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Archive for May, 2014

How Do I Know If My Kid Is on Drugs?

ANSWER:

Parents often want to know, “How Do I Know If My Kid Is on Drugs?”

Most of the time there will be some signs and symptoms that you will be able to identify. Some of the changes you may see in an adolescent are change in attitude, change in friends, and change in activities. Often when an adolescent begins using their peer group will change, their grades may begin to drop and they may stop participating in activities that were once important to them, like sports or extracurricular activities. Sometimes it may seem difficult to differentiate between normal adolescent behavior changes and substance use. Research has shown that open communication about parents disapproval of substance use is one of the leading reasons that teens choose not to use. So, it is very important to have open conversations with your child about your views on substance use.

You may also be able to identify some physical changes too, depending on the substance being used. If alcohol or marijuana are being used, you may notice slurred speech, red eyes, or unsteady gait. If someone is using opiates you may notice watery eyes, itchy nose or “nodding out”. When a person is not using some of these substance you may begin to notice withdrawal symptoms, if they are using regularly. Some of these symptoms may include, agitation, shakiness, upset stomach, hot and cold flashes and other flu like symptoms.

Again, it is important to communicate your values regarding substance use to your child. If you continue to suspect substance use you can purchase a urine drug screen and the local pharmacy and do a drug test at home. You can also seek out professional help if needed. Linden Oaks at Edward provides free assessments 24/7. You can call 630 305-5027 to schedule an appointment

Beth Sack
Manager of Addiction Services
Linden Oaks at Edward Hospital
852 West Street
Naperville, IL 60540
(630) 305-5500
bsack@edward.org
www.lindenoaks.org

Posted in: Drugs & Alcohol

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How Do You Help Your Teen Manage Peer Pressure in High School or College?

ANSWER:

Cheryl Frommelt MS LCPC LMFT
Clinical Director, Fox Valley Institute for Growth and Wellness
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor
Fox Valley Institute for Growth and Wellness
640 N. River Rd. Suite 108
Naperville, IL 60563
(630) 718-0717 x 210
cheryl@fvinstitute.com
www.fvinstitute.com

How Do You Help Your Teen Manage Peer Pressure in High School or College?

Peers naturally influence our teen’s lives. The influence can be either positive or negative in nature. It is human nature to listen to and learn from
others in their age group. As kids get older, in high school and college, negative peer pressure can get in the way academically, behaviorally or
emotionally.

Let’s discuss 5 ways to help your teen manage peer pressure in high school
and beyond.

1. Encourage your child to take part in positive activities with positive
people that they can feel good about.
2. Listen to your child when they talk to you about peer situations. Don’t
overreact, lecture, shame or blame them.
3. Teach your child to foresee potential situations that may lead to trouble
and role-play saying “no”.
4. Get to know your child’s friends.
5. Develop a back-up plan when your child is in a situation they can’t handle.

Posted in: Peer Pressure, Schoolwork & Competition

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My Teen Doesn’t Want to Spend Time with the Family. Is This Typical?

ANSWER:

Cheryl Frommelt MS LCPC LMFT
Clinical Director, Fox Valley Institute for Growth and Wellness
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor

Fox Valley Institute for Growth and Wellness
640 N. River Rd. Suite 108
Naperville, IL 60563
(630) 718-0717 x 210
cheryl@fvinstitute.com
www.fvinstitute.com

My Teen Doesn’t Want to Spend Time with the Family. Is This Typical?

The teenage years are the time when most parents feel like their relationships with their kids become distant. It is appropriate for kids to have a fierce need for independence throughout their teen years. That does not mean they do not want to stay connected to you. It is critical for parents to remain involved and connected in order to be their teen’s moral and emotional compass.

Let’s discuss 5 ways for parents to stay connected to their teen.

1. Listen, empathize and keep advice to a minimum, no matter how good.
2. Be available when THEY want to talk, even if it is inconvenient for you.
3. Welcome your teen’s friends – you want them hanging out at your house, right?
4. Keep your relationship in “goodwill” balance. Fill your relationship with positive interactions.
5. DON’T TAKE IT PERSONALLY. This is not about you but their need for independence.

Remember: your teen really does want to spend time with you. They just want to spend time with you when they want to spend time with you.

Posted in: Family & Relationships

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How Do I Help My Teen Navigate High School and Become an Independent, Resilient and Confident Learner…..Without Becoming Too Involved?”

