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Troubled Teens

3 Tips to Prevent Your Teenager from Commiting Theft

Posted by Sue Scheff on January 17, 2017  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Teen Help

Teen Stealing

Help Your Teens TeenStealing5-300x201 3 Tips to Prevent Your Teenager from Commiting Theft This is probably hard to admit, but yesterday you caught your teenager red-handed taking money out of your purse. To add insult to injury, you are pretty sure this was not the first time they helped themselves to some of your hard-earned cash.

While it’s hard to believe your own flesh and blood is stealing from you, it’s not something that should be taken lightly. To nip this problem in the bud, and prevent it from blossoming into a full-blown issue that involves late-night calls from the police, check out these surefire tips:

Different Ages, Different Tactics

Young children can sometimes have difficulty understanding what does and what does not constitute stealing. Teenagers should know from right or wrong, but maybe you have younger children and have noticed them taking things that do not belong to them.

As Parents.com notes, young children can be taught to never take something from another person without asking first, and that it’s not OK to help themselves to money from a purse or wallet — even if they are used to being handed money now and then.

Teaching them not to steal must be done with a combination of patience and age-appropriate punishments. A 4-year-old who takes a dollar out of your wallet, for example, shouldn’t be able to watch their favorite show on TV that night. On the other hand, tweens and teens usually have the ability to understand that stealing is wrong, so they should face greater consequences.

Determine Why They’re Stealing

Kids and teens steal from family members for a wide variety of reasons. As Kids Health notes, school-age kids who take their siblings’ iPod or gift cards might not have the self-control needed to stop themselves. Tweens and teens may steal because it gives them a rush, or because they have seen their friends do it and they want to try it, too.

Meanwhile, some teens steal because they are rebelling against you and other adults, or because they are angry about something and want attention. In other cases, older kids steal because they cannot afford what they either need or want; sadly, in some cases, this may be alcohol or drugs. Stealing has also been linked to stress, and it can also be a cry for help.

What to Do Next

First, try to determine how often your kid has stolen something. A one-time money grab from your purse is definitely not OK, but it’s not the same as on-going and frequent stealing that has added up to hundreds of dollars, if not more. But no matter how often your tween or teen has taken something that’s not theirs, remind them that stealing is still a crime and that they must be held accountable.

As Empowering Parents notes, while you might be tempted to try to excuse your teenager’s actions based on their rebellious nature or sullen attitude, stealing is much more about breaking the law than someone’s personal feelings or problems. If you catch your child taking money from your wallet, they must pay it back, either by doing extra chores or missing out on allowance.

Teens who steal more than once may need professional help. This can come either from a family counselor or therapist, a religious leader like a minister or rabbi, or a school counselor. To set your mind at ease and help you rebuild trust with your teenager, consider installing a security camera inside your home.

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Ecstasy Use Is on the Rise Among Teens

Posted by Sue Scheff on June 28, 2016  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Teen Help

Rise of Drug Use Among Teens

Help Your Teens HYTBlogPostTeenDrug-300x204 Ecstasy Use Is on the Rise Among Teens

Imagine letting your teenage son or daughter go out for the night only to find out they have been hospitalized or even died due to an overdose of some illicit pill they were offered at a music festival.

If you’re ever put into such a tragic situation, it would be hard not to blame yourself. Unfortunately, this is exactly what happened to six families in New York just a few weeks ago. Two teenagers died and four others were hospitalized due to an overdose of ecstasy (also known as “Molly”) at the Electronic Zoo music festival. The increasing popularity of this party drug makes it imperative parents recognize, discuss and address the risks their children face every day due to drugs.

Increasing Danger of Ecstasy

Ecstasy is increasingly becoming a risk for teenagers and college students alike. According to a 2011 study by MetLife and DrugFree.org, ecstasy use has been increasing. The rising popularity of raves and music festivals is contributing significantly to the increased use of the drug.

