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Guelph conference aimed at helping parents with disruptive teens

Guelph Parenting Young Adults and Teens Conference set for later this month
frustrated parents

As someone that has spent years helping run the Guelph chapter of a support group for parents of disruptive teens, Rosemary Fernandes-Walker has seen a broad spectrum of concerns.

"We have parents come in who are flipping out because their kid's room is a mess or they spend too much time on the computer, then we have other parents whose child is in jail or 14 years old and pregnant," she said.

"There's a very big extreme, but they all come in feeling the same way."

Fernandes-Walker helps run the Guelph chapter of APSGO (Association of Parent Support Groups of Ontario), a group that meets weekly to discuss and provide help for those parents.

"We help people find ways to build better relationships with their kids and get peace in their home," Fernandes-Walker said. "It's been around in the Guelph area for 15 years and for 30 years in Ontario."

She said they get around 30 families a week to their Guelph meetings.

"But I'm sure there are hundreds of more parents out there that could use some help and don't know it's available."

On Saturday, May 27, Guelph will be hosting the Guelph Parenting Young Adults and Teens Conference at Bishop Macdonell high school.

The day-long conference is a resource for those looking for help.

"The goal is really to bring awareness to the help that their is support for parents that have these at-risk kids and to provide them with some quick answers and resources for them to get started at least on where they can get help," Fernandes-Walker said.

"What maybe is going on with their kid that they don't understand ... Just getting the word out there."

It will feature keynote speaker Dr. Karyn Gordon and there will be break-out sessions featuring seven other speakers and a panel discussion where participants can submit questions. Fernandes-Walker will also be speaking.

She said APSGO isn't "just a bitch session where you can come in and complain about their kids," it's a practical process that includes homework and concrete strategies that participants are expected to try.

Parents work with coaches to develop strategies to work on over the week until the next meeting.

"It's very action oriented rather than just a support group," Fernandes-Walker said.

The Guelph Chapter of APSGO meets weekly on Monday nights from 7:30 until 9 p.m. at Alexander Hall, Room 265 at the University of Guelph.

More information and tickets for the upcoming conference can be found at



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Tony Saxon

About the Author: Tony Saxon

Tony Saxon has had a rich and varied 30 year career as a journalist, an award winning correspondent, columnist, reporter, feature writer and photographer.
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