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Posts Tagged ‘toolbox for substance abuse’

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 www.mitzirudderow.com and the Eric Hoffer award winning 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!

For more information on the award-winning book “Coming Clean: Drug Addiction Help and Hope”  please visit  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 www.MitziRudderow.com and 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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I have never been so shocked than when I was notified two weeks ago that my book, Coming Clean, had won an Honorable Mention in the Eric Hoffer Book Award Contest. http://bit.ly/jbx2jE. Out of hundreds of entries, my book was a finalist! When I entered the contest last fall, never in my wildest dreams did I imagine my book surviving the complicated judging process. Apparently the judges felt that a book about teenage substance abuse was necessary and warranted. I am thrilled I won the award but that’s not why I wrote the book.

The truth of the matter is this: I wrote, Coming Clean, with one purpose in mind and that was to help other families not travel as far down that road with their teen as I did with mine. That’s why I outlined our personal story of survival along with practical and spiritual tools for any parent who finds themselves living the nightmare of teenage substance abuse. I wrote the book I wished that I could have read when I was in the heat of the battle.

The challenge with marketing a book about adolescents and substance abuse is that most parents are in denial. They don’t think they need it. “Problem?…..what problem? My child is not using drugs!” In many cases the red flags are there but parents refuse to see them waving in their face. Obviously the Eric Hoffer judges believe this book is for all parents. Whether you are already caught in the trap with an out of control teen or you decide to take the proactive approach to avoid the trap all together, there is something in those pages for everyone.

I’m thankful my book has served it’s purpose for those countless families who needed it and hopefully the ones who think they don’t will take a second look. Getting an award for something useful is just icing on the cake.

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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