Signs of Teen Drug Addiction
by Dominica Applegate

As a parent, you want the best for your teens. You’re there for them, you provide for them, and you love them no matter what. The teen years can prove a bit of challenge for both the teen and the parent at times. What teen isn’t dealing with the common stresses of school and life? Trying to figure out who they are as young adults? Contending with peer pressure when it comes to alcohol and drugs?

Teens experimenting with alcohol and drugs

The truth is that many teens experiment with alcohol and drugs, and along with experimenting, some become hooked, or addicted. Oftentimes, their intentions are just to try it and “have some fun” with their friends, but before they know it, their bodies have become addicted and it’s tough for them to stop. They may not feel safe to turn to their parents for help.

Yes, as parents we want the best for our teens and we also tend to worry, especially about alcohol and drug addiction. With the more than two million teens out there who are struggling with addiction[1], perhaps you are wondering if your teen is one of them. Have you been noticing certain signs that he or she may have fallen prey to addiction? Have others come to you with concern?

Today, let’s take some time to look at some of the tell-tale signs that your teen may be addicted to alcohol or drugs.

Physical Signs of Addiction

  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Dilated pupils
  • Not being able to sleep well or sleeping more than normal
  • Frequent nosebleeds can be common for those snorting drugs
  • Smelling like alcohol or unusual smells on their clothing
  • Not willing to take care of their hygiene
  • Slurred speech
  • Having the “shakes”
  • Waking up with a hangover often (that they may not admit to, but lay in bed all day sick)
  • Having track marks on arms or legs
  • Wearing long sleeves to hide marks (especially in summer)
  • Burns on fingers or lips (from smoking drugs)
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Seizures

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Cyber bullying is an online danger that our most vulnerable face. Our children are at risk if they have social media accounts or a cell phone with texting capabilities. Even if you’ve done all you can to cyber bully proof your child, you still need to be vigilant in looking for the signs they are being cyber bullied. Here are 8 signs of cyber bullying to watch our for.

1) Observe your child’s behavior and pay attention to any deviation from what’s normal

One of the first signs of cyberbullying is nervousness, especially when receiving messages from texts, social media, or even email. If your child suddenly avoids the computer or their phone when they aren’t finished you need to inquire why.

2) Pay attention to the way your child uses the computer, tablet, or their phone

Because cyber bullying starts and ends with electronic devices pay particular attention to the way your child uses the computer, tablet, or their phone.  They may become agitated while using their phone or computer or stop using the electronic device altogether. Therefore, it’s so important to check your child’s accounts, social media, email, and private text messages. Do not allow complete freedom and privacy from you with their electronic accounts. It’s imperative for the parent to be on top of what’s going on so you can tell quickly if someone is bullying your child through social media, email, or private texts.

3) Note if your child suddenly has reservations about attending school or doing any of the normal activities

If your child suddenly has reservations about attending school or doing any of the normal activities, it may be a sign of cyber bullying.  Often the bully is someone they are acquainted with in real life and they may feel threatened to get back to normal life. Sometimes the bullying may come from someone they’ve met online. However, if your child withdraws from certain friends, this withdrawal may indicate that is the bully.

4) Recent changes in your child's behavior

Changes in behavior often have underlying causes such as being bullied. If your otherwise calm and chipper child turns angry or depressed, find out why. If your child withdraws socially and stops wanting to go out and be with friends, you know something is up.

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The facts are, most families have two working parents which causes the family dynamics to be different than if one parent were home all the time. Finding a good balance between work and family is essential for a happy, healthy life. The best way to do this is through good organization.

Many working parents, especially working moms, feel guilty for having to work outside the home. First line of defense is to have the motto, there is no room for guilt. Parents do what they must to give shelter, food, and a good life for their family and often that means both parents need to work to provide for their family. It’s possible to thrive as a family with both parents (or a single parent) working. Recognizing that there will be times when things won’t go as planned and learning to roll with having both a family and a job is key to happiness here. Let go of guilt, move beyond it. Focus on how to make work and family thrive together with positive energy.

Daycare or child care is a big concern for working parents. Part of the stress of such arrangements is in obtaining quality day care for your precious children. Do your homework when finding the best daycare center or babysitter. Interview and gather recommendations and only go with the best. Make sure the facility is safe, up to code, licensed, and trustworthy. Trust your gut instincts. If you are able to leave your children in a place that gives you peace of mind, you will do a better job at work.

One of the biggest challenges for working parents are mornings. Plan for success by organizing as much as possible the night before. Set out clothing for you and the children. Make the lunches and have the breakfast as ready as possible. Have all the items needed for the children and you ready to go by the door. Plan ahead if one or the other parent will be away and make sure everyone is on board about how the morning routine should go.

