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Struggling Teen Help

The Stop Medicine Abuse Icon: An Easy Way to Identify Medicines that Contain DXM

Posted by Sue Scheff on June 15, 2016  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Struggling Teen Help, Teen Help

Teens and Cough Syrup Abuse

DXM. Ever heard of it? If not, you aren’t alone. However, while DXM may not be a part of your everyday vocabulary, it could very well be a part of your teen’s lexicon.

DXM, or dextromethorphan, is the active ingredient in most over-the-counter (OTC) cough medicines, and is the most widely used cough suppressant ingredient in the United States. While millions of Americans rely on OTC cough medicines – and consequently DXM – to safely and effectively relieve their cough, these medicines can also be abused by adolescents. At times, teens take more than 25 times the recommended dose of OTC medicines containing DXM and, when taken is such high doses, DXM can produce dangerous side effects.

You may be thinking, how widespread is this issue? Studies have shown that one out of three teens knows someone who has abused OTC cough medicine to get “high” and approximately one out of 30 teens reports abusing it themselves.

So, how can you help prevent abuse? The first step is making yourself aware. DXM is found in more than 100 OTC medicines today. These medicines come in the form of liquids, capsules, gelcaps, lozenges, and tablets. You can find a list of products that contain DXM here, but the easiest and best ways to identify medicines that contain DXM are to:

  1. Look for the Stop Medicine Abuse icon on boxes and bottles of your medicines, and
  2. Read the Drug Facts label to see if dextromethorphan is included in the list of Active Ingredients

Help Your Teens DXMIcon The Stop Medicine Abuse Icon: An Easy Way to Identify Medicines that Contain DXM Once you know how to identify products that contain DXM, you can take additional steps to prevent medicine abuse. Want to learn more? Visit StopMedicineAbuse.org for additional resources and information.

 

About Jessica Belitz:
Jessica is a community outreach coordinator for the Blount Memorial Foundation. As the manager of the Foundation’s Drug Free Communities (DFC) grant, Jessica’s passion for substance abuse prevention has grown. Now that she is the mother of her young daughter, Rory Bay, she is even more passionate about the issue, which is one of the reasons why she joined The Five Moms to support the Stop Medicine Abuse campaign. Join the conversation by following Stop Medicine Abuse on Facebook and Twitter.

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Internet Addiction and Teenagers: Shutting Down Their Devices

Posted by Sue Scheff on October 11, 2015  /   Posted in Digital Parenting, Internet Safety, Parenting Teens, Struggling Teen Help

Monitoring verses Mentoring Your Teen’s Online Behavior

Help Your Teens SueScheffBlog.com-The-Internet-Isnt-All-Bad-Teens-Without-it-Seen-as-Educationally-Disadvantaged-Pic-1-300x200 Internet Addiction and Teenagers: Shutting Down Their Devices Today it’s more than drug addiction parents are concerned about, we have the digital addiction. It has been rampant to the point that there are teen help programs designed to detox teens from their devices.

When should you remove your teenager from the Internet?

The Internet is an amazing source of information, news and culture. But the Internet also has a dark side that isn’t always appropriate for all ages.

Perhaps that is why parents have stepped in to monitor how their children are exposed to the Internet. It’s a tough job, but it’s a responsibility that a parent needs to keep up with – both online and offline.

10 Reasons Why Parents Consider Shutting Down Their Teen’s Digital Connection:

  1. Pornography: The Internet has plenty of valuable and useful information. It also has a great deal of highly offensive pornographic material that is not suitable for children. Parents can exercise their discretion in monitoring their children’s intake of pornography and have a responsibility to do so. Without their careful monitoring, a child can be exposed to things that they have no business seeing.
  2. Hateful Content: The freedom of expression the Internet allows can expose some truly hateful opinions. Teens should not be exposed to this sort of hateful content, and it’s important that parents step in to prevent teens, especially children,  from hearing overtly hateful messages.
  3. Religious Reasons: The Internet is the ultimate open forum where people can express a dizzying array of views on any subject. For those parents who have deeply held religious beliefs, exposing their children to discriminatory messages may not be tolerated. This might be a good reason to step in and take the Internet away from a kid who is snooping around in all the wrong places.
  4. They Should be Exercising: Whatever happened to playing outside? Many children spend too much time on the Internet and not enough time exercising. To help combat the epidemic of obesity, parents should step in and be sure that their kids are getting enough exercise. One great way to do this is to take away their kids’ favorite distraction: the Internet.
  5. Punishment: Now that kids rely on the Internet for everything, taking away a child’s access to the Internet can be an effective punishment. Threatening to take away Internet or Internet access may keep even the most unruly kids on their best behavior.
  6. Age: There is no official age limit on who can access the Internet, but parents have a good idea of who is too young to surf the web and should enforce those common sense ideas. If a kid is barely in Kindergarten, they may not need an iPhone or Internet access. Parents should use their discretion when it comes to children and the Internet.
  7. Excess Usage: If a kid is using the Internet way too much, a parent should step in and take it away. Why? Because many negative behaviors can be correlated with over dependence on the Internet at a young age, such as anti-social behavior, obesity and poor academic performance. Parents should closely monitor how long their kids spend on the net and take the appropriate steps to ensure that they aren’t surfing too much.
  8. Money Reasons: High speed Internet access can be expensive. In these tough economic times, sacrifices must be made. For some families, the expensive Internet access their kids enjoy may be on the chopping block. When facing a dismal financial reality, the Internet is a luxury that not every kid or family will be able to afford.
  9. Security: The Internet can be a dangerous place. From identity theft to sexual predators, kids are at risk when they surf the web. A responsible parent will know when to step in and ensure that their children are surfing safely. If they can’t surf safely, kids shouldn’t surf at all.
  10. Life Lessons: Going without something you enjoy is an important life lesson. You may not always get your way, and life isn’t always instantaneously gratifying. By taking away the ultimate source of instant gratification, for whatever reason, kids can learn a valuable life lesson that you can’t always get what you want.

