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Are You Considering Residential Therapy?

Posted by Sue Scheff on December 27, 2018  /   Posted in Mental Health, Parenting Teens, Residential Therapy, Struggling Teen Help, Teen Help, Troubled Teens, Uncategorized

What is the best program for teen?

Are you at your wit’s end? Do you have a good teen making bad choice? Is it time for residential therapy?

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Unselfie by Michele Borba

Posted by darcy56 on March 05, 2018  /   Posted in Bullying, Cyberbullying, Featured Book, Parenting Books, Uncategorized

9 Proven and teachable habits to nurture children’s empathy and why developing empathy is key predictor to help kids succeed in our global, digital-driven world.

Why Kids Are Bystanders Rather Than Upstanders

Did you know that when a bystander decides to step in on behalf of a peer that is being harassed, 57 percent of the time the bullying is stopped within 10 seconds? Yet in most cases only 19 percent of bystanders will get involved in helping a friend or peer.

Why?

Educational psychologist and renown parenting and bullying prevention expert, Dr. Michele Borba, reveals in her twenty-fourth book, UnSelfie, Why Empathic Kids Succeed In Our All-About-Me World that teens today are 40 percent less empathic than those of thirty years ago and narcissism are increased by 58 percent. She points out that as “empathy wanes, bullying can rise, and tormentors begin to see victims as “objects,” not human beings.”

The good news is, as Dr. Borba shares, “Empathy is a trait that can be taught and nurtured. And so can moral courage. Empathy and courage are a powerful combo to solve the bullying crisis.”

Why are our youth not stepping in and helping each other and becoming Upstanders?

Dr. Borba interviewed over 500 children from around the globe for her book, UnSelfie. She found that bullying is a concern for all kids worldwide, and reasons they don’t intervene are similar regardless of region, culture, or demographics.

UnSelfie describes the top six reasons why kids don’t step in to help:

Powerless. “I don’t know how to make it stop.” Most kids don’t know how to step in. There is a lack of training and communication from the adult to the students. Kids witness 85 percent of bullying incidents, usually when adults aren’t present. So we must educate them on how to step in safely.

Vague expectations. “I wasn’t sure if should help.” Kids fear they will make things worse, be embarrassed, or get themselves (or others) in trouble. But if they have clear expectations, know adults will support them, and understand what bullying is, they are more likely to help.

Peer pressure. “I don’t want to be a snitch.” Friends play a big part in our children’s lives, and losing social status is a huge kid concern.

The diffusion of responsibility. “Somebody else will help.” Bystanders are less likely and slower to intervene if others are present because they assume that someone else will step in, so no else does.

Empathy overarousal. “I felt too bad to help.” There’s no doubt that bullying can cause severe emotional harm to the bullied, but witnesses also suffer severe psychological and physiological stress.


Weak adult support.
 “My mom didn’t believe me.” Many kids admitted they didn’t tell an adult about a bullying incident “because she didn’t believe me.” Some said the adult downplay the severity: “The Teacher said it wasn’t a big deal.” Others worried that it might make things worse and they’d be targeted next. Fear of retaliation is a huge concern.

While interviewing hundreds of kids about bullying, Borba heard similar types of comments worldwide:

Columbian kids: “Do other kids in the world hurt like us?
Military kids of US bases: “Ask teachers to watch us to make us feel safer.”
British teens: “There’s so bullying that we can’t think.”
U.S. kids: “No one listens, and we’re hurting. Thanks for listening.”

We may be from different parts of the globes, but our commonality is that we all hurt and fear the same. Borba contends that empathy is the best antidote to combat peer cruelty. If you can imagine a victim’s pain, causing that suffering is a near impossible feat. Empathy also fuels children’s moral courage to step in and speak out for each other.


UnSelfie shares the top five things to know about cultivating kids’ courage

1. Kids discover their inner hero from the right parenting style, experiences and training. What hinders it? A “too much rescuing” style.

2. Modeling, encouraging, experiencing and acknowledging a child’s courage helps instill it.

3. Courage can be strengthened like a muscle, but regular work-outs are crucial for it to become habitual.

4. A child’s temperament and physical strength don’t determine moral courage: almost every child can be taught how to stand up and speak up to help others if given the right support, encouragement and training.

