Be Nice: It Is A Choice

just-be-niceIt is such a simple word, kindness.  To be kind to one another seems like such a simple task, yet on almost a daily basis we hear about peer cruelty online (both adults and kids) that will use keystrokes as their weapon of choice to hurt others.

Recently I was at the movies waiting in line.  There was young girl, she couldn’t have been more than 12 years old.  She complimented me on my necklace.  I thanked her.  It was so genuine and nice of her.  I thought, wow, this is strange, since tweenagers usually are not so cordial to older people (umm, not that I am “that old”).  Then she was at the window buying her ticket and she complimented the ticket attendant on their shirt and how she really liked the color.  Kind words.

These are all small words of kindness that can really change the day a person is having and put a smile on someone’s face.  The girl’s mother was with her and I wanted to go up and commend her for raising  such a thoughtful child, but I didn’t. I wish I had.

Instead, I am writing about this event in hopes all parents will remind their kids that words can be used to lift people up as much as they can be used to break people down.

This goes for adults too.  I am now going to make it a mission to compliment others on  daily basis, from our grocery check-out person, to you bank teller and your neighbors.

Let’s be real.  Most people are on social networking most of the time.  Take the time on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or wherever you are cyber-surfing to spread kindness.

Be kind online and remember parents, your children are watching you.  If you are gossiping (even in your kitchen) your kids will be mimicking your behavior.

The biggest secret to kindness is that it also makes you feel so good!

Go ahead, pay it forward ~~ be kind online and in person, you will be amazed at your attitude change!

Let’s spread kindness today and everyday.

Advertisements

Struggling Teens: Where to Get them Help Over the Summer

TeenHelp5What is your at-risk teen doing this summer?

Summer is almost here and the calls are coming in from parents that are struggling with what to do with their at-risk teens.

Some issues we are hearing:

  • Failing some classes, when they are more than capable of getting passing grades, if not straight A’s.
  • Dropping out of their favorite sport or activity.
  • Smoking pot — occasionally – though parents may blame it on the friends, please keep in mind, it is your child making the decision to inhale that joint or pop that pill.
  • Drinking – again, it may be the friends you want to blame, but are they holding the bottle to your teen’s mouth?
  • Sneaking out of the house.
  • Defiance, lying, stealing……
  • Maybe they have changed their peer group this year?

Let’s face it, with a combination of any of these above, you could be traveling down a negative path.  Chances are very good a short-term summer program will not address a long term solution.

It can irritate me when I see parents get sucked into these very expensive Wilderness programs that give tell you they can turn your child around in 4-9 weeks.  Really?

I think if you interview most of the families that have dug deep  into their wallets and spent that $15K-20K on a Wilderness program (which is likely to have zero academics to get your child caught up), you will find that at about the 4 week point, the program is already prepping the family for the “next step” of a Therapeutic Boarding School or Residential Treatment Center (another $50K step).

Or if the family truly cannot afford, which I have spoken to many of them too, since they have spent their  last dime on this summer last ditch hope, they soon find that within 3-6 weeks after Wilderness, their  child is back to their old ways.

What is the answer?  It depends on the child, but in most situations it is finding the right placement the first time around.  Not starting at one place – and “breaking him down” (aren’t they already broken?) and breaking your wallet too, and then going to yet another to break your wallet again.

Most quality and qualified programs are designed to treat teens that come in with the anger and defiance.  There are excellent 6-8-10 month programs that can offer a complete package of academic’s, emotional growth (clinical) and enrichment programs (which are so important to help stimulate your teen in a positive direction).

It is my opinion, and after almost thirteen years of watching parents and families in this big business of “teen help” get screwed (sorry for the slang) but until you walk my shoes and have taken the time to learn about what goes on behind the scenes – the word just about seems appropriate.

I firmly believe in getting our kids help, as a matter of fact, it is our responsibility as a parent to do that.  We also have to do our due diligent.

Google is not God — the Internet has some very disturbing sites – and disgruntled kids, parents, employers. Yes, I was one of them, but I also have a lot of substantial legal facts behind my case.  I don’t sit and rant.  As a matter of fact, I don’t want to discuss it – I want to continue to educate parents about how they can find the best program for their child’s needs.

