Sunday, December 28, 2008
Who’s pressuring your kids? Who’s offering them alcohol or drugs? Who’s talking to them on the Internet? Whether we’re teachers, parents, counselors…sometimes we just don’t know what’s really going on in a child’s life. If you want to talk to your kids about the challenges they face, but aren’t sure what to say, our programs will help…with real kids sharing their true stories, and advice from experts, educators and parents who have “been there.”
The Secret Life of Kids is a series of award-winning programs giving you an inside look at the pressures children face. Learning and talking with children about these issues is one of the best ways we can help keep them safe. These 30-minute programs are not only educational, they also offer a springboard for discussion — instead of talking “at” your child, you can discuss what you’ve just seen together. Along with this four-program set covering important, real-life issues, you’ll also receive the four accompanying resource guides FREE along with a FREE copy of the show you just watched, Against All Odds. Don’t let your child’s life remain a mystery — let us help you protect them. Order this unique program series now!
Monday, December 22, 2008
Here is a recent News Article
Seven ways to help your overweight teen
On paper, the statistics are shocking enough: the obesity rate for teens has tripled over the past 25 years and with this increase an average weight, type 2 diabetes, once unknown in young people, is now diagnosed in 45 percent of all new cases involving children or teens. Medical experts fear that high blood pressure and heart disease could become increasingly prevalent among young adults, making this generation of teens the first to have potentially poorer health and shorter life spans than their parents.
Seeing a young person you love struggle with overweight or obesity in the sensitive pre-teen or teen years is painful, frustrating and alarming — from watching them deal with cruel remarks to seeing them on the sidelines in sports or social events or knowing that they face significant health risks even in young adulthood. Maybe you’ve nagged or dropped hints or taken your child for medical help or sent him or her to weight loss camps — all to no avail.
Doctor Kathy McCoy, author of “The Teenage Body Book,” explains how you can help your teen lose weight and feel better!
• Put the emphasis on good health, not weight, and make it a goal for the whole family. Teens hate being singled out and criticized. Approaching this from a “YOU need to lose weight!” point of view will guarantee a battle of the wills. Instead, ask for your teen’s help in making an action plan to promote better family eating and exercise habits.
• Have real family meals at least once a day and encourage your teen to eat what the family eats. Frantic family schedules have equaled fast food or processed, prepared food dinners — and expanding waistlines. With real, home-cooked meals, you can better control calories, fats, sugars, sodium and other nutritional issues.
• Look at and discuss all of your less than ideal eating behaviors. Maybe your teen craves junk food when she’s bored and watching TV. Maybe you dive into high calorie comfort food when you’re angry or frustrated. Pay attention to the difference between physical and emotional hunger. Discuss all this with your family — and come up with ways to comfort or reward yourselves that have nothing to do with food.
• Make it convenient for everyone in the family to eat breakfast. Advance planning can help: fresh fruit and yogurt in the fridge, whole grain bread and cereals in the pantry, and encouraging all to get up and get going early enough in the morning to grab a bite. Those who don’t eat breakfast tend to overeat during the rest of the day, especially in the evening
• Get your family moving. Trying to motivate an overweight teen to go to the gym can be frustrating and non-productive. Schedule exercise into your family routine: a family walk or bike ride after dinner doesn’t have to cut into homework or leisure time too dramatically — and the exercise is good for everyone.
• Become smart, skeptical consumers: There are no weight loss miracles. Help your teen to avoid quick fixes. The weight didn’t come on overnight and it can’t be lost — for good — overnight either. The goal should be health improvement with a slow, steady weight loss of no more than two pounds a week. The loss can add up to more than 100 pounds in a year — and weight lost slowly as one changes one’s eating and exercise habits is more likely to stay off.
• Make a vow — together — to enjoy a full and healthy life now. You don’t have to wait until you or your teen is slim to do this. With good health as your top family priority, you can feel better starting today. Good nutrition, regular exercise and the feeling that “we’re all in this together” can make a positive difference for everyone in your family.
Award-winning writer and author of “The Teenage Body Book,” Dr. Kathy McCoy is a teen psychology and health expert who has appeared as a guest on such programs as The Today Show and The Oprah Winfrey Show. Winner of the American Library Associations’ Best Book for Young Adults Award, “The Teenage Body Book” contains everything teenagers and their parents need to know about nutrition, health, fitness, emotions and sexuality.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Are you experiencing any of the following situations or feeling at a complete loss or a failure as a parent? You are not alone and by being a proactive parent you are taking the first step towards healing and bringing your family back together.
Is your teen escalating out of control?
Is your teen becoming more and more defiant and disrespectful?
Is your teen manipulative? Running your household?
Are you hostage in your own home by your teen’s negative behavior?
Is your teen angry, violent or rage outbursts?
Is your teen verbally abusive?
Is your teen rebellious, destructive and withdrawn?
Is your teen aggressive towards others or animals?
Is your teen using drugs and/or alcohol?
Does your teen belong to a gang?
Do they frequently runaway or leave home for extended periods of time?
Has their appearance changed – piercing, tattoo’s, inappropriate clothing?
Has your teen stopped participating in sports, clubs, church and family functions? Have they become withdrawn from society?
Is your teen very intelligent yet not working up to their potential? Underachiever? Capable of doing the work yet not interested in education.
Does he/she steal?
Is your teen sexually active?
Is your teen a good kid but making bad choices?
Undesirable peers? Is your teen a follower or a leader?
Low self esteem and low self worth?
Lack of motivation? Low energy?
Mood Swings? Anxiety?
Teen depression that leads to negative behavior?
Eating Disorders? Weight loss? Weight gain?
Self-Harm or Self Mutilation?
High School drop-out?
Suspended or Expelled from school?
Suicidal thoughts or attempts?
Is your teen involved in legal problems? Have they been arrested?
Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)?
Does your teen refuse to take accountability and always blame others for their mistakes?
Do you feel hopeless, helpless and powerless over what options you have as a parent? Are you at your wit’s end?
Does any of the above sound familiar? Many parents are at their wit’s end by the time they contact us, but the most important thing many need to know is you are not alone. There is help but the parent needs to be proactive and educate themselves in getting the right help.
Many try local therapy, which is always recommended, but in most cases, this is a very temporary band-aid to a more serious problem. One or two hours a week with a therapist is usually not enough to make the major changes that need to be done.
If you feel you are at your wit’s end and are considering outside resources, please contact us. http://www.helpyourteens.com/free_information.shtml An informed parent is an educated parent and will better prepare to you to make the best decision for your child. It is critical not to place your child out of his/her element. In many cases placing a teen that is just starting to make bad choices into a hard core environment may cause more problems. Be prepared – do your homework.
Many parents are in denial and keep hoping and praying the situation is going to change. Unfortunately in many cases, the problems usually escalate without immediate attention. Don’t be parents in denial; be proactive in getting your teen the appropriate help they may need. Whether it is local therapy or outside the home assistance, be in command of the situation before it spirals out of control and you are at a place of desperation. At wit’s end is not a pleasant place to be, but so many of us have been there.
Finding the best school or program for your child is one of the most important steps a parent does. Remember, your child is not for sale – don’t get drawn into high pressure sales people, learn from my mistakes. Read my story at http://www.aparentstruestory.com/ for the mistakes I made that nearly destroyed my daughter.
In searching for schools and programs we look for the following:
· Helping Teens - not Harming them
· Building them up - not Breaking them down
· Positive and Nurturing Environments - not Punitive
· Family Involvement in Programs - not Isolation from the teen
· Protect Children - not Punish them
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
With all the discussions around the nude pictures - it brings up another concern - does this mean your teen is being recognized as a sex object? Does it say he or she is "easy"?
