Parentally Speaking Blog

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MAR
05
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Time to Break Tradition with Spring Break

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Growing up and going to high school and college, my only reference to Spring Break was the movie “Where the Boys Are.” The movie featured George Hamilton and Yvette Mimieux among many, as well as a great song by Connie Francis (and as I type this I am wondering if any of the readers even know what I am talking about.) I did not know that an important part of college life for many was, and still is, the ritual of Spring Break. During this time, no classes are held on campus for at least one week. Students are expected to take a break from studies as a way to recharge for the rest of the academic year. Many students choose to travel away from campus, either back to their home, or to a number of popular locations throughout the world. Though there are some popular destinations for students during Spring...
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41 Hits
FEB
05
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The Link between Underage Drinking and Sexual Assault

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As parents, certain stories catch our eyes and make us stop and think. Recently, a news story illustrated the link between underage drinking and sexual assault. Regardless of the final charges, this story provided a teachable moment for adults, an important reminder that there's a strong connection between alcohol and sexual assault. But first I need to make one statement -- I don't want to make conclusions that aren't supported yet about the woman's guilt or innocence or whether she used alcohol to aid the alleged sexual assault; she is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Regardless of what she may have done, there is a strong connection between alcohol and sexual assault. Here’s one basic fact -- alcohol is the drug most used to facilitate sexual assault, and it's used in half of all sexual assaults. Additionally, it inhibits your teen child’s ability to: Think clearly, Set limits and make good...
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33 Hits
DEC
28
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Thoughts for a New Year!

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I am sitting here and trying to come up with an appropriate column to celebrate the arrival of a new year. After thinking long and hard, I came up with a very simple solution: Why don’t I simply share with you a couple of those thoughts and wishes I’ve received over the past couple of weeks? Just so you understand, I have a very eclectic group of friends and work colleagues, some of who I have known for ages. Which means I both value and admire their thoughts, and good wishes. I realize this may seem like a Hallmark store re-visited, but it’s not. These are the actual thoughts folks I care a lot of, shared with me. So here goes: It’s not the destination, it’s the journey. May you enjoy each day of your adventure. Happy New Year! Let us celebrate this exciting, colorful, grand, magical New Year with a...
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116 Hits
NOV
09
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Don’t Let the Burden of Loss Drag Our Youth Down

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The past few weeks have been rough for the Wellspring family. One of our staff lost her 36 year old son and at Carteret High School, and more specifically our Pathways program at the school, lost one of their students. This got me thinking about the power of loss to transform us and those around us. Everyone experiences it differently, and though there is no “right” or “wrong” way to grieve, some ways of coping are more productive than others. The thing is, I don’t ever remember learning about how to handle loss until I lost my son 40 years ago. Which made me think about those we care for and educate every day. Our youth. When I look at these most important residents, I sometimes see a lot of pain, and I don’t think they know what to do with it. I worry they don’t have the time to even...
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228 Hits
OCT
19
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Marijuana. Should We Consider a Different Tact?

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The last time I wrote about marijuana, I was inundated with dozens of emails and posts providing counter-positions to mine, or actually that of my prevention agency, Wellspring Center for Prevention. So allow me to take a slightly different tact. Mostly because the accepted understanding in our state is that legalized marijuana will become the law of the land later this year or early next. It’s not that we’ve given up our efforts to try and stop or stall this march to inevitability. It’s our desire to ensure that that citizens are provided with the opportunity to ban the sale and distribution of legalized marijuana within their municipal borders. That the implementation of medical marijuana in additional locations takes priority over the implementation of shops that sale marijuana in the strip mall across from your kids’ school. And most importantly, that today’s (and tomorrow’s) youth are protected from state action that...
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252 Hits
SEP
04
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The Statistics are Still Scary. But Recovery is Possible

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A week or so ago I received an email that provided some startling statistics. In 2017, we lost over 70,000 individuals to overdoses. There was a three and a half-fold increase in cocaine overdoses since 2010. And opiates were responsible for almost 30,000 deaths. While these numbers are sobering, I also know that there are millions of individuals who are in treatment right now, and millions more who are now in recovery and living full and hectic lives. And that’s where the focus of this month’s column is about. Oftentimes, individuals who experience a mental or substance use disorder feel isolated and alone. Yet, every year, millions of Americans experience these conditions. It’s important that we offer support to individuals facing mental and substance use disorders. In fact, we need to create environments and relationships that promote acceptance. Support from families is essential to recovery, so it’s important that family members...
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321 Hits
AUG
07
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New School Year Coming and Youth Will Need Their Sleep!

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Leading up to the start of the new school year next month, I am sure you will recall that there have been some media coverage of reports on the sleep needs of our youth. I doubt that these report tells us much we all didn’t already know: getting teens out of bed is almost impossible. At least we now know it isn’t because they are just being difficult. We are asking them to do the exact opposite of what their bodies are designed to do at this stage of their development. What I find lacking is that there has been little discussion on how this lack of sleep can influence mental health and substance use. Chronic lack of sleep can affect mood in significant ways. We can all attest to the grumpiness and lack of patience we feel when we have been up too late or need to get up too...
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161 Hits
JUL
03
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Summer Fun Should Not Involve Booz for Kids

Beer-toast
The lazy days of summer are here. Unfortunately, this is also a dangerous time for our youth. Other than the few hotspots during the school year, such as Halloween, Homecoming, New Year’s Eve, Prom, and Graduation, summer sees more initiation of substance use than any time of the year. One of the top reasons youth cite for experimenting with alcohol and other drugs is, “There’s nothing else to do.” Why do youth turn to alcohol and other drugs when they are bored? Probably because that is what we have taught them to do when they want to have fun. I’m not saying we tell kids to drink; I mean we show them. What’s the opposite of sitting home bored? How about having a party? And what’s at the top of the shopping list for a party? Why, alcohol, of course. I was reminded of this recently when I bought a bottle...
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150 Hits
JUN
05
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Pomp (and the potential for) Circumstances

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What is it about this time of year that makes otherwise rational parents seem to lose their grip on reality? Think about it. Parents who would never consider putting their 17 year-olds on a plane for Daytona Beach during Spring Break, proudly wish them well when they head for an unsupervised weekend at the Jersey shore. Somehow, the dangerous drinking and casual sex they have seen on television couldn’t possibly be happening at Seaside. “Not my Kid” becomes a parent’s wishful thinking mantra. Studies have revealed that 40 percent of teen traffic fatalities during the prom and graduation weekends were alcohol-related. In fact, underage drinking is a major factor in the two leading causes of teenage deaths: car crashes and fatal injuries. Underage high-risk drinking (and make no mistake, this is the only way they drink) is also linked to two thirds of sexual assaults and date rapes of teens and...
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616 Hits
MAY
01
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Allow Me a Word about May Being Mental Health Month

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When you or someone you love is dealing with a mental health concerns, sometimes it’s a lot to handle. It’s important to remember that mental health is essential to everyone’s overall health and well-being, and mental illnesses are common and treatable. Yet, people experience symptoms of mental illnesses differently—and some engage in potentially dangerous or risky behaviors to avoid or cover up symptoms of a potential mental health problem. That is why this year’s theme for May is Mental Health Month—Risky Business—is a call to educate ourselves and others about habits and behaviors that increase the risk of developing or exacerbating mental illnesses, or could be signs of mental health problems themselves. Activities like compulsive sex, recreational drug use, obsessive internet use, excessive spending, or disordered exercise patterns can all be behaviors that can disrupt someone’s mental health and potentially lead them down a path towards crisis. May is Mental Health...
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  247 Hits
247 Hits

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