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Dec 2019: Teen suicide, Alcohol-free parties, Active listening

Dear Parents,

Welcome to the second edition of Let’s Talk, COPE’s new monthly parenting newsletter. This newsletter is intended to keep you up to date on parenting-related news, offer useful parenting tips, and provide you with insights via  various topics from our website SPENJ.ORG

We have a holiday-related tip for you, but we also spotted some information about the teen suicide epidemic that we want every parent to be aware of – scroll down for more.Please let us know what you think of our newsletter – just drop an email to or  Send us any topics or issues you want to learn more about.  We want this newsletter to be informative, useful, timely and worthwhile, so your feedback is very important. 

Thanks.Susan, Ruth, Logetty, Sharlene and CarolCOPE’s Parenting Team


Recent parenting news you may have missed:

Did you know that suicide is now the 2nd leading cause of death among those aged 10 to 24?  According to an expert quoted in a recent New York Times article ‘The Crisis in Youth Suicide’ , “We’re in the middle of a full-blown mental health crisis for adolescents and young adults.”  We want everyone to be aware of the information in Jane E. Brody’s article. 

For more information on help lines and other crisis resources, check out the Topics for Parents/Crisis on SPENJ.ORG main menu or our list of hotlines and hotlines for teens.   And if you suspect your teen has a friend in crisis and you want to know how to help, read our article When Your Teen has a Friend in Crisis.


December’s featured parenting tip:

Be a Role Model at Holiday Festivities 

The holidays are a hectic time of year, filled with gatherings and celebrations with family and friends. Don’t forget to be a role model for your children, especially teenagers. It’s a time for greater care and responsibility as well as merriment. If you’re going to be drinking at a holiday party, make a plan for getting home safely ahead of time. Talk about who is going to be the designated driver or if you’re going to use a ride sharing app to get home. Know your limits: use this interactive calculator to determine your blood alcohol level, based on your weight, alcohol consumption and hours spent drinking. 

Check out the website Rethinking Drinking for taking a look at your drinking habits and how they affect your life.

The Tip of the Week is updated on the website every week or two during the school year.  Click here to see the current Tip.  

Upcoming COPE parenting workshops:

December 15 Active Listening West Orange Public Library

January 11 Successful Launching Starts Today Montclair

January 12 Successful Launching Starts Today West Orange Public Library

December’s featured article:

Active Listening Skills Enrich Your Parental Communications

It’s easy for the important things to go out of focus when you are getting your family’s dinner on the table, helping with homework and making sure your child has what they need for their extra-curricular activity. At times, children are telling us things and we just go through the motions of hearing, but we’re not really listening. When this happens, we can miss little cues that tell us how they are doing and how they are feeling.

Listening and hearing your child is crucial to their development. When your child is sharing a part of their day with you, it’s important to show that you are listening; knowing that they are being heard provides a sense of security and reinforces good self-esteem. Start by looking at how you listen; as you become a better listener yourself, you will be able to help your child learn these skills.

Active listening skills aren’t complex; you need to focus your attention on the speaker, suspend all judgement, and listen for the emotion as well as the words. When the speaker has completed a thought try to verbally restate/summarize what you just heard, avoiding adding your own interpretation. Next, check-in to make sure you’ve understood what the person is saying to you, ask: “What I think I heard you say was…is that right/did I understand you?”

The key is that you are not trying to come to an agreement, but you are just listening and acknowledging that you are hearing what they are saying (not what you want to hear).   click here to read more.


Looking for more parenting resources? Click here to visit our parenting website:


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