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Parent Support Nights offer information, networking and a free night out for dinner

PETOSKEY – Temper tantrums, outbursts, defiance and destructive behaviors in a young child are sometimes a part of normal development, even though they may be frustrating to parents. However, these behaviors may also signal a deeper developmental problem that requires special attention and early intervention. Often, parents are unsure if behavior issues are part of normal development, or if they signal a need for additional professional assessment.

The Health Department of Northwest Michigan's Early Childhood Behavioral Health Initiative seeks to support parents as they deal with challenging behaviors, and to help them access additional services should they need them. The Health Department is partnering with the Char-Em Intermediate School District and Great Start to offer a series of free Parent Support Nights, beginning this Wednesday, October 10th at the Taylor School, 1515 Cemetery Road in Petoskey. Each Parent Support Night will include dinner – at no charge – and a guest speaker, followed by dessert, Q&A and networking opportunities. On-site child care is also provided, free of charge. According to Natalie Kasiborski, coordinator for the Early Childhood Behavioral Health Initiative, the program is much more than a series of lectures and pamphlets.

“Our Parent Support Nights are designed around the idea that parents have needs, too,” she explained. “We are giving them a night out for dinner, on us – no need to find a babysitter. While they're here, they will have the opportunity to listen to local experts in the field of early childhood development, and connect with other parents who may be experiencing some of the same problems.”

The theme of the first Parent Support Night on October 10th is “Behavior 101 – When is it more than the terrible twos?” presented by Nicole Lindwall, MSW, the Early On Coordinator for Charlevoix and Emmet Counties. Lindwall provides assessment and support to families of children ages 0-3 who may be experiencing developmental delays and disabilities or who have other special needs. Kasiborski says more Parent Support Nights covering related topics are scheduled for mid-November, February and April.

Dinner begins at 6pm, followed by the guest speaker at 6:30, and dessert, Q&A and networking at 7pm. For details on the October 10th program, or for more information on any of the upcoming Parent Support Nights, contact Kasiborski at (800) 432-4121 or

The Health Department of Northwest Michigan is mandated by the Michigan Public Health Code to promote wellness, prevent disease, provide quality healthcare, address health problems of vulnerable populations, and protect the environment for the residents and visitors of Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, and Otsego counties. Visit the Health Department online at and on Facebook at, or call (800) 432-4121.