The 12th Vancouver Island Parent Conference is coming to Belmont Secondary School this year and will give parents the opportunity to learn about current issues affecting their kids.
Topics such as cannabis use and youth, internet safety, role modelling healthy masculinities, and sexual health are going to be part of the conference this year with parents from across B.C. expected to attend.
“It has definitely become an Island event,” said Stephanie Longstaff, secretary treasurer for the conference. “I think people are hungry for knowledge. We all think that we will know how to parent instinctually until that kid is in front of us and when we are challenged, we look for help.”
Longstaff noted that with constantly changing environments, parents should stay up-to-date on current issues rather than fall back on the way they were parented when they were younger.
“The reality is it’s a new language, parenting,” Longstaff said. “And unless we want to just repeat our parents’ language, we need to learn new words and new phrases and new actions.”
Longstaff said the Vancouver Island Parent Conference committee went out of their way this year to make sure there are sessions for parents with kids of all ages. Some of the talks will be directly aimed at different age groups because Longstaff said they have different issues.
About 200 to 300 parents typically attend the conference and Longstaff said it is the largest parent conference in B.C.
Typically the conference starts in the morning with light snacks and refreshments before the keynote speech. This year, the keynote speaker is Alyson Schafer, an author, therapist and internationally acclaimed parenting expert. She will be speaking on effective discipline techniques for misbehaving children.
After the keynote, parents will be able to break out into sessions that they have selected. In between sessions, parents will get breaks to look at exhibitors and mingle. There will also be a catered lunch from Food for Thought and childcare for kids between the ages of 5 and 11 offered through West Shore Parks and Recreation.
The event runs on March 2 from 8:30 a.m. to about 4 p.m. at Belmont Secondary School. More information about the conference can be found at vipc.ca.