Mindful Parenting | Kay Trotter

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All Posts Tagged: Mindful Parenting

Parenting Tip

parenting tipParenting Tip

“Let’s spend more time on the floor with our kids. Let’s trade strollers for newborn carriers, and car trips for walks. Let’s spend more time looking into each other’s eyes, and less time staring into our screens. Let’s really get to know each other, and less time staring into our screens. Let’s really get to know each other.” ~ Zero to Five


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Childhood Development Ages 8 to 11

childhood development ages 8-11“The major task of childhood is to become “your own person”

My childhood development blog series will include the characteristics of the “typical” child during each developmental stage from ages 8 to 18, illustrating how children’s progression through these stages is determined not only by biological growth and change, but also by temperament and personality, adult expectations, and social influences.

The main tasks of childhood require children to learn, and this kind of learning is not just a matter of getting the right answer. Most important is to understand the meaning of the right answer. This is truly difficult work and it absolutely requires support from parents, relatives, and neighbors.

To help children grow up, parents need to be aware how their child is changing, growing, and developing. It is easy for a middle-aged adult to forget this fact, especially when confronted with a difficult problem. However, parents who are working on their own growth are in a good position to understand children and to respect what they are doing as they struggle to grow up and become good people in their own right.

Children progression through these stages is determined not only by biological growth and change, but also by temperament and personality, adult expectations, andsocial influences. Children learn to make choices and commitments, follow through with them, and stand up independently in the world. They need to be respected for taking on these tasks. After all, we respect adults who can do these things. They are complicated and courageous actions. However, children swing back and forth between dependence and independence as they work on these tasks. It is easy for parents to get frustrated. It is also easy for a parent to assume that if the child would simply follow the plan that makes sense to a parent, things would be all right in the end.

“Children will not remember you for the material things you provided but for the feeling that you cherished them.”
-Richard L. Evans

Understanding your child’s moral, emotional, and self-development – the main tasks of childhood require children to learn, and this kind of learning is not just a matter of getting the right answer. Most important is to understand the meaning of the right answer. This is truly difficult work and it absolutely requires support from parents, relatives, and neighbors.

To help children grow up, parents need to be aware how their child is changing, growing, and developing. It is easy for a middle-aged adult to forget this fact, especially when confronted with a difficult problem. However, parents who are working on their own growth are in a good position to understand children and to respect what they are doing as they struggle to grow up and become good people in their own right.

Late Childhood Development 8-11″

Cognitive Stage: Children in this developmental stage use logical thinking but with a very limited ability to extend logic to abstract concepts (e.g. the disdain for imaginative and illogical thinking of early childhood). At this point, they have accumulated a lot of general knowledge and have gradually developed the ability to apply learned concepts to new tasks. They also have a frequent interest in learning life skills from adults at home and elsewhere (e.g. cooking, fixing things, etc.).

Moral Development: Children age 8-11 are predominantly focused in the needs and wants of themselves, although they have developed a conscience and move from thinking in terms of “What’s in it for me?” fairness (e.g. “If you did this for me, I would do that for you.”). They now want to gain social approval and live up to the expectations of people close to them. They tend to have a ”Golden Rule” morality where they can take the perspective of others and may place the needs of others over their own self-interest. However, their moral thinking abilities are not always reflected in their behavior.

Psychological and Emotional Traits: Children at this stage have a need to develop a sense of mastery and accomplishment with frequent interest in making plans and achieving goals. They learn from what parents and others do to make and fix things and have a tendency to be disorganized and forgetful.

“Early onset of puberty is associated with lower self-control and emotional instability.”

Self-Concept: Influenced by relationships with family members, teachers, and increasingly by their peers, often relatively, 8- to 11-year-olds have a low level of concern about their physical appearance (especially boys), although this is influenced by peers as well as the media. Many boys experience pressure to conform to “masculine” stereotype. Girls’ body image declines precipitously with puberty, especially with early onset puberty. Early onset puberty is also associated with lower self-control and emotional instability, especially for boys.

