Author Topic: The kids are alright?  (Read 1388 times)

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Offline cleveland

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The kids are alright?
« on: December 27, 2004, 01:31:00 PM »
So the debate rages on this forum and others - what to do with kids with problems? What to do with adults with problems? What to do when it's a personal problem?

Remember when Homer Simpson says, "Ah, alcohol - the source of, and the solution for, all of man's problems!" It's true, isn't it - drugs, alcohol, religion, sex, gambling, food - our solution for life's problems can be traps in their own right. What about when the solutions for these solutions become subject to their own traps - fundamentalism, cultism, hero worship, 12-step addiction?

Everyone seems to have their own pet answer - Prozac, yoga, God, "Three Strikes Your Out," Just Say No, abstinence education, boot camps - whatever you currently believe 'everyone' should be doing - doesn't it seem like we've all gone mad?
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Offline Antigen

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The kids are alright?
« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2004, 04:06:00 PM »
Indeed it does! That's my rant, Walley. Here's my answer; Don't Worry, Be Happy.

If there's one thing that the rest of the world actually does dislike about Americans (as opposed to US foreign policy) it's that we're a bunch of whining, malcontented hypocondriacs; constantly worrying about fixing something that probably isn't broken to begin with. That and bad taste in food and leisure wear.

Look how well it works. If your kid is very active and easily bored, don't worry, be happy, he'll grow out of it. If you're sometimes despondent or depressed, don't worry, be happy, find something to do and it'll soon pass. If you drink too much, don't worry, be happy. You don't have to go to meetings, just quit going to the beer store so much.

If that doesn't do it for ya, try this. Read up on conditions in third world countries or the trials and trevails of Americans who survived (or not) the Great Depression, Civil War or a winter in Montana in the frontier days. That'll cheer ya up!


Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys

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Offline cleveland

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The kids are alright?
« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2004, 04:42:00 PM »
Ginger, I agree with you, and then again, I don't.

Yes, we're a whining bunch of overfed, poorly dressed, and self-obsessed snobs. Hey, wasn't there some kind of an earthquake or something?

However, when push comes to shove, what is our policy/philosophy on drugs, sex, relationships? One size fits all: Laissez-faire (can't even spell it). Denial? A liberal, educated approach? Strict morality with harsh penalties?

See, the way we deal with this stuff is just all wrong. None of these things is a real life solution. It's fine to say, "this too shall pass," but what about the damage done? See what I mean?

I look around me and I see cautions - family members and friends who overindulged and survived, and those who lost parts of themselves in the process. Do I have a moral stance on this beyond, hey, it's an individual choice?!!
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Offline Antigen

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The kids are alright?
« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2004, 08:33:00 PM »
Well, we can look to what works best, understanding that nothing is perfect. As regards the use of intoxicating drugs, I pretty much do what you do. I haven't forgotten any of my drunken brother's antics or the damage done. That's a cautionary tale. But I also don't fail to notice better examples set by people who drink in moderation. I certainly have been, at times, fully qualifiable as a drunk by AA members in my own family. But, contrary to their evident hopes, I continually fail to fail.

So what do we do? Collectively, nothing. Individually, look after your own business and expect others to do the same. Of course, that won't eliminate substance abuse from our society, but then nothing else we've tried has done that either. But it sure would be a lot cheaper and land less people in prison or on the skids.

You cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war.
--Albert Einstein



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Offline Ft. Lauderdale

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The kids are alright?
« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2004, 08:00:00 AM »
Antigen- Somedays, I think we'd be better off if you didn't chew through the straps. ::ftard::
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Offline cleveland

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The kids are alright?
« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2004, 09:30:00 AM »
Antigen, interesting, but I still think there's something missing. Let's look at something besides drugs and alcohol, with a similar dynamic:

Let's say your working with teens in an inner city neighborhood (as someone I know well does). Your job is to counsel them on sexual responsibility, and you have two approaches to choose from currently - one being an educated, individual choice approach with access to various forms of birth control,the other, a Bush-sanctioned Abstinence approach, has lots of Federal support and makes some sense intuitively. The problem? There you are in the classroom, a room full of kids who are sexually active - some have been raped or otherwise abused - in a culture where sex and in particular, sexualized violence is rampant as a badge of manhood. Whatever you do, teen rates for sexually transmitted diseases are rampant, teen pregnancy is exploding, and the kids plainly need some direction. Abstinence or educated choice?
Somewhere in either of these extremes we are failing to address, or recognize the problem. Clearly, it's not so much sex as it is the context for it. I would argue this is the same for substance abuse. Moderation and responsiblity are the goal, but in some cases, how will you get there - especially in a crisis situation? I think this is the same dilemma suffered by parents who's teen is using hard drugs, and choose a 'program' to help them - same for the individual who cannot control their own use, and enter AA...or teens who are living in a sexual binge culture.

