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Archive for the ‘social pressure 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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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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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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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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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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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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