Tough love group marks 30 years
An organisation that plays a key role in helping parents of youth at risk is to mark its thirtieth anniversary later this month.
Over the last three decades, TOUGHLOVE New Zealand has provided supportive weekly forums and tried and tested strategies for coping, to tens of thousands of parents, faced with the stress and trauma of inappropriate teenage behaviour within their own families.
The anniversary is to be celebrated with a gathering of TOUGHLOVE’s Parent Support Group facilitators and other volunteers from across New Zealand at Auckland’s Quality Hotel Lincoln Green on the evening of Friday July 25.
The gathering is to be addressed by Social Development Minister Paula Bennett. In addition, a panel of volunteers will be discussing issues facing parents.
‘‘Our thirtieth birthday comes at a time of heightened concern over youth at risk, which certainly acts as a reminder of how much work remains to be done,’’ TOUGHLOVE’s National spokesman Peter Altmann said.
‘‘Even so, it’s no mean feat for a tightly funded, largely volunteer organisation to have freed so many parents from the pit of despair into which they’d been cast by the inappropriate behaviour of the children they love.
‘‘ Such behaviour can take many forms. Perhaps a teen regularly plays truant from school, fails to do homework or has developed a taste for alcohol, drugs or promiscuity. ‘‘Alternatively, he or she may be using home as a dumping ground, failing to help with housework, staying out all hours, going missing for days at a time or taking the family car on joy-rides.
‘‘ And, sometimes, a parent might be facing worse problems; living in fear of a potentially violent son or daughter and worrying about whether other children and family members are safe,’’ he said.
Altmann said that most parents attending TOUGHLOVE Support Groups are sensible and conscientious people dragged down by situations they would have thought completely manageable until it happened to them and their child.
Altmann saidt that TOUGHLOVE Support Group facilitators have typically experienced similar issues to those faced by the parents they’re helping.
Feedback from parents consistently emphasises the importance they place on being able to talk to people who’ve also ‘‘been through it’’.