Counselors, parents meet to discuss teenage communication book


Isabella Abraham

The new counselor-parent book club discusses how to improve communication with teens as outlined in “The Five Love Languages of Teenagers” by Gary Chapman. See the attached article for meeting dates. “Really what we see in our office so much is how communication solves so many problems,” counselor Michelle Roach said. “This is going to help us be able to talk to our kids in a better, more effective way,”

Isabella Abraham, Copy Editor

Parents gathered to discuss the ins and outs of raising teenagers at the counselors’ first book study session Wednesday, Jan. 16, from 9-10 a.m. in the library. As the meetings continue, the counselors require all participants to bring the book “The 5 Love Languages of Teenagers” to each study.

The book club will meet for their next sessions Jan. 29, Feb. 13 and Feb. 27 to examine the assigned chapters.

“This is the first time we’ve ever done it,” counselor Michelle Roach said. “We had no idea we’d have this many people sign up in the first place, so clearly there’s a need. This is taking off, and we’re pretty excited about.”

Each session, participants are broken into groups of 12 to 15 parents, where they exchange views for an hour on the previously assigned three chapters.

“This is just a book that I found and read, and I knew that it would be relevant to all parents,” counselor Katie Wells said. “It’s something that we want to do to help educate and help connect parents at the high school.”

Parents facilitate the discussions using a chapter question packet, while counselors prompt further analysis and work to guide conversations.

“We want the parents to generate their own discussion on what they found and to help each other using the book itself,” Roach said. “We think a lot of good dialogue is going to come out of it.”

Wells first suggested the idea of a parent book study after reading “The 5 Love Languages of Teenagers” and seeing its relevance to issues surrounding contemporary high school students, especially of those who frequent her office.

“We see a lot of things happen in our office,” Wells said. “One of them is the big disconnect between parents and their child, and I think that just like with every relationship – whether it’s a parent relationship, a friendship, or a dating relationship – communication is key. That is the whole purpose of this book: to figure out how to communicate in a way that’s going to be beneficial.”

The book aims to teach parents the most effective strategies to communicate with their teens and the various responses to the needs of different kids.

“This book just seems to be able to hit every parent and be relevant,” Wells said. “I just want to help parents learn that you can still communicate with your teenager. You just have to figure out what their love language is and figure out how to make that connection because we all have different ways.”

After working with students and identifying the main theme of their conflicts, counselors used “The 5 Love Languages of Teenagers” to reach out to parents.

“I hope that they see we really understand how hard raising kids can be, and I hope that they see that we are here for the kids all day, but we’re also here for the parents,” Roach said. “We will do as much as we can do to help. That’s our job.”

Counselors said parents responded positively to the book and potential insight from counselors into parenting.

“I think by listening to other parents of teens will give me different points of view on how to handle certain situations that arise in the home,” parent Celeste Brown said. “It also reassures me that I’m not alone.”

According to Roach, the goal of the book study is to reopen, or even establish, functional and valuable lines of communication between parents and students, which will, in turn, strengthen the community itself.

“I think the best thing that’s going to come out of it is that parents are going to see that they are not alone and that raising teens can be pretty tricky,” Roach said. “That love language is really important. If we could just understand that, that’s going to help parents be better parents. And really, I think that’s what everybody wants – to be the best for our kids.”

Counselors said parents still can sign up for future sessions by clicking on this link: