Saturday, June 25, 2011

Problem Teens and Parent Denial

Parents talking about their teens:

My daughter is so smart, she is highly intelligent.
My son is extremely handsome, very athletic and always had lots of friends.
My daughter is beautiful, was the captain of her cheerleading team etc....
My son has an IQ of 170, yet is failing.
My daughter wants to drop out of high school.
My son wants to get his GED and is not attending school.
My daughter made the varsity team and yet dropped out.
My son was swim captain and now was asked to leave the team. (He was caught with pot, but said it was his friends.
My daughter smokes pot, but it is only recreational.
My son likes to drink beer, but it isn't all the time.

Excuses for parents:

It is the friends he/she is hanging with.
The teacher doesn't like my son/daughter.
The school has zero tolerance.
His father isn't around enough.
The coach expects too much.
If it wasn't for this one neighbor, we wouldn't have these issues.


HelpYourTeens.com
Okay, these lists could go on for a long time but at the end of the day, week, month, year - it is YOUR son/daughter making the choice to hang with a certain friend, be a part of an undesirable peer group, and smoke that joint with a swig of alcohol! 

Parents that continue to live in this ship of denial will end up with many regrets.
Parent that believe that sending their teen to a residential therapy program for help is a sign of their (the parent's) failure, are very much mistaken.
Parents that hope and pray things will change - we only wish them the best, in some (very rare) situations, it will get better.
Parents that believe changing schools will make a difference, think twice.
Parents that literally move and believe things will change with a fresh start, think again.

Like adults that attempt to run from their problems, your teens are no different.  If they are struggling now, chances are very good they will be struggling shortly after the change again.

You are not a failure, this is not your fault - and it is time to stop the blaming and start the healing.  After exhausting all your local resources - it may be time to find outside help, and that can mean residential.

True, you don't want to put your teen in a program that houses hard-core teens, but it is also true you need to find a program that has strong emotional growth (clinical), fully accredited academically (don't miss out on an education), as well as the critical component of enrichment programs.  You need to find the passion in your teen to help stimulate them to a positive direction in life.

Learn more by visiting www.helpyourteens.com.

Join us on Facebook.

Residential Treatment Centers (RTC), Therapeutic Boarding Schools (TBS), Emotional Growth Programs, Wilderness Programs, State Funded Programs, Programs for Low-Income, Boot Camps, Scared Straight Programs, Tough Love, Summer Camps, Short Term Programs, Traditional Boarding Schools, Military Schools, Reform Schools, JAIL.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Teen Help Parents Helping Parents New Facebook Forum


Are you struggling with a teen that was always a good kid - now making some horrible choices?

Are they hanging out with kids that are questionable?

Did you get a report card that was less than acceptable?

Have you seen evidence of them smoking or using other substances?  Maybe drinking?

Don't be parent in denial!  You are only prolonging them getting the help they may need.  You don't want to see them get arrested - you want to see them get back on a positive road to a bright future.

Join us on Facebook - and LIKE our community of professionals, parents and educators that want to help.

Also visit www.HelpYourTeens.com for a free consultation.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Wilderness Programs and Problem Teens

Wilderness Programs (Brat Camps)
What is a "Wilderness Program?"  If you are a parent that is struggling with a teenager that is out-of-control, you will surf the Internet and attempt to find help.  Many parents first think of boot camps as a resolution - a way to teach our teen a lesson.  Then you realize that maybe that is not the best avenue and you are somehow directed to wilderness programs.  Not always, but especially if you have hired an Educational Consultant, their first recommendation is commonly Wilderness programs.

There are many very good Wilderness Programs in our country, however the question remains, are they necessary or should you go directly to where most teens eventually end up:  Residential Therapy program.

Wilderness programs are mainly designed to break a teen down.  Although they are not punitive, in comparison to a boot camp, they are primitive, forcing your teen to appreciate the luxuries he had at home. 

However, a residential therapy program can do the same thing, since many are not designed by Hilton (TM).  Have you also thought about this:  Your teen is already broken down, why do we need to continue to break him/her down?

