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Sep 28, 2009

Tips for parents taking an active role in their teen’s overcoming addiction

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Part 4 of helping your teen as they are overcoming addiction

Here are some tips:

  • Start a conversation by asking open-ended questions. Open-ended questions…
    • cannot be answered “yes or “no
    • allow your child to give spontaneous and honest answers—she should tell her story in her own words
    • usually begin with:
      • “Tell me about…
      • “Describe…
      • “To what extent…
      • “What was that like?
      • “Help me understand…
  • Affirm his worth, courage and challenges. Affirming statements show your understanding and appreciation. For example:
    • “I know how hard this is for you.
    • “You showed a lot of courage.
    • “You overcame a major obstacle last week.
    • “I am so glad you are home.
    • “You are doing great this week.
    • “No one does this perfectly.
    • “I am proud of you.
    • “I love you.

Remember that recovery from addiction is a long walk that is best taken in the company of loving involved families.


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Sep 26, 2009

Emotional challenges that parents will face when their teen is recovering from an addictive disease

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Part 3 of facing your teen’s addiction
Substance abuse hinders emotional development in teens. This is due to the psychoactive effects of drugs on the emotional center (limbic system) in the brain. All drugs of abuse change how this part of the brain functions. Teens learn that using drugs and alcohol will quickly change their mood. When a teen is bored, smoking marijuana makes the time pass. When they feel depressed, alcohol or cocaine works wonders—for a while.
We become emotionally mature by experiencing all of our feelings and learning how to cope with them. It may take several years of sobriety for some teens to catch up emotionally. Helping your teen talk about his feelings and express them appropriately is not easy. It will require patience and persistence and, most of all, a willingness to listen.


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Sep 25, 2009

Social challenges that parents face when their teen is recovering from an addictive disease

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Part 2 of facing your teen’s addiction
One of the indications of addiction is the extent to which one’s life becomes organized around using drugs or alcohol. For addicted teens, there is almost always a well-defined sub-culture of friends, associates, parties, and rituals that becomes the center of their social life. Healthy activities that used to capture their imagination such as sports and academics soon become secondary to the “party culture.
Helping teens find a new, drug-free social life is no small thing. It’s not as simple as plopping them back into healthy activities. They will need real friends, excitement and purpose for their life. Unfortunately, many lack the social skills and emotional maturity to seek and sustain new friends. Parents must step in and lead.
Healthy recovery groups for teens and young adults are hard to find. As a result, they will have times of loneliness, sadness and boredom as they transition into their new life of recovery.
Here are some tips to help you help your teen:

  • If your child went through a treatment program, ask about after-care services and recovery groups in your community. Many treatment centers will assist in finding a 12-step sponsor or 12-step support group.
  • Check with your local Alcoholics Anonymous (http://aa.org) or Narcotics Anonymous (http://na.org) about local meetings. Local churches may also have faith-based recovery groups such as Celebrate Recovery (www.celebraterecovery.com/).
  • Try to keep him active and engaged by planning fun family activities or weekend trips, or just hanging out with him.
  • Find a church or faith community with a vibrant program for teens.
  • Acknowledge that recovery is difficult and sometimes “boring. Ask how you can help today.
  • Watch for healthy, drug- and alcohol-free teens or young adults and social events.
  • No matter how bored she becomes do not lower the bar by letting her hang out with her old drug-using friends or go to parties where alcohol is available. Stand strong because the risk of giving in is too great.

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Sep 24, 2009

How Parents can take an active role in their teen’s recovery from addictive disease?

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Part 1 of facing your teen’s addiction
During illness, good parents instinctively attend to their children’s needs and provide an ample supply of love and comfort. As the child recovers, family life quickly returns to normal.
Unfortunately, it’s not the same when a teen becomes addicted to drugs or alcohol.
Drug and alcohol dependence are chronic, debilitating disorders where recovery is possible, but a cure is not. Some addicted teens require prolonged treatment or multiple stints in treatment to achieve sustained abstinence and return to a productive and fulfilled life. But unlike recovery from strep throat, addicted teens must remain actively engaged in their recovery—perhaps for the rest of their lives. If they do not, relapse is certain.
Recovery is often a struggle for both the teenager and his parents. In this series, we will deal with social challenges, the emotional challenges, and tips for facing these issues as you support a teen in their recovery.

 


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Sep 23, 2009

How do I keep my child from being deceitful?

