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Where Are Teens Getting Drugs?

By Justin McBride – program manager for DrugFreeAZKids.org, a program of Southwest Behavioral & Health Services Many parents worry about kids getting their hands on drugs, especially those with teens. This is understandable considering the most recent results from the Arizona Youth Survey (AYS). Conducted every two years by the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission, AYS provides us with valuable information on youth substance abuse, including where kids report getting different drugs. It indicates more than two thirds of youth will use alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs before they graduate high school. Among all substances, Arizona teens report that their friends are the number one source. When it comes to obtaining alcohol, which is the number one drug used by teens, there is a shift from eight-graders to 12th grade. A quarter of eighth-graders simply take their alcohol from home compared to only 15 percent of twelve-graders. This may be due in part to parents of older teens being more mindful of alcohol in the home. Twelve-graders are also more likely to have other options for obtaining alcohol with 51 percent finding it at a party. We can see the importance of talking early with our kids about the dangers of alcohol and not waiting until they are older to implement safeguards in the home. Marijuana, the number two drug of choice among Arizona teens, is now more accessible than ever before. In fact, an increasing number of teens from all grade levels get marijuana from Medical Marijuana Card (MMC) holders. Eleven percent of eight-graders, 13 percent of tenth-graders, and 18 percent of twelve-graders say they get marijuana from someone...

Parenting Resolutions

By Gayla Grace Considering the innumerable parenting books I’ve read and parenting workshops I’ve attended, I should be a perfect parent. I’m not. I’ve been a parent long enough, however, to realize that if I keep pressing forward and do the best job I can with a loving and sincere heart, my kids won’t be eternally scarred by my imperfections. This year, instead of making resolutions about being a better parent, I decided to ponder a few resolutions on how to move past my imperfections and keep going on days I want to quit as a not-so-perfect parent. So, this year I commit to … 1. Let go of the mommy guilt. We all experience it from time to time. We do too much for our kids one day and the next day we do too little. One day we give them too much slack and the next day we nag them incessantly. Our parenting choices never seem right. Or maybe our thinking isn’t right. Mommy guilt comes from the expectation that we need to be a perfect parent. News flash: a perfect mom doesn’t exist. We can choose to let go of unrealistic expectations that keep us bound to guilt when we don’t measure up. 2. Forgive myself when I fail. A defeated parent doesn’t parent effectively. When we barrage ourselves with negative self-talk over a poor parenting choice, we continue down a negative path. Forgiving ourselves for less-than-stellar parenting moments allows us to begin again with a renewed mind and fresh perspective for our parenting challenges. 3. Seek out support from other moms on hard days. My...

Eating Healthy in the New Year

By: Candice Imwalle It’s the time of year we make resolutions to improve our lives. And when you make positive changes in your own life, you improve the lives of your children as well. That’s because you ultimately control what you and your children eat. They look to you for help and guidance. Why not use this year’s resolutions as a time to agree, as a family, to improve your eating with some dietary “best practices” for 2016. Consider focusing on these three resolutions: 1. Follow the 80/20 Rule It’s unrealistic to expect diet perfection 100 percent of the time. For both children and adults, there needs to be “wiggle room.” In our family we follow the 80/20 rule. For 80 percent of the time we make extremely healthy food choices. This leaves room for small desserts, a mac n’ cheese snack (my daughter’s favorite), a slice of pizza, etc. When I read my book, Sir Morgan and the Kingdom of Horrible Food, to children at schools, I tell them that for every four healthy things they eat, they can have one, and only one, small fun treat. (By the way, a big bag of chips or candy does not count as one, just so we’re clear!) This simple equation helps kids understand how to make small changes in their daily food choices. You don’t have to start at 80/20. If this seems overwhelming, start where you think you can be most successful. For example, set a goal as a family to eat healthy 50 percent of the time and then work your way up. You’ll be surprised at...

Dramatic Friendships

by Annie Fox, M.Ed. Since 1997, the #1 issue girls write to me about is betrayal or rejection by a friend. Specifically, “My bff has a new bff! What do I do?” The email writer goes on to describe how she’s crying herself to sleep, has lost her appetite and doesn’t want to go to school or anywhere! Parents are often confounded by the intensity of their daughter’s emotions in these situations. Moms and Dads want to know what they can do to help. A girl’s dramatic response to a friendship that’s cooling off resembles how one might react to a romantic break-up. Some girls even refer to losing a friend as getting “dumped.” Girls’ attachment to other girls is a precursor to their search for the The One, aka the Soul Mate, if you believe in that kind of stuff. Even if you don’t, it represents a search for someone who “knows me” and “understands me.” Someone who will laugh at what I laugh at and be equally moved by the things that move me. Someone I feel so close to that I barely need to explain myself to them. When a girl’s bestie loses interest, and, for whatever reason, wants to spend time with another friend, it’s a major loss. Girls often describe it in classic stages of grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, until they can find their way to Acceptance. That’s where parents can help. Tips for Helping Your Daughter Process the Loss of a Friend 1. Do not minimize your daughter’s angst. This “drama” she’s feeling and expressing is real. She needs your willingness to...

