Helping Parents are Focus of Seminars

By Timithie NORMAN

Approximately 15 parents gathered at the Crescenta-Cañada Family YMCA Tuesday night to listen to Glendale police officer Joe Allen discuss synthetic drugs and current drug trends among teenagers and young adults.

The presentation was just one in a series of informative and supportive parenting discussions that take place throughout the school year sponsored by the Glendale Unified School District, the YMCA and the Crescenta Valley Drug and Alcohol Prevention Coalition (CVDAPC).

The CVDAPC was formed several years ago as a partnership between local law enforcement and parents who were concerned about drug issues in the area, explained Susan Dubin, executive second vice president of the CVDAPC.

“We started offering a host of parenting topics, whether it was risky behavior, peer pressure, conflict resolution, the whole gamut of any tips parents would need to handle their tweens and teens,” Dubin said.

With a regular attendance of around 20 parents each week, local therapist Pam Erdman and social worker Paul Royer lead the discussions that help foothills parents navigate the tricky teen years.

“Parents need support and to be encouraged in communication with their child,” Royer said. “We do preventative care – that is, talk about problems and stop things from happening as opposed to dealing with the consequences.”

One of the main concerns is good communication between parents and children. The teen years can be very complicated and filled with a lot of risk, Erdman said, but if communication is strengthened, the parent-child relationship can weather a lot.

“If communication is strong, every other issue from drugs to academic performance to picking good friends, can be faced,” she said. “We help build the foundations of a good relationship between parent and child.”

At Tuesday’s event, Allen explained what sort of paraphernalia to watch out for that might indicate a teen is involved in drug use. Household chemicals and aerosols, cough and cold medicine, and prescription pills are often used by students looking to get high.

The presentation included information on a variety of “designer drugs” created in labs to mimic the effects of “traditional” streets drugs like heroin, ecstasy and marijuana.

“There are new drugs popping up all the time,” Allen explained. “But the biggest problems here are alcohol, weed and prescription pills.”

Though drugs and alcohol are a concern among local parents, the parenting series addresses topics as varied as depression, household rules and guidelines, communication, relationship building, and more. Dubin emphasized that the program is not just for parents of kids who are struggling.

“We can all learn to become better parents,” she said. “The expertise is invaluable and better than reading a tip online or listening to a friend’s advice, which may not always be the most helpful thing.”

The parenting series is every Tuesday throughout the school year from 7:15 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Crescenta-Cañada Family Y. Admission is free, and you do not need to be a member of the Y to attend. Upcoming topics are “Negative Scripting” on May 29, “Rules” on June 5, and the last session for this school year is on June 12 addressing “What should my children do this summer?” More information is available at

The Crescenta-Cañada YMCA is located at 1930 Foothill Blvd. in La Cañada.