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Coronavirus and Vaping – What Parents Need to Know

vaping

No one could have predicted the difficult times 2020 would bring. With the Coronavirus pandemic now in its third wave, people everywhere are taking extra precautions to keep themselves and their families safe.  

Experts believe that because the Coronavirus can cause respiratory infections, those who smoke or vape may be at a higher risk of complications if they contract the virus. If you haven’t already, now is the time to get informed about vaping, and be prepared to start a conversation about it with your family if the need arises. 

What is Vaping?  

Vaping is a type of e-cigarette. In a vape, a battery heats up a liquid that produces vapors, which can then be inhaled. Many of the tanks, which hold the liquid, contain nicotine. Vapes can also be used with marijuana, hash oil, or other potentially harmful substances. Although there are laws in place preventing the sale of e-cigarettes to adolescents, there has been an increase in the popularity of vaping among young people. About 37% of 12th graders reported vaping in 2018, compared with 28% in 2017. 

What are the dangers of vaping? 

While vaping isn’t new, there is still a lot that is unknown about the negative effects of vaping.  Some people tend to think that vaping is safer than smoking cigarettes, but with the liquid cartridges that contain nicotine, it can be just as unsafe.  

Nicotine is the addictive substance in tobacco and when inhaled or ingested, it can negatively affect the brain development of youth and adolescents. Cigarette use by teens has been trending down in recent years, but teens who vape are more likely to begin smoking cigarettes in the future.  

Studies also suggest that vaping can lead to respiratory or gastrointestinal issues and even some types of cancers. EVALI (e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury) can also occur. Symptoms of EVALI can include cough, shortness of breath, and chest pains.

Vaping statistic

Dr. Brendon Stile is an associate attending cardiothoracic surgeon at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center and an associate professor of cardiothoracic surgery at Weill Cornell Medicine. He speculates that because vaping can lead to inflammation, profound lung disease, and even a malfunction of the immune system in the lungs, those who vape may be more susceptible to pulmonary complications following a Coronavirus infection.

According to the FDA, youth and adolescents who vape are also at risk for seizures. This could be due to the list of toxic chemicals that are in many vape liquids. These chemicals can include: 

  • Nicotine  
  • Propylene glycol – commonly used in antifreeze, paint solvent, and in fog machines 
  • Acetaldehyde and formaldehyde – both are carcinogens, which are substances that are known to cause cancer 
  • Acrolein – a herbicide primarily used to kill weeds 
  • Diacetyl – a chemical linked to a lung disease called bronchiolitis obliterans aka “popcorn lung” 
  • Diethylene glycol – a toxic chemical used in antifreeze 
  • Heavy metals such as nickel, tin, lead 
  • Cadmium – a toxic metal found in traditional cigarettes  
  • Benzene – a volatile organic compound (VOC) found in car exhaust 

What the CDC Recommends 

The CDC’s official recommendation is to avoid using vapes or other e-cigarette products 

The tanks used in vapes are not regulated by the FDA and therefore may contain harmful ingredients other than nicotine. 

How Teens Perceive Vaping 

Most teens believe that vaping is generally harmless. Some e-cigarette companies, such as JUUL, have been under fire for specifically targeting youth in their ads. Advertisements made multiple false claims that JUUL is safer than cigarettes and that the FDA would approve it soon. They also paid for advertising space on children’s networks, further pushing their message to adolescents. Vaping fact 

The product itself also plays into the appeal to youth. Vape pens look harmless and they’re cheap, which makes them less threatening to teens. The tanks of liquid also tend to come in a variety of sweet flavors that smell good, which attracts teens and adolescents. Currently, studies aren’t conclusive as to how vaping among the younger population connects to Coronavirus, but there has been an increase of younger patients who become very sick and require intubation and ventilation.

How to Prevent Your Child from Vaping 

The best way to prevent your child from vaping is to foster an environment of open communication with them. Let them know the dangers of vaping in a realistic and honest way that doesn’t rely on slippery slope logic or overt scare tactics.  

Be a support system for your child without judgment and they will feel more comfortable talking to you. If they tell you that someone in their class or group has started vaping, don’t freak out. Ask them how they feel about it and talk about the risks in a calm manner, if necessary.  

What to Do if Your Child is Vaping 

If you discover that your child is vaping, don’t overreact. The first instinct may be anger because you love your child and the anxiety of keeping them safe is stressful. It can also be incredibly frustrating if you have already talked to your child about the risks of vaping. However, your child will shut down if you start the conversation by yelling.  