Many people will ask, "where are the parents?", however it is almost impossible to monitor your teen 24/7, especially Online. As parents and adults everywhere, we need to tell our kids how this can harm them in the future. Their BFF today - may be their enemy next summer! Then where will those photos end up?
Keep informed - stay up to date with information for parents and teens.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Talk and LISTEN to them. Ask lots of questions, get to know their friends and their friend’s parents, take part in their interests, be supportive if they are having a hard time, even if you can’t understand it; be there for them.This all sounds so easy and so simple, but take it from parents that have walked this path, it is not easy. When a parent works a full day, has stress from the job along with household chores, not to mention the bills, it is hard to find that moment. We are all guilty of neglect at one time or another after all, we are only human and can only do so much. We feel the exhaustion mounting watching our teens grow more out of control, yet we are too tired to address it.
Out of control teens can completely disrupt a family and cause marriages to break up as well as emotional breakdowns.We know many feel it is just a stage, and with some, it may be. However most times it does escalate to where we are today. Researching for help; Parents’ Universal Resource Experts is here for you, as we have been where you are today.
Do you have a difficult teen, struggling teen, defiant teen, out of control teen, rebellious teen, angry teen, depressed teen? Do you feel hopeless, at your wits end?
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
“If we can help parents do a better job at parenting, then you’ll see less and less of children acting out because … acting out is really a symptom usually of what’s happening in the home.”
-- Alesia Brooks, area director for Community Solutions, Inc.
One approach to treating violent teens is gaining popularity across the country. It’s called multi-systemic therapy. The goal is to change the teen – by starting with the parent.
Last year, during a fight with her older sister, 16-year-old Angela pulled a knife. Angela says, “I wasn’t going to hurt her or nothing. I guess I was just threatening her with it.”
Angela was arrested and a judge recommended multi-systemic therapy. A therapist came to the house for five months. But instead of counseling Angela, he focused on her mom.
“Mom had no rules, so Angela didn’t know left from right, right from wrong,” says Alesia Brooks, an area director of home-based services for Community Solutions, Inc., a licensed provider of multi-systemic therapy. “She just did whatever she wanted to do. And if there was a conflict, then the conflict was managed through yelling and screaming.”
First, the counselor helped Angela’s mom Cecilia write a list of rules. Cecilia says, “Well, it was kind of, I had to get used to it myself, to enforcing the rules. And I noticed [having] the rules was much better.”
“If we can help parents do a better job at parenting,” says Brooks, “then you’ll see less and less of children acting out because the children acting out is really a symptom, usually of what’s happening in the home.”
“I was just kind of used to arguing,” adds Angela, “like kind of like how a child would throw a tantrum and get what they want. That’s kind of like how I was doing it when I was 13, 14, 15. And then when [the therapist] came in, he kind of made it that I couldn’t do it no more!”
The idea? Change the parent – and you will change the child.
Brooks says, “We don’t want to be the agent for change because we’re gone, we are not going to be there for the lifetime, the parent will be.”
Cecilia says the therapist helped her listen more, and yell less. “He taught me to communicate, calm down. We talk and try to solve the problem.”
Tips for Parents
How do you know if parenting coaching is right for your family? Heritage Communications, which offers support and coaching services to families, cites the following types of parents who could benefit from hiring a parent coach:
Parents of older adopted children
Parents of challenging children
Parents dealing with adoption adjustment issues
Parents of children with RAD (reactive attachment disorder)
Parents looking for new parenting techniques to use with their children
Parents who don’t have a support system that truly understands the issues
Parents feeling overwhelmed
Parents taking their children to therapy but in need of parent support
Power struggles with teens are not uncommon. Whether or not you have a parent coach for support, as a parent, it is your responsibility to diffuse the situation in a calm manner. Jane Nelson, author of Positive Discipline, offers parents the following advice for reducing power struggles within the home:
After realizing you may be actually promoting the power struggles with your teen, you can decide to not fight and to not give in. Disengage from the fight and try to remain emotionally cool and calm. Without anger, the power struggle will diminish because your teen will have no one to fight against.
Give up the concept that you can make your teen do anything. Instead, inspire, teach, influence, lead, guide, motivate, stimulate and encourage your teen to positive, cooperative behavior. Catch him or her being good!
When disengaging, you need to act, not speak. For example, a temper tantrum becomes ineffective and silly if you withdraw to the other room – with slamming of doors.
Later, during a cooled-down period, you can talk about what you want from your teen. You can say, in a loving, accepting tone, “Son, after school, would you prefer to do your homework in the office or at the kitchen table?” If your teen feels personal power through choices, then he or she does not feel the need for power through conflict.
Community Solutions, Inc.
Multisystemic Therapy Services
Parent Coaching Institute
Friday, November 28, 2008
It doesn’t matter your economic status, it seems some teens from all financial backgrounds will try their “hand” at shoplifting. Why? Peer pressure? Is it cool? Part of the crowd?
What constitutes shoplifting? It doesn’t have to be only stealing, shoplifting can include changing price tags (which is harder to do now with the bar scans in some stores), consuming food or drink without paying for it, leaving a restaurant without paying, wearing items out of a store (again, hoping there isn’t an alarm tag on them) - this and more will land you in legal trouble if you are caught.
Teens seem to believe it could never happen to them - however more and more I am hearing from parents that have had to deal with this.
To learn more, visit www.stopyourkidsfromshoplifting.com and get some great parenting tips such as:
Why Children Steal and Your Role in Preventing Retail Theft
Very young children sometimes take things they want without understanding why it’s wrong. Elementary school-aged children know better, but may lack enough self-control to stop themselves. Most preteens and teens shoplift as a result of social and personal pressure in their lives. Here are just a few of the reasons why:
• Feel peer pressure to shoplift
• Low self-esteem
• A cry for help or attention
• The naïve assumption they won’t get caught
• The belief that teen stealing is “not a big deal”
• Inability to handle temptation when faced with things they want
• The thrill involved
• Defiance or rebelliousness
• Not knowing how to work through feelings of anger, frustration, etc.
• Misconception that stores can afford the losses
• The desire to have the things that will get them “in” with a certain group of kids.
• To support a drug habit.
• To prove themselves to members of a gang.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Teen Peer Pressure can be extremely damaging to a pre-teen or teen that is desperately trying to fit in somewhere – anywhere in their school. They are not sure what group they belong in, and those that are suffering with low self esteem can end up fitting more comfortably with the less than desirable peers. This can be the beginning of a downward spiral. When a child doesn’t have confidence of who they are or where they belong, it can lead to the place that is easiest to fit in – usually the not the best crowd.
Keeping your child involved in activities such as sports, music and school clubs can help give them a place where they belong. We always encourage parents to find the one thing that truly interests their child, whether it is a musical instrument, swimming, golf, diving, dance, chess club, drama, etc. It is important to find out what their interests are and help them build on it. Encourage them 100%. They don’t need to be the next Tiger Woods, but they need to enjoy what they are doing and keep busy doing it. Staying busy in a constructive way is always beneficial.
It is very common with many parents that contact us that their child has fallen into the wrong crowd and has become a follower rather than a leader. They are making bad choices, choices they know better however the fear of not fitting in with their friends sways them to make the wrong decisions. Low self esteem can attribute to this behavior, and if it has escalated to a point of dangerous situations such as legal issues, substance use, gang related activity, etc. it may be time to seek outside help.
