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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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Have you ever felt the need to search your teen’s room? Or do you believe you are violating your teens privacy if you do? I was a mother in denial about my son’s drug and alcohol abuse so I never searched his room. I hid behind the “I must respect his privacy” theory when in reality, I was afraid of what I would find. Performing periodic room and car searches if you suspect your teen is experimenting with drugs or alcohol is of the most practical tools in your parenting tool box.

Despite my suspicions about my son’s unhealthy behaviors, I didn’t look for the evidence that would prove my son was in trouble with drugs. The $3000 cash he had stuffed in a vinyl chair from his drug deals was undiscovered, along with the cocaine, marijuana and drug paraphernalia hidden in the bathroom air ducts.

Unless your child is paying the mortgage, or making the car payment, they do not have any rights when it comes to what they might be hiding in their room or car. Might I suggest that you start by looking under every mattress, every hole in the floor, and every cabinet. Thoroughly search the attic, basement, air ducts, and every nook and cranny of their car.

Come clean with yourself and don’t let your fear of the truth prevent you from stepping up and taking control. When you chicken out and sweep your suspicions under the carpet, you could be prolonging treatment that could save your teen’s life.

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

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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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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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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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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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It is hard not to notice when your active teen goes from vibrant and involved to lethargic and lonely. Parents, if this describes the mood in your home right now – you need to pay attention. You could be looking at a major red flag of teenage substance abuse.

I vividly remember this red flag but I recognized it when it was almost too late. One minute my son was involved in extra-curricular activities both at school and at church…the next minute he had lost interest and had eventually dropped out of everything. His regular church attendance dropped to no attendance at all. He acted as if spending time with family was a chore and a punishment. This is the behavior of a teen who is struggling.

Loosing interest leads to dropping out and dropping out leads to too much idle time. This invariably leads to the temptation of experimenting with drugs and alcohol. Parents, does your teen have too much idol time on their hands?

One of the most practical tips in a parenting toolbox is this: Normal teenagers will have mood swings and their interests’ will change from year to year, but if you observe a loss of interest in sports, school clubs, and church related activities all at the same time, take special notice. This could be a warning sign of a bigger issue.

I was a parent who was in denial. My son was already using drugs, and I did not recognize it.. Parents, if you are seeing this red flag, your time would be well spent finding out whether there is a drug or alcohol abuse problem. It is never too late to seek help.

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

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