In early October a Meridian man was arrested and charged with the exploitation of a child in connection with alleged events in which he had inappropriate contact over the Internet with a 15-year old boy.
But the arrest of the suspect is not the point of the case.
Ward Calhoun, chief deputy of the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Department, whose deputies led the almost three week investigation culminating in the arrest, noted the teenager and the family as a whole did everything right when confronted with a potentially dangerous situation.
""They did all the right things," said Calhoun, in regard to the family recognizing there may be a serious issue and then notifying law enforcement authorities of the relationship the suspect is said to have started up with their son. "I wish all parents and their children had this type of trust among themselves."
Trust and communication between parents and their children will be one of the many of the topics Dr. Michelle Boucher will address Tuesday at Meridian Community College from 5:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. The seminar, Building Bounce Back Kids: Fostering Resilience and Optimism in Young Children, is free to the public. The seminar will be held in the McCain Theater of Ivy Hall on the campus of MCC.
Boucher, of Weems Community Mental Health Center, says children have access to much more than even their parents did a generation ago. The fact young issues such as bullying have spread from the hallways of schools onto the Internet can mean there is really no respite for youngsters.
"It is very important that parents show their children how to deal with adversity," said Boucher. "Parents find themselves walking a tight line in providing that guidance while at the same time giving their children the room they need to grow mentally."
Boucher said sometimes that may even mean parents have to give their children room to fail, noting suffocating a child in their developing years will not help when that child grows up and has to see the reality of the world on their own.
"That open line of communication is so very important," says Boucher. "The parent has to trust the child and vice versa."
At the same time, Boucher said the parent has to lay down the law in terms of telling the child what the guidelines are and that those rules are non-negotiable. She said one such rule is for the parents to take the computer out of the child's room. Instead, she says the computer should be in a high traffic area of the home so the parents can keep a watchful eye on what and, more importantly, who their child is talking to.
Pre-registration for the seminar is required. To register call 601-482-7445. The parenting seminars are a partnership between Weems and MCC.