Remember, don’t be ashamed of this, it is very common today and you are not alone. So many parents believe others will think it is a reflection of their parenting skills, however with today’s society; the teen peer pressure is stronger than it ever has been. The Internet explosion combined with many teens Entitlement Issues has made today’s generation a difficult one to understand.
It is so important to find the right fit for your child if you are seeking residential treatment. We always encourage *local adolescent counseling prior to any Residential Treatment Programs or Boarding schools, however this is not always necessary. Many parents have an instinct when their child is heading the wrong direction. It is an intuition only a parent can detect. If something doesn't seem right, it usually isn't. If your gut is talking to you, you may want to listen or investigate what your child is doing.
Parents need to understand that teen peer pressure can influence adolescents in negative ways. Do you know who your child’s friends are?
If you feel your teen is in need of further Boarding School, Military School or Program Options, please complete our Information Request Form. Please visit Informational Articles for more beneficial information.
*Local Therapist should be Therapist/Counselors that "specialize" with Adolescents.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Empowering the public with knowledge … giving children and youth a voice by speaking for them… advocating for their safety and taking their message to the media and to our communities … a liaison between those with no power and those with power.
Practicing safe and positive parenting in every home … every school ... every community across America ... for all children ... creating successful families.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Offers 10 Parenting Quick Tips
1. Communication: Keeping the lines of communication of your child should be a priority with all parents. It is important to let your kids know you are always there for them no matter what the subject is. If there is a subject you are not comfortable with, please be sure your child has someone they can open up to. I believe that when kids keep things bottled up, it can be when negative behaviors can start to grow.
2. Knowing your Children’s Friends: This is critical, in my opinion. Who are your kids hanging out with? Doing their homework with? If they are spending a lot of time at a friends house, go out of your way to call the parent introduce yourself. Especially if they are spending the night at a friends house, it important to take time to call the parents or meet them. This can give you a feeling of security knowing where your child is and who they are with.
3. Know your Child’s Teachers – Keep track of their attendance at school: Take time to meet each teacher and be sure they have your contact information and you have theirs if there are any concerns regarding your child. In the same respect, take time to meet your child’s Guidance Counselor.
4. Keep your Child Involved: Whether it is sports, music, drama, dance, and school clubs such as chess, government, school newspaper or different committees such as prom, dances and other school activities. Keeping your child busy can keep them out of trouble. If you can find your child’s passion – whether it is football, soccer, gymnastics, dance, music – that can help keep them focused and hopefully keep them on track in school.
5. Learn about Internet Social Networking: In today’s Cyber generation this has to be a priority. Parents need to help educate their kids on Cyber Safety – think before they post, help them to understand what they put up today, may haunt them tomorrow. Don’t get involved with strangers and especially don’t talk about sex with strangers. Avoid meeting in person the people you meet online without you being there. On the same note – cell phone and texting – don’t allow your child to freely give out their cell numbers and never post them online. Parents should consider ReputationDefender/MyChild to further help protect their children online.
6. Encourage your teen to get a job or volunteer: In today’s generation I think we need to instill responsibility and accountability. This can start early by encouraging your teen to either get a job or volunteer, especially during the summer. Again, it is about keeping them busy, however at the same time teaching them responsibility. I always tell parents to try to encourage their teens to get jobs at Summer Camps, Nursing Homes, ASPCA, Humane Society or places where they are giving to others or helping animals. It can truly build self esteem to help others.
7. Make Time for your Child: This sounds very simple and almost obvious, but with today’s busy schedule of usually both parents working full time or single parent households, it is important to put time aside weekly (if not daily at dinner) for one on one time or family time. Today life is all about electronics (cell phones, Ipods, Blackberry’s, computers, etc) that the personal touch of actually being together has diminished.
8. When Safety trumps privacy: If you suspect your teen is using drugs, or other suspicious behaviors (lying, defiance, disrespectful, etc) it is time to start asking questions – and even “snooping” – I know there are two sides to this coin, and that is why I specifically mentioned “if you suspect” things are not right – in these cases – safety for your child takes precedence over invading their privacy. Remember – we are the parent and we are accountable and responsible for our child.
9. Are you considering outside treatment for your child? Residential Therapy is a huge step, and not a step that is taken lightly. Do your homework! When your child’s behavior escalates to a level of belligerence, defiance, substance abuse or God forbid gang relations – it may be time to seek outside help. Don’t be ashamed of this – put your child’s future first and take steps to get the help he/she needs – immediately, but take your time to find the right placement. Read Wit’s End! for more information.
10. Be a parent FIRST: There are parents that want to be their child’s friend and that is great – but remember you are a parent first. Set boundaries – believe it not kids want limits (and most importantly – need them). Never threaten consequences you don’t plan on following through with.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Our mission is to educate parents and provide them services they can use to keep their teen safe and alive while driving. It's pretty well known that driving crashes are the #1 cause of teen injury and death, taking a back seat to suicide, homocide, drugs, alcohol and all other causes.Feel free to visit our site at http://www.safeteendrivingclub.org/, or our blog at http://safeteendrivingclub.wordpress.com/.
You'll find safety tips, information on our Crash Free America educational program for parents and services and products that are proven to reduce the chances of a crash with your teen.
You can also see a short video about the Club and other media coverage at http://www.safeteendrivingclub.org/stdc_page2.php?page_ID=1193759997.
Friday, November 14, 2008
Saturday, November 8, 2008
– Dr. David Satcher, former U.S. Surgeon General
In an effort to boost test performance, many schools are taking time away from physical education and using it for more time in class.
But studies now show that rigorous physical activity can actually lead to better grades.
In Broward County, Florida, many schools are getting the message.
Fourth grade teacher Katherine Bennett takes her students out for a five-minute walk after a long lesson.
“I found that when my children start yawning and they start not paying attention, then one way I can refocus those children is to take them out for a brief, little fun walk,” she says. “And by the time we’ve got them back into the room again, they’re ready to study some more.”
In fact, according to new research from the Medical College of Georgia, kids who are active and play hard have higher levels of concentration, better organization skills and are less impulsive than kids who are sedentary.
“The area of the brain that’s involved in cognitive learning is the same area that’s stimulated by physical activity, so the two seem to work hand in hand,” explains Jackie Lund, Ph.D, President of the National Association for Sport and Physical Education.
Former U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. David Satcher agrees, “Children who are physically fit do better academically. They perform better on standardized examinations, they concentrate better, on the other hand, children who are obese are four times as likely to be depressed, very likely to be absent from school.”
What’s more, many kids say it’s easy to get distracted if you have to sit still, all day long, in school.
“After a while I just get antsy and I want to move around - cause I start to get stiff and it’s like, I want to get up and walk around,” complains 18-year-old Eric DeGreeff. “But in class you can’t really get up and walk around,”
That’s why, experts say, if your child’s school does not provide vigorous physical education, you have to speak up.
“If parents go out and demand quality physical education, where their kids are learning and they’re moving and they’re involved in activities that are going to create the next steps for a life time, then they will be heard,” says Lund.
Tips for Parents
“It is helpful to think of the brain as a muscle,” Dr. John Ratey told colleagues at a conference on “Learning and the Brain” in Boston. Dr. Ratey, a clinical associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, says the best way to “maximize the brain” is through exercise and movement. Emerging new research on animals and humans suggests his theory may be correct. In particular, the following two studies indicate that physical exercise may boost brain function, improve mood and increase learning:
A four-year study at Albion College in Michigan shows that children who participated in regular exercise (jumping rope, hopscotch, catching and throwing balls) significantly raised their scores on standardized mathematics tests. Teachers also reported that the exercise program helped improve the students’ social and emotional skills.
