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Archive for the ‘Drug and addiction education’ Category

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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A Disease of the Brain

One of the most misunderstood hman behaviors is addiction. In 1956, the American Medical Association recognized alcoholism as an official disease. Addiction is a progressive disease with no known or guaranteed cure, affecting all ages, races, socio-economic groups and religions. People have genetic predispositions to the disease, just like cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

A common misconception is that teenage substance abuse can be avoided if parents are loving, stable and not permissive. Teenage substance abuse can occur in the most loving, stable, best intentioned environments. If addiction appears anywhere in the gene pool, there is an increased chance that substance abuse can become an issue. All it can take is that first drink or first drug and the addiction genes are set into motion.

My son was diagnosed with this genetic pre-disposition, and because he was adopted and I was unaware of his genetic history, I was clueless that this could be the reasons for his behaviors. My heart aches when I think back on the times that I had judged him so harshly, not realizing that his brain andd body chemistry was the reason for his behaviors. Never once did I think that our brain and body chemistries were different.

I personally believe that there is no perfect formula to ensure a substance free family. But, being aware and informed can make a huge difference in how critical this crisis becomes for you. There may not be a foolproof cure for addiction but there is always help and hope. My son and I are living proof.

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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Perception is Reality

Perception is a funny thing, there is no right or wrong. To each of us, what we perceive is true, and is for the most part, gained from personal experience. My parenting perspective changed dramatically when I experienced teenage substance abuse. It arrived with the force of a tsunami, almost destroying an entire family.

This issue has multiple layers and I want to examine all of them so that perhaps a parent will not go as far down the road into the ravages of drug addiction as I did with my teen. There is alot of ground to cover, and the good news is…this blogsite will provide a forum for covering it.

A blog reader commented that substance abuse begins in the home. The reader suggested that if a child is brought up in a loving, nurturing environment with parents who are united, then perhaps this issue can be avoided. In the weeks to come, let’s take a closer look into this perspective and much more.

Does family dynamic and environment really matter? Is substance abuse more common in homes where the parents are divorced? Are there certain factors than can contribute to teenage substance abuse? Is addiction a disease or is it just a bad habit that can be broken with willpower and discipline? Does teenage substance abuse come with any warning signs?

These are just a few of the many questions that I will attempt to answer from my personal perspective, as a Mom who lived it. In the meantime, we want to hear from you. What is your perception of the questions posed above, as it relates to your experience or the perception of someone you know? Inquiring minds want to know…so do parents in crisis!

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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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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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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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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