 

Pam Witt LCSW/CADC
Social Worker
Neuqua Valley High School
(630) 428-6872
pam_witt@ipsd.org

Helping Your Teen Navigate High School to Become an Independent, Resilient, and Confident Is a Process – for Both Parent and Student
Parents:
• Establish expectations during freshman year—sets the standard for 4 years
• Guide your adolescent in how to communicate with teachers: face-to-face, email
• Teachers prefer to hear from the student, not the parent
• Parent’s role changes as adolescent takes responsibility for their own learning
• Manager to Consultant

Students:
• Take ownership for their own learning
• Accept responsibility and consequences of their decisions/actions
• Communicate directly with their teachers

NO SET PLAN TO FOLLOW, Use your school resources:
• Guidance Counselor – will be with your child for 4 years
• Have experience in guiding and encouraging students to take responsibility for their education
• Ask counselor if they feel you are becoming over involved
• What’s developmentally appropriate for each grade level
• Social Worker – will be with your child for 4 years
• Also have experience in guiding/encouraging students to take responsibility for their education
• Provide social-emotional support as students navigate their social world
• Consult with them on how to handle problems at home and school
• Teachers
• Don’t be afraid to ask them what they expect from the students and what they expect from you as a parent

Posted in: Schoolwork & Competition

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My Partner and I Disagree About Parenting. What Can I Do?

ANSWER:

Kathleen S. Powell, LCSW
Counseling for Individuals, Couples, Families
1717 N. Naper Blvd., STE 200
Naperville, IL 60563
(630) 369-2494
ksp.naper@att.net

My Partner and I Disagree About Parenting. What Can I Do?

A frequent conflict between spouses has to do with differing parenting styles. A good place to start in resolving this conflict is to set aside time for an in-depth conversation where each partner has the opportunity to share his or her perspective. It is important for the speaker to speak openly and share deeply and for the listener to be fully present, curious and nonjudgmental. It is also helpful for the listener to periodically provide a brief summary of the speaker’s perspective to ensure that you understand it.
The following questions can be helpful to guide and help deepen the discussion:

Please tell me all about your approach to parenting. (When the speaker pauses, you can ask: “Is there more about that?”)
What do you hope to accomplish with your parenting a style? (Positive outcomes.)
What do you hope to prevent? (Negative outcomes.)
How is your parenting approach related to your experiences as a child in your own family of origin?
What was your mother’s parenting style? Your father’s? Other caretakers?
Did your parents agree or disagree about parenting?
What were the positive effects of their parenting for you? The negative effects?
How did your parents’ style(s) affect each of your siblings?
What do you wish you had gotten more of from your parents in terms of guidance and care?
What do you wish you had gotten less of? What was missing in their parenting of you?
How does your parenting style accommodate the differences among our own children?
What is your greatest fear/concern in parenting our children?
What is your greatest desire in parenting our children?
Is there more about that?
When your spouse has finished their sharing, then switch so that you can share.

When both of you are done, take a moment to identify the following:
One thing I learned about myself in this discussion. One thing I learned about you. Share with each other.

Hopefully, this will open up the possibility for further conversations about how to join your parenting styles or co-create a joint parenting approach that works for both of you and your children.

Posted in: Family & Relationships

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When Is It Time for an Out of Home Therapeutic Program for My Child?

ANSWER:

Kim Jenkins, MSW, CADC
One Oak Educational & Therapeutic Placement Consulting
www.oneoakconsult.com
Kim@OneOakConsult.com
(773) 288-9156

When Is It Time for an Out of Home Therapeutic Program for My Child?

Choosing to place your child in a therapeutic program outside of the home is incredibly difficult. It is a painful decision to have to make and can be frightening and costly. When parents are broached with this decision, they have often attempted to intervene several ways that have proven unsuccessful. Or, there has been a crisis so serious where maintaining a child’s safety at home is in question. Additionally, some psychiatric disorders require 24-hour treatment in a highly structured setting that could not possibly be recreated in a home environment. There are many reasons why parents may choose to place their child in a therapeutic program and below are a few signs that may warrant consideration of a therapeutic placement:

• Substantial decline is academic performance
• Refusing to attend school or participate in other age appropriate activities
• Severely oppositional or aggressive behaviors in the home
• Disrespect of rules, laws and authority figures
• Threats to harm self or others
• Self-harming behaviors
• History of suicidal ideation or attempts
• Persistent use of alcohol or other drugs
• Sexual acting out or promiscuity
• Lack of emotional regulation and/or severe mood swings
• Frequent episodes of aggression or anger
• Threats to run away, running away, or consistent disobedience of curfew
• Obsessiveness about weight gain, excessive dieting, binging, purging or restrictive eating to the extent that one’s health is suffering
• Obsessive Compulsive behaviors that impact daily functioning
• Resistance to participating in therapy or outpatient treatment
• Previous behavioral health hospitalizations or short term treatment experiences that haven’t been successful

Some of these behaviors alone would not necessitate placement in a residential program or school. However, the intensity, duration, and frequency of some of these issues should be considered, along with the complexity and co-occurrence of issues. Additionally, it is important to pursue the least restrictive options as a first step, which may include seeing a therapist or attending an outpatient program. If these options have been exhausted, and there continues to be an exacerbation of symptoms, it may be time to consider a therapeutic placement.

