Teen Drug Use: Safeguard My Meds

Statistics show that 70% of people 12 years-old and older who abused prescription pain relievers say they got them from a friend or relative.

Where will you be for the holidays?

Grandparents? An aunt’s? Friends?

Most homes have medicine cabinets – and most medicine cabinets have prescription drugs in them.

The holiday season is upon us and with family dinners, parties and get-togethers, you can usually expect more visitors in your home. But did you know unused and easily accessible medicines have the potential to be misused and abused by anyone entering your home – including teens and young adults?

Yet many people don’t realize the personal responsibility that comes with having prescription medicine in the home. That’s why the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) and pharmaceutical company Purdue Pharma launched the Safeguard My Meds program.

Here are a few simple, yet important steps that can be taken to protect prescription medicine.

· A locked storage container should be kept for prescription medicines at greater risk of being abused – such as pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants and depressants. These medicines are targets for theft by anyone who enters your home, so extra precautions should be taken.

· Keep track of your medications with the Medicine Inventory Sheet. Take inventory of your prescription medicines at least twice a year, such as when you change your clocks in the spring and fall.

· Learn more about the safe storage and disposal of prescription medicine by Downloading the Brochure and by visiting www.safeguardmymeds.org.

· Take the Personal Responsibility Pledge and commit to doing your part to safeguard and keep prescription medicine out of the wrong hands. Take the pledge!

Have a safe, healthy and fun holiday!

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How to Get Your Children to Care About Their Health

Special Guest Post:

It’s far too easy, when you are young, to ignore your health and indulge in all of life’s vices. Unlike an older body, a younger body can easily bounce back from unhealthy choices, but this doesn’t mean those bad choices aren’t hurting your wellbeing. In fact, the health decisions that you make when you are young will stay with you for the rest of your life, especially if you don’t make any changes in your lifestyle as you get older.

According to studies cited by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, physical inactivity increases the risk of dying prematurely from diseases like colon cancer, diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. An increased risk of disease and illness is also associated with eating a poor diet, and these consequences apply to everyone…even young children.

Studies like these highlight the importance of encouraging your children to pursue and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Although it wouldn’t be helpful to force changes upon your child, there are ways to guide them down the right path. It’s isn’t always easy to choose health over convenience and short-term satisfaction, but by discussing the following four issues with your kids, you may be able to help them understand why taking care of their health is so important.

Good Health Will Help You Succeed in Life

Although success doesn’t require that you be healthy, it sure doesn’t hurt the cause. It’s not easy to work 40 hours (or more) every week when you don’t eat well, don’t exercise and don’t get enough sleep. Sure, the majority of people do this, but one look at the health statistics of our nation and you’ll see that we aren’t winning that battle. Our workforce is lethargic, depressed and uninspired, and one of the reasons why is because we don’t do what’s best for our health. Explain this to your child, and discuss more reasons why it is easier to achieve life goals when you are healthy and strong.

Learn by Example

There is probably an elderly member of your family or a family friend who can be used as an example of good or poor health. Point them out to your child and ask your child to observe the consequences (whether positive or negative) of this particular person’s health choices. Learning by example is an age-old method that can be very effective. Too often, young people ignore the elderly. By making your children aware of the effects of growing older, you could change their minds about their own lifestyle choices.

Health Care Isn’t Cheap

When you are young, you are completely oblivious to the costs and implications of having good health care. Once your child reaches an age where they can understand the concept, find a moment to explain it to them. Show them how your insurance plan works, and share with them the costs associated with premiums, co-pays and co-insurance. Then explain to them how maintaining a healthy lifestyle can save money on insurance premiums and out-of-pocket health care costs.

It’s Not Fun to Be Sick

It’s so easy to forget about how you felt the last time you fell ill with the flu or caught a cold from your friend. Being sick is not fun. It can keep you from doing the things you want to do in life; even the simple things. Remind your child of a time when they felt ill. This will help them better understand the difference between feeling well and feeling ill and will hopefully make them see why they shouldn’t take their health for granted.