Relationship to Parents and Other Adults: Children in late childhood development tend to be closely attached to parental figures and parents increasingly need to involve these children in decision making while increasing responsibility with age. Most frequent conflicts occur over sibling quarrels and forgetfulness with respect to chores, schoolwork, and messiness, especially of their bedroom. Parental listening skills becomes increasingly important as the parent-child communication patterns can change with puberty. Many adolescents report that (a) they cannot talk with parents about issues related to sexuality, and (b) they do not get needed information in sex education courses at school.

Peer Relationships: Friendships among 8- to 11-year-olds are often with their same-gender peers and are usually based on proximity, common interest/hobbies, or other perceived commonalities. Girls usually have fewer, but emotionally closer, friends than boys. Formation of exclusive “clubs” and shifting peer alliances is common at this age and media influences and popular culture increasingly affect the child’s peer activities and relationships.

† Source: Middle Childhood and Adolescent Development, Oregon State University Extension Service.

Next blog of the Childhood Development series will be  “Early Adolescents ages 11-14”

Download the complete ages 8-18  “Task of Childhood” 

Additional Resource:

Ages and Stages A Parent’s Guide to Normal Childhood Development Written by a fellow play therapist Charles E. Schaefer‘s Ages and Stages this book is great for sorting through what’s normal age appropriate behavior and what’s not.

If you would like Dr. Kay Trotter to come talk to your group or find out more about Kaleidoscope Counseling please call 214-499-0396

Dr Trotter also post regularly on her: Facebook Fan Page and Pinterest.

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SuperHero Play Increases Self-Esteem


I just opened a box with new costumes for the play room: Doctor Scrubs, Superman, Wonder Women, Police Officer and Ninja. I am excited to see how the kids use them to play out their emotional conflicts.

Take Superman, for example. Clark Kent is a timid man, but with just a whirl and his special brand of magic, he becomes the all-powerful superhero with superhuman strength and ability. When a child participating in this type of fantasy they successfully boosts themselves from the timid shy Clark Kent to the status of an all-powerful superhuman. This relieves them of their feelings of inadequacy and allows them to discharge their feelings of aggression away from those adults in their life who are in control of them, thus keeping those relationships intact. The greater the imagination, the more elaborate and disguised the fantasies are and the greater the emotional relief and resolution of conflict.

How many times have we all seen young children battling the forces of evil and wondered why does he/she enjoy this so much?

Fantasy in the form of play allows children to build a world of imaginary characters and stories that play out current emotional conflicts in such a way that the emotions are expressed and resolved on a subconscious or unconscious level. Where children rise above themselves as they play, becoming more than their average selves.

In fantasy play, children are able to use abstract and representational thinking, allowing a bowl to become a hat, an empty pot to become a steamy aromatic soup, and a pile of pillows to become a boiling lava flow. This self-guided play requires planning, regulating, and negotiating.  In short, the act of “acting” strengthens the executive functions of the brain.

You can help by

  1. Creating a dressing up box and filling it with old clothes, scarves, jewellery, bags and hats that can be used for pretend play.
  2. Encouraging children to share their pretend play, but without interrupting the flow of play.
  3. Joining in! But let the child lead, through your responses: “Show me what you want me to do,” “What should I say?” or “What happens next?” “What happens now?” “What kind of teacher am I?” “You want me to put that on,” “Hmmm…,”

How does this help my child?

  1. How your child feels about themselves will make a significant difference in their behavior.
  2. As your child feels better about themselves they are able to discover their own strengths and assume greater self-responsibility as they take charge of daily life situations.
  3. How your child thinks, and how they performs in school are directly related to how they feels about themselves.
  4. When your child feels better about themselves, they will behave in more self-enhancing ways rather than self-defeating ways.

If you would like Dr. Kay Trotter to come talk to your group or find out more about Kaleidoscope Counseling please call 214-499-0396

Dr Trotter also post regularly on her: Facebook Fan Page and Pinterest.

You also might like these blog post by Dr Trotter

The Task of Childhood Development

Play Therapy with Young Children

Is Your Child Ready for Kindergarten?

