Dialogue Nights help teens, parents talk and listen to each other

So often, parents and teens don’t know how to talk to each other. Simple discussions quickly turn into
arguments and confrontations.
Dialogue Night is an activity funded by the Reducing Alcohol Abuse in Secondary Schools (RAASS) grant
from the Wood County Educational Service Center. It will be offered at schools throughout the county to
teach parents and teens how to talk and listen to each other about a variety of subjects in a calm,
respectful manner.
One such Dialogue Night was held in Bowling Green on Wednesday and another is scheduled for tonight at 7
at Northwood High School.
During Dialogue Nights, parents and their children are separated into different groups so they each have
the opportunity to speak freely about the subjects. Each group has both a youth and adult facilitator to
ensure all parties feel listened to and their opinions are valued, not challenged.
Topics are chosen by teens from the high school, as well as by adults from the community, and cover a
wide range of current subjects. It is the goal of Dialogue Night that a conversational comfort level
will be reached and parents and teens will consequently be more inclined to talk together in the future.

"There are no winners or losers," said Debbie Marinik, the community organizer for the RAASS
grant. "It’s not about one person’s opinion being better than another persons’. It’s about being
heard and leaving Dialogue Night feeling that their opinions have been valued.
"One of the things we know is that parent opinion is very important to teens when they are making
decisions that can effect their whole lives," she continued. "Yet so frequently, teens and
their parents have a very difficult time trying to broach important topics without pushing each others
buttons and starting a major disagreement.
Additional Dialogue Nights are scheduled in North Baltimore on Nov. 5, at Eastwood on Nov. 19, at
Perrysburg on Dec. 3, and at Rossford on Dec. 8. All events will be held in the high school cafeterias
from 7 to 9 p.m.