When Carol Davis' son started sixth grade at Ashland Middle School, she was feeling a little overwhelmed.

Her son now had more than one teacher and was interacting with classmates from three elementary schools, and Davis wanted to know how the school worked and what resources were available to her.

"It's middle school when it starts to become apparent that they have a mind of their own," Davis said.

So last spring she started the Ashland Middle School Parents Club to help others like her.

The club meets monthly to hear speakers on topics relevant to parenting a middle school student, especially a middle school student in Ashland.

Past topics have included "Middle School Development" and "Rites of Passage."

At this month's meeting, scheduled for 7 p.m. tonight at the Ashland Middle School's upper library, Carrie Lesowski of the Ashland Police Department will speak on "Safety, Drugs and Curfews."

The meetings have ample time for question-and-answer, and are open to all parents of middle school students, regardless of whether their child attends Ashland Middle School.

"I think any parent who has a middle school student should come," Davis said.

Ashland families tend to be small, Davis said, and she knows many parents like her who have just one child.

"I guess if I were a parent with my third kid coming through (middle school), I'd have this knocked," said Davis, whose son is now in seventh grade. "It's kind of nice to know you're not alone."

Davis said Ashland sees a variety of parenting styles, from "very strict to come-and-go-as-you-wish," and it's helpful to know the different ways in which your child's peers are being raised.

Usually about 15 to 20 parents attend the meetings, Davis said, and she's trying to spread the word.

"I'd love to get more parents interested," she said. "This is an opportunity for the parents to get to know each other."

Upcoming topics:

Tuesday, Feb. 19, "Safety, Drugs Curfews" with Ashland Police Department Officer Carrie Lesowski.

Tuesday, March 18, "Young Athletics" with Karl Kemper, AHS Athletics Director. Topics will include high school sports programs, philosophy and how the bond construction will affect athletics next year.

Tuesday, April 15, "Talking to your child about Sex" with Maggie Sullivan of Planned Parenthood and Judy Blickenstaff, AHS Nurse and Jackson County's MARS team (Male Advocates for Responsible Sexuality).

Tuesday, May 6, "Tips on Parenting a Teenager" with Kaaren Borsting of Sageparenting.

Tuesday, May 20, "High School Transitions" with Ashland High School Principal Jeff Schlecht.

All meetings are held at 7 p.m. in the upper library at Ashland Middle School. For more information, call Carol Davis at 482-5773.