Take a few breaths. When you’re in a calm place, ask your child about vaping. Give them room to talk without trying to fill in their silences. Let them know that they can be honest with you without fear of judgment. If they are honest, keep your promise and don’t judge or yell at them.  

Try to avoid lecturing them. Chances are they already know that you disapprove of their actions. Don’t let those feelings cloud your discussion with them.  

In your talk, try to determine if they are vaping because of a bigger issue.  Maybe they are stressed from schoolwork, their job or they have friends that pressured them. If this is the case, you can work with them to find a solution to their stress or help them gain the confidence to refuse peer pressure.  

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Teens and adolescents are facing more stress than ever and need our support. If you would like some help trying to navigate parenting in the 21st century, sign up for one of our upcoming Parenting Workshops.

If you need a fun break or some guidance on how to create a healthy lifestyle, sign up for our Wellness Wednesday Webinars 

 

Talk To Your Kids

When communication falls short, teens and adolescents take other measures to express their emotions. That’s why it’s so important for parents to talk to their kids about the challenges they face every day. Our youth is experiencing a new wave of bullying and social anxiety like we’ve never seen it before. Whether or not they make all the right choices, it’s imperative that their voices be heard and supported. 

Here at The Bougainvilla House, we’ve received a lot of phone calls recently from kids in distress. So we put together a list of crisis prevention tips to share with your family and friends.

Tip #1: Learn the warning signs.

These won’t be obvious, so you’ll need to look hard. Really, really hard. Reckless behavior often indicates a lack of direction. Increased substance use or social withdrawal may be associated with depression. The red flags are there. We just have to see them.

Tip #2: Don’t just hear, listen.

Pay close attention to what your teens say, the way they talk about themselves, and the people around them. Be mindful of their feelings and avoid interruptions. Most importantly, be present and open in times of sorrow. That’s when they’ll need your support the most.

Tip #3: Encourage transparency.

Keep an open line of communication and talk about therapy as a healthy alternative. The benefits of seeing a therapist are endless, even for people who seem to manage bullying and anxiety well. Make sure they understand it’s okay to ask for guidance.

Tip #4: Reach out for help.

Sometimes it’s hard for family members to talk openly about their concerns. Find someone your teen or adolescent can chat with. Whether it’s a teacher, family friend or our team of trained behavioral health specialists. It’s not about when they’ll talk. It’s about who they talk to.

Know whatever your family is facing, we’re here to lend a helping hand. The Bougainvilla House is committed to reconnecting relationships through guided child and family therapy. If your teen is showing signs of distress, don’t wait for a crisis to occur. Help is just a phone call away.

Saying “No” Stems from Self-Worth

teen drinking peer pressure

We are taught from a young age to say no. We are told it’s okay to stand up for ourselves and go against the crowd, especially when it comes to drugs and alcohol. But when we are put in a position where it’s time to say no, it can feel difficult, scary, and at times, impossible. Why is saying no to drugs and alcohol so difficult?

It’s not easy to go against the masses, especially at an age where everything feels like life or death and fitting in is what helps you survive the day. But when we choose another person’s path, their perspective over ours, we diminish our own and project negativity into our future. It means we are too afraid to put ourselves first. To get a better understanding of what this looks like, let’s look at an example.

Jayden loves to draw and desperately wants to get into art school so he can become a successful graphic designer. However, his group of friends is not as motivated. They don’t hate on him for his dreams, but they aren’t doing anything to better Jayden’s future. Jayden’s friends drink most nights of the week and smoke weed every day. Jayden used to think the weed helped him with his creativity, but now, it just makes him tired and lethargic. He hasn’t been drawing every day like he used to, and he’s noticed changes in his work. He wants to tell his friends that he doesn’t want to smoke anymore, but he’s afraid they won’t want to be his friend if he does.

What’s Jayden’s main concern?

He’s afraid he will lose friends if he stands up for himself and says no. It may not seem like it but saying no stems from self-worth. He has the first part down by knowing he doesn’t want to continue the behavior, and he knows the behavior is harming his future. But Jayden is afraid of the possibility of walking away from his friend group. He’s putting more value on his friends and their opinions over his own well-being.

Let’s say Jayden’s worst fear comes true, that his friend group won’t hang out with him anymore. Are they really Jayden’s friends if they are willing to throw the friendship away over drugs? Absolutely not. If he does choose to walk away, it will be a blessing in disguise because it’s clear these friends aren’t loyal and caring. Some may even go so far as to say that rejection is protection. If Jayden does lose the friend group, it might make him sad and lonely at first, but the change can lead to new friends who are like-minded, supportive and encourage creativity. Wouldn’t you say Jayden is better off?