Help Your Teens CyberbullyingTeens-300x247 Internet Addiction and Teenagers: Shutting Down Their Devices This is about finding balance in your teen’s life. Keep in mind you want to build trust in your child’s online and offline relationship.

If they are being harassed (cyberbullied) online, you want them to feel comfortable coming to you without the fear of having their life-line, (the Internet), removed from them.

Shutting down devices is about health and wellness for your family, as well as if they are misusing it.  However if they are a victim, be sure you are compassionate and non-judgmental. They need you. Your offline parenting about online life should be in place to help them with these times.

If you find the Internet addiction has taken control of their life, you have exhausted your local resources, please contact us for information on teen help residential programs that may help you.

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Bullying and Cyberbullying: The Effect It Has On Teens

Posted by Sue Scheff on October 02, 2015  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Struggling Teen Help, Teen Help

Bullying and Cyberbullying

Help Your Teens cyber-bullying55-300x207 Bullying and Cyberbullying: The Effect It Has On Teens Bullying and cyberbullying is a major concern today. When we read headlines of youth taking their lives and read more about their life — what they experienced, what they felt, was the end of the world. Especially cyberbullying that can spread so fast and furious – their entire school campus and community feels like it was closing in on them.

They soon feel like there is no way out. The shame, the humiliation, and peer cruelty can be overwhelming.

Experts have discovered the majority of kids and teens don’t tell their parents when they are being harassed or teased for fear of further embarrassment or the parent may remove their life-long, the Internet.  Keep in mind, the technology is not the issue — it’s the people using it.

Bullying can affect everyone—those who are bullied, those who bully, and those who witness bullying. Bullying is linked to many negative outcomes including impacts on mental health, substance use, and suicide. It is important to talk to kids to determine whether bullying—or something else—is a concern.

Kids Who are Bullied

Kids who are bullied can experience negative physical, school, and mental health issues.

Kids who are bullied are more likely to experience:

  • Depression and anxiety, increased feelings of sadness and loneliness, changes in sleep and eating patterns, and loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy. These issues may persist into adulthood.
  • Health complaints
  • Decreased academic achievement—GPA and standardized test scores—and school participation. They are more likely to miss, skip, or drop out of school.

Kids Who Bully Others

Kids who bully others can also engage in violent and other risky behaviors into adulthood.

Kids who bully are more likely to:

  • Abuse alcohol and other drugs in adolescence and as adults
  • Get into fights, vandalize property, and drop out of school
  • Engage in early sexual activity
  • Have criminal convictions and traffic citations as adults
  • Be abusive toward their romantic partners, spouses, or children as adults

Help Your Teens CyberBullying_5-300x284 Bullying and Cyberbullying: The Effect It Has On Teens Be Aware of What Your Kids are Doing Online

Talk with your kids about cyberbullying and other online issues regularly.

  • Know the sites your kids visit and their online activities. Ask where they’re going, what they’re doing, and who they’re doing it with.
  • Tell your kids that as a responsible parent you may review their online communications if you think there is reason for concern. Installing parental control filtering software or monitoring programs are one option for monitoring your child’s online behavior, but do not rely solely on these tools.
  • Have a sense of what they do online and in texts. Learn about the sites they like. Try out the devices they use.
  • Ask for their passwords, but tell them you’ll only use them in case of emergency.
  • Ask to “friend” or “follow” your kids on social media sites or ask another trusted adult to do so.
  • Encourage your kids to tell you immediately if they, or someone they know, is being cyberbullied. Explain that you will not take away their computers or cell phones if they confide in you about a problem they are having.
Sources: StopBullying.gov

If your teen is struggling with issues from being bullied or cyberbullied and has become withdrawn, be sure to reach out and get them help. If you have exhausted all your local resources and they are continuing to shut-down, it may be time to consider residential therapy. Contact us for more information.