Dr. Trotter’s Pinterest Boards

Additional Resources:

Superhero Play and Child Development

How superhero play supports learning


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Parenting Recommended Reading Series

Each day in the month of January 2014, I will post one of my favorite parenting books across a child’s lifespan on my Facebook Fan page.

I have found these books to be very valuable in my understanding of human nature.

I offer them to as a tool to enhance your parenting skills, personal growth, and personal relationships.

If you would like to suggest a parenting book for this series, that has been impactful to you please leave me a comment below with the books title and why you find it valuable.

I hope that you will join me on my Facebook Fan Page.

Kay Trotter Signature

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How to recognize addiction in your teen

According to the 2012 National Survey on Drugs Use and Health, 9.5 percent of youths aged 12 to17 were using illicit drugs.  Many teenagers use drugs or alcohol just to experiment them, out of curiosity or to fit in with the crowd that they want to hang out with.  While some lucky teens experiment and stop or continue to use here and there without getting hooked up, but several stay addicted to drugs or alcohol and later turn into chronic addicts.  It is hard to say who will develop dependency and who will not.

However, the following circumstances can make teenagers more vulnerable:

  • Teens who grow up in a drug infested areas
  • Teen who hang out with grownup who are involved in the wrong activities
  • Teens who are unhappy and experiencing depression, stress or anxiety
  • Teens with low self – esteem
  • Teens who are uncomfortable with others around them
  • Teens who are abused physically, emotionally or sexually and
  • Teens who have anger issues and are defiant

Most teens start with alcohol or marijuana and gradually progress to using other hard drugs.  When teenagers begin using drugs sooner or later they start experiencing negative consequences such as losing interest in studies, cutting classes, playing hooky, violence, unprotected sex, risk of accidents, suicidal or homicidal ideation.

The most common early warning signs are:

  • Sudden mood changesBajeerao Patil
  • Irritability
  • Signs of low-self esteem
  • Uncommon behaviors
  • Staying too long in bed
  • Staying up too long
  • Lack of interest in general activities
  • Poor choices
  • Impaired judgment
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent long-lasting cough
  • Tired or red eyes
  • Frequent arguments
  • Defiance
  • Letting on discipline
  • Unwillingness to follow directions
  • Aloofness
  • Repeated health complaints
  • Lying or dishonesty
  • Things start disappearing from the house including money
  • Decreased interest in school
  • Falling grades
  • Cutting classes
  • Breaking laws
  • Weird sense of dressing (carelessness)
  • Mysterious friends
  • Change in friend circles
  • Spending more time outside the house or in the basement of the house
  • Negative attitude
  • Depression

Mind you, the above-mentioned signs can be of some other problems too.  If necessary you must consult your family physician without unnecessary delay.  Parents can play an important role in preventing their teenage children from using drugs by having open communication, educating them about drugs, demonstrating responsible behaviors (role modeling), and keeping an eye on their behaviors including being mindful of the company they keep.  Once a friend of mine suspected that his fourteen years old son was smoking marijuana, but he wasn’t sure about it.  His son had started bringing home his friends who had never had visited them before.  My friend didn’t know how to find out the truth.  He confronted his son, but his son created a scene and stopped talking to his dad for a while.  However, later his father smelled marijuana in the basement and also found some traces of marijuana there.  The son couldn’t lie any longer.  After the use of marijuana was confirmed, his father warned him not to bring his wayward friends home and also lovingly told his son not to hang out with his friends who are using marijuana or any other drugs.  Now my friend’s son has already completed a degree in Engineering and has well paid job.  Luckily, his marijuana use was found out before it got out of hand by his vigilant parents.  You think about it.

Struggling with addictionthere is help!

PatilPhotoGuest Author | Bajeerao Patil

Bajeerao Patil has been treating addictions as a drug and alcohol counselor for over 25 years. He has Masters Degrees in Social Work and Human Resources. He is an avid teacher of addiction and recovery.  He is affiliated with the Drug and Alcohol Testing Industry Association.  Bajeerao Patil is an author of Insanity Beyond Understanding and Lifelong Sobriety. To learn more about Bajeerao Patil and his work, visit http://www.amazon.com/dp/0989569810/ and http://www.bajeeraopatil.com/.



