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Posts Tagged ‘toolbox for substance abuse’

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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Unmistakeable Red Flags

A red flag that I could not ignore was my son’s drop in attendance when he was in high school. It was what convinced me that my son was experimenting with drugs and alcohol. Being absent, skipping classes and a drop in grades are all unmistakable red flags of substance abuse. This is a parenting tip that every pro-active parent needs to know.

A drop in grades alone is not necessarily a warning sign of teenage substance abuse. But, if you do begin to receive progress reports indicating that your teen is failing a course, seek immediate help from the teacher or the school counselor. Early intervention could be all that is needed to get your child back on track.

Does your child’s school alert you when there is an unexcused absence? This might be something you want to find out. By law, all schools must take attendance and most of them alert parents when their child is not in class.

Calls from the attendance office became a routine occurrence in our home and was the concrete evidence I needed to confront my son with my suspicions of his substance abuse. I was a parent in denial but I could not ignore these two red flags when they appeared together. The most valuable tools in my parenting toolbox were the relationships I formed with the attendance office and social counselor at school. They helped me unveil the ugly truth about my son’s substance abuse and showed me where to seek help.

This blog brought to you by the Eric Hoffer Award Winning author of  “Coming Clean: Drug Addiction Help and Hope” and www.mitzirudderow.com.

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When is Red Really Red?

What does it mean when we say something is a “red flag?” If you are referring to teenage substance abuse, it means…PAY ATTENTION…YOU COULD HAVE A PROBLEM! Notice I said, could have. A red flag is a warning sign of potential danger and there is still a chance for recovery. Red flags begin to turn a deeper shade of red, particularly when it comes to drug and alcohol abuse, when you see consistent patterns in any of these dangerous warning signs.

In the next few months I am going to share 12 major red flags of teenage substance abuse that I think every parent needs to know. These are the warning signs that I ignored because I wasn’t paying attention and I was a parent in denial. If you notice some of these behaviors in your teen every once and awhile, most likely they are what we would call “age appropriate behaviors” and hopefully your teen will eventually grow out of this phase. However, if they become the norm rather than the exception, PAY ATTENTION, you could be headed for trouble.

Early detection of these warning signs increase the chances of getting help before experimental use of drugs and alcohol make the giant leap into full blown abuse. Knowledge and awareness are power and parents today need all the power they can find to stay one step ahead of this ever growing cultural crisis.

This  blog brought to you by www.mitzirudderow.com. Coming Clean: Drug Addiction Help and Hope is an Eric Hoffer Award Winning Book.

 

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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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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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