Quote of the Week

Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy. ~ Dale Carnegie

PSST on July 4th? YES, of course!!
Posted by:Jenn--Monday, June 22, 2015

PSST on July 4th?  YES, of course!

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.

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Let's declare our independence. (Parent Rights originally posted 7-4-12) OR The Magnapssta.
Posted by:Lloyd Woodward--Saturday, June 20, 2015


1. I have the right to be safe in my own home. No matter what I say that someone might not like, I have the right to not feel physically or verbally threatened in my own home.  I have the responsibility to see that others in my home feel safe.

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!

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An Invitation to a White House Webinar (for Parents)
Posted by:Jenn--Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) has scheduled a webinar for parents who are concerned about current overdose deaths and opioid misuse.  If you are interested in participating, you must register for the webinar by June 26 (click on the link in the invitation below).  The webinar will be held on July 1, 2015 at 3pm EST.

Below is the invitation to the webinar from Michael Botticelli, ONDCP’s director, also informally known as the drug czar. Mr. Botticelli is the first person in substance-abuse (alcohol) recovery to hold the position.

The ONDCP advises the President on drug-control issues, coordinates drug-control activities and related funding across the Federal government, and produces the annual National Drug Control Strategy, which outlines Administration efforts to reduce illicit drug use, manufacturing and trafficking, drug-related crime and violence, and drug-related health consequences.


I would like to cordially invite you to join me for a webinar conversation. This event is designed to be an opportunity for ONDCP to share their recent efforts to reduce drug overdose deaths and opioid misuse, and to learn from parents like you how the Administration can assist with your work to keep our children safe.

The meeting will take place virtually on July 1, 2015 at 3:00 pm EST.

Please register for this event here  by June 26.  You will be able to share questions when you register, and I will also respond to live questions during our webinar. Details on how to access the webinar will only be sent to parties who register. Questions that are submitted for the postponed webinar have been received and do not need to be posted again.

I encourage you to share this invitation with other parents whose lives have been impacted by a child with a substance use disorder. This conversation is limited to the parents and family members. I hope you can join me at this webinar to discuss how we can work together to make America healthier and safer for all. 

Thank you,
Michael Botticelli,
Director, White House Office of National Drug Control Policy

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“Divorcing” my Daughter (a heroin addict) – written by Elizabeth
Posted by:Jenn--Monday, June 08, 2015

My daughter Gwen is a heroin addict, who was introduced to drugs by her father (my ex-husband) when she was only 12 years old and in his custody.  Shocking, isn’t it?  I can hardly believe it myself.  I have struggled mightily for years (with the help of the court system, probation, and professional counseling services) to get her into drug treatment programs, only to see her relapse yet again.  I am amazed that she is still alive at age 21.  Gwen is still active in her addiction, with no visible signs of wanting to seek treatment.  Her father continues to be her biggest enabler.  It breaks my heart.

A few months ago, with the help of professional counselors, I realized that I needed to “divorce” my daughter.  Her continued downward spiral was sapping all of my energy, and affecting my own health.  I needed to discontinue contact with her, and stop my obsessive worrying about her.
I wrote the following letter and delivered it to her in-person on Valentine’s Day, along with a silver locket containing two photos, one of her and one of me.  The picture of Gwen was taken during one of those rare times when she was “clean”.  We look so much alike in those photos!  Along with the letter and locket, I gave Gwen a hug, and asked her to call me when she was ready to live a life in recovery.

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.


This is the hardest thing I have ever done in all my life.  You see, I love you so very much, and the addicted life you are living is consuming me. All I can think about is you, and what you are doing to buy the drugs you need to feed your addiction.  It torments me to realize how your addiction is destroying your chances for a healthy future.  It keeps me up all night worrying about what the drugs are doing to you.