In addition, “safer” alternatives, such as ecstasy in its pure MDMA form, are making teenagers think they are being safe and smart with their drug use. The unfortunate reality is these “safe” alternatives are neither pure nor safe. According to a report by DrugScope.org, some “pure” ecstasy tablets can have as little as zero percent purity. The Drug Enforcement Administration reports even 100 percent pure ecstasy can cause difficulty breathing and a decreased ability of the body to regulate its temperature. With the near certainty adulterants and impurities are mixed into the pills, this risk is multiplied dramatically.

How to Protect Your Child

Don’t pretend these issues don’t exist. This simply will not work. The popularity of ecstasy among today’s youth means you need to take an active role in informing your child of the risks. Speak with your children about the dangers and provide a safe place where they can be honest with you about their thoughts and any experimentation they have done.

According to the non-profit HelpGuide.org, there are a number of warning signs for ecstasy use, including:

  • Sudden and chronic lethargy
  • Neglecting responsibilities
  • Run-ins with the law
  • Rift in their relationships, parental or otherwise
  • Abandoning activities they used to enjoy

If you think your child has already developed a drug problem, seriously consider seeking treatment. Not all rehabilitation clinics are the same, and you should find a treatment center that incorporates a variety of services and methods. Seek a center that only employs certified professionals who are quick to answer any questions or concerns you have.

Prevention is the best method in ensuring your teen stays safe and healthy, so consider having a discussion about ecstasy as soon as possible.

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If you suspect your teen is using ecstasy, seek help immediately. If your teen refuses local therapy or out-patient help, consider residential therapy. Contact us for more information.

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7 Signs Your Teen Is Suffering From Depression

Posted by Sue Scheff on March 19, 2016  /   Posted in Teen Help

Teen Depression

Help Your Teens TeenSuicide3 7 Signs Your Teen Is Suffering From Depression Every day there is an average of 5,400 suicide attempts among young people grades seven through 12. One in ten teens develop a depressive disorder before the age of 16.

One of the top signs of depression among teens is addition to the Internet, which leads to more isolated screen time, especially with the Internet being so accessible via mobile phones.

Below is a roundup of signs a teen may be suffering from depression, as well as visual representation through this infographic:

Seven Signs Your Teen Is Suffering From Depression

  1. Addicted to the Internet – Kids may go online to escape their problems, but excessive computer/mobile use and screen time only increases their isolation, making them more depressed with feelings of sadness and hopelessness.
  1. Jokes About Committing Suicide – Kids who talk or joke about committing suicide may be suffering from depression. Your teen may be writing comments on social media saying things like “I’d be better off dead.”
  1. Has Violent Outburst – Violence is most common in kids (especially teenagers) who are victims of cyberbullying. Their self-hatred can develop into homicidal rage.
  1. Skips School – Depression can cause low energy and concentration difficulties. At school, this may lead to poor attendance, a drop in grades, or frustration with schoolwork.
  1. Becomes Reckless – Depressed teenagers may engage in dangerous or high-risk behavior, such as reckless driving, out-of-control drinking and unsafe sex.
  1. Loses Interest in Activities – Kids and teens who are depressed may lose interest in sports or activities they used to enjoy, because they have the reduced ability to function in events and social activities.
  1. Critical Comments – Depressed kids are overly sensitive to rejection and may make harsh critical comments about themselves. These feelings of worthlessness can stem from trouble in teenage relationships.

Help Your Teens 7SignsDepression-1 7 Signs Your Teen Is Suffering From Depression
A smartphone in the hands of a teenager or young child can encourage impulsivity, TeenSafe, one of the most popular parental monitoring technology services, provides the tools necessary to assist parents in detecting issues before they turn into serious problems.

TeenSafe aims to empower parents with the tools to monitor and manage a child’s online activity in order to help know when they need to open up a dialogue and start a conversation.

If you suspect your teen is struggling with teen depression and you have exhausted your local resources, it might be time to consider residential therapy or a therapeutic summer program. Contact us today for more information.

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Eating Disorders Are Also a Disorder for Male Teens

Posted by Sue Scheff on March 12, 2016  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Teen Help

Eating Disorders in Boys

Help Your Teens TeenBoyCanstock1-206x300 Eating Disorders Are Also a Disorder for Male Teens The words ‘eating disorders’ often conjure up images of young female teens, yet research suggests that numerous boys and teens are also at risk. According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Eating Disorders, one in every 10 cases of eating disorders involves males.