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Character involves many things from being a person of faith, to someone who works hard, who abides by their commitments and responsibilities, who has come into their own sense of themselves and their worth. However, the true character of a person is who they are when no one else is watching. It is in the little things that true character manifests itself.
For instance, if a salesperson gives you too much change, do you go back to the store and return the correct amount, or rationalize: “It was his/her mistake, not mine. Deceit is one of those behaviors that uncovers a deep root of dishonor which, if not checked, will grow into a major character flaw that will destroy every aspect of a person’s life.
As parents, we should not tolerate deceit in any form from our children. If left unchecked, it will be a major flaw in your child’s interactions with others.
This requires us as parents to be very alert to deceitful behavior at any age. Does your child embellish the truth? Do they tell you they are going one place, only to find they were not there at all? Do they tell you what they think you want to hear, and then do whatever they want to do? Some parents say,  “Sure, my child lies occasionally…but he’s basically a good kid.
There IS no occasional lie. Even the smallest one belies an internal character flaw: a lack of honor and integrity. Their word not only means nothing…but worse, he does not care. At the Paul Anderson Youth Home, after the first instance of deceit, we may opt for counseling rather than punishment, to explain God’s principles of character and honor, and then issue a clear warning that there will be severe consequences if the behavior continues. If it does, we follow through with holding the young man accountable. By clearly communicating your standards and expectations, you can begin to develop a trust relationship based on their character. But if they are deceitful, there can be no trust, which is foundational to all relationships.


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Sep 22, 2009

The first five years of a child’s life

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The first five years are critical in a child’s overall development. Within this time frame, a child can embrace one of two realities: he/she grows up experiencing love and security and trust in his parents or he/she is not held and nurtured… he/she is placed in the arms of strangers who are not connected to him/her… his/her family is torn apart by rancor, insecurity, turmoil, abuse, alcoholism, divorce… he/she lives with step-parents in whom he/she feels no bond and step-siblings whose presence threaten his/her place with his natural parent.
If seeds of love, security, and trust are planted early, the child’s inner spirit is literally welcomed into life, which can be seen in his/her face. He/she is a child who knows within the depth of his/her being that he/she is cherished and wanted. The other type of child; however, like many of those who come to the Paul Anderson Youth Home, grows up with an emotional vacuum or hole in his/her heart, and by the time he is a teenager, that vacuum is filled with rage. That hole will be filled with something. Often that something is drugs, or sex, or food, or anything, that will seemingly cover the emptiness, but without love, security, and trust, that emptiness will remain. To be a diligent parental steward, you must invest into your child’s life. If you do this during the first five years, you will reap the dividends of that investment as your child goes through the difficult teen years.


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Sep 21, 2009

Does my child have ADHD and are there different types?

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ADHD is the most common neurobiological disorder in children. Just why the prevalence of ADHD has increased in the last 30 years is unclear. Certainly the world in which children live today is faster paced with countless distractions and stimulations that did not exist 30 years ago. I agree that ADHD is often misdiagnosed, but that does not mean that it isn’t real–it is, and children who have ADHD suffer tremendously.Without proper diagnosis and treatment, children with ADHD are at increased risk for school failure, depression, problems with relationships, substance abuse, delinquency, increased risk for accident, injuries and job failure in adulthood.
ADHD is characterized by developmentally inappropriate levels of inattention, impulsivity, and activity. Until recently it was believed that children eventually outgrew ADHD, as hyperactivity generally wanes during the teen years. However, it is now known that ADHD persists from childhood through adolescence and often into adulthood.
The current body of scientific literature now views the disorder as existing on a spectrum that includes specific subtypes, symptoms and varying degrees of severity.

Does my child have ADHD?

Three types of ADHD have been established according to which symptoms are strongest or most predominant in the individual.
Predominantly Inattentive Type: These children have tremendous difficulty organizing or finishing task, paying attention to details, or to follow instructions or conversations. The child is easily distracted and forgets details of daily routines.
Specific Symptoms of Inattention Include:

  • Poor attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or other activities.
  • Difficulty sustaining attention on tasks or play activities.
  • Appearing not to listen when spoken to directly.
  • Frequent failure to follow instructions and finish schoolwork or chores.
  • Difficulty organizing activities.
  • Often avoids, dislikes, or doesn’t want to do things that demand sustained mental effort such as reading and general homework
  • Often loses things needed for tasks and activities (e.g. toys, school assignments, pencils, books, or tools).
  • Is often easily distracted.
  • Is often forgetful in daily activities.

Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Type: The child fidgets and talks a lot. It is hard to sit still for long periods of time. Younger children may run, jump or climb constantly. The child appears restless and impulsive.
Specific Symptoms of Hyperactivity Include:

  • Often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat.
  • Difficulty remaining seated in class or during other structured environments.
  • Climbs and runs when and where it is not appropriate.
  • Often have trouble playing or enjoying leisure activities quietly.
  • High energy; is”on the go” constantly.
  • Talks excessively.
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Often blurts out answers before questions have been finished.
  • Often has trouble waiting one’s turn.
  • Often interrupts or butts into conversations or games.
  • Some symptoms are present before age 7.
  • Impairment is present in at least two different environments (e.g. at school and at home).

Combined Type: Symptoms of the above both types are evident.
If you are concerned about your child, talk with your pediatrician. He or she can evaluate your child and assist you in finding the best treatment in your area. Remember, ADHD is an illness. Your child does not want to be unfocused or inattentive any more than he or she would want strep throat. The good news is that ADHD is highly treatable, so the sooner you get help the better. Having a child with ADHD is hard on parents and on families so don’t go it alone. Talk with trusted friends, family members or your pastor. Pray for healing, patience and guidance and never forget that God loves your child even more than you do.