Another great way to communicate the importance of being grateful for (and maintaining) your health is to ask your child to be mindful and supportive of those who are currently suffering from illness and disease. Teach them about compassion and community service, and encourage them to volunteer at local hospitals, nursing homes and other health care facilities.

Lastly, leading by your own example is always the best foundation for whatever life lesson you want to teach. Try your best to live by the same values you instill in your children, and the chances of your child maintaining those values will be very likely.

Brenda Watson is a researcher/writer for HealthInsuranceQuotes.org. Her articles cover topics ranging from how to find the best insurance for you or your family to advice on personal health and fitness. In her spare time, Brenda enjoys running in the park and watching The X Factor. Feel free to leave your comments and questions for her below!



Teens and Money Management

Today’s times are not the easiest when it comes to the economy for many families.

With these struggles it could also be an opportunity to teach our children to manage their money for their future.

Being able to handle money wisely is the greatest gift you can give your kids. Struggling with money is stressful and unnecessary if you create the foundation for smart spending and saving.

Here are 10 ways to teach kids how to manage their money and to help instill your money values in them.

  1. Pay yourself first. Decide with your child what percentage of the money he earns or receives that he will get to just spend however he wants. Be it on candy, bubble gum machines, or toys. It’s important that he have some money that he feels like he can spend however he chooses. You can set the rules as to how and when he can spend it, but make sure that he does have some money for fun stuff.
  2. Create jars and label where the money is to go. Take some mason jars or recycled jars and label them with the different places that the money is going to go. Have jars marked, “Fun Money”, “Long term Savings”, “Short term Savings” and “Charity”. Feel free to change the names around to fit your goals. Long-term savings could actually say, “College Fund” and the short-term savings could say, “Cell phone”. Things like this will allow you and your child to personalize your savings system. Once you hit a certain amount in your jar you can move it to a bank account.
  3. Help your child choose a charity in which to donate. Giving back to the world is an important lesson that kids need to learn from a young age. In your case maybe you would like your child to give money to your church in addition to or instead of a charity. Maybe your kids love animals and would like to donate money to the Humane Society.
  4. Set a savings goal for big ticket items. If your child is constantly asking for a large toy or electronic encourage him to start saving for it. Print out a small thermometer chart and help him fill in the thermometer as he puts money in the jar. It will increase the excitement if he feels like he is getting closer to his goal. You could offer up some extra chores where he could earn some extra money. You’ll be amazed at how ambitious kids can be if they have the proper motivation.
  5. Make sure they have long-term savings. Talk to your child about going to college or buying their first car. These items are very expensive and have to be saved for. Determine what you think the fair amount would be to put into the long term savings jar. Is it 10 or 20%?
  6. Open a savings account for your child. Take your child to the bank or credit union and help her open her first savings account. There are online options as well that will allow you to add money to her account electronically so the money is never actually in her hand. This option is available and you will have to decide whether it’s the right option for you and your child or not. When opening a savings account you can explain about interest. Let her know that the bank will pay her for letting them use her money.
  7. Help your children realize the difference between a need and a want. This is an important discussion to have with your kids. You will hear your kids tell you that they NEED to have the latest jeans or cell phone, but those are wants and not needs. Help your kids see the difference and then when they come to you and say that they have to have something you can ask if it’s a need or a want. Wants aren’t a bad thing, but needs should be taken care of first. For example, he ‘needs’ to put money into savings for his future more than he ‘wants’ to get the latest video game.
  8. Create a filing system to keep track of receipts. Getting your child used to tracking their money is an important habit to get them into. When they buy something with their money they need to come home and write down the purchase in their spending journal and then put the receipt into a file. Determine how many files or envelopes you will need. One way to do it is to create an envelope for each month and then have a big envelope to keep all of the smaller envelopes in. This method may work better if you have multiple children tracking their spending. Another way would be to keep the monthly envelopes in a file marked with their name.
  9. Demonstrate money saving techniques. Kids usually go to the grocery store with mom or dad and that is their first experience watching mom spend money. Show the kids how coupons work and in store discounts. Explain various tricks you use to save money while grocery shopping. You may think that your kids won’t need this information for years to come, but it’s important that kids are aware that mom saves money where she can too.
  10. Set a good example when it comes to money values. Keeping your own spending journal and receipt file will set a good example for your kids. Let your kids know that you are saving for a big item or vacation. Kids learn by example and it’s easier for them to learn when they know what you are doing. It’s not so important that your kids know every detail and concern that you have about money, but impress upon them the important stuff.

