Lengthy drives to and from work not only take a toll on a person's wallet, but also on his or her mental health, according to local counselors who say Tracy and Mountain House commuter families have their own set of difficulties in the home because of their time on the road.
Counselors from Tracy Mental Health and California Counseling Partnership want to extinguish miscommunication, mistrust and behavioral issues between parents and their children. Each agency will host its own set of workshops to discuss concerns and stresses in the home.
Debra Sheppard, marriage and family intern counselor with California Counseling Partnership, leads ongoing family counseling and individual teen counseling sessions to find the root of young adult's behavioral issues.
The cause is often busy parents, Sheppard said.
When she opened her practice in Tracy three years ago, she said she was surprised to find many local parents spend 12 to 15 hours away from home each day, in traffic and at the office.
"This is an area that has a high need for counseling because of people's lifestyle," she said. "Parents feel rushed and stressed about getting home because they don't know where their kids are."
Tracy Mental Health, Tracy 4 Teens and Tracy Unified School District will hold similar workshops just for parents of teens called the Parent Project. The 10-week course gives parents answers on topics like substance abuse, runaway behavior, failure in school, gang activity and violence. Parents hear interactive lessons, read a manual, discuss their concerns and create a plan to solve problems."Parents get answers and real strategies to strengthen relationships and family unity," said Regina Nordman, executive director at Tracy Mental Health Center.
At a glance
WHAT: Tracy Mental Health Parent Project workshops
WHEN: 6 to 9 p.m., next 10-week session begins Sept. 27 through Dec. 5
WHERE: City Hall, 333 Civic Center Plaza
COST: $120 for one parent, $200 for two; scholarships are available through Sutter Tracy Hospital Foundation
WHAT: California Counseling Partnership teen and parent discussion groups
WHEN: Eight-week sessions are ongoing.
WHERE: California Counseling Partnership, 9 W. 8th St. Ste. 500
COST: $65 to $90 for each one-hour session