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MY BLOG: PEOPLE USE DRUGS FOR REASONS

"But I Only Smoke Pot"

by Barry Lessin

November 16th, 2010

The following article from U.S. News and World Report isn't a surprise to me.

It confirms what we already know from research over the past 15 years about the effects of substances on the developing child's brain. The kids I see in my practice usually focus on the idea that "it's only pot" and/or "it's not addicting" (not true, but that's another topic for another time). They don’t acknowledge any effects on their own brain development.

Parents who may have smoked marijuana when they were growing up may be conflicted about their own experience and knowledge of whether marijuana really is harmful. Marijuana use in our culture has become more accepted, aided in part by the recognized medicinal uses of marijuana. As a parent, what’s important is to be able to offer kids accurate, unbiased information like this when we discuss the choices our children make today.

We've come a long way from "Just say no"!

By the way, the “executive functions” that the article refers to are the same brain information processing skills that are impaired by ADHD. US NEWS AND WORLD REPORT ARTICLE

For more good information on marijuana use and kids, see NATIONAL INSTITUTE ON DRUG ABUSE INFO ON MARIJUANA.

Is My Teenager Getting High?

by Barry Lessin

November 14th, 2010

The thought of your teenager getting high is likely to make you very uncomfortable.

“My kid?”

When you say those two words to yourself, you don't want to believe that your child could be involved in using drugs or alcohol, but you also don't want to ignore the possible early warning signs. So what do you do? We are often so worried that we become immobilized and lose sight of one of the basics of human communication:

WE ASK THEM….

If you think your child is drinking or using drugs, the most important thing to do is to come right out and ask. Research suggests that when we talk openly about drugs and drinking, children are more likely to have better self-control and develop more negative perceptions about these risky behaviors. The work you put into opening up lines of communication now can make all the difference in the future.

Some tips for how to ask:

1. Begin by preparing:

  • Role-playing with your husband or partner to anticipate possible responses
  • Get as much information about your child from other people (teachers, friend’s parents, etc).
  • Get into their world first, try to understand where she’s coming from.

2. Use a tone of concern, not interrogation. You’re not trying to “catch” her lying or pressure her to share information she’s doesn’t want to. You want to be having a regular conversation with you expressing genuine interest.

3. Find an opportunity when your child is available, during their down time. It’s never a good idea to talk while they’re in the middle of/on their way to an activity.

4. Ask questions about the general availability of drugs and alcohol in the community or if they know anybody getting high. Ask them about their friends’ behavior and express interest in their opinion about their friends’ risky behavior.

Remember that we were teenagers once. Reflecting on our own experience as teens can help us understand better what works when talking to our kids about these difficult issues.

Realize that determining whether your child has a drug and alcohol abuse problem is a process that will have ups and downs over time. Asking is the first step in this process.

Learning as much as you can about this process will increase your success in early identification of a problem. You’re already on that path by being here. Good luck….

In coming blog entries, I’ll share with you some ideas about taking the next steps in the process.

In the meantime you can learn more about these steps yourself by checking out TIME TO TALK.

Welcome to the Parents of Addicts Resource Center, aka PARC!

by Barry Lessin

November 14th, 2010

I’m hoping this blog will become a place for sharing of information, support, hope, and humor to enable you to be better equipped to meet the challenges of parenting an addict.

The kids and families I have worked with have always been a major source of my learning so I know I can count on you to help me figure out what will work best to create a place for you to feel better about your parenting skills and coping with your addict child.

Let me know what you think. Suggestions for topics, resources, or info needed are always welcome ...

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