Toughlove keeps families together
Loving teenagers through tough times is a challenge Margaret Coe has overcome.
She now helps other parents get the support they need at Toughlove, when their children are behaving unacceptably.
Ms Coe came to Toughlove because she was having trouble with her teenage son and had heard about the support sessions.
“I thought I would go along for one meeting, get the information I needed and that would be it.
“It turned out to be a bit longer.”
Six years on, she has taken turns doing different roles for the Howick group, including leading it and is now a Toughlove representative.
“There’s a lot of useful information and a lot of support for parents. I wanted to give something back.”
Toughlove Auckland, which is based in Royal Oak, runs support sessions around the region including Epsom and Pukekohe.
The organisation is holding its annual appeal next week and volunteers will be handing out information to people in shopping malls around the region.
Ms Coe says Toughlove is about setting a long term goal called “the stand”.
Each week, parents set a “bottom line”, which is a small step towards the stand.
“It’s a really simple system and it works really well. You get suggestions from other parents you can try when you run out of ideas.”
People often come to Toughlove as a last resort, but it would be better if they came earlier, says Ms Coe.
“People tend to think they should be able to solve all their problems themselves.”
The most common issue people face with the teenagers is a lack of respect.
“It doesn’t sound that bad, but it leads into lots of other issues like foul language and staying out at night, or more serious problems like running away from home and drug and alcohol use.”
One of the success stories she has seen in her time with the group was a family being able to encourage their runaway teen daughter to come home.
She says a lot of people have misconceptions about Toughlove and think it is about physical punishment.
“They think it will be tough on the kids, but it’s tough on the parents because what they’ve been doing doesn’t work and they have to make changes. It’s very diffi
Toughlove Auckland manager Geoff Andrews says there will be a launch function held for volunteers on Monday to kick off the week, with Christine Rankin as the guest speaker.
“We want to let parents know there are support groups out there for them when they are experiencing unacceptable behaviour.”