Sunday, January 30, 2011

Homeless Teens is a Growing Problem in the U.S.

Cast-offs, teens that are homeless and in a desperate search for a home.

Shocking statistics of the number of homeless teens that are living on the streets of the U.S.
According to ABC News 20/20 report, there are teens in our country that are slipping through the cracks.  Many are not drug addicts or even bad kids, but their home life has become unbearable or their parents had lost their home.

20/20 followed four teens for the past 14 months and the journey was frightening and very sad.  From a teen, George, that was literally put on a Greyhound bus with $50.00 in hand to be sent with a relative that didn't exist, to another teenager that is struggling with his sexual orientation and not getting the support she needed to the point of several suicide attempts.

You may think that the boy that was put on the bus was in trouble, defiant, violent or abusive at home: Not true.  He simply was rejected by his own family.  George, against all odds, found a youth shelter and got his life on track in spite of the rejection.  He graduated High School and now attending college.

To watch his story and the others, watch the video.

Continue reading on 2 Million homeless youth in our country - Jacksonville Parenting Teens |

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Prescription Drugs: 8 Most Common Abused RX Drugs

What is in your medicine cabinet?  Do you have teenagers?  Did you realize your own home could be the start of your teen's drug use?

After speaking with several parents of teens in Ft. Lauderdale, it was a similar response, 'not my teen, she/he knows that it could potentially harm them.'  Really?  Did you know that even over the counter medicines such as cough syrup can have deadly endings?

Prescription drugs have done wonders for patients suffering from any number of pains, illnesses and diseases. There’s no doubt that prescription drugs have changed the face of medicine and we’d be in trouble without them, but these miracle pills also come with a heavy dose of danger if misused and abused.

