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Posts Tagged ‘risky behaviors’

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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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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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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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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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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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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