Archive for the ‘drugs and alcohol’ category

Family dinner: drug & alcohol abuse prevention

June 28, 2011
pizza making former adolescent. Family dinner is the anti-drug. Family dinner prevents drug abuse, alcohol abuse and cigarette addiction. Family dinner is the best and most effective way to prevent drug abuse
Difficult children eventually grow up and become interesting. I have many “Ian” stories because he was so challenging. He was the third child born in 3.5 years, and has a younger sister. Ian is making pizza dough here. Making pizza together on Friday nights and watching a movie together was one of our family traditions.

I can still see Ian, above, then 17 years old, standing in the kitchen, looking down at me from his 6’2″ height, arguing in a tortured voice.
Ian: “Why do I have to eat family dinner?”
Me: “You must have dinner with us tonight.”
Ian: “It’s stupid.” Shakes hands and shoulders. Sighs.
Me: “It will only take 20 minutes. Then you can go out with your friends.” Some things are non-negotiable. Every fiber of my being sent the message that I was not going to budge from this expectation.
Ian: “I don’t see why I must have family dinner.” I give him the last word. No worries. He came to family dinner and got a dose of connection, values and love.
The primary reason to have family dinner:
Research  shows that regular family dinner (breakfast works, too) three or more times a week results in lower use of drugs, alcohol and cigarettes among teens and tweens.
Family dinner interrupts the time between 2 pm school dismissal and midnight, when junior operators must be off the road. So it limits the distance and trouble they can get into.
The worst trouble one of our teens ever got into was when that teen should have been home for family dinner. Bob and I had become permissive. We immediately got back on the family dinner track.
Our family made pizza together on many Friday nights and watched a G or PG-rated movie together. Everyone put toppings of their choice on a small pizza. By middle school, they could make and roll out the dough so it was a team effort. We all pitched in to clean up. My “kids” request pizza when they come home to visit and we share an enjoyable family dinner.
And Ian? When he celebrated his 26th birthday a few months ago, do you know what he served for a bunch of friends? A dozen homemade pizzas. As they devoured the delicious gourmet pizza, friends commented, “You MADE this? Man, this is really good!”
Get some pizza pans. Connect to your kids. Look how fast they’ve grown already. They will leave home — and this will make you happy. Family dinner reduces the likelihood they will stray towards drugs, alcohol and cigarettes. This will make you happier.

How to manage carnal emotions & behavior

May 23, 2011
The best way to discipline toddlers, teens, school age and tweens and children is to change your behavior. You cannot change their bevhavior. Spanking, yelling, threatening, and getting angry are fruitless. Children respond to kindness, firmness, love and consistency. They're very hard to provide. "Alfred Adler" "Jane Nelsen" and "Love and Logic" all say to give plenty of love and to change YOUR BEHAVIOR. Parenting is about being a behavior manager. Start by managing your behavior
The family dog Gonzo and her biggest fan, Kristen, share a moment of unconditional love. Managing a pet’s behavior is a lot like managing children’s behavior.

One of my favorite reminders is this: manage your emotions.  Easy to say, hard to do, especially when our children know how to push our emotional buttons.

The art of management is to get other creatures to do what you want them to do. HOW you do this depends on your style.
An article in the Boston Globe’s G section May 21 about cats, which are notoriously hard to manage, led with the headline, “You may think your cat’s the problem, but maybe it’s you.”
SO TRUE!  The excellent article gives five ways to manage your cat’s behavior that will help parents to manage their behavior and emotions so they’re more consistent and less frustrated.
1. Have fun together.  I’m not sure how cat owners can hunt, catch and kill with their owners. However, parents can transform their relationship with their children by investing five to 15 minutes a day of positive time with their children, with no electronics, nagging, or criticism.
2. Get the cat a Netflix subscription to give her something to do when you’re not around. Watching movies together can be good family time, although I prefer more interactive and active ways to enjoy being together.
3. Serve meals. “Cats thrive on the daily ritual of meals.” So do humans. Have family dinner or breakfast together as many days of the week as possible. Research shows kids with more family dinners have less drug, alcohol and tobacco use. They’re more connected to their families, the single most effective way to manage your offspring to do what you want them to do.
4. Be positive. “Your can always say ‘no’ but there has to be a ‘yes’ directly behind it,” says cat behavior expert Jackson Galaxy of Animal Planet. Kids need parents to say “NO” to set boundaries so they feel safe. Don’t feel guilty about it or the need to follow it with a  “YES.” Kind, firm and consistent boundaries are a gift and a parental obligation. It’s the verbal put-downs, threats, sarcasm, whining, nagging and criticism from parents that erode the relationship. Parents must manage their emotions, thoughts, words and deeds around their children. If you can’t say something nice, don’t say it at all.
5. Understand your cat. This is critical for the parent-child relationship. Don’t expect too much or too little from your children. They will rise or sink to your expectations. This is where reading books, parenting skills groups and super nanny coaching can help. I can help you with all three 🙂
Parenting skills groups, books and other mothers helped me manage my emotions and children so motherhood became a joy and challenge, not a source of angst and frustration.