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Christmas Family Traditions – Christmas Raisin Bread

Well we’re still iced in here in Dallas, all morning long I have been receiving emails notifications of closings. The Village Church (my church) canceled tonights and Sunday morning services , restaurants closures, the Children’s Medical Center Holiday Parade,  even the Dallas Marathon was canceled. So it looks like I get to stay home today and write blogs. So, I thought  I’d stay on a Christmas theme and post some of my “Sudekum Family Christmas Traditions” 

This recipe has been in my family since the 1800s – maybe even longer.

This recipe has been in my family since the 1800s – maybe even longer.

My family has a recipe for Christmas Raisin Bread that has been in our family since the 1800s – maybe even longer. My mom learned it from her Irish grandmother, my great grandmother, and it is always baked at Christmastime and given as gifts to family, friends and neighbors as well as our mailman, milkman, hair stylists and others. As we were growing up, my mom also made it for all of our teachers, which means, with four children in my family, she was baking a lot of bread!

The smell of this bread baking always brings a smile to my face and fills me with lots of happy memories of childhood.

My family traditionally serves this bread as toast on Christmas morning (the brunch menu also includes sliced & sugared navel oranges and some of us like to dip the toast in the orange juice that is left on our plates!). We also use this bread for leftover turkey sandwiches slathered with lots of tangy Durkee’s Famous Sauce plus crisp lettuce and tart cranberry sauce.

My sister, Ann, who lives in St. Louis (along with the rest of my family – yep I am the only Texan), also likes to use this bread to make a decadent Eggnog French Toast with eggnog from Oberweis Dairy, (which she says is the best she’s ever tasted).

While we all know how to make this bread, my mom was the official baker of the Christmas Raisin Bread. And, as her hands lost their strength over the years, she developed a way to make the bread in a bread machine (although, she only let the machine go as far as the dough cycle and then she took it out to form loaves and bake in individual bread pans).


Source: Sudekum Family Favorites Cookbook
Yield: 6 loaves (1 pound each)

4 cup milk
1/2 pound lard
1 1/3 cups sugar
4 teaspoons salt
4 packages yeast*
4 eggs
5 pounds flour
1 1/2 cups raisin
* Do not use “quick-rising” or “instant” yeast


  • Heat milk in a saucepan until scalding (180° F).
  • Place lard, sugar and salt in a large bowl and add scalding milk. Let cool to around 100-120° F.
  • Dissolve yeast in 1/2-cup warm water and add to milk mixture. Add eggs, half of the flour and raisins. Beat the dough hard with a spoon and then add the rest of the flour. Mix well and place on a lightly floured surface. Knead dough for 10 minutes and place in a large, clean, greased bowl.
  • Cover bowl with a damp towel and let dough rise for 2 hours. (NOTE: the yeast needs to stay warm while the dough is rising, so be sure to place the dough in a warm part of your kitchen.)
  • After the first rise, punch dough down and let rise again for 1 hour.
  • Cut dough into 6 sections. Cover sections with a damp towel and let rest for 15 minutes. Shape dough into loaves, place loaves in greased loaf pans, cover with a damp towel and let rise again.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes until lightly browned.

How to Shape Dough Into Loaves
Roll dough into a 12×8-inch rectangle. Starting from the narrow edge, roll up tightly. At each turn, seal with fingertips or edge of hand. Press down on ends of loaf with sides of hand to make two, thin, sealed strips. Fold strips under loaf (or shape dough into a rectangular loaf, pulling ends together until smooth).