Let's look at the pro's and cons. 
  • Wilderness programs can cost you up to $500.00 a day. Yes, a day.  Some start as little as $250.00 a day (Yes, as little as).  Now multiply that by 30 days or actually 6 weeks, since the average stay in Wilderness is 6-9 weeks.  At the low end: A month in the mountains will cost you $7500.00.  That is questionable to many, as well as out of the financial means of many more.
  • Wilderness program rarely have academics.  Fact is your teen is probably not focused on academics and could care less about them.  Working on their emotional stability is the goal here, however it shouldn't be an excuse to delay education.  Although your child may not care about their education, you do. 
  • Wilderness programs are short term.  Short term program, short term results and a lot of money.  In most cases they go on to residential programs which will run you about another $5000.00 a month and up for another 10-12 months.  Wouldn't it make sense to start and finish at the same place with the same therapist and the consistency of recovery?
  • Wilderness programs are sadly where we hear of the most deaths or accidents in teen help programs.  It is true, accidents can happen in any program, however when listening to speakers in congress while attempting to pass a bill to stop abuse in residential programs, it seemed the parents that lost a child in a program were mainly in Wilderness programs.
Some positives:
  • If your teen has not escalated to a point of serious concern, and is just starting to make some poor choices, maybe a 6-9 week wake-up call is all that is needed.  As long as you can afford it, and remember, if they decide he/she needs more than the 6-9 weeks, you need to be prepared to go the next step.
  • The teen is removed from their home environment.  They are put in a place of isolation and maybe this is just what they need to reflect on their current negative behavior.
  • There are some excellent Wilderness programs with very good and caring staff in our country.  Many teens that had a wilderness experience really feel it was very good.  Many parents also believe that the Wilderness program helped their child get ready for the next step, residential therapy.
  • Wilderness programs offer a great opportunity for your teen to live outdoors and experience outdoor therapy.  With some teens this is very beneficial. 

This is a personal decision, and although I am not an advocate of Wilderness programs I can appreciate and respect parents that believe they need this extra step and it has worked for them.  It is my philosohy that starting and finishing at the program is part of the consistency of healing.  Having to switch programs and therapists (especially) and starting over, can feel like you have fallen back to ground zero. However, each family is different with different needs, so this is an individual decision.

Is Wilderness right for your teen?  Only you can answer that.

Order today.
Order Wit's End! Advice and Resources for Saving Your Out-of-Control Teen for more information on finding the best placement for your individual needs.

Need more information? Visit www.HelpYourTeens.com

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Agressive and Defiant Teens: When Parents Reach their Wit's End

Get help today for your at-risk teen.
As a special guest post from Janet Lehman addressing aggressive behavior among children and teens, it is a constant issue I hear among parents I speak with.

Janet Lehman has some excellent and educational information I would like to share with my readers about this type of negative behavior:

Aggressive Teens

Excerpt by Janet Lehman

There is no excuse for abuse, physical or otherwise. That rule should be written on an index card with a black magic marker and posted on your refrigerator. The message to your child is, “If you’re abusive, there’s no excuse. I don’t want to hear what the reason was. There’s no justification for it. There’s nobody you can blame. You are responsible and accountable for your abusive behavior. And by ‘responsible,’ I mean it’s nobody else’s fault, and by ‘accountable’ I mean there will be consequences.”

When your child is aggresssive or abuses anyone in your family, remind him of the rule. Say,You’re not allowed to abuse people. Go to your room.” Be prepared for him to blame the victim, because that’s what abusive people do; it’s an easy way out. Abusive people say, “I wouldn’t have abused you but you…” and fill in the blank. So your child might say, “I’m sorry I hit you, but you yelled at me.” What they’re really saying is, “I’m sorry I hit you, but it was your fault.” And if you listen to the apologies of many of these abusive kids, that’s what you get. “I’m sorry, but you wouldn’t give me a cookie.” “I’m sorry I called her a name but she wouldn’t let me play the video game.” What they’re constantly saying is, “I’m sorry, but it’s your fault,” and it absolutely does not mean they’re sorry. It means, “I’m sorry, but it’s not my responsibility.” And when a child doesn’t take responsibility for a certain behavior, they see no reason to change it. They’ve just learned to mimic the words. It becomes another false social construct that comes out of their mouths without any meaning or understanding behind it whatsoever—and if you buy into it, you’re allowing that child to continue his abusive behavior and power thrusting.

When children use aggressive or abusive behavior to solve their problems, it’s important that they learn a way to replace that behavior with healthier problem-solving skills. It’s just not enough to point out—and give consequences for—that  behavior. It’s also important to help your child replace their inappropriate behavior with something that will help him solve the problem at hand without getting into trouble or hurting others. Here’s the bottom line: if we don’t help kids replace their inappropriate behavior with something healthier, they’re going to fall back on the inappropriate behavior every time. That’s their default program.

