Presentation aims to help parents tackle tough topics

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - From substance abuse to social media, and beyond -- parents have a lot of tough topics to tackle these days.

"Parenting in this day and age - it's really difficult," says Pam Evans with Topeka's Family Service and Guidance Center

FSGC, Stormont Vail, and Children's Mercy are teaming up for a special presentation to give parents strategies.

"It's not just kids that get pressure from social media, adults get that pressure too," said Dr. Mary Wilson, PhD with Stormont Vail Behavioral Health. "We all want our kids to do well. We all want our kids have a successful, happy life."

But parents are navigating a world filled with technology that didn't exist when they were growing up. It Adds a new wrinkle to issues like bullying, eating disorders, substance use - like alcohol or vaping, even suicide prevention.

Those topics and more will be covered by Children's Mercy Child and Adolescent Psychologist Dr. Shayla Sullivant in the upcoming "Prepped and ready" Presentation. FSGC and Stormont are partnering in the April 3rd presentation, specifically for the adults.

"By having the room full of parents, the atmosphere will be open and a safe place to ask questions and learn," Evans said. "I think everybody is in a similar situation and there's a lot of comfort for parents to know that, hey, they're not alone in the parenting journey."

They say it's a journey that happens in small steps. Wilson said parents should look for those little moments to talk to their kids, rather than waiting for one perfect time.

"Think about it like eating an apple. You would not try and gulp down an apple whole. You can't expect to have a conversation. So you want to think about smaller bites, and, for most kids, sitting across from their parent, having "A TALK" is hard," Wilson said.

She suggests starting a dialogue while driving to activities, or finding hobbies to enjoy together, whether it's golfing or playing a board game.

The Prepped and Ready presentation is 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, April 3rd, at the Topeka West High School auditorium. It is free for any adults, but they do ask you to register at