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The Highs and Lows of Bipolar Disorder

Posted by Sue Scheff on September 28, 2015  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Residential Therapy, Struggling Teen Help

Bipolar Disorder

Does your teen go through intense mood changes? Does your teen get too excited or silly sometimes? Do you notice he or she is very sad at other times? Do these changes affect how your child acts at school or at home?

Some children and teens with these symptoms may have bipolar disorder, a serious mental illness.

Learn more.

Help Your Teens Bipolar The Highs and Lows of Bipolar Disorder
Source: TopCounselingSchools.org

If you have exhausted your local resources, please contact us for information on residential therapy that can your teen.

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Teen Suicide Prevention and Awareness

Posted by Sue Scheff on September 05, 2015  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Struggling Teen Help

Teen Suicide Awareness

Help Your Teens TeenSuicideKidsInHouse-300x202 Teen Suicide Prevention and Awareness A parent’s worst nightmare is surviving a child’s suicide.

It’s not natural to outlive your child, especially to suicide.

September is National Suicide Prevention Month however this topic is one that needs attention 365 days a year.

Kids In The House offers a library of videos by experts to help educate parents on teen suicide prevention.  Today’s generation of online peer pressure in combination with offline only complicates our teen’s stress and anxiety. The world of cyberspace has created a new level of concern for many parents – and they must continue to be in touch with their teen’s emotional lives both offline and online.  It’s why your offline chats are so important – frequently.

American Foundation for Suicide offers the following warning signs for parents of teens and youth:

  1. Take it seriously, even if your friend brushes it off
    1. Suicidal ideation (continual suicidal thoughts) is not typical and reflects a larger problem
  2. An angry friend is better than a dead friend
  3. Ask, listen, tell, if the threat is immediate stay with the person
  4. Bring friend to a trusted adult. If they don’t know what to do or don’t take it seriously find another adult
  5. Be a good listener but remember suicidal ideation reflects a bigger underlying problem such as depression, substance problems, abuse, problem-solving difficulties. You can listen but they need to speak to a professional.
  6. 30% of attempters tell someone before, many don’t tell anyone after.
    1. When some talks to you, that is the moment for intervention
    2. With each suicide attempt, risk of suicide increases
  7. Warning Signs
    1. Change in mood- sadness, anxiety, irritability
    2. change in behavior- isolation
    3. Change in sleep
    4. Change in appetite
    5. Increase in aggression or impulsiveness
    6. Agitation
    7. Feeling hopeless, worthless
    8. Saying things like “No one will miss me” or “You’ll be better off” (feeling like a burden)
    9. Feeling ashamed or humiliated or desperation, as after a break up or test
    10. Collecting means
    11. Talking about wanting to kill themselves
    12. Drop in grades
    13. Risk taking
    14. Giving away prized possessions

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


For more information on teens visit KidsInTheHouse.com

If you believe your teen is struggling or suffering with any of the above and have exhausted all your local resources, you may want to consider residential therapy. Contact us for more information.

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Teens and Peer Pressure to Have Sex

Posted by Sue Scheff on August 16, 2015  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Struggling Teen Help

Teens and Sex

Help Your Teens PlannedParenthoos-300x179 Teens and Peer Pressure to Have Sex It seems we are talking a lot about Internet safety today, which we need to.  As studies have proven, 92% of teenagers are online daily and 24% said they are constantly connected.

Before the cyber-life of teens, the big discussion would be the sex-chat.

We can’t allow this to be neglected.  As schools are opening up across the country, here are some reminders to set healthy boundaries with your teens.

  • We can follow a few simple guidelines that will make teens less likely to engage in risky behavior such as drinking, smoking, having unprotected sex, or having sex before they’re ready.
  • Knowing where teens are, not allowing them to spend too much unsupervised time with other teens, and knowing who they’re spending time with can limit teens’ likelihood of engaging in risky behavior.
  • We need to establish clear expectations with our teens and check in regularly to be sure those expectations are met.

Help Your Teens MomSon-300x212 Teens and Peer Pressure to Have Sex Setting boundaries:

Many teens resist when we want to know what they’re doing because they are at a stage in life when independence becomes very important to them. But most teens will listen to their parents and try to stick to the rules if they have a strong relationship. We should let our teens know that we want what is best for them. It may help to read more about having good parent-teen relationships.

Balance is key. We don’t want to smother our teens by insisting on knowing everything they do. But if they are going out for a couple of hours, we should know where they are going, who they’re with, what they’ll be doing together, and when they’ll be home.

The ways in which we monitor and supervise our kids usually depends on our parenting style. Some of us are very strict. Some of us allow our teens to have too much independence. Our parenting style depends on our life circumstances, family culture, and values.

Take a moment to think about your own parenting style:

  • Do you tend to set strict rules and enforce punishments?
  • Do you give your child a lot of freedom?
  • Do you feel overprotective of your child?
  • Do you think that you’re more relaxed in your style?