5. Mobilizing children’s courage to be Upstanders may be our best hope to stop peer cruelty, but they must learn how to step in or get help.

Takeaway tips:

• Be sure your school has an Upstander Club and encourage your child to be part of it.

• Help kids learn specific habits like the ones in UnSelfie to help them stand up to injustice. Better yet, join up with like-minded adults so kids learn the same Upstander skills in groups.

• Reading books Upstanders (like Hooway for Wodney Wat, Nobody Knew What to Do, The Bully Blockers Club or Stand Up for Yourself) helps dispel the “Superman Myth” so kids know people can better the world with quiet courageous acts.

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Car Responsibilities: How to Talk to Your Teen About Driving

Posted by Sue Scheff on February 27, 2018  /   Posted in Uncategorized

Driving is a major responsibility for anyone — although learning the proper mechanics is something teens in particular need to understand before getting on the road. Case in point: Six teens die every day from car crash injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Knowing this information, if you’re working with your teen to get their learner’s permit or driver’s license, it’s time to sit down and have “the talk” — that is, about car responsibilities.

Be a Good Role Model

It’s no secret young people tend to emulate the actions, beliefs and attitudes of their parents, which is why you should always set a good example to teach and reinforce good habits. As such, when you get in your car, make it a habit (if it isn’t already) to put away your smartphone, fasten your seat belt and check your mirrors before starting the vehicle.

Additionally, you’ll always want to use your turn signal, follow the speed limit and keep your emotions in check. Never drink and drive or get behind the wheel if you aren’t feeling like yourself, and be open to discussing the decisions you make behind the wheel. Even if it doesn’t seem like it, your teen is watching you and will want to model your actions and behaviors.

Set Limits

When your teen gets their driver’s license, it’s important to set some important rules of the road beyond the relevant driving laws in your state. By clearly defining your expectations upfront, you’ll reduce conflicts, costly mistakes and other problems. Moreover, you’ll feel more confident and have better peace of mind about your teen’s driving abilities.

Fortunately, some states require teens to have progressive driving licenses that set limits on when they can drive and how many passengers are allowed in their vehicle at any one time. But even if your state doesn’t employ any restrictions for teen drivers, you should have open, honest discussions with your loved one about these important topics.

If you feel it necessary, draw up a safe driving contract with your teen to lay out any limits and responsibilities. For example, you may want to mention that they can only drive if they keep their grades up and stay out of trouble. Additionally, discuss any repercussions for distracted driving, including the use of their smartphone and ability to hang out with friends.

Continue the Discussion

Safe driving goes beyond explaining any important rules of the road. In fact, these conversations should be ongoing to ensure your teen maintains good driving habits and understands their responsibilities behind the wheel. While they should know the rules of the road, they also need to understand how to take care of their vehicle and when to take it in for maintenance.

For instance, if their tires are under inflated or don’t have enough tread, they could pop or slide on the road, creating a chain of events that could result in an accident. With that in mind, teach your teen how to check for symptoms of over-inflated tires and signs tires may need to be replaced, ensuring any new tires have an appropriate ply rating that measures strength and capacity.

As a parent, you also should discuss responsible driving behaviors and what to do in the case of an accident. While your teen may be reluctant to have these conversations, reinforce these conversations again and again. Because if they aren’t mature enough to talk about it, then they aren’t mature enough to get behind the wheel.

When All Else Fails, Reinforce the Rules Again and Again

Despite your best efforts and intentions, the information you share with your loved one may go in one ear and right out the other; after all, teens will be teens. Still, know that your teen is bound to make mistakes and/or circumvent your advice and rules while behind the wheel.

In these instances, it’s important to reinforce the rules you previously taught them or go back to the drawing board to implement new strategies. In the end, driving can be an inherently dangerous activity, which is why you need to do everything in your power to keep your teen — and everyone else on the road — safe.

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Are Prescriptions the Only Way to Help with ADHD

Posted by Sue Scheff on March 17, 2016  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Uncategorized

Although the causes of ADHD are unknown there are several characteristics that have shown to play a role in the development of the disorder. For instance, if a parent has ADHD, their child has more than a 50% chance of also having the disorder.  ADHD is also linked to children with a low birth weight, children who experience head injuries at an early age, and children of women who smoke or drank during pregnancy. Although these risk factors have played a part in the development of ADHD, the causes are still unknown.