If placement in a program or therapeutic school is recommended, it is important to choose the right program for your child. An educational or therapeutic placement consultant can be an important resource as they have firsthand knowledge of hundreds of therapeutic schools and programs nationally and can help to ensure that your child is placed in an environment that will clinically and academically meet their needs. Placement consultants are creative thinkers who work in collaboration with parents, home treatment providers and schools to match a child to the right type of program, which could include:

• Acute Stabilization and Crisis Intervention Programs
• Short Term Residential Treatment Programs
• Addiction Treatment Programs
• Wilderness Therapy Programs
• Therapeutic Boarding Schools
• Transitional and Independent Living Programs
• Summer Programs

Posted in: Anxiety & Stress, Depression & Self Harm, Drugs & Alcohol

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How Do You Help Your Child Resist Peer Pressure?

ANSWER:

Dan Peterson MS LCPC
Certified Trainer for the Nurtured Heart Approach
Owner of The Compass 4 Life
dan@thecompass4life.com
(630) 420-2596 ext. 2
www.thecompass4life.com

How Do You Help Your Child Resist Peer Pressure by Building a Moral Compass?

The process of building a moral compass is occurring 24/7 whether you know it or not. You can’t not teach your children about values, character and how to treat others. Every conversation, interaction and moment you are in their presence you are modeling to them what you value……simply by what you notice.

Unfortunately when it comes to teaching children about character, morals and values, our timing is pretty poor. Generally, conversations about these important words occur right after one of them have been violated. Think about it. When do you talk to your child about respect, honesty and hard work? Most parents admit that it is after their child has been disrespectful, has lied or is being lazy.

How open to your words of wisdom are your children during these moments? Do they take in what you are saying and aspire to be more respectful? Do you realize that in these moments you are actually teaching them the opposite of what you want? The more you talk to them about respect after they have been disrespectful, the more likely your message becomes “I believe that you are a disrespectful person (because this is where you are spending your time and energy as the parent). As a result, your child is vulnerable to believe that they are disrespectful, lazy and dishonest, resulting in more of the same behavior.

Consider a complete 180 degrees shift in your time, energy and attention. Identify your top 5 core values…..the character traits you want to emulate and see your children demonstrate. Once you have these identified, begin to confront your child with in the moment evidence of when they are demonstrating those qualities. Take the words from above (respect, honest, hard work) and specifically point out to your children when they are showing these qualities. Your children will be more open to hear what you have to say, will begin to believe that they possess these qualities and as a result will demonstrate more and more behavior congruent with their beliefs. This is the point where they have a solid internal moral compass that will help them resist peer pressure…..especially when they need to the most.

Posted in: Family & Relationships, Schoolwork & Competition

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What Is Resiliency? How Can I Model It for My Child?

ANSWER:

Dawn Neylon
Power of Choice 6-8th Grade Coordinator
360 Youth Services
1305 W. Oswego Road
Naperville, IL 60540
dneylon@360youthservices.org
(630) 961-2992 ext. 232
www.360youthservices.org
www.ThePowerofChoice.info

What Is Resiliency? How Can I Model It for My Child?

The American Psychological Association defines resilience as “the ability to adapt well to adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or even significant sources of stress”.

Being resilient doesn’t mean our children won’t face adversity or stress, but resiliency skills will help them process these challenges and grow stronger.
Resilient individuals are also less likely to abuse alcohol or drugs and more likely to experience success in all aspects of life.

Five factors that influence resilience:

1. Sense of humor- being able to laugh in the face of difficulty lowers stress levels and allows a child to overcome the situation more quickly.
2. Problem solving skills – looking at a difficult situation as a problem that can be solved allows a child to feel empowered.
3. Sense of future- when a child can imagine life beyond current circumstances and see himself in that future situation, it makes those circumstances less daunting.
4. Social competence- children who feel comfortable navigating social situations are less likely to find themselves in confrontational situations.
5. Mentors- positive adult role models present in a child’s life help to model appropriate responses to situations. These don’t have to be long-term contacts; they can be people who are influential for days, weeks, months or years—all positive adult contacts have benefit.