Here’s where most of us get stuck. We only think of the worst-case scenario, but when we do this, we forget about the other possibilities. What if Jayden tells his friends and they support him? What if they think it’s a great idea? Part of this scenario is about the integrity of his friends, but it also goes back to Jayden’s self-worth. If he believes in himself and knows he is a valuable friend, then it doesn’t matter if his friends choose to stay or leave because Jayden knows he will be successful and find new friends that truly care about him. But if his friends choose to stay, then he can continue building relationships with them as he grows and changes.

This is the key takeaway when it comes to connecting to your life’s purpose.

It’s about taking care of you and putting you first. When you do that, the rest will fall into place. This can seem scary because friends and hobbies can change, but doesn’t it seem worth it to do the things that are important to you? When we have confidence, when we believe in our convictions, and when we know we don’t want to do something, we find the strength to say no and walk away. That’s not to say the moment isn’t scary. It means we value ourselves more than the approval of others.

It’s Okay to Not Go to the Party

It’s okay to not go to the party, it’s okay to not accept the drink, and it’s okay to call home for a ride if you get stuck in a sticky situation. What’s not okay is dropping down to the level of others and saying yes simply because it feels easier. It’s okay to listen to the voice inside your heart and honor its wishes, even if it means losing friends in the process. It’s about realizing that sometimes we have to make sacrifices to gain the life we are dreaming of.

It can feel like life or death when it comes to saying no, and that’s okay! If you or an adolescent you know struggles with boundaries that are leading to addiction, professional help is always a great option. The Bougainvilla House offers adolescent behavioral health programs for individuals and families.

Call us today to see how we can help 954-764-7337,
or use our convenient Contact form.

Do as I Say: A Message to Parents

parenting by example

We’ve all heard the expression, “Do as I say, and not as I do.” It means to follow the rules, follow what someone says, but don’t follow their actions. It means the person using the phrase is telling you to do something, but they, themselves, refuse to do it. Unfortunately, too many people are living by these words, but when it comes to parenting, this phrase can make or break the relationship we have with our kids.

We want our kids to be better than we are, to strive for more, and live a life of success, but when we follow this adage, we are forgetting what it means to be human. Kids, by nature, soak up their surroundings and internalize them. What they see is literally what they do because that’s exactly how humans learn, especially in their formative years. This means, as adults, it’s time to call our integrity into question, especially if we are doing the same for our kids. It’s time to ask ourselves if we are being the best role model possible, and if not, what can we do to get there?

How the ‘Do as I Say’ Method Backfires

There are two things that happen when we don’t act as role models, and they work together. First, whether we want to believe it or not, our children start picking up our behaviors because they live with us and see us every day. From day one, everything we do and say becomes an internalized narrative. Think about how kids learn to eat their food, speak, and play. We are the gatekeepers of knowledge, modeling all behaviors. But when kids grow older, the stakes grow larger.

For example, if you tell your kids not to get in a car with someone who’s been drinking, and you have a beer or two at dinner then drive your family home, you’re teaching your child it’s okay. If that doesn’t resonate, think about how you speak to your friends and even how you speak to your kids about others. If you are constantly name-calling, blaming, or refusing to take ownership of your behaviors, then how do you expect your kids to know any differently? You set the bar for kindness, compassion, and ownership because they have no other outlet to learn in the first 5-6 years of their lives. And the older they get, the more aware they become to who you are and what you are saying.

The next piece stems from respect. As parents, if we are constantly asking things of our kids, and we are doing the opposite, then we are providing mixed messages. Therefore, it’s easy for them to lose respect. You might say, “They are my child; they should respect me.” While that may be true if you’d tell your child to watch out for a specific behavior, yet you are exhibiting said behavior, your child is caught in a place where they aren’t sure what to think. And the more we act in ways we deem wrong, the more our child is going to pick up on it and see us in that light. For example, say you tell your child lying is wrong, but they watch you lie to your boss or your spouse. They may be young and naïve, but they can surely spot a liar. Now, since you’ve done it, they may feel it’s okay to lie occasionally, too.

This all boils down to integrity. Integrity means doing the right thing, even when no one is watching. If we aren’t doing the right thing when they are watching, they have no way to make the best decisions for themselves when we aren’t around.

How Can We Teach Our Kids to Have Integrity?

The easiest way to teach good behaviors is to lead by example. No one is asking you to be perfect, but the more we can model compassionate and morally sound behavior, the more likely our kids will pick up on those traits and behaviors, as well.