Just a thought...
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Offline GregFL

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The kids are alright?
« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2004, 10:03:00 AM »
You have to define "crisis" better.

For Example, today Most kids, the vast majority of them, enter drug treatment for marijuana. Now, is the problem really marijuana or the inability of the parents to control them in the manner they choose?

Children will fail. Behavior modification has demonstrated to me that it causes more problems than it solves.

What someone should do is a very hard choice. Dedicate yourselve to your child in "crisis". Work less, demand more time of them, demand more patience and understanding from yourself. Stop setting up a "me and them" scenario where you hate everything about their culture. Set good examples. Be a family. Don't get drunk and smoke and then throw your kid in rehab becauses he smoked some pot and skipped school. Instead, dig deep for faith in your self and your child and seek advice on being a better parent. Still, this won't always work either. Some kids will fail no matter what you do. This is the reality and locking them up, sleep depriving them, threatening and scaring them and making them sing zippedy do dah with a room full of unfortunates is not the solution. At some point one must face the fact that the future of your child will rest solely in the hands of that child, that his successes and failures will be born of his/her inherent drive to succeed. This can be one of the hardest realizations one will face. I have seen it happen to people close to me. Sometimes, the realization that you can no longer micro manage your child's decisions is a painfull one, but it is necessary if they are to grow up.

Inpatient treatment, especially "peer pressure" synanon style "Theraputic communities" (there is a misnomer if there ever was one) is an option I would never choose. I guess there are some instances where drug treatment outside counseling by a family therapist would be appropriate but that would be an extreme addiction circumstance such as heroin or meth combined with legal problems.

I have seen these problems within my family. I have seen treatment fail over and over and people emerge from treatment harmed. Only when someone reaches inside themselves for the answer does it come to them, not when it is forced on them.
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Offline Fran

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The kids are alright?
« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2004, 10:39:00 AM »
Right on Greg!!
Only with my own kids can I say that constant communication and being involved in their lives and knowing when something was not right is how I parented. They challenged me but drugs were not an issue with them.
When I was a kid back in the early 70's both my parents were oblivous to me, the people I hung around with etc. Not that they were not loving parents but they were not educated or prepared for the drug culture that was escalating at that time.
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Offline cleveland

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The kids are alright?
« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2004, 10:54:00 AM »
Greg,

A well-thought answer. Crisis is in the eye of the beholder, but they clearly exist. I think what we're talking about is, how do you help someone develop what psychologists would call an 'internal locus of control.' In other words:

Internal Locus of Control: Who controls your behavior? Are you the master of your own domain? Is your life already predetermined and everything that happens is fated? If you believe that you control your own destiny and that your behaviors are under your control, then you have an internal locus of control. This concept has quite a bit of importance when we try to make attributions for our behaviors. For example, if you did well on a test, how would you explain it? If you said that it was because you got lucky or the teacher made an easy test, then you would be exhibiting and "external" locus of control. However, if you attribute your good performance to your hard work, good study habits, and interest in the topic, you would being exhibiting and internal locus of control. (Psych. online)

There's an interesting website as well here:

http://www.as.wvu.edu/~sbb/comm221/chapters/attrib.htm

Sorry about all of the psychology here, but I think this is all common sense - unlike the mumbo-jumbo, peer pressure techniques of therapeutic community.
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Offline Jimmy Cusick

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The kids are alright?
« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2004, 11:49:00 AM »
Well I would agree that moderation and responsibility are a goal, that of course depends on what one is trying to accomplish.

You brought up a topic that varies from person to person, problem to problem. Your subject is as vast as the big bang theory and you can expect plenty of different replies.

To start with we are extremely lucky living in the 21st century. A myriad of solutions exist for the most selective problems that exist today.