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Sep 18, 2009

Will my child turn out okay?

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In Matthew 13, Jesus gives us the parable of the sower. The sower sows many seeds, many of which never reach their designed growth. Only a few good seeds thrive. The question arises:what can we do to better our chances of having a good seed grow instead of a bad seed? Ask any gardener…he knows.

Will my child turn out ok?

A fruitful garden takes time and patience. The ground needs to be carefully tilled and prepared; the right nutrients must be added to enhance each seed’s growth. The rocks must be removed, and furrows made to guide the growth of each individual seed. Once the seeds are planted, even greater care is required to maintain proper growth of the garden. The gardener needs to regularly water it… uproot the weeds that spring up… protect the garden from insects and wildlife…carefully examine each plant, to make sure it is free from disease. He knows the painstaking work that goes into each planting season and has good reason to give thanks when his garden produces a bountiful crop. This is a perfect picture of the eternal principle of sowing and reaping. When we sow good seeds and nurture them properly, we WILL reap blessings. That is God’s way…and His promise.
We have to ask ourselves: are we giving such meticulous care to our families? Are we planting the seeds of truth, righteousness, integrity, values, and character? Are we liberally watering our child with love, prayer, encouragement, and consistent discipline? Then the toughest question of all: are we taking the time day by day to nurture these precious seeds, stand guard over them, ever-diligent to ward off even the slightest threat to their maturity? If we are, then our child will turn out OKAY.
 


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Sep 17, 2009

When parental correction is necessary

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The lady had briskly left her seat about midway in the center section of the church pews and had taken her nine year old son by the hand and removed him from his seat on the front row. At first I thought her action meant on the spot punishment for the boy or at best his longest reprieve would be until she got him out the front door of the church.
My assumption concerning the woman’s intentions proved to be one hundred percent wrong. Her anger was not directed toward the boy she was now leading out the door of the sanctuary: it was toward me. The unmistaken evidence of this was not only the icy stare she had given me as she had glared at me behind the pulpit but also her verbal outburst as she walked out the door. “No one is going to talk to MY child like that!”
My words had triggered this incident in the packed church where I was speaking. I had performed several feats of strength and was about eight minutes into my message when it became absolutely necessary to speak to the group of boys on the first pew concerning their conduct. They were progressively getting out of hand and beginning to disturb the entire service. The apparent leader of the misbehavior was the lady’s son who was offended by my mild scolding, which went something like this: “Fellows, settle down. Remember you are in the Lord’s house.”
I am always reluctant to correct young people in the audience, because I know there is a possibility that it will be embarrassing for their parents or the audience as a whole. Regardless of my feelings in this matter, if we were to continue the worship service, my reprimand was necessary. When the woman retrieved her son and chastened me with such a fiery tongue lashing, I realized a direct rebuttal from me was essential in order to salvage the remainder of the service. I knew there was a possibility that the other boys’ parents might follow the outraged lady’s example, which would destroy the entire evening. After a two second prayer for guidance, I said, “We can protect and even rescue our children from situations brought on by their misbehavior when they are small and the transgression is minor, but, we cannot deliver them out of a prison when they grow up.”
Now came the critical time. What would be the congregation’s reaction to my remark? Would they all walk out? Could I expect a silent and “zombie-like” audience for the remainder of the service? No! I immediately heard several loud “amens” from all over the building and the rest of the evening was “spiritually enthusiastic,” to say the least.
As parents, we need to know how other adults see our children. Other adults are not blinded by the love and protective instinct we possess. By listening to the way teachers, coaches, spiritual leaders, and other interested adults see our boys and girls, we will be better equipped to guide and direct them.


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Sep 16, 2009

Why guys get addicted to Porn

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Guys get addicted to pornography because their brains cannot distinguish between pornography and the real thing.
Men who view porn can achieve full arousal within seconds. Because of dopamine reward, sexual images and memories are given priority by the brain because, like hunger and thirst,our sex drive is key to our survival. Like important files on a computer’s hard drive, pornographic images and associated emotions are easily provoked, accessed and opened.
For teens in particular, these images literally soil their brains, corrupt their thought life and pervert their perception of women, dating and love. As a result, guys who use porn extensively may never experience the true beauty of a real girl or the joy of a real romance. They simply settle for porn.
Research reveals that teens and young adults who consume online pornography are more likely to…

  • Begin sexual activity earlier than peers
  • Develop appetite for more graphic and deviant types of pornography
  • Incur persistent emotional problems such as depression, shame and remorse
  • Believe that the most gratifying sexual satisfaction is attainable without love or true affection
  • Believe that being married or having a family are undesirable
  • Develop sexual compulsions and addictive behaviors
  • Believe that deviant sexual practices such as group sex and sadomasochism are common and normal.

Pornography promises much but delivers only lust and temporary gratification. It darkens the heart and degrades the soul. The more one uses porn the greater the chance that they will never find true intimacy or real love. If you need help– get it now, because this problem thrives in secrecy. Talk with a trusted friend, parent, clergy member, or addiction counselor. Your life or your son’s life is too valuable to waste it on porn.


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