How to Talk with your Teen about Marijuana
Posted by:Jenn--Thursday, July 30, 2015
Posted by:Jenn -- Thursday, July 30, 2015
K2 & your Teenager’s Heart
Posted by:Jenn--Friday, July 24, 2015
Posted by:Jenn -- Friday, July 24, 2015
Miracles DO Happen
Posted by:Jenn--Sunday, July 12, 2015
Posted by:Jenn -- Sunday, July 12, 2015
No Enabling in this Family!
Posted by:Jenn--Thursday, July 09, 2015
My son moved to Miami when he was first on his own. He was almost 21. Immediately before that, he was at First Step Half Way house. He was having some level of success with regard to drug use, in that he was functioning, but he was still using. He was not yet convinced to come completely clean. That sometimes takes awhile.
He was attending Allegheny Community college, transferred his credits to Miami Dade Community, and continued at Miami Dade when he arrived in Miami.
I did not give him any money for rent. I never co-signed anything. I did make the mistake of having a joint bank account with him since that saved him money in checking account charges, but after the issues with banking fees due to him using his debit card when he didn't have any money in his account, I removed my name off the account within 6 months.
When he finished Miami Dade within a year after arriving in Miami, he was accepted into University of Miami for a 4 year degree. At that point, I co-signed a school loan, because that was the only way he could continue to University of Miami. At this point, with his success at Miami Dade Community college, exercising a level of responsibility for himself in Miami, maintaining a full time job as a server in a restaurant, I felt that he deserved this chance to get a 4 year degree at University of Miami. However, even though he was functioning well, he was still using. I did co-sign that loan with some level of expectation that I would be paying off the loan myself.
He still lives in the Miami area. He just turned 29 and has been completely clean for 3 years. No drugs, alcohol or tobacco. He works as a computer programmer and earns a fair salary. And he is in the process of paying back his school loans.
And I still do not give him any money for anything. And I still would never co-sign anything. As he has his successes, I will buy him things, which is mainly related to his athletics. He participates in triathlons, which is an expensive sport. And I will indicate to him that the reason I buy him whatever it is I am buying him, is due to his success in staying clean. I make sure he understands the association between me buying him expensive things for his sport and him continuing to stay clean.
When he first went to Miami, he had his issues with his drug use and we were at the point in our relationship that we could discuss such things. He once told me, "Mom, The only thing that works is having $100 in your pocket and having to choose between a bed to sleep in and drugs." I still keep reminding myself of this statement to this very day .... years later. Read More......
Posted by:Jenn -- Thursday, July 09, 2015
PSST on July 4th? YES, of course!!
Posted by:Jenn--Monday, June 22, 2015
Let's celebrate our INDEPENDENCE - from enabling, from being fearful, from being manipulated! (See the helpful post below for more information on parents' rights . . .)
Come to our Saturday, July 4th PSST meeting in Wilkinsburg for the perspective, friendship, insights, and shot-in-the-arm that we all need to maintain our sanity.
Posted by:Jenn -- Monday, June 22, 2015
Let's declare our independence. (Parent Rights originally posted 7-4-12) OR The Magnapssta.
Posted by:Lloyd Woodward--Saturday, June 20, 2015
2. I have a right to be treated with respect. I have the right not to be yelled at. If you need to tell me something, take care how you speak to me or I won't be standing around listening. I have the responsibility to treat others with respect.
3. I have the right to take care of my own needs. My needs are at least as important as my other family members. I have the responsibility within reason to help others in my family take care of their own needs.
4. I have a right to speak my mind. If some people are going to find me judgmental, intolerant, or whatever, I will remind myself that they have a right to speak their minds too.
5. I have the right to take some time to consider the question before I give an answer. I have the right to "use my lifeline" and make a phone call or consult with someone I trust (my spouse perhaps) before I decide. If my teen HAS to know right now then the answer is NO. When asking for something from family members I will remember that within reason they also have a right to take some time to consider before they answer.
6. I have the right to take a vacation from high-level drama. I recognize the highly addictive nature of drama and I realize that I don't have to "have" some everyday. Sometimes it's OK for me to just "pass" on the crisis-of-the day. I don't have to feel guilty just because I don't ALWAYS make someone else's problem my problem, even if it is my teenager. Likewise, I will remember that just because something is a 911 for me it doesn't have to have emergency significance for others in my family.