 I'll stick to teenagers with alcohol and drug problems as we should know something about that.
 First of all parents must be available to assist their children, if a parent is overwhelmed by a disease or is simply selfish and self-centered the childs help will be reduced to a minimum. Lets assume we have a mature, responsible adult and he/she has the childs best interests at heart.

 Initially it is neccessary to determine the teenagers mental state and ascertain if professional mental help is required. Some kids require medications that stabalize them and make them more prone to being helped for other problems.

Secondly has the teenager fallen into the court system? A wide array of programs exist, an assesment normally takes place. A placement is generally made by a judge or magistrate and that can be anything from an anger management class to an Intensive Outpatient Program(3 hours, 3 or 4 nights a week). The child will be closely monitored and drug tested until probation is completed. Do court programs work? Not in general, most kids are smart enough to stay off the drugs until their out from under the gun. Relapse is very common.

Thirdly, if the child doesn't suffer from a debilitating mental illness and is not the victim of the court system, he/she is in the hands of the parents. That requires some insight to figure out Exactly what the dilemna is. Are they physically addicted to drugs and need medical detox? If so a hospital is required.
 Are they experimental users? Do they think they have a problem? Does their attitude make home life chaotic? Where does a parent begin?
A  therapist is a good place to start, they tend to be non-confrontational towards teenagers and can make recommendations on what direction to go. It isnt always neccessary to intervene in the teenagers life, sometimes drugs dont have to be a bad thing. If serious problems are occurring from his or her drug use then intervention is mandatory. Will N/A, C/A or A/A work for any kid? WE all hope so. Do they need a live-in program? Some do, that depends on how we assess them, it also depends on what kind of insurance we have and how much money we have available. Should we send our child to a cult? (Cult:A system of religious worship or rites and ceromonies)(the seed). That depends, if his life is in danger we must take whatever steps are neccessary, We have to deal with the outcome later
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Offline Anonymous

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The kids are alright?
« Reply #10 on: December 28, 2004, 12:30:00 PM »
The end does not justify the means, Jimmy. Otherwise, Thanks for a thoughtfull post.

 Forcing someone into a personality cult because they have behavioral problems opens up a whole new pandoras box of problems for many of the children. Sure, some will get the desired result, at least in the short haul. Others? Psychologist in Ft Lauderdale were getting Art's ranting anger and disrespect in the press. Why? Because they were treating Seedlings as they came out of the Seed program with a myriad of pysc problems that were exacerbated or created while under the duress of behavior modification. Art's response, paraphrased here  was to the effect of "Psychologists can't do a damn thing with kids on drugs", thereby dismissing offhand every problem they were experiencing with these kids.

No Jimmy, it is extremely imprudent to take a kid with one problem, lock em up in a cult and hope to sort out any additional created problems at a later date. Sometimes, as in the case of suicide,broken families, shattered self image or mental illness, that date never comes. Look at some recent threads or talk to my good friend Wes Fager about his personal experiences post TC trauma with his child.
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Offline Antigen

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The kids are alright?
« Reply #11 on: December 28, 2004, 02:33:00 PM »
Wally, kudos to your friend for trying to help these kids.

As to whether to teach facts or abstinance (science based or shame based instruction), that's easy! Go with the facts! As you note, these kids are already sexually active and emmersed in a culture that has already gone a long way toward defining their sexual attitudes and behaviors. But a little science based education can never hurt.

The trouble is that we're trying to use a public mechanism to do something it can't possibly do. You wouldn't want some stranger who teaches your daughter a health class once a week or so to sit her down and discuss the intimate details of her internal and external romantic life. But that's what she needs, at some point. So, if you can't do it, she'll need to find a solid confidant who can earn and keep her confidence and who can help her understand the whole incredibly subjective and complicated issue.

From a public health pov, the first and most important thing we can do for inner city families would be to quit helping them so damned much! A dad who smokes pot, even one who sells it sometimes, can be far better than one who's in prison and/or carries a felony conviction for life. If not him, then maybe an uncle or a big brother or a grandparent. Right now, we're locking up roughly 1/3 of all adult inner city males. The fastest growing segment of prison population now is made up of women; many who take the fall for long terms because they're afraid to testify for the prosecution (more afraid than they are of the prosecution)

So all the fine advice about spending time and paying attention to your kids is really quite insulting to some people.