Investigators from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute have found that running boosts the growth of nerve cells and improves learning and memory in adult mice. According to the study, the brains of mice that exercised had about 2.5 times more new nerve cells than sedentary mice.
Says Dr. Ratey: “Twelve minutes of exercise at 85% of your maximum heart rate is like taking a little bit of Prozac and a little bit of Ritalin in a very holistic manner.”
The National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) offers the following statistics and recommendations to support that physically active children “learn better”:
Elementary school students should participate in a minimum of 60 minutes of moderate and vigorous activity every day.
Middle and high school students should participate in 30 minutes of physical activity daily.
Play is an essential part of children’s social development.
Children learn how to cooperate, compete constructively, assume leader/follower roles and resolve conflicts by interacting in play.
Only 25% of American children participate in any type of daily physical activity.
More than 300,000 deaths are caused annually by a lack of exercise and a poor diet.
How much exercise does your child need? According to the American Heart Association (AHA), a “healthy level” of physical activity requires regular participation in activities that increase heart rates above resting levels. An active child plays sports, participates in physical education classes, performs regular household chores, spends recreational time outdoors and regularly travels by foot or bicycle.
The AHA offers the following guidelines for maintaining healthy physical activity in children:
Encourage regular walking, bicycling, outdoor play, the use of playgrounds and gymnasiums and interaction with other children.
Allow no more than two hours per day to watch television or videotapes.
Promote weekly participation in age-appropriate organized sports, lessons, clubs or sandlot games.
Have your child participate in daily school or day-care physical education that includes at least 20 minutes of coordinated large-muscle exercise.
Make sure your child has access to school buildings and community facilities that enable safe participation in physical activities.
Provide opportunities for physical activities that are fun, increase confidence and involve friends and peers.
Organize regular family outings that involve walking, cycling, swimming or other recreational activities.
Engage in positive role modeling for a physically active lifestyle.
Experts say it is important for parents to remember that physical activity doesn’t have to be strenuous to be beneficial.
American Heart Association
Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Medical College of Georgia
National Association for Sport and Physical Education
Thursday, October 30, 2008
by ADDitude Editors
The problem: The student with attention deficit disorder (ADD ADHD) interrupts the teacher and classmates by calling out answers or commenting while others are speaking.
The reason: Children with ADHD have difficulty controlling their impulses. Scientists believe that a problem with dopamine, a brain chemical, causes them to respond immediately and reflexively to their environment — whether the stimulus is a question, an idea, or a treat. That’s why they often seem to act or talk before thinking, and ADHD school behavior suffers as a result.
The obstacles: Children with ADHD may not be aware that they are interrupting.
Even if they are, they have difficulty understanding that their behavior is disturbing or disruptive to others.Simply telling them their behavior is wrong doesn’t help. Even though they know this, their impulsivity overrides their self-control. Many ADHD children can’t understand nonverbal reprimands, like frowning, either.
Read entire article here: http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/1977.html
Thursday, October 23, 2008
– Erica Bryant, 18 years old
Everyday at school, Erica Bryant was harassed. “They’d call me a slut, call me a whore.”
The bullying became too much, so her parents decided to have her home schooled.
“So, sure, a huge part of the problem was resolved in that she didn’t have to face that trauma everyday, she didn’t have to sit in the lunchroom by herself,” explains her mom, Linda Perloff, “but what we didn’t expect was the power of the Internet …we didn’t expect the instant messaging.”
Erica explains her frustration: “I’d block them, but then they’d have another screen name and they’d be like ‘you’re a whore, you can’t get away from this. It would just bring me to tears and I would cry because I couldn’t get away from it, as much as I tried.”
Experts say cyber bullying can be even more painful and pervasive than face-to-face harassment.
“You can never really get away from it,” explains pediatrician Dr. Ken Haller, “because even if you’re not on the Internet checking out what people are saying about you, other people are.”
But, experts say, there are ways to minimize attacks online.
First, make sure your child doesn’t post anything revealing.
“If they’re thinking, I’m just putting this out there for my friends to read, they don’t realize that anyone can pick this up and someone who might be a potential bully would say, ‘Ah! I’m going to use this. This is great’,” says Haller.
Experts say if the cyber bullying doesn’t stop- print the messages out and show them to the bully’s parents. If the messages are threatening, go to the police.
“I always encourage parents to talk to your local law enforcement agency and run it by them,” says Judy Freeman, a school social worker. “Many times they say, ‘well, we really can’t do anything,’ but if it’s - if it borders onto harassment or if there’s some threat involved, they will become involved.”
Erica is now in a new school. The harassment has stopped- at least for her.
“If I see it happen to other girls I’m not going to sit by and watch,” she says. “I’m going to get involved and put an end to it.”
Tips for Parents
Bullying in America has become an epidemic. In fact, with the advent of the Internet, bullies don’t even have to have physical contact with your child to torment him/her. Thus, parents are faced with the monumental task of monitoring the activities of children in a world of virtually unlimited sources of information. Although many parents attempt to regulate the access of their children to the Internet, that access is, in fact, nearly ubiquitous. Consider these facts regarding children, technology and the Internet:
Children are increasingly using new technologies in school, at the library, at home and in after-school activities.
A recent study estimated that nearly 10 million children are online.
Over one quarter of U.S. classrooms have Internet access, and 78 percent of schools have some kind of access to the Internet.
Two out of three public libraries provide computers and Internet access for public use.
Because bullying – including online bullying – can be such an emotional issue, experts say it is extremely important to open the lines of communication with your kids. This can include …
Starting to talk with them early.
Creating an open environment.
Communicating your values.
Listening to your child.
Trying to be honest.
Sharing your experiences.
Also, watch for behavioral changes. Children who are suffering from teasing and bullying may try to hide the hurt. They become withdrawn from family and friends, lose interest in hobbies, and may turn to destructive habits like alcohol, drugs, and acts of violence.
While bullying, harassment and teasing are unfortunate aspects of childhood, you can help minimize these occurrences by raising non-violent children. The American Academy of Pediatrics cites the following tips for curbing hurtful behavior in your child:
Give your child consistent love and attention. Every child needs a strong, loving relationship with a parent or other adult to feel safe and secure and to develop a sense of trust. Without a steady bond to a caring adult, a child is at risk for becoming hostile, difficult and hard to manage.
Make sure your child is supervised. A child depends on his or her parents and family members for encouragement, protection and support as he or she learns to think for him or herself.
Monitor your child’s Internet use. If your child knows you are watching, he/she is less likely to take part in cyber-bullying. Also, encourage him/her to avoid using chat rooms with violent or derogatory conversations.
Show your child appropriate behaviors by the way you act. Children often learn by example. The behavior, values and attitudes of parents and siblings have a strong influence on them. Be firm with your child about the possible dangers of violent behavior and language. Also, remember to praise your child when he or she solves problems constructively without violence.
Be consistent about rules and discipline. When you make a rule, stick to it. Your child needs structure with clear expectations for his or her behavior. Setting rules and then not enforcing them is confusing and sets up your child to “see what he or she can get away with.”
Try to keep your child from seeing violence in the home or community. Violence in the home can be frightening and harmful to children. A child who has seen violence at home does not always become violent, but he or she may be more likely to try to resolve conflicts with violence.
Try to keep your child from seeing too much violence in the media. Watching a lot of violence on television, in the movies and in video games can lead children to behave aggressively. As a parent, you can control the amount of violence your child sees in the media by limiting television viewing and previewing games, movies, etc., before allowing access to them by your child.
