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      Workshop aims to improve parent-teen relationships

      COLUMBIA (WACH) -- Hundreds of parents spent their Friday learning more about how tough it is to be a teenager in today's world.

      Parents from North and South Carolina; along with some from Georgia, came to the Department of Juvenile Justice to attend the first ever "Adolescents Rites of Passage" workshop.

      Chapin parent Katherine Bullock said she was looking forward to it.

      "I'm a parent with a 17-year-old that is struggling to find herself and her gifts," Bullock said. "And I'm struggling to find mine. It is sad that we are brought up to identify what is wrong with people; instead of what is right."

      The day long seminar showed the importance of creating a healthy, meaningful transition for children.

      Family Therapist Brooke Judkins, who has a home based support service for families caled UNIFY Families, said she has learned a lot of ideas she will implement in her practice.

      "It is about finding the gifts within you that you bring to this world," Judkins said. "When parents do that, it helps children be able to do that too."

      Louise Slater with The Price Group, one of the sponsors, said that without this crucial relationship, children may feel like they need their own rites of passage; like drug and alcohol abuse, gang initiation, prostitution, and eating disorders.

      "When you find that kids get disconnected to the adults, that is when crime starts to happen," Slater said. "That is when gangs start to happen."

      The seminar gave parents a chance to open up and get therapeutic strategies on how to connect with teens.

      "With teenagers, it is challenging when they reach this age," Bullock said. "It becomes as much part of their own work. Working on myself and identifying my own passages or rights that I need to have will benefit my child."

      A benefit that will go a long way toward the success of the next generation.