With the improvements of modern medicine, doctors have found ways to use prescription drugs as an ADHD treatment. There are both stimulant and non-stimulant medications to treat ADHD symptoms. Stimulants increase dopamine and norepinephrine levels in the brain to improve concentration, while non-stimulants affect neurotransmitters.

Although these medications have shown improvement in many situations, many people are uncomfortable with the idea of giving young children these medications. Luckily, there are other treatment options to try for children with ADHD to improve their focus before resorting to medications.

Behavioral Therapy

Behavioral therapy is often another commonly used way to cope with the symptoms if ADHD. Behavioral therapy helps children and their parents structure the child’s time more efficiently by increasing positive attention, establishing predictability, and creating routines. In most cases, rewarding kids for staying focused will yield better results than punishing them for being off task. It has also been beneficial for parents and teachers to periodically let the child know how they have been doing; for instance, if the child tends to interrupt others by announcing their thoughts frequently let them know every so often how they are doing, as opposed to ridiculing them every time they interject.

ADHD Coaching

David Giwerc, president of the ADD Coach Academy, defines ADHD coaching as an “ongoing collaborative partnership created to facilitate personal growth and awareness that leads to conscious choice, focused action, and a meaningful, rewarding life.” In this relationship the coach and client work together to achieve the client’s goals. ADHD coaching is used to correct certain behaviors and improve lives by deepening learning and improving focus. It focuses on improving inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity to help those with ADHD reach their goals.  Creating new experiences and applying those new ways of doing things consistently in your life will eventually create new neurotransmitter patterns in the brain.

Exercise

Exercise should be a crucial part in everyone’s life, but it is especially beneficial to children with ADHD. As most of us know, when we exercise it releases endorphins into our system; endorphins help regulate mood, elevate dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine levels. Since people who have ADHD have lowered levels of those brain chemicals, the boost in chemicals helps focus and lengthens attention span. Team sports or activities where children have to pay close attention to their movements are some of the best ways to improve social skills and work on channeling their energy. Some of these sports include ballet, soccer, basketball, gymnastics, and tae kwon do.

MeditationRecent studies have shown that meditation can also help reduce the symptoms of ADHD.  It can help improve attention, anxiety, organizational skills, emotional control, memory and behavior regulation. Meditation teaches children and adults how to pay attention and not act on their impulses. Eventually the child learns how to think through their impulsive actions with meditation before executing them. There are many meditation classes offered at yoga studios, but it can also be practiced just as easily at home. There are also many guided meditations on YouTube to follow if you are uncomfortable leading your own or your child’s practice.

Sleep 

The amount of sleep a child usually gets can also affect their ADHD symptoms. Studies have shown that children who get an extra 30 minutes of sleep are less restless and impulsive. One of the issues with sleep is that children with ADHD can sometimes have issues calming down and actually falling asleep. Some ways to help children fall asleep are, establishing a consistent bedtime routine, having the child sleep in a cool, dark room, and using melatonin or essential oils. Also make sure to eliminate any screen time an hour or more before it is time for bed. The blue light that is radiated from most electronic devices can delay the release of melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone.

By implementing some of these activities into a routine schedule, your child with ADHD can start focusing better; not to mention the bonus of your child not having to use medications. But keep in mind everyone is different, so if one method works for one child, it may not work for another, and some children may still need medication to help their ADHD symptoms.

**

Contributor: Bobbi Phelps produces content on behalf of the ADHD specialists at Cerebrum Health Center. An avid writer and learner, she loves to use her skills for engaging others in important topics in creative and effective ways. When she is not working, she loves exploring, hanging out with her dogs, and binge watching shows on Netflix. Tweet her @Bobbi_Phelps or connect with her on LinkedIn.

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Teens and Drug Use: Beyond Addiction

Posted by Sue Scheff on January 27, 2016  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Residential Therapy, Struggling Teen Help, Teen Help, Troubled Teens, Uncategorized

Ranking the riskiest drugs in the United States, beyond addiction.

