Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Do you know the signs?

If your son’s friend comes to your door wearing a hat with FML emblazoned on it, do you know what that means? Are you aware of what your teenage daughter is saying to the world when she goes out in a t-shirt which has the numbers 187 on it? What if your son comes home talking about his friend, the Emo? Does this mean anything to you? When you overhear your teenager talking about a pharm party or special K, do you think they are talking about the petting zoo and breakfast cereal?

All of these phrases, logos and expressions have very specific meanings to our teens, and while they may sound foreign and even a little silly to us; to our adolescents they are real, and can be very scary.

I don’t want you to think that if you hear of one these expressions or see one these logos your child is running in a gang, or is on drugs. But I do want you to look at them for what they are; clues, or signs as it were, that we should pay extra attention. We as adults must be informed as to what’s on the street, what the drugs are, what the lingo is so that we can have a fighting chance.

It’s scary not knowing what is going on; we feel powerless as adults. We want to feel that our children can talk to us about anything, but we know, deep in our hearts that they aren’t; just think back, did your parents know what you were doing at 16?

So get informed! Learn what the drugs are (www.streetdrugs.org), what the lingo is (www.noslang.com), and be proactive. Yes, you may make a mistake, maybe even over react and risk having your adolescent mad at you, but an angry teen is a lot better than the alternative.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

5th Annual PDW in Park City

I just got back from spending 3 days in beautiful (and surprisingly cold) Park City, UT where I joined 80 other consultants, therapists and clinicians for meals, workshops, social time and presentations. This year the folks at Aspen did things differently, and they joined the "speed dating" phenomenon and gave us each 20 minutes to sit with clinicians, executive directors and line staff to learn what's new at their programs. By no means did these 20 minute "dates" take the place of a full visit, but I found them a great way to catch up with what's new at the 6 programs I spent time with.

In addition to the speed dating there were some great sessions. I attended a 3 hour, two part session about trends in drug use among teens and young adults which was very educational, and a quite scary. The session was presented by two police officers/school compliance officers, so it was some real frontline stuff.

Michele Borba gave us a 2 hour presentation on parenting which was excellent and I don’t think there was a truly dry eye in the house when Erik Wahl gave his closing keynote, on using inspiration to overcoming mediocrity which combined inspirational speaking, discussion of left brain vs. right brain, painting and laughter; hard to describe, but really amazing stuff.
Later in the week I’m going to be adding links to my site not only for the sessions I went to last week, but also some others which I think everyone would find interesting.

Until next time,