Teen Substance Abuse by Sue Scheff (Parents Universal Resource Experts)

With today’s society, kids have access to many different substances that can be addictive and damaging. If you suspect your child is using drugs or drinking alcohol, please seek help for them as soon as possible. Drug testing is helpful, but not always accurate.  Teen Drug use and Teen Drinking may escalate to addiction.

We get calls constantly, that a child is only smoking pot. Unfortunately in most cases, marijuana can lead to more severe drugs, and marijuana is considered an illegal drug. Smoking marijuana is damaging to the child’s body, brain and behavior. Even though marijuana is not considered a narcotic, most teens are very hooked on it. Many teens that are on prescribed medications such as Ritalin, Adderall, Strattera, Concerta, Zoloft, Prozac etc. are more at risk when mixing these medications with street drugs. It is critical you speak with your child about this and learn all the side effects.  Educating your child on the potential harm may help them to understand the dangers involved in mixing prescription drugs with street drugs. Awareness is the first step to understanding. 

Alcohol is not any different with today’s teens. Like adults, some teens use the substances to escape their problems; however they don’t realize that it is not an escape but rather a deep dark hole. Some teens use substances to “fit in” with the rest of their peers – teen peer pressure. This is when a child really needs to know that they don’t need to “fit in” if it means hurting themselves. Using drug and alcohol is harming them. Especially if a teen is taking prescribed medication (refer to the above paragraph) teen drinking can be harmful. The combination can bring out the worse in a person. Communicating with your teen, as difficult as it can be, is one of the best tools we have.  Even if you think they are not listening, we hope eventually they will hear you.

If your teen is experimenting with this, please step in and get proper help through local resources. If it has extended into an addiction, it is probably time for a Residential Placement. If you feel your child is only experimenting, it is wise to start precautions early. An informed parent is an educated parent.  This can be your life jacket when and if you need the proper intervention.  Always be prepared, it can save you from rash decisions later.

A teen that is just starting to experiment with substance use or starting to become difficult; a solid short term self growth program may be very beneficial for them.  However keep in mind, if this behavior has been escalating over a length of time, the short term program may only serve as a temporary band-aid.

Drugs and Alcoholic usage is definitely a sign that your child needs help. Teen Drug Addiction  and Teen Drinking is a serious problem in today’s society; if you suspect your child is using substances, especially if they are on prescribed medications, start seeking local help.  If the local resources become exhausted, and you are still experiencing difficulties, it may be time for the next step; Therapeutic Boarding School or Residential Treatment Center.

Visit www.helpyourteens.com for more information.

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Sue Scheff: Parenting Your 18 Year Old Young Adult

“My 18 year old is out of control and I am at my wits end! What can I do?” – Anonymous Parent.

18 – 19 year old teens can be the most difficult to address simply because they are considered adults and cannot be forced to get help. As parents, we have limited to no control. Practicing “Tough Love” is easier said than done, many parents cannot let their child reach rock bottom – as parent’s, we see our child suffering – whether it is needing groceries or a roof over their head and it is hard to shut the door on them.

I think this is one of the most important reasons that if you are a parent of a 16-17 year old that is out of control, struggling, defiant, using drugs and alcohol, or other negative behavior – I believe it is time to look for intervention NOW. I am not saying it needs to be a residential treatment center or a program out of the home, but at least start with local resources such as therapists that specialize with adolescents and preferable offer support groups.

It is unfortunate that in most cases the local therapy is very limited how it can help your teen. The one hour once a week or even twice, is usually not enough to make permanent changes. Furthermore getting your defiant teen to attend sessions can sometimes cause more friction and frustrations than is already happening.

This is the time to consider outside help such as a Therapeutic Boarding School or Residential Treatment Center. However these parents with the 18-19 year olds have usually missed their opportunity. They were hoping and praying that at 16 – 17 things would change, but unfortunately, if not addressed, the negative behavior usually escalates.

In the past 8+ years I have heard from thousands of parents – and most are hoping to get their child through High School and will be satisfied with a GED. It is truly a sad society of today’s teens when many believe they can simply drop out of school. Starting as early as 14 years old, many teens are thinking this way and we need to be sure they know the consequences of not getting an education. Education in today’s world should be our children’s priority however with today’s peer pressure and entitlement issues, it seems to have drifted from education to defiance – being happy just having fun and not being responsible.

I think there are many parents that debate whether they should take that desperate measure of sending a child to a program and having them escorted there – but in the long run – you need to look at these parents that have 18-19 year olds that don’t have that opportunity. While you have this option, and it is a major decision that needs to be handled with the utmost reality of what will happen if things don’t change. The closer they are to 18 – the more serious issues can become legally. If a 17+ year old gets in trouble with the law, in many states they will be tried as an adult. This can be scary since most of these kids are good kids making very bad choices and don’t deserve to get caught up the system. As a parent I believe it is our responsible not to be selfish and be open to sending the outside of the home. It is important not to view this as a failure as a parent, but as a responsible parent that is willing to sacrifice your personal feelings to get your child the help they need.