Yield: 2 loaves (1 pound each)

1 cup milk
4 tablespoons lard
1 egg
4 cups flour
1/3 plus 1/8 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 teaspoon yeast
1 cup raisins


  • Place all ingredients, except raisins, in the dough bucket of the bread machine.
  • Run the dough cycle.
  • When the dough cycle reaches 1:19 (1 hour, 19 minutes), add the raisins and let the dough cycle continue.
  • When the dough cycle finishes, remove the dough from the bucket and divide into two sections.
  • Let dough rest for 10 minutes and shape into loaves.
  • Place loaves in greased loaf pans, cover with a damp towel and let rise for 1-2 hours.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes until lightly browned.

You can find more  Sudekum Family Favorite Recipes on my new Pinterest Board.

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Power Parenting


Power Parenting  • By Dore Quinn LPC

Recently I had the opportunity to participate in the “Parenting University” for the Lewisville Independent School District.  The topic I presented was one that is near and dear to my heart entitled, “Power Parenting.”

I became acutely aware early on in my parenting career of the importance of parents having the power in a family.  Though most kids won’t admit it, parents having control in a family allows for the whole family to feel more secure.  I have worked with many teens that admitted they wished their parents were more in control of the family and that there were more rules and consistency.  The big question is, how do parents assume power in the family?

The main goal in assuming power in parenting is to stop arguing with the children.  There is a huge difference between discussing and arguing.  Discussion is okay; arguing is not.  An example of arguing is a parent instructing a child to clean his room and the charming child giving ten reasons why he shouldn’t have to clean his room.  Often we parents take the argument bait and try to logic the child into obedience. I might choose to try one argument of logic (because there is an innate part of me that really wants them to understand that I’m not trying to make their lives difficult for the fun of it), but then I’m done.  If the child is arguing, then the  child doesn’t really want to understand why he should have to comply; he simply hopes he can argue his way out of doing the job.  Rather than give reasons why he should do as I ask, I will simply repeat the request.

Here is an example: 

MOM:  If you want to go to your friend’s house, you’ll have your room clean by 5:00.

SON:  Why do I have to clean my room? Who is coming over? (Sound familiar??)

Fight the urge to take the bait… you are the parent and it isn’t necessary to justify your request. Instead, just repeat the request:

MOM:  Nevertheless, if you want to go to your friend’s house, you’ll have your room clean by 5:00.

SON: (becoming agitated): Why? It’s not my house… Who put that room in this house anyways??

Fight the urge again to take the bait (arguing often leads to escalation of a fight) and just repeat the request again.

Keep up this pattern until the child becomes frustrated with his repeated attempts to draw you into an argument and will often sigh in frustration and hopefully comply because his efforts are futile. 

If I have a particularly stubborn child, I may end up repeating the request four or five times at which time I will decide for the child that he doesn’t want to go to his friend’s house after all and then I will come up with a particularly distasteful consequence (phone disappearing, etc.) if he chooses not to comply.

The main goal in maintaining power is to keep from escalating with the child in his or her anger.  When we choose to argue with the child, then our position as the one in power diminishes as our anger escalates.

If you have a child who is argumentative, try using your hand held up in a “Stop” signal to give visual sight to your child that you expect him or her to stop.

Sometimes your child may have a particularly frustrating behavior pattern established that you may want to change.  The following is a behavior plan that I often use in private practice to help parents take control and end verbal arguing. There are a few premises that this plan works on.

  • It needs to be explained to the child thoroughly before implementation.
  • One behavior needs to be identified and worked on at a time.  More than one behavior becomes overwhelming to the child.
  • Once the plan is established, the parent DOES NOT argue with the child or even worse…LECTURE.  The parent simply marks the sheet.  If the child genuinely doesn’t understand then the parent may choose to explain once why the sheet was marked (but NOT argue!!!).  If the child argues, then another check is marked on the sheet.
  • Papers need to be taped onto the front of the fridge.  If you are one of those families with fifty gazillion magnets on the fridge, this is a good time to clear them out and give the behavior plan a special place front and center on the fridge.
  • Handwrite the plan (don’t use the one I’m posting…it needs to be customized to your child).  The one I’m posting is just an example.
  • Don’t post the paper about catching them being good.

Begin by identifying the behavior you wish to target. Be VERY detailed on the specific behaviors your child engages in that fall under the category. This is an example. This gets posted on the fridge.


