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Posts Tagged ‘parenting tools’

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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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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Taking a Leap of Faith

Issac Watts once said , “hope thinks nothing is difficult; despair tells us that difficulty is insurmountable.” Hope is hard to find for parents who are living with the difficulty of teenage substance abuse. As my son battled between recovery and relapse, my emotions bounced like a yo-yo between hope and despair. Somewhere in the abyss of his drug and alcohol abuse, I needed to find hope.

I took my first steps towards spiritual surrender and hope when I realized that my faith needed to be an action rather than an option. Giving this crisis to God was a process that I didn’t learn overnight. There were some things about surrender that I needed to understand before I could successfully begin my journey. Here is what I learned:

  • Everyone struggles with surrendering…I am not alone.
  • We can’t surrender when we are in denial.
  • Surrender requires a personal relationship with God.
  • Surrender requires patience and trust in God’s timing…not our own.
  • When we are living a spiritually surrendered life, we are living a life that God can truly bless.

Once I had accepted these five basic principles, I was ready to take a giant leap of faith and begin my journey into this uncharted territory that promised hope.

Have you ever noticed how the flight attendant always instructs the parent to put the oxygen mask on themselves first before strapping it on their child? We can’t be of help to our children until we are parents with hope, equipped with the parenting tools to help them stay healthy and strong.

Join me next time when we take another step forward together and look at the roadblocks that prevent us from surrendering. If you are starring despair in the face, this will be a step of faith in the right direction.

This blog brought to you by the Eric Hoffer award-winning author www.MitziRudderow.com and her book Coming Clean: 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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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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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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