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Posts Tagged ‘Warning signs of drug and alcohol 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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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 “Coming Clean: Drug Addiction Help and Hope” . For more information on the award winning author of this book, visit www.MitziRudderow.com.

 

 

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Denial or Aware….Where are You?

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 and “Coming Clean: Drug Addiction Help and Hope.”

 

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Coming Clean and Becoming Aware

Lethargic behavior, angry mood swings, excessive time alone, inability to sleep at night, and difficulty in getting out of bed in the morning. These are all major red flags of substance abuse and recognizing these signs can help parents know if they need to seek help for their troubled teen. Let’s take a brief look at each one:

 

  • Angry mood swings – this is recognized by extreme outbursts that can end in violence unlike the “temper tantrums” that are birthed from normal adolescent drama.
  • Excessive time alone – on those rare occasions when my son was at home, he isolated himself in his room playing video games or watching TV. I later learned that he was actually high on drugs or using them in his room. Isolation is often times the only option for a drug user.
  • Unable to sleep at night – a teen who consistently doesn’t sleep is more often than not artificially stimulated. Many drugs are stimulants and speed up the central nervous system, causing increased heart rate and blood pressure.Hard to get up in the morning – drugs taken the night before can wear off in the early morning hours causing someone to “crash” leaving them almost incoherent and impossible to wake up.

Parents, have you noticed any of these red flags in your teen? If you are living in denial, come clean now and make it your business to know what these signs could mean. It might save a life!

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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It is hard not to notice when your active teen goes from vibrant and involved to lethargic and lonely. Parents, if this describes the mood in your home right now – you need to pay attention. You could be looking at a major red flag of teenage substance abuse.

I vividly remember this red flag but I recognized it when it was almost too late. One minute my son was involved in extra-curricular activities both at school and at church…the next minute he had lost interest and had eventually dropped out of everything. His regular church attendance dropped to no attendance at all. He acted as if spending time with family was a chore and a punishment. This is the behavior of a teen who is struggling.

Loosing interest leads to dropping out and dropping out leads to too much idle time. This invariably leads to the temptation of experimenting with drugs and alcohol. Parents, does your teen have too much idol time on their hands?

One of the most practical tips in a parenting toolbox is this: Normal teenagers will have mood swings and their interests’ will change from year to year, but if you observe a loss of interest in sports, school clubs, and church related activities all at the same time, take special notice. This could be a warning sign of a bigger issue.

I was a parent who was in denial. My son was already using drugs, and I did not recognize it.. Parents, if you are seeing this red flag, your time would be well spent finding out whether there is a drug or alcohol abuse problem. It is never too late to seek help.

This blog brought to you by the award-winnning author www.mitzirudderow.com and her award winning book “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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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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