Do as I Say: A Message to Parents

parenting by example

We’ve all heard the expression, “Do as I say, and not as I do.” It means to follow the rules, follow what someone says, but don’t follow their actions. It means the person using the phrase is telling you to do something, but they, themselves, refuse to do it. Unfortunately, too many people are living by these words, but when it comes to parenting, this phrase can make or break the relationship we have with our kids.

We want our kids to be better than we are, to strive for more, and live a life of success, but when we follow this adage, we are forgetting what it means to be human. Kids, by nature, soak up their surroundings and internalize them. What they see is literally what they do because that’s exactly how humans learn, especially in their formative years. This means, as adults, it’s time to call our integrity into question, especially if we are doing the same for our kids. It’s time to ask ourselves if we are being the best role model possible, and if not, what can we do to get there?

How the ‘Do as I Say’ Method Backfires

There are two things that happen when we don’t act as role models, and they work together. First, whether we want to believe it or not, our children start picking up our behaviors because they live with us and see us every day. From day one, everything we do and say becomes an internalized narrative. Think about how kids learn to eat their food, speak, and play. We are the gatekeepers of knowledge, modeling all behaviors. But when kids grow older, the stakes grow larger.

For example, if you tell your kids not to get in a car with someone who’s been drinking, and you have a beer or two at dinner then drive your family home, you’re teaching your child it’s okay. If that doesn’t resonate, think about how you speak to your friends and even how you speak to your kids about others. If you are constantly name-calling, blaming, or refusing to take ownership of your behaviors, then how do you expect your kids to know any differently? You set the bar for kindness, compassion, and ownership because they have no other outlet to learn in the first 5-6 years of their lives. And the older they get, the more aware they become to who you are and what you are saying.

The next piece stems from respect. As parents, if we are constantly asking things of our kids, and we are doing the opposite, then we are providing mixed messages. Therefore, it’s easy for them to lose respect. You might say, “They are my child; they should respect me.” While that may be true if you’d tell your child to watch out for a specific behavior, yet you are exhibiting said behavior, your child is caught in a place where they aren’t sure what to think. And the more we act in ways we deem wrong, the more our child is going to pick up on it and see us in that light. For example, say you tell your child lying is wrong, but they watch you lie to your boss or your spouse. They may be young and naïve, but they can surely spot a liar. Now, since you’ve done it, they may feel it’s okay to lie occasionally, too.

This all boils down to integrity. Integrity means doing the right thing, even when no one is watching. If we aren’t doing the right thing when they are watching, they have no way to make the best decisions for themselves when we aren’t around.

How Can We Teach Our Kids to Have Integrity?

The easiest way to teach good behaviors is to lead by example. No one is asking you to be perfect, but the more we can model compassionate and morally sound behavior, the more likely our kids will pick up on those traits and behaviors, as well.

Think about it this way. Have you ever had a boss you simply didn’t respect? Think about the worst boss you’ve ever had and analyze those behaviors. Maybe they had an attitude, they didn’t follow through with their objectives, or simply did nothing to contribute. What did you gain from that environment? How did you feel when they didn’t follow through or simply did nothing in their position? Now, think about your kids. In a lot of ways, you are their boss for the first 18 years of their lives. You organize, you provide structure, and you give them the tools to succeed. How would they rate you as a boss? Are you following through? We can’t expect kids to follow a meaningless command and retain their respect. We wouldn’t want our kids to do the same with others in their lives, so it’s time to step up and be the leader we all need.

Leading by example can be hard when it comes to addiction. If you or a young adult you know is struggling with addiction, professional help is always a great option. The Bougainvilla House offers adolescent behavioral health programs for individuals and families. Call us today to see how we can help 954-764-7337, or use our convenient Contact form.

Bullying

Bullying amongst adolescents and teenagers has been going on, in one form or another, since the beginning of human relations. Unfortunately, we have only really established the ability to engage in a serious dialogue about the negative effects of bullying since the early 2000’s. In 2005, the first data on bullying began to be collected by the federal government and at this time, according to the US Department of Education, the prevalence of bullying was shown to be at approximately 28%. As of 2016, the National Center for Education Statistics reported that the prevalence rate had dropped to 20.8%, showing that while bullying overall has shown a decrease, the prevalence of it in middle and high schools is still 1 out of every 5 children.

