Parenting has gotten tougher. So have children.
Relationships between parents and their children, in many cases, have become strained.
Some teens end up in juvenile court, while their parents shake their heads.
Some parents divorce over troubled youngsters.
Many young children in Payson are being raised by only one of their biological parents. There are dozens of grandparents raising their grandchildren in our Rim Country communities.
Where can parents and guardians find help today?
One spot is through a brand new outreach program at Payson United Methodist Church. The congregation members who run the parenting coffee klatch, as it's called, aren't trying to convert anyone. They just want to help Payson parents and children work out differences and maintain healthy lifestyles and families. The group believes helping families benefits our community as a whole.
Elaine Bohlmeyer is a retired school psychologist. Over the years, she has seen it all. Now, as her way of giving back to her community, she has set up the parenting program with the help of local teacher's aide, Cyndi Heinecke. For about 17 years, Heinecke ran a Payson day-care center. Both have children and grandchildren of their own.
"Our first two meetings went very well. At the last one, we talked mainly about disciplining small children," said Bohlmeyer. "Parenting today is very difficult. We meet at the church for an hour, have handouts, have individual and group discussions and have a library of books about parenting to offer," she said.
Bohlmeyer said Payson has some unique problems compared to other towns.
"It is very difficult to make a living here," she said. "Most jobs for people without college degrees pay very poorly. Even with a college degree, there are low salaries. Lots of parents hold two jobs. That financial situation makes it very stressful to find time for children. It's also difficult for many parents to tell their children they can't afford things that their friends have," she said.
The two women just want to make a difference in some way. Reaching out to people raising children is what it's all about for them.