It’s time to rethink your ideas about the most dangerous drugs. Many are in our own homes.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that everyone is going to be abusing them, however when you have a teenager desperate to get high, you must consider all these options.

Don’t be a parent in denial — be an educated parent. You will have a safer and healthier family.

31 Most Harmful Drugs

 

All Psychology Schools

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Trendy Teens: Discussing the Fashion

Posted by Sue Scheff on October 23, 2015  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Struggling Teen Help, Teen Help, Troubled Teens, Uncategorized

TeenSelfEsteem5It can be shocking seeing thirteen year-old girls looking as if they are sixteen year-old and sixteen girls pretending they are nearing twenty!

From generations earlier, it’s normal for tweens and teens to want to feel older than they are – or try to fit in with a cooler-clique, but at what cost?

Most every parent has experienced their tween or teen girl or even boy (with those pants hanging off their butts) that make us cringe!

In a culture where midriff-baring pop icons surround us, it can be increasingly difficult to convince teenage girls that dressing modestly is actually important. As girls become teenagers and begin to assert their independence by testing boundaries, one of the more common ways that such behavior presents itself is through more risqué wardrobe choices.

As a parent or educator, figuring out how to encourage more modest styles of dress without alienating a willful teen and causing her to become even more attached to her new, more suggestive style can be a serious challenge.

Boost Self-Esteem

For teenage girls who are struggling to stand out from their peers and are battling secret insecurities, equating their blossoming sexuality with increased popularity and attention from the opposite sex can be very common. When they understand that their worth is based upon far more important qualities than their burgeoning sex appeal, they may be more tempted to eschew revealing clothes in favor of more modest choices that take the attention off of their bodies. Talking about the importance of strong self-esteem and helping to boost your teen’s confidence in herself can be one of the more effective methods of curbing a new predilection for wearing inappropriate clothing.

Establish Boundaries at a Young Age

As a child moves into the tween years – before her body begins to develop, but as she’s beginning to establish her own tastes and sense of style – it’s wise to start talking about immodest clothing and begin establishing boundaries regarding what you do and do not find appropriate. Even though most tween girls have not yet developed more womanly physical attributes, banning shorts that are inappropriately short or tops that are overly tight can help her to understand early on that such things won’t be acceptable as she gets older. An open dialogue about why immodest clothing can attract negative attention should start early, that way she’s well aware of your expectations and has an understanding of why revealing clothing is problematic.

Don’t Buy Revealing or Immodest Clothing

While a teen that’s determined to wear revealing clothes will find a way to get her hands on them, you can openly discourage a tendency to dress inappropriately by refusing to buy clothing that you find too mature or overly sexualized. When you’re shopping with your teen, it’s important to stand firm and not allow yourself to be swayed by pleas for clothing you don’t approve of or give in to teenage temper tantrums. When your child understands that you will not purchase such items, she’ll at least understand that you don’t approve of them. In order to make this method of encouraging more modest clothes effective, it’s important to follow up with calm and sincere conversations about why you won’t purchase revealing clothes and that you hope she’ll understand that you have only her best interests at heart.

Discuss the Image Your Teen Wishes to Portray

Seeing the attention lavished upon scantily-clad celebrities and noticing the attention that she gets when she wears revealing clothing can send a teen the message that less clothing sets her apart from the crowd and helps her to stand out. What she doesn’t typically understand is that the kind of attention she’s attracting is probably not the kind she’s seeking. Talking about the kind of image that she wishes to portray and the fact that skimpy clothing can cause people to see only her physical attributes and not her intelligence or character may help to dissuade your teen from dressing in such a manner, especially if she doesn’t understand that attention from the opposite sex based upon her revealing clothing is almost always conditional.

Explaining that boys who praise her lack of modesty and seek out her company when she’s dressed in a revealing fashion are almost invariably not the kind who are looking for actual relationships or who have much regard for her feelings can appeal to the romanticism that teenage girls can harbor. Let her know that sexual attention isn’t love, and that dressing more modestly can attract the attention of boys who are interested in her mind and personality, rather than her body.

Trying to convince your teenager to wear less revealing clothing and dress more modestly can be an uphill battle, especially if her friends and others in her immediate social circle are prone to dressing inappropriately. It may take quite some time before you see actual results from your efforts, but it’s important to stick to your proverbial guns in the interest of consistency and establishing parental authority.

