Professionals and parents from across the U.P gathered for the 21st annual Parent Awareness Michigan conference at the Holiday Inn in Marquette.
The Parenting Awareness Michigan conference is an outlet for parents, caregivers, and family advocates to learn ways to encourage and support their children.
Key note speakers focused on a recent study, known as ACES, or Adverse Childhood Experiences, which links events, such as abuse and neglect, to psycho-emotional and physical health problems during adulthood.
"Higher incidences of cancer, pulmonary disease, heart disease and a whole variety of physical health issues that happen when children experience these adverse experiences. The physical pieces happen when it's more consistent and compounded, and they're more profound," said Michael Foley, key note speaker.
Education Consultant with MARESA, Anne King, says making sure a child doesn't experience any kind of abuse starts in the home by providing them a safe, comforting environment. Parents need to make it a point to make time for that one-on-one inner connection with their child, whether it's through family traditions, listening to their child, or maintaining and encouraging attitude.
"Time is love. Slowing down, listening to your children, incorporating family lifestyles to every day," said Tania Richards, parent.
Attendees had the opportunity to sit in on a variety of different sessions throughout the day including one geared at getting fathers involved in their child's life. Friends of Fathers helps parents become more involved in a child's life, helping them provide a support system, even in times of separation or a custody battle.
"I wanted to know how to better engage fathers; get them involved in some of the community activities that we did. They gave us some great pointers on how maybe dads think about things a little differently than moms," said Laurie Fold.
Another PAM Conference will be held in East Lansing on November 18.
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