Be prepared for a crisis, know who to turn to for support, have the right information and understand how to best convey it to your family. Substance abuse, both drugs and alcohol, are very real problems that you can’t hide from your child. Learn how to communicate the dangers of risky behavior in age-appropriate ways well before your child faces them directly. You need to know the warning signs if your child is in trouble and where to turn to for help. With frightening regularity another traumatic event is in the news, anticipating your child’s emotions and questions will help you provides reassurance and makes everyone feel safe.
If you or your child is in crisis, seek professional help immediately.
A broad overview of an issue:
- What’s a crisis. Everyone has them (no one or no family is perfect; bad things happen to good people.)
- Traumatic events outside of family
- In family: dealing with person in crisis
- In family: helping those affected person in crisis
- Immediate response, long term response
- Taking care of caregiver
- Prevention ??
How to respond with your family.
- Take cues from child
- Get help. Who to turn to…
If Your Child Has a Friend in Crisis
Drugs and Alcohol
- Talking to your Teens About Marijuana
- Talking to Your Teens About Drinking
- Setting Limits Why Saying No may be the most important gift you give your children
In the United States, 20 million women and 10 million men suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder at some time in their life. Are you, a friend or family member struggling with food or exercise issues? The National Eating Awareness Association has resources to help. Click here to take the National Eating Disorder Awareness quiz as a first step.
The Netflix series 13 Reason Why, a fictional story about teen suicide, has made us all aware about the tragedy of teen suicide. Starting a conversation with your child about suicide is not easy, but it is very important and can be life-saving. Whether or not your child watches the series, be aware of the issues it raises and the possible effect on your child and your child’s friends. Don’t do nothing because you don’t know how to start the conversation. The Jed Foundation and Save.org have created 13 Reasons Why: Talking Points ( click on the title to access the talking points in both English and Spanish) as a resource to help parents and educators.
According to Dr. Deborah Gilboa on The Today Show: “This show is just one way of opening that conversation at home. If you don’t want to use this entry, find another,” she said. “Teens need to know that their adults are ready to talk about difficult topics, this one in particular.”
Dr. Gilboa said that more important than the show is how your individual child reacts to it. “I would watch my child even more than I watch the show, to see if they are affected by or interested in any of the topics or scenes. I’d also watch for their reactions.”
Call the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or Text “START” to 741-741
While we should all know how to recognize the warning signs of mental warning signs of mental illness, it is equally important to build our children’s emotional resiliency. Feeling good about ourselves and using positive coping strategies when faced with challenges ourselves not only models healthy behavior for our children, it enhances our own emotional well being. The American Academy of Pediatrics provides tips for every day life that promote children’s social and emotional health.
We can also substitute this link for the warning signs of mental illness, if you feel it is more appropriate: https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Know-the-Warning-Signs
Don’t be afraid to ask for help: sometimes people see asking for help as a sign of weakness when it is in fact the exact opposite. Knowing that something is wrong and reaching out to a counselor, family member or, a friend takes a lot of strength and courage. Everyone gets overwhelmed at times and some may need some outside help to understand why. The quicker one addresses their emotions the quicker one can get the appropriate help they need to start feeling better and living a happier life. By the same token, if you see someone close to you struggling, ask if you can help; sometimes that simple question lets them know that someone else cares and it can make all the difference. The Cope Center can help you find a counselor if you don’t know to whom to turn. (embed link in “The Cope Center”)
A Parent’s Sixth Sense: Getting Help When Something Just Not Right With Your Child
By now, the routine of the school year has been established, it may be a good time to step back and think about how your child is doing, both academically and emotionally. All children face challenges, and like adults, kids have good days and bad. If when you ask yourself how your child is doing, it feels like their difficulties are interfering with their ability to function normally, it might be a good idea to reach out for help.
Is your child having difficulty at home, in school, with friends or within the family? Are those difficulties affecting their ability to eat or sleep? Are they having a hard time in situations where they used to be okay? Are these problems significant enough that are causing your child or other family members distress? If you answer yes to one or more of these questions, reach out to a professional, like your pediatrician, school counselor or clergy. The Mayo Clinic explains about recognizing warning signs in children. Contact the Cope Center if you need help finding the right resources for your family.
There are many reasons why children struggle with school work, but if it seems like “something isn’t right,” trust your instinct and check in with your child’s teacher or counselor. If your child does have a learning disability, early intervention is critical to getting the right support in place. Click here for a useful resource is from the Learning Disability Association of American explains the range of learning disabilities and disorders.
The important take-away is that you, as a parent, best knows your child. Trust your instinct and when something doesn’t feel right, don’t hesitate to reach out for help.
Mayo Clinic article: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/childrens-health/in-depth/mental-illness-in-children/art-20046577
Linked LD article: https://ldaamerica.org/support/new-to-ld/
GET THE FACTS FOR YOUR FAMILY: DRUG AND ALCOHOL ABUSE
Here’s our check-list for getting the facts about drugs, alcohol and their effects, where to get help and what you can do to help your teens make good choices. Click on any of the links for more information.
- Positive Parenting Prevents Drug Abuse
- Get information to help you talk with your teens about drugs and their effects, and learn where to go to get help.
- A Letter to Parents: Facts Parents Need to Know
- Encourage Your Teen to Get the Facts For Themselves.
- Watch the documentary Addiction as a family and use the FAQ materials prepared by the National Institute of Health to help facilitate your family’s conversation.
It can be frightening to think about what you don’t know about your teen’s life and activities, but remember that knowledge is power and unless you start the conversation, you won’t be able to help them make good choices.