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Archive for the ‘social pressures on teens’ Category

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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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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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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Never Say Never

I would see teens out on the street, in cars, in stores, hanging around places where they ought not to be, looking as if they had been making some bad choices in their lives. I used to think “my son will never make poor choices, and thank goodness he doesn’t mess around with drugs and alcohol. Drug addiction will never be an issue with my child.”

Before I had even fully come to terms with what I would face, I found myself attending a family weekend at a substance abuse rehab where my teenage son was a patient. Suddenly, I was living the harsh reality of addiction and had to admit that I was wrong! My denial of my son’s activities hit me head on, as I sat in the substance abuse rehab center. My son was addicted! No longer could I deny that my son had made some bad choices too!

Last week, on the Dr. Phil Show, the topic of the prescription drug crisis was addressed. From high schools to Hollywood, prescription drugs are killing our youth. One in five teens has used prescription drugs, strictly for the purpose of getting high! The most shocking truth of all is that teens are getting the drugs from their parent’s drug cabinet, from the internet and from doctors who are freely prescribing them! One teen interviewed on the show came clean about her reason for abusing prescription drugs. She said “you don’t have to have a cute figure or great hair, just take a pill and you fit in.” Not only are teens taking these prescription drugs for the wrong reasons, they are selling prescription drugs they have taken from their parent’s medicine cabinet at school and on the streets!

Parents, lock your medicine cabinet! An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If you child has been issued a prescription drug from your family doctor, administer the dosage to your child yourself. Don’t let that bottle out of your sight. No parent deliberately sets out to be their teen’s drug dealer, but neglecting this simple parenting tool can make you as guilty as any dealer on the street.

My prescription is to be pro-active when it comes to raising a teen and NEVER SAY NEVER! Drug addiction can be as close as your family’s medicine cabinet.

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

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Do As I Say not as I Do

When the storms of life come crashing in, we can sweep them under the rug and pretend they never happened or we can share what we have learned and offer help and hope to others. I have chosen to come clean with my own parenting mistakes and turn them into parenting tools for families experiencing drug addiction issues with their teens.

This week, in response to my blog postings about dealing with teens and substance abuse, I received an interesting comment from one of my blog readers. He said “You sound like a Mom who took the line of least resistance. I think you were a coward.”

“Coward” is pretty strong language, don’t you think? What is a coward? According to Webster’s dictionary, a coward is “one showing fear in the face of danger and pain..a lack of courage and resoluteness.” I experienced fear alright! I showed a lack of courage, too! But the irony of it all is that it took courage to come clean with my mistakes.

The reader who knows nothing about me called me a coward. That is great! He has gotten the point of my blog writings! He understands that I took the easy way out just to keep the peace. When my son’s drug addiction continued to spiral out of control, what did I do? I denied! I paid dearly, too!

Isn’t it amazing how one of the hardest jobs in the world comes with no “How to Manual”? If I am a coward because I chose to leave my pride at the door and admit my parenting flaws, then I am a grateful one. I am thankful for the opportunity to turn my lemons into the biggest pitcher of lemonade any parent could ever consume! So drink up…cowards unite! And let me hear from parents who have never made a mistake. I’d love to know your secret.

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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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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Denial or Aware….Where are You?

How many parents know what their teenager was really doing last weekend? Did your child really come clean with you about what they are doing or where they were going? Most likely, your teen told you about what they were doing or where they were going and you took it for face value and chose not to question it. Do you have your suspicions that perhaps your teen was not coming clean with you about what was really going on in his or her world?

I ran across a Washington Post article that was written back in 2006. The article reported the results of a survey on a teen’s attitudes and parent awareness. It revealed that a third of American teens have gone to parties where the parents were at home and alcohol and drugs were being used. The parents in these homes were not even coming clean with themselves as to what was going on in their own house! They were clueless. The survey quoted that only 12% of parents saw drugs and alcohol as a problem for their children. Fifty-eight percent (58%) of them felt that social pressure was the biggest concern. Now go figure! Do I see some denial going on here? I see parents and kids clearly not coming clean about an issue that so many teens struggle with. If this survey was taken four years ago…I can only imagine how staggering the statistics are today.

It is so much easier to stay in denial and think that teenage substance abuse will never come knocking on your door. I know that was my attitude and it was a mistake. If you are wondering about whether you are facing denial issues or whether your teen is not being truthful and coming clean with you about their activities, my advice to you would be – never assume, never avoid, never deny, always be aware! Drugs and alcohol know no boundaries. They are all around our kids.

Where are you right now? Are you coming clean with yourself? Are your kids coming clean with you?

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

 

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Change in Friends

One of the quickest ways to recognize teenage substance abuse is a dramatic change in your teen’s friends. Parents need to always be aware of this red flag. If you look up one day and suddenly realize that all the faces and names of your teens friends are new, I recommend that you be a quiet observer and take note. This could be a sign that your teen is participating in some risky behaviors that more often than not result in experimenting with drugs and alcohol.

Parents, keep a watchful eye on the company your teen keeps. Observe their behaviors and heighten your awareness for a change in their attitude. If your teen suddenly transforms into someone you don’t know anymore, take action immediately. You are looking at a red flag. It is your right and responsibility to reject any friend that you sense is a bad influence.

The need to be accepted is the most common reason why adolescents suddenly switch gears and run with a different crowd. Usually when the old faithful friends of the past disappear that is a sure indicator that your teen is being negatively influenced and heading down a dangerous road. They cave to peer-pressure and are willing to do anything to fit in.

Looking back on my own experience as a parent, I did not understand the long term consequences when my son made a dramatic change in friendships. I needed to be a pro-active parent who was aware of this red flag but instead, I was a mother who didn’t pay attention and missed this critical indicator of substance abuse. I am willingly share my mistake so that other parents won’t travel as far down that dangerous road with their teen as I did with mine.

 This blog brought to you by the award-winning author www.mitzirudderow.com.

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When is Red Really Red?

What does it mean when we say something is a “red flag?” If you are referring to teenage substance abuse, it means…PAY ATTENTION…YOU COULD HAVE A PROBLEM! Notice I said, could have. A red flag is a warning sign of potential danger and there is still a chance for recovery. Red flags begin to turn a deeper shade of red, particularly when it comes to drug and alcohol abuse, when you see consistent patterns in any of these dangerous warning signs.

In the next few months I am going to share 12 major red flags of teenage substance abuse that I think every parent needs to know. These are the warning signs that I ignored because I wasn’t paying attention and I was a parent in denial. If you notice some of these behaviors in your teen every once and awhile, most likely they are what we would call “age appropriate behaviors” and hopefully your teen will eventually grow out of this phase. However, if they become the norm rather than the exception, PAY ATTENTION, you could be headed for trouble.

Early detection of these warning signs increase the chances of getting help before experimental use of drugs and alcohol make the giant leap into full blown abuse. Knowledge and awareness are power and parents today need all the power they can find to stay one step ahead of this ever growing cultural crisis.

This  blog brought to you by www.mitzirudderow.com. Coming Clean: Drug Addiction Help and Hope is an Eric Hoffer Award Winning Book.

 

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