Here are the 8 most abused prescription drugs:
  1. Stimulants: Stimulants are prescribed to increase alertness, attention and energy in patients with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), narcolepsy and, occasionally, depression. Stimulants increase blood pressure, heart rate and respiration. Prescription stimulants, such as dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine and Adderall) and methylphenidate (Ritalin and Concerta) work by stimulating the norepinephrine and dopamine chemicals in the brain and increasing dopamine activity. Stimulants often improve mood, relieve anxiety and may induce a sense of euphoria, which makes them highly addictive. Stimulants are commonly abused for recreational purposes and performance enhancement to achieve weight loss and increase energy. To achieve a greater high, stimulant abusers often crush up the pills and snort or inject them. Stimulant abuse can cause serious health consequences, such as rapid or irregular heartbeat, heart failure, delirium and digestive problems.
  2. Opioids: Opioids are commonly prescribed to treat pain because of their strong analgesic effects, but these powerful drugs can be highly addictive when abused. Opioids include a wide variety of prescription narcotics, including morphine (Kadian, Avinza), codeine, oxycodone (OxyContin, Percodan, Percocet) and other related painkillers. Morphine is typically used before and after surgeries to alleviate severe pain, whereas codeine is prescribed for mild pain and may be used to relieve coughs and diarrhea. Opioids work by attaching to opioid receptors in the brain, spinal cord and gastrointestinal tract and block the perception of pain. They can cause drowsiness, nausea and constipation, in addition to producing a sense of euphoria by stimulating the pleasure regions of the brain. It’s this euphoric feeling that makes opioids the most popular type of prescription drug to abuse. Many abusers will crush up opioids, such as OxyContin, and then snort or inject them to enhance their high, which consequently, increases their chances of an opioid overdose.
  3. Barbiturates: Barbiturates are within the family of central nervous system (CNS) depressants, which are prescribed to treat anxiety, tension, epilepsy and sleep disorders and sometimes used as preanesthetics to promote sleep before surgery. CNS depressants are commonly referred to as sedatives and tranquilizers because they slow normal brain function by enhancing the activity of the neurotransmitter gammaaminobutyric acid (GABA). The most common barbiturates prescribed are mephobarbital (Mebaral) and pentobarbital sodium (Nembutal). Barbiturates are commonly abused to counteract the symptoms of other drugs, both prescription and illegal drugs. Abusers may combine barbiturates with medications that cause drowsiness, such as prescription pills, over-the-counter cold and allergy medications and alcohol to achieve a greater high, but doing so increases the risk for slowed heart rate and respiration that could be fatal.
  4. Benzodiazepines: Benzodiazepines are also within the CNS depressants family. These sedatives are prescribed to treat anxiety, acute stress reactions, panic attacks, convulsions and sleep disorders. Common benzodiazepines, such as diazepam (Valium), alprazolam (Xanax), chlordiazepoxide HCl (Librium) and estazolam (ProSom), are generally prescribed for short-term relief to prevent abuse and dependence issues. Like barbiturates, benzodiazepines also affect the neurotransmitter gammaaminobutyric acid (GABA) to decrease brain activity and produce a drowsy or calming effect in anxious or restless people. People commonly abuse benzodiazepines to counteract the effects of other drugs. The drowsy, calming feeling of benzodiazepines is often enhanced when abusers take them with other prescription pills, OTC cold and allergy medications, and alcohol, which can lead to a slower heart rate and respiration and result in death. Also, discontinued use of CNS depressants in large doses can lead to dangerous withdrawal symptoms such as seizures.
  5. Sleep Medications: Prescription sleeping pills fall into the family of CNS depressants and are used to treat insomnia, when people have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or both. The most commonly prescribed sleeping pills to treat sleep disorders are zolpidem (Ambien), zaleplon (Sonata) and eszopiclone (Lunesta). Although these medications have similar side effects as the benzodiazepines, they are called nonbenzodiazepines because they are structurally different on a chemical level. Even though they appear to have a lower risk for addiction and doctors usually prescribe them for two weeks or less, they are frequently abused and can be highly addictive. People often become reliant on sleeping medications because they cannot fall asleep or stay asleep without them. Abusers may also become addicted to the drowsy and calming feeling caused by these sedatives.
  6. Anabolic Steroids: Anabolic steroids are used to increase muscle and bone mass. Anabolic steroids are legally prescribed by doctors to treat males who produce abnormally low amounts of testosterone so that they do not experience delayed puberty, osteoporosis and impotence. This muscle-building kind of steroid is also used to treat patients with AIDS and other diseases to prevent the loss of lean muscle mass. Anabolic steroids are widely abused by teenagers and athletes of all levels. They can be taken through tablets or capsules, injected directly into the bloodstream, ointments or skin patches and oral preparations. Those who abuse steroids and use them for non-medical purposes have a higher risk of developing short-term and long-term health consequences, such as severe acne, stunted growth, aggression, high blood pressure, liver cysts and cancer and much more.
  7. Muscle Relaxers: Muscle relaxers are prescribed to treat acute muscle problems and chronic pain that cause painful muscle spasms. They can also be administered to treat pain from fibromyalgia, spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis and cerebral palsy. Baclofen, Tizanidine and Zanaflex are commonly prescribed to reduce spasticity at the level of the spinal cord, and certain benzodiazepines, like Valium, may be used to relieve muscle spasms. Muscle relaxers work by reducing muscle tone and relaxing tenseness, while others affect skeletal muscle fibers and nerves. Muscle relaxers offer temporary pain relief, but do not heal the problem. Much like other painkillers, muscle relaxers can be addictive because they offer pain relief, pleasure and a euphoric calmness. Those who abuse muscle relaxers may take more than the prescribed amount and mix it with other medications or alcohol to enhance their high.
  8. Fentanyl: Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that has the same painkilling benefits of most opioids, but is more potent than morphine. In a class of its own, fentanyl (Actiq, Duragesic, and Sublimaze) is generally prescribed to patients with chronic, severe pain and can be given to cancer patients. Due to its strong analgesic benefits, fentanyl is also a commonly abused drug. Like other opioids, fentanyl binds to the brain’s opiate receptors and work by blocking the perception of pain. As dopamine levels in the brain increase, users feel a sense of euphoria and calmness. People who abuse fentanyl will often mix the prescription drug with heroin, cocaine or other illegal drugs to amplify their high. Fentanyl abuse and addiction is accompanied by several short-term and long-term health consequences, such as respiratory depression and arrest, nausea, confusion, sedation, unconsciousness and coma.
Special contributor: Celina Jacobson of Masters in Health Care

Be an educated parent, you will have safer and healthier teens!

