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Posts Tagged ‘parent awareness’

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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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 www.mitzirudderow.com.

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One of the most misunderstood human 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.

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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.Mitzi Rudderow.com.

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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.

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