I offer many great tips, questions to ask schools and programs and resources.  Visit www.helpyourteens.com.

Troubled Teens – The Holidays – Residential Treatment Centers – Who Do You Trust?

Especially during the holiday season, this can be one of the hardest decisions a parent can make.

Sending a child to a residential program/school is a major decision. It is not one to be taken lightly or to be decided on overnight.

Usually a teen’s behavior has been slowly escalating and a parent knows that deep down things are not getting better.  As much as you hope and pray that things will change, this is only typical teen behavior, sometimes it just isn’t.

With drug use and substance abuse rising – more dangerous and deadly ingredients being used, such as spice and inhalants, parents have reason to be concerned.  It isn’t your marijuana of generations prior – it is so much worse and in many cases – addictive and deadly.

If you have reached your wit’s end and now surfing the Internet for help, remember, anyone can build a website.  Anyone can put up nice pictures and create great content.  You need to do your due diligence.

Years ago I struggled with my own teenager.  I was at my wit’s end.  I didn’t realize what a big business this “teen help industry” was.  Yes, my child needed help, but what we received was anything but that.  My story is a cautionary tale – not one to scare you into not using a program, however on the contrary, you have to get your child help, but you have to do your research in getting them the right help.

Here are some quick tips:

  • Your child is not for sale, try to avoid those marketing arms selling you a list of programs that are not in the best interest of your child’s individual needs.
  • Always speak with an owner or director – Someone that has a vested in your teen’s recovery.  Their reputation is on the line.
  • Wilderness and other short term programs are usually nothing more than a band-aid that will fall off as quickly as the program lasted.  They are expensive camping trips and in most cases the Wilderness program will tell you at about 4 weeks that your teen will need to continue on to a longer term program.  What? Yes, now you go back to the research board and worse than that, your teen will be deflated when he finds out he/she isn’t coming home in 6-9 weeks as they were lead to believe – and they will be starting all over again with a new therapist – new schedule – and new setting.  Don’t get caught up in this “shuffle.”  Start and finish with the same school/program.
  • The average stay should be about 6-9-12 months, depending on your teen.  Anything less is probably non-effective.  Anything more, you may be creating abandonment issues in my opinion.
  • Do you really need an Educational Consultant?  Absolutely not.  You are the parent and no one knows your teen better than you do – with a few tips, you will be able to make some sound choices.

For more helpful hint and tips, please contact www.HelpYourTeens.com for a free consultation. After the ordeal I went through, I created this advocacy organization to help educate parents on finding safe and quality programs.

Join me on Facebook  and follow me on Twitter for more information and educational articles on parenting today’s teenagers.

Teen Drug Use: Do you know who is giving your teen drugs?

‘I got my hair from my mom.’

‘I got my eyes from my dad.’

‘And my drugs from my grandma’s medicine cabinet.’

More than 3.1 million teens ages 12 to 17 report abusing prescription drugs. Click here for guidelines for prescription drug abuse prevention and discuss them with your family and friends.

The target audience for Lock Your Meds™ is 20-80-year-old adults, with the primary focus on keeping prescription and over-the-counter pharmaceuticals away from drug abusers.  Many adults may be unwitting suppliers and by making adults aware of the problem we can curb the abuse by others.

YOU HOLD THE KEY TO YOUR CHILD’S DRUG-FREE FUTURE

Review the following guidelines for prescription drug abuse prevention and discuss them with family & friends.

LOCK YOUR MEDS
Prevent your children from abusing your own medication by securing your meds in places your child cannot access.

TAKE INVENTORY
Download your Home Medicine Inventory Card, write down the name and amount of medications you currently have and regularly check to see that nothing is missing.

EDUCATE YOURSELF & YOUR CHILD
Learn about the most commonly abused types of prescription medications (pain relievers, sedatives, stimulants and tranquilizers). Then, communicate the dangers to your child regularly; once is not enough.

SET CLEAR RULES & MONITOR BEHAVIOR
Express your disapproval of using prescription drugs without a prescription. Monitor your child’s behavior to ensure that the rules are being followed.