Maudsley Parents, meanwhile, notes that while in the 1960s and 1970s, eating disorders in males were thought to be practically non-existent, in the 1980s and 1990s the number of males affected was thought to stand at around 10 per cent and now, males make up 25 per cent of eating disorder patients.

Boys as young as seven or eight can develop anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorders or Eating Disorders Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS) and it is estimated that some 10 million boys and youths in America will have an eating disorder at some point in their lifetime.

The most common age for the development of anorexia nervosa is the late teens or early 20s, while binge eating disorder tends to arise in males and females in their 20s. The most common age for the onset of bulimia, meanwhile, is 12 to 25. Sometimes, although an official disorder is not diagnosed, problems still exist. According to National Eating Disorders.org, for instance, around three per cent of teen boys display unhealthy weight control behaviors, while 43 per cent of men are dissatisfied with their body image.

Some of the most pertinent findings on male eating disorders include:

  • While female with eating disorders tend to focus on thinness, boys and teens aim for a lean, ‘ripped’ body in which muscles are visible.
  • Males who play sports which are judged have a 13 per cent risk of developing an eating disorder, compared to only three per cent in those who play referred sports.
  • Male athletes with anorexia commonly have the following personality traits: competitiveness, being impulsive, having a tendency to be depressed, perfectionism, worrying about weight and hyperactivity.
  • Some sports in which eating disorders have been more prevalent include weightlifting, wrestling, gymnastics, dancing, and bodybuilding. Often, males feel that looking more muscular will bring them success in other areas (for instance, in social acceptance, acceptance by romantic interests, etc.).
  • Eating disorders in males can be linked to the concept of ‘control’. Males can feel that is their duty to control all aspects of their lives, including how they look. This can lead to an obsession with dieting, attendance at the gym, etc.
  • Males are less likely to obtain help when they have eating disorders for many reasons. Firstly, anorexia, bulimia and binge eating are often thought of as an exclusively ‘female’ problem. Secondly, boys and teens can be fearful that their concerns will not be taken seriously by health professionals. Thirdly, they often don’t know who to turn to.
  • Signs to watch out for in boys include an obsession with exercise or eating specific foods, not being able to resist exercise even when one is injured, low testosterone levels, etc.

If you or a loved one may have an eating disorder, it is vital to obtain help; anorexia nervosa has an alarmingly high mortality rate, and the sooner diagnosis and treatment are received, the better. Gold standard treatments for eating disorders include Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (in which patients are taught about the interrelationship between how they think, behave, and act, and taught practical strategies to overcome obsessive thoughts and negativity).

Another excellent treatment is Maudsley Therapy, which involves the whole family supporting the person with the eating disorder. Families are taught to set aside blame and judgement and focus on a positive strategy that each members plays an important role in carrying out.

In eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, the first step is to establish weight gain. In bulimia, the key is to stop the bingeing-purging cycle, while in binge eating disorder, bingeing is the key behavior which must be prevented.

Once the individual establishes a normal weight and begins to feel stronger, they are then given more freedom with respect to choosing the types of food they eat, etc. Eventually, they develop a healthy, positive relationship with food, and recognize the triggers that can lead to a relapse into unhealthy behaviors. Patients also need to be tested for other possible co-existing conditions (such as depression, or anxiety). If present, these conditions need to be diagnosed and treated, to enable lasting recovery.

Contributor: Helen Young

If you feel your son is struggling with an eating disorder and you have exhausted your local resources, it might be time to consider residential therapy.  Please contact us for options.

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How Advertising Affects Teen Consumption of Alcohol

Posted by Sue Scheff on February 28, 2016  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Teen Help

Teen Drinking

Help Your Teens TeenDrinking5-185x300 How Advertising Affects Teen Consumption of Alcohol It is easy to ignore the effects that advertising has on the habits of our teens, yet research suggests that exposure to specific marketing campaigns does, indeed, lead to unhealthy choices.

