Monthly Archives: January 2016

Talking Proud…For Real!


As most of us born, raised and living in Western New York know we are a luck group of people despite the 50 years it has taken for the area to redefine itself from a rust-belt city into a new dynamic metropolis and region of the USA where young highly educated people want to go to live and thrive.  Katie Couric at Yahoo News has done a great job of capturing some of the cities rebirth in her series “Cities Rising: Rebuilding America.”  Ms Couric has certainly done the city proud…Thank you

 

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Filed under My Experiences

Sunday Morning Shout Out


Tonight, I missed an important talk at our children’s school.  School personnel discussed the rising crisis of prescription drug abuse among teens.  Knowing the importance of the issue I thought I would look at this growing problem myself.

The numbers and misguided perceptions about prescription drug abuse among teens speak loudly.  According to a 2012 study that was reported in the article “Prescription Drug Abuse Up Among Teens: Survey,” by Alan Mozes, more than 24 percent of high school student (more than 5 million young people) have abused prescription medications, marking a 33% increase from 2008.  Within this same cohort, 13% stated they had experimented with common ADHD medications Ritalin and Adderall that were not prescribed for them, and that 20% of teens who admitted to using prescription drugs, admitted doing so before age 14.

Of this specific group, 27% believed that prescription drugs were less harmful than street drugs. One third of teens stated they did not have a particular issue with taking someone else’s prescribed medication, to help them with health concerns.  One quarter of teens believed that their parents were more concerned with street drug use over prescription drug use.  Approximately four out of five teens said they had talked about alcohol and marijuana; about one third had discussed crack cocaine, and only 14 to 16% teens had discussed painkiller/prescription drug abuse.

There were also troubling numbers from the parents’ side.  One third of parents interviewed in the study believed that Ritalin or Adderal could boost their child’s school performance, even when there was not a diagnosis that warranted such drugs being taken.  Twenty percent of parents stated they freely gave their teens a prescription they had on hand that was theirs and not diagnosed for their child.  Sixteen percent of parents said they thought prescription drugs were safer than street drug.

These results were from a study that was done by the Partnership at Drugfree.org, in conjunction with the Metlife Foundation in 2012. The sample population was a nationally representative groups of3,900 teens in grades 9-12, enrolled in public, private, and parochial schools, along with more than 800 parents, who completed home interviews

What’s the take away from such a study as reported in US News? The first one that jumps out to me is the steep increase from 2008. Five million teens abusing prescription drugs marks a 33% increase in such a short time! Also what stands out for me are the strong misconceptions among teens and parents alike.  There are significant numbers among both camps who do not see this behavior as dangerous, as the use of street drugs.  Steve Pasierb, president CEO at the Partnership Organization, who helped conduct the study states:

“The key here is that kids and often their parents are buying into the myth and misunderstanding that prescription drug abuse is a safer way to get high, a safer alternative to street drugs, and that they can control it.”

This of course is so dangerous on many fronts. Denial and ignorance on the topic are the road to nowhere.  This is occurring at an alarming and epidemic rate!  The point of access is also so troubling.  The study found that 56% of the prescription drugs teens are using came from their parent’s medicine cabinet, without any obstacles to access them.  The problems that can stem from prescription drug abuse can be incredibly injurious and deadly in their own right, leading to addiction, accidental overdose; and/or serving as the gateway to heroin and other street drugs as reported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).  My note to self is that I need to be greater informed ; our teens need to be greater informed; and that medicine cabinets should be monitored/watched for proper use of medicines, supplies, etc.  It perhaps is also my note for you….

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Filed under Health, Parenting

Sunday Morning Shout Out


dinnerWe all know dinner together as a family is important.  But did you know it is the best predictor of how adolescence will go for our children?  In my favorite go- to place for professional advice about “Happy Familiying,” Dr. Laura Markham, Ph.D., at the “Aha Parenting” website, discusses why dinner and eating together are the glue that keep families strong.

Dinner is a protective factor for all family members and an extremely powerful one for adolescents, especially.  The more frequently teens eat with their families, the more likely they are: to do well in school, not do drugs, and become sexually active in high school, depressed, or suicidal.  They are many factors at play.  Families that regularly eat together, offer structure and routine to their children.  They offer oversight and supervision to teens and all children, in a world that can be utterly fast and risky for all.  Dinnertime offers children a sense of identity as a family, tradition, and stability.  In a world where a lot is changeable and stressful, regular dinner offers a family a constant.  Dinnertime is a place to check in with one another about each other’s day—the good, bad, and ugly.  It is a place to ask more questions about what occurred at school; what your children’s feelings and thoughts are about family events; and it is a place to weigh in, for all parties.  Most importantly, it is a place to belong, connect, and build better relationships.

As ideal as this sounds, life is not always conducive to sitting down together.  Many different schedules can exist in the same house.  If this is not happening at all, Markham says to aim for a few days a week.  The more times you can do this, the greater the effect! Perhaps it is a single parent home. Maybe, one spouse works later than another.  There is still great power in sitting down together regularly, as a family with a single parent or as a family where one parent is the regular one at dinner.  Markham suggests if one parent gets home later than the other, everyone could sit down and have a snack together.  Or, there could be special emphasis placed on weekend dinners together.  Weekends could then be kept sacred for dinner.  She also states that families may want to adjust dinner time to eat earlier or later, if it means everyone can eat together.

There are other practical things to keep in mind, according to Markham.  Do not get hung up on making an elaborate dinner, at the expense of energy, patience, and time! It is better to put all these ingredients into the actual activity of connecting with one another.  She also talks about creating a welcoming dinner atmosphere, and biting your tongue as a parent if needed.  The idea is build up one another and connect as a family, rather than tearing each down over a difference of opinion or behavioral critique.  She lists some creative resources for promoting dinner conversation, so it goes beyond, “How was your day?”  One classic approach is having everyone give their high and low points of the day-or their roses and thorns.  The point is to connect, converse, and feed more than just the appetite.  When we do this with our families, we do so much more than eat….

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Filed under Health, Parenting