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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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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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