Quote of the Week

"If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way" ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Molly is the new Femme Fatale
Posted by:Jenn--Thursday, January 30, 2014

"Would you take a pill when you have no idea what the active ingredient is or what effect it will have on your body?

Would you be a guinea pig for drug traffickers?

Some of our kids are doing just that. They are taking big risks by experimenting with Molly and it is a growing concern for parents and drug officials.

From the Daily News at The Partnership at Drugfree.org, “Emergency room visits related to Molly, or Ecstasy, rose 128 percent among people younger than 21 between 2005 and 2011, according to a new government report.”

It was believed that Molly was pure MDMA, the active ingredient in Ecstasy, but the drug has now become a toxic mixture of lab-created chemicals, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration."

For the rest of this article, from Cathy Taughinbaugh's website, click here. 

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Drugs Kill Dreams
Posted by:Jenn--Monday, January 27, 2014

Thanks to our PSST parents for keeping us informed about the latest drug dangers.
Roxie & Lindy Lou both forwarded this article about the deadly fentanyl-laced heroin, which has made its debut in the Pittsburgh area.  Both send prayers for your children's safety. A total of 14 people in Allegheny County died from heroin overdoses this week, as compared to the usual 1 or 2 deaths weekly. 

Wilma sent information about “dirty Sprite”, which is opiate (codeine) cough syrup mixed in a clear soda. Click here for an article about the death of a 14-year old Minnesota girl who drank this concoction.

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Agreeing & Setting Boundaries with Teenagers
Posted by:Jenn--Thursday, January 23, 2014

Sometimes the wisdom of PSST just pops into your head.  And of course the opposite is also true – sometimes it doesn’t.  But when it does, if really feels good.

Son:  Maxine gave me this gift card for my graduation.  Would you give me cash for the gift card?

Mom:  No, Maxine gave that to you specifically because you said you wanted clothes from Macy’s.  She would have bought you the clothes herself if she thought she could have picked something you would like.

Son:  That’s what makes me so mad.  You & Dad always want to control how I spend my money!

Mom:  What do you want to do with it?

Son:  I need it for cigarettes and food from McDonald’s.

Mom:  I'm not comfortable with that.

Son:  Well it’s my gift card and I can do what I want with it.
Mom:  (pausing & thinking before responding)  You’re right, it is your gift card, and I can’t control what you do with it.  What you have to think about is the next time you see Maxine, and she asks what you bought with that gift card, whether you will be proud to say that you spent it on cigarettes and fast food.

Son:  So you’ll give me the cash for it?

Mom:  No, I won’t do that.

Son:  (fuming silently)

Fast forward to the next morning . . .

Son:  Will you take me to Macy’s this morning?   I want to buy some clothes.

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The Collateral Damage of a Teenager
Posted by:Jenn--Wednesday, January 22, 2014

What adolescence does to adolescents is nowhere near as brutal as what it does to their parents.

This is a fascinating article, whether you agree with the premise or not – many of the points will surely hit home with parents of teenagers.  I’ve included a few excerpts from the article below.  For the full article from New York Magazine, click here. The article includes an extended excerpt from All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood, by Jennifer Senior, to be published on January 28 by Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

Thanks to Mary Canary for sharing this article.

Is it possible that adolescence is most difficult—and sometimes a crisis—not for teenagers as much as for the adults who raise them? That adolescence has a bigger impact on adults than it does on kids?  . . .  it could simply be that the advent of the modern childhood, a fully protected childhood, is especially problematic for parents as their children get older. Keeping teenagers sheltered and regimented while they’re biologically evolving into adults and pining for autonomy can have exhausting consequences. The contemporary home becomes a place of perpetual liminal tension, with everyone trying to work out whether adolescents are grown-ups or kids. Whatever the answer—and it is usually not obvious—the question generates stress, and it’s often the parents, rather than the children, who suffer most.

