Sunday, March 27, 2011

Medicine Cabinets and Your Teens: Good Meds, Bad Behavior

Educational Icon
Parenting teens.  Is there a job more challenging today?

From text lingo that can make you blush, to sex language that turns your stomach, there is no denying it - raising teenagers in today's techno and substance abuse generation is a struggle to keep up with.

Who would have thought that today's medicine cabinet could potentially be a danger zone?

Cough medicine abuse is a situation of 'good medicines, bad behavior.' The fact of the matter is that teen cough medicine abuse does not happen by accident; it involves intentionally taking large amounts of medication to get high. The ingredient in over-the-counter (OTC) cough medicines that teens are abusing is dextromethorphan, or DXM. While DXM-containing medicines are safe and effective when used as directed, they can be dangerous when abused in large amounts.

The makers of OTC cough medicines containing DXM have introduced an educational icon on their medicines’ packages. The icon helps raise awareness about the teen abuse of cough medicines and provides the website as a resource for more information. It also provides a great conversation starter with your teens about cough medicine abuse. created Home to Homeroom Digest with valuable information about what today's teenagers are using and how to help prevent drug abuse.  Education is the key to prevention and this website is full of priceless articles, tips and resources to help you be an educated parent.

Read more.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Defiant Teens: When Books and Therapy Doesn't Work

Your teen or tween is starting to act in ways that are foreign to you.  Whether they are hanging with peers that are less than desirable or starting to fail in school when you know they are more than capable.  They are underachieving, they are good kids making some bad choices and slowly escalating into a person you barely recognize.

Many of us read those baby books before our first child came into the world – and after he or she arrived, we always opened a parenting book with answers and explanations.  But when it comes to teenage time – it can be a totally different story!

Defiance is the tone of your home, and disrespect has become second nature.

First you try therapy or counseling, there has to be something physically wrong.  In most cases, that is not the story.  There usually isn't a pill to fix a teen that is spiraling out-of-control.

During these therapy sessions, you are gathering and reading as many parenting teen books as possible!  Now you find a DVD that makes promises to turn your teen around in 30 days?!  Really?  Some books are excellent - seriously really good - and can help YOU cope, but what about your teen?  Is it resolving these deeply root issues that are causing this negative behavior pattern?

No matter - you are desperate and willing to try whatever it takes.  As a responsible parent this is what we have to do.  However don't allow your emotions to take over as they did in my story.

Are you at your wit's end?  Even read my book - "Wit's End!" - but still wondering how to move forward.  Visit and find out more.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Good kid, bad choices: Parent Choices for Troubled Teens

What happened to that sweet 5 year-old you sent off to Kindergarten?
What happened to that athletic tween that loved T-Ball?
What happened to my little angel that loved going to the mall with me?
What happened to my child that always worked so hard to get good grades and always worked to make me proud?

Where did my kind son go?
Where did their childhood go?

Today's society is challenging for teenagers - but can be even more distressful for their parents.  When slowly they watch their good child turn into a tween or teen that they barely recognized.  Underneath the questionable clothing, the piercings we had to reluctantly agree to - and the tattoos they got on their own - our child is deep in there somewhere!

After exhausting all local resources, whether it is an excellent adolescent therapist to local support groups and even out-patient facilities, you are looking at a teen that is heading down a dark road.  It is time for parents to dig deep and find the strength to get their teen the help they need - unfortunately it usually is not at home.

Residential therapy is a big step and a step not to take lightly.  Are you considering a Residential Treatment Center, Therapeutic Boarding School, Military School or other out of home options?  Learn about the differences and find what is best for your teen - visit

Read Wit's End! Advice and Resources for Saving Your Out-of-Control Teen today!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Bullying, Cyberbullying and Bystanders: Go Beyond Bullies

Bullying, cyberbullying and teen deaths by suicide.  

When will we get beyond bullying?

With many new organizations and anti-bullying groups forming, reaching beyond bullying is becoming a part of our culture.

In 2010, Beyond Bullies was founded by Melissa Sherman.  She created the organization to give voice, confidence and hope to teens who feel depressed, alienated and alone because they are the targets of bullying and cyberbullying.

