I was lucky enough to be able to attend Chris’s presentation done through The Project Purple. Chris is a passionate presenter with a message of life and death which we adults need to listen to – wake up to what our kids are really doing when not in our presence, and worse when we believe we have a handle on it, only to find out we were deluding ourselves.
Chris spoke candidly of how his addiction spiraled out of control beginning at the age of 22 with $20 able to pay for one pill of 40 mg opiate medication, turning into 1600 mg – (10) 80 mg pills, blew up to a syringe of heroin 2 years later.
With 30 million drug addicts and only 2.7 million getting treated we have a huge problem in this country. Do the math. It is pathetic really. Given this statistic alone, you don’t want you kid getting involved with any sort of substance abuse or addiction because those numbers don’t look very good for your kid.
Our kids today get many images of marijuana and alcohol on their cell phones so monitor them.
If you are a parent and you have any narcotics sitting in your medicine cabinet, realize that too many kids of today will be raiding that medicine cabinet, getting high off the drugs you have stored there. It is better to lock them away somewhere or better yet, drop them at the police station for proper removal. You need to understand that every 19 minutes a kid dies, so protect your kid and their friends and get this stuff out of easy reach ASAP!
With an attitude like: “Kids will be kids” you are condoning life ending behavior. When we were kids oxy, Adderall, etc. weren’t available. Even pot (marijuana isn’t the same as when we were young. Today’s pot consisted of: 68% had traces of marijuana, with 52% of the marijuana smokers tested having crystal meth in their system. Crystal meth and marijuana sellers are dipping their pot into the crystal meth – without the kids even knowing crystal meth was in there.
How does the state of Massachusetts help you? Not very well according to Chris who is embarrassed by our state’s lack of assistance to addicts, people who are truly ill and require treatment to stop an addiction to drugs. Here are the statistics he shared with us: opiate addict gets 4 days of treatment while alcoholics get all of 12 days to figure out a 30 year battle with alcohol. (Chris was speaking of his father’s alcoholism in this sentence, but you get the drift.)
Did you know that 12 kids threw themselves in front of an Acela train not wanting to live any longer, it being too painful for them – otherwise known as “depression”.
Chris shared with us the fact that he realizes that girls are more likely to cut themselves, so he regularly rolls up his daughter’s sleeves to make sure that she isn’t cutting herself.
(Cutters cut to feel alive having cut off their emotions from the emotional pain they can no longer bear based. This based on a training program I attended by “cutters” while I worked in the mental health system many years ago.)
Kids who hurt, hurt other people, creating the world of bullying.
Chris’s advise to parents:
It is very important that you spend time talking to your children, asking them how their day is going. If they refuse to answer or give you a curt answer, there may be something going on that you need to know about.
Also, check to see if you notice any of these changes in your kids behavior or attitude:
- if your kid’s eating habits have changed
- your kid is moody
- your kid’s sleeping habits have changed where they are sleeping too much or much less
- they seem to have fewer or no friends
- no longer bring their friends around to your home if they did previously
- don’t seem to spend any time in the home
- their grades are going down
- are irritable
You need to find out what is going on with your kid. It doesn’t necessarily mean that drugs and alcohol are involved, but what it does mean is that your child needs you to act as the parents that you are working to find out what the problem is so that you can help your child deal with it. Teens do tend to spend more time away from their homes and more time with their friends. Make sure that you know who their friends are and be aware that in many homes, parents sanction the use of alcohol and even marijuana. These same parents may even lie to your face about not allowing it in their home as one parent at the program remarked happened to her. It means that some parents that are addicts will be like all addicts, easily able to lie to your face without your even knowing it. Some parents will just realize that you can’t handle the truth and will lie to you anyway, so beware.
Instill in your kids a sense of self-esteem by helping them to aspire to be the best that they can be, giving them appropriate positive reinforcement for a job well done. If they are involved in sports, remember that it is only a game and not worth the pressure that lead Chris to want to use drugs. He no wanted to deaden the feeling of this huge pressure upon him to perform.
Chris strongly advised that If you know of a kid who comes from a broken home who is having a hard time, please help them to speak to the guidance counselor at school. It could be that this kid is at risk without enough food in the home, being sexually or emotionally abused or in some fashion not living the sort of life that we would hope all our kids could as they grow up. He reminded us that we have no real way to know what is happening behind the closed doors of these kids families.
Lastly, act in the same exact manner that you want your kids to, because they will most assuredly copy whatever you do, while paying no attention what so ever to what you tell them. If you were they, you would do, and most likely did do the exact same thing. So think and act with your heads instead of putting your instant gratification first. Your kids will do much better in life with this approach to parenting, keeping your messages congruent with your own actions.
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