The Wilton Public School District will sponsor a six-week workshop called How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk to help parents develop more effective skills for communicating with their children.

The program, developed by the authors of the book by the same name, uses lessons, roleplay and practice to help parents develop communication skills.

Workshop participants will learn how to engage their child’s cooperation, respond to negative feelings, set limits and find alternatives to punishment.

Parents will also begin to understand how to resolve conflicts peacefully, develop positive family relationships and encourage autonomy in their children.

Funding for this new program was provided through a joint initiative of the Wilton Woman’s Club and Wilton Youth Council aimed at the opioid crisis that focuses on early prevention of risk factors that can lead to addiction later in life.

“Kids today feel tremendous pressure to excel in school and in their extracurricular activities” Wilton Youth Council President Vanessa Elias said. “When parents can communicate effectively with their children, they are better prepared to help their children navigate the stresses of modern life.”

Elias said parents have “a significant influence on whether their children use alcohol and other drugs.”

“When families have open lines of communication, parents can share their values around substance use,” she said. “That is a strong protective factor for kids.”

When the Wilton Youth Council and the Wilton Library offered the How to Talk So Kids Will Listen program last fall, it filled up quickly and parents responded “favorably,” said Elias.

“We are thrilled that the district will be able to offer it three times during this school year,” said Elias.

Kim Zemo, the safe school climate coordinator for the Wilton Public School District, said the Wilton Youth Council arranged for local psychologist Dr. Susan Bauerfeld to “train the district’s social workers to deliver this workshop.

“Now we are able to offer the program at no charge to parents,” said Zemo.

The first of three workshop sessions will take place on Mondays, Nov. 13 through Dec. 18, from 10 to 11:30 a.m. in Room 31 of Comstock Community Center. This workshop will be free and limited to Wilton parents.

The second workshop sessions will take place:


  • Wednesdays, Jan. 10 to Feb. 21, with one snow date scheduled.

  • Thursdays, March 8 to April 19, with one snow date scheduled.


Registration for the first session is now open. To register, call 203-834- 6241.

Questions can be directed to Zemo at zemok@wiltonps.org.