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Teen Help Blog

How Do I Recognize If My Teenager Is Using Drugs Or Alcohol?

Posted by Sue Scheff on May 24, 2020  /   Posted in Featured Article, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Parenting Teens, Residential Therapy, Struggling Teen Help, Teen Depression, Teen Drug Use, Teen Help, Troubled Teens

How Do I Recognize If My Teenager Is Using Drugs Or Alcohol?

This is a difficult question that many parents have to face on a daily basis.

By Shawnda P. Burns, LMHC, CAP

Parents who spend a great deal of time with their teenagers are often tuned into what is normal behavior and what is not.  However, even parents who are actively involved in the daily activities of their teenagers may overlook – or subconsciously deny – the earliest signs of a substance abuse problem.

Some of the clues that your teenager may exhibit when using drugs or alcohol are fairly subtle, but others are rather obvious:

*Many hours spent alone, especially in their room; persistent isolation from the rest of the family.  This is particular suspicious in a youngster who had not been a loner until now.

*Resistance to taking with or confiding in parents, secretiveness, especially in a teenager who had previously been open.  Be sure that your teenager is not being secretive because every time he tries to confide in you, you jump on him or break his confidence.

*There is marked change for the worse in performance and attendance at school and/or job or other responsibilities as well as in dress, hygiene, grooming, frequent memory lapses, lack of concentration, and unusual sleepiness.

*A change of friends; from acceptable to unacceptable.

*Pronounced mood swings with irritability, hostile outbursts, and rebelliousness.  Your teenager may seem untrustworthy, insincere or even paranoid.

*Lying, usually in order to cover up drinking or drug using behavior as well as sources of money and possessions; stealing, shoplifting, or encounters with the police.

*Abandonment of wholesome activities such as sports, social service and other groups, religious services, teen programs, hobbies, and even involvement in family life.

*Unusual physical symptoms such as dilated or pinpoint pupils, bloodshot eyes, frequent nosebleeds, changes in appetite, digestive problems, excessive yawning, and the shakes.

These are just a few of the warning signs that can be recognized.  Be careful not to jump to the conclusion that your teenager may be using when you see such behavior.

Evaluate the situation.  Talk to your teenager.  Try to spend time with her so that she feels that she can trust you.  By creating a home that is nurturing, she will understand that despite of unhealthy choices that she will always get the love and moral support that she deserves.

Building a strong relationship with your teenager now will mean that in time of crises your love, support, wisdom, and experience won’t be shut out of your teenager’s decision making.

If you have a suspicion that your teenager is involved in the use of drugs or alcohol, don’t hesitate to bring the subject up.  The sooner the problem is identified and treated, the better the chances that your teenager’s future will be safeguarded.  Raising the subject will be easier if you already have good communication in the family.

Discuss the ways in which you can seek help together.  An evaluation by a substance abuse professional may be the key to understanding what is really going on with your teenager.

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If you have exhausted your local resources, such as therapists, out-patient and possible short-term in-patient, and still find that your teenager is struggling with behavior issues, it might be time to consider residential therapy. Contact us for more information.

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The Self-Love Workbook for Teens

Posted by Sue Scheff on May 15, 2020  /   Posted in Featured Book, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Parenting Books, Parenting Teens, Teen Depression, Teen Help, Troubled Teens

The Self-Love Workbook for Teens: A Transformative Guide to Boost Self-Esteem, Build a Healthy Mindset, and Embrace Your True Self

By Shainna Ali PhD.

Discover how to change your attitude, build confidence in who you are, and genuinely love yourself through the guided activities and real-world advice in this easy-to-use, friendly workbook for teens and young adults.

Order on Amazon

As a teen, life can be stressful, whether from worrying about looks, performance in school, relationships with friends and family, or societal pressures. It is easy for you to lose focus and feel like you’re not good enough.

The Self-Love Workbook for Teens gives you the tools to conquer self-doubt and develop a healthy mindset. It includes fun, creative, and research-backed exercises, lessons, and tips, including:

  • Interactive activities
  • Reflective exercises
  • Journaling prompts
  • Actionable advice

Self-love is a journey, but it is the first step on the path to a happier, more fulfilling life.

