Parents Learn To Communicate With Middle Schoolers


The SAFE Glen Cove Coalition recently sponsored another successful Parent University, free professional workshops designed for parents who want to learn about youth alcohol and substance abuse prevention, intervention and education. SAFE Inc., and High Functioning Family visited the Finley Middle School PTA on March 25 to talk with parents about how to improve communication with their middle schooler.

This interactive workshop was led by Margarita Daskalakis and Juarline Stravrinos, co-founders of High Functioning Family, a parent and health coaching company. High Functioning Family’s mission is to empower families to turn their challenges into successes. Daskalaskis and Stravrinos discussed tips and strategies parents can use when dealing with a pre-teen that is acting up.

Audience members were praised for their “desire to educate themselves on how to be the best parent, care takers and teacher they can be.” PTA members were encouraged to praise their children more than they react to bad moments. Parents were challenged to keep track of how many times a day they either praise or reprimand a child throughout the day.

Parental influence continues to play a major role in a child’s development and decision making skills. SAFE, Inc. encourages parents and caregivers to open lines of communication with their children.

“Children need to know that they can go to a parent and speak to them about their concerns,” said Ashley Ferrufino, SAFE Coalition Liaison. “By strengthening communication skills, parents are able to build stronger and more consistent relationships with their children.”

Juarline Stravrinos and Margarita Daskalaskis speak to parents about ways to improve communication with children. (Photos submitted by SAFE, Inc.)

In 2014, SAFE and the Glen Cove School District administered the Bach Harrison Prevention Needs assessment survey to students in sixth, eighth, 10th and 12th grades to determine risk and protective factors for alcohol and substance abuse at school, in the community and at home.

Results indicated that 44 percent of the sixth grade and 50 percent of the eighth grade are at risk for “Poor Family Management” and “Exposure to Adult Antisocial Behavior.”

“Parent University is an important prevention education experience that makes parents aware of the messages they are sending their children,” said Dr. Sharon Harris, SAFE Executive Director.

“Children will model communication styles that they experience at home in their other relationships. By strengthening parent-child communication patterns, middle school children are able to learn to ask for help and share their concerns in a more supportive environment.”

For more information about the SAFE Glen Cove Coalition, Parent University or other SAFE  initiatives, contact SAFE at 516-676-2008 or visit or

To learn more about High Functioning Family, contact 516-229-1744 or visit

—Submitted by SAFE, Inc.

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