HELP FOR PARENTS WITH STRONG-WILLED, OUT-OF-CONTROL CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS

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A Parent's Worst Nightmare: 2C-I ("Smiles")

A new killer drug has recently hit the U.S. All parents should be aware of this and talk to their teenagers about it:

2C-I (also called "Smiles") is becoming a serious problem. This drug comes in liquid, pill or powder form and is usually snorted or ingested.

Overdoses of the drug have been reported in Indiana and Minnesota, but 2C-I is surfacing in many parts of the country. During an overdose, the user’s muscles may become rigid and his/her body temperature becomes elevated. Overdoses have been known to cause seizures, kidney failure, and fatally high blood pressure.

The effects of 2C-I have been called a combination of MDMA (ecstasy) and LSD, only far more potent. Users have reported a speedy charge along with intense visual and aural hallucinations that can last anywhere from hours to days.

2C-I is relatively new. It first surfaced around 2003 in European party scenes and only recently made its way to the states. One user describes the high as a "roller coaster ride through hell," while another warns "do not drive on this drug," after recounting his own failed attempt on the highway.

According to data obtained by the American Association of Poison Control, half of those exposed to 2C-I in 2011 were teens. The fact that 2C-I is new and untraceable in standard drug tests makes it more of a challenge for physicians to treat. It also contributes to drug's growing popularity among high school and college-age young people.

Users of 2C-I report a physical stimulant effect, often quite strong and clean. The onset of effects usually occurs within two hours, and the effects of the drug typically last somewhere between 4 to 12 hours (depending on the dose). The effects of the drug at smaller dosages (less than 12 mg) have been reported as more mental and less sensory. The effects of the drug at larger dosages (12-30+ mg) are often described as combining psychedelic or hallucinogenic effects typical of drugs such as LSD with the empathogenic or entactogenic effects of drugs such as MDMA.

Users report feeling light and sometimes giddy or excited during the first two hours. Some physical effects include dilated pupils, high energy, and muscle relaxation. Unpleasant physical side-effects include muscle tension, nausea, and vomiting.

What teens need to know:
  • Unless they are aware of the problem, physicians in your area may not immediately test for this chemical if you are admitted to the hospital due to an impending overdose, which means they won't know what to do to help you!
  • Those caught distributing the drug face serious criminal charges.
  • Teens in North Dakota and Minnesota who gave or sold the drug to other teens who overdosed are now being charged with 3rd degree murder.
  • Teens who take 2C-I behave erratically and describe the trip as being an intense - and horrific - visual and aural hallucination that can last from hours to days.

If you suspect that your teenager is taking 2C-I or other synthetic drugs, consult with his or her doctor immediately!


My Out-of-Control Teen: Help for Parents

Are You Creating A Monster?

What’s up with this title: Are You Creating A Monster?  

Well… in other words, are you spending a lot of time, energy and money seeing to it that your child is as “happy as a lark” to the exclusion of helping him or her develop self-reliance and a sense of personal responsibility?

Kids don’t turn into a monster because they’re innately bad. Instead, an over-indulgent parent who doesn’t provide limits and structure can foster out-of-control behavior in children. If you are creating a monster, you’ll know it. Child monsters are rude to you and other grown-ups. They won’t share with other kids. They will act bossy and demand to be first in line. They don’t answer your questions and ignore your instructions. If you deny them a new toy or treat, you’ll face a tempest of crying, howling, and little fists pounding the floor. 