Source: Babysitting Jobs

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Is Your Child a Bully? 6 Warning Signs

Nobody likes a bully.

And it seems like bullying is everywhere — it’s not just for the playground anymore. With the rise of social media, cyberbullying has made its way into the dictionary and our lives, and it’s every bit as serious as a physical show of force. While parents must deal with children who are bullied, many parents have children that exhibit the negative behavior.

If you’re unsure of what a child bully looks like, here are six major signs:

  1. Your Child Beats People Up At School That should be a pretty big red flag. Parents are almost always notified if their children are involved in a physical altercation at school. Does your child beat you up at home? Has your child ever lashed out physically? Coping with anger through physical aggression is never productive or appropriate. The earlier in life that lesson is learned, the better.
  2. Your Kid Loves The Internet If you have a child and a computer, there’s a good chance your kid is a cyberbully. According to iSafe.Com, 53% of children in grades four through eight have admitted to posting something mean on the Internet. Monitor your child’s Internet usage as much as you can, especially usage that involves interaction with others. If that’s not enough, consider disallowing your child to participate in social media until they’re responsible enough to practice kindness and etiquette online.
  3. Your Child Is A Giant Snob Exclusivity breeds rude behavior, and social cliques at schools are common. These can be hurtful breeding grounds for picking on excluded children. Talk to your children. Let them know that people who are not as privileged, who look or act differently, or those with disabilities are nothing to be afraid of. They’re also not people you should make fun of. It’s OK to have a social group — this is a natural part of every person’s development. But make sure that the friendships and their intentions are perennially positive. Snobbery denotes some fundamental insecurity about those not like ourselves. And sometimes the most popular kids are the ones who are nice to everyone. Encourage your child to be open, curious, and kind.
  4. Your Child Takes Pleasure In Hurting Animals This isn’t just a sign that your kid is a potential bully; it’s a sign that your kid is a potential psychopath. Inflicting pain on small animals is a sign of a potentially warped view of what it means to be human, and a lack of respect and empathy. Don’t let your kid bully animals, and it will be easier to teach them not to bully people. If hurting animals becomes a pastime for your child, therapy might be in order.
  5. You’re A Bully The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, and this is especially true for social interactions. If your child routinely witnesses you complaining, gossiping, or being hurtful to others, they’re not going to learn any different. Everyone occasionally bullies someone else, even the most well-intentioned and mature adults. But if you’ve got a problem with authority or heterogeneity, don’t let your child know. Ever. Until they’re about 30, your kids are pretty much allowed to blame all negative personality traits on you.
  6. Your Child Has Health Problems Disrupted sleep patterns in young children have been linked to exhibitions of bullying behavior. And if your child has a chemical imbalance — such as ADD or nonsituational depression — there’s always a possibility they could act out. Interrupted breathing, bad diet, and other physical maladies could also play a role. Mind and body are interconnected, and will always affect one another. Help your child to be healthy, and expect healthy social behaviors, as well.

Source: Online Psychology Degree

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Creating Healthy Dating Habits With Your Teen

Teen dating is part of our kids growing up.

Now this part of life is compounded with the use of the digital world.

