How to Deal with Teenage Alcohol Abuse

How often have you heard the story?  A teenager who was once loveable, happy, clean-cut, and an all-around decent student turns into a disrespectful, long-haired, pierced, defiant individual?  There is no longer any respect for authority, including parents, teachers, and law enforcement.  Sweatshirts are worn up around the head, eyes are red, and the favorite place to be at home is in his or her bedroom.  You’ve convinced yourself to check the bedroom and look for signs of drug or alcohol usage, and found notes, lists, a pipe, empty beer or liquor bottles or some sort of paraphernalia used by the drug or alcohol addicts.  You’ve confronted your child, who denies any involvement in anything you’re saying, even though the proof is right in front of him or her.  You’ve spoken to teachers, the principal, law enforcement, to no avail.  You’ve taken away privileges, but you’re sure your child just sneaks out of the house.  Afterall, your child has been lying to you for quite some time.  What are you to do?

You are absolutely correct that it is your business.  This is your child.  But what should you do?  You’ve talked and talked; you’ve cried; you’ve begged and pleaded; you’ve punished, and there is absolutely no reaction from your child.

Take a step back to analyze what is happening.  Some kids turn to drugs and alcohol simply to fit in.  Others get in and find it hard to get out, the hardest part being separating from the others who have chosen that lifestyle for keeps.  Some kids have been threatened with bodily harm or that to their family members if they don’t stay.  This is criminal behavior.  For teens, behaving badly can be exciting.  Just the risk of getting drugs can be an exciting adventure for some.  First and foremost, show your child love, no matter what.  This is your child.  Try to praise the little things that deserve praise.  Compliment your child for great things, even if it’s just that he or she ate dinner with the rest of the family for once.  Talk to him or her.  Keep communicating.  Don’t yell; just talk.  Listen.  Let your child tell you anything that’s going on, positive or negative.  Ask your extended family for help.  Maybe someone can do something with your child for an afternoon or a weekend.  Anything that will get your child away from the negative group of kids.  Talk to your child about household rules and maintain those rules.  Let your child know what you are and are not willing to do if going to jail becomes a reality.  If that happens, go with your child to court, even if you aren’t paying money towards his outrageous actions.

Last, find a good therapist who can help your teenager battle alcohol or drug abuse.  Reach out and let the professionals at the Relationship Center of Orange County help you.  Schedule your appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.

When Baby Makes Three

Let OC Relationship Center help you deal with the hurdles of new parenthood.Babies create seismic changes in your life. Sleep deprivation in the first few months can turn you and your spouse or partner into irritable zombies—a stark contrast to the smiling, stylish young couple with lots of time for weekend outings that you were in the not-so-distant past. There’s more housework than ever, and you have a lot less energy to tackle it. You might be worried about money if one of you stays home with the baby. Suddenly you’re living on one salary instead of two, or if both return to work, there are childcare expenses to factor in.

And intimacy? Well, that seems to be out the window—even when the baby is blissfully sleeping, it’s easier said than done just to forget all the stress and fatigue, flip a switch and swing into action.

Okay, now for the good news: raising a baby can also bring you closer than ever before if you approach it as a team. Here are a few of the secrets you need to know:

    1. If you talk to your partner about the stress you’re feeling—while taking care to reassure her that you love the baby more than you ever imagined possible—you might be relieved to learn that you’re both experiencing a lot of the same things. When the baby screams inconsolably for an hour, when it seems you’re changing soiled crib sheets for the third time today, when you can’t remember the last time you sat down to watch a half-hour sitcom, much less a movie…yes, your partner feels all that too.  Don’t assume women, for instance, have magic maternal instincts that make it easier for her. If anything, the only difference is that she might feel guiltier about having those feelings, so voicing them yourself and reminding her that it’s normal might help her feel better while reinforcing the sense that you’re in this together.

 

    1. If you find yourselves fighting over the growing list of chores, stop. Make lists of what needs to be done every day, decide what’s reasonable for each person to do every day, and stick to it. The key word is “reasonable.” If you need to lower the bar a bit on what passes for household organization during the early years, remember that (1) only a crazy person would expect new parents to have a spotless home and (2) complaining to your wife that you can’t find a matching pair of socks in your drawer…when she’s exhausted and hasn’t found time to take a shower in three days…is not constructive.

 

  1. Go on dates. No doubt you’ve heard this one before, but it is so important. It’s not easy at first; it helps a lot if you have parents in town to pitch in, but if not, ask around for a reliable sitter and make plans to go out for a few hours of alone time. While we’re at it, here’s another tip: discuss any baby-related topics you’d like to get out of the way before you leave—even the fun ones, like showing her the newest baby pictures on your iPhone. Then you can commit to spending this time together not as parents but husband and wife.

It’s easy to forget how important it is to nurture your relationship with your partner or spouse when the baby is screaming, covered in strained peas and looks at you like you’re a miserable failure (at least that’s what it sometimes feels like). It takes effort and a commitment to remember to care for yourselves and your relationship, but maintaining a healthy relationship is the most important gift you’ll ever give your child.

A relationship counselor can help you and your partner figure out how to balance it all while keeping your relationship strong – a wise investment in your growing family. If you are considering couples counseling, let the counselors at Orange County Relationship Center help you.  Call us today at 949-220-3211 or book your appointment via our online calendar.

 

Have You Stopped Dating Your Spouse?

Date your spouse, get back in touch with your love.We see it all the time – two people meet each other and fall in love. They go out on hundreds, if not thousands of dates. Suddenly they’re spending more time with each other than they spend with anyone else. They decide to get married, and on that day, they’ve never been so happy.

A few years go by. A few babies are born. Before long, the children are the focus of everything they do. They invest their time and their money in their children’s happiness, so much so, that they never think about investing in each other and in their marriage.

Time flies, and before they know it, the children have grown up and gone off to college, started new careers, or started their own families. The couple is left alone. However, they’re shocked to find out that they no longer even know the person they’ve spent the last twenty years being married to.

Does this sound familiar?

The Spike in Divorce Statistics

In the last twenty years, the divorce rate in the United States among couples who are fifty years old and older has doubled. Experts believe that this is because people become so focused on their children, their careers, and paying bills, that they stop focusing on what their spouses need. There is also something to be said about the fact that, for both men and women, something changes once the wedding is over.

For men, it might be a matter of no longer needing to overcome the challenge of having the woman he loves as his wife. Sometimes, men can grow complacent in marriage, especially when there is no bigger goal to work toward.

For women, it might be a matter of impending responsibility to manage and take care of a family. Now more than ever, women are making more money working outside the home. However, they’re also still “in charge” of making sure the laundry is done, the vacuum gets run, and the kids have healthy lunches for school. When all of these responsibilities come together, it can make for one frantic schedule.

Quite often, these mindshifts mean that less focus is placed on maintaining a healthy, happy marriage.

The Importance of Dating

Continuing to date your husband or wife, even after you’ve gotten married, is what keeps your friendship alive. Strong marriages are built on solid friendships, not on romantic love. However, romantic love is often a natural by-product of a solid friendship. Wherever you put your time and your money is where your heart is.

When is the last time you took your spouse out on a date? Even if you would have trouble fitting date night into your budget, choose activities that don’t cost much, or anything at all. Going on a walk together, sharing a picnic lunch in the park, and taking a drive to the lake are all really good ideas.

We’re confident that once you begin dating your spouse again, you’ll reawaken all of those feelings you thought were gone. Your marriage was once your most important investment. We’d like to help you keep it that way. If you are considering couples counseling, let the counselors at Orange County Relationship Center help you. Call us today at 949-220-3211 or book your appointment via our online calendar.