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Archive for the ‘addiction genes’ Category

Would you know the warning signs if your teenager was suffering from substance abuse? If you are going to be a pro-active parent in today’s culture, it is essential that you are aware of the major red flags. All kids are unique and not every child will demonstrate the same behaviors but if you want to cover all your bases it is best to know as many red flags as possible.

I was a mom who ignored these warning signs until it was almost too late. The red flags were waving so hard in my face that they were slapping me. I was a parent in denial and refused to believe that my teenage son was abusing drugs. It was not until his drug abuse progressed to heroin that I woke up and realized that he was out of control and we had a major problem.

I am not a doctor, licensed counselor, or religious leader. I am just a mom who experienced the harsh realities of substance abuse with my only child. It is my goal and purpose to help parents become more aware so they don’t travel as far down that road with their teen as I did with mine.

It is a new school year. There is no better time than that to start becoming aware. Meet me back here at my blogsite and let’s look at the major red flags of teenage substance abuse. I want this to be the best drug free school year ever for both you and your entire family!

This blog brought to you by the award-winning author of Coming Clean: Drug Addiction Help and Hope. To read more about this book, please visit www.mitzirudderow.com.

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Crime and Punishment

Do you know whether your teen has been sending sexually charged messages or nude/partially nude photographs via text messaging or through social networking sites? This is the latest teenage craze. Parents, you need to know the legal ramifications of engaging in this unhealthy and risky behavior so you can talk with your kids.

If your teen is caught taking cell phone photographs that are sexual in nature, they can be charged with Production of Child Pornography. The punishment on a state and federal level in all 50 states is jail time along with having to register as a Sex Offender for up to 25 years. Pretty stiff penalty and long lasting consequences, don’t you think? The State of Pennsylvania thinks so! They have proposed a new bill that will make sexting a second degree misdemeanor.

Sexting can also effect whether or not your teen gets accepted into school, gets a job, or finds a place to live. Don’t allow this electronic device to be used as a game changer in your child’s future. Know your states laws, be pro-active and take the law into your own hands by monitoring your teen’s usage, before you are forced to play by the rules of the courts.

This blog brought to you by the Eric Hoffer Award winning author  www.mitzirudderow.com and her award winning book “Coming Clean: Drug Addiction Help and Hope.”

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There is No Magic Formula

I always look forward to my blog comments. A recent reply has caused me to consider a new thought. Even when parents are married, parenting together, and doing everything right, their teens may still manage to fall into the trap of drug and alcohol abuse.

Case in point: Last week a mom shared with me that her son, who is an athlete, a leader in his school, and never had given his parents any trouble, recently came clean by confessing. He confessed to multiple drinking episodes over the course of several months. “We have done everything right” she explained “he has had the earliest curfew of any kid in the school, we have been diligent in setting rules and enforcing consequences.” Despite following all the right parenting tools, her son still had turned to alcohol abuse.

In my own experience (which did not include doing everything right), I finally had to hope and pray. What I found is that hope comes when I pray. But, if I was going to pray and ask God for help, I had to get out of his way and let go. This was difficult because it involved surrendering to God my most precious gift I have ever received in my life – my son.

In my next blog, I’m going to look closer at spiritual surrender but in the meantime…if you are using all the tools in your parenting toolbox, keeping plugging. If you teen still manages to fall through the cracks, chances are they won’t fall as far as they normally would because you are doing the right things. Keep hoping and praying. I know for a fact it works!

This blog brought to you by the Eric Hoffer Award Winning author of Coming Clean: Drug Addiction Help and Hope www.mitzirudderow.com.

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Parents Who Party

Last week my family and friends celebrated a significant birthday in my husband’s life. He would kill me if I told you which one, so let’s just say it was one of those “big” ones and leave it at that. Months of planning went into this special weekend of fun along with excellent wine and delicious food. We were parents who partied but we did it responsibly. No one under the age of 21 was served alcohol and cabs were used so that no one drove home while under the influence of alcohol.

Unfortunately, not every parent who parties is responsible because they are doing it for all the wrong reasons. All across our country parents are taking up car keys and serving alcohol to teenagers as they rationalize their way to achieving a reputation of being the most popular parent in school. Let me share four good reasons why this is not a good idea:

  1. It is illegal
  2. You are not being a positive role model
  3. You could be potentially serving a teen who is genetically pre-disposed to alcoholism.
  4. If anything happens, you are personally liable.

The parent who drinks with their teenager’s friends is sending a clear message to the adolescent that he possesses the good judgement to hold his liquor. Teens struggle with good choices when they are sober, much less when they are under the influence of alcohol. Why would we want to stack the cards any higher against them?