PASS IT ON
Share your knowledge, experience and support with the parents of your child’s friends. Together, you can create a tipping point for change and raise safe, healthy and drug-free children.

Source: Informed Families of South Florida

Be an educated parent, you will have safer teens.

Do you have a teen that you suspect is using drugs? Have you exhausted all your local resources? Take the time to learn about residential therapy, visit www.HelpYourTeens.com. Each teen and family are unique, there are many teen help programs, knowing how to locate the one best for you can be a challenge, however Parents’ Universal Resource Experts in Broward County, can help, starting with a free consultation.

Join me on Facebook  and follow me on Twitter for more information and educational articles on parenting today’s teenagers.

Home to Homeroom: Learn About Teen Drug Use Prevention

Parenting teens is a challenge today.

Schools and parents today need to work together to help prevent teen drug use.

Fast Facts: Preventing Teen OTC Cough Medicine Abuse – From Home to Homeroom

A Wake Up Call for Parents

  • Thirty-three percent of American high school teens know someone who has abused cough medicine, a wake up call for those parents who think that their teen is not affected or being exposed to the issue.
  • Six percent of high school teens admit to abusing cough medicine containing dextromethorphan, or DXM, to get high in the past year.

Cough Medicine Abuse Does Not Happen By Accident

  • While safe and effective when taken as directed, teens looking to get high from cough medicine take excessive amounts, sometimes 25 to 50 times the recommended dosage. This translates to multiple bottles or packages of medicine at one time.
  • Teens often abuse cough medicines with other prescription drugs, illicit drugs, or alcohol.
  • Even the best kid in the world doesn’t have the same ability as adults to assess risk because the part of their brain that processes risk, the frontal cortex, doesn’t finish developing until their mid 20s.

Parents Have the Power to Keep Teens Drug-free

  • Research shows that kids who learn a lot from their parents about the risk of drug abuse are up to half as likely to use.
  • Parents are not alone in their fight to prevent medicine abuse; reaching out to the school nurse can help parents learn more about the issue and access local resources.
  • Parents can learn more about the Home to Homeroom campaign by logging onto www.StopMedicineAbuse.org

Parents can interact and help raise awareness by joining online communities including:

Join me on Facebook  and follow me on Twitter for more information and educational articles on parenting today’s teenagers.

Teen Drug Use Up According to New Survey

It’s not my kid!‘ is a common phrase parents will say.

It’s always the kid down the street, or the one at school, or even another family member.  Parents that stay in the world of denial about their teen using drugs, are actually only harming their teenager.  The more you make excuses, the longer you are allowing this dangerous behavior.

This is National Recovery Month, why not take a moment to seriously consider your teen’s behavior.  You could save their life.

Did you know more teens smoke marijuana than cigarettes?

The use of illicit drugs among Americans increased between 2008 and 2010, according to a national survey conducted by SAMHSA. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) shows that 22.6 million Americans age 12 or older (8.9 percent of the population) were current illicit drug users. The rate of use in 2010 was similar to the rate in 2009 (8.7 percent), but remained above the 2008 rate (8.0 percent).

Another disturbing trend is the continuing rise in the rate of current illicit drug use among young adults age 18 to 25—from 19.6 percent in 2008 to 21.2 percent in 2009 and 21.5 percent in 2010. This increase was also driven in large part by a rise in the rate of current marijuana use among this population.

We stand at a crossroads in our Nation’s efforts to prevent substance abuse and addiction,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, J.D. “These statistics represent real lives that are at risk from the harmful and sometimes devastating effects of illicit drug use. This Nation cannot afford to risk losing more individuals, families, and communities to illicit drugs or from other types of substance abuse—instead, we must do everything we can to effectively promote prevention, treatment, and recovery programs across our country.”

The annual NSDUH survey, released by SAMHSA at the kickoff of the 22nd annual National Recovery Month observance, is a scientifically conducted annual survey of approximately 67,500 people throughout the country, age 12 and older. Because of its statistical power, NSDUH is the Nation’s premier source of statistical information on the scope and nature of many behavioral health issues.

