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Archive for the ‘drug experimentation’ 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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Pro-Active Packing

Parents, when you go out of town without your teens, are you leaving your home vulnerable for parties that provide opportunities for underage alcohol consumption and illegal drug use?

I was in my deepest level of denial the weekend I attended an out of town wedding. It never occurred to me that my son would take advantage of my absence and violate my trust by using our home as the gathering place for all his friends. When I returned home earlier than expected, I discovered in my kitchen a quart of vodka that had been partially consumed. This incriminating evidence snapped me out of my denial and left no question that teenagers had been partying in my home. Later, my son came clean and confessed that he had used our home for a place to abuse drugs and alcohol while I was away.

Here are some ways that you can prevent this risky behavior from happening to you.

  • Make responsible arrangements for your child to stay in a home that enforces the same rules as yours when you leave town.
  • Collect and keep the copy of your teen’s house key while you are away.
  • Change the code on your alarm system while you are gone.
  • Ask your local police to make periodic drive-bys until you return.
  • Prior to your trip, tell your teenager that the house will be patrolled.

No matter what takes you out of town, make these pro-active parenting tools a part of your plan so you don’t return to a disaster. Parents, you can potentially be held liable for accidents that occur as a result of underage drinking in your home!

Your time away will be better spent, if you know your teen has supervision while you are away and you have taken precautions against teenage parties occurring in your home.

This blog brought to you by award winning author www.mitzirudderow.com 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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Taking a Leap of Faith

Issac Watts once said , “hope thinks nothing is difficult; despair tells us that difficulty is insurmountable.” Hope is hard to find for parents who are living with the difficulty of teenage substance abuse. As my son battled between recovery and relapse, my emotions bounced like a yo-yo between hope and despair. Somewhere in the abyss of his drug and alcohol abuse, I needed to find hope.

I took my first steps towards spiritual surrender and hope when I realized that my faith needed to be an action rather than an option. Giving this crisis to God was a process that I didn’t learn overnight. There were some things about surrender that I needed to understand before I could successfully begin my journey. Here is what I learned:

  • Everyone struggles with surrendering…I am not alone.
  • We can’t surrender when we are in denial.
  • Surrender requires a personal relationship with God.
  • Surrender requires patience and trust in God’s timing…not our own.
  • When we are living a spiritually surrendered life, we are living a life that God can truly bless.

Once I had accepted these five basic principles, I was ready to take a giant leap of faith and begin my journey into this uncharted territory that promised hope.

Have you ever noticed how the flight attendant always instructs the parent to put the oxygen mask on themselves first before strapping it on their child? We can’t be of help to our children until we are parents with hope, equipped with the parenting tools to help them stay healthy and strong.

Join me next time when we take another step forward together and look at the roadblocks that prevent us from surrendering. If you are starring despair in the face, this will be a step of faith in the right direction.

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

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Drug Addiction Hope

All of my blogs have been devoted to giving drug addiction help but there is another aspect of this complicated issue called drug addiction hope. It is imperative that parents never loose hope when their teens are abusing drugs. But what happens when hope is gone? How do you find hope when your family is falling apart? The answer is found in a power much greater than ourselves.

Step three in The Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous tells us that in order for our circumstances to improve, we must “turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand Him.” This applies to the family of substance abusers as well as the abuser himself. I can attest to the fact that this step works if you apply it but it requires willingness and action.

I am a Christian so my understanding of God is through Jesus Christ. But even with Christ on my side, I didn’t find hope until I had stubbornly exhausted everything else. My self-sufficiency was the driving force behind my need to try and fix and control my son’s drug and alcohol abuse. When I finally hit my rock bottom, I realized that I could not improve my circumstances by myself. I needed help. “When God is all you have …God is all you need.” I had heard this expression before, but now I understood exactly what it meant.

Have you lost all hope? Are you drowning in frustration, resentfulness, and self-pity because your teen is using drugs? There is drug addiction hope when we completely surrender our circumstances to God. Join me next week when I show you how this worked for me!

For information on this author and her award-winning book Coming Clean: Drug Addiction Hope and Help, please visit www.mitzirudderow.com.

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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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Same Page Parenting

 A parenting tool that I feel very strongly about today, is same page parenting. Even in households where there has been a divorce, it is so important that both parents try to form a united front. It takes two parents to bring children into this world, and in most cases, it takes two parents to raise a child who is well balanced. Both parents need to be on the same page and work together for the sake of their child. This parenting tool is not just applicable to raising teens, either. Same page parenting prevents the chain from snapping and sends a clear message to your child that rules and boundaries are to be respected and obeyed.

To share some of my experience, the effects of my divorce on my son when he was only six became obvious when he began to abuse alcohol and drugs as a teenager. I found it interesting that the majority of my son’s friends came from divorced homes and I suddenly began to notice a pattern. He would migrate to households where there was little supervision, rules were loosely enforced, and there was no structure at all. You see, teenagers are master manipulators who make it their business to know who is the weakest link in the parental chain. This forced me to make decisions about Miller’s weekend plans based on the custody agreements of his friend’s parents, in an attempt to keep him safe and with the best parental supervision.

Even though 50% of all marriages end in divorce, parents still need to be on the same page and work together for the sake of their child. This is a tall order but our children are special gifts from God and we owe them our best. Same page parenting is an essential tool for your parenting toolbox and it and it applies to all parents regardless of their marital status.

This blog brought to  you by award-winning author, Mitzi Rudderow, and her book Coming Clean: Drug Addiction Help and Hope.

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Call ‘Em Up and Call ‘Em Out

Last week, I shared my perspective on parents who serve alcohol to their teens and their friends. I have received so many great responses to this aspect of parents enabling kids, I am going to continue the conversation from another angle. Has your teen been served alcohol in someone else’s home? If so, was it a parent who served them? Did you pick up the phone, call ‘em up and call ‘em out?

I recently had a conversation with a parent on this very issue. The mother exclaimed “my daughter would have been horrified if I had called and told them how I really felt.” It takes courage to make that call to other parents to express disapproval of serving alcohol to underage kids – especially if the other parents are good friends. But failing to do so, becomes a sign of denial. Unfortunately, it is so much easier to avoid conflict than risk our teens feelings or loss of a friend. But, last time I checked, being a parent is not a popularity contest, and if you really come clean about that friendship, it probably wasn’t that great to begin with.

If we want to see teenage substance abuse subside, parents need to take a stand and make their opinions known. Good parenting is a 24 hour a day, 7 day a week job. Each stage is challenging enough, but the teenage years are equivalent to all the high school and college advance placement courses combined. Teenagers stretch and test us in areas we didn’t know existed until we are abruptly confronted with a new situation.

If the truth were known, the parent who is gently reprimanded for their inappropriate behavior of serving alcohol to minors will respect you more in the end. So will your teen, in time. Do you have the courage to step up and make positive role modeling the highest priority in your life? Or will you pay any price for the peace that comes through silence?

This blog brought to you by “Coming Clean: Drug Addiction Help and Hope” . For more information on the award winning author of this book, visit 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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