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by Stacey Schifferdecker

Yes, I’m old, as my children gleefully tell me. The thing is, I really don’t get video games. I don’t understand what the attraction is and I really have no interest in finding out. My boys, however, could play for hours. They’re even happy just watching someone else play.

Now, my boys are not video game couch potatoes. They both play sports, take music lessons, hang out with friends, read books, do chores, and are active in church. Still, given a choice of activities, video games still rank very high, especially for my nine-year-old. To help keep his enjoyment of video games from turning into an obsession, I have found it very important to set strict guidelines about when, what, and for how long my boys can play. READ More on Parenting and Taming The Video Game Monster

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Whether you have been parenting for one year or twenty, you know that every child is different. Your children have different personalities, they respond differently to you, and often birth order has a lot to do with this. Every single birth order position comes along with specific attributes and characteristics, although there may be exceptions from time to time. For every child, parenting skills have to be a bit different. Parenting your firstborn child can be tough. Understanding your firstborn, their personality, and characteristics can help you as a parent. Here is a closer look at the firstborn child and some great tips for parenting and raising them effectively.

Characteristics of a Firstborn Child

Before you can begin to realize how to best parent your firstborn child, you need to understand a bit more about them. Usually it is the firstborn child that ends up with a lot of attention, which leads to the development of their personality. Many times, there are big expectations for the firstborn, they spend a lot of time under scrutiny, and they often grow up quicker than other children in the birth order do.

Your firstborn child will probably have some aggressive and some compliant traits. Most firstborns are natural leaders and are very driven. They like having things go their way, they are assertive, driven, and perfectionists. Often they are the "movers and shakers" in the world, and this starts while they are young. However, on the complaint end, the oldest child also craves approval, is conscientious, a good team player, and they often are people players as well. Most are reliable, great caregivers, and they often have a nurturing personality. Other characteristics of the eldest child can include being ambitions, scholarly, enterprising, logical, and energetic.READ More on Parenting Tips for Raising Firstborns

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Ideas to Keep Holidays Safe for Younger Kids

The holidays are a magical and joyous time for everyone and especially for younger kids. Their wide eyes take in all the colorful decorations and the music. Its enticing to any young one to want to reach out and touch the glitzy colorful Christmas décor. So much tinsel, glass ornaments, twinkling lights, its overload for a young child. Of course, they want to touch the decorations and play with each ornament. Maybe even try to sample it. The holidays bring about a whole new level of dangers for babies and toddlers, so parents beware.

Before decorating, or even after you decorate take a moment to get down on your child’s level and see what they see. Look around at their eye level and the temptations will loom out in full techni-color. Start by checking the outlets. The holidays bring about a plethora of colorful lights and displays all of which need plugged into an outlet somewhere. Children follow those cords and the outlet provides a new curiosity. Children can play with these cords and may be shocked. Cords and outlets also leads them to want to put things into the outlets, like anything metal (bobby pins, knives, forks, any piece small enough to stick into the outlet.) The aftermath of this is a child with a burn on their hand or worse, electrocution. Protect outlets by hiding them behind furniture, or place a protective cover box that hides the entire outlet and the plugs.

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Making Charity a Habit throughout the Year

Charity is a term meaning to give voluntarily. Giving of self, giving of talent and skills, giving of relevant items. Charity is a gift that requires no repayment. Teaching a child about charity during Christmas helps them to understand what it’s all about and take it a step further by being charitable year-round. Here are a few ideas of working with charities throughout the year.

Pick an Established Charity

There are many charities that need donations of time, effort, and money during the holidays. Look at the Salvation Army, Children’s Hospitals, Red Cross, and ask your local churches. Feed the hungry, angel trees, coat drives, canned food drives, homeless shelters, food pantries, too many to name. Many of these will take monetary donations. A few may accept help as in serving those in need. Ask how you can get involved in doing canned food drives, coat drives, meals on wheels, or buying Christmas gifts for less fortunate children. Most of the charities need donations year-round.

Adopt a Grandparent

The nursing homes are full of our elderly people who can no longer care for themselves. Many live there year after year without having any personal visitors. Take time to go a nursing home and adopt a grandparent. Children can love on these people and being loved will make their day. If you adopt a grandparent, you will have a good reason to visit often throughout the year.

Start a Giving Jar

Set up a jar with a lid with enough room to insert cash and coins. Plan to put all spare change into the jar. When the jar is full, start a new jar. You can do this year-round. When Christmas rolls around, give the jars full of money as gifts to those less fortunate. Give the jars anonymously for true Christmas spirit.

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