Parents of toddlers often go through what is known as the "terrible twos."
But the struggles of strong-willed children can become even more consequential during the years of adolescence.
For some families, it might be called the "terrible teens."
Educators at Central Crossing and Grove City high schools are offering a training program for parents that is designed to provide strategies for addressing destructive adolescent behavior.
The sessions cover behavioral issues including arguing and family conflict, poor school performance, truancy, drug and alcohol use, gang participation, teen violence and bullying.
The Parent Project, a free eight-week program that begins Feb. 28, will be offered from 5:45 to 8:45 p.m. every Wednesday. The location of the weekly classes is still to be determined.
The sessions will be facilitated by Central Crossing guidance counselor Heather Fairs and Grove City Algebra 2 and college development teacher Rachel Rendle. Both educators have been trained as Parent Project facilitators.
"When we're talking about 'strong-willed' children, we're talking about non-conforming adolescents, teens for whom nothing their parents are trying seems to be making an impact," Fairs said.
"It's for parents who are finding their children keep making the same bad behavior choices," she said.
The research-based curriculum was developed in California.
"Police officers were noticing that they were going out to the same homes over and over again and that the resources they were using, sending teens to juvenile court or suspending them from school, wasn't working," Fairs said.
The key to the program is that it empowers parents, she said.
"Parents often continue to try to use the same techniques with their adolescent children that they used when their children were younger," Fairs said. "It just doesn't work."
As children move into their teens, "it requires that parents change their tactics," she said.
"You can't just physically pick up your children and put them in the car anymore when they are as big or bigger than you are," she said.
Teens may seem like they're on their way to becoming adults and many parents believe their children will respond if they treat them as adults, she said.
"But they aren't adults. They are still children who are still developing and maturing," Fairs said. "They still need that discipline from you, but in a different way."
Fairs said she is a believer in the Parent Project program.
"We've been pleased with the results since we started offering this program," she said. "We've had a lot of feedback from parents telling us how much impact is had with their children and reducing conflict in their families."
The local presentation of the program is funded through Title I money from the U.S. Department of Education and a grant from the South-Western City Schools Educational Foundation.
There is no cost to parents, but space is limited. The program is designed for and open to parents of middle school and high school students.
Course materials and dinner will be provided each week.
Parents interested in enrolling in the program should contact Fairs at 614-801-6508 or call Grove City High School at 614-801-3300.
More information is available at parentproject.com.