No matter what our parenting style, it’s helpful to avoid the extremes. If we rely on authority and fear, or if we’re too overprotective, our teens are more likely to rebel. On the other hand, if we give our teens too much freedom, they may feel like their parents don’t care what they do.

It’s also helpful to involve our teens in setting rules for themselves. They will be more likely to respect the rules, feel respected, and respect us if they understand the reasons behind the rules and get to negotiate with us about them. We can revisit the rules from time to time with them as teens age and show increasing independence.

Source:  Planned Parenthood


There are a library of video’s to learn more about conversations starters to have with your teen. Studies have shown parents are the number one influence on their child. Be there for them. Keep your lines of communication open, we know it’s not easy, but it will be worth it.

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Teen Suicide: 10 Myths Parents Should Know

Posted by Sue Scheff on July 25, 2015  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Struggling Teen Help, Teen Help

Teen Suicide

Help Your Teens TeenSuicide Teen Suicide: 10 Myths Parents Should Know Suicide is probably one of the most difficult topics to talk about.  When anyone takes their own life, whether it is a child, teenager or an adult, there are so many questions and so many what ifs.

It’s not easy being a parent today, but it’s also not easy being a teen with peer pressure not only in school but compounded with technology.  A person can be silently suffering from keystrokes that have gone viral not only through their school, but through their entire community and world wide web.  It can be literally devastating to youth (as it can be to almost anyone at any age).

Death by humiliation as we heard in a recent TED Talk.  It can be very real.

Suicide remains a serious epidemic that transcends socioeconomic, age, racial, religious, mental health, and gender/sexual identity boundaries. While studies do show that some groups stand at a higher risk of suicide than others – usually those already prone to social marginalization – the sad reality is that this mindset holds the potential to strike anyone, anywhere, at any point in life. Due to the mixed messages flailing about regarding the condition, it becomes progressively more difficult to objectively discuss the delineation between fact and fiction. So many misconceptions abound that the suicidal truly needing an intervention in order to survive may very well not receive the help they need to recover.

As with all issues regarding mental health, suicide especially has become the target of wrongful stigmatization. Because so many view it as a taboo or scary subject, the tragic desperation of suicide becomes pushed aside, wrongfully dismissed as histrionics or other self-serving actions. For those not working in the psychological field, explicit education in the complexities and psychological phenomena that lead individuals down the dangerous path towards suicide makes for the absolute best solution to preventing further tragedy. To learn about how it operates is to understand; to understand is to learn how to properly stop someone from succumbing to a cycle of absolute pain. Treatment is never an easy process, but it stands as the only reliable safeguard against suicide available. Individuals making the effort to personally empathize with this sad plight comprise the front lines of prevention – their compassionate efforts are what save lives and guide others to emulate their actions.

10 Common Myths About Suicide:

Help Your Teens Cutting Teen Suicide: 10 Myths Parents Should Know 1. Suicide is just a ploy for attention. Ignoring the threats means they go away.
One of the most cruel myths regarding suicide involves perceptions that victims are using their emotions as leverage – a tool for manipulation. By acknowledging their comments, family and friends only stoke their desire for attention and validation. Not only is this misconception highly inaccurate, it also results in a higher risk of suicide attempts and fatalities. All suicide threats must go addressed, and all potential victims must not be treated as if self-serving and attention-starved. Ignoring comments and threats that so much as hint towards suicide makes for one of the most dangerous reactions on the part of family and friends. It sends a message of apathy, of not taking the victim’s pain seriously enough to discuss objectively.This only serves to further their sense of desperation; in some ways it actively encourages them to go through with plans to die.

2. All suicidal people suffer from some kind of character weakness or psychosis.

At the core of every suicide, completed or thwarted, there lay a sense of overwhelming. While studies do in fact show a correlation between depression, addiction, and other common mental illnesses and suicide, not every victim suffers from one or a combination of these conditions.

Psychotic patients only comprise a fraction of suicides, but not the majority. Truthfully, all persons of any age, mental state, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic bracket hold within them the capacity to kill themselves. It remains only a matter of how far they become pushed to their limits, how desperate the sense of mental, emotional, and/or physical pain eventually swells. Suicide is not a weakness. Victims frequently see it as their only escape route from overwhelming torment – a way to finally end their all-encompassing agony once and for all.

Society labels suicides as inherently psychotic or weak as a means of demonizing their behavior. In some warped way, these myths are perceived as a deterrent for those contemplating killing themselves – after all, who wants to go down perceived not as a hero, but as weak or crazy?

Wrongfully classifying genuine suffering as a sign of frailty or psychosis acts as a projection of society onto the victim. The only true weakness here lay in peoples’ inability or unwillingness to address the true gravity of suicide and constant spread of outright lies about the condition. Strength only factors in when an individual is willing to admit that they, too, have a threshold whereby they may become so desperate as to consider suicide a viable option. By acknowledging this one tragic but universal kernel of humanity, they may go on to help preserve the lives of others who may find themselves struggling with the urge to escape pain through death.

