Parents – You Have the Power, Use It!

Posted Jun 1st, 2011 by Kitty Slight  Category: Community Interest


Talk to your teen about the dangers of alcohol and drugs.
The risks associated with underage drinking are sobering. According to a report from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), underage alcohol use kills more young people than all illegal drugs combined. More than 40 percent of individuals who start drinking before the age of 13 will develop alcohol abuse or alcohol dependence at some point in their lives.

Teenagers find themselves at a crossroads, especially during the months of April – June where they find themselves enjoying prom and graduation parties. One bad decision can impact their entire future. Parents should intervene now before an irreversible choice has been made. MADD’s “The Power of Parents, It’s Your Influence” program offers the following tips for getting through to your teen:

1. Communicate before a problem starts. Have important discussions now, before there’s blaming anger, or punishments.
2. Discuss rules and consequences. Explain how you expect your son or daughter to act, and why. Tell your teen plainly that you don’t want him or her drinking. Agree on consequences of broken rules.
3. Show you care. Gently touch your teen on the arm or back to show affection. Tell your teen you love them and want them to be healthy and safe. Explain that’s why you need to talk together about the dangers of underage drinking.
4. Pay attention. Even when life gets hectic, take time out to listen to your teen. Monitor where your teen is and what your teen is doing, constantly.
5. Share family activities. Have dinner together at least three times a week.
6. Give and get respect. When your teen talks to you, listen and reply respectfully. Insist that your teen treat you with respect, too.
7. Enforce consequences consistently. If your teen breaks the rules, stay calm and enforce the consequences.

Dr. Bonnie Kauffmann, Director of Unison Behavioral Health Group’s Alcohol and Drug Treatment Program for Youth encourages parents to intervene – – even when it seems like your teen does not care. Dr. Kauffmann states that, “based on the stage of their brain development, adolescents are more likely to: act on impulse, misread or misinterpret social cues and emotions, get into accidents of all kinds, get involved in fights, engage in dangerous or risky behavior. We also know that adolescents are less likely to: think before they act, pause to consider the potential consequences of their actions, modify their dangerous or inappropriate behaviors.” The teenage brain is different and being aware of these differences can help parents and concerned adults manage the behavior of adolescents. Dr. Kauffmann reminds parents that “74% of kids (8-17) said their parents are the leading influence on their decisions about drinking.”

Dr. Bonnie Kauffman and the staff at Unison Behavioral Health Group know all too well that addiction is a developmental disease, typically beginning in adolescence. Dr. Kauffmann’s team currently treats 100 adolescents who suffer from substance abuse and dependence disorders. The teens involved in Unison’s program often have family and school problems, poor academic performance, health problems (including mental health), and involvement in the juvenile justice system. These teens often begin to abuse alcohol and/or drugs during times of transition, such as changing schools, moving, or divorce.

Dr. Kauffmann advises parents, caregivers, and concerned adults to recognize that youth diagnosed with the following mental health disorders are at an increased risk for substance abuse: attention deficit disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and psychotic disorders like bipolar disorder. Warning signs to look for include: sudden changes in personality, drop in school performance and attendance, sudden and frequent outbursts (temper tantrums), increasing conflict with family members, withdrawal from responsibility, changes in peer group, borrowing/stealing money, difficulty concentrating, loss of interest in hobbies, secretive behavior regarding actions and possessions, change in appearance, poor grooming habits, and redness around the eyes or face.

Unison Behavioral Health Group treats youth ages 11-17 with substance abuse and dependence disorders, including behavioral health disorders. Through an integrated team approach, the program offers clients and their families the option of receiving services in their home or in our offices at 1212 Cherry Street. Program components include:

? Diagnostic Assessment – a comprehensive assessment of AOD and behavioral health issues scheduled within 48 hours.
? Home-Based Services – individual, family counseling and case management services can be provided in the client’s home.
? Intensive Outpatient (IOP) – psycho-educational groups meet Monday through Thursday, two hours per day for six weeks. Family members participate in one group per week along with their child. Participants learn new coping behaviors without using drugs or alcohol.
? Aftercare – aftercare groups meet two days per week for 1 ½ hours each day for eight weeks following the completion of IOP. Aftercare focuses on preventing relapse and continued recovery.
? Extended Care – individual, family, and community-based counseling. Extended Care participants focus on strengthening their sobriety plans and maintaining healthy relationships.
? Case Management – case management services assist and support individuals in gaining access to needed medical, social, educational and other services essential to meeting basic human needs.
? Individual and Family Counseling
? Crisis Intervention – available to current clients and their families through Unison’s 24 access program.

Youth involved with Unison’s substance abuse treatment program also have full access to the agency’s psychiatric services.

Professionals and family members who are concerned about a child’s behavior and suspect a mental health condition and/or substance abuse, can obtain information and support by calling Unison Behavioral Health Group at 419-693-0631 or visiting the agency’s website at www.unisonbhg.org

With over 35 years of experience, Unison Behavioral Health Group is the community’s recognized and preferred leader in caring for the behavioral health and substance abuse issues of adults, adolescents and children. Unison accepts Ohio Medicaid and most private insurances. Through their contract with the Mental Health and Recovery Services Board of Lucas County, Unison is able to offer subsidized services to Lucas County residents who are unable to afford the total cost of treatment. Unison is certified by the Ohio Department of Mental Health, Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services, and accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.

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Kitty Slight - Unison Behavioral Health Group | 1212 Cherry Street | Toledo, OH 43608

kslight@unisonbhg.org | www.unisonbhg.org | 419.693.0631 No Comments »

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