Read more.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Get Your Kids Outside: 15 Ideas to Have Fun Outside

I bet everyone will be reading this!  There isn’t enough “outside” time for kids today.  When you think back to generations prior (including my own), we were always outside playing, building forts, riding bikes etc…. Of course, times have changed, but we can still encourage our kids to put down that controller and get outside!

Kids are playing more video games than ever before. Whether it’s on a pricey game console or on the computer, kids as young as three years old are playing video games. Sure, some may have educational lessons, but the vast majority are for mere fun and suck away the hours on a summer day. Get your kid outside and moving with these tips to get them away from video games.
  1. Go for a nature walk. Kids seldom know much about nature, outside of the basics they learn in science class. Take your kids to explore the outdoors by taking them on a nature walk. Don’t worry if there’s no national park nearby, you can go down a trail at your local park or in the neighborhood and spot bits of nature as they turn up. Check out birds and collect neat leaves and flowers along the way. It teaches kids to appreciate and respect nature and gets them in tune with the great outdoors.
  2. Share old school games with your kids. Today’s typical six year old may not know what Red Rover is. It’s too bad since the game is a blast! Share old school games with your kids that will make them want to get outside and start Red Rover games with their friends and neighbors. This is a great game to play at a kid’s birthday party too, since there are usually plenty of kids around.
  3. Hit the beach. Appreciating nature comes with seeing the many parts of it. Showing your kids the beach will expose them to the sun and sand and you can incorporate a few lessons on erosion if the crowd is interested. Of course, if your kids are swimming the day away in the water, that’s fine too. Collect seashells and walk along the shore spotting crabs along the way.
  4. Go to the park. This one seems basic, but once upon a time, the park was where most families spent their weekends. Now we tend to spend the weekends running errands or at the modern day park, the mall (insert shudder here). Take your kids to the park and let them do what they want. This is a great place to let them run wild because it gives them an opportunity to interact with other kids and play on things they may not have a chance to play with otherwise, like the jungle gym or see-saw.
  5. Visit a public pool. If your kids don’t regularly get an opportunity to swim, taking them to a public pool one or two weekends a month during the summer will shake up their outdoor routine. Playing in the background can grow tedious, even for the creative bunch who love the outdoors, so get your kids in the pool swimming. Most public pools are free, so pack a lunch and go early and stay late.
  6. Go camping. This one is a little tricky because depending on where you live and whether or not you own a vehicle, it becomes more or less accessible. If you can go camping with your kids, take them! You’ll appreciate seeing them in new territory (and vice-versa) and it makes for a great bonding experience. Don’t forget to pack the camera, so you can take photos of the family fishing or swimming in the lake.
  7. Play baseball. Gather up a few kids from around the neighborhood (or invite school friends or cousins) and set up a game of baseball at a local diamond. It’s fun, cheap and many kids will want to play again and again. This one isn’t exclusively for kids either. Teams can be comprised of both adults and kids for a fun dynamic.
  8. Start a garden. This is one surefire way to get kids outside, day after day. Starting a small garden will teach kids responsibility and how to get friendly with nature. Your kids will watch their plant or fruit or vegetable grow and appreciate the process and hands-on activity that requires time in the sun, almost daily.
  9. Go for a hike. It’s similar to a nature walk, but instead of spotting things along the way, you’re more just enjoying the scenery as a whole. Kids can get some fresh air and take a look at what the outdoors, besides their backyard, look like. Hiking is an affordable trip if you live near a park with sizeable trails and small hills that kids can climb to the top of to appreciate the view.
  10. Play catch. No park or major yard is required! Find an empty parking lot and play catch for hours with your kid or a group of kids. Baseball gloves for kids are usually affordable at sporting good stores and can be had for even less during the off-season. Plus, the glove will come in handy when you set up that game of baseball.
  11. Take photos of your neighborhood. You’ll be surprised at how careful a kid is when trusted with a digital camera. We aren’t saying to hand over your $600 DSLR, but letting your kid toy with an affordable digital camera will make them see their neighborhood in a new light. It’s a great way to teach them about shadows, lighting and proportion. Hand the camera over and let them take photos. Then head home, upload them and pick out the memorable places you’re accustomed to seeing daily.
  12. Watch the clouds. This is a free, simple activity that younger kids will enjoy. On a warm day, head outside with a few snacks and watch the clouds dance by. Point out funny shapes that remind you of things and watch how the sun changes as the clouds make their way. In this setting, kids will usually organically start playing games of tag and running around, so be prepared to stay outside awhile
  13. Go stargazing. This can be at a park or in your own backyard. Set out a blanket and gaze away on a starry night. Use a constellation book to guide you through the stars you’re seeing or download Google Sky for a tour of the sky from your very own backyard. It’s a free activity that will open your kids to the world of astronomy and make them look up at night in a while new way.
  14. Shoot some hoops. Even young kids will enjoy yelling, “Brick!” as their parents attempt to make a basket. This is a fun way for any number of friends or family to get outside and start playing and working up a sweat. Plus, as long as you can see your kids, it’s a game they can go at alone without worrying about anyone getting hurt.
  15. Go bird watching. To do this, you can spot birds at random or take along a book to see if you see any of the birds on your journey. This works best if you’re in a park or wooded area where birds tend to gather. Bird watching is a fun family activity that many children take to because it gives them a closer look at nature than checking out plants and flowers.
Video games are tons of fun, but for youngsters, playing time should be limited to a couple of hours a week. If you show your child some fun ideas for getting outside and playing, they’ll be more apt to put down the video game controller and have some fun in the sun.