The Effects of Bullying
Although overall, we may be seeing a decline in bullying nationwide, we cannot afford to become content with these numbers as just one instance of bullying can be a traumatic event for the victim. Generally speaking, victims of bullying do not experience one instance but rather on average, experience bullying at least 1-2 times per week. Bullying can induce a myriad of horrific effects on the victim such as increased isolation, shame, low self-esteem, anxiety, decreased performance in school, and symptoms of depression. Due to the consistent and persistent nature of bullying that is left without intervention, the long-term effects of bullying include potential PTSD, anxiety and depressive disorders, substance abuse, loss of trust, and even an engagement in self-harm as well as suicide. While there are some individuals who argue that bullying behavior can be a natural part of growing up, and they may be right, this notion doesn’t provide solutions for the victims and families who experience very real suffering due this type of behavior left unchecked.


What Are Some Possible Solutions To Bullying?

As the ability to engage in open dialogue about the effects of bullying becomes more realistic, we ought to first look at assertive communication as a primary mode of recourse. Typically, the bully has some real or perceived advantage over the victim which is manifested through physical strength, verbal aggression, or intimidation techniques. Bullies look for what they believe to be individuals who are weak-willed, shy, or defenseless; one way we can fortify ourselves against this kind of susceptibility is to let the bully know, verbally, that we will not stand by and be victimized. The “Three Strikes” rule is effective because it communicates to the bully that we will not stand passively by and allow this behavior. Upon the first incidence of bullying we let them know that this is unacceptable and will not be tolerated; upon the second incident, we communicate that should this happen again, we will notify the relevant authorities. Often times, this will signal to the bully that we will not stand for this treatment, and also that we are willing to make it difficult for them to continue this behavior without punishment. Clearly, this is not a catch-all solution, however, the establishment of confident and assertive language in the potential victim is often enough to deter further attempts at bullying.

Victims Become Victimizers
One of the most primitive psychological defense mechanisms is what’s known as displacement. This occurs when an individual is stripped of their power through the tyrannical actions of another; they cope with this loss of power by reclaiming it through disempowering another, often times through bullying. In other words, bullies tend to have difficult home lives, often times having to endure abuse and neglect of their parents which they can, in turn, take out on classmates in school. In order to address instances of bullying effectively, it is advantageous to understand the forces driving the bullying behavior, so we look to create a connection with bullies in order to show them compassion and understanding.

Cyberbullying
With the rise and ubiquitous nature of social media in contemporary society, cyberbullying has become a prominent subtype of bullying due to its accessibility, convenience, and potential anonymity. While typical bullying can have its limitations due to the fact that many individuals wouldn’t bully another if it required a face to face engagement with the person, social media allows for individuals who might not otherwise bully to engage in intimidation, slander, and humiliation via a medium that alleviates some personal connection and responsibility. Another reason cyberbullying is arguably as harmful as traditional bullying is due to the tendency for a pack mentality to arise in the context of social media where typical constraints on bad behavior might otherwise be regulated. It creates a landscape where, because of the distance of the interactions, individuals feel less personally responsible for their actions and therefore might act crueler than they would should they be faced with the victim in person.

Where Do We Go from Here?
Now that we have examined the effects of bullying, the possible solutions, and the importance of trying to connect with the victims as well as bullies themselves, what can we do in the meantime? Coordinating and communicating with school administrators in order to understand their bullying policies and what should be done in the event that an individual is bullied is a good place to start. Encouraging our children to speak up when they see bullying is another effective way of combatting bullying as well because it communicates to the victimizer that their behavior will not be tolerated. Finally, it is imperative that we seek the help of professionals, such as The Bougainvillea House, in order to foster open communication and compassion for families and children faced with bullying. Remember, we are not alone and The Bougainvillea House can help!

Social Anxiety Among Teens – The Bougainvilla House Cares

Teenage years come with a number of stressors. Social and cultural pressure can take a toll on a teen’s mental health. Social Anxiety among teens is on the rise due to Social Media use, and other modern social pressures. Although most teenagers go through periods of normal anxiety related to the changes that go along with adolescence, those with Social Anxiety Disorder experience fear that is out of proportion to the situations that they face. For some teenagers, social anxiety becomes chronic, affecting school performance, extracurricular activities and the ability to make friends.
Teenage years come with a number of stressors. Social and cultural pressure can take a toll on a teen’s mental health. Social Anxiety among teens is on the rise due to Social Media use, and other modern social pressures. Although most teenagers go through periods of normal anxiety related to the changes that go along with adolescence, those with Social Anxiety Disorder experience fear that is out of proportion to the situations that they face. For some teenagers, social anxiety becomes chronic, affecting school performance, extracurricular activities and the ability to make friends.

