Conversation Circles launching to help Naperville parents

Posted9/13/2014 7:20 AM

A Naperville nonprofit group is offering a new round of free meetings for parents to discuss the challenges facing their kids.

ParentsMatterToo is starting three Conversation Circles this week and two more next month to help parents learn from one another about how to build strong dialogue with their children, said Diane Overgard, project manager for the organization, which is an initiative of the nonprofit KidsMatter. The first Conversation Circles began in April as one of ParentsMatterToo's efforts to address the heroin problem in the Naperville area.


"The conversation circles are really designed to help parents learn skills about how to open conversations with their kids," Overgard said. "While there will be some information in every session about drug and alcohol awareness and about bullying and stress and anxiety, the main focus is very positive parenting. Parents will walk away from circles with some new skills of how to talk to their kids about challenging topics."

Two circles already started meeting this week, and all seven being offered this fall are accepting new members, Overgard said.

The circles will meet at least three times with a trained facilitator to discuss topics including family values, child/family relationships and ways to get through to children with different types of personalities.

Each of the groups to be offered this fall can accommodate up to 12 parents. There are circles for parents of preschool through first-grade children, elementary school-aged children and 10- to 14-year-olds. Two circles meeting this season are for parents of junior high and high school students, and one, led by single dad Josh Peterson, focuses specifically on single parents.

"He felt really strongly that the concepts and things that single parents would like to discuss are a little bit different than what just all parents are wanting to talk about," Overgard said about Peterson.

For a list of parent conversation circle times and locations, visit For details, contact Kathy Shank at KidsMatter at (630) 567-6981 or

"The focus on really positive parenting makes these circles inviting and applicable for all parents," Overgard said.

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