Teens Struggling with Substance Abuse

With summer about here and teens with more free time, parents need to be aware of what today’s latest statistics are with drug use.

Yes, teen substance abuse, according to the latest study, is up 33%. TeenSubstanceAbuse

What does this say to parents of teenagers?

Are the parents too trusting of the teens or are the teens too smart for the parents?

Are you still digesting that?

Let’s understand this.

One in four teens (24 percent) reports having misused or abused a prescription drug at least once in their lifetime (up from 18 percent in 2008 to 24 percent in 2012), which translates to about 5 million teens. That is a 33 percent increase over a five-year period.  -According to Drugfree.org

That is a lot teens using illegal prescription drugs to get high or alter their moods.

Where are they getting these drugs from? 

Parents, grandparents, a friend’s home or simply buying them off the street.   This isn’t  blame game it is time to get a grasp on it and communicate to your kids about the risks of prescription medicine when it is not taken for the reasons it is prescribed for by a doctor.  Sometimes it takes a near death of a friend to make your child wake-up, let’s just hope it is not the end of someone’s life.  The attitude that it can’t happen to me is common, and it is followed by a parent’s denial that their child would use drugs.

Communication and education.

This is a nationwide problem.  Go to www.drugfree.org/medicineabuseproject and educate yourself and your family. Take the Pledge with your family to end medicine abuse, before it’s too late.  Then go to www.stopmedicineabuse.org and educate yourself and your kids about the dangers of over-the-counter medicine (OTC) abuse.  OTC are potentially deadly can be extremely harmful to your teens also.

Have a conversation with your teen, don’t wait for a confrontation.  As the report also stated, parents seems to lack concern about prescription drug use in comparison to getting caught or using such drugs as crack or cocaine or other illegal drugs, as follows:

Almost one in four teens (23 percent) say their parents don’t care as much if they are caught using Rx drugs without a doctor’s prescription, compared to getting caught with illegal drugs. – According to Drugfree.org

 

Drug use (substance abuse) is a serious cry for help, and making your teen feel ashamed or embarrassed can make the problem worse. Some common behavior changes you may notice if your teenager is abusing drugs and alcohol are:

  • Violent outbursts, rage, disrespectful behavior
  • Poor or dropping grades
  • Unexplained weight loss or gain
  • Skin abrasions, track marks
  • Missing curfew, running away, truancy
  • Bloodshot eyes, distinct “skunky” odor on clothing and skin
  • Missing jewelry, money
  • New friends
  • Depression, apathy, withdrawal, disengaged from the family
  • Reckless behavior

Tips to help prevent substance abuse:

  1. Communication is the key to prevention.  Whenever an opportunity arises about the risks of drinking and driving or the dangers of using drugs,  take it to start a conversation.  Remember parents, it is important to be a parent first – friendship will come in time.
  2. Have a conversation not a confrontation.  If you suspect your teen is using drugs, talk to them.  Don’t judge them, talk to them about the facts of the dangers of substance abuse.  If your teen isn’t opening up to you, be sure you find an adolescent therapist that can help.
  3. Addict in the family?  Do you have an addict in your family?  Sadly many families have been effected by someone that has allowed drugs to take over their lives.  With this, it is a reminder to your teen that you want them to have bright future filled with happiness.  The last thing you want for them is to end up like ____.
  4. Don’t be a parent in denial.  There is no teenager that is immune to drug abuse.  No matter how smart your teen is, or athletic they are, they are at risk if they start using.  I firmly believe that keeping  your teen constructively busy, whether it is with sports, music or other hobbies they have, you will be less at risk for them to want to experiment.  However don’t be in the dark thinking that your teen is pulling a 4.0 GPA and on the varsity football that they couldn’t be dragged down by peer pressure.  Go back to number one – talk, talk, talk – remind your teen how proud you are of them, and let them know that you are always available if they feel they are being pressured to do or try something they don’t want to.
  5. Do you know what your teen is saying?  Listen or watch on texts or emails for code words for certain drug lingo. Skittling, Tussing, Skittles, Robo-tripping, Red Devils, Velvet, Triple C, C-C-C-, Robotard are some of the names kids use for cough and cold medication abuse.  Weed, Pot, Ganja, Mary Jane, Grass, Chronic, Buds, Blunt, Hootch, Jive stick, Ace, Spliff, Skunk, Smoke, Dubie, Flower, Zig Zag are all slang for marijuana.
  6. 6.     Leftovers.  Are there empty medicine wrappers or bottles, burn marks on their clothes or rug, ashes, stench, etc in their room or if they own a car, in their car? Teens (and tweens) either take several pills or smash them so all of it is released at once.  Be sure to check all pockets, garbage cans, cars, closets, under beds, etc. for empty wrappers and other evidence of drug use.  Where are your prescription drugs?  Have you counted them lately?
  7. Body language. Tune into changes in your teen’s behavior. Changing peer groups, altering their physical appearance and/or lack of hygiene, eating or sleeping patterns changing, hostile and uncooperative attitude (defiance), missing money or other valuables from the home, sneaking out of the house, etc.
  8. 8.     Access to alcohol.  Look around your home, is there liquor that is easily accessible?  Teens admit getting alcohol is easy-and the easiest place to get it is in their home.  Know what you have in the house and if you suspect your teen is drinking, lock it up!  Talk to them about the risks of drinking, especially if they are driving. 
  9. Seal the deal.  Have your teen sign a contract to never drink and drive. Students Against Drunk Driving (SADD) www.saddonline.com provides a free online contract to download. It may help them pause just the second they need to not get behind that wheel.
  10. Set the example, be the example.  What many parents don’t realize is that you are the leading role model for your teen.  If your teen sees you smoking or drinking frequently, what is the message you are sending?  Many parents will have a glass of wine or other alcoholic beverage, however the teen needs to understand you are the adult, and there is a reason that the legal drinking age is 21.