Interacting with Peers

Teenagers with social anxiety often have trouble interacting with their peers both in school and in social situations. This can lead to poor performance in school. Students with Social Anxiety can often show the following behaviors:

  • is uncomfortable in group settings
  • has few friends
  • is afraid to start or participate in conversations
  • is afraid to ask others to get together
  • is afraid to call others
  • avoids eye contact
  • speaks softly or mumbles
  • appears to always be “on the fringes”
  • reveals little about him/herself when talking to others

Social Media

Modern technology has made it easier to connect with others throughout the world. With this new accessibility, comes a new set of challenges. Often times young people can hide behind the screen, causing avoidant behaviors in real life.

While social networking sites may help those with social anxiety to more easily initiate and establish social connections, there can be drawbacks as well. These online connections may not be as strong as those created in real life.

On the other hand, social media can give teens a twisted view of reality. On social media, many people present the best version of their lives. This can cause feelings of envy or inadequacy in teens that may already have feelings of social anxiety.

Building Self Esteem

When it comes to reducing feelings of social anxiety, building self-esteem is the best way to reduce feelings of self-doubt. Being generous with praise is a good first step. Teens need to be acknowledged for what they do well.  Commend your child not only for accomplishments but for effort—including those times when it fails to bring the desired results. Teens with social anxiety may feel awkward accepting praise, so make sure the compliments are natural and not forced. It is still ok to criticize the teen when necessary, just try to be constructive, and never speak in a hurtful or demeaning manner.

Encourage your teen to cultivate their talents and interests. Everyone excels at something and helping your teen focus on what they are good at can help develop confidence. Getting involved in activities can also be a great outlet for a socially anxious teen. They can make connections with others that have similar interests. This can give an easy outlet for conversation and social connections.

If you are a parent of a teen that has been struggling with Social Anxiety, professional help is always a great option. The Bougainvilla House offers adolescent behavioral health programs for individuals and families. Contact The Bougainvilla House today to see how we can help. 954-764-7337 Or use our convenient Contact form.

Mental Health Cases Increase, but so do Solutions

If you or a loved one has suffered from mental illness, you know the impact it can have on their life and the lives of people around them. But mental health is one of those things that people often underestimate. For those who don’t have a tangible context for mental illness, it’s critical to remember that it’s not just a feeling in someone’s head. Mental illnesses can seriously impact daily life. More than 18% of adults in the U.S. experience mental illness in a given year and the risk of mental illness is even greater in children. Studies show that over 20% of children, either currently or at some point during their lives, have had a seriously debilitating mental disorder. Mental illness is a frighteningly relevant topic. Thankfully, new studies show that there is also relevant hope.

To understand the progress being made, it’s helpful to understand the actual problem. A mental illness can range from what health professionals define as “Any Mental Illness” (AMI) to “Serious Mental Illness” (SMI).  AMI is defined as a mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder that can vary in impact, ranging from no impairment to mild, moderate, and even severe impairment. SMI is defined as a mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder resulting in a serious functional impairment, which substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities. The burden of mental illnesses is particularly concentrated among those who experience disability due to SMI.

The impact is real. But so is the progress towards providing help for those experiencing mental illness.

If you or a loved one has suffered from mental illness, you know the impact it can have on their life and the lives of people around them. But mental health is one of those things that people often underestimate. For those who don’t have a tangible context for mental illness, it’s critical to remember that it’s not just a feeling in someone’s head. Mental illnesses can seriously impact daily life. More than 18% of adults in the U.S. experience mental illness in a given year and the risk of mental illness is even greater in children.

A study published in The Lancet Psychiatry found that 14-year-old adolescents who had contact with mental health services had a greater decrease in depressive symptoms than those with similar difficulties who didn’t have contact. This Cambridge study is believed to be the first study in adolescents to support the role of contact with mental health services in improving mental health by late adolescence. Previous studies had reported that mental health service use has provided little or no benefit to adolescents, but the researchers argue that this might have been because the design of those studies did not consider whether service users had a mental disorder or not. The approach taken on the new Lancet study enabled comparison between people with similar disorders.

The study produced another positive finding, that young people with mental health problems who have contact with mental health care services are significantly less likely to suffer from clinical depression later in their adolescence than those with equivalent difficulties who do not receive treatment.

It’s clear that mental health is not something that can be underestimated any longer, not if over 450 million people around the world live with mental illnesses. It’s also clear that there are steps we can take for those who need help.

Whether we have a personal context for mental health or not, these findings mean we need to focus more efforts and attention on the utilization and improvement of mental health care, because it could change the statistics, and therefore change lives.