One study (Wellman et al, 2006) found that exposure to tobacco marketing increased smoking by teens, and another (Hastings et al) concluded that food marketing increases food intake and the likelihood of obesity. Alcoholism, too, is a risk, with various longitudinal studies showing a link between exposure to alcohol advertising, and increased consumption.

Important findings include:

  • 12-year-olds who are heavily exposed to alcohol advertising are 50 per cent more likely to start drinking one year later compared to those who are only slightly exposed to similar material (Collins et al, 2007).
  • Teenage males who own a promotional item from an alcohol manufacturer are almost twice as likely to start drinking alcohol than male teens who do not own these items; statistics are similar for female teens (for whom percentages are slightly lower). (McClure et al, 2009).
  • Teens who have been heavily exposed to alcohol marketing tend to drink greater amounts than those who are slightly exposed to similar material. (Snyder et al, 2006)
  • Youths who watch 60 per cent more alcohol advertising are 44 per cent more likely to have ever drunk beer and 26 per cent more likely to have consumed three or more alcoholic beverages on one occasion. ((Stacy et al, 2004).

In one important study carried out by researchers at the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, it was found that one in every three youths choose a brand of alcohol based on advertising and marketing. The reasons for the choice of a specific brand include:

  • Fondnessfor a particular celebrity or brand ambassador who endorses a specific alcoholic product.
  • Taste: Some youths choose a particular brand because they expect that it will taste good.
  • Price: Youths can make their selection based on the low cost of some items.
  • Emulation: Youths can opt for a particular brand because they see adults drinking it or see movie or television stars make the same choice.

Those who see alcohol as a lesser problem for youths in the U.S, should think again: alcohol is the most commonly abused drug among teens in America; it causes over 4,000 deaths among youths, every year. Research shows that around 70 per cent of 12th grade students have consumed alcohol and the problem extends to younger students, with around 13 per cent of eight graders admitting that they have consumed alcohol in the previous 30 days.

Meanwhile, the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (2013) found that among high school students, in the 30 days prior to the survey, 21 per cent engaged in binge drinking, 10 per cent drove after drinking alcohol, and 22 per cent rode in a car driven by a person who had been drinking. Some 35 per cent in total consumed some amount of alcohol.

As a whole, it can be said that exposure to marketing and advertisements promoting alcohol, is linked to a greater chance of teens starting to drink, and of teens drinking more than counterparts who have not been bombarded with promotional material. It is therefore vital that parents and teachers enlighten teens on these findings, so that they become more aware about the link between what they view, and the choices they make. They should also be presented with the facts: alcohol and drugs are the leading factors in teen suicide, over 23 million people aged 12 and above are addicted to alcohol or drugs, and there is a direct relationship between addiction and poor academic results.

Of course, advertising is not the only reason teens use drugs and consume alcohol. Other factors are in play, which should be recognized and addressed by parents and teachers. These include the influence of other teens, escape, boredom, rebellion and instant gratification. For others still, drugs and alcohol are a way to gain the confidence they might not otherwise have. These people may use alcohol to rid themselves of inhibition and social anxiety. Finally, misinformation is one of the biggest culprits as far as abuse and addiction are concerned. Most teenagers will come across friends who used drugs and alcohol, yet seem to be functioning at school and socially. It is vital that schools and families work together to enlighten children on the pure, unadulterated facts regarding drugs and alcohol.

It is easy to ignore the effects that advertising has on the habits of our teens, yet research suggests that exposure to specific marketing campaigns does, indeed, lead to unhealthy choices. One study (Wellman et al, 2006) found that exposure to tobacco marketing increased smoking by teens, and another (Hastings et al) concluded that food marketing increases food intake and the likelihood of obesity. Alcoholism, too, is a risk, with various longitudinal studies showing a link between exposure to alcohol advertising, and increased consumptionImportant findings include:

  • 12-year-olds who are heavily exposed to alcohol advertising are 50 per cent more likely to start drinking one year later compared to those who are only slightly exposed to similar material (Collins et al, 2007).
  • Teenage males who own a promotional item from an alcohol manufacturer are almost twice as likely to start drinking alcohol than male teens who do not own these items; statistics are similar for female teens (for whom percentages are slightly lower). (McClure et al, 2009).
  • Teens who have been heavily exposed to alcohol marketing tend to drink greater amounts than those who are slightly exposed to similar material. (Snyder et al, 2006)
  • Youths who watch 60 per cent more alcohol advertising are 44 per cent more likely to have ever drunk beer and 26 per cent more likely to have consumed three or more alcoholic beverages on one occasion. ((Stacy et al, 2004).