I think these kids have really had just about all the government help they can stand.

In order to live free and happily you must sacrifice boredom. It is not always an easy sacrifice.
-- Richard Bach

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Offline cleveland

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The kids are alright?
« Reply #12 on: December 28, 2004, 03:18:00 PM »
Ginger, clearly we have failed many children and families in our society. I went thru a lot of failure with my own family, and turned to the Seed as a last resort. Well, I would have been one of those who proclaimed the value of the program, as did many on this site today, but then I left.

So yes, our society has failed in some respects, but the solution is not cults, fundamentalism or coercion, as you note, but reason, encouragement, and respect.

I've just read a post here (below) about Resource Realizations training for parents - what a horrible crock of shit that people are still subjected to. I've been following these threads and the EST/Lifesrings training where the end justifies the means. Everyone who defends 'coercive therapy' should read it.

http://www.intrepidnetreporters.com/Tee ... eaking.htm
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Offline Stripe

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The kids are alright?
« Reply #13 on: December 28, 2004, 04:49:00 PM »
This is all interesting - but it seems like we are only looking at kids after the fact.  You guys are talking about teen problems - but those problems are created by the parents when the children are babies.

Personally, I don't think it's enough to be the empathetic, listening, do-good parent once the shit hits the fan.  Those should be skills that were employed from day one - when the privilege of having a child was bestowed upon us. Some may view it as a biologinal imperative but I'm of the opinion that it's really a privilege to be responsible for another life.  

I saw this in my own life when the child mimicked the father and mother - taking on every good and bad behavior we exhibited. Everything from fingernail biting to kicking, hitting and screaming - all were behaviors exhibited by myself and my ex-husband. And it was so shocking to me to watch a child less than three years old kick me and tell me I was a fuck - the exact behavior his father exhibited. Frightening to realize how much damamge I had done and had allowed to happen by my own "powerlessness" in just that short time my child was alive.  

Children learn good and bad behavior from their parents. (On a personal note - yeah, I broke the law, a bench warrant was issed and I and refused to allow contact and paid dearly for that.) But, my son, who is now 22 years old, is one of the kindest, most compassionate young men you'd ever have the pleasure to know. I have bent over backwards to undo that damage we caused and allowed to happen. I took every opportunity I could to show him, time and time again, what it meant to be a kind, honest, non-violent, person. It cost me but it was worth the sacrifice.  

Children learn from what their parents do. When the good learning doesn't come into to equation until well after the child has taken those bad behaviors to heart, the end result is a very confused person and the damage is already done.  It can be undone: it's very difficult for the child, and it takes a lot of outgoing energy - to show them by example - the value and results of other choices and options.  But I know it can be undone.

I truly believe that a good society begins at home with the parent or parents (and I'not referring to the "Bush family moral values" where it's all perfectperfect church/bible oriented and we don't talk about what we did before age 38.) It begins with the elders/parents. Maybe it might make a difference for some very lucky children to have positive role models after the fact to help them understand abstinance or responsiblity and take those teachings to heart- but it's a small, small minority of kids who are lucky enough to make that connection.

Most times, the scenario repeats itself, over and over again.  Why else would 14 year olds have babies; why else would kids use drugs or steal from their neighbors or each other or run in gangs or kill ? Because they see their elders doing the same thing with no personal accountablity.    

As adults and now parents, if we continue to look outward, to lay blame on addictions and give up our personal power to choose and master our own behavior  - give it up to some exterior entitiy, what the hell will our kids learn?

The meassage they get is this: Go ahead and fuck up because you can go do 30 days in treatment, do some 12 stepping and everything will be ok -forgiven ... because you're powerless.  No, I don't think so.  That just perpetuates the problem.

Places like the Seed may have operated as parental input for some, but in the end, we still go back to what we were raised with- that's the core essence of who we are, who our parent's raised, good, bad, or otherwise.

I think everything we do in this life is purely a matter of personal choice.  No one forces us to do anything.  Our children see our choices  and they behave accordingly.  

Love and peace to you all.
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The person who stands up and says, ``This is stupid,\'\' either is asked to `behave\' or, worse, is greeted with a cheerful ``Yes, we know! Isn\'t it terrific ?\'\' -- Frank Zappa