7. I have a right to change. The way I coped with stressful things yesterday does not have to be the way I choose to handle stress today. Generally, people don't like to see other people change, unless of course it's the specific change that they prescribed; but that's their problem not mine. It is my responsibility to remember that others have the right to change also.
8. I have the right to ask for help. I have a right to attend as many PSST meetings (or other self-help meetings) as I choose. I know that I am always welcome to the support and education that I find at PSST. If anyone tells me that I am wasting my time or that it's time I stood up and became a real parent who didn't need any help to make these tough decisions, then it's time that I told those people to please mind their own business.
9. I have a right to choose my own boundaries. I don't have to keep secrets about drugs, alcohol, crime, or violations of probation, for my loved ones. If I am NOT COMFORTABLE with something, I can say that. That's reason enough for me to not do it or not to permit my teenager to do it. Likewise, I will allow others within reason to also make the claim that they are NOT COMFORTABLE with something although of course in areas of me holding my teen accountable it is not necessary that my teen feels comfortable with all my actions.
10. I have the right to change my mind. It's a very basic right that is afforded to everyone. Yes, I know it can cause problems and some people will accuse me of being a liar. I know that if I "promise" something then I should try to follow through with that promise; however, sometimes I get "new information" and then I have to reconsider. Also, sometimes I make mistakes and I have to fix them. I have the responsibility to not change my mind in a sneaky, capricious or arbitrary way but to use new information to change my mind in as orderly and as informed manner as possible.
11. I have a right to establish rules in my house. Within the limits of what's effective and what's reasonable, I can take steps to enforce my rules. I've learned that if I have a rule that I'm either unwilling or unable to enforce, then it's better if I don't have that rule. I have the responsibility to be consistent when I apply rules.
12. I have a right to disagree with professionals involved with my teenager's case. Just because a professional is considered an "expert" doesn't mean he is right. I'm an expert too: expert on my own teenager. However, I have the responsibility to weigh carefully any expert opinion that I am afforded. I recognize that I need to struggle to be open minded and that I am not always in the best "seat" to see things objectively. IF i still disagree with the approach that a professional is taking with my child's case then I my understand that first responsibility is to discuss this with my trusted peer group. If I still disagree my next responsibility is to discuss with the professionals involved. If I still have a problem then I must inquire as to how a grievance or protest or if another avenue is offered to object, then I will follow various alternatives that may include supervisors, administrators, or judges until that time that I am more comfortable with the situation.
13. I have a right to not enable my teenager. No matter what my family may think, if I think helping is hurting then I don't have to do it. I'm not giving up when I stop enabling. I am attempting to address my role in the problem.
14. I have a right to be the parent and know that I don't really have the right to be my teenager's friend. Later, when I don't have to be the one in charge because my teenager has grown into a responsible adult, we can be friends. Until then, I'll just be the parent. Especially, if my teen is exhibiting out-of-control behavior I accept that I have the responsibility to not become friends because this limits my ability to parent effectively. It is my responsibility to be the parent first, and the friend second.
15. I have a right to pursue happiness, which may include having interests and hobbies that I feel passionate about, a career or job that I am proud of, and/or friends that I care about. I have a right to be more than just a parent; even if my teenager is in placement or inpatient treatment, life for me goes on. I have the responsibility to not become so obsessed by my teens problems that I forfeit my own happiness.
16. I have a right to be as healthy as I can be and to let my teenager(s) watch me do it. That's my gift to my family. It's my right to give this gift and whether or not they seem to appreciate it at the time doesn't matter. Eventually, teenagers imitate adults and therefore it is both my right and my responsibility to pursue a healthy lifestyle.
I know that some of these over-lap. Perhaps from time to time I will tweak this list. Please add the one's that I missed. Please comment on which one's you feel are most important in the comments section. These are rights that I've heard parents speak about at meetings.
HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY TO ALL PSST PARENTS EVERYWHERE both meeting goers and blog-readers! Hoping that the only fireworks you have to deal with on the 4th are the ones they shoot off in the sky! Read More......