THERE IS HOPE! Call 954-764-7337 or email info@tbhcares.org today to get help for your family. Our counseling office is open every day from 10 AM to 8 PM. Our business office is open Monday-Friday , 8:30 AM to 6 PM.

Common Mental Health Disorders Seen in Teenagers

Teenagers who are struggling with addictions would be well advised to undergo screening for mental health disorders, since these two issues commonly go hand-in-hand. This is partially because teens with mental health disorders may attempt to self-medicate with substances of abuse in order to achieve relief from symptoms. Co-existing disorders present unique challenges, but fortunately, rehabs in Fort Lauderdale can offer treatment programs for both issues.

Anxiety Disorders

There are several types of anxiety disorders, ranging from generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) to panic disorder to obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Anxiety disorders can significantly reduce quality of life and interfere with a teen’s ability to carry out day to day functions. These disorders can be particularly tricky to diagnose in kids because it can be difficult to differentiate symptoms of a disorder from the normal psychological challenges that occur during the teen years. This is one reason why anxiety disorders in teens often go untreated.

Depressive Disorders

Many teens who have substance abuse problems and anxiety disorders can also have depressive disorders. And much like anxiety disorders, depression is difficult to detect because teens are ordinarily expected to be occasionally moody. When depressive symptoms persist; however, it’s important for parents to consider getting their teen screened. Psychotherapy and other treatments can help adolescents feel more like themselves again.

Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness that requires the attention of a trained provider. When adolescents have schizophrenia, they generally display the gradual development of signs and symptoms that can last for about six to nine months. This is known as the prodrome. It can include signs such as social withdrawal, unusual behaviors, substance abuse, paranoia, poor personal hygiene, and obsessiveness regarding philosophical ideas. Schizophrenia is also associated with delusions and hallucinations.

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder often develops between the ages of 15 and 30. It involves significant mood swings, such as from depressive symptoms to euphoria or mania. The adolescent’s mood may persist for a matter of hours, days, or much longer before it shifts to the opposite end of the spectrum. Teens with bipolar disorder are generally treated with medications and psychotherapy.

Examining Oxycodone Use in Florida

Prescription drug abuse is a significant issue nationwide, but in Florida, it is an epidemic. Ease of access to drugs like oxycodone has led many young people into addiction in Fort Lauderdale and beyond, thanks to the powerfully physical and psychological addictive nature of the substances. Watch this video to see how oxycodone has affected people across Florida.

Oxycodone, prescribed for pain, can cause feelings of euphoria when taken and severe withdrawal symptoms when a user tries to stop. Many young people end up facing oxycodone drug addiction after pilfering legally prescribed pills from their parents. The intensity of oxycodone addiction can be overwhelming and lead teens to crime to support their habits. In some cases, oxycodone addiction leads to heroin addiction, as young people try to get the same feeling as oxycodone at a lower price. Substance abuse treatment is a necessary step in overcoming oxycodone use.

Assessing Your Child’s Addiction Treatment Needs

For teens and their families who are dealing with drug addiction and alcohol abuse, an assessment is often the first step in recovery. When parents take the step of enrolling their teen in rehab in Fort Lauderdale, the treatment team will perform an assessment to determine the best treatment approach. This assessment will shape the rehab process for every patient.

During an assessment, the rehab team will use evaluative tools to determine the type and severity of your teen’s addiction, or in some cases, whether your teen can benefit from rehab at all. The results of the assessment are used to decide the right level of care for your teen, from mental health treatment to substance abuse rehab services. After the assessment, if it is determined that your teen can benefit from rehab, he or she may be advised to go into outpatient therapy or intensive outpatient therapy, which include different degrees of counseling and therapy services. With the right treatment approach and aftercare services, your teen can overcome addiction and get back on the road to a healthy life.

Answering Questions About Addiction Aftercare

One of the most important parts of addiction recovery happens after rehab and substance abuse counseling. A good aftercare plan reduces the risk of relapse and helps people who are overcoming the disease of addiction rebuild their lives. If your teen is entering rehab in Fort Lauderdale, be sure to consider the aftercare services before treatment even begins. Here are the answers to some common questions about addiction aftercare.

Aftercare is a general term that refers to the kind of support that a rehab center provides people when they finish their initial phases of drug or alcohol addiction treatment. People have different needs for aftercare based on a number of factors, from their age to the point they are in their treatment plan. For some people, aftercare can mean help finding a job and finding a sober living home to help them transition back to life outside of a treatment center. For teens who are getting treatment for drug and alcohol addiction, aftercare might mean family counseling and plans for dealing stress without relapsing.

