Teen Graduates with Pride
When he was a 10th grader, Ryan Truax spent most of his time high on various kinds of drugs. What started with marijuana and alcohol eventually evolved into ecstasy and cocaine. It was only after he'd been arrested on drug-related charges that he got serious about turning his life around.
"Truax, who will graduate from Century High School today, has now been sober for 21 months. He received a Turnaround Achievement award in May for his work to overcome issues with chemical dependency."
The turnaround wasn't easy, and included stays at two different treatment facilities. Ryan has recently started an addiction support group for teenagers and has as many as 15 kids show up to the meetings. He says that helping others overcome their addictions helps him "ensure [his] sobriety". Source: Post-Bulletin - Rochester, Minnesota
Depression in Parents Linked to Mental Problems in Their Kids
If parents suffer from depression, anxiety, or panic disorders, their children are at risk for multiple anxiety disorders, according to a new study from Harvard University.
Dr. Joseph Biederman, a psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital, compared four groups: children of parents with panic disorder but not depression, children of parents with major depression without panic disorder, children of parents with both maladies, and children of parents with neither one. Parental panic disorder was linked to increased risk for panic disorder and agoraphobia in children, and parental depression was linked to social phobia, depression, disruptive behavior disorders, and poor social functioning in children.
"Recognizing that children at a very young age can be at high- risk for emotional distress can go a long way toward doing something for them in early life," Dr. Biederman said.
This study appears in the American Journal of Psychiatry.
Energy Drinks Linked to Risky Behaviors in Teens
A new study from the University of Buffalo found that teens who consume "energy drinks" are more likely to engage in risky behaviors such as substance abuse, unprotected sex, and violence.
Lead author Kathleen Miller, writing in the Journal of American College Health, emphasizes that her study does not prove that the drinks cause the behaviors.
About one-third of young people ages 12 to 24 regularly consume energy drinks, which often contain twice the caffeine found in a strong cup of coffee.
Youthquake Shakes up At-Risk Attitudes
The Tri-County Youth Services Bureau in Maryland held its second "Youthquake" - an event aimed at helping teens discover healthy alternatives to drugs and alcohol. The event featured games, workshops, art, and music.
"The kids that attended Saturday's program at the La Plata Campus of the College of Southern Maryland came from different situations. While some are known to skip school regularly, others are go-getters who took the opportunity to attend the various workshops."
Most of the students signed up for Youthquake through their schools, and many learned that there are people out there who are ready and able to help teenagers. They also learned the importance of protecting their identity online, and setting healthy priorities. Source: Southern Maryland News.
AA and NA Meetings Help Teens After Residential Rehab
Teens who participate in residential treatment programs for drug and alcohol abuse benefit from attending support meetings as part of their aftercare, according to a new study from Harvard University.
Even attending a few Alcohol Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous meetings improved long-term outcomes; in fact, researchers concluded that going to just one meeting translated to about two days of abstinence.
Dr. John Kelly of the MGH-Harvard Center for Addiction Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital tracked 160 teenagers who had remained for four to six weeks in residential treatment programs. He and his team then reassessed them six months later, and then again one, two, four, six and eight years later.
Teens who attended AA and/or NA meetings in the first six months after rehabilitation had better long-term outcomes. The study found those teens with severe addictions and those who believed they could not use drugs or alcohol in moderation were more likely to attend most frequently. However, attending even once a week helped - and participating in three meetings a week was associated with complete abstinence.
"This suggests that youth may not need to attend as frequently as every day, [which is] sometimes recommended clinically, to achieve very good outcomes," said Dr. Kelly, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.
This study appears in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.
Local Students Talk About Challenges of Being Teen Parent
The School-Aged Parents' program is a Canadian program comprised of teenagers who give firsthand accounts of what it's like to be a young parent. The speakers share their experiences in elementary and high schools throughout the Prairie South School Division.
"While using charts and videos to support their point about safe sex, the personal accounts from the Peacock students about their experiences with sex and pregnancy made the largest impact."
One of the teen parents, Toni, was pregnant at 15. She and her boyfriend stayed together for three years, but eventually broke up. It's a common theme among the young mothers - boyfriends who left and now have little or no involvement in their kids' lives. Source: The Moose Jaw Times Herald
Pregnant teens who are engaging in risky behaviors can benefit from adolescent residential treatment programs like the one offered at Youth Care.
Mother Suspects Teen of Using Drugs
A concerned mom recently wrote into a Southern Utah advice column seeking help with her teenage daughter. At 16, her daughter's attitude and friends are beginning to change. While she doesn't want to judge either her daughter or her friends, she wants to make sure she's okay.