Posted by:Lloyd Woodward -- Saturday, June 20, 2015
An Invitation to a White House Webinar (for Parents)
Posted by:Jenn--Tuesday, June 16, 2015
Posted by:Jenn -- Tuesday, June 16, 2015
“Divorcing” my Daughter (a heroin addict) – written by Elizabeth
Posted by:Jenn--Monday, June 08, 2015
Making the decision to divorce my daughter was the most painful thing I’ve ever done, but I know that it was the best thing that I could do, both for her and for me.
Your Loving Mother
Posted by:Jenn -- Monday, June 08, 2015
Driving while High/Stoned/Drunk
Posted by:Jenn--Monday, May 25, 2015
What if your child is regularly high, stoned, or drunk - do you let him/her drive your car? What if s/he needs to drive to get to work? What if the car technically belongs to him/her?
Click here for a blog posting from a parent who believes in setting firm boundaries, and has found a solution to these problems that works for him.
Posted by:Jenn -- Monday, May 25, 2015
A Dose of Reality (aka The Two-Headed Beast) - written by Sally
Posted by:Jenn--Tuesday, May 19, 2015
This evil thing called addiction can be defeated.
Posted by:Jenn -- Tuesday, May 19, 2015
More on Enabling (Not!)
Posted by:Jenn--Tuesday, May 12, 2015
Posted by:Jenn -- Tuesday, May 12, 2015
Super Not Enabler
Posted by:Lloyd Woodward--Friday, May 08, 2015
Sometimes in group we talk about doing some enabling without expecting that it could help the teenager but doing it because it makes us feel better. "We paid for his attorney, but we did it for us really, so that we would feel better we didn't do it for him." OK, that is a good first step to address enabling; however, if whatever help we are giving enables the addictive lifestyle it doesn't matter about the intentions. It is not enough to assume that you know it won't help but you feel better giving aid.
There comes a time; however, when parents stop the enabling of anything that might further the addictive lifestyle and it is this non-enabling approach that helps the parent feel better. When you know you've pretty much done all you can and now it's up to the teenager, you are in a good place.
Posted by:Lloyd Woodward -- Friday, May 08, 2015
Preventing Opioid Overdose with Naloxone
Posted by:Jenn--Sunday, April 26, 2015
Posted by:Jenn -- Sunday, April 26, 2015
More about Boundaries - or - Mom, Can I Borrow Your Car?
Posted by:Jenn--Monday, April 20, 2015
We have talked at PSST many times about the "Agree with One or Two Things First" technique. This is the technique where you look for things to agree on when you are discussing a contentious topic with your teenager, instead of automatically looking for the reasons why your teen’s reasons, expectations or demands are irrational (or even downright ridiculous). Finding a way to agree with our teenagers can help to defuse a potentially explosive situation, reinforce our boundaries, and model adult behavior, while taking steps to build greater intimacy with our teens.
That's right. This approach will not feel genuine. In fact, let's face it – it feels phony. I don't have a good response for that one.
Keep these 3 things in mind:
1. Keep to your boundaries. Don't mislead, don't over-agree. Just agree with a "slice" of what your teenager is saying and don't offer too much agreement if it would take you outside of your comfort zone.
For example, if he is excited about getting his license at age 18, and is pressuring you about letting him drive your car, agree that being 18 is a BIG deal. Agree that driving is really fun. Agree that having a license and not having a car to drive would be really frustrating. Agree – if you believe it – that he will eventually become a good driver
If you're not sure about that last one, then don't offer it. Be careful however not to agree that he needs to have access to a car as part of growing up, because unless you agree with that, it's not only phony but it's misleading and deceitful.
2. When you are pressured to give an answer – give one. That is the perfect time to not pull any punches. If you stick to your boundaries, what could be more genuine?
Teen: So, you're saying that as soon as I get my license, you’ll let me drive your car?
Mom: Well, I'm not comfortable saying that.
Teen: Well that's what you and Dad have been promising me for months!
Mom: We have?
Teen: Yeah, you said that I could get my license, and then I could drive your car.
Mom: You are right, we did agree with you that once you turned 18, you could get your driver’s license on your own. We knew that you wouldn’t even need any help from us to do that.
Teen: So, that means you'll let me drive your car, right? After all, what good is a license if I can’t even drive?
Mom: Yes, I see you're point and it's a good one – if I agreed with you that you could get your license when you turned 18, then why wouldn't I want to let you drive my car?
Teen: Yeah, exactly!