Source: SAMHSA

View the complete survey here.

Join me on Facebook  and follow me on Twitter for more information and educational articles on parenting today’s teenagers.

Teens and SMART DRUGS? Are they safe??

Smart drugs, or nootropics, aren’t as dangerous as they first sound. In fact, they’re virtually nontoxic supplements that are designed to enhance cognition and memory through the use of hormones and by increasing oxygen flow to the brain.

But with any kind of hoped-for “wonder drug,” smart drugs carry risks, particularly when given to impressionable teenagers or college students frentically searching for a quick fix during finals.

Here are the facts and debates that every parent should know about smart drugs.

What the Hype’s All About

  • They really might just make you smarter: There could be long-term side effects (see below), but in many cases, scientists have noticed that smart drugs really do improve memory, mental energy, learning ability and alertness, and actually decrease signs of depression.
  • It’s a common drug for treating sleep disorders: At least one type of smart drug called Modafinil is used to treat sleep disorders, and was designed to “offer targeted, more powerful mental sharpening,” according to a 2007 Times article. Other smart drugs are legitimately tested drugs used for other conditions like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and ADD, so many students believe they’re proven to be safe.
  • Common behavioral drugs deliver a similar fix: Common drugs like Ridalin and Adderall that are normally used to help attention deficit disorders are becoming more popular with students who do not have behavioral issues but who want increased clarity, focus and energy. Adderall even has a new name on college campuses, “Addy,” and helps with marathon study sessions.
  • It offers the benefits of caffeine, without the jittery side effects: Like caffeine, the more sophisticated smart drugs give the mind an instant boost, and subjects moved from task to task very naturally, never losing their focus. But unlike caffeine and similar stimulants, the subjects did not experience negative side effects like feeling jittery or anxious, or even high or like their hearts were racing.
  • They’re readily available: Many smart drugs can be purchased online, from foreign pharmacies, or in health and wellness stores. Illegally acquired or sold prescriptions are also popular methods of getting smart drugs, especially among students.
  • The stigma for smart drugs isn’t really there: Our society has attached a stigma to certain supplements and drugs — even behavioral drugs and medication to relieve depression — but the effects of smart drugs basically turn us into smarter, more confident and more successful versions of ourselves. The positive effects make society more accepting of smart drugs and smart drug users.
  • It may help you lose weight: This Huffington Post writer found that one side effect of smart drugs was losing weight, so the appeal strengthens: “you become cleverer and thinner.”
The Other Side

  • It may be illegal: Students often use and sell these drugs widely, circulating them around college campuses or even high schools, but doing so without a prescription is a felony.
  • Smart drugs are most effective for people with brain injuries or disease: While smart drugs may improve your memory, they’re most effective when given to people with conditions like Parkinson’s or Alzheimers, not otherwise healthy-minded individuals.
  • They’re being taken as long-term drugs, without long-term side effects being known: While research has found minimal immediate side effects resulting from taking smart drugs, scientists aren’t sure of the long-term effects of these supplements. And since they’re the type of drug that will most likely be used as a long-term cognitive enhancer, there is substantial debate about the safety of the drugs.
  • They’re already very popular in the U.S.: The 2007 Times article points to a University of Michigan study that discovered 8% of undergraduates admitted to illegally taking prescription drugs for cognitive and learning enhancement, and the number was expected to increase over the next few years at least.
  • There’s a big ethics debate: Although there’s no serious stigma attached to smart drugs, some do wonder about its ethics. Like athletes taking steroids, are students who take smart drugs at a better, unfair advantage than those who don’t?
  • The pharmaceutical industry is ready to mass market these drugs: As more people use and talk about smart drugs, the pharmaceutical industry is positioning itself to corner the market and create smart drugs used only for the purpose of increasing cognition and memory for healthy-minded individuals, instead of relying on “multitasking” Parkinson’s or sleep disorder drugs to do the trick. This move would mean a more open discussion and perhaps more accepted — and widespread — usage of smart drugs, perhaps leading to smart drug abuse.

Source:  Best Colleges Online

Join me on Facebook  and follow me on Twitter for more information and educational articles on parenting today’s teenagers.