You are one of my life’s greatest joys.  But until you are ready to live a life in recovery, I need to take care of myself.  I can no longer watch you be destroyed by this monster of addiction, and I cannot be part of your addicted life.  I have finally realized that my love for you is not enough to conquer your addiction.  As an adult, you can (and should) make all of your own decisions.  And I get it – you are just not ready to live a clean lifestyle.  I know that anything that I say or do cannot change that.

In my dreams, I envision you as a successful, healthy, and clean young woman.  I know you have the knowledge and power to overcome this addiction.  When you are ready for recovery, call me.  Then I will embrace you, and support you in every way that a loving mother can.

Never forget that you are part of me – my beautiful daughter, and my greatest gift from God.  I hand you over to Him now, until we are together again.

                            Your Loving Mother


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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.

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A Dose of Reality (aka The Two-Headed Beast) - written by Sally
Posted by:Jenn--Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Warning: Your Child’s Addiction May Be Fatal       
FATAL means he/she could die and you could live the rest of your life dealing with that fact. This warning comes to you from a parent who knows and simply wants you to understand how serious drug addiction is.


It has been almost three years now since we got that horrific phone call and learned that Cisco had died.

Life goes on. Our family is doing well and even prospering. Frodo and Fiona have two beautiful daughters!  We eat, we sleep, we travel. We are both working full-time, and I still spend my free time with knitting needles clicking away. Some days are better than others.

Today my heart is heavy. Just as Cisco had triggers that instigated his drug use, we have triggers that make us grieve. It might be the photos of Cisco that I discovered recently on a flash drive or maybe it’s because his 23rd birthday is coming up soon. Whatever the reason, sometimes the gap that his death left on our hearts becomes unbearably large.

Yoga helps me find peace. My faith and prayers bring me hope. Friends and family sustain me. However, the thing that keeps me going is the hate that I have for drug addiction.

I think of addiction as an evil, two-headed beast with two brains that keeps outsmarting itself.  I firmly stand square-shouldered facing this monstrosity, I look into its red, piercing eyes and I say to it:

“Cisco convinced some of his friends to stay clear of you, you vile and pestilent creature. However, you were able to get a stronghold on Cisco, even though he fought you off most gallantly. For Cisco’s sake I will not let you ruin me. I will live well and survive. I will tell as many people as I can about your evil ways. I will do my best to take you down.”

I take my eyes off this creature now. I slowly and purposefully walk away.

This evil thing called addiction can be defeated. 

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More on Enabling (Not!)
Posted by:Jenn--Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Continuing with the theme of not enabling . . . click here for a post written by Raychelle Lohmann, an author and certified counselor.  The following quotes are from her article:

Though well-intentioned, enabling can be one of the most destructive things someone can do when they try to help an addict.

Here are some common examples of how parents enable their child’s substance abuse:
·       Lending money (which winds up being used to support the drug habit)
·       Paying off debts
·       Providing transportation to and from places
·       Making excuses for your child’s drug influenced erratic behavior

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Super Not Enabler
Posted by:Lloyd Woodward--Friday, May 08, 2015

This is a theme at all our meetings. Indeed, with drug and alcohol addiction enabling and not enabling is a key concept. How do I know if I'm enabling? The answer is that if the help you are giving your teenager helps to enable him to continue his addictive lifestyle, then it's the kind of enabling that we want to avoid. On the other hand, if it's helping the teen but not enabling him to continue his addictive lifestyle, then while it might enabling something it's not enabling the addiction and it's not such a big deal. It might even be helping.  It might help to support a drug-free lifestyle.

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.

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Preventing Opioid Overdose with Naloxone
Posted by:Jenn--Sunday, April 26, 2015

Unintentional drug overdose is now considered to be a leading cause of preventable death in the United States. Administering naloxone hydrochloride (“naloxone”) can reverse an opioid overdose and prevent these unintentional deaths. 

Naloxone is classified by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a prescription drug, therefore there are laws that govern both how it may be administered and by whom.  In general, each state creates its own laws about who can prescribe drugs, as well as what the standards and processes are for prescriptions.  In 2013-2014 alone, 20 states passed laws governing naloxone access.  States may allow legal immunities for both health care professionals and lay persons who administer the drug.  Click here for the Drug Policy Alliance’s map showing which states have naloxone access laws.