Help Your Teens TeenSuicide2-300x209 Teen Suicide: 10 Myths Parents Should Know 3. Those who survive suicide attempts won’t try it again.

Suicide is not a plea for attention. It expresses an extreme desire to slough off overwhelming stress and anxiety, and the National Institute of Mental Health estimates that for every death by suicide, another 12-25 survive their attempts. Many believe that living through a potentially fatal self-injury automatically inspires victims to seize life and never try to hurt themselves again. Reality says otherwise.

Survivors run a very high risk of repeating their actions later on in life, and professionals agree that one of the highest indicators of a potential fatality is a record of prior attempts. Those who live through suicidal acts must seek psychological assistance immediately upon recovery.

Cognitive therapy has been shown to reduce further suicide attempts by 50% within a year following the initial incident. Instead of perceiving survival as a wake-up call for the fleeting preciousness of life, family and friends of the victim need to think of it as an indicator of future risk and respond accordingly The only responsible reaction encourages therapy as the most viable solution to prevent further incidents.

4. Talking to someone who is suicidal about suicide just makes the urge even worse.

When a friend or family member begins opening up and admitting suicidal thoughts, ignoring their comments or changing the subject actually pushes them further towards going through with these actions. Talking about suicide with a loved one openly and objectively serves as a safeguard until the victim receives professional help. If confronted with a potentially suicidal situation, the best reaction is to call an emergency number (such as 911 in the United States or 999 in some countries in Europe and Asia or a suicide hotline so the individual connects with people trained to handle their situation.

Never leave the victim unattended, and be sure to clear the room of any firearms or other potentially deadly devices. By acknowledging their status as suicidal, friends and family may actually stave off fatal behavior. Victims want help, they want someone to intervene and assist them in combating the swarming demons of overwhelming desperation they face daily. Talking to them may not always reduce the urge, but it never actively encourages them to follow through with suicide, either.

A proper reaction that proactively guides victims into valuable therapy shows the compassion, love, and care that they need to try and make themselves healthier. Only ignoring or making little effort to understand the issue stimulates the urge to commit suicide.

Help Your Teens teen-suicide-300x200 Teen Suicide: 10 Myths Parents Should Know

5. Suicide occurs without warning; there are no ways to prevent it.

Individuals with the following traits run a higher risk of committing suicide: depression or anxiety disorders, substance abuse, prior attempts, victim of sexual or physical abuse, family or friend of a suicide victim, incarceration, gun ownership, and social marginalization.

Obviously, potential suicides do not always carry one or more of these traits, nor do they inherently indicate suicidal behavior. However, educating oneself on what sort of factors to look out for and who suffers the biggest risk makes for the best method of prevention possible. Putting forth the effort to understand and look out for the warning signs may mean the difference between life and death.

If a friend of family member begins displaying some early signs of suicidal thoughts or behavior, their loved ones are partially responsible for intervening and preventing attempts. Social withdrawal, a preoccupation with death, the intensification of depressive behavior, apathy, engaging in risky behaviors, attempting to tie up loose ends, and – in extreme cases – writing up a will, saying goodbye to people, and outright discussing wanting to die all stand out as signifiers of a potential suicide.

Also look out for a major shift from extreme depression to an overall sense of calm. This indicates that the victim may have found peace and comfort in a decision to kill him- or herself and needs to be dealt with before following through with it. While variables always inevitably creep in, the aforementioned red flags generally point towards disconcerting behavior that must be addressed before it becomes too late.

6. Suicidal people just want to die, and it’s impossible to talk them down.

The decision to commit suicide is not static. If an individual begins opening up about desiring death, it is possible for them to step down from their choice. While the understanding and support from family and friends remains the first line of defense, therapy remains the only viable long-term solution to prevent suicide. Even if a victim gives up on his or her decision to die due to the assistance of a loved one with all the right ideas and preparations, regular sessions with a counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist reduces the risk of suicide by half after one year – something that love and compassion from friends and family alone cannot achieve.

If an individual suffers from an immediate risk of suicide, then dialing an emergency number will provide access to professionals far better equipped to handle the direness of the situation. Never, under any circumstances, leave them unattended for any period of time until help arrives.

7. An improvement in emotional state means the risk of suicide is lowered.

Frequently, the opposite of this statement is the truism. One of the biggest warning signs that an individual may follow through with plans to commit suicide is a rapid shift between despair and overarching calm, even happiness. Even if the victim currently attends therapy sessions, rarely do moods alter so dramatically from negative to positive. Signs of peace after a severe and prolonged bout of hopelessness or depression may signal the decision to commit suicide as a permanent solution to overwhelming problems. Be sure to keep a sharp eye out for the other indicators mentioned earlier if the victim’s mood rapidly improves without provocation.

Help Your Teens SadTeen1-300x200 Teen Suicide: 10 Myths Parents Should Know 8. Unsuccessful suicide attempts means the victim never cared to die in the first place.