Here are a few more signs that you are in the process of creating a monster:
  1. Your child believes the rules do not apply to him.
  2. She can be very manipulative.
  3. He does not get along well with authority figures.
  4. She refuses to do any chores.
  5. Tantrums are normal in toddlers, but your 5-year-old is still throwing a fit every time she doesn't get what she wants.
  6. When you say "no" to your child, "no" eventually becomes a "maybe" which eventually becomes a "yes."
  7. You don’t want your son or daughter to have to go through what you went through as a child.
  8. You feel guilty because of having to work and not being able to spend enough time with your child, so you compensate by giving him a lot of freedom and privileges.
  9. You have a hard time asking your child to do a particular chore because you know it will likely start an argument.
  10. You rarely (if ever) leave your child with grandma or a babysitter.
  11. You serve dinner and your youngster doesn't want to eat what's on the table, so you go out of your way to make a special meal for him.
  12. You sometimes feel guilty about your parenting (e.g., “I haven’t done enough” or “I haven’t done a very good job”).
  13. You sometimes feel sorry for your child.
  14. You try to be your child’s “friend.”
  15. Your 6-year-old continues to act like a baby or toddler -- kicking and screaming, biting other kids, and not using age-appropriate ways of communicating her thoughts and feelings.
  16. Your child feels entitled to privileges, but not responsible for his actions.
  17. Your child is in charge (i.e., the tail is wagging the dog).
  18. She usually gets her way in the long run.
  19. He usually throws fits when it's time to go to school or day care.
  20. Your youngster can't go to sleep unless you're there.

So how do avoid creating a monster? By setting age-appropriate boundaries that let children go after life exuberantly and test the limits, starting in the toddler years. Here's how:

1. Many moms and dads shower their children with gifts and never require them to earn something on their own. But spoiling your children with all the toys, clothes, and electronic gadgets they want deprives them of important life lessons (e.g., saving up for a treasured possession). If you get everything you want, you don’t learn gratitude. If you never have to wait, you don’t learn patience. Unchecked, a youngster’s sense of entitlement can spill over into the classroom, sports team, and play dates, causing rejection from other peers. Even spoiled brats hate being spoiled brats. They will be the first ones to know that their selfishness is getting in the way. They will show you, even as they’re defending themselves, that they’re envious of peers who aren’t spoiled.

2. Avoid rescuing or overprotecting your child. Is your son always late for school? Stop nagging and let him suffer the consequences of constant tardiness. It sounds simple, but most moms and dads are quick to rush in and rescue. Unless the child is in danger, let him stew in the messes he makes. Moms and dads who repeatedly shield their children from consequences thwart their growth in character.

3. Avoid the trap of over-explaining or haggling endlessly over routine matters (e.g., tooth-brushing, turning off the video game, bedtime, etc.). Your youngster will only argue with you like a pint-sized lawyer. Does your 10-year-old son really need dozens of nightly reminders about the benefits of personal hygiene if he’s smart enough to beat you at Chinese checkers?

4. Be consistent. Always do what you say you're going to do. If you tell your daughter there will be consequences for a certain behavior, she should know you mean it. “This time I'm really taking your iPod away if you don't get busy doing your homework" doesn't work when you've already said it ten times.

5. Commit yourself wholeheartedly to stop creating a monster. You have to commit. If you do it halfway, it’s better than not at all, but it’s not going to work until you really do it. For example, a mother who wants a youngster to start cleaning his room has to make sure that the job gets done right. If you pick up one crayon and a piece of clothing and that’s it, it isn’t going to work.

6. Don't let your guilt get in the way of your parenting. Your job as a mother or father is not to make yourself feel good by giving your son or daughter everything that makes you feel good when you give it.

7. Provide consistent discipline and consequences. Actions speak louder than words. Cut the chatter and provide concrete consequences. For example, is tooth-brushing a problem for your youngster? Try no snacks for the entire next day. No warnings, no threats, just a total prohibition of junk food for the next 24 hours.

8. Redefine what taking care of your kids means. Are you providing for them emotionally and spiritually? You need not buy them material goods in order to create a bond. Instead of tangible gifts, how about spending some time together? Be careful that you aren't teaching them that emotions can be healed with food and fun activities.

9. Replace empty threats with clear, calm, concise instructions. Children hear their moms and dads say, "stop, no, it’s the last time." All the screaming and the counting to three and the threats -- we have trained them to ignore us for 11 hours because they know that in the 12th hour, they’re going to get their way. Say what you mean. If you just say the words and say what’s going to happen and stick to it, that’s what has the power -- the consequence. You don’t even have to yell.