Guest post by: Henry Baker of How to Become a Pharmacist

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


What is Circle of Respect?

To promote RESPECT as a way to manage conflict and prevent criminal behavior.
Let's face it, many of today's teens and kids lack the respect that generations prior had for authority and even their parents.  Teens and children are controlling  the home, driving parents crazy and simply don't honor their elders as they should.

So what does Circle of Respect do?

The Circle of Respect is the National Crime Prevention Council’s (NCPC) latest and most comprehensive campaign to protect youth from bullying and cyberbullying. Launching in October, the campaign seeks to change the commonly held belief that bullying is a rite of passage, and teaches instead that such behavior is unacceptable through a positive, pro-social message that encourages respect and consideration for others. To succeed in its mission, the Circle of Respect will feature an education campaign, outreach materials including publications and public service advertising, and partnership efforts to reach a national audience.

One of the strong components of Circle of Respect is educating parents and schools about bullying and cyberbullying.  This is a growing concern and deadly issue that needs to be addressed by the entire country.  Florida, however, has landed on many national headlines with the near death of Michael Brewer and Josie Lou Ratley as well as the special needs 13 year-old girl that was taunted on her school bus - with condoms!
Did you know 160,000 kids miss school every day out of fear of being bullied? The recent cases of young people who have tragically ended their lives because they were so badly bullied are a painful example that there is a serious problem in America today. There is no better time than the present to start changing these statistics…and we can do so through education!

Do you want to become more active in The Circle of Respect?  Here are some other ways you can do so:
  • Circle of Respect Book Club: Take part in the online Book Club to generate a guided national discussion about this issue. The Book Club will feature one book each month on the Circle of Respect’s website by a noted author in the field of bullying and cyberbullying. Each author will also lead an in-depth discussion via a downloadable podcast.
  • Sign up for Email Alerts: Sign up for email alertsto get updates on the campaign, find out how you can be involved, get sneak previews of what's happening next, and even enter contests.
  • Make Your Pledge: What actions will you pledge to take in order to spread awareness and widen the Circle of Respect? Let us know.
  • View Pledges: Sign up for your own free account on The Circle of Respect to see what others are doing to help.
  • Take Awareness Video Viral:NCPC and Saatchi & Saatchi unveiled an animated short starring everyone’s favorite crime dog,McGruff®,  to teach a whole new generation of children how to “Take A Bite Out of Crime.” View and share the video here:
  • Simply spread the word:It’s as easy as it sounds. Share the campaign online via your social networks and also talk openly with your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and/or peers.
  • Join us on Facebook:Become a fan today and share your ideas and stories with the community.
For more information, visit:

Read more and watch video.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Teen Obesity: Media and Parenting your Teens

From televisions to laptops to cell phones, electronic media have become our children's almost constant companions. Get information about how to improve your children's safety in today's complex media landscape, and what the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) is doing to help.

