Friday, January 20, 2012

Should I Drug Test My Teen?

Drug use among American teens is a serious concern. A huge fear for parents is that their child could become ensnared in the web of drug use. It’s a nightmarish thought for parents. Nobody wants to think it would happen to their kid. And therein lies a scenario that sets the stage for parental denial which can put their child at further risk.

One of the best ways parents can protect their kids is to do drug tests, and yet many parents haven’t even considered it. Perhaps they’re not even aware that home drug tests are affordably priced and are easily available at their local pharmacy and online. There are tests for drugs, alcohol and tobacco use.

Drug testing your teen is a very effective way of preventing drug use. For teens whose parents have implemented drug testing, it can give them the extra courage they need to say no. Being able to tell their peers, “My parents drug test me”, can be just what they need to arm themselves with a defense that could save their life.

It doesn’t have to be a battle ground. Approach by letting them know you love them, that you are aware of the availability of drugs and pressures to use, and that you’ll use any tool needed to keep them from going down that destructive path.

Drug testing in the work place is a common business practice done for the purpose of safeguarding that business. Perhaps you’ve had to take one as per terms of your own employment. How much more important is it to you to safeguard your child?
Being a teen in today’s world carries some very scary prospects and pressures. Parents, don’t add to those pressures by being in denial about what they face. The statistics are alarming. According to a study done by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, only 18% of parents thought their teens had tried drugs. Yet 53% of their teens admitted to having used drugs. How many of those parents had previously deluded themselves into thinking, “Not my kid”?

Drugs tests done in the privacy of your own home is a way parents can take loving control of their teen’s drug use experimentation from becoming an addiction that could result in seriously compromising their health, involved in an accident, trouble with the police, in jail, a lifetime of addiction, or worse.
Quick, accurate, inexpensive drug tests, done in the privacy of your own home, can prevent teen drug use. Give your teen another reason to Just Say No!

I Shoulda. Coulda. Woulda.

As a parent of a struggling teen, ever go through your day mentally berating yourself with a continual loop replaying the “I Shoulda...Coulda…Woulda’s”? It can leave you feeling guilty, ashamed, mortified, embarrassed and shake your parental confidence to the core.

Every day though brings a fresh start. A new chance to ‘get it right’ or ‘make it right ‘… whatever that ‘it’ happens to be. In the world of parenting teenagers, it seems like there’s always something that can use a do-over.

Turn those negative thoughts into positive actions that can actually work in your child’s favor. You only get 20/20 hindsight one way and that is by learning from what has happened. So don’t waste time. Instead, evaluate how doing something different would work towards creating a better outcome.

For starters, stop ‘Shoulding’ all over yourself! If you’re dealing with a teen who’s struggling and sliding down a slippery slope that could potentially put their future at risk, you don’t have time for it! Going down that road will only make you less effective, less on target, and have you second guessing that internal compass parents need to be tuned into, in order to be the safety net their kids need.

Remember, information is your friend. Perhaps the biggest mistake parents make is clinging to denial. Ignoring what their parental gut tells them. Kids are manipulators by nature. Teens have mastered that skill. But don’t lay that all that off on them. Be very clear. Manipulation is a two-party system…the manipulator and the manipulatee. That’s why it’s critical to listen to your internal parental instinct and be willing to follow through.
Here are some ways to turn the ‘Shoulda...Coulda…Woulda ’s around into taking positive action for your child’s well-being:

• Spend time with your teen. Focus on them. Turn off your cell and give your full attention to hearing how their day went. Find out what they’re interested in or what’s worrying them. Show up on time for their sporting events or dance rehearsals. Do something weekly with them. It can be something as simple as getting an ice cream cone or tossing a ball around.

• Drug test your teen. Studies reveal that while only 18% of parents believed their teens have tried drugs, 53% of seniors admitted to having used drugs. Businesses use drug testing. It’s a reality of life. Checking to make sure that your children are making good decisions is just part of responsible parenting. If taking random drug tests gave your teen the resolve they needed to “just say no”, would it be worth it then?

• Turn down the volume. Do not get into yelling matches. You can’t get anything resolved if you’re yelling over one another. Pushing parent’s buttons is almost an art form for teens. It’s a great ploy to create a diversion to escape consequences they see coming their way. Staying calm will keep you in control of your emotions and safeguard you from saying things you wish you could take back.
• Get to know the parents of your teen’s friends. Take the opportunity to share information and compare concerns and agree to handle some problems in the same way. This alliance will help to safeguard each other’s kids. It helps when you can watch each other’s back.

