Welcome to another January weekend in Minnetonka, Minnesota. I have promised a few people some resources that may be helpful to them as parents; and do want to share that I am not the expert, only acting as a resourceful citizen who wishes to share with others. Below also are two questions and then a quote to support your on-going journey with family and friends in the deep web of teenage choices that challenge. These questions I have found really eye-opening while working through a masters program to improve myself, not embitter myself or downgrade my parenting for all of the years prior to teenagehood children at home. Stay strong!
What are you doing to build an understanding and communication with/between your children and yourself?
With pride set aside and the assistance you find for yourself, what are you doing to change how you act or react to them? Boys are different than girls. You may have advice that is insulting to you as an adult, mindset-changing, calming, or one-upping you. Be sure to love yourself at night or in a time of reflection.
Is your pre-teen or teen being truthful with you? Who has time to check-up? What’s the cost?
Each day 700 kids drop out of high school, nationwide. They may be home-schooled, get the diploma later, or feel that college isn’t a necessary for their lives. Let’s face it, you can lead a horse to water but drinking is only enforced for some with IV fluids.
A 2012 spring presentation by psychiatrist , who sees many college students in his office weekly, gave a telling story into the concerns of pre-teens, teens, and college students who have grown up as techno-natives. Dr. Henry Emmons, MD, author of The Chemistry of Joy, mentioned that many kids he sees from college in Northfield, Minnesota, say that they are unsure whether they can fulfill the expectations of their employers once they graduate. Sounds like natural, age-appropriate stress, eh? Shocked at first, in reflection later I found this to be true. The unknown is daunting. Yet Dr. Emmons's comment to parents during a high school meeting also supports the fact that our kids' generation doesn’t see life without their iphone, a personal laptop, video games that “let them burn off anger and stress”, toxic relationships that can be hidden on facebook, the dreamy pictures they post – sometimes – weekly to bully, flaunt, or personalize themselves with a cell phone – everywhere. They won’t download so many apps or text so many people when they want to impress an employer. And yes, every child is different.
But buyer be ware. If the games your student is playing are with you and your authority, I have provided some resources below for back-burner reference. Perhaps you can successfully limit the techno-fun while they still live at home simply to decrease the avenues of distraction, destruction, and excess dramas. Our kids can lose a friend faster than they can lose their iphone for texting, their facebook to access friends nearby, deal drugs, contact dealers to experiment, or vent how awful their parents are treating them. Taking away the PS2 (remember those?), the Xbox, and the opportunity to deny responsibility can help after it hurts. We can be lost without the ability to agree to disagree and set boundaries on their use that they must accept.
To some parents, this is a dumb, dumb, dumb article. To others of very strong-willed, once responsible, very thoughtful, loving and connected kids, I sincerely feel that it will provide a glimpse into a better future. Forwarding this to someone who has a developing “out-of-control” young man or woman will not only be resourceful, but also decrease loss of income and property from their homes in the near future.
As the city, county and state say, you only have to provide the basics for your child legally. Teenagers deserve comfort and so does the remainder of the family. Period. I am sure that others will benefit from these resources as a starting point when feeling alone, possibly ashamed to talk to other parents, and know that assistance is needed.
An afternoon in the library or a free class on Facebook, Skype, LinkedIn, or the use of Ipods can be free. A cost at Best Buy, Microsoft, or the internet
Your School Counselor and Social Worker – No Pride – Get counseling through EAP at work, find the right professionals
One Voice (Google online) (Hopkins School District 270) - links to this online blog for parents and teens to start hearing and seeing each other. Learning about each other can be visual, kinesthetic or audible!
Websites and Blogsites
Empowering Parents Website and blog
www.empoweringparents.com – one can type ANY question into a search engine of choice and find answers to it. Often this website has answers and simple acknowledgement that I had not thought ANYONE would post.
Pediatrician Meg Meeker, MD
Listen to radio, read the blog or book by Meg Meeker, MD
Teens Alone – drop in center, in the same building/hallway as Resource West in Hopkins (Take them there! You can go by yourself, too. It’s free. People are people and will treat you with respect.)
For Planning Parents:
Teen Challenge – the name is soon changing to MN Adult and Teen Challenge
($1400) for six months
Tree House – Tuesdays and Thursdays in Excelsior (Plymouth, Minnetonka, and other West Metro sites)
(this can be Googled if the link doesn' t work)
Hazelton (Plymouth) (no insurance use, even if you have it) – there are many other locations nationwide
Teen Intervene- also at Hazelton ($1000 or less) – several times per week intensive group – outpatient for teens who want help
The Bridge for Youth – your son or daughter may want to visit over night. They will sign a contract saying that they agree to spend a night there. If they leave on their own, they will be considered “running away” from the facility as it is not locked. Some teens find solace just being with others and not having to even look at their parents for a night. IF they do leave without meeting with you and a counselor who talked with them the day they came, they cannot return to this spot in the future.
www.bridgeforyouth.org (also Google as the link might not work)
Children’s Mental Health Crisis Services – Human Services and Public Health Resources Directory
Fairview Inpatient and Outpatient (takes Insurance)
Yes, you can take your child down and pay for emergency assessment. If the child is not harmful to himself or others (ie, no alcohol or pot on him or suicidal), the police, the Emergency department won’t get results and will not assist. If there are no beds for inpatient treatment for drug and alcohol use, you end up going home. Perhaps this changes things with your authority, perhaps not. If cutting is an issue, you do have a right to mention this self-harm potential and have the transport to an open facility. Better Option: Feel free to call intake at the facility ahead of time to inquire about open beds before you leave. It will save a headache and possibly an all-nighter.
An excerpt from Meg Meeker, MD’s blogpost that I found:
As a parent, I might add that we offer firm direction over the choices of our children and provide consequences for them. Spirited children do not take no for an answer, so the idea of “control” can be really threatening. Choices of what they can do are assistive.
“Yes, there is a lot of bad stuff out there waiting to take them down, but we know that what really keeps kids out of harm’s way is having a good relationship with us. Our rules. Our love. Our communication and our insistence to them that, because we have their back, we will parent with a firm hand and open heart.
There is so much to frighten us when it comes to all the bad stuff our kids encounter. But we must remember that we need to parent from strength, not fear. So when it comes to things like internet socializing, roll up your sleeves and do what you do best.
~ Meg Meeker, MD