At 18, it is unfortunate, these kids are considered adults – and as parents we basically lose control to get them the help they need. In some cases – if the teen knows they have no other alternatives and this is the only option the parents will support, they will agree to get outside help.

Visit www.helpyourteens.com for more information.

Problem Parents Contribute to Teen Drug Use

Source: LA Times

 

 

A survey on substance abuse among teens was released this morning that really lowers the boom on parents. The annual survey from the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University calls out parents for contributing to drug and alcohol use among kids ages 12 to 17. Some parents fail to monitor their children’s activities, do not safeguard medications at home that can be used for abuse, and do not set good examples for their kids, the report said. Almost half of the teens surveyed — a nationally representative sample of 1,002 teens and 312 of their parents — said they leave the house to hang out with friends on school nights. Among those teens, half who come home after 10 p.m. said they had been drinking alcohol, smoking marijuana or doing other drugs. Just under 30% of those who come home between 8 and 10 p.m. said they had been drinking or using drugs. In contrast, only 14% of the parents said their teens leave the house to hang out with friends on school nights.

 

Who is telling the truth? The report suggests that parents are pretty clueless about their kids’ schedules and how they spend their free time.

 

“Every mother and father should look in the mirror and ask themselves if they are doing the parenting essential to help their child negotiate the difficult teen years free of tobacco, alcohol and drugs,” said Elizabeth Planet, CASA’s director of special projects.

 

CASA president and former U.S. Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare Joseph A. Califano said this:

 

“Preventing substance abuse among teens is primarily a mom and pop operation. It is inexcusable that so many parents fail to appropriately monitor their children, fail to keep dangerous prescription drugs out of the reach of their children and tolerate drug infected schools. The parents who smoke marijuana with children should be considered child abusers. By identifying the characteristics of problem parents we seek to identify the actions that parents can take — and avoid — in order to become part of the solution and raise healthy, drug-free children.”

 

No one said parenting was easy, and parents in the survey said overwhelmingly that it’s harder today to keep kids safe and raise them with good moral character than it was in previous generations. Resources to help and support parents are available, such as those that can be found on the CASA website. Also, try the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Youth Anti-Drug media campaign for more resources.

 

It would probably be helpful for all of us who are parents to get our heads out of the sand. Times change, and the culture kids are growing up in today is different from back in our day. For example, the survey also found these hair-raising trends:

 

For the first time in the survey’s 13-year history, more teens said prescription drugs were easier to buy than beer.

 

42% of the teens said they can buy marijuana in a day or less.

 

One-quarter of teens said they know a parent of a classmate or friend who uses marijuana and 10% of those teens said this parent smokes marijuana with teens.

 

Half of the teens ages 16 and 17 said that among their age group smoking marijuana is more common than smoking cigarettes.

 

Of the teens who drink, almost 30% said their drink of choice was hard liquor mixed with soda or something sweet compared with 16% who said they prefer beer.
— Shari Roan

Succeeding in College for ADHD Freshmen – 10 tips to help ADHD college students achieve academic, social and personal success.

Source: ADDitude Magazine

A car’s poor alignment can lead to resistance and difficulty maintaining a steady course, and the same is true for students. Haven’t you ever struggled with a task that you find boring, only to breeze through a challenging, but more interesting, assignment? When you’re involved with something you enjoy, you’re better able to focus and work becomes easier.

Whether you’re starting college next fall, weighing your options, or are already enrolled, there are several things to keep in mind for a smooth academic ride.

Your interests. Ask yourself, “What do I want to do more than anything else?” The answer should become your road map for choosing a school, a major — even specific courses. You’re more likely to earn good grades in a class you find interesting than in one that puts you to sleep.

How do you handle required classes that you find boring — or overly difficult? Wait a semester before tackling them — one at a time — until you have some experience, and support systems, behind you.

Talk with professors about your learning disability and see if they’re willing to work with you. Free tutoring may be available; if the class is especially difficult, start working with a tutor before you fall behind. If the course is unrelated to your major, you may be able to have it waived.

Of course, you should take your college studies seriously. But there’s no need to sacrifice involvement in sports, clubs, or other extracurricular activities you enjoy. Regular exercise is a great way to work off extra energy, unwind after a stressful day, and, of course, stay in shape. And whether it’s writing for the school paper or playing in the marching band, pursuing your interests will energize you and boost your confidence.

Your environment. Do you thrive in warm weather? Apply to schools in the South. Love the energy of a busy city? Stick with an urban campus.

Consider the size of the schools you look at. You might feel lost in a lecture hall that holds 300 students. In smaller classes, you’ll be drawn to the material, feel like an active participant, and be in a better position to ask for help, should you need it.

