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How to Parent Teenagers – New Program Launched to Help Solve Baffling Youth Problems


BRISBANE, Australia July, 2013 – The headline read – ‘Matthew Warren Dead: Son of Rick Warren Commits Suicide at 27.’ This sad news shocked the world.  The greatest tragedy for any parent to have to endure is the death of a child, particularly if that death has been a result of the child committing suicide.  Rick Warren described his loss as ‘anguished grief.’ And he’s not the only one.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified suicide as the number three cause of death among youths ages 10-24, resulting in an estimated 4600 lives lost per year.  Of this figure, 81 per cent are males.* 

Parents need to be aware of these staggering statistics and educate themselves on how best to recognise the warning signs, which can vary from one teenager to another, but there are some universal warning signs to look for when it comes to monitoring a child’s mental well being. These could be changes in behaviour such as withdrawal and loss of interest in activities that they used to find enjoyable, excessive energy to hide depression, school problems, and changes in personality, sudden weight loss or gain, and other sickness that may be due to a negative emotional state.**

Some of these warning signs can be quite normal teenage behaviour. They are all an indicator for parents that they need to change their way of parenting. Suicide is definitely preventable with attentive and aware parenting. The American Academy of Paediatrics offers the advice for parents to get help and support from professionals and experts, to listen to their teenage sons, and to also talk to other parents who face a similar situation in their homes.  Powerhouse Programs call these supportive activities – listening, understanding, supporting, and talking – as ‘building bridges’.

Powerhouse Programs was established in Brisbane, Australia by two excellent parent educators and facilitators – Andy Roy and Stephen Halsall. Their main objective is to help parents raise their teenage boys successfully, happily and most of all, safely. They help parents find realistic and practical ways to manage problems, and this at times can require a radical change to parenting the child when they were younger. Powerhouse Programs designs father and son activities and family events to develop closer and stronger relationships between family members and to help parents understand and map out exactly how to be the best parent for teenage sons.

‘Building Bridges’ is a program that teaches fathers how to develop a better interaction with teenage sons. It runs for six sessions once a week or alternatively for one whole weekend. Sessions are jam-packed with fun and meaningful activities carefully designed and planned to confront and support the issues that fathers and sons face when the sons reach adolescence.

Bill Gamack, a 52-year old father, described the experience as “a completely different way of doing things. My relationship with my son has completely changed.”

Another such program that helps parent’s parent teenage sons is ‘Journey to Manhood’. This is a program not just for fathers and sons, but also for mothers. This ‘Rites of Passage’ camp allows fathers to learn how to walk the path with him instead of telling him what to do, and for mothers to support his healthy transition by stepping back, allowing and trusting his independence.

‘Journey to Manhood’ fosters positive change in boys and gives them an opportunity to make their own choices based on a healthy outlook that emerges in an environment that is purely designed to honour and acknowledge them for their unique gifts and talents… and for their path ahead of them.

This is a five-day event that brings a father and a son to a place of connection, a place where parents say goodbye to the boy aspect of their son, and to welcome home a young man.

A mother raising a teenager son, Caitlin found the ‘Journey to Manhood’ Program to be beneficial in many ways; “This program has been such a positive experience for me and my family. I have shared the experience with wonderful people and have much gratitude and hope for my men and society as a whole.”

As Andy would put it, “Is there any doubt that the world needs a man’s heart? And this starts with our boys.”

For more details about Andy and Stephen’s programs that show how to parent teenager boys, visit today.


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