10. Stay calm. Losing your temper with bad behavior only makes you feel bad and look out of control (kind of like a monster) -- and it doesn't teach the youngster better behavior.

11. Stay on track. Despite a parent’s best intentions to stop creating a monster, lots of things can derail the effort (e.g., fatigue, being overwhelmed by work responsibilities, marital troubles, etc.). Moms and dads can remind themselves that the reason they’re going to give in is a selfish reason -- because it’s easier. Remind yourself that you didn’t hesitate when the child, as a 2-year-old, wanted to drink the Chlorox. You had to take it away from them, right? Even if they said they hated you and they screamed, you didn’t feel bad about that. You have to develop the same mind-set and realize that this is best for them.

12. Talk openly with your child about behavior as he gets older. School-age children are capable of insight, so sit down and to try to figure problems out together. For example, if you ask a son, "Why are you doing this?" …he may not be able to tell you. But if you say, "I wonder why this keeps happening" …that open-ended question might give him the room to speculate. You might be surprised by what you learn!

The bottom line is this: Your primary job as a mother or father is to prepare your youngster for how the world really works. In the real world, you don't always get what you want. You will be better able to deal with that as a grown-up if you've experienced it as a youngster.

My Out-of-Control Teen: Help for Parents

Discipline for Tweens

The tween years are an exciting and challenging time for your youngster – and for you. This stage in your son or daughter's life occurs in that brief, eruptive time “between” (hence the name "tween") early childhood and adolescence. No longer is your little man playing cops and robbers in the confines of your backyard – rather he's now biking through the neighborhood with his buddies. And your darling baby girl may be thinking less about her Barbie doll and more about her appearance.

Tweenhood is a game-changer for the whole family. So, if your youngster is between the ages of 8 and 12, throw out all of your old childhood parenting books, because you'll need a new set of techniques for the years ahead.

In this post, you are going to get the top 25 strategies you'll need for nurturing and disciplining your tween:

1. Asking your tween to suggest a consequence. Your tween may have an easier time accepting a consequence if she played a role in deciding it.

2. Avoid punishing your tween when you're angry. Likewise, don't impose penalties you're not prepared to carry out — and punish only the guilty party, not other family members.

3. Avoid ultimatums. Your tween may view an ultimatum as condescending and interpret it as a challenge.

4. Be careful when scolding. Make sure you reprimand your tween's behavior, not your tween. Avoid using a sarcastic, demeaning or disrespectful tone. Also, avoid reprimanding your tween in front of his friends.

5. Be concise. Keep your rules short and to the point.

6. Be flexible. As your tween demonstrates more responsibility, grant her more freedom. If your tween shows poor judgment, impose more restrictions.

7. Be prepared to explain your decisions. Your tween may be more likely to comply with a rule when he understands its purpose.

8. Be reasonable. Avoid setting rules your tween can't possibly follow. A chronically messy tween may not be able to maintain a spotless bedroom overnight.

9. Be specific. Rather than telling your tween not to stay out late, set a specific curfew.

10. Consistent rules are still needed, but keep reviewing rules and changing them as your tween grows.

11. Don’t give too many orders – these can overwhelm tweens. Explain why some things have to be, but listen to their views. If you have to overrule, explain that until they are more mature, there are some decisions you must make for them.

12. Enforce consequences. Enforcing consequences can be tough — but your tween needs you to be her parent, not a buddy. Being too lenient may send the message that you don't take your tween's behavior seriously, while being too harsh can cause resentment. Be consistent when you enforce limits. Whatever disciplinary tactic you choose, relate the consequences to the broken rule and deliver them immediately. Limit punishments to a few hours or days to make them most effective.

13. Impose additional responsibilities. Assign your tween additional household tasks for misbehavior.

14. Impose additional restrictions. Take away a privilege or possession that's meaningful to your tween (e.g., computer time or a cell phone) when he is disrespectful.

