web analytics
March 5, 2015 / 14 Adar , 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


Parenting Matters


Note to readers: This continuing series of op-ed and parenting columns addresses matters related to what is taking place in the Catskills. Should you have any parenting questions on these topics, or if you would like me to address a specific aspect of raising at-risk teens, please e-mail me at comments@rabbihorowitz.com.

You see a small plastic bottle of Visine or other brands of eye drops in the room of your teen son or daughter. He/she seems to have lingering colds and reddish eyes. You must have misplaced some cash in the house (several times, in fact) over the past few months. Your adolescent son or daughter begs off family simchahs, and his/her last report card was a disaster. Obviously, any one or two of these factors could be completely harmless. But in the aggregate, they are often signs of impending substance abuse issues. Parents of at-risk adolescents need to become more knowledgeable about these symptoms.

Your parents didn’t know any of this? You are offended at the notion that you need to think in these terms? Deal with it, as the kids would say. But become a knowledgeable and hands-on parent, as it is by far your best shot at guiding your at-risk child through this stormy phase in his/her life. Your involvement in your child’s life is perhaps the greatest predetermining factor as to your child riding out the storm and getting back on track to a productive future.

What are some of the symptoms of kids addicted to drugs? I asked Dr. Benzion Twerski, an outstanding mental health professional specializing in substance abuse treatment, to prepare a list of symptoms. Here are the symptoms he suggested parents should look for:

While other factors can cause many of these symptoms, these are behaviors and activities typical of individuals who are substance abusers:

• Sudden changes in mood, attitudes, or vocabulary – impulsive behavior.

• Sudden and continuing decline in attendance or performance at work or in school.

• Sudden and continuing resistance to discipline at home or in school.

• Impaired relationships with family members or friends.

• Unusual flares of temper.

• Increased amount and frequency of borrowing money from family and friends.

• Stealing from the home, at school, or in the workplace.

• Denial of having a drug problem.

• Heightened secrecy about actions and possessions.

• Association with a new group of friends, especially with those who use drugs or exhibit similar lifestyles.

• Having physical symptoms of drug abuse – such as red eyes, dilated pupils, constricted pupils, sleepiness, chronic runny nose, scars, or needle marks.

• Keeping long hours away from home, especially at night and on weekends.

• Neglecting personal health, and unexplained medical symptoms – such as weight loss and pallor.

• Sudden and continuing change in appearance and manner of dress, especially when contrasting to family patterns.

• Experiencing trouble in the handling of responsibilities.

So what now?

If you are starting to connect the dots, and feel that you may have signs of potential substance abuse with your teenager, it is important for you to proceed slowly and with much reflection. Please don’t overreact or impulsively attempt to “get your child back on track.” The circumstances that created this situation did not occur overnight, nor will they magically disappear. Seek professional guidance as to the steps you should take, and the pace in which you should take them.

I strongly believe that any teenager who is addicted to drugs is a choleh sheyesh bosakanah (one who has a potentially life-threatening illness). A child like this needs a professional drug rehabilitation center, not a yeshiva. You would not consider removing a stage-four cancer patient (G-d forbid) from a hospital in order to send him to a yeshiva. To quote Dr. Twerski, “Alcohol and drug abuse is a disease. It is a fatal illness that begins with casual or experimental use of a chemical for its mind-altering effects. It rapidly becomes an addiction, which involves loss of control over the substance or behavior, and eventually leads to self-destructiveness.”

It is important to understand that drug use also follows a continuum, from experimentation to regular use to dependency and addiction. Not everyone who smokes marijuana is a hard-core addict. But if your child is addicted to drugs, please seek professional help immediately. And seek the help of people who are trained specifically in the field of substance abuse addiction. A rabbi has a crucial and significant role in assisting an addicted child or adult. He can offer moral support, spiritual guidance, and answer any halachic questions that will inevitably arise as a result of the treatment of the addiction. Rabbis (this writer included), however, and yeshivas are not professionally equipped to deal with or heal people who are addicts. If you are not sure if your child falls into the category of a hard-core user, please go to a trained professional for his or her advice.

The YATZKAN Center, founded by Debbie Jonas, recently relocated to Brooklyn, NY under the auspices of FEGS. They offer inpatient and outpatient treatment for addicted teens – with a fully kosher program. Their clinical director, Lew Abrams, LCSW, CASAC, is highly trained in the arena of treating drug addiction. I am familiar with their work, and highly recommend their services for teens and adults who have addiction problems.