Help your child stand up against violence. Support your child in standing up against violence.
Kaiser Family Foundation
Talking With Your Kids
British Medical Journal
American Academy of Pediatrics
University of California- Los Angeles
Saturday, October 11, 2008
'Wit's End' book offers advice to help out-of-control teens
By Liz Doup South Florida Sun-Sentinel
A decade ago, when her 14-year-old daughter spiraled out of control, Sue Scheff didn't know where to turn.
As a result, the Weston mom sent Ashlyn to a residential program that harmed rather than helped, she says. It was a drastic move after her daughter had temporarily run away and threatened violence.
In hindsight, Scheff wishes she had looked more closely at schools and asked more questions. To help parents avoid her mistakes, she started researching programs that offer professional treatment in a residential setting. She put what she learned in the recently published book, Wit's End: Advice and Resources for Saving Your Out-of-Control Teen (Health Communications Inc.; $14.95). She also created Parents' Universal Resource Experts Inc. (helpyourteens.com).
Read the entire article here: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/features/sfl-1008-troubled-teens-help,0,3889948.story
Friday, October 3, 2008
Defining "Gateway Drugs"
Kids today have much more societal pressure put upon them than their parents generation did, and the widespread availability of drugs like methamphetamines and the "huffing" trend (which uses common household chemicals as drugs) can turn recreational use of a relatively harmless gateway drug into a severe or fatal addiction without warning.
The danger of gateway drugs increases in combination with many prescription medications taken by teens today. These dangerous side effects may not be addressed by your child's pediatrician if your child is legally too young to smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol. Drugs like Ritalin, Prozac, Adderrall, Strattera, Zoloft and Concerta can be very dangerous when mixed with recreational drugs and alcohol. Combining some prescription medications with other drugs can often negate the prescription drug's effectiveness, or severely increase the side effects of the drug being abused. For example, a 2004 study by Stanford University found that the active chemical in marijuana, THC, frequently acted as a mental depressant as well as a physical depressant. If your child is currently on an anti-depressant medication like Prozac or Zoloft, marijuana use can counterbalance their antidepressant effects.
Other prescription anti depressants and anti psychotics can also become severely dangerous when mixed with alcohol. This is why is imperative that you as a parent must familiarize yourself with any prescription medications your child is taking and educate your child of the dangers of mixing their prescription drugs with other harmful drugs- even if you don't believe your child abuses drugs or alcohol.
Marijuana - Why It is More Dangerous Than You Think
Parents who smoked marijuana as teenagers may see their child's drug use as a harmless rite of passage, but with so many new and dangerous designer drugs making their way into communities across the country, the potential for marijuana to become a gateway to more dangerous drugs for your child should not be taken lightly.
Marijuana is the most commonly abused drug by both teens and adults. The drug is more commonly smoked, but can also be added to baked goods like cookies or brownies. Marijuana which is ingested orally can be far more potent than marijuana that is smoked, but like smoking tobacco, smoking marijuana can cause lung cancer, emphysema, asthma and other chronic conditions of the lungs. Just because it is "all natural" does not make it any safer for your lungs.
Marijuana is also a depressant. This means the drug slows down the body's functions and the messages the body sends to the brain. This is why many people who are under the influence of marijuana (or "stoned") they are often sluggish or unmotivated.
Marijuana can also have psychological side effects, both temporary and permanent. Some common psychological side effects of marijuana are paranoia, confusion, restlessness, hallucinations, panic, anxiety, detachment from reality, and nausea. While these symptoms alone do not sound all that harmful, put in the wrong situation, a teen experiencing any of these feelings may act irrationally or dangerously and can potentially harm themselves or others. In more severe cases, patients who abuse marijuana can develop severe long-term mental illnesses such as schizophrenia.
Tobacco - Just Because It Is Legal Doesn't Mean It Is Safe
While cigarettes and tobacco are considered "legal", they are not legal for teens to posses or smoke until they are 18. Still, no matter the age of your child, smoking is a habit you should encourage them to avoid, whether they can smoke legally or not.
One of the main problems with cigarettes is their addictive properties. Chemicals like nicotine are added to tobacco to keep the smoker's body craving more, thus insuring customer loyalty. This is extremely dangerous to the smoker, however, as smoking has repeatedly proven to cause a host of ailments, including lung cancer, emphysema, chronic bronchitis or bronchial infection, asthma and mouth cancer- just to name a few.
In addition to nicotine, cigarettes contain over 4000 other chemicals, including formaldehyde (a poisonous compound used in some nail polishes and to preserve corpses), acetone (used in nail polish remover to dissolve paint) carbon monoxide (responsible for between 5000 to 6000 deaths annually in its "pure" form), arsenic (found in rat poison), tar (found on paved highways and roads), and hydrogen cyanide (used to kill prisoners sentenced to death in "gas chambers").
Cigarettes can also prematurely age you, causing wrinkles and dull skin, and can severely decay and stain teeth.
A new trend in cigarette smoke among young people are "bidi's", Indian cigarettes that are flavored to taste like chocolate, strawberry, mango and other sweets. Bidi's are extremely popular with teens as young as 12 and 13. Their sweet flavors and packaging may lead parents to believe that they aren't "real" cigarettes or as dangerous as brand-name cigarettes, but in many cases bidi's can be worse than brand name cigarettes, because teens become so enamored with the flavor they ingest more smoke than they might with a name brand cigarette.
Another tobacco trend is "hookah's" or hookah bars. A hookah is an ornate silver or glass water pipe with a fabric hoses or hoses used to ingest smoke. Hookahs are popular because many smokers can share one hookah at the same time. However, despite this indirect method of ingesting tobacco smoke through a hose, hookah smoking is just as dangerous as cigarette smoke.
The Sobering Effects of Alcohol on Your Teen
Alcohol is another substance many parents don't think they need to worry about. Many believe that because they don't have alcohol at home or kept their alcohol locked up, their teens have no access to it, and stores or bars will not sell to minors. Unfortunately, this is not true. A recent study showed that approximately two-thirds of all teens who admitted to drinking alcohol said they were able to purchase alcohol themselves.
Teens can also get alcohol from friends with parents who do not keep alcohol locked up or who may even provide alcohol to their children.
Alcohol is a substance that many parents also may feel conflicted about. Because purchasing and consuming alcohol is legal for most parents, some parents may not deem it harmful. Some parents believe that allowing their teen to drink while supervised by an adult is a safer alternative than "forcing" their teen to obtain alcohol illegally and drinking it unsupervised. In theory, this does sound logical, but even under adult supervision alcohol consumption is extremely dangerous for growing teens. Dr. John Nelson of the American Medical Association recently testified that even light alcohol consumption in late childhood and adolescence can cause permanent brain damage in teens. Alcohol use in teens is also linked with increased depression, ADD, reduced memory and poor academic performance.
In combination with some common anti-psychotics and anti-depressants, the effects of just one 4 oz glass of wine can be akin to that of multiple glasses, causing the user to become intoxicated much faster than someone not on anti depressants. Furthermore, because of the depressant nature of alcohol, alcohol consumption by patients treated with anti-depressants can actually counteract the anti-depressant effect and cause the patient sudden overwhelming depression while the alcohol is in their bloodstream. This low can continue to plague the patient long after the alcohol has left their system.
