Spring 2018
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What Teens Need from Their Parents

What Do Teens Need from their Parents?
Almost 40% of Ontario students in grades 7 through 12 say that they “rarely” or “never” talk to their parents about their problems or feelings. Recently, teens from a high school in Huron County shared what they need from their parents to feel supported:
  • “Ask me how my day was”
  • “Don’t pressure me into family time”
  • “Let me be social”
  • “Don’t pressure me about high grades”
  • “Talk to me in person.”
What can parents do?
Family therapist and professor, Michael Ungar, describes nine things children need to be resilient and to flourish. Let’s take a look at three of those things, as they relate to what local teens are saying:
“Ask me how my day was. Talk to me in person.”
Teenagers need a parent-child connection
Children want to know that you will be there for them to help problem solve - not to fix their mistakes but to help them learn from them.  As teens describe, ways to build this connection include in-person communication, understanding normal teenage behaviour, and showing interest in their daily lives.
“Don’t pressure me into family time. Don’t pressure me for high grades.”
Teenagers need a sense of control
As they become independent, teens need opportunities to control their lives and learn from their experiences.  Youth may not want to be pressured into family activities. However, there are still ways to spend important time with your child. It can be as simple as sitting with them while they watch a movie.
“Let me be social.”
Teenagers need lots and lots of relationships
Teens gravitate towards their peers for connection and support, but also value close relationships with adults. Support your teen in their relationships by encouraging positive connections.
For more tips and information to support your teen’s mental health:
  • Michael Ungar’s book “I Still Love You” discusses the nine things children need to be resilient.
  • Right By You offers sample questions you can ask your teen to get them talking about mental health, school, relationships and more. Also check out the videos and free guides!

THINK about Talking Alcohol with your Teen

Hi Parents!

We are Cassie, Kathryn, and Ariana from the THINK team at the Perth District Health Unit, and our job is to discuss health topics that are important to youth. We are grade 12 students who want to share our thoughts on talking to teens about alcohol.

We know it can be hard to talk about alcohol, and we might feel uncomfortable too, but here are some tips to keep in mind:
Relationships matter
  • We want to feel safe and supported. When you help us build our confidence, it helps us to be more confident in social situations.
  • We don’t like feeling judged. Try to limit your judgments towards us so we can talk openly with you, and feel we can ask questions.
  • One idea is to create a ‘contract’ with your teen. Remind them often that you will never be mad if they call you for a safe ride home, no matter the circumstances or hour.
Have the conversation about alcohol
  • Keep the conversation casual, avoid phrases that may set off alarm-bells like ‘we need to talk.’ Try spontaneous reminders when the time is right, maybe during a car ride or over dinner.
  • Don’t be afraid to have these conversations around your teen’s friends.
  • Remember: When we feel like you don’t want to talk about it, we may feel like we shouldn’t want to talk about it either.
 Build trust with your teen
  • We think it is important to ask us what we feel is fair and to set rules together. Remember to respect your teen’s thoughts, opinions, and independence.
  • Spend quality time with us, and demonstrate that alcohol is not always needed to have fun. Being involved in our lives helps create a sense of trust.
  • Remind your teen often that you love them unconditionally and care about their well-being.
These tips are especially important for when your teen is beginning to go to parties or spend time away from home.
Remember that these things are as new to us as they are to you. So try and be patient, loving, and present. We are experiencing new things and figuring out who we are. Remember, we still love you even if we don’t always show it.
Cassie, Kathryn, and Ariana (pictured above with their PDHU leader, Shayna)
Preventing Alcohol and Other Drug Use

By Jaelyn Kloepfer, Public Health Promoter 

Early use of alcohol and other drugs can negatively impact brain development, and can increase risk of injuries, trouble with the law, mental health issues, and problems at school. 
You are the most important influence in your child’s life and you play a big role in your child’s decisions about alcohol and other drugs. 

Here are six strategies that you can use to prevent or delay use:
  • Know what’s going on in your child’s life.
  • Develop open and regular communication.
  • Set expectations and consequences together.
  • Be a positive role model.
  • Build a close and caring relationship.
  • Don’t provide alcohol or other drugs. (In fact, most parents don’t!)
  • Know where your child is, who they are with, and check in while they are out.
  • Talk often. This allows your child to talk about their interests and worries, and helps to build a strong relationship.
  • Get to know your child’s friends and their families.
  • Talk to older siblings about not providing alcohol or other drugs.
  • Role model positive behaviours, like going for a walk after a stressful day.
  • Provide alcohol and drug-free activities. Do activities together!
For more strategies and tips check out  

Coming soonStrategies for Parents to Prevent or Delay Alcohol and Other Drug Use booklet.  You will be able to access the booklet on the Rethink Your Drinking website or can request a copy from the Health Unit.

Stop the Flu Before it Spreads

Influenza (or the flu) is a respiratory illness that can spread easily from person to person, especially among youth.

It’s important to stop the spread of flu to people who may be at risk of health-related complications. Protect yourself and your family by making sure everyone gets the flu shot this year.

The flu shot is free and is recommended for everyone over six months of age. 

This fall, get your flu shot at:
Your family doctor’s office
All pharmacies in Perth County (ages 5 and up) 
The Perth District Health Unit in Stratford and Listowel - by appointment; for families with children under the age of 5. Go to for dates, times and how to book an appointment.

Drop-in community clinics in Stratford at Spruce Lodge (Griffith Auditorium), 643 West Gore St.
  • Friday, October 26, 10am-4pm
  • Thursday, November 8, 10am-4pm
For more information about the flu shot availability:  

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Copyright © 2015 Perth District Health Unit, All rights reserved.

Our contact information is:
Perth District Health Unit
653 West Gore St.
Stratford, ON
N5A 1L4
519-271-7600 / 1-877-271-7348

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Perth District Health Unit · 653 West Gore Street · Stratford, On N5A 1L4 · Canada

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