Individuals survive suicide attempts for any number of reasons. Happenstance or the timely intervention of a loved one usually accounts for a victim not fully succumbing to death. Depending on the method, victims may even end up critically injured or in a coma.

A number of different factors make up the difference between a fatality and a survival, but just because an individual lives through a suicide attempt does not mean they were never serious about dying in the first place. Actually, the fact that they even tried to commit suicide in the first place ought to explicitly tip off friends and family that the victim honestly wants to end his or her life. In fact, suicide survivors run a higher risk of future attempts, so it is integral that they seek professional help immediately in order to prevent further incidents.

9. Telling the suicidal to cheer up will help.

Much like clinical depression – a mental illness which comprises almost 90% of suicide cases each year – victims do not turn around simply by being told to cheer up and remain positive. A considerable amount of overwhelming mental, emotional, and/or physical pain factors into suicidal thoughts and actions, and while support and compassion can certainly help bring a victim back down from the brink it is unfortunately not enough to solve all of the underlining issues.

Only professional therapy through a counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist can really dissect a patients’ problems and help nurture the mindsets and skills necessary for practicing healthy coping mechanisms in the long run. It is not a matter of merely cheering up. It is a matter of confronting the torment that leads them to perceive death as the only viable option to escape the slings and arrows of outrageous misfortune.

10. Suicidal thoughts need to be kept secret so as not to embarrass or upset anyone.

Because suicide comes yoked with so many misunderstandings labeling the victims as weak, psychotic, or desperate for attention, it has sadly become a shameful, demonized subject too taboo to discuss objectively. Those feeling the tug of wanting to die are led to believe that they must simply choke back and fight the urge. They fear broaching such a hefty, weighty subject with loved ones because of how society unfairly paints their plight, believing that honesty may result in ostracizing of further marginalization. Truthfully, any time suicidal thoughts crop up they must be expressed to someone trustworthy – a family member, a friend, a hotline number, or a therapist.

No matter what, there is always somebody out there willing to offer an ear and advice on finding a professional who will help quell the suffering in the long term. While friends and family will never react positively to news of suicidal thoughts, they would much rather address the issue as it arises instead of bury a loved one. Never be ashamed to the point of suppressing suicidal feelings. Openness and honesty between the victim and trusted peers means the difference between life and death.

Only by making an effort to truly understand the realities behind suicide can humanity honestly hope to prevent it. The previous ten myths only sadly skim the surface of an overarching social issue. Far too many frown more upon the persons feeling suicidal rather than the act itself, further pushing them towards a desperate act. Fortunately, concerned friends, family, and mental health professionals with the right intentions and ideas towards approaching the subject have a number of extremely valuable resources at their disposal.

Help Your Teens NSPL_Logo-273x300 Teen Suicide: 10 Myths Parents Should Know Need immediate help?  Contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. No matter what problems you are dealing with, we want to help you find a reason to keep living. By calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255) you’ll be connected to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area, anytime 24/7.

If your teen is struggling with depression or thoughts of ending their life, please seek immediate help.  After exhausting local help, and you don’t see any results, you may want to consider residential therapy.  Contact us for more information.

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Huffing, Sniffing, Dusting and Bagging: Teen Inhalants

Posted by Sue Scheff on July 18, 2015  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Struggling Teen Help, Teen Help

Teen Inhalants: Huffing Sniffing, Dusting and Bagging

Help Your Teens Inhalants1 Huffing, Sniffing, Dusting and Bagging: Teen Inhalants What parents need to be educated today with is never ending.  If your not familiar with inhalant abuse, it’s time to learn more.

Commonly known as huffing, sniffing, dusting and bagging – inhalants are dangerous and deadly.  The scarier part is most are common household products.

Inhalation is referred to as huffing, sniffing, dusting or bagging and generally occurs through the nose or mouth. Huffing is when a chemically soaked rag is held to the face or stuffed in the mouth and the substance is inhaled. Sniffing can be done directly from containers, plastic bags, clothing or rags saturated with a substance or from the product directly. With Bagging, substances are sprayed or deposited into a plastic or paper bag and the vapors are inhaled. This method can result in suffocation because a bag is placed over the individual’s head, cutting off the supply of oxygen.

Other methods used include placing inhalants on sleeves, collars, or other items of clothing that are sniffed over a period of time. Fumes are discharged into soda cans and inhaled from the can or balloons are filled with nitrous oxide and the vapors are inhaled. Heating volatile substances and inhaling the vapors emitted is another form of inhalation. All of these methods are potentially harmful or deadly. Experts estimate that there are several hundred deaths each year from Inhalant Abuse, although under-reporting is still a problem.

Help Your Teens inhalantTeen Huffing, Sniffing, Dusting and Bagging: Teen Inhalants

Warning signs if your teen or child is using inhalants:

– Drunk, dazed, or dizzy appearance
– Slurred or disoriented speech
– Uncoordinated physical symptoms
– Red or runny eyes and nose
– Spots and/or sores around the mouth
– Unusual breath odor or chemical odor on clothing
– Signs of paint or other products where they wouldn’t normally be, such as on face, lips, nose or fingers
– Nausea and/or loss of appetite
– Chronic Inhalant Abusers may exhibit symptoms such as hallucinations, anxiety, excitability, irritability, restlessness or anger.