TeenFashion

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Teen Depression, Anxiety and Sadness

Posted by Sue Scheff on September 24, 2015  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Residential Therapy, Struggling Teen Help, Teen Help, Troubled Teens, Uncategorized

teens 8We hear this a lot, especially as school has just opened.

Today teenager’s not only have the stress of schoolwork and peer pressure, they are concerned about their social media presence. If you doubt this is an issue, you are fooling yourself. Statistics have proven that teens rely on their virtual reality for many feelings of acceptance. This is why it is critical for parents to continue to have offline discussions about online reality.

FOMO (fear of missing out) is very real for these kids today. Even some adults have this fear. You have to look far and wide to walk down the street to find someone without their cell phone in their hand.

What are some of the warnings signs that your teen could be struggling with depression or anxiety?

  • Apathy
  • Complaints of pains, including headaches, stomachaches, low back pain, or fatigue
  • Sleeping a lot
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Excessive or inappropriate guilt
  • Irresponsible behavior — for example, forgetting obligations, being late for classes, skipping school
  • Loss of interest in food or compulsive overeating that results in rapid weight loss or gain
  • Memory loss
  • Preoccupation with death and dying
  • Rebellious behavior, defiance (more than normal)
  • Sadness, anxiety, or a feeling of hopelessness
  • Staying awake at night and sleeping during the day
  • Sudden drop in grades (underachieving)
  • Use of alcohol or drugs and promiscuous sexual activity
  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Withdrawal from activities they  used to love

canstockphoto19322711Teen Anxiety

The lesser known relative of depression, anxiety, afflicts people of all ages and can be especially detrimental for teenagers. It is completely normal and even common for individuals to experience anxiety, particularly during stressful periods, such as before a test or important date (think Prom). For many, this is beneficial, serving as motivation to study hard and perform well; however, for many, anxiety goes beyond standard high-stress periods. While occasional stress is nothing to worry about and can even be healthy, many people experience anxiety on an ongoing basis. People, especially teenagers, who suffer from anxiety disorders, find that their daily life can be interrupted by the intense, often long-lasting fear or worry.

Anxiety disorders are not fatal; however, they can severely interfere with an individual’s ability to function normally on a daily basis. The intense feelings of fear and worry often lead to a lack of sleep as it makes it very difficult for people to fall asleep. Those with anxiety disorders also commonly suffer from physical manifestations of the anxiety. The anxiety can cause headaches, stomach aches, and even vomiting. In addition stress can cause individuals to lose their appetite or have trouble eating. One of the more difficult aspects for students to deal with is difficulty concentrating. When one is consumed with worry, his or her mind continuously considers the worrisome thoughts, making it considerably harder for teenagers to concentrate on school work and other mentally intensive tasks. These affects of anxiety can make it difficult for teenagers to simply get through the day, let alone enjoy life and relax.

While there seems to be no single cause of anxiety disorders, it is clear that they can run in a family. The fact that anxiety disorders can run in families indicates that there may be a genetic or hereditary connection. Because a family member may suffer from an anxiety disorder does not necessarily mean that you will. However, individuals who have family members with this disorder are far more likely to develop it.

Within the brain, neurotransmitters help to regulate mood, so an imbalance in the level of specific neurotransmitters can cause a change in mood. It is this imbalance in a neurotransmitter called serotonin that leads to anxiety. Interestingly, an imbalance of serotonin in the brain is directly related to depression. For this reason, SSRI medications, more commonly referred to as anti-depressants, are often used to help treat an anxiety disorder. Medication can provide significant relief for those suffering from anxiety disorders; however, it is often not the most efficient form of treatment.

In addition to medication, treatments for anxiety disorders include cognitive-behavioral therapy, other types of talk therapy, and relaxation and biofeedback to control muscle tension. Talk therapy can be the most effective treatment for teenagers, as they discuss their feelings and issues with a mental health professional. Many teens find it incredibly helpful to simply talk about the stress and anxiety that they feel. Additionally, in a specific kind of talk therapy called cognitive-behavioral therapy teens actively “unlearn” some of their fear. This treatment teaches individuals a new way to approach fear and anxiety and how to deal with the feelings that they experience.