About the author:

Shainna Ali is a mental health counselor, educator, and advocate. Dr. Ali is passionate about destigmatizing mental health counseling and helping individuals worldwide recognize the importance of fostering mental wellness. She is the author of The Self-Love Workbook: A Life-Changing Guide to Boost Self-Esteem, Recognize Your Worth, and Find Genuine Happiness.

In her Psychology Today-hosted blog, A Modern Mentality, she promotes mental health awareness in an effort to improve mental wellness across the globe. Dr. Ali is also an active blog contributor for the American Counseling Association and the National Alliance on Mental Illness. As a mental health advocate Dr. Ali has been featured in outlets such as ABC, NBC, Yahoo, Bustle, NPR, The Washington Post, and The Insider.

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Dealing with Teen Rebellion

Posted by Sue Scheff on April 27, 2020  /   Posted in Mental Health, Mental Illness, Parenting Teens, Teen Depression, Teen Drug Use, Teen Help, Troubled Teens

Teen Rebellion: Oppositional Defiance Disorder or Spoiled Brat?

“It would be like saying your husband is ‘rebelling’ when he disagrees with you,” says Laurence Steinberg,Ph.D., a Temple University psychologist and author of more than a dozen books on adolescence, most recently the Age of Opportunity. “Parents become accustomed to little kids not questioning them, so when their kids get to an age where it’s natural for them to question, they see it as defiance.”

None of this is to say that dealing with a teenager who is constantly being contrarian is easy. Having someone in your house who rolls his eyes at your every utterance, slams her bedroom door when you tell her to clean her room, or stomps off when you set bedtimes or curfews can be extremely stressful.

But the distinction between actual rebellion and what most adolescents do—which is to push back in a normal, healthy way—is crucial.

3 Ways Parents can Make the Teen Years a Little Smoother:

1. Compromise where it makes sense.

It is important to understand that the major battles between teens and their parents are usually about control.

A typical example is when your kid has a messy bedroom. Mom and dad can’t get past the dust and dirt, piles of clothing, and grimy dishes. All they want is for things to be cleaned up—and now. Meanwhile, the kid says, “It’s my room. If you don’t like it, I’ll close the door.”

The key to solving this kind of argument is not to give your teen an ultimatum. “Clean your room or you can’t go out this weekend.” Instead, Steinberg suggests that parents find a way to reach a reasonable compromise. Acknowledge your teen’s point of view while asserting your parental right to have a clean home.

“Brainstorm with your kid to figure out a way you can both be happy,” Steinberg says.

In my own house, we’ve reached just such a compromise. My 17-year-old is required to pick up the mess in his room once a week so it can be cleaned. The rest of the week, I let him have his space. (I just try not to look.)

One way to find a middle ground is to test things on a pilot basis. Says Darling: “If there is an area where they want more freedom and you are uncomfortable, you can say, ‘Let’s try it—if it works out, great. If not, we’ll step back.’”

2. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

On big issues—abiding by curfew, attending school, never drinking and driving—parents have an obligation to be firm. And research shows that most teens are more than comfortable with that.

“In our studies we find that kids actually complain that parents don’t set rules—not that they do,” Darling says. “They may not like the rules, they may not agree with you, but they believe in your right to set them and they want those boundaries. It lets them know that you care, and it gives them something to rub up against.”

At the same time, parents shouldn’t be rigid on things that don’t matter as much, if at all.

“These are areas where you could make a case that the kid should have a say,” Darling explains. “Like what music they listen to, who their friends are, who they date, what they wear, and what they do in their free time.”

Steinberg agrees. “On most of the big issues, teens and parents usually see eye to eye,” he says. “It’s the little things that they get hung up on.”

3. Communicate early and often.

One way to lower the temperature in your house is to keep the lines of communication open. This is important no matter what age your child is. And if you are not in the habit of talking with your kids, it’s never too late to start.

That said, the earlier the better.

“Don’t wait until they are 13 or in trouble,” says Amy Bobrow Gross, Ph.D., a New York psychologist whose private practice focuses on children and teens. “You want them to feel comfortable talking to you well before they become teenagers.”

This isn’t always easy—especially if you have a tendency to argue. That’s why it’s best to walk away in the heat of the moment, Gross says. Then come back when everyone is calmer so you can have a more productive dialogue.

