Photo: Attendees at the first iGen Parenting session.
Marni Steinberg originally got the idea for iGen Parenting when she was listening to friends talking about the tribulations that their kids were going through in middle school.
“I just felt like it would be great if there were some additional parenting resources to address these topics because it seems like there’s tons of parenting education when kids are babies but if you wait for them to be in high school – it’s like you totally missed the boat at that point,” she says. “Especially because things are happening earlier, and kids are getting into things earlier, it’s an idea that having information ahead of the curve can help you address some of those areas.”
This is where Marni’s background in advertising, event planning and cause-related marketing projects came into play. She met with various community organizations and synagogues to get their feedback, and she sought out experts on a variety of topics to address parents of tweens – typically those in fifth through eighth grade.
“I made a list of what I thought would be topics that people wanted to hear, or discuss, or find out more about, and then I sort of went through the process of looking for speakers.” Says Marni.
The result of her hard work this past year is the iGen Parenting Series. The first presentations in the series were How to Reach, Teach and Support Today’s Kids on Aug. 20 and Drugs in Middle School on Sept. 17 (see sidebar for upcoming schedule). Although they are primarily geared towards parents of tweens, Marni has had feedback from attendees that they feel the topics are applicable for parents of kids in grades K through 12.
“I’m really happy with how the line up came out,” says Marni. “I think that was a good evolution and flow from the first session topic all the way through – specifically the subunit that is November, January and February, which is sort of a mental health progression, all with therapists (presenting).”
The February session will address Suicide Warning Signs, which when Marni read the statistics on the rise of suicide in children as young as 10 was startling, especially since her daughter just turned 8 in September.
“I have a friend who teaches fifth grade, and just talking to her about what she is seeing in fifth compared to what I’m experiencing with my daughter in first, it’s interesting, but you can see that evolution happening,” says Marni.
The series provides parents with some expert advice, but it also instills the fact that they are not alone, other parents are going through the same thing. Marni hopes that the series builds a sense of community among the parents who are attending.
The Valley of the Sun Jewish Community Center and Pardes Jewish Day School are supporting partners, and currently the series is primarily being held at The J with two sessions in 2020 being hosted at Pardes.
“The approach and this positioning for year one were so I could start and build a base,” says Marni. “I live in the neighborhood that touches the JCC, so I mean it’s just like literally in my backyard.” All the speakers in the series are secular, so the program is open to all.
It all comes back to the sense of community she hopes to build through the series, and the value that having that interaction with other parents brings. Says Marni, “I feel like you know you’re taking advice from other people who have been there, so why not take advice from an actual expert on the subject?”
iGen Parenting Series
Sessions begin at 6 pm with schmooze time, and the presentations start promptly at 6:30 pm and ends at 8 pm. Prices are $18 per session.
The sessions will take place at the Valley of the Sun JCC (12701 N Scottsdale Road) except Jan 14 and March 24 are at Pardes Jewish Day School (12753 N Scottsdale Road).
For more information or to register, visit igenparenting.com.
Oct. 15, 2019
Raising Good Digital Citizens While Keeping Them Safe Online
Speaker: Ilana Lowery
Nov. 19, 2019
Keeping the Conversation Going with your Tween
Speaker: Therapy with Heart
Jan. 14, 2020
Your Tween’s Mood: When is is More than “Just a Phase?”
Speaker: A New Beginning
Feb. 11, 2020
Suicide Warning Signs
Speaker: Jill McMahon
March 24, 2020
No Place for Hate in the Schools (ADL Hate Crime Initiative)
Speaker: Carlos Galindo-Elvira
April 21, 2020
Arizona Laws and your Tween: What you don’t know
Speaker: Claudia Gilburd