Pennsylvania is one of the states with a naloxone access law. Opioid Overdose Reversal ACT 139 allows first responders (law enforcement, fire fighters, EMS), or other organizations acting at the direction of a health care professional authorized to prescribe naloxone, to administer the drug to individuals experiencing an opioid overdose.  The law also provides immunity from prosecution for those responding to and reporting overdoses. Additionally, individuals such as friends or family members in a position to assist a person at risk of experiencing an opioid related overdose may receive a prescription for naloxone.

Click here for more information about Pennsylvania’s new law on the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) website.   Click on the red “Save a Life” banner in the middle of the page.  One of the links on this page provides a list of Pennsylvania pharmacy locations carrying naloxone; this list is expected to grow as the demand for the medication increases.  In addition, some pharmacies will fill prescriptions by mail.

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More about Boundaries - or - Mom, Can I Borrow Your Car?
Posted by:Jenn--Monday, April 20, 2015

Lloyd originally created this post on March 14, 2012.  I've made a few tweaks to the original to modify the roleplay topic slightly, but the messages remain the same.   Jenn 

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.

A PSST mother once offered me the best reason why more parents don’t adopt this technique more readily.  "I want to be genuine. This doesn't feel genuine."

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.

Any approach that is new will feel phony. The only thing that is going to feel genuine is the same old approach (and I might add, the same old approach that has NOT been working). Add to that the fact that the "Agree with One or Two Things First" technique purposely leaves some things out of the conversation until later, which of course adds to the feeling of being phony.

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.

Teen: What?

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?

Teen: Yeah.

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.

Mom: Wow!

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.

Teen (storming off): There’s no use even talking to 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!

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Two Kinds of Boundaries
Posted by:Lloyd Woodward--Monday, April 20, 2015

Click here to go to origin of graphic
We discussed this in our group yesterday. This post attempts to differentiate between the two types of boundaries with consequences.

The first boundary is the type that states "if you do blah blah blah, we will respond with bleh bleh bleh." An example would be:

Mom: If you can't keep your car legal, insurance paid, registration renewed etc., we will take your car keys and put a club on the steering wheel of your car.

Teen: But how will I get to work?

Mom: Well, yeah, this is going to be a major inconvenience for you. I'm not sure what your back up plan for getting to work would look like.

Let's call the first type a Conditional Boundary because the consequences of the parent are conditional on the teen violating his home contract. This approach can work well as long as you have sufficient credibility with your teenager so that he believes you mean what you say. If however, you have not followed through with boundaries before or if your teen has simply acquired a great deal of power, then you may be better off with the second type of boundary.

The second type makes more sense when you're teenager isn't likely to take you very seriously. Perhaps he has you walking on eggs already so you set a boundary that involves some action that shows rather than states that you mean business.

Mom: Your father and I have have to let you know about some things, and you're not going to like this at all.

Teen: Forget it. I'm not talking. Get out here. I'm busy.

Mom: This is the living room and I live here.

Teen: I don't care. I'm watching South Park. I don't have time for this crap.

Mom: We are not comfortable letting you use the car right now, and so we used our key to put a club on the steering wheel.

Teen: What? You can't do that! [raising voice]. I'll f&^% up your car if you do that to mine!

Mom: Hold on, [using the universal sign for stop by placing her hand open palm up in the air.] We expected that you're going to be really angry about all this and we asked Officer Brown to come over the house to help explain some things to you.

Teen: What??? I'm not talking to him! He can't come in here like this; I haven't done anything wrong!

Mom: Well, you're right, you haven't acted on your threat to damage our car but he's here because I invited him. [Mom raises voice and yells into the hallway] Come on in Officer Brown.