How To Talk To A Rebellious Teenager

If you want to talk to your teen about a particularly touchy topic, Gross advises, try sitting down with him and watching a TV show or a video that hits on the subject. That way, the conversation will feel less personal; the lens will remain on the larger issue, not on your child per se.

Another tip: sometimes the best time to chat is in the car, on a hike, or before bed when the lights are out—all occasions when you’re not looking your kid right in the eye. “Avoiding eye contact can take some of the pressure off,” Gross notes.

Finally, don’t lose sight of the fact that communicating with your teen is a two-way street. Keep your ears—and your mind—open. “A healthy argument is a good time for you to really listen and consider what your kid is saying,” Darling counsels. “It may be a good time to reconsider some of your rules.”

Of course, there are still situations in which teenagers act out in ways that are not normal or healthy. As a parent, you must be alert to the red flags.

Experts agree, for instance, that if your child is arguing with you about absolutely everything—“You can’t force me to go to school,” “You have no right to tell me not to drink”—it’s a cause for concern.

“In families where teenagers are being oppositional just for the sake of being oppositional, there is usually something wrong,” Steinberg says. “There are usually deeper problems in the family’s relationships.”

The same is true if your adolescent is lying to you, abusing drugs, or withdrawing completely. “If they are having unsafe sex, if they are drinking too much, if they are in trouble, you need to step in and get them to stop,” Darling says. “That is your job as a parent.”

But remember, this kind of behavior is more often the exception. In most families, a certain amount of pushback from your teenager is to be expected—even embraced. “They are just becoming more independent and autonomous,” Darling says. “They are doing what they are supposed to do.”

Just don’t call it rebellion.

Article by Randye Hoder, courtesy of Your Teen Magazine.

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If you’re struggling with your teenager and have exhausted your local resources, contact us today to learn more about how residential therapy can help your family.

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Teen Boot Camps and Scared Straight Programs

Posted by Sue Scheff on April 13, 2020  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Residential Therapy, Teen Help, Troubled Teens
Scared Straight: Would it work with your teen?

Scared Straight: Would it work with your teen?

Years ago parents would threaten to send their children, especially defiant and belligerent teens to military school or boot camp.  Then some sheriff’s departments developed Scared Straight programs through through their  jails.

Inmates would speak to the youth about their experiences, both inside and on the outside, hopefully giving them enough of a jolt to realize they don’t want to be in their shoes.

If you are interested in scared straight programs, sometimes they can be effective with certain teenagers.  Check with your local sheriff’s department to see if they offer them.

Going back to military schools, parents are making false threats since they will be quick to learn that these type of boarding schools are typically a privilege and honor to attend.

Your child will need a good GPA to be accepted as well as be willing to attend.  Not to mention, if they are struggling with any type of experimentation of substance use, military campuses are not immune to students bringing in drugs or alcohol.  They will be reprimanded, and like a traditional school – will be expelled within their school policy.  However, you will forfeit your tuition with that too.  Keep in mind, military school tuition usually starts at about $25,000 a school year and up.

Boot camps are what parents think about initially.  They are very difficult to locate at this point.  With a lot of negative press as well as results, most have been closed and no longer in operation.

If you break it down, boot camps were usually a weekend where teens were literally placed in a military-style environment with rigorous physical exercise in an effort to break your child down.  It is an in-your-face type of discipline that isn’t resolving any of their emotional issues that is causing their negative behavior at home or school.

Many of these teens are already broken – emotionally.  They are usually depressed and struggle with low self-esteem, placing them in an environment that only degrades them will likely build more anger and resentment – especially towards the people that put them there – the parents.  

We challenge parents to switch places.  If you are going through a rough time in your life, whether it be a divorce or a friend that is not treating you well, how would you feel if no one was speaking with you and you had people screaming at you constantly and degrading you as you are struggling just to get by?

TeenArtTherapy

Teens & art therapy.

Residential therapy, which includes emotional growth programs helps your teen work through their issues.  Having conversations with counselors, peers and also participating in activities that can help build their confidence to make better choices is what can help start the recovery process.

Residential treatment centers is about building your child back up again, not breaking them down.

Before you think your child needs a good punishment, think about what it will really achieve?  Being a teenager today is not easy.  Being a parent is even more of a struggle – we all have to do our best to make it work and give our kids the best future.