Think about it this way. Have you ever had a boss you simply didn’t respect? Think about the worst boss you’ve ever had and analyze those behaviors. Maybe they had an attitude, they didn’t follow through with their objectives, or simply did nothing to contribute. What did you gain from that environment? How did you feel when they didn’t follow through or simply did nothing in their position? Now, think about your kids. In a lot of ways, you are their boss for the first 18 years of their lives. You organize, you provide structure, and you give them the tools to succeed. How would they rate you as a boss? Are you following through? We can’t expect kids to follow a meaningless command and retain their respect. We wouldn’t want our kids to do the same with others in their lives, so it’s time to step up and be the leader we all need.

Leading by example can be hard when it comes to addiction. If you or a young adult you know is struggling with addiction, professional help is always a great option. The Bougainvilla House offers adolescent behavioral health programs for individuals and families. Call us today to see how we can help 954-764-7337, or use our convenient Contact form.

Avoiding Binge Drinking Culture in College

For many college students, drinking heavily and experimenting with drugs is almost considered a rite of passage. It’s assumed that everybody does it.  That isn’t necessarily the reality, although it can be difficult not drink at college. For those who choose to stay sober, today’s climate of binge drinking can make avoiding alcohol a challenge.

For many college students, drinking heavily and experimenting with drugs is almost considered a rite of passage. It’s assumed that everybody does it.  That isn’t necessarily the reality, although it can be difficult not drink at college. For those who choose to stay sober, today’s climate of binge drinking can make avoiding alcohol a challenge.

The tendency among college students to drink excessively might lead others to think that drinking alcohol in large quantities is the socially accepted norm. Many of their friends may drink or do drugs, so the pressure to participate makes it harder to stay sober.

College is a stressful time for most students. After all, they are not only studying difficult subjects and trying to get their life in order, but they are also dealing with unique personal and romantic problems. Unfortunately, many of these students turn to drugs and alcohol.

When teenagers go to college, they are often away from their parents for the first time in their lives. As a result, they want to impress those people and begin feeling the need to fit in. This is true even for students who avoided alcohol and drugs in high school.

In college, what starts as seemingly harmless experimentation can quickly progress to regular abuse and even addiction. Binge drinking can have many negative consequences for those involved. About 25 percent of college students who frequently binge drink are more likely to miss class and experience a drop in grades. Those who binge drink are also more likely to be involved in vandalism, experience an injury, engage in unplanned and unprotected sex, driving while intoxicated, experience arrests and other legal implications.

Those who would like to maintain their sobriety should take measures to avoid triggers and situations in which heavy drinking is likely to occur. Students should:

 

  • Learn how to say “no” if they don’t want to drink.
  • Volunteer to be the designated driver.
  • Tell friends that you are not drinking.
  • Hold a nonalcoholic drink to cut down on drink offers.
  • Try to engage in school-sponsored activities or help organize sports or other activities for sober people.
  • Have friends that don’t drink.

 

If your child is struggling with alcohol addiction, The Bougainville House can help. We offer individual, couple, and family therapy programs.  Call us to learn more. 954-764-7337

Helping Teens Overcome Peer Pressure to Drink

For teens, the pressure to drink is everywhere, and it can be overwhelming. Even teens that are committed to staying sober are vulnerable without the right tools to help them overcome peer pressure and stand their ground when offered alcohol. If you are concerned about teen alcoholism in Fort Lauderdale, help is available to get your teen back on a healthier track. To fight addiction before it starts, help your teen face underage drinking peer pressure with these tips.

Plan Excuses

It’s nearly impossible for teens to go out and not be faced with an opportunity to drink at some point. Give your teens the confidence to deal with these situations by pre-planning a few excuses they can use to save face with their friends without taking a drink. Your teen could offer to be the designated driver, blame it on his or her need to get up early for a family event the next day, or say that you always check his or her breath after a night out. When your teen has a ready-made set of excuses that stop the peer pressure but not friendships, he or she will feel more comfortable about saying no.

Get Involved

Know who your teens’ friends are, and encourage your teens to host their friends at your house from time to time so you can develop relationships with them. It also helps to connect with their friends’ parents so you can have a network of support in managing behavior, and so you can identify the parents that may have laxer attitudes about drinking. Being engaged with your kids’ friends and letting them all know your behavior expectations can take some of the pressure of off your teen.

Share Your Stories

Tell your teens stories about when you had to deal with pressure to drink as a teen or maybe about how accepting a drink led to bad consequences. Showing your teens that alcohol abuse, addiction, and peer pressure are situations you also had to face will let them know that they’re not alone and will encourage open lines of communication.