Develop ways to have problem-solving conversations with your teen so the next time they’re faced with a similar situation, they'll be able to ask themselves what they can do to solve the problem differently, besides being aggressive or threatening. For instance, the next time your son calls his little sister names and threatens her physically in order to get her off the computer, you should not only correct him, but later, have a conversation with him when things calm down. That conversation should be, “The next time you’re frustrated when you want to get on the computer, what can you do differently so you don’t get into trouble and get more consequences. What can you do to get more rewards?”

I think the focus should be on how the aggressive child should avoid getting into trouble and being given consequences, rather than on how they should not hurt their brother. Abusive people don’t care about their victims. I don’t think we should be appealing to their sense of empathy and humanity. I think we should be appealing to their self-interest, because self-interest is a very powerful motivator. Look at it this way: if they had empathy or sympathy, they wouldn’t be doing it in the first place.
I want to note that if there’s physical aggression to the point where you or other family members aren’t safe, you really need to consider calling the police for help. This doesn’t mean that you’ve failed as a parent. Rather, you’re recognizing that you need some support. I know that calling the police is not an easy decision, but it’s not the end of the world either—it’s nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, it’s sometimes a way to regain control.

If you have a teen who’s been acting out aggressively his whole life, I want to stress again that even if these behaviors are ingrained, they can change—and they can change at any time.  When you start changing your response to your child and become more empowered, your child will probably act out more initially. You need to stick with it. It’s scary for kids when their parents begin to take charge. Your child has been used to a certain response from you over the years. In some ways there’s a sense of loss of control on their part. So as a result, you have to be a little bit stronger.

I also think it's vital to start structuring things differently in your home so that your child knows that change is happening. It may not be anything big at first, just something that says you’re back in the driver’s seat. You might say to your child, “We need to get you to be a more responsible part of our family. So when you get home from school, I want you to do the dishes. You also need to do your homework before you can have the car. If you don’t do those two things, you can’t have the car.” So you begin to set some limits. This is also when you need to start looking for things to change. Does the dishwasher actually get emptied? Is the homework getting done? It doesn’t mean that his aggressive behavior goes away totally; we’re not looking at a complete turnaround in 24 hours. Instead, we’re looking at those small steps that indicate that you’re in charge in the home and your child is not. Kids want their parents to have a sense of control; it gives them a sense of security and safety.

Changing and becoming a more effective parent can be a very long process. You need to keep sticking with it and understand that you can gain in your ability to be effective. The key is to be open to different ideas and different ways of doing things. Above all, I want to say this: don’t get discouraged. Things can change at any moment and at any time. In my practice with children and families, it was amazing to watch parents become more empowered. They developed a clear sense of who they were and how they could be more effective. And while your children are not going to thank you for becoming a more effective parent, down the road you will see them exhibiting the positive behaviors you helped them develop, which is the best reward of all.

*This article touches on some of the concerns parents have when they have a defiant, aggressive child. For a comprehensive approach to dealing with aggressive kids, my husband James Lehman and I created the Total Transformation Program for parents. It’s a step-by-step guide that helps you change your child’s behavior. Please click here for more information.

Thanks for sharing!

If you have reached a point where you can no longer control your teen, visit www.HelpYourTeens.com and join our community on Facebook.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Legal Pot Being Sold on Amazon?

'Legal Pot,' Made in China, Sold To U.S. Kids

If you missed ABC News recent report on fake pot, also known as spice, you need to take the time to learn about this today and now.  Teens are dying - yes, dying from this.  
 
High school students use "legal marijuana" or "herbal incense," marketed as K2, Spice and Potpourri, to get high because the products are legal, easily available and do not show up on drug tests.

According to ABC News, the products have spurred more than 4,000 calls to poison control centers around the country since 2010 and have been linked to deaths. The parents of 18-year-old David Rozga of Indianola, Iowa say their son committed suicide after he smoked K2 and became overwhelmed with anxiety.

"He just continued to become agitated -- indicating that he felt like he was in hell," said David's father Mike Rozga.

Detective Sergeant Brian Sher, who investigated Rozga's death for the Indianola police department, is adamant that smoking K2 is the only thing that could have triggered the suicide.

"I want people to know that," said Sher. "There are nay-sayers, but I can say definitively there's just nothing in the investigation to show that. Given what we know about K2 and Spice, David's anxiety, his feeling like he was in hell, has happened in many other cases." 

Wake up parents, this is accessible and available through websites as credible as Amazon.  An ABC News investigation found these products available on-line and at stores for anywhere from $15 to $85. Amazon.com did not respond to requests for comment.