Do you have questions or want to learn more about quality residential therapy?  Contact us today.

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Signs of Teenage Drug and Alcohol Use

Posted by Sue Scheff on April 12, 2020  /   Posted in Mental Illness, Parenting Teens, Struggling Teen Help, Teen Depression, Teen Drug Use, Teen Help, Troubled Teens

Signs of Alcohol Abuse and Drug Use in Teens: Signs to Look For

By Meredith Bonacci, PhD

Your teen has been acting differently lately; you are worried but can’t figure out what’s going on. There are several warning signs of drug use in teens to look for if you truly are worried that your child might be using drugs or alcohol.

Remember that one sign does not absolutely confirm use, but it’s important to remain on the lookout for teenage drug and alcohol use.

Warning Signs of Drug Use In Teens

1. Changes in appearance and behavior

There may be subtle or stark changes in your teen’s appearance and behavior as a result of using drugs and alcohol. It may be easier to notice when they are under the influence. There would be several changes in appearance and behavior, such as:

  • bloodshot eyes (may use eye drops to try and mask this)
  • larger or smaller pupils
  • slurred speech
  • impaired coordination
  • smell of drugs or alcohol on breath or clothing (may use air freshener or incense to cover odors).

However, it is sometimes harder to notice the other signs your teen is on drugs or alcohol, which persist even when they are not under the influence. These include:

  • changes in appetite
  • changes in sleep patterns
  • sudden weight loss or gain
  • tremors
  • smell of drugs or alcohol on clothing or other belongings
  • finding drug or alcohol related items is another red flag (rolling papers, pipes, small plastic baggies or vials, short straws, bottle caps, or remnants of drugs)

2. Changes in relationships and responsibilities

Any drastic change in relationships or responsibilities may be a sign of teenage drug or alcohol use. Some examples of “drastic changes” would be:

  • spending time with an entirely new peer group
  • getting into trouble
  • disregarding rules (either at school, in the neighborhood, or any legal issues)
  • failing or skipping classes
  • secretive or suspicious behavior; for example, suddenly demanding more privacy or locks on bedroom door,
  • lying about their whereabouts
  • unexplained need for money
  • sneaking out of home or school.
  • a “code” for drugs and alcohol terminology, so that it can not be detected by parents during phone or text conversations.
  • disregard curfew, while many teens rebel against curfews, teenagers who are using drugs or alcohol may disregard curfew and create hard to believe or weak cover stories
  • choosing to stay home from family outings, holidays, or weekend trips to spend unsupervised time with friends
  • missing items from the house like money, expensive items, or prescriptions

3. Changes in mood and motivation

The psychological changes that result from drug or alcohol use may be less apparent than the above changes, but are still very important to watch for. Drug and alcohol use could result in otherwise unexplained changes in personality or outlook. For example, your teenager may have been relatively even tempered, but suddenly begins having angry outbursts, mood swings, or engaging in violent behavior. At the other end of the continuum, drug and alcohol use could result in sudden loss of interest in activities and hobbies and drastic decline in energy and motivation. For example, your teenager was an active athlete and thriving student, who suddenly becomes lethargic and looses motivation in both school and sports.

How You Can Help

1. Have a conversation.

Don’t wait until it has become a problem to have a conversation with your son or daughter about substance use. Ask about the level of drugs and alcohol that is being used at parties, free periods, before/after school. And if the answer is “yes, some kids I know do that stuff” or something along those lines, don’t freak out! Have a discussion (not a lecture) about drugs, alcohol, and the potential dangers. Try to make this discussion collaborative. Ask how they have handled it in the past and how they can continue to make responsible choices.

2. Monitor your teen’s activity.

This means every day (not just on the weekends). It is important to know where they are and who they are with. Some parents also choose to search the home for drugs and alcohol, other parents choose to lock up prescription pills and liquor that is in the home.

3. Establish appropriate rules and consequences for drugs and alcohol use.

Consult with your spouse or partner about what appropriate rules and consequences would be. Make sure that you both feel comfortable enforcing them. When you set a limit, it is crucially important that you send a consistent message from both parents. Follow through so that your teenager knows you mean business.

4. Get professional help if needed.

If your teenager continues to use drugs and alcohol, call a psychologist or social worker. It is important to reach out to a mental health clinician who specializes in substance use treatment.