• Trust your parental instincts. If something doesn’t seem right to you, don’t ignore it. Your teen may protest to structure and boundaries, but remind them you love them and that their protection is your prime concern and responsibility.

• There are many stresses that pull at your time and attention. Dealing with a difficult teen can stretch you to your limits. It can be tempting to ignore them or not follow through on their consequences in order to give yourself a break from the pressures. But your teen needs more of your time and attention, not less.
A teen’s defiant or difficult behavior signals life out of control and out of balance in your family system. Slow things down. Take inventory. Pay attention to the details and be willing to do what needs to be done for in the best interest of your teen and your family.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

...average life expectancy for a rock star is 42...

The tempestuous teenage years have always presented challenges for parents. It comes with the natural order for teens growing up on their way to becoming their own independent selves. But let’s get real. Teens today have a tougher challenge than possibly any generation before them to be able to safely navigate their life’s road ahead.

It’s no secret that a prime target audience of the lifestyles of rock stars and celebrities are tweens and teens. Through the miracle of modern media, kids are bombarded virtually every hour of the day with images of irresponsible sex, illegal drug use, alcohol abuse, violent and bullying behavior, disregard for core values and troubles with the law. The poor choices and bad behaviors of celebrities often are glamorized and sensationalized, while their consequences are all too often ignored or negated.

How many celebrities and rock stars can you think of who have died from drug and/or alcohol abuse? The average life expectancy is 78.3 years. But did you know the average life expectancy for a rock star is 42 years? Case in point, Superstar Amy Winehouse, 27 years old, died of alcohol poisoning. The singer shot to fame with songs including "Rehab," in which she sums up her view on seeking treatment with the a chorus of "no, no, no."

When teens see the glamorous and famous being rewarded for bad choices how are they supposed to interpret that? When they see celebrities break the law and then receive little-to-no consequences, and all too often are even rewarded with more fame and fortune for doing so, do you ever have concerns about what kind of influence that has on your child?

Though you might want to, you can’t keep your teen in a cocoon and isolated from the world’s craziness. Parents can feel like they don’t have much say so, but studies show otherwise. According to the GfK Roper Youth Report, an online survey of over 1,000 youth ages 8-17 showed that among six things that might affect their decisions about drinking, 74% identified their parents as the leading influence in their lives.

Talk to your kids. Do you know who they view as their role models? Stay tuned in to what is going on in their world and what’s competing for their attention and influencing their lives and their choices. With the infamous ‘whatever-attitudes’ teens are known for, it can undermine a parent’s confidence. All the more reason for parents to remember that at the end of the day, they are the most important role models in their kid’s lives. Speak up. Let them know you care. Let your words, actions and choices be the healthy role model they can count on to create a successful, happy life.

End of the Year Post - Core Solutions

With 2011 coming to a close, many professionals who have contacted Core Solutions this year likely still have families on their case load who still need to find a solution that will halt their teen’s destructive, out-of-control behaviors. Additional resources are needed.

Consider Core Solutions your resource for fresh solutions and answers when your families need a ‘next step’ option. Since 2004, we have teamed with professionals and have a solid record in helping their families become a whole and healthy family.

Core Solutions offers a variety of services to families regardless of income, location, age, issues, etc. Here is a glimpse of our most utilized services:

(High-Risk Teens)

NATIONAL TREATMENT FINDER –Based on the assessment of a teen’s more extreme behavior, it may require more extreme measures. For teens headed for disaster, for their safety and well-being it can be best to remove them from their environment and negative influences and enroll them in a safe, structured, results-oriented program. We specialize in these cases and work closely with the parent(s) to identify regional programs, more long term in nature. With over 2500 programs available, including Wilderness Programs, Boot Camps, Therapeutic Residential Treatment Center and Specialty Boarding Schools it’s critical that families find what best suits their teen’s needs and family goals.

(Moderate-Risk Teens)

LOCAL PROGRAM FINDER - We partner with your referred family and assist them in finding local resources based on the assessment of their teen(s) as well as the particular family dynamics. This may be in-patient / out-patient, local support groups meetings, a course for the teen, as well as the family, etc.

(Low-Risk Teens)

IN-HOME COACHING PROGRAM - This in-home program is designated for families that may just be coming into challenging teen behavior, give parents stronger tools to work with, create dialogue in the family, for the purpose of getting things reeled in and managed. This program is a process that lasts anywhere from 8 to 12 weeks and has been proven to help get the family as a whole back on track.

If you have a family that you just don’t know what else to offer them, or a particular teen that is pulling at your heartstrings, please do them a favor and refer them our way.

Help them to get ahead of the curve and a chance to start their New Year off in the right direction.