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Posts Tagged ‘experimentation with drugs’

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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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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Unmistakeable Red Flags

A red flag that I could not ignore was my son’s drop in attendance when he was in high school. It was what convinced me that my son was experimenting with drugs and alcohol. Being absent, skipping classes and a drop in grades are all unmistakable red flags of substance abuse. This is a parenting tip that every pro-active parent needs to know.

A drop in grades alone is not necessarily a warning sign of teenage substance abuse. But, if you do begin to receive progress reports indicating that your teen is failing a course, seek immediate help from the teacher or the school counselor. Early intervention could be all that is needed to get your child back on track.

Does your child’s school alert you when there is an unexcused absence? This might be something you want to find out. By law, all schools must take attendance and most of them alert parents when their child is not in class.

Calls from the attendance office became a routine occurrence in our home and was the concrete evidence I needed to confront my son with my suspicions of his substance abuse. I was a parent in denial but I could not ignore these two red flags when they appeared together. The most valuable tools in my parenting toolbox were the relationships I formed with the attendance office and social counselor at school. They helped me unveil the ugly truth about my son’s substance abuse and showed me where to seek help.

This blog brought to you by the Eric Hoffer Award Winning author of  “Coming Clean: Drug Addiction Help and Hope” and www.mitzirudderow.com.

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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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Are Red Flags Waving at You?

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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If You Suspect, Go Detect

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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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 Eric Hoffer award winning author www.MitziRudderow.com and “Coming Clean: Drug Addiction Help and Hope.”

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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 www.MitziRudderow.com and Coming Clean: Drug Addiction Help and Hope.

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