It’s a Parenting group that uses Creative Action Methods such as warm-ups, role plays and interactive discussions instead of lectures. We help generate ideas on how to handle your teens and how to handle the thoughts and emotions that can get you off track.
Why would I want to try a “Creative Action Method”?
It’s fun. Warm-up games help participants get to know each other, feel more comfortable and laugh. Expect lots of laughter.
You help set the agenda. While a parenting lecture is preordained by the leader, improvisational exercises allow you to bring up themes of interest. That way, the group is custom-tailored to the group members’ needs.
You can vent. Our role plays allow parents to say the snarky things they wanted to say in the last argument, but knew were inappropriate. Express anger, fear, embarrassment, sadness, or any feeling that may be complicating interactions with their offspring. Get it out of your system before we look for solutions.
You can walk in another person’s shoes. You get the chance to play a bratty teen. Sass a parent. Roll your eyes. Feel the power, the joy, the insecurities behind the snotty attitude. It can be fun and it also helps you understand what motivates this child so you can plan your response accordingly.
You can practice your game plan. In real life, you can’t do a do-over, but in role plays, you can try several ways to handle a tricky situation, until you find the one that fits best. And if you’re stuck, invite other group members to try out strategies of their own. You're not in it alone.
Build social supports. After the role play, participants share their responses to the drama. Sharing can stimulate insights and build rapport as you realize you’re all in the same boat.
You can find solutions that works for you. The leader does not dictate one definitive answer for what a parent SHOULD do. Instead, the group members discuss pros and cons of various approaches and choose a method that fits their own unique situation. This approach respects the parents’ perspective and encourages collaborative problem solving instead of obeying an “expert.”
Will I be expected to reveal my private issues?
Not necessarily. We do the first drop-in sessions with hypothetical situations to explore shared issues. If enough participants want to join an ongoing group, we will start acting out specific personal situations.
But I can’t act.
No problem. Acting ability is not necessary. You don’t have to be entertaining or talented. All you need is a willingness to play along without judging yourself or others. The leader will warm you up with activities that will help prepare you for role playing.
Tell me about the group leader.
Jennifer Whitlock has a warm, friendly and fun presence that helps put group members at ease. As for credentials, she has been a Licensed Professional Counselor for over 12 years. She co-founded the Girls Rule delinquency prevention group at Saint Clare’s, and gave a speech on Engaging the Difficult Adolescent at the New Jersey Counseling Association Conference. She is a comic actor in community theater.
Ms. Whitlock has completed six years of intensive psychodrama trainings, and this group is part of her supervised practicum to be a Certified Practitioner in Psychodrama.
How does this compare to Shout Out!!! for Teens?
Each group involves role plays. But the teen group focuses more on self-expression and social supports, since it is a time of questioning identity and trying to find a place to fit in.
Sounds great! Where and when?
We meet Tuesday nights from 6:30 to 8:00 pm at the Bentley Mansion, 93 Main Street in Newton.
Cost is a mere $10 a group. Reservations are required. Call Jennifer Whitlock at 973-222-3750 or email her at Jen@JenWhitlock.com.
Copyright 2015 by Jennifer Whitlock, 93 Main Street, Newton, NJ 07860; Jen@JenWhitlock.com; 973-222-3750