Happy Turkey Day

November 25, 2010
FAmily time is pizza time. Family dinner is every night of the week not just Thanksgiving. It's where you learn etiquette and manners and connect to your family, and feel like you belong. It is the best anti-drug, anti-smoking, anti-alcoohol strategy. Family time will keep your child out of trouble. Teens, tweens, and teenagers need family time. Making homemade Pizza is a great way to spend time together.

Ian creating one of his specialities -- home-made pizza. I think it is better than Thanksgiving dinner.The view of our kitchen yesterday afternoon. Chaos! Fun! Delicious!

 YAY Thanksgiving! Yay family time! What a great excuse to get together and spend time with each other.
Not everyone’s holiday is as happy today. There is a story in today’s Boston Globe about the cancellation of the annual Maynard-Clinton Thanksgiving Day Game in Massachusetts. School officials cancelled the game after four of the squad’s 16 players were caught drunk over the previous weekend.
People are disappointed and some think the consequence is too harsh. I disagree. How will these young men learn that their decisions have repercussions? That what they do has an impact on others.
The incident is a wake-up call for the players’ parents. How do these young men get the alcohol? Where is the parental supervision? I can only guess that some parents are really angry over the decision and think their teen has been treated unfairly.
By behaving irresponsibly, the young men let their team, school and community down. Hopefully, they will learn from this experience and it will benefit them. When young people never feel the impact of their choices, their behavior escalates. The school’s decision is related, respectful and reasonable [thanks to Jane Nelsen, Ph.D. for those three Rs of natural and logical consequences.]
When punishment is used, youngsters can respond with rebellion, resentment and revenge. When the consequence is fair — I’m sure those players knew the rules — young people learn to accept the responsibility for their behavior.
The way to learn to make better decisions is to feel the pain from bad decisions. If we don’t feel pain, we don’t learn. These young men have gotten enough rope to burn, but not enough to hang. I volunteer in prison where men are serving long sentences for making disastrous, even fatal choices. They have much time to contemplate their mistakes on this special day.
Enjoy your holiday today.
Here is our family working together to get thankgiving dinner all ready. We cooked for a few hours together in preparation. I love cooking with my family, It's a great way to teach children to cook and to spend quality family time. Parenting is all about spending time together and teaching children what you know about life. Discipline becomes not as urgent when you spent quality time with children, tweens and teens, even if they say "leave me alone."

The view of our kitchen yesterday afternoon. Chaos! Fun! Delicious!


The apex of family dinner is Thanksgiving

November 22, 2010
manners, table manners, etiquette, family dinner, conversation skills and consideration all com to a head on Thanksgiving where children show what they have learned all year round. parents can work on manners every day. Family dinner is an excellent venue to teach and model manners on a daily basis. Family dinner is the anti-drug. Regular family dinner correlates to lower rates of drug, alcohol and tobacco use among tweens and teens. Family dinner is worth the time and effort.

Dramatic storytelling is a big part of family dinner, as is laughter.

Family dinner is a sacred tradition in our house. My husband and I both grew up with it and we sustained it through years of soccer practices, concerts, teen work schedules and their objections.Stuck to this mantra: “You will be home for family dinner.”

On Friday nights we often made homemade pizza and watched a G or PG movie together. I can still see my son Ian when he was in high school, arguing with me in the kitchen.

“Do I have to be here for family dinner?”

