Something for every parent

Published 10:16 pm Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The upcoming Parent University will provide useful information for parents of children from preschool through high-school age, the coordinator of Suffolk’s Early Childhood Development Commission says.

“We have been instrumental in helping organize early childhood speakers,” while Suffolk Public Schools has helped assemble speakers related to issues with school-age children, Brenda O’Donnell said.

“It’s a one-stop shop. Many parents have kids of multiple ages, and (for instance) parents of middle-schoolers or preschoolers will all get something out of it.”

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The free event will be held at King’s Fork Middle School from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Nov. 16, with free childcare available.

Nineteen workshop sessions are slated, and participants can select four to attend, while also visiting tables from community organizations supporting local families and children.

Session topics range from top-10 things teachers wish parents knew and secrets to raising strong readers, to Internet safety and teaching your kids to save money.

Healthy eating, fitness and bullying are among various other topics to be covered.

There’s always a need in the community to educate parents on being better parents, O’Donnell said.

Best-practices constantly change, she said, and hearing a new speaker can offer a different way of looking at an issue.

“One topic is on how to stop arguing with your kids (and) positive discipline,” she said. “All the parents I deal with, especially of young children, are looking for ways to stop yelling; I don’t think those are ways they can ever hear enough of.”

Dr. Adolph Brown III, also known as Doc Attitude, will deliver the opening session, titled “The POW! Of Positive Practical Parenting.”

Brown overcame an impoverished childhood with violence and welfare dependency to become a noted author, award-winning educator, trained anthropologist and psychologist, columnist, business consultant, motivation speaker and more.

“He’s a very motivation and relatable kind of guy,” O’Donnell said. “He’s overcome his own adversity.”

Teachers and specialists with the school district will lead most workshops, and the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office, Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters, The Planning Council and Suffolk Public Library System will also present.

Registration flyers are at city schools, and folks can also register online at, or by phone by calling 934-6202.

“I guarantee parents will get something out of it,” O’Donnell said. “They will not leave without a new thought, new technique or new idea to use with their child.”