Do what you can to make your dorm room feel like home. If you prefer a minimalist look, leave your clutter behind. If you enjoy nature, consider bringing some plants and full-spectrum bulbs or a small indoor fountain. The more attuned you are to your environment, the more energized you’ll feel.

That’s also the case when it comes to studying. If you need quiet to do your best work, find a private room at the library. If you need noise and activity to help you focus, make yourself comfortable at a coffee house near campus.

Your roommates. To get started on the right foot, be totally honest on your roommate questionnaire. Are you messy? Do you stay up until 3 a.m. each night? Admit it. You’re not the only student with these habits, so frankness is your best bet for a good match. Even if you and your roommate don’t end up being best friends, you’ll at least have a shot at a peaceful co-existence. Single rooms are hard to come by, but you may be able to get one as part of your ADHD accommodations.

Seek like-minded friends through university organizations and clubs, whether you’re interested in saving the Earth or starting a corporation.

Your support system. One of the first things you should do after unpacking is to visit the office for students with disabilities. The professionals there understand your needs, and can help you put together an appropriate course schedule (no early morning classes, only one prerequisite class at a time, and so on), identify helpful professors, and put accommodations, such as extra time for exams, into place. They can also refer you to an ADD coach, who can help you develop a successful study routine and build the organizational skills you’ll need throughout college.

Parents Universal Resource Experts (Sue Scheff): Teens Say School Pressure Is Main Reason For Drug Use

New York — A new study reveals a troubling new insight into the reasons why teens use drugs.
The study conducted by the Partnership for a Drug-free America shows that of 6,511 teens, 73% report that school stress and pressure is the main reason for drug use.

 Ironically, only 7% of parents believe that teens use drugs to cope with stress.

Second on the list was to “feel cool” (73%), which was previously ranked in the first position. Another popular reason teens said they use drugs was to “feel better about themselves”(65%).
Over the past decade, studies have indicated a steady changing trend in what teens perceive as the motivations for using drugs. The “to have fun” rationales are declining, while motivations to use drugs to solve problems are increasing.

On the positive side, the study confirms that overall abuse remains in a steady decline among teens. Marijuana, ecstasy, inhalants, methamphetamine alcohol and cigarette usage continue to decrease.

Additional findings show:

– 1 in 5 teens has abused a prescription medication
– Nearly 1 in 5 teens has already abused a prescription painkiller
– 41% of teens think it’s safer to abuse a precription drug than it is to use illegal drugs.

Teens continue to take their lives into their own hands when they intentionally abuse prescribed medications, said Pasierb. “Whether it’s to get high or deal with stress, or if they mistakenly believe it will help them perform better in school or sports, teens don’t realize that when used without a prescription, these medicines can be every bit as harmful as illegal street drugs.”

Excerise Reduces Drug Use

Source: Connect by Kids

“Studies show that children that are involved in activities and have less time on their hands tend to stay away from drugs easier than kids than kids that have nothing to do after school.”

– David Karol Gore, Phd., Psychologist

17-year old Mururi began using drugs at an early age.

“I mean it started off only on weekends when I was twelve but by thirteen, I was like, ‘I need to get high man. This is boring.’”

Boredom.  Researchers at Davidson College studied the affects of cocaine and exercise on rats.  They found that when rats get more exercise, they want less cocaine than those who don’t exercise at all.

Experts say, in humans, exercise has the same effect on the reward systems of the brain as do drugs.

Still, as family psychologist, David Karol Gore explains, the way exercise prevents some kids from using drugs may be as simple as this: “Studies show that children that are involved in activities and have less time on their hands tend to stay away from drugs easier than kids than kids that have nothing to do after school.”

His advice?

“Look real carefully at what their teenagers are doing.  They need to see how involved they are in activities and if they are not what are they doing with their time.”

Tips for Parents

A study from Columbia University shows that youth who are bored and who have access to extra cash are more likely to abuse drugs.  For their study, researchers with the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse surveyed 1,987 children aged 12 to 17 and 504 parents, 403 of whom were parents of the surveyed children.  They found that kids who are frequently bored are 50% more likely to smoke, drink and use illegal drugs.  And those who had $25 or more a week in spending money were nearly twice as likely to succumb to substance abuse.  Consider these additional statistics about teens and drug abuse cited by the National Institute on Drug Abuse:

  • In 2007, the percentage of 8th graders reporting lifetime use of any illicit drug declined was 19%.
  • In 2007, 15.4% of 12th graders reported using a prescription drug non-medically within the past year.  Vicodin continues to be abused at unacceptably high levels.
  • Between 2005 and 2007, past year abuse of MDMA (ecstasy) increased among 12th graders from 3.0% to 4.5%; and between 2004 and 2007, past year abuse of MDMA increased among 10th graders from 2.4% to 3.5%.