Teen: [appears to be torn between wanting to flee and not wanting to miss South Park]

Officer Brown: Hi Jamie, how are you?

Teen: [changes demeanor entirely to one more polite] Hi Officer Brown I haven't done anything wrong. Can you tell my parents please that they can't just put a club on my steering wheel? That's car theft, right?

Officer Brown: Yes, it would be car theft if your parents took your car without intention to return it to you, and it would be Unauthorized Use if they just took your car for a ride without your permission. That's not what's going on here. Jamie, I checked your car out and I don't see a current sticker on your license plate or a current inspection sticker on your windshield. You're looking at a pretty substantial fine if you get caught.

Teen: I know, I know already. I take my chances.

Mom: Yes, and we are taking our chances too. Officer Brown, Jamie just said that he would f&^% up our car if we don't take the Club off of his steering wheel.

Officer Brown: Oh Ohh. That's a threat to commit a crime. Jamie, did you mean it when you said that to your mother?

Teen: I was just mad. I didn't mean it.

Officer Brown: I'm glad to hear that Jamie because now that you and your mother have gone on record about this threat, if anything happens to their car while it sits at home you're going to be number one suspect and I might have to come back and charge you with Criminal Mischief, 18 Pa. 3304. If the damage is over 5,000.00 it is a Felony of the 3rd Degree and it is a Misdemeanor of the 2nd Degree if the damage is over 1,000.00. It's a Misdemeanor of the 3rd Degree if the damage is over 150.00. For example, a new paint job if required to fix the damage can easily put the charge at over 1000.00.

Teen: Tell them they can't put a club on my damn car.

Officer Brown: Parents have not just a right, but a responsibility to take action to keep their children safe and also disciplined. But if you want a hearing on this, I'm in court this Monday before Magistrate Smith, and I'm sure you can come down and talk to him about whether you parents have the right to stop you from driving your car and violating the law. You can argue that it's your right to violate the law and drive your illegal car.

Teen: Oh yeah, sure that makes sense! [rich with sarcasm and rolling of the eyes].

Officer Brown: One last thing Jame; your parents have told me about how you get mad and put holes in the walls. They get scared when this happens of course and you threaten to kill them and say all kinds of stuff that I'm sure you don't mean. That would be Criminal Mischief and we already talked about that, but it's also Terroristic Threats. 18 2706. Under subsection (a) [Officer Brown is reading this] this constitutes a misdemeanor of the first degree unless the threat causes the occupants of the building, place of assembly or facility of public transportation to be diverted from their normal or customary operations, in which case the offense constitutes a felony of the third degree. Also, Terroristic Threats is a charge to which it is incumbent upon the officer to request admission to Shuman Center if he believes that there is a real threat and that somebody might get hurt. I just thought you should know that.

Teen: I'm not going to cause any trouble. But I need to get to work. Mom, can't you loan me the money to get my car inspected and my insurance reinstated?

Mom: Jamie, if you can pass a urine screen and begin to treat dad and I with respect we will consider helping you out. If not, then no, we don't even want you driving.

Officer Brown: You mean you suspect that Jamie is using illegal substances?

Teen: That's it. I'm moving out.

Officer Brown: [looking at mom] At your request Ma'am, I can come back with the drug dog and we can see what Rover thinks of Jamie's' room.

[Jamie walks out in a huff towards his room]

Let's call this second type of boundary, a Peremptory Boundary because it preempts some type of trouble and shows the teenager that you mean business in addition to telling him that you mean business. In a way it can be seen as the act of a desperate parent who knows that he has lost a great deal of power.

On paper Conditional might be better than Peremptory. It is generally good to discuss consequences ahead of time. It is certainly a good thing to discuss expectations ahead of time. However, when a teenager has taken so much power that he is calling all the shots, then Peremptory makes more sense because your teenager isn't going to believe you when you use Conditional anyway.