The conventional wisdom about parenting adolescents is that it’s a repeat of the toddler years, dominated by a cranky, hungry, rapidly growing child who’s precocious and selfish by turns. But in many ways the struggles that mothers and fathers face when their children hit puberty are the opposite. When children are small, all parents crave is a little time and space for themselves; now they find themselves wishing their children liked their company more and would at least treat them with respect, if adoration is too much to ask.  After years of feeling needed by their children—and experiencing their children’s love as almost inseparable from that need—mothers and fathers now find it impossible to get their kids’ attention.

If adolescents are more combative, less amenable to direction, and underwhelmed by adult company, it stands to reason that the tension from these new developments would spill over into their parents’ marriages. This strife is by no means preordained. But overall, researchers have concluded that marital-satisfaction levels do drop once a couple’s firstborn child enters puberty.  As children become adolescents, their parents’ arguments also increasingly revolve around who the child is, or is becoming. These arguments can be especially tense if the child screws up. “One parent is the softie, and the other’s the disciplinarian,” says Christensen.

Here's what may be most powerful about adolescence, from a parent’s perspective: It forces them to contemplate themselves as much as they contemplate their own children. Toddlers and ­elementary-school children may cause us to take stock of our choices, too, of course. But it’s adolescents, usually, who stir up our most self-critical feelings. It’s adolescents who make us wonder who we’ll be and what we’ll do with ourselves once they don’t need us. It’s adolescents who reflect back at us, in proto-adult form, the sum total of our parenting decisions and make us wonder whether we’ve done things right.

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A New Beginning
Posted by:Jenn--Monday, January 13, 2014

It has been 4 long years for our family, starting when Dylan was 13. 

Entering into his teenage years, Dylan had become nonfunctional.  He stopped going to school, refused to follow anyone’s rules, used marijuana, and drank alcohol.  He showed escalating verbal defiance and physical aggression toward teachers, police, administrators, and his parents.  His marijuana use and aggression brought him into court on Act 53 and simple assault charges; the judge ordered him into placement. 

Dylan’s placement career has been very rocky.  He had several unsuccessful offsite visits and home passes with his family, two attempts at running away from placement, one escape from home for a week, explosive behavior outbursts that once resulted in a broken hand and another time in a sprained toe, insubordination and attempts to assault peers/staff, and painful rejections of his parents.  Dylan made his way through 5 different placements in 3 years.  

Dylan’s most recent placement brought about many positive changes.  Undoubtedly he is more mature now, and that’s an important factor, but we also credit the various placements, probation, and therapists for providing him with counseling and support that he needed.  As he got closer to high school graduation, Dylan began showing regret that his high school years had passed him by, and that all those potentially exciting milestones had slipped through his fingers, never to be recaptured.  At some level, he seems to recognize that he bears some responsibility for his situation.

For nearly a year, Dylan had been insisting that he would never return again home to live with his family, but then abruptly began to change his tune.  He made the difficult decision to graduate from high school at his current placement, and then did what was necessary to make that happen.  He began to look forward to graduation and to post-secondary schooling plans.  He had 3 successful 3-day home passes between Thanksgiving and Christmas, where he was able to demonstrate an ability to accept frustration/disappointment, and to treat his family with respect.  We also saw glimpses of old behaviors, such as how he chafes under authority.

Just as Dylan has been changing, we (his parents) have been changing too.  We have tried to understand our family dynamics better, recognize what is in our power to change and what is not, avoid the temptations to debate or lecture Dylan, model the mature interactions that we’d like our son to emulate, and temper our expectations of perfection.  I have to emphasize the word “tried”, since we are not always as successful as we’d like.  During Dylan’s home passes, we saw glimpses of some of our own weaknesses, such as struggling with the right balance between being flexible and being enablers. 

On Friday, Dylan was released by the court to come home.  A new chapter in our lives is beginning.  We are hopeful, while at the same time nervous and anxious.  We see the potential in our son for a fantastic new beginning, along with the nagging fear that the pressures of behaving appropriately, and of avoiding the lure of old friends & old habits, could be too much for him.   

