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Teen & Families Connect: LiFT Program (Hawai’i)

DAUGHTER: One thing I appreciate about dad is that he tries really hard to be funny even though he’s not funny sometimes. DAUGHTER: I love that she’s very understanding, and always there when I need her. SONIA: (voice over) LiFT is a six hour family connection program where a parenting adult and teenagers get together to really strengthen their family bonds. A parenting adult can be a biological parent, a foster parent, can be an auntie or uncle, a grandparent, even a close family friend. We really help families learn to communicate effectively with each other. They can learn strategies and skills to have those tough talks. And those tough talks can be about sexual health, about drugs and alcohol, about healthy relationships, peer pressure — all of those things. DAD: I was raised in a generation where you don’t even have to this opportunity to have these conversations with your parents. DAUGHTER: You are able to further your skills that you already have or learn completely new skill sets to, you know, just figure outhow to talk about things. SONIA: The program is broken out into together times and separate times for the teens and the parents in their respective groups. Teens are going to learn skills on how to
approach their parents, how to have conversations. The parents, we’re going to give them some strategies and skills on how to really be an askable adult, to really focus on listening and hearing what their teen is saying and to be able to share their own personal values with their teens as well. DAUGHTER: They tell us how to ask a question, because when I’m asking my mom something she won’t just say, “No,” she’ll think about
it, DAUGHTER: Being able to have your parent go through it and be on the same page is super important. Being able to come to like a mutual understanding on a variety of subjects. SONIA: A strong connection is a superpower that parenting adults have and when you can build strong connection with teens, it can
help them achieve school success, it can help them from having unintended pregnancies or sexually transmitted infections. It can help reduce chances of bullying or
depression. It really can help set the stage for teens
to achieve their life goals. MOM: The thing that’s changed in our relationship — I think she’s more, honest with me. She comes to me with more of her problems. She’s not fearful that I’m just going to jump to the negative responses. DAD: If your daughter or even your son come and talk about stuff like this, It takes courage to come to your parents and talk about this kind of stuff and instead of shutting them down, just don’t run away from the opportunity. Embrace it. SONIA: The families that have participated so far have told us how impactful this program has been, how it really opened up communication
in ways that they never thought possible. And we know that when families are strong, communities get strong too. DAUGHTER: Yes, do the program because no matter how much you think you know you don’t know everything. DAD: (playful) Say that again, “What?” DAUGHTER: (laughs) DAUGHTER: I love you. MOM: Awww. I love you too. Thanks, boo-boo. DAUGHTER: Okay! Cut! (laughs)

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