Sunday, June 5, 2011

Teen Drug Use Prevention Tips

Drug use (substance abuse) is a serious cry for help, and making your teen feel ashamed or embarrassed can make the problem worse. Some common behavior changes you may notice if your teenager is abusing drugs and alcohol are:
  • Violent outbursts, rage, disrespectful behavior
  • Poor or dropping grades
  • Unexplained weight loss or gain
  • Skin abrasions, track marks
  • Missing curfew, running away, truancy
  • Bloodshot eyes, distinct “skunky” odor on clothing and skin
  • Missing jewelry money
  • New friends
  • Depression, apathy, withdrawal
  • Reckless behavior

Tips to help prevent substance abuse:

1. Communication is the key to prevention.
Whenever an opportunity arises about the risks of drinking and driving or the dangers of using drugs, take it to start a conversation.
2. Have a conversation not a confrontation.
If you suspect your teen is using drugs, talk to them. Don’t judge them, talk to them about the facts of the dangers of substance abuse. If your teen isn’t opening up to you, be sure you find an adolescent therapist that can help.
3. Addict in the family?
Do you have an addict in your family? Sadly many families have been effected by someone that has allowed drugs to take over their lives.  With this, it is a reminder to your teen that you want them to have bright future filled with happiness. The last thing you want for them is to end up like ____.
4. Don’t be a parent in denial.
There is no teenager that is immune to drug abuse. No matter how smart your teen is, or athletic they are, they are at risk if they start using. I firmly believe that keeping  your teen constructively busy, whether it is with sports, music or other hobbies they have, you will be less at risk for them to want to experiment. However don’t be in the dark thinking that your teen is pulling a 4.0 GPA and on the varsity football that they couldn’t be dragged down by peer pressure. Go back to number one – talk, talk, talk – remind your teen how proud you are of them, and let them know that you are always available if they feel they are being pressured to do or try something they don’t want to.
5. Do you know what your teen is saying?
Listen or watch on texts or emails for code words for certain drug lingo. Skittling, Tussing, Skittles, Robo-tripping, Red Devils, Velvet, Triple C, C-C-C-, Robotard are some of the names kids use for cough and cold medication abuse. Weed, Pot, Ganja, Mary Jane, Grass, Chronic, Buds, Blunt, Hootch, Jive stick, Ace, Spliff, Skunk, Smoke, Dubie, Flower, Zig Zag are all slang for marijuana.
6. Leftovers.
Are there empty medicine wrappers or bottles, burn marks on their clothes or rug, ashes, stench, etc in their room or if they own a car, in their car? Teens (and tweens) either take several pills or smash them so all of it is released at once. Be sure to check all pockets, garbage cans, cars, closets, under beds, etc. for empty wrappers and other evidence of drug use. Where are your prescription drugs? Have you counted them lately?
7. Body language.
Tune into changes in your teen’s behavior. Changing peer groups, altering their physical appearance and/or lack of hygiene, eating or sleeping patterns changing, hostile and uncooperative attitude (defiance), missing money or other valuables from the home, sneaking out of the house, etc.
8. Access to alcohol.
Look around your home, is there liquor that is easily accessible? Teens admit getting alcohol is easy-and the easiest place to get it is in their home. Know what you have in the house and if you suspect your teen is drinking, lock it up! Talk to them about the risks of drinking, especially if they are driving.
9. Seal the deal.
Have your teen sign a contract to never drink and drive. Students Against Drunk Driving (SADD) www.saddonline.com provides a free online contract to download. It may help them pause just the second they need to not get behind that wheel.
10. Set the example, be the example.
What many parents don’t realize is that you are the leading role model for your teen. If your teen sees you smoking or drinking frequently, what is the message you are sending? Many parents will have a glass of wine or other alcoholic beverage, however the teen needs to understand you are the adult, and there is a reason that the legal drinking age is 21.
Do you have a teen that you suspect is using drugs? Have you exhausted all your local resources? Take the time to learn about residential therapy, visit www.HelpYourTeens.com. Each teen and family are unique, there are many teen help programs, knowing how to locate the one best for you can be a challenge, however Parents’ Universal Resource Experts can help, starting with a free consultation.

Wit’s End! Advice and Resources for Saving Your Out-of-Control Teen, (Health Communications, Inc) is a book most parents will find comfort in. Not only does it share the struggles of raising a problem teen, my daughter who was a good kid, very athletic, yet made some bad choices, this book also outlines how to locate safe and quality schools and programs.

Learn from my mistakes, gain from my knowledge.” – Sue Scheff

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