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January 27, 2010 > Coping with difficult teens

Coping with difficult teens

By Meenu Gupta

Parent Project is there to help parents searching for ways to cope with adolescents ensnared by problems with truancy, alcohol, drug use, or behavioral problems. The nationally acclaimed program helps to teach and practice prevention and intervention strategies. Two Milpitas Police Officers, Officers Kevin Jackson and Gene Smith, who are accredited by the National Parent Project Program will teach the course in Milpitas. Successfully adopted for use by hundreds of schools and community-based organizations throughout the nation, the program is coming to Milpitas on February 18 and will continue until May 20.

This award-winning program created by a psychologist, an educator, a police officer, and attending parents is supported by over 20 years of development, real-life experience, and research. The cost is $120 per person or $155 per family and includes materials and a light snack. To make sure that no one is turned away due to financial difficulties, payment plans and financial assistance is available. "We have graduated over 500 people in these classes throughout the county and have 17 classes being offered concurrently at this time in English and Spanish. We are also working on a Vietnamese translation to be able to offer it to that community, but that probably won't happen before next school year," said Julia Alloggiammento, Deputy District Attorney.

Parent Project teaches strategies to change destructive behavior including drug and alcohol use, gang affiliation, truancy, violence, and family conflict. The straightforward, step-by-step action plans presented in the curriculum allow parents to take immediate action toward preventing or intervening in their children's negative choices. While most of the other parenting courses mostly lay emphasis on effective communication to deal with the problem, this program does much more. The course curriculum is divided into two parts. Part I: "Laying the Foundation for Change" consists of six activity-based instructional units. Parents learn identification, prevention and intervention techniques for the most destructive adolescent behaviors and criminal activity.

Part II, called "Changing Behavior and Rebuilding Family Relationships" consists of 10 topic-focused parent support group sessions (combined to fill the last 6 weeks of the course). Each session is designed to provide parents practical and emotional support as they continue the process of change in their home. These sessions also include an activity-based parenting skills component. As part of the program, parents receive and work within an activity based 216-page curriculum "A Parent's Guide to Changing Destructive Adolescent Behavior."

Moreover, the program uses the self-help support group model, so parents who participate eventually form their own support groups that continue after the course has concluded. For additional information regarding the countywide program, contact a Parent Project Coordinator at (408) 808-3794 or at To register parents should contact Officer Kevin Jackson at (408) 586-2528 or write to

The first session of the program will begin on Thursday, February 18 and will last a total of 12 weeks. The course will be held once a week at Milpitas City Hall from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Parent Project Program
February 18 - May 20
Thursdays: 6 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Milpitas City Hall
455 E. Calaveras Blvd., Milpitas
(408) 586-2528 (Officer Jackson)
(408) 808-3794

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