5. Encourage your teenager!

Sports, reading, volunteer work, after school job, or other constructive hobbies will occupy their time outside of school. When teens are busy with fun and rewarding activities, they are less likely to experiment with drugs and alcohol.

Article contributed by Your Teen Magazine for Parents. Sign-up for your newsletter today.

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If you believe your teen is using or abusing drugs or alcohol, you have exhausted your local resources, please contact us for more information on residential therapy.

 

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RESET: Summer Digital Detox Program for Teens

Posted by Sue Scheff on March 28, 2020  /   Posted in Digital Parenting, Featured Article, Mental Health, Summer Camps, Teen Help, Troubled Teens

RESET SUMMER CAMP

Serious Help for Technology Addiction

Looking for a summer digital detox program that is both affordable and effective?

Welcome to Reset.

Digital Addiction

Today we are facing a time when teen depression is on the rise. Young people are struggling with anxiety, stress and overwhelmed by peer pressure. They are isolating themselves – completely immersed in their screens without considering their emotional or physical health.

Symptoms:

-An obsession with being online
-Frustration, anxiety, and irritability when not able to get online
-Abandoning friends or hobbies in order to stay digitally connected
-Continuing to spend time online even after negative repercussions (such as failing grades, deteriorating relationships, and even health issues)

Getting Help

Reset Summer Camp offers a fully immersive, clinical program hosted on a university campus, providing a fun-filled summer camp atmosphere. Participants are able to detox from their screen addiction and learn how to self-regulate, as they participate in individual and group therapy.

Life Skills

The Life Skills program cultivates responsibility and builds self-confidence, so campers will be prepared to handle their real-world obligations. Everything from healthy meal-prep and laundry skills to basic vehicle upkeep and a healthy sleep schedule.

Therapeutic Setting

Their staff includes experienced youth-development professionals, clinical interns, registered nurses, and private-practice mental health PhDs who work daily with those suffering from problematic use of technology, including gaming addiction and other unhealthy screen-time habits.

With 4-weeks of intensive therapeutic intervention, a full Family Workshop weekend and 12-weeks of individual follow-up with every camper, Reset Summer Camp stands alone as the leader in summer digital detox programs.

Aftercare

Reset Summer Camp isn’t done when your teen goes home. What sets them apart from others is their therapeutic after-care. Counselors will be available to help you, your teen and your family find a healthy relationship at home with technology.

Dates and rates

Santa Barbara, CA: Teens (13-17) July 5-August 2nd
New Brunswick, Canada: Teens (13-17) July 19 – August 15th
Harpers Ferry, WV: Young adults (18-26) fall of 2020, call for more information
All 4-week programs are $7850.00.
Please contact RESET for financing options.

RESET also offers kid sessions (8-12 year-old) at their Santa Barbara location at $4250.00 for two weeks.

Contact RESET at 1-775-771-3171 to learn more or email at info@resetsummercamp.com and visit them on Facebook.

Apply now.

As featured on the Today Show:

P.U.R.E. is not compensated by RESET Summer Camp.

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Screen Time During COVID-19: Raising Humans In A Digital World

Posted by Sue Scheff on March 28, 2020  /   Posted in Cyberbullying, Digital Parenting, Featured Book, Internet Addiction, Mental Health, Online Repuation, Parenting Books, Parenting Teens, Teen Help

“Is Internet Addiction Really A Thing?”

YES!

Building a healthy relationship with devices starts at home.

Author Diana Graber is helping parents teach their teens and kids build a healthy relationship with technology. It’s not about removing their devices – it’s about finding the right balance in a digital world.

Raising Humans In A Digital World is your answer.

Screen Time During COVID-19

Suddenly families across the globe are finding themselves at home with kids who are staring at screens more than ever. For many, this is a necessity. Technology is their only access to schoolwork and to their peers. While families may have had firm screen time rules in place pre-pandemic, these have largely gone out the window. And that’s okay.

Still, it is important for parents to help their kids take a much-needed break from their screens now and then, and this is easiest to do if you provide them with alternatives to their screens. Especially if it’s an alternative they came up with themselves.

