The Herald Bulletin

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Community

April 18, 2014

A new kind of support

Grandmother offers resources for teen parents' families

ANDERSON — Crystal Everhart’s daughter was only 16 when she announced she was pregnant. The soon-to-be grandmother wasn’t totally sure what to do or who to talk to. At one point, she felt herself start to slip into depression.

Nearly three years later, she’s trying to make sure other Madison County grandparents won’t feel the same way.

Everhart recently started Parents of Teen Parents (PTP), a monthly support group and resource center. After struggling to find someone to confide in and resources to help her family, it was clear to her that she needed to offer a space to talk for others in similar situations.

“I have more experience than the people who are just now going through it,” Everhart said. “I think that in itself is a credential.”

The program is still in its infancy. PTP has had two meetings, one at the start of March and one on April 5. The next one is at 10 a.m. May 3 at New Horizons United Methodist Church, 611 E. 53rd St.

Only two other parents have attended so far, but that doesn’t mean the meetings have been short on discussions.

Since talking to peers is only one part of the support group, Everhart invites guest speakers to go over ways to help families.

Michelle Cramer, a counselor at Aspire, spoke at both meetings. The big topic of conversation in the April gathering: communication.

Cramer said parents and their teenage children often have difficulty relaying information to one another. They commonly say similar things, but argue without realizing they’re making the same point.

“Are we communicating in a way they understand?” she asked.

A key is mimicking how the teenagers speak so they understand, Cramer said, but also realizing that everyone’s roles are changing: from parents to grandparents, and from kids to parents who are probably still trying to be young.

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