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

Teen Help Program and School: What to Do?

First semester of school is coming to an end.  You realize that your teen is failing – and may have even discovered they are experimenting with drugs – smoking pot, drinking – and now you are thinking – “is this a phase?”  “is it their friends?” “typical teen?”

Sure – all is possible – but why risk it?  Getting your teen the help they need is a parent’s responsibility.  I am not saying that rushing into a residential treatment center is your first option – on the contrary, it is your last.

You need to exhaust all your local resources first.  Therapy, peer support groups, maybe outpatient, living with a relative, youth counselors…..  If the behavior continues to escalates you can’t be a parent in denial.  Once the therapy isn’t working – your teen is actually holding you hostage in your home – and taking control of your family – you literally feel like you are walking on eggshells – you have to reach out for help.

The Internet, as much as it is an educational tool, can also be a deceptive device.  Parents have to do their due diligence when researching schools and programs.

Many therapists are excellent in working with your families however are not familiar with residential therapy programs aka specialty program or therapeutic boarding schools.  They know of adolescent wards in hospitals but most of the time that is not what these type of teens need. They are in need of emotional growth.

Now the Internet again can be deceiving.  You may see programs that offer these wonderful attributes but do they?

I was scammed and duped over a decade ago – which is why I created Parents’ Universal Resource Experts.  I encourage you to review my site and especially the helpful hints and tips for looking for schools and programs.

There are more good programs than there are not so good programs.  It is just a matter of doing your research.  Don’t allow these toll free marketing arms convince you that you need to make a quick and rash decision.

Call us today – we can help you get educated on this big business of teen help.

Teens that self harm themselves – cutting and self mutilation

Unfortunately we are hearing more of this and sadly teens are feeling this is their only escape from what they believe is an experience they can’t seem to reconcile.

Self abuse (or self mutilation) can come in many forms; most commonly it is associated with cutting, hair pulling or bone breaking, but it can also manifest itself as eating disorders like bulimia, and/or anorexia. My site will focus mainly on cutting, which is the most common form of self abuse, with 72% of all self injurers choosing to do so by cutting themselves, and hair pulling.

Cutting is exactly as it sounds; when your teen cuts him or herself as a physical expression to feel emotional pain. There are many reasons why teens injure themselves, but many people assume it’s just ‘for attention’.

Often this can be an element of why your teen may be abusing him or her self, but just as often it can be something your teen does privately to express the emotional pain they feel inside. And while self injury is a taboo subject, it is estimated that 3 to 6 million Americans self injure themselves in some way, and that number is on the increase- in fact, its already doubled in the past three years.

For more help, please contact us at www.helpyourteens.com.  Don’t ignore this – don’t be a parent in denial.

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Underage Drinking: Ask Listen Learn

April is Alcohol Awareness Month!

Did you know that 83% of youth cite parents as the leading influence in their decisions not to drink alcohol?

