addictions Research at the University of Victoria and the Psychology Foundation of Canada, believes that it’s healthy for children and youth to face adversity, because that’s what gives them the ability to persevere.

“These are skills that everybody needs … kids need a lot more coping skills and the sorts of environments that we know are really good for helping kids – and all of us – thrive in this exciting world of ours,” she said.

Kids need to be given support, Andrew said, but ultimately, “solving their problems for them doesn’t do anything. What we need to do is help our kids develop the problem solving skills so they have the capacity.”

With that information in mind, it’s important for parents to avoid so-called “helicopter parenting” – which includes being over-protective and attempting to minimize the adversity faced by children – and employ a philosophy that Andrew likes to call “hummingbird parenting.”

“You fly in when they really need you, but otherwise you back off,” she said. “It sounds pretty basic, and frankly it is … so much of what kids need, we can help them develop it and they can learn it, but not without some attention and effort.”

Christine McGregor, acting district principal of student support services for SD62, will be the primary speaker during the 90-minute session. That connection has Andrew particularly excited.

“When we have a presenter from within our district, we’re not only helping parents think about and address the topic of the evening, but we’re also shining a light on some of the good work that’s going on within the district,” she said.

Open discussion and a question-and-answer period are also part of the evening session, which aims to build on a workshop from last fall.

The free event gets underway at 7 p.m. on Oct. 12 at Royal Bay. Interested parents are encouraged to RSVP by logging on to eventbrite.ca and searching for Resilient and Flourishing Kids. Complimentary child-minding services will be provided.

The series of parent educational opportunities will continue next month with a presentation about sex and drugs and how it relates to children and youth. That event will take place on Nov. 9 at Belmont secondary.

joel.tansey@goldstreamgazette.com