Skout, a mobile flirting application that uses GPS technology has been linked to three instances of sexual assault in recent weeks. In response, the under-18 portion of the community has been shut down as its organizers work to develop better safeguards.

The mobile dating site, which was originally created for adults, uses GPS technology that allows users to see nearby singles. In a safety precaution, the app does not reveal street addresses.

However, if you were at your neighborhood grocery store, you would be able to check your phone to see if another single was in the area, check the profile and then send an IM or text if you were interested in meeting that person.

In the teen version of Skout, the app pinpointed other users’ locations within a half-mile radius, and though it was supposed to be a safeguard, it proved to be the perfect tool for predators to scout their victims. In all three instances, adults took advantage of underage teens; but GPS is also a tool that can be used in teenaged dating abuse.

A technologically savvy teen can use GPS to monitor a dating partner, either through cell phones or other devices. Often, GPS isn’t needed to monitor a teenager’s location.

With the ability to update a Facebook status, Tweet or even “Check-in” via Facebook, teenagers are revealing their locations all the time.

In the past, teen dating abuse was more easily identified. Ten years ago, when landlines were the norm and phone bills had limited minutes, abusive behavior like excessive phone calls would have been easy to identify. Today, teens can put their cell phones on silent and receive unlimited texts, masking abusive behavior from parents.

“I call it an electronic leash,” said psychotherapist Dr. Jill Murray in an interview with ABC News. “I’ve had girls come into my office with cell phone bills showing 9,000 text messages and calls in a month. This is all hours of the day and night. And it’s threatening.’Hi. How are you? Where are you? Who are you with? Who are you talking to?’” Considering a teen’s constant attachment to his or her cell phone, the potential control for the abuser is virtually unlimited.

In addition to the private world of text messaging, the world of social media offers abusive teens a public platform to humiliate and degrade their partners.

Teens can use Facebook or Twitter to insult their partners or reveal embarrassing, false or intimate information about the victim. Abusive partners can even use this potential public humiliation as a form of blackmail.

You might be surprised to learn just how common it is for teens to develop an abusive relationship. The National Center for Victims of Crime cites that over 40 percent of both genders report having been involved in some form of dating violence at least once during high school.

If you recognize that your teen is in an abusive relationship, your first reaction may be to begin limiting freedoms such as Internet and cell phone use, but often teens in an abusive relationship don’t confide in their parents for fear of such restrictions.

Remember, the victim in an abusive relationship is often made to feel as though he or she has done something wrong. A reaction that could be seen as a “punishment” could only increase feelings of low self-esteem and could further alienate your teen from you and other positive support groups – while the abuser will see the opportunity to slip into the position of the ally.

Instead of revoking mobile access, you could recommend this app for your teen. It was made for college students, as a peer-based support system to help escape social situations, but it can easily apply to the teen dating world. In this app, GPS is used to empower the victim, proving that technology can be a helpful tool in avoiding abuse.

The app is called “Circle of 6” and it allows users to easily contact 6 people with discreet SOS messages:

“Come and get me. I need help getting home safely. My GPS coordinates are…” and “Call and pretend you need me. I need an interruption.”

If you notice that your teen’s partner is becoming too controlling, a good strategy is to engage in a project or take more trips together. You can also offer to facilitate outings for your teen and his or her friends. You can also go on trips and invite your teen and his or her significant other. The goal is to offer your teen examples of healthy, positive relationships that will contrast the negative emotions spurred by the abusive one.

Contributor: Amelia Wood is a blogger and freelance writer who often writes to explain medical billing and coding online. She welcomes your questions and comments at amelia1612@gmail.com.

The Betty Griffin House in St. Augustine offers The Peace Club for children ages 3-17. The Peace Clubs helps kids to identify abuse, build self-esteem, resolve conflicts without violence, develop and use a safety plan if necessary, and break the silence about violence at home. Peace Club includes a school-based curriculum for all children and support groups for children affected by domestic violence.

