Christy Crandell is the Co-Founder and Administrator of Full Circle Adolescent Services in Roseville, (formerly Full Circle Treatment Center, in the process of merging with Community Recovery Resources). FCAS provides intervention and early treatment for adolescent substance abuse.
Crandell witnesses how mobile communications makes it so easy for kids to believe that prescription drugs, alcohol and marijuana are not only harmless, but required to have a good time.
Recent conversations with law enforcement and clergy also indicate that this pressure to use drugs and alcohol is affecting kids as young as third grade. Alan Baker, Granite Bay, is Co-Chair of the Steering Committee for the Coalition for Placer Youth. "The younger children start experimenting with drugs and alcohol, the greater the chances of becoming addicted," Baker said.
Compounding this risk is the fact that mobile communications makes risky behavior clandestine.
According to Crandell, when we view substance abuse as a character flaw, the individuals addicted to chemicals, and their families suffer without proper treatment.
“It is a health care problem and opportunity,” Crandell said. “And our merger with Community Recovery Resources offers a model of treatment and support that makes it possible to restore lives and relationships.”
Crandell encourages parents to consider the power of “Step 4” in the 12-step recovery program.
Step 4 reads: "Make a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves."
Since the cyber-powered hype can make alcohol and drug abuse seem so normal, and adolescence is characterized by extreme pressure to fit in with communities outside the home as a way to become independent, knowing who you are in a way that sets boundaries for personal security is the crux of child cyber safety.
(For more about the inherent authority to set and maintain personal boundaries in the network culture go to The Authority In Me.)
“If parents make a personal moral inventory, then they can be more approachable and supportive in recovery from mistakes and poor judgment in general,” Crandell said. “In this cyber-powered environment especially, parents should expect that the likelihood is strong that their child will be needing assistance to recover from starting down a risky path.”
Crandell encourages parents to monitor their child’s texts and posts for evidence of incorrect thinking and risky behavior. Be prepared to react in ways that enable the child to feel safe to conduct “Step 4” with your support, and decide to make the course correction needed to be secure.
- For more information about Full Circle Adolescent Services, go to FCAS.
- To schedule a parent presentation on substance abuse prevention, go to: Coalition For Placer Youth.
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Joanna Jullien is an author and speaker on strengthening the parent-child relationship in a cyber powered world. She is the author of The Authority In Me: The Power of Family Life in the Network Culture, produces The Sacramento Cyber Safety Examiner column on Examiner.com, is a contributor to Three Moms and a Mike, and is the CyberParenting adviser on The Fish 103.9FM, Tuesdays.