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Former superintendent creates new parenting group

TALK: Stan Bippus (center) talks to Crestview Middle School PrincipalChuck Werth and HCCSC nurse Meg Friesen to discuss possible questions and topics for the upcoming parenting discussion group.

by Andrew Maciejewski - amaciejewski@h-ponline.com

A former school superintendent is starting a parenting discussion group to help parents navigate tough questions and challenges that arise while raising a child.

When is it appropriate to allow your children to stay at home alone? How can you motivate your child to do their homework? Your child wants to take the family car for a road trip, but you’re afraid drinking might be involved; should you let them go?

These are the kinds questions Stan Bippus hopes to address and help parents work through at his group’s first meeting on Jan. 31 at Crestview Middle School in the cafeteria.

Bippus was a public school superintendent for 29 years, and was assistant superintendent at Huntington County Community School Corporation from 1976 to 1978. He used similar discussion groups to work through tough school issues and said the process was very effective.

“The idea is that parents will see how comfortable it can be to talk about their problems,” Bippus said. “Any parent has problems with their kids – I will tell you that right now, so this is an avenue to help with that. My goal is to get more awareness because everyone gets this kind of stuff.”

Each meeting will begin with questions that are submitted to the group before the monthly meeting, and after each parent gives their opinion during the discussion, the group will move onto other topics to help parents prepare for situations that are arising in popular culture.

The goals of the group are to establish a setting where people will not feel intimidated or judged by their opinion, thoughts and belief regarding how the would react to different situations that occur when raising children, according to the press release.

Another goal is to create a process where adults who are responsible for raising children feel comfortable discussion the challenges that all parents face, along with reinforcing the fact that everyone every where who is raising or helping raise children face difficult and confusing challenges in addition to the rewards of raising a child.

They will also cover topics that Bippus believes every parent should discuss with their kids.

“This is a great way to open a discussion with kids,” he said. “A big one now is vaping. I was just shocked by the number of kids who are vaping.”

Although Bippus has been facilitating discussion like this for years, he has been meeting with HCCSC principals and Huntington University classes to streamline his approach.

He said he was talking to a parent about vaping recently, and she said while she was on vacation, she overheard a child asking for their parent to bring their vape down to the pool.

“She couldn’t believe it,” he said. “So it’s situations like that that are good to discuss and prepare for.”

Right now, Bippus is asking parents to submit questions they have or situations they need help navigating. Those questions can be sent to sbippus@cinergymetro.net.

He said he acknowledges that when responding to various parenting situations, it is important for parents to keep in mind that a strategy that works in one household may not work in another, but he said the discussions can be very eye-opening.

“Everyone responds or behaves differently to different people and situations,” he said. “However, it is helpful to listen to what others might do in the same or similar situation to help make better decisions.”

Bippus said that this first meeting will be used as a way to gauge public interest, and he said he plans to finalize plans for monthly meetings once he works out what works best for people’s schedules.

For more information email Stan Bippus at sbippus@cinergymetro.net or call him at 812-599-9060.