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Summer Fun at Home: Camp Alternatives

Summer is half over already.

Some kids were able to attend summer camps, some didn’t.

There are several factors that could make traditional sleep-away summer camp a less-than-ideal choice for some families, such as the age and temperament of children and the significant financial burden that such camps can impose.

Very young children are typically excluded from sleep-away camps automatically, while older kids who do meet age requirements may balk at the idea of spending an extended period of time away from their families and friends. The anxiety and stress that often accompanies homesickness is likely to make parents consider the expense of summer camp an unwise investment, as many summer camps charge hundreds of dollars in fees, even before the added expense of buying supplies.

Here are ten great alternatives for parents who want to keep their children occupied and engaged during summer vacation without sending them to pricey and distant summer camp.

1. Volunteer Programs – Older children can learn a sense of civic responsibility and the importance of helping others by spending part of their summer participating in a local volunteer program. Animal lovers among the smaller set may be thrilled with the idea of helping at a local animal shelter, while others may enjoy working with a local charity or visiting a local retirement community.
2. Community Day Camps – Community centers in most cities offer summer day camp programs, allowing kids to enjoy all of the fun activities that are a part of a sleep-away camp without the stress of spending weeks away from the familiarity of home.
3. Religious Summer Programs – Many places of worship offer vacation workshops and other similar programs with a theme of religious instruction during summertime, which may be an ideal choice for devout families. Kids can spend the summer among peers who share their spirituality, learning about their family’s belief system through arts and crafts, story time, and other kid-friendly activities.
4. Arts Workshops – Many art museums offer programs specifically tailored to budding art aficionados; local universities may also host summer programs for children staffed by students with education or arts majors. University programs may include visual art, musical instruction, or theater programs, depending upon your area.
5. Sports Clinics – Pint-sized athletes are sure to love spending the summer honing their skills, which makes a local sports clinic the ideal choice. These programs keep kids physically active, which is a huge plus for parents who are concerned about the sedentary lifestyle that many children adopt when school ends. Rather than spending hours in front of the television or the computer, kids who participate in a sports clinic can enjoy fresh air, sunshine, and exercise while becoming stronger and more skilled athletes.
6. Academic Programs – During summer vacation many school systems still offer programs for academically gifted children. Some programs even focus on peer-tutoring, allowing more advanced students to offer assistance to classmates who struggle in some areas, which can build a sense of social consciousness. Alternatively, many programs feature an emphasis on building and expanding gifted kids’ already-impressive knowledge base.
7. Scouting – While the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America do have summer camps for their troop members scattered across the country, plenty of troops stay home during summer vacation to participate in locally-based scouting activities. School vacations provide active scouts with the opportunity to earn merit badges and other achievements, which can be difficult to do during the hectic school year.
8. Family Day Trips – Families can spend their summer vacation taking a series of fun and exciting day trips. Visiting the zoo, the park, or a children’s center during the dog days of summer are surefire cures for the boredom and inertia that often sets in around mid-July.
9. Visiting Extended Family – Today’s families tend to be more spread out than in previous generations, so kids might not get to spend as much time with members of their extended family as they would like. While spending a few weeks at summer camp might be daunting for some kids, visiting a favorite family member during summer vacation might not be as stressful.
10. Family Camping Trips – Skipping a sleep-away summer camp doesn’t mean that kids have to forgo the camping experience altogether; outdoorsy families can plan a camping trip that keeps everyone together and costs far less than sleep-away camp fees.

Summer vacation can be a particularly trying time for two-working-parent households, or single-parent households in which that parent is employed outside of the home. Parents who depend upon school to meet the bulk of their childcare needs might benefit from engaging a temporary nanny during the summer months; an experienced nanny is a wealth of summertime-diversion knowledge, and is likely to be more than capable of keeping your kids off the couch and away from the computer during their school break.