In one important study carried out by researchers at the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, it was found that one in every three youths choose a brand of alcohol based on advertising and marketing. The reasons for the choice of a specific brand include:

  • Fondnessfor a particular celebrity or brand ambassador who endorses a specific alcoholic product.
  • Taste: Some youths choose a particular brand because they expect that it will taste good.
  • Price: Youths can make their selection based on the low cost of some items.
  • Emulation: Youths can opt for a particular brand because they see adults drinking it or see movie or television stars make the same choice.

Those who see alcohol as a lesser problem for youths in the U.S, should think again: alcohol is the most commonly abused drug among teens in America; it causes over 4,000 deaths among youths, every year. Research shows that around 70 per cent of 12th grade students have consumed alcohol and the problem extends to younger students, with around 13 per cent of eight graders admitting that they have consumed alcohol in the previous 30 days.

Meanwhile, the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (2013) found that among high school students, in the 30 days prior to the survey, 21 per cent engaged in binge drinking, 10 per cent drove after drinking alcohol, and 22 per cent rode in a car driven by a person who had been drinking. Some 35 per cent in total consumed some amount of alcohol.

As a whole, it can be said that exposure to marketing and advertisements promoting alcohol, is linked to a greater chance of teens starting to drink, and of teens drinking more than counterparts who have not been bombarded with promotional material. It is therefore vital that parents and teachers enlighten teens on these findings, so that they become more aware about the link between what they view, and the choices they make. They should also be presented with the facts: alcohol and drugs are the leading factors in teen suicide, over 23 million people aged 12 and above are addicted to alcohol or drugs, and there is a direct relationship between addiction and poor academic results.

Of course, advertising is not the only reason teens use drugs and consume alcohol. Other factors are in play, which should be recognized and addressed by parents and teachers. These include the influence of other teens, escape, boredom, rebellion and instant gratification.

For others still, drugs and alcohol are a way to gain the confidence they might not otherwise have. These people may use alcohol to rid themselves of inhibition and social anxiety. Finally, misinformation is one of the biggest culprits as far as abuse and addiction are concerned. Most teenagers will come across friends who used drugs and alcohol, yet seem to be functioning at school and socially. It is vital that schools and families work together to enlighten children on the pure, unadulterated facts regarding drugs and alcohol.

Contributor: Helen Canning – Now working primarily as a writer, Helen Canning used to work in the health care sector, initially in social care. After battling her own problems with depression and stress, she decided to leave the pressure of her job behind and become a stay-at-home writer. It fits in perfectly with raising her two children and means she can pen articles on the topics she knows most about.

If you feel your teen is struggling with an alcohol problem, don’t waste time in seeking them help. If you have exhausted your local resources and feel outside options might be your last resort, contact us for information on what’s available for your teen’s individual needs.

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Does Your Teen Steal or Shoplift?

Posted by Sue Scheff on December 26, 2015  /   Posted in Teen Help

Teens Stealing: Getting Help
Help Your Teens teenshoplifting Does Your Teen Steal or Shoplift?

No family is immune to have their good child decide they want to steal or shoplift an item.

We frequently get calls from parents of teens being arrested or accused of stealing and/or shoplifting. Sometimes the stealing is isolated to your home – items in your house to the point that you are hiding your valuables (I’m confident some of you are shaking your head in agreement).   Why are they doing this, especially if they have the money to pay for it?