How We Do This In School

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During normal times, I teach an in-school course called Cyber Civics to middle school students. It’s a series of digital literacy lessons that cover the whole spectrum of online life. One of the topics we explore is “screen time.” Here is a key lesson from our curriculum that I also share in my book “Raising Humans in a Digital World: Helping Kids Build a Healthy Relationship with Technology,” that you might find useful at this time:

Make an Offline Bucket List

Many teens and kids today find their most pleasurable experiences online, and that’s too bad because the real world offers lots of pleasurable experiences too. Dr. David Greenfield, an internationally-recognized authority on the treatment of Internet and Technology Addictions, helps his patients reconnect with offline life’s pleasures by having them write down one hundred things they can do without a screen. Even though many find this activity challenging initially, once they get going it becomes easier, and their lists become road maps, full of real-time activities to choose from when the urge to plug in hits.

This is a great activity for kids to do too. The goal is for them to make a list they can refer to when you suggest they take a break from technology and they inevitably tell you they have nothing to do. Here’s how to get started:

  1. Get a large piece of blank white paper. Write “My Offline Bucket List” at the top. Challenge your kids to come up with at least 50 non-digital they’d love to do. For example, they could paint, bake a cake, learn to skateboard, or camp in the backyard (These activities will vary according to each child’s age and interests.) They could write a letter to Grandma, make dinner with you, or walk the dog. The point is for them to come up with at least 50 ideas and write them down.
  1. Post this list in a prominent place in your house. Encourage your children to refer to it when they’ve been online too long. You might make your own list to refer to as well, and use it when you find yourself scrolling mindlessly through your Facebook feed. The point is to give your children fun, non-screen alternatives that they come up with themselves. Your kids may even find these new offline experiences so much fun that they end up craving a good hike over making another TikTok video. Who knows?

We often forget that this generation of kids simply do not know a world without digital devices to fill in every moment of boredom. Help them by letting them discover the joys of the offline world, before we all forget what they are.

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Contributor: Diana Graber, author of Raising Humans In A Digital World

Are you interested in summer digital detox camps? Learn more here.

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Parenting Teens In A Hookup and Sex Culture: How to start a conversation

Posted by Sue Scheff on January 12, 2020  /   Posted in Featured Article, Mental Health, Parenting Teens, Sexting, Teen Help

How to Talk to Teenagers about Hookups and Sex

By Sari Cooper, LSCW

As a certified sex therapist, speaker and mom, I understand the anxieties around teen sexuality and the topic of hooking up. Most parents are worried. Does a teen have the maturity to walk through the emotional, psychological, and medical consequences of engaging in oral sex or intercourse?

The definition of “hooking up” is ambiguous and can change with each situation, from making out to having sexual intercourse. And whether it is bragging or shaming will also fluctuate.

Biology accounts for teen sexuality. Hormones during puberty are responsible for boys’ erections and the tingling feelings in girls’ genitals and breasts. The biological basis is set, but the peer community establishes the norms.

It is important to  talk to your teen about sex and hookups.

Tips for Talking about Sex and Hooking Up:

1. Define hookup.

Ask your teen what their friends mean when they use “hookup.” If your teen is willing to talk, ask them about what their peers have done sexually at which ages. It’s easier for teens to talk about other kids than to talk about themselves.

2. Describe normal.

Describe the actual physical feelings that are normal for this age. Clarify that it is normal to crave the pleasure associated with making out with someone you’re attracted to. Use the word masturbation when describing the natural way boys AND GIRLS can take care of those longings in private. Masturbation is the SAFEST SEX, yet most parents are too embarrassed to talk about it.

3. Understand STIs.

Educate yourself about the most common STIs (sexually transmitted infections): how they are transferred (some can be passed by rubbing without penetration or through oral sex) and the best ways to protect oneself from them. Oral Herpes can be passed through oral sex without a barrier, like a condom or dental dam.

4. Use correct terminology.

Girls should get to know their own genitalia. Use the term “clitoris” (not vagina, since the nerve endings and pleasure are primarily focused in the clitoris).

5. Acknowledge the DOUBLE STANDARD for girls.

This is not a bitter exclamation, rather an explanation of reality. A girl involved in oral sex or sexual intercourse may be labeled as easy, a slut or a whore.

