Teens are at risk when both parents work

A full wallet and an empty house may be a dangerous combination for many teenagers. In fact, they may signify a youngster’s access to drugs and a motivation to pursue them along with other unacceptable behavior.

Cary Quashen, founder of Action -- a  parent and teen support group program, serving a number of areas in Southern California  -- suggests that teens with access to illicit drugs may be motivated to use them by the emptiness of their lives, often symbolized by an empty house. And that house may just as well be in an upscale neighborhood, as it is in a more modest neighborhood in any town USA.

“Kids today spend all day in the company of their friends. When they go home no one is there because both parents are at work,” he says. “It’s bad because they go out again to spend even more time with their friends. And when not with their friends they are either texting or talking on the cell phone with them. In effect, their friends become their role models.” He blames drugs followed closely by alcohol for most teen problems in school, with the law and with their parents.

Quashen has taken his message and discussed his unique counseling approach on numerous talk shows, including Good Morning America and The Doctor’s Show.

According to Quashen, Action Parent & Teen Support Group Programs are free intervention groups and parents are encouraged to bring their teenagers.

The group conducts an intensive parent and teen support program that Quashen describes as “very focused.” It creates a safe place for families to deal with problems and make changes, he says. Concerned parents meet weekly to support each other and offer practical solutions. Each group is led by a parent who has been trained as a group facilitator and who has “been there,” too. While parents are meeting, the teens themselves attend an ACTION teen group, led by experienced counselors.

“Trying to face these problems alone can be overwhelming and frightening at times,” Quashen says. “We deal with drugs, alcohol, anger management, self-esteem, defiance and rebellion,  and other issues dealt with by parents of teenagers who are considered out of control.”

“Marijuana and prescription drugs are the biggest culprits,” Quashen says. “Marijuana use to be thought of as a gateway drug, the first step toward heroin, cocaine and other narcotics. And it never went away. Today it is the primary drug; in tandem with prescription drugs and over the counter medications” he adds, “marijuana is much more powerful than it was back in the 1960s. The people growing this stuff have turned it into a real science.”

Alcohol is the “scariest” substance that teenagers abuse, Quashen asserts. “I’ve been doing this (counseling) for 30 years, and alcohol causes more fatalities than anything else. In most cases, kids don’t stop what they’re doing until the consequences outweigh the fun they think they are having.”

According to Quashen, ecstasy has become popular again, so has meth, prescription drugs are still popular and of course marijuana. While there seems to be constant chatter about heroin and heroin kills, the reality is that all drugs kill. And no one wants to loose their teenage to drugs or alcohol.   

With regard to heroin, Quashen says because kids have discovered a way to smoke it, they think it’s safe. And yes kids are shooting it. Then there are the contemporary legal drugs being sold  such as Spice, K2, Salvia, and Ivory White, which are forms of synthetic drugs,  designed to be sold legally, but never the less designed to get you high.

Quashen points out what many parents already know, but he says they are in denial about their children’s behavior. “Twenty years ago if you asked a teenager who was more important, family or friends, they would have said family. Today, they say friends,” he relates. “Why? Well, Johnny used to come home from school and find Mom there getting dinner ready for the family. Today, Johnny comes home to nobody -- an empty house. When the parents get home from work, they’re tired, and they don’t pay much attention to what their kids are saying, and they miss the visual clues as well.”

“Morals, values, ethics are character traits that should be taught at home but too often are not,” he adds. “And it doesn’t matter who the parents are. We see young people whose parents are policemen, doctors, lawyers, psychologists, psychiatrists, what have you.” Wayward teens are referred to Action from many sources such as juvenile courts, police, doctors, hospitals, school officials and word of mouth.

Just as we are what we eat, we are also what our minds digest. Quashen notes that too often video games and reality television shows geared towards teens have become substitutes for sports, parenting and wholesome activities. When adults fail to establish boundaries, he says, their teenage children wander into misadventures that lead to drugs, sex and criminal behavior.

For more information about Action Parent & Teen Support Groups in the Southern California area one may call the 24-hour hotline at 1-800-FOR-TEEN (1-800-367-8336). You may also find us at actionfamilycounseling.com

With drug and alcohol residential treatment locations in Santa Clarita, Piru, and Bakersfield; Intensive Drug and Alcohol Outpatient in Santa Clarita, Simi Valley, Ventura, Pasadena, and Bakersfield, Action Family Counseling is here to help you.

For information regarding admission, intake, and services please call Action Family Counseling at    (800) 367-8336 or visit www.actiondrugrehab.com

Being a teenager today is a lot different than when we were kids.
 
The social and academic pressures are different. Drugs, alcohol, sex and gangs, are today’s 
pressures.
 
For some kids these pressures become too great. That’s where Action can help. Action is the parent and teen support program that families depend on 
to help when the stress becomes too much for your teen. 
 
If you are having trouble with your teen call (800) 367-8336