We can all cultivate resilience, both in ourselves and in our children. As parents we model healthy coping and resiliency on a daily basis.

Posted in: Anxiety & Stress

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My Child Needs Professional Help. How Do I Find a Good Therapist That Matches My Child’s Needs?

ANSWER:

Kim Jenkins, MSW, CADC
One Oak Educational & Therapeutic Placement Consulting
www.oneoakconsult.com
Kim@OneOakConsult.com
(773) 288-9156

How Do I Find a Good Therapist That Matches My Child’s Needs?

Education and experience are important factors as you consider a therapist for your child. However, there are additional considerations that can impact the type of connection your child will have with the therapist that you choose.

First, a therapist should be as invested as you are in making sure that it’s a good match. Most therapists are willing to offer a brief introductory session or interview before you commit to regular sessions. This will allow to you determine if the connection feels authentic, if you like his or her style and if their approach aligns with your goals.

Factors to consider in choosing the right therapist for you child include:
• What are his credentials and how long has he been in practice?
• What type of therapy does she specialize in?
• It’s important that the issues you are seeking treatment for are within therapists range of expertise and interest
• Do you feel like your child will find the therapist friendly and approachable?
• What is the therapist’s policy in communicating with parents? Will the therapist meet with parents in addition to the child?
• Is your child’s therapist willing to collaborate with other providers (psychiatrist, school personnel, etc.)?
• Is your therapist covered by your insurance provider?

Keep in mind the following:
• Ask for recommendations from people who know your child and know the resources available in your community. For example, seek recommendations from you pediatrician, teacher, school counselor or school social worker.
• In order for therapy to work, there needs to be a level of rapport and connection between your child and the therapist. Finding a therapist who connects with your child and who your child feels they can trust is important. It may be helpful for your child to meet with a couple of therapists and allow them to select the one they feel most comfortable with. This may empower them to commit to the therapeutic process.
• Find a therapist who works from a strengths-based perspective. Pointing out faults and weaknesses will put kids on edge and create resistance to therapy. A good therapist can build on a child’s strengths and find balance in addressing a child’s struggles.
• If your child is struggling with substance abuse or addiction related issues, find a therapist who has had addiction specific training.
• As you are exploring the reasons why you are beginning therapy with your child, discuss the types of therapies that have been proven to be most effective. For example, some adolescents may benefit from:
o Cognitive Behavioral Therapist (CBT)
o Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
o Family Therapy
o Play Therapy
o Art Therapy
o And more…

Posted in: Anxiety & Stress, Depression & Self Harm

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My Teen Says Everyone Is Using. Is This True?

ANSWER:

Karen Jarczyk
Prevention Director
360 Youth Services
1305 W. Oswego Road
Naperville, IL 60540
kjarczyk@360youthservices.org
630-961-2992 ext 225
www.360youthservices.org
www.ThePowerofChoice.info

My Teen Says Everyone Is Using. Is This True?

Some teens and even adults seem to think this is true, but it is not. Data collected annually through surveys taken at our local area high schools clearly indicate that the majority of students are making healthy choices about alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.

So why is it so hard for some to believe?

Health is quiet. No one gossips about health, or spreads rumors about someone’s healthy choices, no one shouts down the hallway that so and so was babysitting or working out, or home have dinner with the family. Health doesn’t make the papers, or catch the attention of police. Health is just quiet and goes about its business… doing the many healthy, normal and significant things most teens do from day to day.

Research indicates that if a person is using or hanging out with people who are using, they are likely to have a perception that more of their peers use.
You may want to suggest your teen take a step back and try to see the bigger picture…look at the whole student body.
It might be the perfect time to remind your teen why you do not want them using and what your family’s values and expectations are.
You may want to ask if they are concerned about someone’s use, and if you can help them reach out on behalf of that someone.

Research also demonstrates that when we consistently acknowledge and remind teens that most students are making healthy choices related to alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, we can actually grow the number of youth in our community who are making healthy choices. We can empower and support those who are making healthy choices to know they are not alone. We can encourage those on the fence to make healthy choices. Teens who are actively using and/or are in the process of addiction obviously need other resources and care.

So bottom line: The majority of students make healthy choices about alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. If you would like to see the data or learn more about this topic, check out the website under my contact information.

Posted in: Drugs & Alcohol

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