Mom: I'm sorry. I think I misled you. But I'm really happy that you are bringing this up so we can talk about it. I think it's important for me to be clear with you about this.
Teen: OK? So? What? Tell me already!
Mom: I have a little problem with this part.
Mom: You're not going to like my answer because it's not the answer that you are looking for, and we know that it's a big challenge for you to hear an answer that you don't like. A huge challenge especially because this driving thing is going to be so important for you.
Teen: I knew it. You were just lying! You were never planning to let me drive your car at all. There's no sense in us talking about this anymore.
Mom: Yeah, this is going to be a tough one for you. Let's talk about it later - good idea.
Teen: I already know what you're going to say anyway.
Mom: Yes, I've noticed that.
Teen: Noticed what?
Mom: You're very good at predicting what your dad and I are going to say about things. You know us really well and even when we don't want to come right out and say something, maybe because we fear that it will upset you- you still do an excellent job of "reading" us.
Teen: See, I knew you wouldn't let me drive your car.
Mom: You're right. And you probably know exactly why we feel that way too. I bet none of our reasons would surprise you.
In summary, try to think of the "not genuine" issue as being more an issue of timing. You're just giving him the same information while you continue to agree with a lot of the stuff that he is saying- but your boundary is that you are Not Comfortable with him driving your car just because he got his license, and that does not change.
3. Buy some time for yourself. You don't have to know exactly what to say as soon as your teen pressures you.
Teen: So, I can drive your car as soon as I get my license, right?
Mom: Wow! Good question. I'm not sure what to say about that one.
Teen: What does that mean?
Mom: Well, you just surprised with that question, that's all.
Teen: Why? I’ve been telling you for months, that as soon as I turned 18, I was going to get my driver’s license. So of course I need a car to drive!
Mom: I wasn't even thinking of it that way – I mean with you disappearing from our house for days at a time, being truant from school on a regular basis, and not testing clean on your drug tests, I just didn't even think that was something you’d be expecting.
Teen: Well, that’s ridiculous! Why would I even get a license if I can’t drive your car?
Mom: Yeah, well that’s a good question.
Teen (changing tactics): I think it would be good for me to have a car to drive.
Mom: How's that?
Teen: Well, if I have something to look forward to, like driving your car, I could probably be more responsible and, you know, I could stay off drugs better if thought you'd take the car off me anytime I tested dirty.
Mom: Oh, so what you're saying is that if you had a car to drive, that would be the answer to a lot of the troubles we've been having?
Teen: Exactly. So can I?
Mom: Oh I really don't know about all that, but what you say is interesting and I have to tell you son, I have never looked at it that way before.
Teen: What do you mean?
Mom: Well, I've only thought of you driving my car as another problem-area; I've never ever thought of you having a car as a solution to a problem.
Teen: You can count on me! I’ll go to school every day. I’ll stick around on weekends. And I will definitely stop using drugs.
Mom: I’m so glad you understand the behavior that we expect from you.
Teen: So, I can do it then, right?
Mom: You want an answer right now on that?
Mom: Just like that?
Teen: Just like that. I'm tired of having to wait all the time for answers.
Mom: It's true. It's seems like most of the time all the adults in your life are saying, "I'll get back to you on that one." That's got to be frustrating.
Teen: It is. So, just tell me already, before I get really mad.
Mom: OK, well [moving in closer and lowering her voice.] As much as I like your courage for even suggesting that driving my car could be an answer to our problems, I'd have to say it would be a cold day in hell before I let you drive my car anytime soon. Ok? That straight up enough for you?
Teen: Why not? Give me one good reason!
Mom: Ok. But you are so good at reading us you probably know what I'm going to say.
Teen: You're going to say I have to prove that I'm responsible first before you trust me with all that responsibility of driving your car.
Teen: Wow what?
Mom: You just said it better than I could. Nice going. You just surprised me again!
Teen: I'm not stupid.
Mom: I completely agree, Son. You are not stupid. You know exactly what we expect from you.
Note: All this started because Mom said, "I'm not sure what to say." It's OK to not know what to say all the time and while we parents feel that way a lot, we rarely say it to our teenagers. Now, ask yourself, what could be more genuine? Also, it's a paradoxical thing that as soon as you say, "I'm not sure what to say about that" a response starts forming in your brain and soon you have lots to say about that!