15. Minimize pressure. Don't pressure your tween to be like you were (or wish you had been) at her age. Give your tween some leeway when it comes to clothing and hairstyles. It's natural for tweens to rebel and express themselves in ways that differ from their moms and dads. If your tween shows an interest in body art (i.e., tattoos and piercings), make sure she understands the health risks (e.g., skin infections, allergic reactions, hepatitis B and C). Also, talk about potential permanence or scarring. As you allow your tween some degree of self-expression, remember that you can still maintain high expectations for your tween and the kind of person she will become.

16. Prioritize rules. While it's important to consistently enforce your rules, you can occasionally make exceptions when it comes to matters such as homework habits, TV watching and bedtime. Prioritizing rules will give you and your tween a chance to practice negotiating and compromising. Before negotiating with your tween, however, consider how far you're willing to bend. Don't negotiate when it comes to restrictions imposed for your tween's safety (e.g., substance abuse, sexual activity, reckless driving). Make sure your tween knows early on that you won't tolerate tobacco, alcohol or other drug use.

17. Put rules in writing. Use this technique to counter a selective memory.

18. Set a positive example. Remember, tweens learn how to behave by watching their mother and father. Your actions generally speak louder than your words. Set a positive example and your tween will likely follow your lead.

19. Clearly state your expectations. To encourage your tween to behave well, identify what constitutes acceptable and unacceptable behavior at home, at school and elsewhere. As you establish appropriate rules, explain to your tween the behavior you expect as well as the consequences for complying and disobeying.

20. Stay calm and avoid arguments as much as possible.

21. Understand your tween will want to test out her independence. Answering back or disobeying can often be a way of demonstrating this, and showing she has a mind of her own. Encourage as much independence as possible, even if it involves some risks – tweens need to learn by their own mistakes.

22. Use active ignoring. Tell your tween that you'll talk to him when the whining, sulking or yelling stops. Ignore your tween in the meantime.

23. Use specific praise, describing exactly what it is being given for.

24. Use “reflective listening” (i.e., feeding back what you’ve been told and not leaping in with your own judgments).

25. Encourage cyber safety. Get to know the technology your tween is using and the websites he visits. If possible, keep the computer in a common area in your home. Remind your tween to practice these basic safety rules:
  • Don't get together with someone you meet online.
  • Don't send anything in a message you wouldn't say face to face.
  • Don't share passwords.
  • Don't share personal information online.
  • Don't text or chat on the phone while driving.
  • Talk to a parent or trusted adult if an interaction or message makes you uncomfortable.

My Out-of-Control Teen: Help for Parents

Teens with Attention Deficit Disorder: Tips for Parents

Adolescent Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), also known as Inattentive-type ADHD, can be difficult to detect. It is a disorder that causes inattention behavior in adolescents inappropriate to their age. Unlike other forms of ADHD, Attention Deficit Disorder often does not cause disorderly behavior, so adolescents who suffer from this disorder may go unnoticed by parents and teachers.

Struggling at school alone does not indicate that an adolescent has Attention Deficit Disorder. For a therapist to consider a diagnosis of adolescent Attention Deficit Disorder, symptoms must have been present from childhood, must manifest themselves in more than one setting (e.g., school, home, or work), and must interfere with successful functioning in two or more of those settings for at least six months. For example, an adolescent who is having problems at school but is fine at home, at work, and in social situations would not be diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder, but might have another problem (e.g., a learning disability).

If your adolescent was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder as a youngster, the beginning of adolescence is a good time to have him reevaluated, because symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder can change during this time. The normal struggles of adolescence can be especially difficult for individuals with Attention Deficit Disorder. Though living with Attention Deficit Disorder can be challenging for adolescents and their moms and dads, adolescents with Attention Deficit Disorder can learn to deal with their challenges.