Why is aftercare important?

Aftercare plays a number of important roles in addiction recovery. For many people, drug addiction or alcoholism leads to unemployment, financial and legal problems, and damaged relationships. Aftercare offers a support system for putting the practical parts of life back together after addiction. It also offers support as people transition to dealing with stressful events without using drugs or alcohol. Aftercare can make this transition easier to reduce the risk of rehab.

How can aftercare help teens?

For teens in addiction treatment, aftercare is usually focused on reinforcing positive behavior changes and helping patients learn new ways of coping with stressors.

With teen patients, aftercare is more of a family affair. Often, an aftercare program will include a clearly defined outline of behavioral goals and consequences for violating family rules. All of these services are designed to help reduce the risk of relapse and to spot the warning signs of a potential backslide into negative behavior.

Advice for Talking to Your Kids About Their Sibling’s Addiction

Addiction is a family disease, particularly when the person who is abusing drugs or alcohol is a teen living at home with their parents and siblings. For parents, the prospect of helping one child fight addiction in Fort Lauderdale is exacerbated by questions about how to address what is happening with the other children in the family. Although it may be tempting to try to pretend like everything is fine for as long as possible, it is usually beneficial to be direct and confront the issues head-on. Even young children are likely to sense when there is a problem, and not addressing the issues could cause them unnecessary distress. When addiction strikes someone in your family, use these tips to confront the problem with your healthy children.

Be Honest

Tell your children exactly what is happening in age-appropriate terms that they can understand. For very young children, simply telling them that their sibling is sick may be enough. With older children, be direct about the problem without conveying any sense that you don’t have control. Let your children know that the issue is something that you are working on and that the problems have nothing to do with them, nor do they have to take on any kind of responsibility for what is happening. Remind them that their sibling still cares for them but has an illness that may not let him or her show it right now.

Open Lines of Communication

Make your kids aware that you are always open to their questions and concerns about what is happening and that they can always be honest. Not only does making yourself approachable give your children an outlet for their fears, anger, and sadness about the situation, but it also lets them know that they should tell you if they witness dangerous behavior.

Get Help

Substance abuse treatment for teens involves family counseling, and aftercare services are focused on helping teens with addiction issues repair their relationships with the family. While this kind of counseling may help your other children, consider other resources, such as Alateen, where teens in families dealing with substance abuse can go to vent and get support. Private counseling can also be helpful.

What to Do if You Think Your Teen Is Abusing Alcohol

Discovering that a teen is engaging in drug or alcohol abuse is devastating for parents. It can be difficult to know what to do in these situations. Every family will respond in a slightly different way. However, in all cases, it’s necessary to reach out to addiction professionals for help. The counselors at a rehab in Fort Lauderdale can help you figure out what to do next about your teen’s alcohol abuse or addiction.

Make Observations

In some cases, a parent might only suspect that a teen is abusing alcohol because of changes in behavior, grades, or personality. If you have suspicions, but need to confirm them, evaluate your teen’s behavior carefully. Does he or she often break curfew, hang out with new friends, or behave in a secretive manner? Perhaps your teen comes home smelling strongly of perfume or body spray; this could be an attempt to mask the smell of alcohol. Consider whether you’re willing to violate your teen’s privacy by searching his or her room for hidden alcohol.

Contact a Rehab

Even if you don’t have definitive proof that your teen is abusing alcohol, you should contact a rehab to discuss your concerns with a professional. A counselor can offer guidance on confronting your teen and convincing him or her to seek help. You might need to take your teen to a specialist for a screening prior to admitting him or her to outpatient therapy.

Teen-Proof the Home

When your child was a toddler, you childproofed your home to prevent accidental access to dangerous substances. Now, it’s necessary to do the same thing for your teen. Don’t assume that if your teen is drinking, he or she will stick to alcohol. You’ll need to lock up prescription medications, cough syrups, and your own alcohol, if applicable. Your teen needs a clean environment in which to work on his or her recovery.

Eliminate Pocket Money

While your teen is going through counseling, you should eliminate the temptation to begin drinking again. Avoid giving your teen cash for school lunches, movie tickets, clothes or other items. Instead, write a check to the school cafeteria and directly purchase items your teen needs.

Provide Ongoing Support

Regardless of how upset you may be at your teen for abusing alcohol, remember that he or she needs your ongoing support. Let your teen know that you love him or her and are proud of him or her for getting treatment. Attend family counseling sessions and parent support groups.