Because there are so many different types of alcoholic beverage with varying alcohol concentration, it is often difficult for even of-age drinkers to gauge how much is "too much". For an inexperienced teen, the consequences can be deadly. Binge drinking has made headlines recently due to cases of alcohol poisoning leading to the death of several college students across the nation. But binge drinking isn't restricted to college students. Recent studies have shown teens as young as 13 have begun binge drinking, which can cause both irreparable brain and liver damage.
It is a fact that most teenage deaths are associated with alcohol, and approximately 6000 teens die each year in alcohol related automobile accidents. Indirectly, alcohol consumption can severely alter teens' judgment, leaving them vulnerable to try riskier behaviors like reckless stunts, drugs, or violent behavior. Alcohol and other drugs also slow response time, leaving teenage girls especially in danger of sexual assault. The temporary feeling of being uninhibited can also have damaging future consequences.
With the popularity of internet sites like MySpace and Facebook, teens around the country are finding embarrassing and indecent photos of themselves surfacing online. Many of these pictures were taken while the subjects were just joking around, but some were taken while the subjects were drunk or under the influence of drugs. These photos are often incredibly difficult to remove, and can have life altering consequences. Many employers and colleges are now checking networking sites for any reference to potential employees and students, and using them as a basis to accept or decline applicants!
Monday, September 29, 2008
Nina posted some questions about her 10-year-old daughter lying about eating and drinking in the bedroom and watching TV with the door closed. Nina wants to how she can tell if her daughter is deliberately lying or simply forgetful, as her daughter was a micro-preemie, and Nina is worried that her premature birth has affected her behavior and memory.
Nina is also wondering about the best way to encourage her daughter to tell the truth about her behavior. Her husband feels that their daughter plays both of her parents against each other, and he punishes her by saying that he is not going to take her anywhere for the summer; she won’t be allowed to go bike riding or have other interesting adventures. Nina wants to know if these are apt punishments for her daughter’s behavior.
Unfortunately for parents, there is no absolute, surefire way to determine if your child is deliberately lying or has simply forgotten the rules. Therefore, instead of spending your time trying to figure out if your daughter is lying, shift your focus to trying to help her remember the rules.
Tell your daughter, “I can see that it has been hard for you to remember our rules about not eating in the bedroom and watching TV with the door closed. Let’s see if we can figure out a way to help you remember.”
Try different ways to help her with her memory, such as having her write sticky notes with the rules and posting them near the TV, or making poster collages with pictures of food that is crossed out.
Any extra practice with memory tricks will be helpful for children who have experienced developmental difficulties.
Tell her that even though it may be hard for her to remember, she will still need to learn the consequences for breaking the rules.
Discuss what those consequences will be and follow through on them every time. She needs to see that the end result is the same, whether she lies or forgets, and you won’t have to waste time or energy trying to figure out if she is lying.
Be on the lookout for times when she does remember the rules. Give lots of positive attention, such as saying, “I noticed that you finished your snack in the kitchen before you went in to watch television. You must feel good about remembering to follow the rules. I’m really proud of you.”
Make a behavior chart to keep track of days where she was able to follow the rules.
Think of rewards that she can earn after a week or a month of good days.
In terms of the consequences, discipline works better if it is specific, immediate, is appropriate for the situation, and allows the child to make up for breaking the rules.
For example, a consequence of eating where she is not supposed to could be having to clean and vacuum the area.
Read entire article here: http://www.education.com/magazine/column/entry/Following_the_Rules/
Thursday, September 25, 2008
I have noticed that there is a huge spectrum of teens online. There are literally thousands of articles that have been written in the past four years about teens online (I have written some of them!) but they refer to teens online all the same. This is simply not true, there are many different kinds of ‘users.’
Teen Internet User 1: Centers
These are the heaviest users. They live and breathe online. They sneak internet in the middle of the night and are on every social network imaginable. They also want all the latest trends and new gadgets. Taking away their phones or computers is the worse possible punishment. They are the ultimate techies and love to write their own Java and HTML.
Teen Internet User 2: Networkers
These users do not visit anything but the social networks. They do not care to discover new sites or learn programming. All they want to do is chat, share and network with friends. They are the first to discover any changes on MySpace and have started 36+ groups on Facebook.
Teen Internet User 3: Communicator
These teens do visit social networking sites occasionally but only as a means of communicating. They live on IM. Video chat, IM and emails are where they spend the most time.
Teen Internet User 4: Seeker
These teens tend not to be as social and like to discover online. Unlike the Centers, when they discover something new they do not spread it around to all of their friends (maybe a select few), but they like to find new websites and participate in more of the underground internet. They are the tech insulars and only want websites that are grassroots and authentic.
Teen Internet User 5: Listener
Some teens seem to use the Internet exclusively to find, follow and research music and new bands. They are usually addicted to MySpace and cruise the web with their earphones in.
Teen Internet User 6: Schooler
These teens have little interest in the Internet besides what is necessary for school. If they chat it is not much, their friend set-up their Facebook profile for them and they are not overly impressed with anything online except maybe the occasional YouTube video.
Teen Internet User 7: Gamer
Gamers, quite obviously are avid Internet players. They play World of Warcraft until 3am (or they would if you would let them) love games on miniclip.com and addictinggames.com. They asked for a joystick for Christmas.
Teen Internet User 8: Watcher
Some teens love to watch webisodes, YouTube surf or TV shows online. They get all of their entertainment through your broadband cable and often reject traditional TV.
Teen Internet User 9: Expresser
These teens keep online diaries, write poetry for ezines and might even have their own blog. They love posting comments on other blogs and writing articles to submit for larger online publications. The Internet is their voice.
Teen Internet User 10: Informer
These teens use the Internet to stay current. They read newspapers, comment in political forums and have impressive RSS feeds of lots of online resources.Yes, teens can be a combination of a few of these, or dabble in a little bit of gaming but are really Networkers (or they game to network via World of Warcraft chatting.) What kind of teen do you have?
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Take a peek at http://www.parentseverywhere.com/ - If you are a parent, I am sure there is topic that will interest you!
The Parents Everywhere Network is an incredible resource of experts who provide you with the parenting tools you need every week. Subscribe to our Podcasts for free and each show will be automatically downloaded to your computer where you can listen to each episode on your computer, or copy the files to your iPod or MP3 Player. You can also listen directly from our website, where ever you see the embedded player. The shows are free, convenient and only 20 minutes long. You can listen anytime, anywhere!
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
They are confused and following the crowd of peers making poor choices. Teens want to escape the “rules of a household” and we as parents, become their number one enemy. They feel that they are fearless and can prove they can survive without their parents and our rules. Rules are put in place for a reason; we love our children and want them to grow up with dignity and respect we try to instill in them. Their flight plan, in some ways, is a cry for attention. Many times runaways are back home shortly, however there are other situations that can be more serious. This is not to say any child that runs away is not serious, but when this becomes a habit and is their way of rebelling, a parent needs to intervene.
So many times we hear how “their friend’s parents” allow a much later curfew or are more lenient, and you are the worst parents in the world. This is very common and the parent feels helpless, hopeless and alone. It is all part of the manipulation the teens put us through. With their unappreciative thoughts of us, they will turn to this destructive behavior, which, at times, results in them leaving the home.
Some teens go to a friend’s house or relative they believe they can trust and make up stories about their home life. This is very common, a parent has to suffer the pain and humiliation that it causes to compound it with the need to get your child help that they need. If you fear your child is at risk of running, the lines of communication have to be open. We understand this can be difficult, however if possible needs to be approached in a positive manner. Teen help starts with communication.