At the risk of sounding melodramatic, if your child is addicted to drugs, this is a life-or-death matter. Too many of our precious children have died of drug overdoses for you to worry about what the neighbors will think or just hope things will improve. If you even suspect that your child has a substance abuse problem, please contact YATZKAN immediately and find out what you can do to save his/her life – before it’s too late!

Contact information: YATZKAN Center: 718-282-2504; www.yatzkan.org. Dr. Benzion Twerski: 718-437-4118; btwerski@gmail.com. Lew Abrams: LAbrams@fegs.org.

About the Author: Rabbi Yakov Horowitz is founder and dean of Yeshiva Darchei Noam and founder and director of Agudath Israel's Project Y.E.S.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Parenting Matters”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
An Arab sheikh hands out flowers in a gesture of brotherhood and good will.
Haifa U Research Confirms, ‘Think Good & It Will Be Good!’
Latest Sections Stories
Yarden Merlot

Bottles of wine accompany the Pesach storytelling – each glass of wine represents the four expressions used by G-d in describing the redemption of the Jewish people from Egypt.

Schonfeld-logo1

There is a point that many parenting books miss: children do more for us than we do for them.

Brigitte was a nine-year-old girl when Islamic militants launched an assault on a Lebanese military base and destroyed her home.

The husband needs to make some changes!

Purim is a fantastic time for fantasies, so I hope you won’t mind my fantasizing about how easy life would be if kids would prefer healthy cuisine over sweets. Imagine waking up to the call of “Mommy, when will my oatmeal be ready?”… As you rush to ladle out the hot unsweetened cereal, you rub […]

‘Double Gold’ awarded to 2012 Yarden Heights wine & 2011 Yarden Merlot Kela Single Vineyard.

One should not give the money before Purim morning or after sunset.

The mishloach manos of times gone by were sometimes simple and sometimes elaborate, but the main focus was on the preparation of the delicious food they contained.

One of the earliest special Purims we have on record was celebrated by the Jews of Granada and Shmuel HaNagid, the eleventh-century rav, poet, soldier and statesman, and one of the most influential Jews in Muslim Spain.

Jews, wake up! Stop educating the world and start educating yourselves.

The lessons conform to the sensitivities and needs of the Orthodox community…

The program took on special significance as it marked not only the first anniversary of Rebbetzin Kudan’s levayah but also the 27th yahrzeit of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson, a”h.

It was only in the reign of George III (1760-1820) that Jews became socially acceptable in Britain, and Nathan became music master to Princess Charlotte and musical librarian to King George IV.

More Articles from Rabbi Yakov Horowitz
jewish psyciatrist

Those of us familiar with the do’s and don’ts of accepted practice in the mental health profession saw similar blaring warning lights in our minds, as should have occurred when the facts were made public regarding the accusations against Nehemia Weberman. This case may very well be our community’s most important abuse trial during our lifetimes. It is imperative that we have a huge turnout in support of the victim, a courageous young lady who, may she be gezunt andge’bentched, is determined to see this through to the end so others won’t suffer like she did.

Rabbi Yakov Horowitz

In part the altered lives victims of abuse and molestation live are a result of the abuse itself. But it is in part also because of the unfortunate negative reaction to the victims by their own community.

These lines are written in loving memory of our dear father, Reb Shlomo Zev ben Reb Baruch Yehudah Nutovic, a”h, whose first yahrzeit is 7 Menachem Av. May the positive lessons learned from this essay be a zechus for his neshamah.

All responsible leaders in our community have roundly condemned the recent violence in Beit Shemesh and Meah Shearim.

A surefire way to gauge the generation in which a person was raised is to have him or her fill in the following sentence: Where were you when ?”

Baby Boomers would ask, “When President Kennedy was shot?” Thirtysomethings would respond, “When the space shuttle exploded?” Today’s teenagers would reply, “On 9/11?”

One week ago on my website I announced my intention to attend the next court appearance of a man who was arrested last year and is now standing trial on 10 felony charges of child abuse.

Dear Rabbi Horowitz:

We were taken aback when our 18-year-old son just called us from Eretz Yisrael (we live in Europe) and told us that he was coming home and wants to immediately go to work. He said that he is wasting his time in yeshiva, and just can’t take it anymore. He said that he will “run away from home” if we don’t allow him to go to work.

Digital images of the profoundly disturbing computer-smashing ceremony conducted by Rabbi Aaron Feinhandler have been viewed by countless thousands of Jews worldwide over the past few weeks.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/parenting-our-children/parenting-matters/2007/08/22/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: