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Posts Tagged ‘peer pressure’

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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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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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 www.MitziRudderow, award-winning author of Coming Clean: Drug Addiction Help and Hope.

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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.

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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 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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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 www.mitzirudderow.com.

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