We learned much at “Is Your Home Safe for Teens?” presented by Didi Hirsch AOD Prevention and “Teen Anxiety and Depression” by Lisa Vartanian, PhD, chair, East L.A. College Addiction Studies Program.
Use “I” sentences when talking to your kids. “I don’t want you to smoke marijuana because your brain isn’t fully developed.” “I don’t want you to lose control at a party and have something bad happen to you because you’re drunk or buzzed.” “I want you to live a long, happy life.”
Where do teens get their alcohol? They get it at parties, at home, through an adult or someone over 21 willing to buy alcohol for them, from adults at a friend’s house, and from their parents or other family members. Children who drink early build a tolerance and need more alcohol to feel something. One suggestion Annie Ortega and her staff had to keep teens safe is a safe home pledge. Consider signing this rational form, promising to keep an eye out on kids in your home, don’t break the law by supplying alcohol to minors, know the other parents, and make sure you know if the kids are drinking your booze. For more information on the safe home pledge, call (818) 638-5456.
Alcohol and drug use are signs of anxiety and depression. They’re quick fixes some teens use to make the pain go away. Other signs Dr. Vartanian shared are withdrawl, lack of energy, aggression, physical illness/pain, lack of concentration, sleep problems, changes in appetite, eating disorders, self-harm like cutting and thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts.
Some sources of anxiety and depression are school demands, negative self-thoughts/feelings, problems with friends, family conflicts (if parents are fighting, you can bet the child’s stressed!), the death of a loved one, too many activities and too high expectations.
How can you help? Listen, avoid denial, get counseling, relax and have fun! When all else fails, you might want to put your child on medication. Our expert suggested seeing a psychiatrist who knows about non-addictive medicines. Remember to trust your gut. You know your child best.
is the executive director of
CV Alliance located at
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