Too Young To Start

There are almost as many reasons teens steal as there are things for teens to steal. One of the biggest reasons teens steal is peer pressure. Often, teens will steal items as a means of proving’ that they are “cool enough” to hang out with a certain group. This is especially dangerous because if your teen can be convinced to break the law for petty theft, there is a strong possibility he or she can be convinced to try other, more dangerous behaviors, like drinking or drugs. It is because of this that it is imperative you correct this behavior before it escalates to something beyond your control.

Another common reason teens steal is because they want an item their peers have but they cannot afford to purchase. Teens are very peer influenced, and may feel that if they don’t have the ‘it’ sneakers or mp3 player, they’ll be considered less cool than the kids who do. If your teen cannot afford these items, they may be so desperate to fit in that they simply steal the item. They may also steal money from you or a sibling to buy such an item. If you notice your teen has new electronics or accessories that you know you did not buy them, and your teen does not have a job or source of money, you may want to address whereabouts they came up with these items.

Teens may also steal simply for a thrill. Teens who steal for the ‘rush’ or the adrenaline boost are often simply bored and/ or testing the limits of authority. They may not even need or want the item they’re stealing! In cases like these, teens can act alone or as part of a group.

Often, friends accompanying teens who shoplift will act as a ‘lookout’ for their friend who is committing the theft. Unfortunately, even if the lookout doesn’t actually steal anything, the can be prosecuted right along with the actual teen committing the crime, so its important that you make sure your teen is not aiding his or her friends who are shoplifting.

Yet another reason teens steal is for attention. If your teen feels neglected at home, or is jealous of the attention a sibling is getting, he or she may steal in the hopes that he or she is caught and the focus of your attention is diverted to them. If you suspect your teen is stealing or acting out to gain your attention, it is important that you address the problem before it garners more than just your attention, and becomes part of their criminal record. Though unconventional, this is your teen’s way of asking for your help- don’t let them down!

If they have escalated to a point that they are stealing from your home – usually this can mean they are in need of money. In most cases it is typically for drugs. Be sure you are reaching out to your teen and trying to engage in conversations. Communication is key to helping build your relationship and trust – yet sometimes it can be a struggle.

If parents take the proper measures, in most cases the stealing stops as the child grows older. Child and adolescent psychiatrists recommend that when parents find out their child has stolen, they:

  • tell the child that stealing is wrong
  • help the youngster to pay for or return the stolen object
  • make sure that the child does not benefit from the theft in any way
  • avoid lecturing, predicting future bad behavior, or saying that they now consider the child to be a thief or a bad person
  • make clear that this behavior is totally unacceptable within the family tradition and the community

In treating a child who steals persistently, a mental health provider will evaluate the underlying reasons for the child’s need to steal, and develop a plan of treatment. Important parts of treatment can be helping the child form trusting relationships and helping the family to direct the child toward a healthier path of development.

If the problem continues – you may need to research residential therapy.  Please contact us for more information.

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Preventing Underage Drinking During the Holidays

Posted by Sue Scheff on December 03, 2015  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Teen Help

Underage Teen Drinking

Help Your Teens Teendrinking6 Preventing Underage Drinking During the Holidays

Teens are not any different than adults and parents, they want to celebrate the holidays and be festive!

What is different is alcohol shouldn’t be included in their recipe of fun.

Let’s face it, we were all kids once, and during this time especially, relatives would have us try drinks during home parties – but what parents are facing today can be more serious than generations earlier.

Here some tips for discussing the holiday alcohol chat with your teens:

Do your research: Learn the facts of the affects of alcohol and how it can affect their health and mind. That way, you can successfully communicate the right information to your kids. Have the talk early with your kids before the parties and peer pressure start, and talk about it often. We know so much more today than we did generations earlier.

Reduce peer pressure: Teach your teens that they should celebrate the holidays with friends they can trust and that have share similar interests and values with. By doing this, kids can minimize the effects of peer pressure and they won’t feel uncomfortable at parties.

Have the right timing: There are many great ways to give an excuse to have the talk; talk to your teens when they enter high school, when they’re going to their first party, or when a teen alcohol-related event appears on the news.