One of the many programs the FCC is helping to educate parents with is childhood obesity.  This is a serious concern in today's society.  First Lady Michelle Obama has launched Let's Move to help Americans get back on track with their health and more importantly for their children's health and eating habits.

Children today spend as much as four and a half hours each day watching television and are influenced by the programming and advertising they see. In 2010, one out of every three American children is obese or overweight. As childhood obesity rises, there is an opportunity for the FCC to examine the impact of the media and children's television programming on this growing health concern.

Did you know:
  • One in every three children (31.7%) ages 2-19 is overweight or obese. 
  • Obesity is estimated to cause 112,000 deaths per year in the United States 
  • One third of all children born in the year 2000 are expected to develop diabetes during their lifetime 
  • The effects of childhood obesity create an estimated $3 billion per year in direct medical costs 
The FCC has expanded in so many ways to keep up with the ever evolving Internet and electronics and how they are affecting parenting and children today.
In Broward County, Family Nutritition Program works to improve nutrititional skills for low-income families.
Visit Parent's Place online from the FCC for more fantastic information.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Parenting Teens: Ten Reasons to Graduate in 3 Years

Many hear about college students taking 5 years to complete their 4 year degree, but have you considered the benefits of 3 years?

Four-year college graduates are becoming increasingly less common, so graduating early is quite the achievement. During a time in life when many of your peers are still uncertain about what they want to do and how they want to go about doing it, you can set yourself apart by skipping that whole emerging adulthood stage and entering the real world. If you’re a driven student who isn’t afraid of growing up, then consider the following reasons to graduate in three years.
  1. Save Money: As you well know, the cost of tuition is continually rising, making it increasingly difficult for average middle class families to afford four or more years of tuition and fees. According to the College Board, even after financial aid, in-state students at public colleges pay an average of $7,605 per year, while students at private colleges pay an average of $27,293 per year. Graduating in three years either saves your parents a lot of money or prevents you from going further into debt. In fact, because of those reasons, some colleges have designed special three-year degree programs that efficiently utilize students’ time by requiring 18 hours per semester and commitments during summer and winter breaks.
  2. Make Money: Eating Ramen Noodles and fast food, drinking cheap beer, staying with five people in a hotel room during trips, and everything else that comes with the college experience may be fun in the beginning, but after a while it begins to take its toll, leaving you wondering what life would be like if you didn’t have to live dollar to dollar. The full salary that comes with your first job after college will enable you to live more comfortably and enjoy those many, many things you couldn’t previously afford. Additionally, you’ll get a head start on repaying your student loans and eliminating debt so that you’ll be able to do more financially later in life.
  3. Gain Work Experience: By the time most of your friends graduate, you’ll more likely than not have already received at least one raise and possibly even a promotion. The same work ethic it took to get your degree in three years will pay off during your career, literally, and starting early will allow you to achieve more at a young age. Nothing substitutes for real work experience.
  4. Become Independent: People in their 20s these days aren’t nearly as financially independent as the group was decades ago when fewer people attended college. The economy hasn’t helped matters, but it’s certainly not impossible to find a decent job and break the dependence on mom and dad. Graduating early gives you a head start, enabling you to no longer have to answer to your meddling parents. Plus, the self-satisfaction that comes with knowing that you’re doing it completely on your own is invaluable.
  5. Save Early for Retirement: The earlier you begin your career and establish yourself, the earlier you’ll be able to save for retirement. The recent economic crisis has shown that retirement is far from a guarantee, and it takes foresight and financial discipline to ensure your golden years won’t be spent as a Wal-Mart greeter. If your employer offers you a 401k plan, use it and add as much money as you can. Or contribute to a Roth individual retirement account. Retirement will become more of a reality, and you may even be able to retire early depending on how much you put into it.
  6. Escape Your Lousy School: Is your school failing to meet your expectations early in your college career? Are your professors uninspired and aloof? Have you been screwed over by the financial aid or bursar’s office? Does your personality not quite mesh with the campus culture? Graduating early can be your ticket out of your lousy school and an end to a lackluster college experience. Hey, college isn’t guaranteed to be the time of your life despite what popular culture has told you.
  7. No More Schoolwork: There’s no doubt that graduating in three years is an arduous task. It requires taking no fewer than 15 hours per semester and the sacrifice of off-time, like summer and winter break, in order to accumulate the 120 or so hours you’ll need for your degree. That means you’ll be studying and stressing over exams and projects year-round, while many of your friends will be living it up on their five-year plans. When you graduate, however, you’ll have two years to point and laugh at them as they continue to deal with the general inconveniences of college, and you’ll be able to take satisfaction in the fact that you won’t have to worry about that stuff again.
  8. Jump Early into Grad School: On the other hand, if you plan to seek an advanced degree, you’ll be able to jump right into grad school without losing much time. This can be enticing if you enjoy academia, as grad school is more of an intellectual challenge. You’ll be expected to exhibit more in-depth and applied knowledge, and thus your class experiences will be more engaging and enlightening. You’ll also encounter research opportunities, which will enable you to leave your own mark on your discipline. Of course, by the time you finish, many of your friends will be completing only their first degree, reinforcing that you’re ahead of the game. And if you plan to get a PhD, you’ll spend one fewer year on your quest to attain it.
  9. Time: You’ll have more time in general. Not only for the aforementioned reasons, but also for other things in life, such as getting married and starting a family — if you want to get a head start on that. You could travel or join organizations like the Peace Corps. You could explore alternative professions that may not require a college degree but interest you anyway. You could help out with the family business before jumping into your career. What you do with the extra year or two is up to you.
  10. It’s a Challenge: Like Joe Brown said, “A challenge is an opportunity to prove your ability to yourself, and others.” College is where you should build the work ethic and confidence needed to explore those limitless possibilities in life. Students who graduate in three years have high expectations of themselves, and realize that such an accomplishment will set them up for many more accomplishments in the future.