If you feel this has escalated to where you cannot control them, it may be time for placement and possibly having your child escorted. Please know that the escorts (transports) are all licensed and very well trained in removing children from their home into safe programs. These escorts are also trained counselors that will talk to your child all the way, and your child will end his/her trip with a new friend and a better understanding of why their parents had to resort to this measure.
Helpful Hint if you child has runaway and you are using all your local resources – offer a cash reward to their friends privately, of course promising their anonymity and hopefully someone will know your child’s whereabouts.
Having a teen runaway is very frightening and it can bring you to your wits end. Try to remain positive and hopeful and do all you can to help understand why your child is acting out this way. These are times when parents need to seek help for themselves. Don’t be ashamed to reach out to others. We are all about parents helping parents.
Visit my Teen Runaway Website and www.helpyourteens.com for more information.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
– Arielle Jacobs, 13 years old
Will kids smoke just because they see an actor or actress in a movie light up? Sixteen-year-old Jay McManeon says, “no way.”
“For me, it doesn’t really matter if I saw someone smoking in the movie,” he says.
But other teens argue that smoking in movies does have an effect on teens.
“If they thought it was cool enough, like you if it was your idol, you might. If he smokes … you might want to do it,” 17-year-old Ryan Moses says.
A new report suggests he’s right.
After a review of more than 1,000 different studies, the National Cancer Institute finds that some kids start smoking because of what they see in the movies.
“Now what that is saying is even if you are doing a lot of things, like not smoking in your house and helping your kids stay away from other influences, the movies can overcome all of that influence,” says Dr. Terry Pechacek of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Experts say that’s why it’s important for parents to talk to kids about how movies may glamorize smoking and to explain that it’s not reality.
“Kids need resistance skills. They need to be able to interpret the media images,” Dr. Pechacek says.
The CDC produces three-minute video clips, hosted by teen actors, designed to do just that – show kids how actors use smoking in movies as a crutch.
“And there are even people who believe high rates of smoking in movies should be used as a criteria for parents saying, just like sex, just like violence … that I don’t think you should see this movie,” Dr. Pechacek says.
No matter what influences a child to start smoking, few would disagree that stopping is a whole lot harder.
Sixteen-year-old Jay McManeon could not agree more.
“I never think smoking’s an OK thing. It’s bad for your lungs. I just do it ‘cause I’m addicted,” he says.
Tips for Parents
A study published in The Lancet further illustrates how watching television or movies with actors who smoke negatively impacts youth behavior. Researchers from Dartmouth Medical School analyzed the viewing habits of 2,603 nonsmoking children aged 10 to 14, keeping track of how many incidents of smoking occurred in each movie they watched from a list of 50. After two years, they found that 10% of the children took up smoking or had at least tried it. Consider these additional findings from the study:
Of those children exposed to movies with the least amount of on-screen smoking, 22 began smoking.
Of those children exposed to movies with the highest occurrence of on-screen smoking, 107 became smokers.
Approximately 52% of the startup in smoking could be attributed to the movies.
Children of nonsmokers who watched movies with the highest number of smoking scenes were four times more likely to begin smoking than those who viewed movies featuring few smoking actors.
More than 6,000 children under the age of 18 try their first cigarette each day. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also reports that more than 3,000 become daily smokers every day. It’s estimated that 4.5 million adolescents in the United States are cigarette smokers. 90 percent of cigarette smokers start before they turn 21.
The statistics show that little progress has been made in the past decade in reducing teen smoking. The American Lung Association calls smoking a “tobacco-disease epidemic” and points to the high rates of cigarette use among high school seniors, particularly girls, as evidence of this lack of progress.
Health and medical experts agree that parents must discourage children from starting to smoke and becoming addicted. Parents should also talk to their children about the health risks of tobacco and set a good example for their children by not smoking themselves. School-based tobacco education programs have also been shown to be effective in reducing the onset of teen smoking.
According to research from the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA), the key to keeping kids from smoking and using drugs is dependent on the extent to which parents take a “hands-on” approach to raising their kids. The more they establish appropriate rules and standards of behavior and monitor their teens, the lower the teen’s risk of substance abuse.
A “hands-on” approach to preventing your teen from smoking, drinking or trying drugs, according to CASA, includes consistently taking 10 or more of these 12 actions:
Monitor what your teen watches on television.
Monitor what your teen does on the Internet.
Put restrictions on the music (CDs) your teen buys.
Know where your teen spends time after school and on weekends.
Expect to be told the truth by your teen about where he or she is going.
Be “very aware” of your teen’s academic performance.
Impose a curfew.
Make clear you would be “extremely upset” if your teen smoked.
Eat dinner with your teens six or seven times a week.
Turn off the television during dinner.
Assign your teen regular chores.
Have an adult present when your teen returns from school.
National Cancer Institute
American Lung Association
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University
Saturday, September 6, 2008
Source: Connect with Kids
“Just take whatever we had you know, not really thinking about how high I was going to get or you know, how messed up.”
– ‘James’, age 21, explaining how he and friends shared drugs during his teenage years.
“We all had different prescriptions,” says 18-year-old Laura.
“You know, percocets, valium, zanex, oxycontin,” says James, 21.
“I wanted to get as loaded as I could. Didn’t care what I was taking, how much of it,” adds Laura.
James and Laura met in rehab. Both are drug addicts who used to get high at parties. Parties where everyone brought some kind of prescription drug and passed them around, often combining them with pot or alcohol.
“When I first started using and mixing drugs, I felt like a superhero, like nothing, you know, I was invincible,” says Laura.
Some kids call them ‘pharm’ parties… for ‘pharmaceutical’.
Experts say the allure is… the unknown. “What kind of new experience can I get? And very often it’s kids who are just bored of smoking pot day in and day out… cause they’ve reached a saturation point,” says Addiction Counselor Robert Margolis, Ph.D.
But experts say taking someone else’s prescription is dangerous… especially when combined with other drugs.
“There are combinations out there that if you start to mix together will create reaction in your body that by the time you know what’s happening, it’s too late,” Dr. Margolis.
“What I did notice is that I would black out a lot of nights,” says James.
Laura survived her years of drug years… but her addiction led to mood swings and depression that made her suicidal.
“Once I started getting heavily addicted, I tried overdosing several times, so I wanted to die, I didn’t want to live anymore,” she says.
“The risks are immense and the kids don’t realize that,” says Dr. Margolis, “And they’re everything from having a tremendous hangover to fatal.”
Tips for Parents
As a parent, it is important to understand that teens may be involved with legal and illegal drugs in various ways. The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) reports that many teens begin using drugs to satisfy their curiosity, to make themselves feel good, to reduce stress, to feel grown up or to “fit in.” While it is difficult to know which teens will experiment and stop and which will develop serious problems, the National Institute of Drug Abuse says the following types of teens are at greatest risk of becoming addicted:
Those who have a family history of substance abuse
Those who are depressed
Those who have low self-esteem
Those who feel like they don’t “fit in” or are out of the mainstream
Because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration puts its seal of approval on prescription drugs, many teens mistakenly believe that using these drugs – even if they are not prescribed to them – is safe. However, this practice can, in fact, lead to addiction and severe side effects. The Center for Drug Evaluation and Research cites the following most commonly abused prescription drugs:
Opioids – Also known as narcotic analgesics, opioids are used to treat pain. Examples of this type of drug include morphine, codeine, OxyContin (oxycodone), Vicodin (hydrocodone) and Demerol (meperidine). In the short term, these drugs block pain messages and cause drowsiness. A large, single dose can cause severe respiratory depression and death. Long-term use leads to physical dependence and, in some cases, addiction.