Listen and pay attention: It’s important to listen and not lecture. Ask their opinions and suggestions. Pay attention to what kids are doing during the holidays, who they are hanging out with, and if their behavior changes, find out why.  Keep in mind – it’s best to have your conversation before a confrontation arises.

Have a safe word: Doing this will give your kids the chance to call or text you if they are uncomfortable with what’s going on at a party and they won’t feel embarrassed.

Have others involved in the conversation: Have older siblings involved in the conversation, a family friend, a teacher or coach involved since these are all trusted people.

This information is courtesy of The Alcohol Talk.  Also for more information on underage drinking, please visit the non-profit organization Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility at: www.responsibility.org.

Is your teen out-of-control and you have exhausted all your local resources including therapy and out patience services? Are you considering residential treatment? Learn more about it and if it is right for your individual teen and your family. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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Teens and Addiction: Reality Check for Parents

Posted by Sue Scheff on November 06, 2015  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Teen Help

Teen Addiction – What Parents Need to Know

Help Your Teens SadTeen1-300x200 Teens and Addiction: Reality Check for Parents Parenting teens can be challenging. No matter how many times we talk about just saying no to drugs, there will be a teenager that will cave to peer pressure.

Parents need to stop being in denial and start educating their kids about the dangers of addiction which can follow drug abuse. Stop saying, “not my kid!” Yes, it could be your kid!

If you haven’t taken the time to watch, Heroin in the Heartland, make the time. These are good kids that suddenly find themselves in the throws of addiction.

Parent denial only delays treatment.

3 Reality Checks for Parents:

  1. Myth: We try to keep our home teen-friendly because if our teen(s) hang out here – even if they’re drinking – we know they’re safe. Reality Check: There is nothing wrong with making your teen and his/her friends comfortable in your home. But teenage drinking is never safe even when they are being “supervised.” Not only is alcohol bad for their health and development but it also impairs their judgment. The media has reported on scenarios where teens in these situations have wandered off and died in a preventable accident, driven drunk and hurt themselves or others and committed a violent act against a peer.
  2. Myth: It’s better for my child if he/she considers me a best friend.  Reality Check: Part of your job as a parent is to set and enforce rules. Trying to be their best friend is only confusing and gives mixed messages.
  3. Myth: My husband and I have different parenting styles. What’s the big deal?  Reality Check: It’s critical for all caregivers to be on the same page whether they are married, divorced, nannies, grandparents, etc. Consistency is key to raising a healthy and responsible teen who understands and respects boundaries.

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

If you fear your child is heading down a dark path and have exhausted your local resources, please contact us for more information on quality residential therapy.

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Does My Teen Need Residential Therapy?

Posted by Sue Scheff on August 02, 2015  /   Posted in Teen Help

How will I know my teen needs residential therapy?

Be an educated parent

Help Your Teens we_are_parents_too Does My Teen Need Residential Therapy? As I share with parents, residential therapy is a major decision not to be taken lightly.  It’s not about teaching your child a lesson, it’s not about punishing your teen or scaring them straight — residential therapy is a huge financial and emotional decision that is made after you have exhausted all your local resources.

Residential therapy is a choice made out of love to give your child a second chance at a bright future.

Usually a parent has reached their wit’s end; they have been to local therapy, some have even tried having their teen stay with a relative.  Some have been through extensive out-patient programs but it isn’t until you remove (residential therapy) the teen from their environment that they will be able to heal and gain an objective view on what is the root of the issues.

In the majority of families that contact us, these are not bad kids, these are kids that come from good families – raised with morals and taught right from wrong, however making very bad decisions.  Whether they have fallen into a negative peer group or struggling with self-worth issues, they are definitely going down a dark path that needs to be addressed.

In many situations we see today’s teen as the spoiled rotten brat syndrome.  Don’t be ashamed of that – that is our culture today.  It’s not right, but that’s how parents of this generation have raised their kids — they get just about anything they want without earning it.  This leads to generation entitlement teenager.

When they feel they are being boxed in or suddenly things aren’t as easy as they used to be, as middle school and high school can tend to become more difficult to fit in, rebellion and defiance (in combination with puberty) can strike.