Additionally, when compared to 2003, more kids today recall having the conversation with their parents about the risks and consequences of underage drinking.  This is encouraging news and emphasizes the importance of parents continuing these conversations at home.

The Century Council, a national not-for-profit dedicated to fighting drunk driving and underage drinking developed Ask, Listen, Learn: Kids and Alcohol Don’t Mix in 2003 with a team of educators and professionals.  The program provides resources to start the conversation between parents and kids on the risks of underage drinking.

To kick-off Alcohol Awareness Month, the organization has teamed up with athletes and positive influencers, including Apolo Ohno, Bryan Clay, Mallory Weggemann, and Tyson Gay, to help reach youth and urge kids to take the pledge to say ‘YES’ to a healthy lifestyle and ‘NO’ to underage drinking.

What are you waiting for?  Talk to your kids today!  Never stop talking.  They are listening.  Just look at the statistics – they speak for themselves.

Join Ask Listen Learn on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.

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Teen Help Schools and Programs: The Internet Search and Confusion

Are you looking for residential therapy for your at-risk teenager?

Are they a good teen making bad choices?  You don’t want to place them in a school or program that has a hard-cord element, a type of teen that will actually create more negative issues.

After all, your teen is highly intelligent, was once a rising athlete, interested in sports, music or other clubs at school or even in your community.  Now they are hanging out with less than desirable peers and have become someone you don’t even recognize.

You hop on the Internet, as most 2012 parents do and start typing in all sort of key words – and before you know it – you are bombarded with all sorts of programs and schools and “sales reps” that seem to have answers – or so you think.

This is when you need to step back and understand that YES, you do need help, you do need an intervention and you do need to remove your teen from their environment enable to get them the help they need.  Let’s face it, therapy isn’t working anymore – if you can even get them to attend.

My mantra has been – learn from my mistakes when I wen through this.  Read – www.aparentstruestory.com – and you will see you need to take your time.  It is not to scare you – it is to educate you.


Here are a few tips to remember:

  • Look for programs that are not attached to “sales reps”.  You want to speak directly to an owner or director.  Someone that has a vested interest in your teen.  Someone that their reputation will be reflected on your child’s success (or lack of).  Someone who you can hold accountable through the duration of your teen’s stay.
  • Look for the ACE factor.  A=Academics – Always ask for a copy of their accreditation for education – be sure it is transferable back to where you live.  C=Clinical – Be sure the clinical staff is credentialed. E=Enrichment programs – These are critical to be sure your teen is stimulated in a positive direction to want to make better choices.  This isn’t about breaking your child down, it is about building them up.
  • Ask for parent references of parents with the same gender and age of your own teenager.  Also take it a step further.  Ask for families that are in your same geographical area.  This way maybe you will be able to meet with them and possibly even the graduate of the program you are considering.
  • Keep in mind – Short term programs – short term results.  Don’t get sucked into them.

I have many more tips and offer free parent consultation at www.HelpYourTeens.com.

Don’t reach your wit’s end and make a rash decision – made an education choice…. Be an educated parent – this a major emotional and financial decision.

Teen Anger and Rage: What does it take until your teen explodes?

Does your teen get explosive?

Speaking with parents on a daily basis, I hear a lot about how teens can go into a rage and can get explosive, especially when they don’t get what they want.  It seems family values and respect for parents and authority has diminished in today’s generation.  I am not talking about all families, but many that I speak with, they don’t understand where there once happy toddler went.

Here is a good guest post with five possible reason that can cause teen anger:

5 Ways to Make Your Teenager Angry

Any parent of a teenager knows that one of the main emotions associated with that age is, you guessed it, anger. In fact, most people simply refer to their teenager as an “angry teen” and write off those emotions as a simple fact of life during that age. While this is definitely true, it is also imperative to treat your teen with as much care and respect as you would any other loved one, even if they treat you with the opposite of care and respect, at times. As a parent, you can’t write off your teen’s anger. In fact, if you’re not careful, you run the risk of making them seriously angry at you, rather than simply angry at the world. Here’s how:

 1. Don’t Listen to What They Have to Say

One of the most important things to do while your kids are teenagers is to try to foster and maintain communication. Even if your teen would rather walk home in the snow than talk to you about his day, you have to take advantage of any communication you can get. And, most importantly, when you do get the opportunity to communicate, focus less on what you would like to say to them and more on what they have to say to you. You could be so occupied with worrying about the next thing you think you should tell them that you can miss hugely important clues about your teens life and how he or she is feeling.