Many people attempt to medicate themselves when they suffer from stress or anxiety. While individuals find different ways to deal with the intense worry that they may experience, self medication can be very detrimental to their body. It is not uncommon for people who suffer from anxiety disorders to turn to alcohol or drugs to relieve the anxiety. While this may provide a temporary fix for the afflicted, in the long run it is harmful. By relying on these methods, individuals do not learn how to deal with the anxiety naturally. Reliance on other substances can also lead to alcohol or drug abuse, which can be an especially significant problem if it is developed during the teen years.

Statistics on teen anxiety show that anxiety disorders are the most common form of mental disorders among adolescents:

  • 8-10 percent of adolescents suffer from an anxiety disorder
  • Symptoms of an anxiety disorder include: anger, depression, fatigue, extreme mood swings, substance abuse, secretive behavior, changes in sleeping and eating habits, bad hygiene or meticulous attention to, compulsive or obsessive behavior
  • One in eight adult Americans suffer from an anxiety disorder totaling 19 million people
  • Research conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health has shown that anxiety disorders are the number one mental health problem among American women and are second only to alcohol and drug abuse among men
  • Anxiety sufferers see an average of five doctors before being successfully diagnosed

Source: WedMD.com

Teen depression and anxiety is treatable. It’s imperative you seek help for your child. As many parents know, sometimes your teenager can be stubborn and refuse to get help. It’s a parent’s responsibility to do what is best for them.

Finding the best therapist that specialize with adolescent’s and connects with your son or daughter may take a few tries. Sometimes outpatient therapy works and typically finding a good peer support group is always beneficial.

If you come to a point where you have exhausted all of your local resources and you find your teen is still hitting rock bottom in darkness, you may want to consider residential therapy. This gives them a second opportunity at a bright future. It doesn’t say you or they are failures – opens up many doors for them. They will be with others that feel the same feelings they do – they are not alone. It’s not any different when adults have feelings of sadness and want to talk to people that feel the same way – they can bring each other through their difficult times.

Contact us for more information.

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Addiction and Overdose Awareness

Posted by Sue Scheff on August 31, 2015  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Residential Therapy, Struggling Teen Help, Teen Help, Uncategorized

InternalOverdoseAugust 31 each year is International National Overdose Awareness Day.

The theme for 2015 is Rethink and Remember.

If you are a parent of a teen that you believe is experimenting with drugs or alcohol, maybe you think it is only marijuana or just a few beers — but statistics have shown we are living in a new generation that today’s substances can be more dangerous and addictive than generations prior.

The other concern is prescription medications.  We have more children today diagnosed with ADD/ADHD, whereas in earlier years they were labeled troubled or simply hyper – today we have a diagnosis for them.  With that comes medication that can help them.  The problem is when teenagers want to abuse their prescription medications.

HeronAbuse

 

Studies have revealed that from prescription medication as well as some drug dealers lacing marijuana with heroin, some of our youth are getting hooked on heroin at early ages.  This is not only dangerous – it’s deadly.

What is drug addiction?

Addiction is a chronic, often relapsing brain disease that causes compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences to the addicted individual and to those around him or her. Although the initial decision to take drugs is voluntary for most people, the brain changes that occur over time challenge an addicted person’s self-control and hamper his or her ability to resist intense impulses to take drugs. – NIDA

NIDATeensGet the facts on different drugs teens are using and abusing today.  Visit NIDA for Teens. Being an educated parent, you will have healthier and safer teens.  You must keep your lines of communication open, and continue to discuss the risks of these substances with them.  Share this site with them too.

As difficult as drug addiction is for a parent to accept, it is ten times harder to lose a loved one — especially a child or teenager.

Don’t be a parent in denial. 

If you suspect your teen is using drugs, abusing their prescription drugs, cough syrup medicine included, reach out for help.

If you have exhausted your local resources and feel you aren’t able to help your teen at home, please contact us for more resources and options.  Overdose Awareness Day, make it your day to learn more about what your teen is doing.

Faces of the new addicts, a ABC NEWS 20/20 Special.


Overdose Awareness 30 Second Ad:

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