Source: Summer Nanny Jobs

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Tips to Talking With Your Teenager

Parenting teens is challenging today.

Communicating with teens can be even more difficult.

During your children’s teenage years you’ll likely encounter a period of time when it seems like you have nothing in common with each other and carrying on conversations is akin to climbing Mt. Everest. This is heavily influenced by the fact that teenagers and the adults who care for them are very different creatures and are at very different points in their lives. Understanding those differences will help open the lines of communication between you and the teen in your life.

Check out these ideas for ways to get teens talking:

  1. Create a topic jar. A topic jar is a jar that you fill with different pieces of paper containing conversation topics. Each night at dinner a different person gets to choose a slip of paper from the jar and read it aloud. The reader gets to start the conversation. For example, the slip of paper could say, “Tell about something that surprised you today”.
  2. Ask open-ended questions. By asking questions that cannot be answered with only a yes or no, you are opening the door for your teenager to say more than a couple of words in reply to you. Try to avoid grilling her and stay away from asking questions like, “How was your day?” Her answer will most likely be a one word answer to these type of questions. Instead, say something like, “Tell me about your day.”
  3. Talk about topics she likes. Often teens feel like they are misunderstood by their parents. Instead of trying to get her involved in whatever you want to talk about, try talking about something that you know she likes. If she is an avid soccer player then ask her if she heard about the latest soccer match between Spain and Italy. She will probably be stunned that you even know that Spain and Italy recently had a soccer match and might actually want to talk about it. Once the door is open she may continue to talk about other things that are on her mind.
  4. Schedule some one on one time with her. Take her out to her favorite restaurant with just the two of you. If that is too expensive, just go for dessert and linger over coffee. Do something that she enjoys, like going to a local soccer match. Sharing these moments with her will give her the opportunity to talk to you while you are both relaxed and alone.
  5. Listen more than you speak. Every minute of your time together with her doesn’t have to be filled with idle chit chat. If you are trying to get someone to talk, leaving some silence will give them the opportunity to fill that silence with conversation.
  6. Be patient with your teen. If she is going through a rough time with her boyfriend or her other friends at school it may be difficult for her to talk about. Give her opportunities to broach the subject with you, but don’t try to force her to talk to you. That will only result in her becoming more stubborn and closed off.
  7. Put yourself in her shoes. Teenagers think that their parents and caregivers don’t understand them. Try to resist saying things like, “I understand what you are going through because I was a teenager once too you know”. Every generation has their own obstacles to overcome, and you can’t know what she is going through until she tells you. Really try to imagine how you would feel if you were in her shoes going through what she is going through.
  8. Don’t try to fix her. Parents and caregivers often try to fix a situation before they even understand it. Everyone is busy, but make time to hear her out. Don’t jump in and offer advice until it’s asked for. The only thing you should be doing while she is talking is nodding and saying the occasional, “hmm” or “I see” to indicate you are actively listening. This part is very difficult, but she needs to feel heard. Imagine how it would feel if you were sharing one of your problems and the person kept interrupting you to offer advice. Would you enjoy that?
  9. Try to be her soft place to fall, not a road block. Teenagers are faced with a lot of peer pressure. Amazingly enough, teens will come to the right decision most of the time if given the chance. Comfort her if she’s had a fight with a friend or if she breaks up with her boyfriend, but don’t condemn the boyfriend or friend. Anything negative that you say now will come back to haunt you when she gets back together with her boyfriend or the next time that her friend comes over to spend the night.
  10. Only offer your opinion when she asks for it. If you are lucky enough to get your teen talking, don’t interrupt with your opinions. Telling her what you would do isn’t going to help because she will remind you that you and she are nothing alike. Teens are trying to break away and prove their individuality. If she asks for your advice, start by asking her what she has considered so far. This will give you an idea of where her head is and you can act accordingly. Avoid lectures at all costs.

Source: Babysitting.net

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