Attention Deficit Disorder sometimes gets better with age, but in some cases, the associated learning disorders do not improve, and the adolescent may develop problems with disorderly behavior or insubordination. Many adolescents with Attention Deficit Disorder, however, are able to learn to function well as young adults.

The cause of adolescent Attention Deficit Disorder is unknown. It is not caused by problems at home or school or poor parenting, though these factors may cause additional difficulties for these adolescents. Researchers currently believe the main causes for adolescent Attention Deficit Disorder are neurological imbalances and genetics. Exposure to alcohol or cigarette smoke in the womb, premature birth, or exposure to lead may increase the risk of this disorder.

Some conditions that may accompany Attention Deficit Disorder include:
  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Conduct Disorder
  • Depression
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Oppositional Defiant Disorder
  • Tourette's Syndrome

Some problems can look like Attention Deficit Disorder, which is why only a medical professional can diagnose the condition. Some things that can cause symptoms that may look like Attention Deficit Disorder include:
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Middle ear infections that affect hearing 
  • Recent changes or losses (e.g., a move, divorce, death, etc.)
  • Sleep deprivation 
  • Undetected seizures
  • Gifted children may also display some of the same symptoms as Attention Deficit Disorder children (e.g., inattentiveness in class)
  • Other mental disorders

The professional who evaluates an adolescent for Attention Deficit Disorder can be his or her psychiatrist, a neurologist, a psychologist, or a clinical social worker. A doctor, neurologist, or psychologist can also prescribe medication, if needed. A psychiatrist, psychologist, or clinical social worker can provide counseling.

The doctor should diagnose the client by checking his or her medical records, talking to parents, teachers, and others (e.g., coaches), and if possible, by observing the child in a variety of setting and activities.

Some questions a doctor will consider are:
  • Are the behaviors periodic or more continuous?
  • How do the behaviors affect the adolescent's life at school, at home, with friends, and in extracurricular activities?  
  • How long have they been going on? 
  • How many symptoms are apparent? 
  • What related problems does the adolescent have?

Researchers do not agree on the best treatment for Attention Deficit Disorder. This is because the disorder can range from being hardly noticeable to being extremely noticeable almost to the point of disruption in the classroom.

Many child and adolescent psychiatrists are quick to prescribe drugs for treatment, but many times very effective treatment can be achieved by changing the adolescent’s diet. Removing things such as sugary breakfast cereals, soft drinks, cookies, and chocolate from an adolescent’s diet can many times be as effective as prescription drugs, depending on the severity of the disorder and the willingness of the mother or father to take what many may consider “drastic measures” to remove such “staples” from their teenager’s diet.

My Out-of-Control Teen: Help for Parents

Articles

Parenting Rebellious Teens

One day you wake up and find that life has changed forever. Instead of greeting you with a hug, your little boy rolls his eyes when you say "good morning" and shouts, "You're ruining my life!" You may think you've stepped into the Twilight Zone, but you've actually been thrust into your son's teen years.

During adolescence, teens start to break away from parents and become "their own person." Some talk back, ignore rules and slack off at school. Others may sneak out or break curfew. Still others experiment with alcohol, tobacco or drugs. So how can you tell the difference between normal teen rebellion versus dangerous behavior? And what's the best way for a parent to respond?

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Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)

Many families of defiant children live in a home that has become a battleground. In the beginning, the daily struggles can be expected. After all, we knew that problems would occur. Initially, stress can be so subtle that we lose sight of a war, which others do not realize is occurring. We honestly believe that we can work through the problems.

Outbursts, rages, and strife become a way of life (an emotionally unhealthy way of life). We set aside our own needs and focus on the needs of our children. But what does it cost us?

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The Strong-Willed Out-of-Control Teen

The standard disciplinary techniques that are recommended for “typical” teenagers do not take into account the many issues facing teens with serious behavioral problems. Disrespect, anger, violent rages, self-injury, running away from home, school failure, hanging-out with the wrong crowd, drug abuse, theft, and legal problems are just some of the behaviors that parents of defiant teens will have to learn to control.

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