Central nervous system (CNS) depressants – These drugs are commonly used to treat anxiety, panic attacks and sleep disorders. Examples include Nembutal (pentobarbital sodium), Valium (diazepam) and Xanax (alprazolam). CNS depressants slow down normal brain function and can cause a sleepy, uncoordinated feeling in the beginning of treatment. Long-term use can lead to physical dependence and addiction.
Stimulants – These drugs are commonly used to treat the sleeping disorder narcolepsy and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Examples include Ritalin (methylphenidate) and Dexedrine (dextroamphetamine). Stimulants, which can be addictive, enhance brain activity and increase alertness and energy. They elevate blood pressure, heart rate and respiration. Very high doses can lead to irregular heartbeat and high body temperature
How can you determine if your teen is abusing drugs? The AACAP suggests looking for the following warning signs and symptoms in your teen:
Physical – Fatigue, repeated health complaints, red and glazed eyes and a lasting cough
Emotional – Personality change, sudden mood changes, irritability, irresponsible behavior, low self-esteem, poor judgment, depression and a general lack of interest
Familial – Starting arguments, breaking rules or withdrawing from the family
School-related – Decreased interest, negative attitude, drop in grades, many absences, truancy and discipline problems
Social – having new friends who are less interested in standard home and school activities, problems with the law and changes to less conventional styles in dress and music
If you believe your teen has a problem with drug abuse, you can take several steps to get the help he or she needs. The American Academy of Family Physicians suggests contacting your health-care provider so that he or she can perform an adequate medical evaluation in order to match the right treatment or intervention program with your teen. You can also contact a support group in your community dedicated to helping families coping with addiction.
Substance abuse can be an overwhelming issue with which to deal, but it doesn’t have to be. The Partnership for a Drug-Free America offers the following strategies to put into practice so that your teen can reap the rewards of a healthy, drug-free life:
Be your teen’s greatest fan. Compliment him or her on all of his or her efforts, strength of character and individuality.
Encourage your teen to get involved in adult-supervised after-school activities. Ask him or her what types of activities he or she is interested in and contact the school principal or guidance counselor to find out what activities are available. Sometimes it takes a bit of experimenting to find out which activities your teen is best suited for, but it’s worth the effort – feeling competent makes children much less likely to use drugs.
Help your teen develop tools he can use to get out of drug-related situations. Let him or her know he or she can use you as an excuse: “My mom would kill me if I smoked marijuana!”
Get to know your teen’s friends and their parents. Set appointments for yourself to call them and check-in to make sure they share your views on alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. Steer your teen away from any friends who use drugs.
Call teens’ parents if their home is to be used for a party. Make sure that the party will be drug-free and supervised by adults.
Set curfews and enforce them. Let your teen know the consequences of breaking curfew.
Set a no-use rule for alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.
Sit down for dinner with your teen at least once a week. Use the time to talk – don’t eat in front of the television.
Get – and stay – involved in your teen’s life.
Substance Abuse & Mental Human Services Administration
Drug Abuse Warning Network
American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
National Institute on Drug Abuse
U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Center for Drug Evaluation and Research
American Academy of Family Physicians
Partnership for a Drug-Free America
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Every year approximately 750,000 teenage girls become pregnant in the United States. This is roughly 1/3 of the age group’s population, a startling fact. Worse, more than 2/3 of teens who become mother will not graduate high school. Many young teen girls that are suffering with low self worth or feelings of not being loved believe that having a baby will give them a purpose in life. Unfortunately they are not looking at the whole picture and the reality of raising a child.
These girls are not emotionally prepared to make such a major decision in their young life – yet many are in this situation. As a parent, we need to keep the lines of communication open, as hard as that is, it is necessary.
If you are parent who recently discovered that your teenage daughter is pregnant or may be pregnant, we understand your fear and pain. This is a difficult and very serious time in both of you and your daughter’s life.
No matter what happens, you and your daughter must work together to make the best choice for her and her unborn child. Your support and guidance is imperative as a parent. You can and will make it through this as a family.
For more information on Teen Pregnancy visit http://www.sue-scheff.org/ .
Friday, August 29, 2008
A military school teaches various ages (middle school, high school, or both) in a manner that includes military traditions and training in military subjects. The military is a prominent force in America today, and with so much press it is very easy for a child to become exposed to this type of education as a viable option in their own lives. While this is perfectly acceptable on its own, like many of life's choices it needs to be considered fully before a commitment is made. There are many factors that go into choosing the type of schooling that is appropriate for your child, and it is important that you and your child approach the subject together, as the both of you will have to reap the consequences of this decision in the future.
It is advisable to assess honestly the needs of your child, the requirements that will be placed upon them in a military school and what you as a parent bring to the mix. With many students the structure and positive discipline that military schools offer are very beneficial. It not only encourages them to become the best they can be, it enhances them to grow into mature respectable young men and women. Military schools and academies offer a student the opportunity to reach their highest academic potential as well as build up their self-esteem to make better choices in today's society, within a very rigid and disciplined framework. It is this framework that forms the backbone of the military school experience, and one of the chief distinctions between military educations and those of other schools. It is important to note that this structure will suit some students more than others, and this will largely determine a child's chances of success in a military school setting. Military schools can give your child the vision to reach their goals and dreams for their future. The high level of academics combined with small class sizes create a strong educational background from which they grow into productive, happy adults.
Posted by Sue Scheff at 2:12 PM 0 comments
Labels: Military Academies, Military Prep Schools, Military Schools, Parents Universal Resource Experts, structured school, Sue Scheff
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Military Schools - Boarding or Day? by Sue Scheff
One of the first questions that you and your child will have to face when contemplating military schools is the matter of a day school versus a boarding school. Many military schools are boarding schools, and others are simply magnet schools in a larger school system. This is an important distinction, and just one that you will have to assess with your child when looking at military schools.
A boarding school is a school where some or all pupils not only study, but also live during term time, with their fellow students and possibly teachers. The word 'boarding' in this sense means that the school provides food and lodging for pupils. Within the military school context it should be obvious why this is a common practice; the military likes to instill individual resourcefulness in its people, and the earlier the better. Military boarding school pupils may spend the majority of their childhood and adolescent life away from their parents, although pupils return home during the holidays and, often, the summer break. Detached from the outside world on a daily basis, military school students are more easily taught the virtues and values prominent in the military, and these are reinforced by the relative isolation that a military boarding school offers.
In addition, this distance from “civilian” life further reinforces the distinction between the military lifestyle and that of non-military citizens. On the occasions that boarding military school students venture off campus they are met with a world that they can comfortably move through, all the time noting the differences between their daily lives and of those around them. Many former boarding students from military schools report that the boarding experience was crucial in their understanding and adoption of the virtues being instilled within them. It should be noted that while boarding schools are, possibly correctly, perceived as instilling social and personal survival skills and keeping children occupied, they also exclude children from normal home-based, domestic daily life. Some children in boarding schools are liable to take on a sense of exclusiveness and superiority to others. It is not uncommon for children who have been to such schools to speak with different, learned accents than local children, play different sports, and miss out on local activities.
In contrast to boarding school, a day school is an institution where children are given educational instruction during the day and after which children return to their homes. It is a common model in the United States, adhered to by virtually all public schools, and a great many private ones (such as military schools) as well. Basically, classes are held from sometime in the morning to sometime in the afternoon, approximately along the lines of a normal adult work day. Very often there is a break for lunch, and different schools have different policies regarding whether or not students may or leave campus during the day. Military day schools still retain all the discipline and traditions as their boarding counterparts, the only distinction being whether the students remain on campus over night or not.