In PSST, we find hope, guidance and support from a caring group of people –not only from the dedicated, insightful probation and therapeutic professionals who faithfully support our family, but also from the other parents who are similarly committed to saving their families.  As we think about the past 3 years, once we found PSST, we are reminded that the team has been there for us every step of the way, through every hopeful sign and every heartbreak.  They have given us practical advice and guidance, guiding us through the options for getting help for our son.  The group has helped us to recognize how we can continue to become wiser, stronger parents.

We are grateful that we are not taking this journey alone.
Jenn & Brad             

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Texting and driving so dangerous
Posted by:Lloyd Woodward--Friday, January 10, 2014

Type rest of the post here

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No Resolution – Just Change (written by Roxie)
Posted by:Jenn--Friday, January 10, 2014

"Happy New Year”, Roxie declares to the parents of PSST!

I hope some of you have obtained humorous, as well as understanding insights into my family from my writings last year; while others may have become bored as bed bugs tolerating the sadistic saga of Roxie and Lenny. I was a mom trying to change a son who considers ‘change’ as a form of currency to cop Copenhagen snuff. I have appreciated the opportunity to express myself with a venue of parents who love their kids and pray for their sobriety. Many concepts, methods, and communicative techniques from PSST worked when Lenny was a younger lad.

He’s taller now, very muscular, bull-headed, and determined to continue his death-defying drug abuse lifestyle more than ever before. I am no longer the mommy playing table tennis with him at rehab. Additionally, I am no match against the demonic drugs and alcohol that made my son resemble a madman. Drug abuse’s effect on my entire family was like being stampeded by wild stallions with sharp hooves, while lying face up on a trail with our eyes wide open and arms at our sides.
I thank my Higher Power that the dust finally settled, the wounds I received are slowly scabbing over, and my eyesight has become intuitively insightful - 20/20. Unknowingly, all family members play their own dysfunctional role in an alcoholic household. It is unfortunate. The only person who missed his role-play at my house was my older son who married while in college, and moved out before Lenny let loose.

Coincidentally, the Chinese New Year for 2014 is designated as the Year of the Horse. Roxie’s is out of the saddle at the ‘Not’ OK Corral, and Lightning Lenny has no one to ride him while chomping at the bit. I have blogged about letting Lenny go so many times that even I became tired of the horse manure. Lenny would not move out and the situation needed to change. I looked in the mirror and realized that I did not need to let Lenny go. I needed the courage to change myself and leave the Corral.

Paradoxically, as Lenny was helping me shove my clothes in the backseat and trunk of my car, he said, “Don’t forget to stop by sometime. And when you do, bring a case of water ‘cause I’m always dehydrated.” We can lead our teen colts to water, but we cannot make them drink from parents’ washbasin of wisdom.

May your new year be happy, blessed, and calm. Personally, I am determined to ‘choose’ to be happy, although I am still going to miss my family. Through the support of many friends and a dear mom, I hope to be blessed enough not to be too stressed. There is a calmness that came to rest on my life after I left, for I had been praying about ‘when to leave’ for months. ‘Tis not through my strength that I’ve come this far, for to God be the glory.

“For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: 'If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?' And whenever the answer has been 'No' for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”

       – Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple

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Marijuana & the Teenage Brain
Posted by:Jenn--Friday, January 03, 2014

Thanks to Mary Canary for sharing this article.

A new study suggests that heavy marijuana use in the teenage years could damage brain structures vital to memory and reasoning.  Although the results of the study do not provide proof of a cause-&-effect relationship, they raise valid concerns for parents of teenagers. 

“We see that adolescents are at a very vulnerable stage neurodevelopmentally,” said lead researcher Matthew Smith of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. “And if you throw stuff into the brain that’s not supposed to be there, there are long-term implications for their development.

For the full article, click here.

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