Parents, it is time to come clean and step up. Be responsible in your homes, at your ranches, your lake houses and on those spring break trips. Think this complicated issue of teenage substance abuse through and keep it simple by saying, “NO” to teenage drinking. Taking up the car keys doesn’t make this acceptable.

What’s more important to you? Being a popular parent or being a good role model? Standing firm and doing the right thing makes you a lot “cooler” with the ones who really count …specifically…other parents.

This blog brought to you by www.MitziRudderow.com and her award-winning book “Coming Clean: Drug Addiction Help and Hope.”

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The Big Black Hole

The first time I had ever heard the clinical term, “Big Black Hole”, was at a parent education class about drugs and substance abuse. This hole was described as a place deep inside where emotional pain is “stuffed.” When the pain becomes too great, substance abusers anesthetize it with alcohol and drugs so they don’t have to feel. The question I kept asking myself was “What could a teenager have to “stuff” that was so terrible, they had to consume drugs and alcohol to make it go away?” The answer was surprising.

Some teens experiment with drugs and alcohol out of peer pressure because they want to fit in. Then there are those, like my son, who are suppressing both conscious and subconscious emotional pain. In his case, adoption and divorce were the two contributors to his empty vacuum. Coupled with his genetic pre-disposition to the disease of addiction, he had all the makings of a perfect storm.

Miller’s congenial nature masked over the abandonment feeling he had from his adoption and there was obvious emotional pain from my divorce when he was only six years old. I was so naive and consumed with surviving as a single mom, my son managed to numb his pain with alcohol and drugs without me even knowing.

What is the pulse of your household? Is there an issue that could cause your teen to be filling a big black hole with emotional pain. It may not be adoption or divorce. It might involve something else such as abuse, depression or low self-esteem.

No matter what your family environment looks like, take constant inventory of your teenagers emotions. Don’t hesitate to seek professional counseling if you don’t like what you find. This is the most pro-active tool in your parenting toolbox.

This blog brought to you by the Eric Hoffer Award winning author of Coming Clean: Drug Addiction Help and Hope, Mitzi Rudderow.

www.MitziRudderow.com.

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A Disease of the Brain

One of the most misunderstood hman behaviors is addiction. In 1956, the American Medical Association recognized alcoholism as an official disease. Addiction is a progressive disease with no known or guaranteed cure, affecting all ages, races, socio-economic groups and religions. People have genetic predispositions to the disease, just like cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

A common misconception is that teenage substance abuse can be avoided if parents are loving, stable and not permissive. Teenage substance abuse can occur in the most loving, stable, best intentioned environments. If addiction appears anywhere in the gene pool, there is an increased chance that substance abuse can become an issue. All it can take is that first drink or first drug and the addiction genes are set into motion.

My son was diagnosed with this genetic pre-disposition, and because he was adopted and I was unaware of his genetic history, I was clueless that this could be the reasons for his behaviors. My heart aches when I think back on the times that I had judged him so harshly, not realizing that his brain andd body chemistry was the reason for his behaviors. Never once did I think that our brain and body chemistries were different.

I personally believe that there is no perfect formula to ensure a substance free family. But, being aware and informed can make a huge difference in how critical this crisis becomes for you. There may not be a foolproof cure for addiction but there is always help and hope. My son and I are living proof.

This blog brought to you by www.mitzirudderow.com and her award winning book “Coming Clean: Drug Addiction Help and Hope.”

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Tough Love….How Tough?

One of the toughest things I have ever had to do in my life was to ask my 17 year old son to pack his bag and leave our home. After many chances and attempts, he could not or would not come clean and continued to use drugs. I was at the end of my rope with nowhere else to turn and the only option left was to impose the toughest level of tough love a parent can dish out – asking my son to leave!

If you do the right things to begin with, such as setting rules and boundaries and ENFORCING the consequences, this may be the toughest love you will ever have to impose. Actions of tougher love may not be necessary at all. One of the most fundamental parenting tools for families is setting limits and enforcing expectations.

I talk to frantic parents all the time who fear that their teen is abusing drugs and alcohol. In almost every case, the root of the problem lies with the parent’s inability to enforce consequences. Why do families find it so difficult to use tough love and enforce consequences? Cars and cell phones aren’t taken away, money continues to exchange hands, and “giving in” seems to be the easier route in order to just keep the peace.

A parent who follows through with consequences sends a clear message that the adult is in control. By not following through with tough love, it enables and hands control to your teen, every time.

Parent’s lets all come clean together. The importance of tough love can not be understated when dealing with substance abuse with your teen. Do not back yourself into a corner like I did. Let your teen know who is boss and don’t try to be their friend. They’ll respect and love you more when you set boundaries and stick to them.

This blog brought to you by www.mitzirudderow.com. The award-winning author of “Coming Clean: Drug Addiction Help and Hope.”

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