Sunday, January 3, 2010

How to Raise a Drug-Free Kid - A Book Review by Anuschka

The title states 'The straight dope for parents..... What kids don't reveal..... What parents need to know'
by Joseph A. Califano

I have two girls ages 10 and 11... why I even picked up this book... I do not know.... instinct I suppose... or divine intervention?
 The book starts out by saying the earlier, you as a parent engage, influence, teach, encourage, correct and support your children they can develop the will and skills to say no to tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs. Parent Power is the MOST effective instrument in the substance-abuse-prevention toolbox.

"Communication doesn't start when your child is seventeen; it should start when your child is three. So by the time that your child is seventeen, there's a pattern of communication that has hopefully been going on for some time." Dr.Ross Brower, deputy medical director of the adolescent development Program, Weill Cornell Medical College

 It's so easy to wait to talk to your kids about this stuff.... you want to protect them for as long as you can from the world and all the awful stuff that goes on in it. I had to start early... I couldn't prevent it... I couldn't hold it off.
"Why is Oma acting funny?"
How do you tell a 4 year old, that her grandmother abuses alcohol? They know something is wrong... they see it..... My husband and I were honest... but not too detailed... they were only 4 and 5 years old.
"Oma has had too much wine."
 Next time my spouse and I had a glass of wine with dinner, my eldest said, "Don't drink wine... we don't want you drunk." She was afraid we were going to act like Oma. We had to talk to our girls on adult like topics at a very young age. But now... that they are 10 and 11... they are stronger and wiser for it. Communication is a powerful tool and so is parent power.

The Nine Facets of Parental Engagement
1) Be there: Get involved in your children's lives and activities.
2) Open the lines of communication and keep them wide open.
3) Set a good example: Actions are more persuasive than words.
4) Set rules and expect your children to follow them.
5) Monitor your children's whereabouts.
6) Maintain family rituals such as eating dinner together.
7) Incorporate religious and spiritual practices into family life.
8) Get dad involved - and keep him engaged.
9) Engage the larger family of your children's friends, teachers, classmates, neighbours and community.

The book is easy to read, simple language... it has Three parts...14 chapters that divide and breakdown into sub-chapters.. starting with 'Prevent it.... Recognize it... Confront it'. Each chapter ends with a useful 'Parent tips' section.

The percentage of teens with friends who abuse prescription drugs:
age 12 - 10%
age 13 - 11%
age 14 - 16%
age 15 - 25%
age 16 - 30%
age 17 - 47%

 This is stuff you may have in your medicine cabinet.

"When my boys were teens and tweens, I brought home a drug test and set it on the kitchen counter. I told them that if I ever suspected any one of them of doing drugs, that I would not hesitate to test them. I told them it was not there to intimidate them, but to assure their privacy. I would test first before I began going through their things.
 A local drug-enforcement officer told me it was the wisest choice I could have made because it gave my sons a valid excuse to resist peer pressure. They could respond, "Hey , I can't try that because my mom rests us at home for drug use."
 Many of our friends and neighbours now use the same strategy."
Parent posting on CASA Parent Power discussion forum

Peer pressure is one of the main reasons teens begin to smoke, drink or use drugs. They want to be 'cool'.  This book will give you strategies to combat with teen peer pressure and give you the tools to effectively communicate these tips to your teens.

It states that ..... "Drug use has the potential to trigger certain mental illnesses in teens who have a genetic susceptibility (e.g., carry the DNA that contributes to such conditions). So, if there is a history of mental illness in your family, discuss it with your children when they're the appropriate age. Warn them about the added risk of substance use so that they can know how important it is for them to avoid it."

We have mental illness in our family.... an uncle who is bi-polar..... there may be a few more family members that can be categorized "Mental" but they have not yet been diagnosed. These are things I never would have thought to discuss with my girls. A lot of teenagers struggle with depression and many turn to substances to self-medicate. The signs of depression in a teenager.... Sadness or hopelessness, Irritability, anger or hostility, Tearfulness or frequent crying, withdrawal from friends and family, loss of interest in activities, inability to enjoy previously favoured activities, Unexplained changes in eating and sleeping habits..... the list goes on.... these can be  easily confused with normal teenage behavior changes and mood swings (especially girls). This book will help you differentiate between the normal and abnormal signs.

 It goes on to say that... "Families have the greatest influence on children- for better or worse. For parents who want to raise drug-free children, looking in the mirror is the crucial first step...... Parents are the number one influence, but they aren't the only ones in the family whose behavior children mimic. Other close relatives-siblings, cousins, uncles, grandparents, aunts, and even close family friends- can have a significant impact on your child's propensity to use tobacco, alcohol, or illegal drugs."

"Alcoholism devastated the Barrymore family. Patriarch John Barrymore was a great actor whose career was ruined by his drinking. His son, John Jr., followed in his father's foot steps; his acting career also collapsed due to his drug and alcohol use. John Jr.'s daughter, Drew, has been struggling to escape the same fate; she entered rehab at the age of 13, after drinking alcohol at the age of 9, smoking pot at the age of 10, and taking cocaine at the age of 12."

It states, if there is anyone in your family who has struggled with an addiction, your children may be at increased risk of substance abuse and addiction. Genetic as well as environmental factors can play a large role in the transmission of tobacco, alcohol, and drug addiction from one generation to the next. Too often we overlook or conceal the families history of substance abuse and we fail to warn the next generation.... because of shame. I know my family has.

This book has a chapter on the differences between boys and girls...... "Girls tend to use alcohol or drugs to improve their mood(i.e., to self-medicate), to increase their confidence, to reduce tension, to cope with problems, to lose their sexual and social inhibitions, or to be thin....... Your son is more likely than your daughter to turn to addictive substances to satisfy his sensation-seeking impulses, show off, or be cool."

This book also has a glossary at the back which describes what DXM is? What blue, china white, hillybilly heroin, hydro, kicker, norco, OC, oxy, OX, oxies, oxycotton, percs, vikes is? What are uppers? What are downers? What are the signs of use? What are the other names for ecstasy? What are the long term side effects? How is LSD used? How addictive is Meth?
 I love the way this author breaks everything down for you in an easy to use format. Although, I borrowed this book from our local library.... I believe it's a great reference book to have on your own bookshelf.... I give it 2 thumbs up!

Closer than you think......
 I live very close to a school.... almost every day we are there with the dog, and the kids..... playing slobber ball tag(this is where you try to touch a kid with the ball the dog just slobbered on),  soccer, or some other wild and wacky game.
 There is always so much garbage on the field... it's quite disgusting. The girls and I have taken garbage bags there and tried to clean up a bit every once in a while. Lately, they have been quite excited because someone keeps throwing their pop cans over the fence in this one particular spot. All they saw was a looney's worth of cans, lying on the ground, for the horse camp fund, this August. My husband saw something else when he and the girls brought the cans to the recycling. Drugs.... see below.

After drinking the pop... they put Meth? in it.. light it and inhale through the hole. This is left on a school grounds where kids play.

What can we do to stop this? Let's talk.

Found out... the hole in the can is actually Pot.... 

Pop Cans 
If you find lots of empty soda 
cans in your child’s 
possession, don’t be alarmed.  However, pop cans 
bent around the sides with small holes punctured to 
smoke marijuana.  A can used to smoke «pot» usually 
has a pencil-sized hole in the bottom and may  carry 
the odor of  marijuana. 

What every parent should know about drug Paraphernalia

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