It is important that family members feel as though they can talk to each other about tough issues, such as drug use.  Part of this early, open communication includes being a good listener.  As a parent, consider adopting these listening techniques provided by the American Council for Drug Education (ACDE):

  • Give your child an opportunity to talk. Stop talking and give your child sufficient time to complete his or her thoughts and process what has been said.
  • Demonstrate interest by asking appropriate questions. Questions can help you clarify your child’s thoughts and suggestions. Be sure that you are interpreting what has been said correctly.
  • Listen to the complete message. Listen to the total message before forming a response.
  • Encourage your child to talk. Use door-opening statements (”You seem distracted today” or “Tell me what is going on”) that invite a response.
  • Focus on content, not delivery. Avoid being distracted by your child’s poor grammar or manners. It is what is being said that is important.
  • Listen for main ideas. Try to pick out the central theme of the conversation.
  • Deal effectively with emotionally charged language. Be aware of words or phrases that produce anxiety and trigger emotions.
  • Identify areas of common experience and agreement. Note similar experiences of your own or offer a shared point of view to communicate acceptance and understanding.
  • Deal effectively with whatever blocks you from listening. Be aware of personal blocks that may prevent you from hearing what your child is saying.

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 child can reap the rewards of a healthy, drug-free life:

  • Be your child’s greatest fan. Compliment him or her on all of his or her efforts, strength of character and individuality.
  • Involve your child 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 child is best suited for, but it’s worth the effort – feeling competent makes children much less likely to use drugs.
  • Help your child develop tools he can use to get out of alcohol- or 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 child’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 child 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 alcohol-free and supervised by adults.
  • Set curfews and enforce them. Let your child know the consequences of breaking curfew.
  • Set a no-use rule for alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.
  • Sit down for dinner with your child at least once a week. Use the time to talk – don’t eat in front of the television.
  • Get – and stay – involved in your child’s life.

References

  • American Council for Drug Education
  • Davidson College
  • National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse
  • Partnership for a Drug-Free America

Parents: Are you struggling with your young adult? By Sue Scheff

“My 18 year old is out of control and I am at my wits end!  What can I do?” – Anonymous Parent.

 

18 – 19 year old teens can be the most difficult to address simply because they are considered adults and cannot be forced to get help.  As parents, we have limited to no control.  Practicing “Tough Love” is easier said than done, many parents cannot let their child reach rock bottom – as parent’s, we see our child suffering – whether it is needing groceries or a roof over their head and it is hard to shut the door on them.

 

I think this is one of the most important reasons that if you are a parent of a 16-17 year old that is out of control, struggling, defiant, using drugs and alcohol, or other negative behavior – I believe it is time to look for intervention NOW.  I am not saying it needs to be a residential treatment center or a program out of the home, but at least start with local resources such as therapists that specialize with adolescents and preferable offer support groups.

 

It is unfortunate that in most cases the local therapy is very limited how it can help your teen.  The one hour once a week or even twice, is usually not enough to make permanent changes.  Furthermore getting your defiant teen to attend sessions can sometimes cause more friction and frustrations than is already happening.

 

This is the time to consider outside help such as a Therapeutic Boarding School or Residential Treatment Center.  However these parents with the 18-19 year olds have usually missed their opportunity.  They were hoping and praying that at 16 – 17 things would change, but unfortunately, if not addressed, the negative behavior usually escalates.

 

In the past 8+ years I have heard from thousands of parents – and most are hoping to get their child through High School and will be satisfied with a GED. It is truly a sad society of today’s teens when many believe they can simply drop out of school.  Starting as early as 14 years old, many teens are thinking this way and we need to be sure they know the consequences of not getting an education.  Education in today’s world should be our children’s priority however with today’s peer pressure and entitlement issues, it seems to have drifted from education to defiance – being happy just having fun and not being responsible.

 

I think there are many parents that debate whether they should take that desperate measure of sending a child to a program and having them escorted there – but in the long run – you need to look at these parents that have 18-19 year olds that don’t have that opportunity.  While you have this option, and it is a major decision that needs to be handled with the utmost reality of what will happen if things don’t change.  The closer they are to 18 – the more serious issues can become legally.  If a 17+ year old gets in trouble with the law, in many states they will be tried as an adult.  This can be scary since most of these kids are good kids making very bad choices and don’t deserve to get caught up the system.  As a parent I believe it is our responsible not to be selfish and be open to sending the outside of the home.  It is important not to view this as a failure as a parent, but as a responsible parent that is willing to sacrifice your personal feelings to get your child the help they need.

 

At 18, it is unfortunate, these kids are considered adults – and as parents we basically lose control to get them the help they need.  In some cases – if the teen knows they have no other alternatives and this is the only option the parents will support, they will agree to get outside help.

Visit www.helpyourteens.com for more information