  1. Eye rolling.
  2. Telling Mom or Dad, “NO!”
  3. “I hate you!”
  4. Telling mom or dad, “You can’t tell me what to do!”
  5. Sighing after I ask you to do something.
  6. Groaning after I ask/tell you do something.
  7. Making faces while I am speaking to you.
  8. Saying, “Whatever…” to me
  9. Covering up your ears while I am speaking with you.
  10. Double asking (asking me then asking Dad after I’ve told you no)
  11. Saying, “That’s not fair!”
  12. Telling me I’m mean.
  13. Growling in my ear-shot
  14. Continuing to speak after I’ve put my hand in the air signing, “Stop!”
  15. Yelling at Dad or me.
  16. Swearing at me.

* Door slamming will result in me assuming you need practice closing doors quietly, thus you will open and close the door quietly 15x.

*Stomping up or down stairs will result in me assuming you need practice going up and down stairs quietly, thus you will have the opportunity to practice going up and down quietly 10x with me watching and counting (one trip up and down = 1x).

I tell my kids that they are more than welcome to think anything in their head that they want, but I better not hear it or I will consider it disrespect.  Also, be sure to teach them how to have a discussion with you about something they don’t like/something they are concerned about rather than engaging in disrespectful behaviors. Your list will look different than this one because you will be targeting specific behaviors your child uses.

Child’s Name

________        ________       ________       ________       ________

*The spaces above are “freebies.”  Consequences start when they go through their freebies.

*Each consequence gets progressively worse.

*These consequences are just examples.

*Use whatever your child values as leverage

*I’ve been known to take away make-up, clothes, phones, etc.

________1.  No TV for an hour.


________2.  ½ hour in your room.


________3.   1 hour in your room.


________4.  No TV/Computer for the rest of the day.


________5.  Bedtime at 6 pm (or 7…)-I usually always use this as the final consequence because if they have engaged in the behavior 10 times in one day, then I am pretty much out of patience and want them out of my sight by then.


*All behavior charts are for a daily basis. All consequences need to be daily consequences (grounding for an entire week results in kid not caring for rest of week-counter productive to changing behavior)

*When child gets savvy enough to go through all freebies and no consequences (as smart kids do), then it is time to knock off freebies to maybe two or three.

*It takes at least three weeks to change a habit…this is no different

*They will go through all consequences at least 2-3 days in the first week, so be prepared! This is normal.

Catch ‘em being good


This third part to the behavior chart is very important.  Because difficult behavior usually results in strained relationships (yes, it is possible to not like your own child…), it is essential to build the relationship back up between parent and child.  When a child is difficult, the child often feels as though he/she can never do anything right and the only thing noticed is when he/she screws up. The third element to the behavior plan is catching them being good.

  • Go to the store and buy about 10 candy bars that you know your child will like (full-sized, not fun-sized).
  • Explain to your child that you are going to work at catching him/her being good, and when you do, you may toss a candy bar to him/her.
  • Explain that if he/she tells the other siblings, then the whole deal is off…this is just between you and the child (helps him/her feel special and keeps the others from feeling like there is favoritism).
  • Really notice when he/she does something right…toss him/her a candy bar privately with a one sentence explanation (VERY IMPORTANT it is only one sentence to avoid child/teen “click off”) and LEAVE THE SCENE!!! In the beginning you may be tossing one or two a day, then lengthen it out.  A week or two of candy bars isn’t going to kill him/her or permanently ruin teeth. Candy works much better than stickers, etc. In the beginning, the child may act as though he/she doesn’t care, but THEY DO!!! Do it anyway!


(Toss candy bar) “Thanks for not yelling at me when you were angry earlier… I really appreciate it!” Then leave…don’t discuss, don’t give detail, don’t go on and on…you get the picture.

(Toss candy bar) ”Thanks for not knocking your brother one when he used your stereo… You’re awesome!”

(Toss candy bar) ”Thanks for taking out the trash without arguing… I really appreciate it!”

