Dwayne Peace and I are members of Calgary’s chapter of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers. From the day we met, I have been impressed with Dwayne and his work as an ex-police officer, School Resource Officer, and now youth and parent speaker. He is a strong, no-nonsense, reliable, caring, and gentle guy, who willingly takes on teenage problems. Dwayne’s recently published book, Parenting with Eyes Wide Open: A Look Beneath the Surface at the Issue of Today’s Youth, is raw, matter-of-fact, and courageous.
Regardless, my over thirty years studying and delivering workshops on parent education, I became better informed about today’s youth. Dwayne’s knowledge, experience, and perspectives are current and insightful.
Dwayne’s book is an interweave of his past police work, his interactions with students, parents and others, his personal challenges and thoughts, and his evolution as a parent. He describes being a father to five children and the messages he delivers to students, school staff, parents and communities where conflict, bullying, and other high-risk behaviours are rampant. He does this with transparency, thoughtful rationale, and passion.
By the way, Dwayne has developed a reputation for having influence with students because of his ability to quickly earn their trust. He does that by sharing his own fears and struggles as well as his heartfelt concerns.
While Dwayne was a School Resource Officer, he noticed that most youth want their independence while being dependant on adults, especially their parents, for their basic needs and guidance. He also noticed that youth get in trouble when they do not think through the painful consequences of their decisions. He wants youth to know they can solve their problems by clueing into the power of making informed decisions. Hence, part of his strategy is telling hard facts and truths, such as, “You could be charged for doing that!”
Dwayne emphasizes the importance of accepting that we all have invisible stories that influence our personalities and behaviours. He uses the analogy of an iceberg with only 10% of its mass visible.
Dwayne truly listens to students’ stories. Those stories include issues of social pressure, illegal behaviour, poor body image, bullying, drug use, self-harm, suicide, and abuse. He encourages students, parents, school staff, and the rest of us to listen to others’ stories, or at least assume they exist. Then he encourages us to show compassion, respect, understanding, and empathy; what he calls C.R.U.E.
I appreciate that Dwayne defines his beliefs for reader clarity. They include:
- Too many parents are not aware of their youths’ activities.
- Parents who are clued in help minimize high-risk behaviour of a struggling teen.
- Parents are off the mark when they try to be buddies to their children.
- Parents need to stop rescuing and solving problems for their youth.
- Youth benefit when they know the consequences of their poor decisions.
- Grounding is ineffective.
- Consequences that are logically related to poor decisions are powerful.
- Giving youth options gives them a sense of ownership and responsibility.
Dwayne Peace Quotes for Youth
- “Maintain close friendships, but also be open and accepting towards all people . . . accept everyone and be thankful that we are all different.”
- “Words are powerful. They can lift someone up to great heights and can also be used as weapons to beat them down.”
- “People die of suicide because of constant racist, homophobic, or sexist names fired their way on a daily basis.”
- “Teasing is when both parties are on equal ground and having fun . . . a balance of power and stopping when someone asks. Taunting is when someone uses their words with the intent to harm, and it creates an imbalance of power.”
- “At what point did killing become entertainment?” (A question to challenge mass consumption of violence on TV, movies and video games)
- “There is no laugh track in real life. Just because something seems funny on TV doesn’t mean it would be funny if it happened in real life.”
- “There is no such thing as ratting out a bully . . . The bully needs help, or they will go through life continuing to bully others.”
- “Everybody in your school, your community, and in your whole life has a story, and we can learn the most from one another’s experiences. The next time you see something and react to it immediately without knowing the context, stop and wonder if there is a story behind it.”
- “My challenge to all students is to find out what their gift is, hop on it, and ride it to amazing heights.”
Dwayne Peace Quotes for Parents and Other Adults
- “If you want to have a real conversation with your chid, share something about yourself first.”
- “Like television and other media, playing violent video games causes desensitization to violence . . . I do not allow violent video games in my house . . . As parents we are left to make educated decisions regarding how much violence we allow in our children’s lives.”
- “Bullying will not stop without intervention and victims must have external support.”
- “We need to find a balance between allowing our children to quit things they don’t like and pushing them to do their best.”
- “If you’re not good at showing affection, I suggest you start, even if this means seeking professional counselling.”
- “Give options, not orders.”
- “Dig deep inside yourself and take responsibility for the fears and behaviours you have passed onto your children.”
- “Ideally, we want to leave our kids to solve small problems and feel comfortable coming to us with big ones.”
- “By granting your children permission to celebrate themselves, you encourage them to build up their self-esteem and confidence without your constant approval.”
Dwayne Peace Quote for All!
- “I urge you to love without fear, and to love openly.”
If you have a youth in your life, and especially if you have a struggling teen, I hope you look at Dwayne Peace’s work at Life Synergy for Youth. While there you can purchase a copy of Parenting with Eyes Wide Open!
Please check out these related posts:
It’s Time to Step Up Parents! How to Help Youth at Risk Note: Dwayne Peace and his work are referenced in this post.
The Exciting Advantages of Volunteering for Teens
Patricia Morgan MA CCC helps her readers, clients, and audiences lighten their load, brighten their outlook, and strengthen their resilience. To go from woe to WOW call 403.242.7796 or email a request.