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Will they say “YES” to weed, alcohol and…

Are you a parent who believes or hopes that your child will never experiment or use marijuana and other substances?  The percentage of youth who do experiment and continue to use mind altering substances (MAS) is shockingly high. Why are they resorting to these?

In my previous blog I asked questions which if you responded to, would lead to some answers.  If you responded to the question to describe what makes you trust a person, and your response was that you trust people who you feel safe with, who do not threaten you, then that answer alone would tell you why our children will or will not confide in you.

If they avoid confiding in us then chances are a bit higher that they will experiment and indulge in alcohol and or MAS, and other anti social behaviours. Trust is essential.

So we earn their trust by not threatening their inner person. We provide a safe space for them to voice their opinions and share their stories. Criticising their choice of friends,  music, clothes, hair styles, etc is a sure way to alienate them from you and have them zip their lips. This actually breeds deceit. To avoid a parent’s condescension a child will resort to tricks, lying and sneaking. I think most humans do this, not just children and teens.

The need for approval, belonging, acceptance, unconditional love is so strong that when these needs are not met people seek to have them met in any which way. So children who are harshly lectured, preached at, threatened and harshly punished are likely to become passive or actively aggressive and resort to MAS and other anti social behaviours.

What about the teens who are not harshly disciplined and have loving relationships with their parents and still experiment or use MAS? I am no psychologist but one possibility could be that their feelings of self worth could be low. Maybe they do not feel competent in anything, they may be bored, not academically or athletically oriented, and that need to feel adequate is not being met.

Research shows that children in very affluent families are much less passionate about activities and easily bored.  Off course the definition of ‘loving relationships’ is another topic of discussion in itself.

Then intelligent, very motivated, well connected, engaged teens could very well experiment and their frequency of use will most likely be determined by their need for inner peace and calm.

The pressure to achieve and succeed is higher than ever in history. The competition for scholarships, financial aid, places in universities, approval and acceptance, knowing one’s purpose, understanding the meaning of life, the need for basic unconditional love, parent’s undivided attention is so intense that the need for MAS is not surprising. Youth today are faced with all these questions and needs and the falling away of deep traditional values, virtues, spirituality  and religion leaves a big hole in them that needs to be filled. When MAS are used, dopamine is released in the brain, this is a highly pleasurable neurotransmitter much appreciated in times of anxiety.

Finally we can’t ignore the fact that youngsters whose parents use or were users of MAS are more likely to be users too.

So will they say YES to MAS? We can make great efforts to meet their psycho-emotional needs for importance, total acceptance, maintain deep trusting honest presence and connection with them, not over indulge them in ‘”things” and an easy life of no responsibilities, model deep values, virtues and faith, have lots of loving conversations about everything, encourage prayer, meditation, deep breathing, community service and  and with that, they may say “NO” to Mind altering substances.

Note EFT ( Emotional Freedom Techniques or tapping), Yoga, sport and exercise are great in reducing anxiety as well as natural substances such as: Selenium, St. Johns Wort, high doses of Niacin ( Vit B3), and CBD (cannabidiol the medicinal, non psycho active component) of cannabis. These should be explored before anti depressants and MAS.

Listen and read your child’s behaviour to see if they are anxious and need you more deeply. Empower them to say ‘NO’ to drugs and alcohol.

Feel free to private message me for further enquiries about this topic.

How to get your kids to be open with you.

What makes you trust and confide in others?

How must a person make you feel before you open up to them?

What must they prove to you in order for you to share your feelings and deep concerns with them?

Now ask yourself if you are providing all this to your children, so that they can be open with you?

Is the answer no?

If it’s no, What can you do to change that?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Handling BIG feelings

Did you grow up in a family where some emotions were not allowed to be shown?

Some families have unspoken rules. Family members are just not allowed to demonstrate anger or crying is not tolerated, even having too much fun is discouraged.

We are emotional beings. There is energy in emotion. It’s a signal which can propel us to act.  People cry for a reason. Distress is being experienced. A need is not being met. Most of the time when empathy or understanding is shown to the one in distress, the distress dissolves. The need to be listened to, heard or recognised has been met and the distress eases. When children are told not to cry or “big boys don’t cry” the distress emotion is being silenced or ignored and the one in distress must stuff that feeling. Suppressed emotions can tend to eventually impede our cognitive abilities. Some children and even adults who live with a lot of suppressed negative emotions could end up struggling to pay attention, think clearly, comprehend, problem solve and remember.