It’s important to have open and ongoing conversations about dangers of inhalants.

Help Your Teens TeenParentChat-300x213 Huffing, Sniffing, Dusting and Bagging: Teen Inhalants Tips to start your chats:

• Ask your pre-teen or teenager if he or she knows about Inhalant Abuse or is aware of other kids abusing products.

• Reinforce peer resistance skills. Tell him or her that sniffing products to get high is not the way to fit in. Inhalants are harmful: the “high” comes with high cost.

• Encourage your child to come to you if he or she has any questions about Inhalants.

• Tell your child that the consequences of Inhalant Abuse are as dangerous as those from abusing alcohol or using illegal drugs. Be absolutely clear — emphasize that unsafe actions and risky behavior have serious consequences.

• Monitor your teen’s activities — set boundaries, ask questions. Be firm, know his or her friends and his or her friends’ parents, know where they meet to “hang out.”

•  Educate your child about the dangers, but don’t mention specific substances unless your child brings them up. While many youngsters know kids are sniffing some substances, they may not know the full range of products that can be abused; and you don’t want to give them suggestions.

• Tell your children that you love them and that their safety is your number one priority. Tell them again…and again…and again.

Source:  Inhalant.org

If you suspect your teen is using inhalant, please seek help immediately.  If they refuse to get help or you have exhausted local resources, you may want to consider residential therapy.  Contact us for more information.

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Family Meal Time Can Reduce Risky Teen Behavior

Posted by Sue Scheff on July 13, 2015  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Struggling Teen Help, Teen Help

Teens, Risky Behavior and Meal Time

Studies have proven that family meal time can reduce your teen from making bad choices.  This is also the opportunity to discuss things like their digital lives as well as offline life.  Let’s keep in mind, the consequences of cyberbullying (whether they are a victim of it – or they are someone that sent or received a sext) can be devastating.  Your teen’s need to be constantly educated on the facts of digital citizenship today.

In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it’s often easier and more convenient for today’s families to grab an instant meal or a bag from a drive-through on the way to their respective activities than to sit down together for a family meal.

Help Your Teens family-having-dinner-at-home-teens-300x200 Family Meal Time Can Reduce Risky Teen Behavior Still, there are so many reasons why families should be carving out time to spend together over a shared meal that the topic has been the subject of investigative news reports and scientific studies alike. Among those reasons are these ten, which may help to change your perspective on the family table.

  • Reducing Obesity Rates – When everyone is sitting around the same table and the adults of the family are supervising food preparation, it’s easier to eliminate unhealthy foods filled with empty calories from kids’ diets. As a result, kids whose families share meals on a regular basis tend to have lower rates of childhood obesity.
  • Encouraging Healthy Eating Habits – It’s easier to encourage healthy eating when kids aren’t faced with the temptation of a deep-fried chicken nugget while they’re being urged to eat a salad. Eating meals together means that everyone eats the same thing, which can also help turn picky kids into more adventurous eaters.
  • Allowing Parents to Be Parents – Between the hours spent at school, attending various club meetings and practice for sports or arts, it’s easy to feel like other people are actively parenting your children, while you’re in charge of looking after them when they’re sleeping. Spending time around the family dinner table puts you back in the “Parent” seat, allowing you to once again resume an active role in your children’s lives.
  • Reduced Likelihood of Substance Experimentation by Kids – Kids that live in a household where family dinners are shared on a regular basis are less likely to smoke cigarettes, experiment with drugs or drink alcohol than their peers who don’t.
  • Better Academic Performance – When you’re able to actively talk with your children about their day at school, discuss areas in which they’re struggling and provide a support system, kids are more likely to enjoy increased academic performance than if you were less involved.
  • Getting the Whole Family Involved – Working together as a family to put dinner on the table not only makes the process a quicker and less labor-intensive one, but also gives kids a sense of ownership over part of the meal and an area of responsibility to build character. Kids need to be responsible for something in order to avoid feelings of entitlement and a general lack of know-how; cooking a meal that you’ll later eat together is a great way to give them that sense of responsibility.
  • Fostering Stronger Relationships – It’s difficult to build strong relationships when each member of the family is always attending other events and no one spends any time together. Getting to know your kids again, and allowing them to get to know one another, may be as simple as instituting a policy of sharing family dinners on a regular basis.
  • More Time-Efficient – One of the most commonly cited reasons for parents not to cook is an assertion that they do not have the time. What most don’t stop to consider is that the amount of time spent driving to pick something up, trying to arrange a take-out order or waiting for a table in a crowded, loud restaurant is actually more than enough to prepare and share a high-quality meal at home.
  • Saving Money on Meals – When every meal you eat comes from a take-out menu or a drive-through window, you may not realize how much money your family is throwing away in comparison to simply cooking and sharing meals at home. All other benefits aside, simple economic efficiency is a compelling reason to establish a family dinner ritual.
  • Teaching Kids About Sustainable Eating – As the focus on green living and eco-friendly habits grows stronger, it’s important that parents teach their children how to live and eat sustainably. What better time to share this information than over the dinner table? Family dinner is an ideal opportunity for the discussion of sustainable agriculture, even if it’s just to explain where vegetables come from to smaller children.

