Tuesday, November 10, 2015

YAB teens to PARENTS on talking to your teens about drugs and alcohol….

Q. What is the best way to talk to my teen about drinking and drug use? 

Teens Answer:
  • Don’t avoid the topic.  Try to be direct.  Ask questions and take their opinions and thoughts into consideration.  If they have questions you don’t know the answer to, research answers to talk to them about.  Make sure they know the negative affects about drugs and alcohol and connect them to their life  (i.e., if they are an athlete, drugs affect their athletic performance) Start casual conversations in a comfortable place, such as the car.
  • Don’t pressure them to talk about it.  Try to be casual, don’t make them uncomfortable and force it – if you do they will shut down and it won’t happen.
Q. I’ve caught my teen using…. Now what do I do/say?
Teens Answer:
  • Don’t force them to do anything or go anywhere against their will. 
  • Ask them what got them into whatever it is in the first place.  Maybe it’s coming from something bigger, like they are super stressed and they didn’t think they could come to you, because they feel you would go straight away to blaming, shouting, and reprimanding without even looking at it from their view point and NOT understanding. 
  • You should be firm with them but DON’T start screaming.  This may make them emotional and may affect them even more…. and encourage them to keep doing exactly what you don’t want them to do…. use drugs or alcohol.
  • Let them know that you want to help them.  Use suggestions, with convincing points and reasons to back them up.  Offer them advice and talk through with them how to improve their situation, instead of only punishments.
  •  Try to be more involved in their life.
  • Try to understand why.
From a YAB teen’s point of view:
Parents often have a hard time talking to children about decision making and trying to find the perfect balance between being too strict and too easy going.  For a parent using an authoritative approach can cause children to want to rebel more.  I have seen a lot of kids with very strict parents do things and get themselves into in unsavory positions seemingly just to break their parents’ rules.  Likewise, parents who do not care whether their children use, open the door to even more destructive decisions down the road. I think that when a child is coming of age, it’s a good idea to sit down and have a conversation about drugs and alcohol.  It’s important that kids know that you discourage drinking, smoking and drug use….use and why.  But it’s also important they know that they can talk to you about things when they need to – without you overreacting.  If they do get into some kind of trouble parents need to know about it, exactly what’s going on, and then have a plan to help before a bad situation escalates.


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

YAB Teens are Talking About.....The YAB Opportunity, Vapes and Ecigs and What Parents Need to Know.

What is the Youth Action Board Opportunity for teens?
  • The Youth Action Board (YAB) is a dynamic and diverse group of teens who are a vital part of the BBCC with representation from all the high schools in Birmingham and Bloomfield Hills.  The YAB's goal is to create a positive voice and presence for teens in the community.
  • The YAB connects with other teens, schools, community leaders and local law enforcement. Their concern is for the overall mental health and well being of their peers in today’s challenging times.  Quite simply it is a group of teens that advocates for other teens. 
  • The YAB meets regularly on Sunday afternoons at the Bloomfield Twp. Library, to talk about important, relevant teen issues and to plan substance-free events for their peers in the community.  The YAB hosts a number of events including an annual youth-led dialogue day,  Band Jams and the ever-popular, sports events, and more. 
  • The YAB is flexible, fun and easy to join.  For more information contact our Youth Program Coordinator, Kelly Michaud at kmichaud@bbcoalition.org, visit our website at www.bbcoalition.org or call our office at 248.203.4615.

YAB teens are talking about and answer teens and parents questions about Vapes/E-cigs/Hookah Sticks

Teens want to know…..

Q. So what is wrong with Vaping or E-cigs?  They are supposed to be the safer way to smoke?    

  • Potentially harmful chemicals have been documented in some vape/e-cigarette cartridges, including irritants, genotoxins, and animal carcinogens.
  • Surprisingly enough, there is no requirement to publicize the ingredients of e-liquids, (aka juice).  So, who really knows what’s in that little bottle of chocolate flavored liquid?  According to some studies, diethylene glycol, a chemical toxic to humans often found in anti-freeze can be commonly found in juice cartridges.  Yes that’s right anti-freeze…. And that what you are inhaling into your body along with the nicotine! Yet, this is just one of several toxic chemicals that has been found within e-liquids. 
  • Some smoke shops will make their own house blends and tout all sorts of purity claims, however no one is testing those house blends.  So again… who really knows what is in that pina colada flavored e-liquid cartridge?
  • Vaping creates an addiction. Nicotine, even without the cigarette smoke, is a highly addictive, mind-altering drug. Do you really want to struggle with a lifelong addiction to nicotine at this stage of your life? 
Finally…. If you’re still in doubt then consider this:

  1. The fact that there have not been sufficient scientific studies done on Vapes. 
  2. Vape pens are relatively new to the market and kids are crazy to get their hands on regardless of the health risks.
  3. We don’t know what the long term health risks are.  This unknown makes every you, and every other teenager with a vape pen…. a lab rat!
 Adults and Parents want to know….

Q. What is vaping?

  • Vaping is all the rage these days, but if you don’t know what that means, you’re not the only one. Vaping refers to the act of “smoking” an e-cigarette. This is a device that is supposed to help smokers quit or allow smokers to get a nicotine fix without all the harm of tobacco smoke. An e-cigarette heats up a liquid with dissolved nicotine. The user inhales nicotine and exhales water vapor, not smoke. It should be safer than cigarettes, but the jury is still out on the other ways in which vaping could be bad for you. Teens may be at greater risk of these harms, and we know that more teens are “vaping’ than ever.  And, because nicotine is so addictive, research shows that teens who vape are also more likely to smoke traditional cigarettes.
Q. Why do teens even want to do this?  What do they get from it?

  • It’s an image thing.  They buy into the hype that’s its safe and cool. 
  • They may also think it’s a step-down substance.  Something they can try and use without harm or consequence.
Q. What can Parents do?

  • Talk to your teen. As a parent, you have the power to influence your teen’s decisions. It may seem like they don’t listen to you, but you are still the top influencer in their life. Most parents don’t talk to their kids about drugs, addiction, smoking or drinking, but for those who do, the results are positive. Research shows that teens whose parents talk to them about drugs and alcohol subjects make better choices. Start the conversation today…. and keep it going!


Saturday, September 12, 2015

As we kick-off the 2015-2016 school year, our YAB teens answer questions about the transition to high school, partying and saying "No".

Q. How much homework do you get in high school?  Is the coursework and rigor a lot more than in middle school? 

Teens Answer:

  • Just like the amount of homework you received increased from elementary to middle school, the homework amount does increase.  However, the amount of homework you have in high school depends on the classes you choose to take.  If you choose to jump in freshman year with multiple honors classes and continue with honors and AP/IB classes through to your senior year, then you will probably have more homework than someone who chooses to take a more standard class schedule.  The KEY to NOT stressing out is to find a balance that works for you.  I suggest if you go that route, to take the honors/AP classes that YOU want to take.  The amount of work will increase but gradually.  Freshman year, teachers know that you are adjusting to high school level work, and will help you along that path.
  • High school IS harder than middle school, but it is manageable. The coursework and material is more challenging and the teachers leave it up to the students to take responsibility for their learning.  It is more of a learning curve and there are so many people (students, teachers, counselors) and resources available to help students adjust.  You just have to be aware, or ask.  Don’t let things go, make sure you ask someone if you need help.

Q.  What was your hardest part of high school?

Teens Answer:

  • The hardest part was probably stress about school and college.  It can be overwhelming at times but we all do get through it.

Q. What makes people want to do drugs?

  • A lot of different reasons.  Peer pressure…. or more of a self-pressure we tend to put on ourselves.  It’s experimenting for some.  For others, they like the way it feels OR they are trying to relieve pain, stress OR they self-diagnose themselves to take drugs to help them with bad body images, stress, anxiety or if they feel depressed.

Q.  When it comes to partying, is saying “No” hard?

Teens Answer:

  • For me saying “No” was not hard, but it’s different for everyone.  Most people don’t care if you drink or do drugs.  Like if you say “No” they just are like, “Cool, OK, well let me know if you change your mind.”  Peer pressure doesn’t exist as much anymore, it’s more the pressure we put on ourselves.  It's best to surround yourself with the right people and keep your goals in mind.