The answer was unequivocably, “Yes. You must” with no room for negotiation in my body language.

Do you know how Ian celebrated his 26th birthday last month? By preparing 12 homemade pizzas for his friends.

Dozens of studies have correlated the value of family dinner to keep kids connected to parents and family, to reduce the rate of drug/alcohol/cigarette use by tween and teens, and to reinforce family values. My children learned to make pleasant conversation, use pleasant table manners and be part of a group at family dinners.

The worst trouble one of my teens ever got in was at 5:30 pm on a Friday night, when that teen should have been home with us having family dinner. It was a painful price to pay to be reminded of the value of family dinner. Not only does it cut in half the time they can stray between school dismissal and midnight, family dinner anchors them.

Family dinner is worth the time and investment — especially this time of year when our children are “on display” at family and community gatherings. They will demonstrate the cumulative what we have taught them at home every day. 

We had the tradition of saying this non-denominational grace to start our meal. No ne could eat before saying grace. I was reminded of it when my son’s former girlfriend sent me a message on Facebook.

Hi Susan! I was thinking about you guys with Thanksgiving coming up. Your family’s grace was always my favorite, would you mind sending me the blessing?

Here it is Kendra. We hold hands and say the following.

Thank you God/Goddess/Great Spirit/Earth
For the food on our table, the roof over our head and love in our family.
Help us make peace on Earth and at home.
Amen. E tadaki mas. Bismillah. L’Chaim. Namaste.

The end of the prayer is almost as long as the body thanks to spontaneous additions from friends over the years.

“E tadaki mas” – Japanese  for“Let us receive this food” came from Tomoko and Noriyuki, summer visitors through the 4-H summer exchange.

“Bismillah” – Arabic – “In the name of God” is from Zoe of Senegal in the Muslim tradition.

“L’Chaim” – Hebrew, used as a toast — “To life!” Our friend Barry blurted it out spontaneously after sharing in the prayer. I love the guttural feeling of “l’cha” in the back of my throat. It’s fun to say.

“Namaste” — Hindu — “I bow to the divine in you” came from Lezli. She and her son Dontanno lived with us for three months. It ends the prayer in a solemn peaceful note and sums up everyone else’s contributions.

I wish everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Top 10 worst fears for teens

September 23, 2010
teens don't always make the best decisions. Teenagers need a solid foundation to make good decisions. Teens need to avoid risk. They need to feel self-confident and have high self esteem, make good friends and avoid substance addiction

Walking on stilts is a harmless avocation. Notice what's in their hands at this party.

Tonight [Sept. 23]I’m giving a workshop at Roudenbush Community Center in Westford, Mass.,  “How to Make Peace with Your Spirited Child.”

I often open with a discussion of the greatest fears for our children — what can happen when youngsters are motivated by fear instead of desire.

Using fear, praise, reward and punishment to discipline children can result in the Three Rs — rebellion, revenge and resentment and lead to a breakdown in parent-teen relationship and teens making decisions [like the ones below]  influenced by rebellion, revenge and resentment against parents.

The root of “discipline” is “disciple” which means “follower of a teacher.” We parents teach our children.

My goal is to teach youngsters how to make good decisions so when they become teenagers they’ll choose wisely when they’re 60 miles away going 60 miles an hour. I call it the 60/60 theory.

Young people can make so many bad decisions. Below is my short list of greatest fears.

I broke down my big list into seven categories — the body, sex [the biggest list!], the mind, technology, legal, social and school/career.

I most worried about drug addiction because it’s so pervasive, long-term and difficult to cure.  My teens and young adults brushed against a few of these top 10 worries and walked away. I felt scared, angry and out-of-control and compassionate for them.

  1. Substance addiction
  2. Anorexia/obesity
  3. STDs — Sexually transmitted diseases
  4. Low self-esteem – depression – suicide [can go hand-in-hand]
  5. Feel isolated from family and school [THE greatest danger to teens according to extensive research]
  6. Be a victim or bully — sexually, socially or online
  7. Break the law and go to jail for a long time
  8. Develop a long-term disease, injury or disability from poor choices
  9. Connect with friends who crave risky behavior
  10. Fall in love with someone with bad character

What’s on your top 10 greatest fears for your children?