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Obsessions and Addiction
Posted by:Jenn--Friday, April 17, 2015

In our most recent PSST parents' support group meeting, we talked about how easy it is to let our fears and worries about our addicted children consume us, dominating our thoughts and conversations to the point that we are driving ourselves (and possibly our partners) crazy with fear and worry. One of the parents said that she is actively working on taking back her own life by “stopping the obsession”. We were reminded of how the airlines tell passengers that in the event of an emergency, they should put on their own oxygen masks before putting on the masks for their children. As parents of addicts, we need to take care of ourselves by changing our internal and external dialog. 

Click here to read an article about Obsessions and Addiction, written by Darlene Lancer (speaker, writer, therapist). Below are quotes from the article that highlight the dangers of uncontrolled obsessing: 

When an obsession dominates us, it steals our will and saps all the pleasure out of life. 

Obsessions can paralyze us . . . We lose touch with ourselves, our feelings, and our ability to reason and solve problems. 

The more we’re obsessed about someone else, the more of ourselves we lose.

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April is Alcohol Awareness Month - submitted by Roxie
Posted by:Jenn--Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Outcry for Alcoholism Awareness:  An Honest Answer Can Make a Life-Changing Difference
by Roxie

The month of April is designated as Alcohol Awareness Month to bring the progressive disease of alcoholism to the forefront. Many of us have experienced, first-hand, the insidious ravages of alcoholism that devastate and even destroy families and relationships. Until the establishment of Alcoholics Anonymous in 1934 by a courageous alcoholic named Bill W., there was no help available to those fighting a losing liquid battle. He was the mainstay who solidified sobriety for millions of men and women who are clean and sober today through following the 12 Steps of the Alcoholics Anonymous program.

Please use this month to become more vigilant to invisible signs that may signal that an intervention is needed in a drinker’s life. The following is a 20 question survey that may help you or others determine if one is slowly staggering toward the road to alcohol addiction.

Answer YES or NO to the following questions:

1. Do you lose time from work due to drinking?
2. Is drinking making your home life unhappy?
3. Do you drink because you are shy with other people?
4. Is your drinking affecting your reputation?
5. Have you ever felt guilt or remorse after drinking?
6. Have you ever got into financial difficulties as a result of drinking?
7. Do you turn to lower companions and an inferior environment when drinking?
8. Does your drinking make you careless of your family’s welfare?
9. Has your ambition decreased since drinking?
10. Do you crave a drink at a definite time?
11. Do you want a drink the next morning?
12. Does drinking cause you to have difficulty in sleeping?
13. Has your efficiency decreased since drinking?
14. Is drinking jeopardizing your job or business?
15. Do you drink to escape from worries or trouble?
16. Do you drink alone?
17. Have you ever had a complete loss of memory as a result of drinking?
18. Has your physician ever treated you for drinking?
19. Do you drink to build up your self-confidence?
20. Have you ever been to a hospital or institution because of drinking?

What's your score?

-If you have answered YES to any one of the questions, there is a definite warning that you may be an alcoholic.
-If you have answered YES to any two, the chances are that you are an alcoholic.
-If you answered YES to three or more, you are definitely an alcoholic.

(It has been said that these test questions were once used at Johns Hopkins University Hospital, Baltimore, MD, in deciding whether or not a patient is an alcoholic.).

Show your support by being their support! Accompany the person to their first AA meeting.  If you are in the greater Pittsburgh area, find a meeting listed here.  For meetings anywhere in the U.S. or Canada, check out this link.  The month of April may become their first step toward sobriety, as you purposely help to save their life.

“To the world you may be one person, but to that one person you may be the world.” ― Bill W.

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What Social Apps are your Kids Using?
Posted by:Jenn--Wednesday, March 18, 2015

What apps are your children using and what do they do?

Texting and instant messaging aside, do you know what your child is doing on the computer and on his/her smart phone? You are probably seeing less of your children’s faces, and more of the tops of their heads as they hunch over the latest gadget, while communicating with friends - at least we assume that they are conversing with friends.  

