Supporting Teens by Engaging the Village


Supporting Teens by Engaging the Village

by Katherine Suellentrop
November 28, 2018
A daughter hugs her mother in front of some plants

As the saying goes, “it takes a village” to raise and support children. This holds true when it comes to supporting parents and champions to have ongoing conversations with their children about sex, love, and relationships. We know from data and conversations with young people that they want to talk to their parents and the other adult champions in their lives about these important topics. We also know that parents and champions want to talk to the young people in their lives about these topics, but they need more support about how to start the conversations and keep them going. Families Talking Together (FTT)—an evidence-based program that has been found to help parents have more effective conversations with adolescents leading to better outcomes for those young people—is a tool that helps parents do just that.

Power to Decide, in partnership with Dr. Guilamo-Ramos at the Center for Latino Adolescent and Family Health at New York University and Adolescent AIDS Program of Montefiore Medical Center and Behavioral Health Solutions of South Texas, recently explored a new way of engaging parents in this program, through the use of promotores. Through this project, we learned:

  • The FTT program, delivered by promotores, improves parent-adolescent communication about sex;
  • Latino families perceive promotores to be accessible (we recruited more than 600 parents and their adolescents in this project); and
  • Parents preferred to receive FTT coaching sessions with the promotores in their home.

This project suggests that engaging community partners to empower parents can help increase parents’ likelihood of talking to their adolescents about sex, love, and relationships. Three cheers to the power of parents and communities!