What will you discuss?

Besides the obvious of asking your teen how their day was, it is important to find out how their cyber-life is going.

Common Sense Media and Family Dinner Project put together a great list of conversation starters.

Help Your Teens Common-Sense-FDP-and-Waring-877x1024 Family Meal Time Can Reduce Risky Teen Behavior

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Teens, Body Image and Eating Disorders

Posted by Sue Scheff on June 24, 2015  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Struggling Teen Help

Teens Body Image and Eating Disorders

Help Your Teens young-people-eating-disorders-300x225 Teens, Body Image and Eating Disorders Body image is a serious subject to both pre-teens and teens.

It’s bathing suit season combined with the pressure to fit-in with the cool-kids, today’s teens may take drastic measures to drop pounds.

Of course the Internet has resources that is always a click away to give them ideas (and not in a good way) to lose weight quickly.

As much as the web is an educational tool, it can also be used for purposes that are not healthy for people.

Many dangerous places exist in cyberspace, especially for those with body image difficulties. A quick, easy Google search can produce a long list of pro-anorexia and pro-bulimia websites – places where those who suffer from eating disorders (ED) support each other and establish a sense of community.

There are at least 100 active pro-anorexia and pro-bulimia sites. Some statistics state that several of these sites have accumulated tens of thousands of hits. Many sites treat eating disorders as lifestyle choices, rather than the illnesses they truly are. Most personify anorexia (“Ana”) and bulimia (“Mia”) into companions – individuals one can look to for guidance and strength.

The medical community classifies eating disorders as mental illnesses. Experts say girls with eating disorders focus on their bodies in a misguided bid to resolve deeper psychological issues, believing that they can fix their inner troubles by achieving a perfect outside.

Help Your Teens EatingDisorder Teens, Body Image and Eating Disorders Eating disorder specialists say pro-anorexia sites are particularly dangerous since those suffering from the disease are usually in deep denial and cling to the illness to avoid dealing with its psychological underpinnings. Websites that glorify eating disorders make treatment increasingly difficult.

  • Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.
  • There are an estimated 7 million females and 1 million males suffering from eating disorders in the United States.
  • The Harvard Eating Disorders Center estimates that 3 percent of adolescent women and girls have anorexia, bulimia or binge-eating disorders.
  • Four-of-five 13-year-old girls have attempted to lose weight.
  • One study showed that 42 percent of first- through third-grade girls want to be thinner.

About 1 percent of females between 10 and 20 have anorexia nervosa. Between 2 percent and 3 percent of young women develop bulimia nervosa. Almost half of all anorexics will develop bulimia or bulimic patterns.

Without treatment, up to 20 percent of people with serious eating disorders die. With treatment, the mortality rate falls to 2 to 3 percent. The recovery rate with treatment is about 60 percent. Alas, only 10 percent of those with eating disorders receive treatment.

Pro-ED sites are just one reason why parents need to monitor children’s online behavior. In the web journals or logs (blogs) of these sites, users share near-starvation diets, offer tips for coping with hunger and detail ways to avoid the suspicions of family members.

They discuss extreme calorie restriction and weight loss through laxatives, diet pills and purging (self-induced vomiting).

  • Between the ages of 8 and 14, females naturally gain at least 40 pounds.
  • More than half of teenage girls are – or think they should be – on diets.
  • Websites were changing the very culture surrounding eating disorders, making them more acceptable to girls on and off the Internet.
  • Pro-ED sites thrive off the denial aspect of the illnesses while promoting the perceived benefits of having an eating disorder.

Help Your Teens eating-disorder-300x240 Teens, Body Image and Eating Disorders

Eating disorders in children and teens cause serious changes in eating habits that can lead to major, even life threatening health problems. The three main types of eating disorders are:

  • Anorexia , a condition in which a child refuses to eat adequate calories out of an intense and irrational fear of becoming fat
  • Bulimia , a condition in which a child grossly overeats (binging) and then purges the food by vomiting or using laxatives to prevent weight gain
  • Binge eating, a condition in which a child may gorge rapidly on food, but without purging

Resources provided by:

  • Anorexia Nervosa and Related Eating Disorders, Inc.
  • Harvard Eating Disorders Center
  • The National Institute of Mental Health
  • Reuters
  • Socialist Voice of Women
  • WebMD
  • South Carolina Department of Mental Health

If you suspect your child is struggling with an eating disorder, get help immediately.  If they refuse to attend local resources or you are not seeing any progress, please contact us for residential therapy options.

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