By ending the pattern of arguing with our children, we as parents will maintain our position of being in charge in the home. Parents having the power in the home helps maintain stability in the family and greater feelings of security. Besides, it makes our home a happy place to be!

If you would like Dore Quinn to talk to your group or find out more about Kaleidoscope Counseling please call 214-499-0396

Kaleidoscope Counseling also post regularly on our Facebook Fan Page and Pinterest.

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Family Dynamics and Addiction

Is drug or alcohol use/abuse a symptom of a deeper issue for my child or our family dynamic?

There are many reasons why any one individual could turn to drug and alcohol abuse. For many, it is a means to help relax after a stressful moment. Others may partake in order to make a “good time even better.” Regardless of the reasoning, even the most innocent of situations could cause a downward spiral depending on the situation of the individual. For children, this could become a situational hazard that can set them on a dark path for the rest of their lives.

A study performed in 2008 showed that at least 39-percent of children between the ages of 12 and 17 have tried alcohol at least once in their life. Many of these children try it as a result of curiosity. They wish to learn the allure alcohol has for parents and society members. Most of the time, a child may display disgust with the drink and won’t touch another for several years to come. However, there are those that continue the experience for much of the same reasons adults will. Can we see ourselves mirrored in our children?

1. Teenage Justification – Some teens will drink for no other reason than to demonstrate their own sense of being old enough to control their own lives. Other teens will utilize drugs and alcohol as a way to “fit in” with peers. Unfortunately, the process of fitting in could create an addiction to the feeling of belonging as well as the mind-altering state the chemicals provide. For many teenagers, it is a basic need to be liked by those of the same age group. Out of fear that they won’t fit in, they partake in behaviors that the teens rationally wouldn’t subject themselves to.

2. Parental Influence – As children learn a great deal of their behavior from parents as they grow, the influence of using drugs and alcohol can be great. In their young minds, they glorify the parents and assume that this is the behavior that is expected of them as they age. However, the extreme side of the behavior can also be attributed to the actions of the parent while under the influence of a substance. It is two distinct points of view that can have radical motivations of remaining sober or becoming an abuser.

Read more on the role families play in the fight against drugs at The American Mental Health Alliance website, where you will find two great articles; Part I: Impact on the Family and Part II: how recovery for the family offers much-needed hope and healing when it addresses substance abuse as a family disease.

3. A Vacation from Reality – One of the most predominant reasons why so many turn to drugs and alcohol is the feeling of euphoria that is granted. A life can be so disturbingly stressful that an individual needs to have a vacation from reality. For children, many situations are being experienced for the first time. This can become overwhelming for some and the drug or alcohol option could provide reprieve to the situation. Children don’t have the benefits of experience to fall back on and could become addicted to the sensations drugs and alcohol can provide. A child cannot raise him or herself and they do require the wisdom of someone who can help them through trying times.

Feeling overwhelmed, confused, angry, scared and guilty are all perfectly normal feelings for both you and your teen. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence number one recommendation for parents is to “Take an Active Role in Your Child’s Life.” As the main thing you need to do as parents to be effectively involved in preventing alcohol and drug problems for children.

4. In the Media – A study completed in 2003 showed children between the ages of 12 and 17 were more likely to use marijuana by six times and five times more likely to drink alcohol if they watched at least one “R” rated movie per month. What the study doesn’t show is how often the parent is involved in the child’s life and decision making. Raising a child to respect the difference between fiction and reality could skew those results. An eight-year-old who is taught the difference between fantasy and reality is less likely to have nightmares regarding movies and television shows. Could this style of parenting influence the decisions of children in regards to alcohol and drugs?

Your skills as a parent have a great influence in how your child reacts to specific stimuli. Although you want them to find their own paths as they develop, you shouldn’t stand back and watch them make profound mistakes. It’s your responsibility to root out problems and control the situation before it gets out of hand. It’s your role to guide them into being a productive member of society, not their friend. Children will abuse drugs and alcohol for the same reasons adults do. However, the children can benefit from the parent stepping in and getting to the heart of the problem that is causing the behavior in the first place.

