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Archive for the ‘Eric Hoffer Book Award’ Category

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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Who would have ever thought that a cell phone could be used for anything other than talking? Thanks to the continued advances in technology, teens are using technology to engage in unhealthy habits and risky behaviors. They are using their cell phones for sexting, which is the act of sending sexually explicit messages or photographs, primarily between cell phones. Parents need to know the real dangers of this latest teenage phenomenon if they want to protect their child from the potential of serious legal consequences.

Sexting statistics are enought to alarm any parent whose teenager owns a wireless device.

  • 48% of teens say they have received sexually suggestive texts, emails or instant messages.
  • 40% of teen boys say they have sent such messages.
  • 37% of teen girls say they have sent such messages.
  • 22% of teen girls say they have sent or posted nude/semi-nude photos of themselves.
  • 18% of teen boys say they have done the same.

Why do teens send these sexually oriented messages? Out of peer pressure, revenge, or as a way of getting attention. Whatever the reason, parents need to be aware that teens engage in these unhealthy behaviors.

In my next blog, we will look at the devastating consequences of sexting and how parents can talk to their children about engaging in risky behaviors that bring very serious consequences.

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

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Are you Technically Literate?

Computers and cell phones are the two primary ways that teens share the most private parts of their lives. If you are a parent who suspects that your child is abusing drugs or alcohol, the quickest way to find out is to learn as much as you can about your teen’s social networking devices and monitor their activity on a regular basis. Being a technically literate parent will help you to pickup substance abuse red flags.

The number of teenagers who carry a wireless device has increased by 40% in the last six years according to a national survey from CTIA and Harris Interactive. The survey goes on to say that 47% of teens feel their social life would end or be not nearly as good without their cell phone.

“My Space” and “Facebook” have been called a “year book on-line.” It has become a “tell all” for teens through their social networking comments and images. This year 48% of Americans ages 12 and older have profiles on one or more social networking websites, according to a national survey from Arbitron and Edison Research.

If you are a parent paying the bills for cell phones and internet usage, you reserve the right to enforce strict guidelines. Make sure your parenting toolbox includes monitoring your kid’s use of them, so you do not miss substance abuse red flags. This is not rocket science…it is simply good parenting.

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

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What a Difference Surrender Makes

I believe that spiritual surrender is one of the most important tools in a parenting tool box but as we have learned, it is not an easy tool to use. Surrender takes discipline and practice, requiring us to recognize our denial and trust in a God we cannot physically see. When we use this tool effectively and choose to live a totally surrendered life, we are living a life that God can bless.
 
When I handed God my son and all the issues regarding his substance abuse, I put both of us in a position to receive the blessings that God wanted to give. Suddenly my stress level was lower because my worries were fewer. The more I surrendered the more dependent I was on God and I came to realize that God’s will was far better than mine.
 
My life is noticeably different today because I made the conscious decision to get out of God’s way and give him my only child. My son’s life is different as well. At the age of 23, he is married and the father of two, thriving in a career that he loves. Today my son and his wife are taking full responsibility for their individual lives and the life of their family…..one day at a time. They have goals and dreams and they have purpose together.
 
Someone once said, “if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans. If you want to make him smile, ask him for his.” My decision to let God take over the care of the greatest gift he has ever given me is definitely making him smile and blessing our whole family.
 
This blog brought to you by the awarding-winning author of Coming Clean: Drug Addiction Hope and Help. www.mitzirudderow.com.

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Getting Over Our Roadblocks

Trust involves letting go and knowing that God will catch you.” ~ James Dobson

James Dobson’s statement makes something I found so difficult, sound so easy. It was not until I had exhausted every option, could I successfully surrender my son’s addiction to God. The effects of my denial were causing me to rationalize, control, doubt and fear. The more I tried to manipulate my circumstances, the worse they got. I fought God for control, convincing myself that I couldn’t trust in someone I could not physically see…especially when his ways were not mine.

There were two giant roadblocks in my path that needed to be removed before I could successfully surrender my son’s addiction to God. They were denial and lack of trust. I needed to learn to trust in God and his ability to catch me as I fell. Once these two roadblocks were removed, and I realized that I didn’t have the strength to fix the problem alone, the beginnings of hope for my son’s addiction recovery began to appear.

One of the most notable verses about faith in the Bible is found in Hebrews ll:l. “Faith is being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you do not see.” What does your faith look like today? If you are a parent struggling with a teenager abusing drugs, you may be sure of what you hope for, but not 100% certain of what you do not see. God can remove the roadblocks on your path if you put your faith into action and choose to take the journey with him.

This blog brought to you by www.mitzirudderow.com, the Eric Hoffer award-winning author of Coming Clean: Drug Addiction Hope and Help.

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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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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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Addicted to Spiritual Surrender

There is no time like the present to ponder how we survive the painful episodes in our lives, especially when it involves our children and parenting. Has a good dose of strong will and determination gotten you through the difficulties of living with a teen addicted to drugs? Or has your strength come from somewhere else? We have two choices. We can travel that tunnel alone or we can surrender and ask God to help us, and guide us, through the difficulties of living with drug addiction.

I was raised in a Christian home and I knew that God loved me. After loosing three babies, in the final trimester of each pregnancy, I began to question God’s love. It became apparent that for me, adoption would be my answer to becoming a Mom. The happiest moment of my life came when the adoption agency called to tell us our baby boy had arrived.

From the moment I became a Mom, the self sufficiency that God endowed me with was the only thing I relied on when it came to parenting. It never occurred to me to rely on anything else. It was not until my son was in the middle school years that I finally turned to God for help in parenting. Because I had not recognized all the red flags of substance abuse and had not come clean with myself regarding my son’s involvement with drugs, our lives were spiraling out of control. My emotional exhaustion forced me to seek help outside of myself. I finally surrendered myself and my child, and put my trust in God to help me find the strength I needed in my darkest moments. It was then that I became addicted to spiritual surrender and experienced the hope and joy that surrendering can bring.

If life places you in a dark tunnel, remember there is light at the end… but you have to keep walking to find it. You need not make this journey alone. Instead, call on the guide who knows the best way and surrender your steps to him. Your life will be transformed when you do.

This blog brought to  you by the award winning author www.mitzirudderow.com and her 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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The Company They Keep

Are you aware of the company your child keeps? Do you really know your teen’s friends? If your teen is associating with friends that have tendencies toward risky behaviors or unhealthy habits, the chance of being led in to a world of reliance on drugs and alcohol is increased. Take note – questionable friends are one of the first warning signs that your teen could be headed for trouble with substance abuse.

In retrospect, I know I did not come clean with all the negative influences my teen was involved with. Slowly, my son’s longtime friendships disappeared and were replaced by new friends, whom I knew little about. His new choices in friends affected the decisions he made and the peer pressures he faced. Right was replaced with wrong, and logical thinking was replaced by irrational thinking and behaviors. Soon, my son was headstrong into a world of addiction.

If I had taken a closer look at the red flags and listened to my instincts instead of denying them, an eighth grade sleepover that involved a fifth of scotch and orange juice might have been avoided. So would that nasty hangover my son experienced the next day. I settled for “peace at any price.” Parents, stand strong! It is your right, as a parent, to veto anyone you suspect could steer your child in the wrong direction.

I wonder if our journey would have taken a different route if I had chosen early on to stand firm as an adult and veto certain friends? The price I paid for “chickening out” was far more costly than the temporary unpleasantness of saying “no” and enforcing my decision. It’s quite possible that red flags are waving in your face. Are you aware of the company your child keeps?

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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