2. Tell Them They Are Just Being a Teen

Talk about being written off! And at the absolute worst time in life to feel that way, no less. Never, ever make the mistake of treating your teen like their opinions or emotions are invalid simply because they are going through their “teens.” There is nothing that will push your child away faster or make them feel more annoyed and insulted.

3. Don’t Practice What You Preach

You may feel like you can relax a little once your kids are grown up, without the worry of them repeating things they shouldn’t say or copying behaviors they shouldn’t be copying. It’s easy to feel like you can cut back on trying to provide an example. But, even if it doesn’t feel like it, your teen is still watching you and emulating your behavior. If you are constantly lecturing them about following through on their homework, you better take the trash out if that is one of your family chores or remove foul language from your vocabulary if you expect the same from them. If you are going to ask your teen to follow through on things they say they will do, you absolutely must set that example.

4. Make Them Feel Isolated

When your teen suddenly prefers to lock herself in her room, music blaring, rather than hang out with the family, it can be easy to just leave them alone up there and not bother. Once invitations have been rejected so many times, you can begin to feel like it would be better to stop bothering them altogether. However, your teen still needs to feel like a relevant and important member of the family, or else you run the risk of creating a feeling of isolation that could continue into the later teen years.

5. Don’t Prepare Them for Plans

This is another area where parents sometimes feel that it’s better to stay away than address an issue or upcoming plan with their teen. Things like letting them know that you will be going out of town in two weeks, or that you want to have a family movie night on Friday, are simple to throw on your teen last minute, especially when they act like they could care less. The truth is, in the moment, they probably don’t care. But that doesn’t mean that you should surprise them by springing plans on them last minute. Sometimes teens, just like anyone else, need a little time to mentally prepare for upcoming events, and being forced to do something without warning is a surefire recipe for a breakdown.

Byline:

This is a guest post by Kimberly Wilson. Kimberly is from accredited online colleges, she writes on topics including career, education, student life, college life, home improvement, time management etc.

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Teen Help for your Struggling Teen: When Parents Reach their Wit’s End

What happened to that bouncing happy toddler that you once would bring to the park and play in the sand with?  What happened to that elementary child that would bring home that artwork that would hang on your refrigerator door for weeks and I bet is still packed in boxes somewhere?  It is called adolescent with a splash of peer pressure and today’s dose of entitlement issues!  In my opinion of course.  We are dealing with teens that are good kids making bad choices.  We live in a society where our teens seem to rule our homes, and parents have limited rights to control them.  How many times have your teen threatened to call the authorities on YOU?  Yes, I have heard this before.  There are parents that literally live in fear of their own teen.

Should you have to live like a hostage in your own home?  Of course not.  Does this mean your teen needs a boot camp?  Absolutely not – not in my opinion.  Military Schools are rarely the answer either – unless you can afford to lose $25K-30K when they get expelled.  It is time for you to do some research and that is what I have done over the past decade after I was once that parent with a troubled teen.

Do you really need to pay someone up to $5000.00 to tell you that you need to send your child to the woods for a glorified camping trip aka Wilderness program then to a residential program or are you capable of doing this yourself?  Let’s look at this….. Maybe you can save yourself some money……

  • Educational Consultants were originally designed to help parents with their teens to find the right colleges and with the application process.
  • As the shift in teen help increased, they seemed to branch out into the residential treatment field.
  • Most have not experienced what you are going through.  Most do not know what you are dealing with at home.  Only an experienced parent that has been there really knows that feeling of helplessness.
  • What is the EC Shuffle? Find out more and try not to get into the mix.  Parent Consultants do not employ this type of assistance for your needs.  “The EC I spoke with only wants $500.00, that seems fair.”   Remember the cliché you get what you pay for, yes, you will find some Educational Consultants that will only charge $500.00 but you also get limited services usually including the EC Shuffle with a list of programs.  Nothing more than you could have found on your own in a few Internet searches.

Parent power – believe it or not – you can do it!

You have the ability and the power to find the right program that is best for your individual teen’s needs.  Parent Consultants are not only parents that have been there, they are parents that have personally visited many schools and programs.  They have obtained even more information and feedback from other parents and students of a large variety of programs in the United States.

  • The big business or industry of teen help programs and schools is not about your educational background, such as being a PhD or an LCSW, it is about being in it and part of it – which goes back to first hand experiences.
  • Take advantage of our free consultation to determine if we will be able to assist you and your family.

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