Let’s take a quick look at some of the most popular apps being used by teens.

1. Ask.fm- (developer’s minimum age of 13). People can post questions and answer other’s posted questions. The poster may do so anonymously if s/he wishes. Anyone, including those without an ask.fm account can see what’s posted on a profile.

Concerns: Total strangers may interact with your child. Also, this has been an avenue for anonymous teasing and cyber bullying.

2. Facebook- (developer’s minimum age of 13). People are able to connect with family and friends online. Although this social networking site is falling behind newer sites in use, it is still popular.

Concerns: Although there are many settings that promote privacy, many users are not aware of exactly how much information that they are sharing with the public. Strangers may “request” to “friend” your child where they would be able to see all of your child’s information on their profile. People continue to use this site to bully, threaten, and intimidate others by creating fake profiles, posting mean messages, pretending to be someone else.

3. Instagram- (developer’s minimum age of 13). People are able to filter and post pictures and videos to upload on this social networking site.

Concerns: Posts may contain pictures or videos of children without their knowledge. Users can also share their location with others. This site can also be used to bully, threaten, and intimidate others. Users should realize that their posts can end up anywhere.

4. KiK- (developer’s minimum age 17; ages 13-18 must have parental consent).  This app is a texting service that lets texts and pictures be sent without being listed in the phone’s history.

Concerns: Children may use this app to hide their information from their parents.  Strangers can still contact your child by sending friend requests and kids sometimes text inappropriate images that are less likely to be found out by parents.

5. Omegle- (developer’s minimum age 17; ages 13-18 must have parental consent; however, it is unknown if verification is done). A free online chat room, for texting and also video chatting. Users are able to communicate with total strangers.

Concerns: Kids sometimes think that it is safer to share secrets with strangers.  With newer software, the person can make up a “fake stranger” for others to talk to. The bottom line is that you cannot be sure if the person that you are video chatting is real or not.

6. ooVoo- (developer’s minimum age of 13). Users can have video chats with up to 12 people at a time, send instant messages, and text each other.

Concerns: Users are able to talk to many people at the same time. This site can also be used to bully, threaten, and intimidate others. Users can “video” the screen and use the material in the future without the other person’s knowledge.

7. Poof- An app for your phone, you can use it to hide any apps that you do not want others to see.

Concerns: This app will hide other apps that you may not want them to use. If you see the Poof Icon- they are hiding something from you.

8. Snapchat- (the site reports that those who are 13-18 should get permission from a parent, and no one under the age of 13 should use the site; however, no age is requested upon sign-up). Users are able to send pictures to be viewed by others for up to 10 seconds and then they disappear. They are said to be “gone forever”.

Concerns: Children can be misled to believe that they are safe to post anything without repercussions. Users may also take a screenshot and be free to share it on other social networking sites. This site can also be used to for sexting and bullying. It was also discovered that Snapchat had saved thousands of these pictures when they were hacked in 2014. The bottom line is that those pictures are never truly deleted!

9. Snaphack- An app that goes along with Snapchat. This saves all pictures that have been shared on Snapchat without the other user’s knowledge.

Concerns: Users may believe that there are no remaining pictures out in cyberspace. When in reality; someone has saved them for possible future use.

10. Vine- This app allows users to upload 5 second videos that replay over and over again (looping). The videos are shared and reshared with others.

Concerns: This site can also be used to bully, threaten, and intimidate others.

11. Whisper- This app encourages users to anonymously post confessions of their secrets without consequences.

Concerns: This site can give children a misguided sense of safety. The app allows private messages to allow strangers to talk to your child. Anyone with the app in your geographic area can see your Whisper; therefore, it is a real possibility that someone may be able to identify the user.

12. YikYak- (developer’s minimum age requirement is 17). This app allows the user to remain anonymous and post comments that can be seen by the first
500 people within a 5 mile radius.

Concerns: Translation: “I can be mean, and no one will know it’s me.”

Read More......


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