If you have a teen that is mapping their college years, maybe consider some of these thoughts above.

Read more.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Struggling Teens, Troubled Teens - Get Teen Help

Do you know what your teen is using?
When it comes to parenting your teenagers it is never too late or too often to talk about the dangers of drug use.

Many parents will ignore the warning signs or make excuses for them, but when reality hits home that your teen is using drugs, it is critical you get involved.  Communication is always key to prevention, however there are times when your teen is no longer listening.  It doesn’t mean you stop talking.

Intervention starts at home. If you suspect drug use, talk to your teen.  If they admit to using drugs, and are determined not to quit or even tell you they can quit if they want, take it to the next level.  Seek out local adolescent therapy or counseling.  In some cases this will be a brickwall but in other situations it can be the beginning of understanding why your teen is turning to substance abuse.

If your teen escalates to a level that is uncontrollable, or simply defiant to all your rules and boundaries – and most importantly, putting your family or themselves at risk - it may be time to think about residential therapy.  Remember, safety matters, and we are talking about the safety and health of your family.

What happens if you suspect that your teen is already using alcohol and drugs? What do you say to them? 

The conversation is the same: parents need to tell their kids that drug and alcohol use by teens is not allowed in your family. The issue won’t go away until you do something. You will simply have to acknowledge that your teen has a problem — your teen is using drugs and that won’t get any better until you take action on your teen’s behalf. It is OK to ask for help. In fact, getting help may make it easier for you to have the conversation.

Practice the conversation ahead of time. You may have to have a couple of “practice runs.” These conversations are not easy but they are worthwhile. Talking it over with your spouse/partner beforehand will help you keep a level head and speak to the issue. (Review some key talking points and practice these sample conversations beforehand.) – Source: Parents: The Anti-Drug

Order today!
Are you considering residential therapy, contact Parents’ Universal Resource Experts for more infomation on this major decision.  It is about the safety of your family and your teenager.  Order Wit’s End! Advice and Resources for Saving Your Out-of-Control Teen.