Rachel Thomas Guest Blogger

Rachel Thomas

Author Bio:

Rachel is an ex-babysitting pro as well as a professional writer and blogger. She is a graduate from Iowa State University and currently writes for www.babysitting.net. She welcomes questions/comments which can be sent to rachelthomas.author @ gmail.com.


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Prevent Your Teen From Taking Drugs

As I prepare for the Youth Drug Summit “A Community Conservation on Drugs” for the Flower Mound, Highland Village and Lewisville area, I want to share these parenting tips, my thoughts on the important role parents play during the turbulent teen years, and how imperative it is for parents to  join with your teen so together both teen and parent can “Keep Them Safe.”

The single known antidote — the only secret weapon that has consistently proven capable of disarming all known triggers of substance abuse — is the artful application of PARENTING

Prevention Made Simple

The best defense against substance abuse is the creation of an intrinsic belief system, starting around age 3. Once in place, this belief system will shield your child in a way that no lecture, no punishment and no incentive based technique ever could.

All kids are different, as are all parents, but there is one identical masterpiece that every family should seek to paint together before their child reaches the age of 15. The secret masterpiece is a child who truly believes that substance abuse is wrong, and “believes” that it is a threat to their future.

3 yrs belief


  • Be there for your teen when s/he needs to get out of a bad situation. Peer pressure is hard to deal with for every teen. You can help your teen deal with saying no to drugs to their peers by being the scapegoat: “I can’t do that, my parents would kill me!” Or be the parent who will pick up your teen without repercussions if s/he finds the party they’ve gone too has drugs available or their date has been drinking.
  • Get to know your teen’s friends and their parents on a first-name basis. Want to know what your teen is up to? Ask their friends. They may not share everything, or much of anything, but you will get a general idea if there are any risk-taking behaviors going on just by how the other teen acts. This is especially true when you get to know your teen’s friends. You will also have stronger support for keeping your teen from taking drugs if you know your teens friends’ parents well enough to use their first name. Building a relationship with them, casual is fine, will give you a leg up if you ever find your teen is doing drugs.
  • Keep connected in the after school hours. If you can’t be home with your teen, call and leave notes. Have another adult supervise your teen or sign them up for an after school program. If these things aren’t possible, establish a routine for your teenager and keep them busy during this time. After-school hours are the single most important time to know where your teens are and what they are doing, as statistics show 3 p.m. through 5 p.m. is a choice time for teens to use drugs. You can prevent your teen from doing drugs at this time through supervision.
  • Talk to your teen often about drugs. Use ice breakers from television shows or the radio in the car. Remember these are conversations, not lectures. And don’t be afraid to bring up the topic of drugs. Kids as young as preschool are taught about drug use in school in positives ways. Your teen knows all about them by the time they get to middle school or high school. When you open the topic of drugs up in conversation, you are letting your teen know that you are available if they need to talk, which is an excellent way to prevent your teen from taking drugs.
  • Get your teen involved in extra-curricular activities. Schools offer sports or clubs and community organizations offer classes and youth groups. These will help them mold their identity in a positive way and give them less time doing nothing and becoming bored. Studies have shown teens that have less time to just hang out and spend more time in organized activities are less likely to do drugs.
  • Ask questions when your teen makes plans to go out. Who will they be with, where are they going, what will they be doing, etc. Then check up on them. Call other parents and do this together. Teens who think they will get caught will be less likely to do drugs.
  • Be a role model. If you drink, drink responsibly – and don’t ever use illegal drugs. You may think that your kids don’t know that you are using, but they do or they will find out eventually. If you do take drugs, seek help and show your teen that you are taking responsibility for your actions.
  • Unite your family against drugs using strong family beliefs. Establish that your family doesn’t use drugs. Not that you will shun your child should they make a mistake, but that your family believes there are other healthier ways to enjoy life and fix problems rather than escaping into a drug haze.


Always Remember

An Ounce of Prevention

is Worth More than a Pound of Cure

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