Beyond Bullies is the first online program in the United States, dedicated to helping teenagers who are the targets of bullying and cyberbullying, primarily through online and offline help from peer mentors.
E-Mentors is part of their program and it encourages teens to become mentors. Qualities of an E-Mentor are as follows:
  • Personal commitment to be involved with another person for an extended time — generally, one year at minimum. Mentors have a genuine desire to be part of other people’s lives, to help them with tough decisions and to see them become the best they can be. They have to be invested in the mentoring relationship over the long haul to be there long enough to make a difference.
  • Respect for individuals and for their abilities and their right to make their own choices in life. Mentors should not approach the mentee with the attitude that their own ways are better or that participants need to be rescued. Mentors who convey a sense of respect and equal dignity in the relationship win the trust of their mentees and the privilege of being advisors to them.
  • Ability to listen and to accept different points of view. Most people can find someone who will give advice or express opinions. It’s much harder to find someone who will suspend his or her own judgment and really listen. Mentors often help simply by listening, asking thoughtful questions and giving mentees an opportunity to explore their own thoughts with a minimum of interference. When people feel accepted, they are more likely to ask for and respond to good ideas.
  • Ability to empathize with another person’s struggles. Effective mentors can feel with people without feeling pity for them. Even without having had the same life experiences, they can empathize with their mentee’s feelings and personal problems.
  • Ability to see solutions and opportunities as well as barriers. Effective mentors balance a realistic respect for the real and serious problems faced by their mentees with optimism about finding equally realistic solutions. They are able to make sense of a seeming jumble of issues and point out sensible alternatives.
  • Flexibility and openness. Effective mentors recognize that relationships take time to develop and that communication is a two-way street. They are willing to take time to get to know their mentees, to learn new things that are important to their mentees (music, styles, philosophies, etc.), and even to be changed by their relationship.
South Florida has made too many headlines with stories of bullying and cyberbullying.  From a young teen that was doused in alcohol and set on fire (Michael Brewer), to a young girl that was nearly beaten to death (Josie Ratley), Deerfield Beach has been scarred with these horrific events.

Is your school or community ready to employ a Beyond Bullies program?  Visit for more information.  You can also follow Beyond Bullies on Twitter.

Be an educated parent, you will have safer teens.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Swearing, Cussing: Where do your teens hear it from?

In the baby's (teen's) ears and out of their mouth.

Swearing, cussing and meanness, that is how many school hallways are described.  When does a teen start using these four letter words?

How can we move from a cussing culture of cruelty to one of compassion and caring?

McKay Hatch, 17 year-old California student created a No Cussing Club in 2007.  Isn't it time that Broward County and others follow this lead?

Take the No Cussing Challenge, changing the world one word at a time...

The words we use affect how we feel about ourselves, how others react to us and how others feel about themselves.  Our words truly shape our world.

Thousands of people have taken this challenge and told the No Cussing Club about the positive affect it has had in their lives.

Does cussing lead to bullying or instigate bullying?  According to a recent NY Times article, some experts say the notion that cursing leads to bullying is misguided. The American Academy of Pediatrics recently added a section on bullying to its policy statement on the pediatrician’s role in preventing youth violence, but cursing was not mentioned.

Does your child swear?  Do you?  Be an example to your family.  It will make a difference.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Teen Help - Struggling Teens and Frustrated Parents

Parents of at-risk teens have many common thoughts, here are some of them:

My daughter is so smart, she is highly intelligent.
My son is extremely handsome, very athletic and always had lots of friends.
My daughter is beautiful, was the captain of her cheerleading team etc….
My son has an IQ of 170, yet is failing.
My daughter wants to drop out of high school.
My son wants to get his GED and is not attending school.
My daughter made the varsity team and yet dropped out.
My son was swim captain and now was asked to leave the team. (He was caught with pot, but said it was his friends.
My daughter smokes pot, but it is only recreational.
My son likes to drink beer, but it isn’t all the time.

Excuses for parents:

It is the friends he/she is hanging with.
The teacher doesn’t like my son/daughter.
The school has zero tolerance.
His father isn’t around enough.
The coach expects too much.
If it wasn’t for this one neighbor, we wouldn’t have these issues.

Okay, these lists could go on for a long time but at the end of the day, week, month, year – it is YOUR son/daughter making the choice to hang with a certain friend, be a part of an undesirable peer group, and smoke that joint with a swig of alcohol!
Parents that continue to live in this ship of denial will end up with many regrets.
Parent that believe that sending their teen to a residential therapy program for help is a sign of their (the parent’s) failure, are very much mistaken.
Parents that hope and pray things will change – we only wish them the best, in some (very rare) situations, it will get better.
Parents that believe changing schools will make a difference, think twice.
Parents that literally move and believe things will change with a fresh start, think again.

Like adults that attempt to run from their problems, your teens are no different.  If they are struggling now, chances are very good they will be struggling shortly after the change again.

You are not a failure, this is not your fault – and it is time to stop the blaming and start the healing.  After exhausting all your local resources – it may be time to find outside help, and that can mean residential.
True, you don’t want to put your teen in a program that houses hard-core teens, but it is also true you need to find a program that has strong emotional growth (clinical), fully accredited academically (don’t miss out on an education), as well as the critical component of enrichment programs. You need to find the passion in your teen to help stimulate them to a positive direction in life.

Learn more by visiting

Residential Treatment Centers (RTC), Therapeutic Boarding Schools (TBS), Emotional Growth Programs, Wilderness Programs, State Funded Programs, Programs for Low-Income, Boot Camps, Scared Straight Programs, Tough Love, Summer Camps, Short Term Programs, Traditional Boarding Schools, Military Schools, Reform Schools, JAIL.