6. Establish appropriate state of mind.

Use the words “conscious,” “responsible” and “authentic” to describe the state of mind that is necessary before making these decisions. “Sober” and “smart” also work. However, your teen might experiment without feeling emotionally crushed afterwards. This part may be hard for parents to accept.

7. Explain your family values.

Be very clear about your family values. Let your teen know what you feel is the healthiest situation to experiment with his or her feelings and with whom. Let them know that real life is different than movies. Real sexual hookups might not be physically or emotionally wonderful.

8. Set specific ages for sexual activity.

Most parents will say something vague like, “When you meet someone you love or when you get married, you will be glad you waited.” This is too vague for most teens. Like the age for a driver’s license, let your teen know when you think your teen would be emotionally prepared to have oral sex and intercourse. (Then add two more years. Adding two years anticipates their need to rebel and try it sooner.)

9. Stress trust.

Stress the importance of trusting their partner. Ask, “If you do choose to engage in some sexual behavior, will your partner keep the information private or spread it around online or at school?”

10. Articulate guidelines.

If you agree with certain behaviors at certain ages, let them know what they are, and ask them to do it with a person they trust and in a private place beyond the phones of others who can shoot a photo and upload it on social media sites without their permission.

11. Share information.

Sexual education books and videos can help teens understand their bodies and the many ways to feel pleasure and prevent STIs.

12. Buy condoms.

Show your teen how to put a condom on a cucumber. This ensures that they know how to use them safely to prevent the transfer of herpes or other STIs. Do the same with dental dams or saran wrap when oral sex is given to women.

Saying no is one type of empowerment, but having the tools to say yes safely is a more realistic type of empowerment. You wouldn’t let your teen drive the car without getting driving lessons first. Don’t let your teens out the door without a full sex education.

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Article republished with permission from  Your Teen for Parents. Visit them for more educational articles on parenting teens today.

Also read: Sex Hasn’t Changed It’s Our Culture Giving it a Bad Rap

Book recommendation, our featured book, Boys & Sex .

Also check-out Peggy Orenstein’s book, Girls & Sex.

 

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Boys & Sex: Young Men on Hookups, Love, Porn, Consent, and Navigating the New Masculinity

Posted by Sue Scheff on January 12, 2020  /   Posted in Featured Book, Mental Health, Parenting Teens, Struggling Teen Help, Teen Help, Uncategorized

Young Men on Hookups, Love, Porn, Consent, and Navigating the New Masculinity

Author Peggy Orenstein’s new book, Boys & Sex, is based on extensive interviews with more than 100 college and college-bound boys and young men across the U.S. between the ages of 16 and 22 on intimacy, consent and navigating masculinity. They spanned a broad range of races, religions, classes and sexual orientations.

In Boys & Sex, Peggy Orenstein dives back into the lives of young people to once again give voice to the unspoken, revealing how young men understand and negotiate the new rules of physical and emotional intimacy.

Drawing on comprehensive interviews with young men, psychologists, academics, and experts in the field, Boys & Sex dissects so-called locker room talk; how the word “hilarious” robs boys of empathy; pornography as the new sex education; boys’ understanding of hookup culture and consent; and their experience as both victims and perpetrators of sexual violence.

By surfacing young men’s experience in all its complexity, Orenstein is able to unravel the hidden truths, hard lessons, and important realities of young male sexuality in today’s world. The result is a provocative and paradigm-shifting work that offers a much-needed vision of how boys can truly move forward as better men.

Listen to Peggy Orensten on NPR talk about her recent book, Boys & Sex.

Order from Amazon.

Boys & Sex is available at your favorite book store including Amazon.

Also check-out Peggy Orenstein’s book, Girls & Sex.

Order from Amazon.

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5 Things Parents Need to Know About Teen Vaping

Posted by Sue Scheff on December 09, 2019  /   Posted in Featured Article, Mental Health, Struggling Teen Help, Teen Depression, Teen Help, Troubled Teens

5 Things Parents Need to Know About Marijuana E-Cigarettes

 

By Jane Parent, Your Teen Magazine

Susan was in her 16-year-old son’s room recently. She discovered a weird looking sort of pen on his dresser. She didn’t know what it was, but she did a little digging and discovered it was a vape pen. “I was shocked to learn that my son could be using this pen to smoke any number of substances, says Susan.” “There was no smell or smoke in his bedroom while I was in the next room. I had no idea.”