Where Are Teens Getting Drugs?

By Justin McBride – program manager for DrugFreeAZKids.org, a program of Southwest Behavioral & Health Services Many parents worry about kids getting their hands on drugs, especially those with teens. This is understandable considering the most recent results from the Arizona Youth Survey (AYS). Conducted every two years by the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission, AYS provides us with valuable information on youth substance abuse, including where kids report getting different drugs. It indicates more than two thirds of youth will use alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs before they graduate high school. Among all substances, Arizona teens report that their friends are the number one source. When it comes to obtaining alcohol, which is the number one drug used by teens, there is a shift from eight-graders to 12th grade. A quarter of eighth-graders simply take their alcohol from home compared to only 15 percent of twelve-graders. This may be due in part to parents of older teens being more mindful of alcohol in the home. Twelve-graders are also more likely to have other options for obtaining alcohol with 51 percent finding it at a party. We can see the importance of talking early with our kids about the dangers of alcohol and not waiting until they are older to implement safeguards in the home. Marijuana, the number two drug of choice among Arizona teens, is now more accessible than ever before. In fact, an increasing number of teens from all grade levels get marijuana from Medical Marijuana Card (MMC) holders. Eleven percent of eight-graders, 13 percent of tenth-graders, and 18 percent of twelve-graders say they get marijuana from someone...

Parenting Resolutions

By Gayla Grace Considering the innumerable parenting books I’ve read and parenting workshops I’ve attended, I should be a perfect parent. I’m not. I’ve been a parent long enough, however, to realize that if I keep pressing forward and do the best job I can with a loving and sincere heart, my kids won’t be eternally scarred by my imperfections. This year, instead of making resolutions about being a better parent, I decided to ponder a few resolutions on how to move past my imperfections and keep going on days I want to quit as a not-so-perfect parent. So, this year I commit to … 1. Let go of the mommy guilt. We all experience it from time to time. We do too much for our kids one day and the next day we do too little. One day we give them too much slack and the next day we nag them incessantly. Our parenting choices never seem right. Or maybe our thinking isn’t right. Mommy guilt comes from the expectation that we need to be a perfect parent. News flash: a perfect mom doesn’t exist. We can choose to let go of unrealistic expectations that keep us bound to guilt when we don’t measure up. 2. Forgive myself when I fail. A defeated parent doesn’t parent effectively. When we barrage ourselves with negative self-talk over a poor parenting choice, we continue down a negative path. Forgiving ourselves for less-than-stellar parenting moments allows us to begin again with a renewed mind and fresh perspective for our parenting challenges. 3. Seek out support from other moms on hard days. My...

Eating Healthy in the New Year

By: Candice Imwalle It’s the time of year we make resolutions to improve our lives. And when you make positive changes in your own life, you improve the lives of your children as well. That’s because you ultimately control what you and your children eat. They look to you for help and guidance. Why not use this year’s resolutions as a time to agree, as a family, to improve your eating with some dietary “best practices” for 2016. Consider focusing on these three resolutions: 1. Follow the 80/20 Rule It’s unrealistic to expect diet perfection 100 percent of the time. For both children and adults, there needs to be “wiggle room.” In our family we follow the 80/20 rule. For 80 percent of the time we make extremely healthy food choices. This leaves room for small desserts, a mac n’ cheese snack (my daughter’s favorite), a slice of pizza, etc. When I read my book, Sir Morgan and the Kingdom of Horrible Food, to children at schools, I tell them that for every four healthy things they eat, they can have one, and only one, small fun treat. (By the way, a big bag of chips or candy does not count as one, just so we’re clear!) This simple equation helps kids understand how to make small changes in their daily food choices. You don’t have to start at 80/20. If this seems overwhelming, start where you think you can be most successful. For example, set a goal as a family to eat healthy 50 percent of the time and then work your way up. You’ll be surprised at...

Dramatic Friendships

by Annie Fox, M.Ed. Since 1997, the #1 issue girls write to me about is betrayal or rejection by a friend. Specifically, “My bff has a new bff! What do I do?” The email writer goes on to describe how she’s crying herself to sleep, has lost her appetite and doesn’t want to go to school or anywhere! Parents are often confounded by the intensity of their daughter’s emotions in these situations. Moms and Dads want to know what they can do to help. A girl’s dramatic response to a friendship that’s cooling off resembles how one might react to a romantic break-up. Some girls even refer to losing a friend as getting “dumped.” Girls’ attachment to other girls is a precursor to their search for the The One, aka the Soul Mate, if you believe in that kind of stuff. Even if you don’t, it represents a search for someone who “knows me” and “understands me.” Someone who will laugh at what I laugh at and be equally moved by the things that move me. Someone I feel so close to that I barely need to explain myself to them. When a girl’s bestie loses interest, and, for whatever reason, wants to spend time with another friend, it’s a major loss. Girls often describe it in classic stages of grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, until they can find their way to Acceptance. That’s where parents can help. Tips for Helping Your Daughter Process the Loss of a Friend 1. Do not minimize your daughter’s angst. This “drama” she’s feeling and expressing is real. She needs your willingness to...

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