In late June, as an integral component of an upcoming project aimed at fostering effective communication between adolescents and their parents, UNESCO IITE joined forces with the editorial board of the youth media platform, Teens.LIVE Armenia, to organize a gathering for parents of adolescents in Yerevan, Armenia. The purpose of this gathering was to create a safe space for parents to openly discuss the challenges they encounter while communicating with their maturing children. During the event, they shared their experiences in resolving these issues and received invaluable insights from esteemed experts, namely Marina Melkumova and Eva Movsesyan, both pediatricians and coordinators of the Adolescent Health Program at the Institute of Child and Adolescent Health of the Arabkir Medical Complex, as well as Nuneh Vardanyan, a consultant psychologist and psychology teacher at Yerevan State Medical University after M. Geratsi. The meeting was chaired by Arusiak Mkrtchyan, Head of Teens.LIVE Armenia project, with the active participation of Ekaterina Samolygo, UNESCO IITE Youth Projects Coordinator.
A central theme that emerged during these discussions was the acknowledgment that parenting mistakes are inevitable; however, maintaining a foundation of trust with their children enables parents to offer unwavering support and guidance throughout the challenging journey of adolescence.
Throughout the discussion, participants underscored the significance of cultivating healthy debates between parents and their children. Such open dialogue not only facilitates personal growth but also equips young individuals with essential communication skills, encouraging them to express and articulate their viewpoints confidently. Moreover, the participants emphasized the vital role of open communication, where both parties feel free from fear or hesitancy in expressing their emotions and thoughts, seeking answers to their questions, and exchanging valuable insights.
The event also delved into pertinent issues arising in the virtual realm, including responsible online behavior and the risks of sexting.
Additionally, participants engaged in discussions regarding preventative measures parents can take to discourage their teenagers from falling into drug use. In this context, the experts reiterated the paramount importance of nurturing trusting and open relationships between children and parents, maintaining mutual affection and support as primary measures to prevent not only drug use but also alcohol and tobacco consumption.
The experts underlined that setting a personal example and calmly explaining the consequences of addiction to psychoactive substances prove more effective than imposing strict prohibitions and punishments.
Throughout the meeting, parents not only sought advice from the experts but also shared their own experiences with one another. The received feedback demonstrated a keen interest among parents in events centered around sexuality education, gender education for children, and drug prevention.
The insights gained during this event will serve UNESCO IITE in formulating the goals and objectives of their upcoming project for parents, tailored to their specific needs and preferences for receiving information. Expert recommendations and practical advice on cultivating healthy relationships with adolescent children and effectively addressing upbringing-related challenges will be carefully considered in the project’s development process.
About Teens.LIVE Armenia project
Teens.LIVE Armenia is an engaging youth digital media project, supported by UNESCO IITE, with a core mission to offer comprehensive health and relationship education to adolescents and young people in Armenia. Leveraging online tools and social media platforms, Teens.LIVE Armenia covers an extensive array of essential topics, including the transformations experienced during adolescence, physical and reproductive health, mental well-being, prevention of HIV infection and various diseases, interpersonal relationships, gender equality, human rights, violence and bullying prevention, as well as media literacy.