Help Your Teens canstockphoto13240726-300x200 Does My Teen Need Residential Therapy? This behavior can escalate into not only a nasty attitude, but soon you watch their grades declining, maybe they quit (or asked to leave) their once-favorite sport, and suddenly you discover they are using illegal substances and drinking.  The spiral continues.

Their outbursts at home and anger towards the parents become unbearable.  Worse some teens will get into trouble with the law, maybe shoplifting things they can well-afford to purchase.

Parents soon feel hostage in their own home.  No one is immune to this.

How To Know When It’s Time to Try Residential Therapy

  • You have read most parenting books and behavioral strategy — removing privileges, instilling consequences that are being broken,  to behavioral contracts to one-on-one behavioral support in the home — and your teen still doesn’t get better.
  • Your child had been given numerous psychiatric diagnoses, none of which totally fit. He/she has been on different medications, but none result in long-term changes.
  • Your house is a war zone every day. Your child is routinely explosive and scares younger siblings and you. You are exhausted and the stress of managing daily crises is taking a toll on your marriage, your job, your personal life and you  have reached your wit’s end.
  • Your child has been expelled from school (or on the verge of  being expelled), is addicted to video games, using drugs or alcohol, and has had multiple run-ins with the law.
  • Your child engages in self-injury, threatens to hurt others or kill himself.
  • Your child has had a psychiatric hospitalization.
  • You have finally exhausted all your local resources.  This is not an easy decision and one that comes out of love.  It is time to give your son or daughter a second opportunity for a bright future – finding a residential therapy setting for 6-10 months out of their lifetime is a small price to pay considering the alternative road they are on.

How Residential Treatment (RTC) or Therapeutic Boarding Schools (TBS) Helps, When Nothing Else Does

  • RTC or TBS focus on helping the child take personal accountability. Through intensive individual, group and family therapy, residential staff work on shifting the child from blaming others for his problems to acknowledging that he is where he is because he made poor choices.
  • RTC or TBS remove your child from their negative environment.  Whether is a contentious home situation or a negative peer group, it is an opportunity to be in an objective placement to open up and speak freely to others that may have his/her same feelings.
  • RTC or TBS have level systems so children learn the consequences of their actions. If they make poor choices or don’t do their levels work, they don’t gain privileges. The levels system incentivizes children to change their behavior.
  • RTC or TBS provide structure and containment that is impossible to achieve at home. Most RTC or TBS are in remote areas where there is nowhere to run. Therapists, behavioral staff and a levels program provide intensive scaffolding to support the child as he learns coping skills that he can then use to regulate himself. When a child can utilize coping skills, he feels in control and begins to make better choices.
  • RTC or TBS are particularly skilled at helping parents recognize the ways they are unwittingly colluding with their child’s behavior, and learn tools to change their own behaviors. Parent workshops and family therapy (usually via phone and visits) are essential for the child to return home successfully.
  • When selecting an RTC or TBS, it is important for a parent to find one that has accredited academics, qualified therapists and enrichment programs.  This is part of doing your due diligence when researching for programs for your teenager.

Help Your Teens teens-parents Does My Teen Need Residential Therapy? The hardest part is finding the right program/school for your teenager.  There are many choices in our country.  Take your time (within reason) and do your due diligence.  We offer helpful tips and questions to ask schools and programs on our site.

Be sure the program is licensed, accredited and has enrichment programs to stimulate your child in a positive direction.

There are also red flags, when programs frequently have to change their name, sometimes the Christian programs don’t have to meet the regulations as traditional TBS or RTC, it’s all about doing your research.  We aren’t purchasing a car – we securing your child’s emotional growth.

If you feel you are ready to consider residential therapy, please contact us for a free consultation.  I have walked in your shoes over a decade ago.  Although we had  a bad experience, I believe there are many good programs – it’s all about educating you to learn to find what is best for your family.

Learn from my mistakes – gain from my knowledge.

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P.U.R.E. does not provide legal advice and does not have an attorney on staff.
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