Showing empathy is invaluable to those who are experiencing big feelings. Simply saying

“Oh my, I see you are feeling frustrated, how can I help?” or ” You seem very upset, would you like to talk about it? I am here to listen when you are ready” are fine empathetic statements to start with.

Note: It is important to NOT give advice when offering to listen to others vent their feelings. Just looking at them and listening with 100% attention is sometimes sufficient to meet their need to be supported and giving them a safe space to feel and just be.

I was amazed at my 5 year old when she was upset with me once and she found a note pad and wrote me a note, in her inventive spelling, describing to me how unfair I had been and how she felt and how she wished I could be instead.

Offering children a secret journal to vent their feelings in, is an extremely helpful practice. Reassure them that no one will ever read it and they are allowed to write anything in it, all the bad thoughts and feelings are permitted to be expressed in it. I call it emotional detox! Adults do well with this practice also. Happy writing….. to free up.

Children learn what they live con’t

If a child lives with criticism,
he learns to condemn.

If a child lives with hostility,
he learns to fight.

If a child lives with fear,
he learns to be apprehensive.

If a child lives with pity,
he learns to feel sorry for himself.

If a child lives with ridicule,
he learns to be shy.

If a child lives with jealousy,
he learns what envy is.

If a child lives with shame,
he learns to feel guilty.

If a child lives with encouragement,
he learns to be confident.

If a child lives with tolerance,
he learns to be patient.

If a child lives with praise,
he learns to be appreciative.

If a child lives with acceptance,
he learns to love.

If a child lives with approval,
he learns to like himself.

If a child lives with recognition,
he learns that it is good to have a goal.

If a child lives with sharing,
he learns about generosity.

If a child lives with honesty and fairness,
he learns what truth and justice are.

If a child lives with security,
he learns to have faith in himself and in those about him.

If a child lives with friendliness,
he learns that the world is a nice place in which to live.

If you live with serenity,
your child will live with peace of mind.

With what is your child living?

Lets look at helping our children live with approval. So many people feel that they are not good enough.

Here is an experiment. State out loud, declare  “I am a great mother” or ” I am a great wife”. Was that difficult? If yes then you need to believe in yourself more. A confident parent is more likely to raise more confident children. It’s an unspoken vibe some children pick up.

Now Ask your child to state that they are good at things you know they are good at. You may find as they get older its harder for them to state that they are good at things. The system we live in gradually diminishes children self confidence. They are full of enthusiasm, confidence and creativity when small, healthily boasting at all the things they can do, free of inhibitions and gradually it gets reduced. Peer pressure, competitiveness, expectations in educations systems chip away at their confidence. We must work hard to help them preserve it.

What can we do?

Imagine a sign on everybody’s forehead saying “Make me feel important”. Even on your spouses and manager’s forehead. I’m sure you can figure out what you can do to make that person feel important.

I’d love to hear what you come up with?

 

Children Learn what they Live.

We are raising adults. What character traits would you like your children to exhibit when they are adults? pause and list them before reading further.

 

 

Let me guess: loving, kind, honesty, responsibility, generosity, patience, self control, industriousness (hardworking), fortitude (grit or resilience) to name a few.

Well children learn what they live. If they see parents and caregivers exhibiting little or no self control (temperance) indulging in no end of food, drink, leisure, material things, why should they not do the same? If they grow up with gossip, complaining and negativity why should they be positive, holding their tongue and tolerant? If we complain about having to work, seek to escape work or do the bare minimum, express disdain for chores and loosely manage our affairs then who can blame them when they are older and are slow to find work and be productive and be responsible to manage their affairs? If we are stingy and not generous to hep others and share our surplus things with those in need then more than likely they will also be stingy.

Note well I say more than likely. There are many people who notice their parents undesirable traits and consciously decide to be the opposite. It takes enormous determination, will and effort to reprogram our subconscious but it can be done.

All actions and feelings we sense and see from in eutero (in our mother’s womb) and throughout our upbringing are recorded in our subconscious mind. It is our programming or our operating system.

We are often not aware of what is driving our behaviour but that is it. All that we witnessed when growing up, as well as HOW we interpreted it at the time.

So if we want to raise the chances of raising responsible, hardworking, honest, loving adults lets demonstrate those qualities ourselves. It’s Time for mindfulness and self examination and transformation where necessary. Upgrade your operating system. Inner growth…..our journey gets exciting and we find greater fulfilment as we improve.