"Kids do change at this age and sometimes for the worse. In many cases, it's a phase, followed by another phase, and then another, and so on, until your child finds who they really are... One of the main purposes of adolescence is to form a personal identity that one can claim as their own."
Advice columnist Dr. Scott Jakubowski acknowledges the mom may have valid reasons for worrying. He suggests that she watch for signs - change in appetite, drop in grades, isolation, or defensiveness - that could indicate a problem with drugs. If the mom has reason to suspect her daughter is experimenting with drugs, Dr. Jakubowski urged her to get professional help as soon as possible. Source: The Spectrum
Hispanic Teens More Prone to Risky Behavior
A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on teenagers and risky behavior was mostly good, with overall numbers down among the observed groups. But researchers noted a disturbing trend among Hispanic teens - that they're more likely to drink alcohol, use drugs, and have sex than are their Caucasian or African-American counterparts.
"Experts were unable to come up with an explanation for why Hispanic behavior trends differed. However, they speculated that school environments many Hispanics face may differ considerably from what adolescents of other races encounter."
Because the reasons for increased risky behavior were unclear, experts have yet to suggest solutions, but are working toward that end. The study's results come from surveys taken by about 14,000 U.S. high school students. Source: ABC News.
State Senate to Recognize Mom Who Works with Troubled Teens
This week, the New York state Senate will present Penny Jennings with the 2008 New York State Woman of Distinction award. The award was created in 1998 to honor New York women whose personal achievements and/or acts of service were an example to others.
"Jennings, a single mom for many years, started A.C.T. Inc. - Adults Caring for Teens - in 2006 to provide mentoring to youth who had had a brush with the law, were in troubled at school or were at loose ends and needed a mentor and a role model."
A.C.T. currently provides mentoring to 26 boys and girls, and beginning July 1 it will provide services to 15 additional students. Jennings earned a master's degree in social policy, and is now pursuing a doctorate in law and policy. Source: The Journal News
Find parenting tips and advice for parenting teenagers at ByParents-forParents.com.
Risky Behavior Linked to Energy Drinks
Their names say it all: "Full Throttle," "Amp," and "Redline." Energy drinks are all the rage among teenagers and young adults. There has long been a concern about the health risks associated with these high caffeine drinks, but now there is another concern - risky behavior.
"In March, The Journal of American College Health published a report on the link between energy drinks, athletics, and risky behavior. The study's author, Kathleen Miller... says it suggests that high consumption of energy drinks is associated with 'toxic jock' behavior, a constellation of risky and aggressive behaviors including unprotected sex, substance abuse, and violence."
The findings don't mean that the drinks cause bad behavior, but rather that regular consumption may be an indicator for parents and teachers of children who are more inclined toward taking risks. Source: International Herald Tribune
Values Can Serve as a Buffer
Researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have found that a teenager's values helped determine how he would respond to violent behavior at school. The study was conducted via questionnaires that were given to 907 Jewish and Arab students in grades 10 through 12 that attended separate schools.
"In both Arab and Jewish schools, adolescents who value power... reported more violent behavior than their peers. Teenagers who valued universalism... and those who valued conformity... reported less violent behavior than their peers."
The study's findings emphasize the important role parents and other caregivers have in teaching their kids about good, moral behavior. Source: MediLexicon News
Turn-About Ranch is a real working teen ranch camp were teenagers learn about traditional values such as honesty and hard work. Visit TurnAboutRanch.com to learn more.
Study Disputes Myth of "Technical Virginity"
A popular belief is that teens engage in oral sex so they can "technically" maintain their virginity. However, a new study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health finds that to be untrue.
Dr. Laura Lindberg and her colleagues at the Guttmacher Institute, using a government survey of 2,270 students 15 to 19 years old, found that teens began having both oral and vaginal sex at roughly the same time.
If your daughter is sexually active and enagaing in risky behavior a girls residential treatment program for troubled girls may help. Learn more at Copper Canyon Academy.com.
Innovative Solutions Lower Crime
Homeboy Industries is a Southern California referral service, but its clients are a little out of the ordinary - many are gang or ex-gang members.
"When Latino gang members complained they couldn't get hired because of their criminal records, Boyle put them to work doing odd jobs around Dolores Mission. But there were more out-of-work gang members than jobs, so when a nearby bakery warehouse went up for sale, Homeboy Industries was launched."
Homeboy Industries now includes five businesses and employs more than 150 junior staffers - all former gang members and other at-risk youth. One of their many success stories is of a female former gang leader who was first hired as an office assistant, but later became the director of volunteers for Oakland's mayor. Source: Oakland Tribune