Electronic cigarettes in the form of vape pens and cartridges are more popular than ever, especially among high school students. E-cigarette use among teenagers has been rapidly increasing nationally, with more than 32% of 10th graders reporting vaping in the past year, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. “The good news is that middle and high school kids understand the health risks of smoking cigarettes,” says Dr. Laura Offutt, founder of online teen health resource Real Talk with Dr. Offutt. “Unfortunately, they’ve also absorbed the marketing message that e-cigarettes are a safer, healthier alternative.”

Marijuana E-Cigarette: Vaping THC To Get High

And teens use vaping devices to do more than just vape nicotine. According to the Yale study, nearly one in five users has also used e-cigarettes for marijuana. Law enforcement officials warn parents that teens are also using these devices looking to experiment with drugs. Beware that e-cigs can be used to vaporize opiates, synthetic substances like flakka (an amphetamine-like drug similar to bath salts), and designer forms of “synthetic  weed” such as K2 and Spice.

How are teens using e-cigarettes for marijuana? E-cigarettes are powered by batteries that activate a heating element when inhaled. The heat vaporizes a liquid nicotine solution contained in a small tube. Hash oil can be substituted for the nicotine solution. Some vendors sell hash oil cartridges. More worrisome, kids are also learning to make their own. “Some kids are dissolving hash oil or THC in glycerin or vegetable oil. Or they steep the leaves in the liquid (like making tea with tea leaves), and then vaporizing that liquid” says Offutt. “Numerous social media outlets have extensive discussion about how to do this. The information is available and accessible online.”

5 Things to Know and Look Out For:

Here are 5 things parents should know about vape pens and signs of vaping weed.

1. Vape pens are a discreet way to use drugs.

“These devices like a ballpoint pen, a USB memory stick, or a stylus,” says Offutt. “And they’re easy to conceal. Some are specifically designed to disguise what they are. Kids can casually use them on the school bus or even in class. And you won’t know they’re getting high because they are smokeless and odorless.” Parents should familiarize themselves with vape pens.

2. Inhaling pot from a vape pen intensifies the user’s “high.”

THC is used in vape pens to get high. THC is the active compound in marijuana responsible for the sensation of being “high.” Studies have found these liquids can be thirty times more concentrated than dry marijuana leaves. “Today’s pot is also much stronger than the pot that parents may have smoked when they were young. And now marijuana plants are specifically bred for higher THC concentration,” says Offutt. “Vaping may deliver a far more potent form of whatever drug is being used. Your teen might not anticipate the intensified side effects and the increased risk of addiction.”

3. Vape pens are easy to acquire.

Federal regulations make it illegal to sell e-cigarettes to children under 18. But these regulations don’t prevent teens from buying the devices online. Regardless of age, kids can order a wide selection of vaping and legal weed paraphernalia. The illegal purchase will be conveniently delivered, no questions asked. “If your son is suddenly getting packages delivered at home and is very enthusiastic about getting the mail,” warns Offutt. “This should be a red flag to investigate what he’s buying.”

4. Marijuana is addictive and harmful for developing brains.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, marijuana use interferes with brain development. Usage can cause short-term memory loss, slow learning, decreased sperm count, and lung damage. “It continually amazes me to discover parents who give their blessing to their kid’s pot use. Like it’s no big deal,” says Offutt. “Marijuana is addictive. And today’s marijuana is far more potent and poses a higher risk of addiction, particularly for kids with a family history of addiction.”

5. Watch for physiological symptoms of drug use.

If your teen is using e-cigarettes for pot and has an abuse problem, you may observe side effects. Your teen can experience nosebleeds, dry mouth syndrome, red eyes, and increased appetite. There may also be behavior changes. Red flags include suddenly becoming withdrawn, seclusion beyond what is normal, a different friend group, or erratic behavior.

If parents observe any of the above signs, they may have good reason to suspect that their teen is vaping drugs. In that instance, connect your child with treatment resources for help—before it’s potentially too late.

**This article was republished with permission from Your Teen Magazine.

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If you believe your teen is struggling with substance use, and you have exhausted your local resources, contact us to find out if residential therapy is your next step.

Also check out the parent vaping workshop offered by Your Teen for Parents.

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