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Posts Tagged ‘teens’

Never Say Never

I would see teens out on the street, in cars, in stores, hanging around places where they ought not to be, looking as if they had been making some bad choices in their lives. I used to think “my son will never make poor choices, and thank goodness he doesn’t mess around with drugs and alcohol. Drug addiction will never be an issue with my child.”

Before I had even fully come to terms with what I would face, I found myself attending a family weekend at a substance abuse rehab where my teenage son was a patient. Suddenly, I was living the harsh reality of addiction and had to admit that I was wrong! My denial of my son’s activities hit me head on, as I sat in the substance abuse rehab center. My son was addicted! No longer could I deny that my son had made some bad choices too!

Last week, on the Dr. Phil Show, the topic of the prescription drug crisis was addressed. From high schools to Hollywood, prescription drugs are killing our youth. One in five teens has used prescription drugs, strictly for the purpose of getting high! The most shocking truth of all is that teens are getting the drugs from their parent’s drug cabinet, from the internet and from doctors who are freely prescribing them! One teen interviewed on the show came clean about her reason for abusing prescription drugs. She said “you don’t have to have a cute figure or great hair, just take a pill and you fit in.” Not only are teens taking these prescription drugs for the wrong reasons, they are selling prescription drugs they have taken from their parent’s medicine cabinet at school and on the streets!

Parents, lock your medicine cabinet! An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If you child has been issued a prescription drug from your family doctor, administer the dosage to your child yourself. Don’t let that bottle out of your sight. No parent deliberately sets out to be their teen’s drug dealer, but neglecting this simple parenting tool can make you as guilty as any dealer on the street.

My prescription is to be pro-active when it comes to raising a teen and NEVER SAY NEVER! Drug addiction can be as close as your family’s medicine cabinet.

This blog brought to you by the award winning author www.mitzirudderow.com and her award winning book Coming Clean: Drug Addiction Help and Hope.

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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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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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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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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 www.MitziRudderow.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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