Looking Forward to Independence Day

July 4th marks Independence Day in the USA, and we celebrate with cookouts and fireworks. Independence is important to us as adults, but we sometimes don’t recognize how important it is to children. When children are born, parents are often overwhelmed by how dependent they are to meet all of their needs. But with each passing month, each new skill learned, they are growing their independence. Children grow up and they assert their independence early, saying, “I do it.” This is the essence of the child/parent dynamic. The parent shelters and teaches the child until the child is able to care for self and the parent must let go a little bit at a time. Sounds easy right? Wrong. It’s not easy, because while a child’s process of growing up comes naturally, the cycle of parenting-first holding tight, then loosening up, then letting go-is not a natural process. It can be painful.

So, how can we learn to loosen up? Here are some ideas:

  • When your child is little and they are approaching a milestone, let them try. They are not going to hit their mouth the first 100 times they try to use a spoon, but they need the practice in order to get there. You can always put them in the bathtub afterwards.
  • If it isn’t going to hurt anyone, let them do things wrong, so that they can figure out on their own how to fix them. Let them put the puzzle piece in the wrong place. They will soon discover it doesn’t fit. This offers them the opportunity to learn how to problem solve, a vital skill for everyone.
  • Expect your children to help with age-appropriate chores. This sends the message that they are an important contributing member of the family. It also says that you have confidence they can achieve what you have asked. Bear in mind you will need to give simple and clear instructions. Do not get frustrated if they take too long or do it in a way you would not-this will send the opposite message.
  • Allow your child to express themselves creatively and emotionally. Creative expression helps them find their own unique identities. Being able to say if they are unhappy or angry without being disrespectful is an important thing to learn.
  • Balance your desire to help your child gain independence with the need to supervise.
  • At milestone ages, offer up certain things they are now responsible for. For example, “now that you are age 8, you are old enough to get up with an alarm clock.”
  • Pay attention to your habits. Are you always setting out their clothes for them out of habit? Could they do this task?
  • Respect their right to privacy. Knock before you enter their room.
  • When they do something new on their own, praise them for it.
  • Respect their right to be a part of decisions about their own bodies. As hard as it is-don’t insist they hug Uncle Joe. Instead, say something like “Tell Uncle Joe goodbye, he’s about to leave.” They need to know they can choose whether to hug or not.
  • When they go to the doctor, involve them in the discussion about what medications they might take. As they get older, encourage them to ask what the side effects are and if there is a risk for addiction. If they are shy, you ask the questions, but include them in the conversation.
  • When your child asks you what you think they should do, try not to just give them an answer. Help them figure it out. Ask what they are considering doing and if they think that will work.

These are a few ways we can support our children in achieving their independence. Someday, we will be able to see what productive, kind adults they are and know that we had a part in making that happen. Stay strong! Happy Independence Day!

Sherry Holder

The New Craze: e-cigarettes

e cigs

You’ve probably heard of e-cigarettes by now, and if you haven’t, you soon will. Many misconceptions exist about e-cigarettes. For example, some believe that e-cigarettes are a healthier alternative to smoking regular cigarettes. In fact, e-cigarettes have been falsely marketed as a way to quit smoking all together. This is probably why e-cigarette use among high school students more than doubled, from 4.7% in 2011 to 10.0% in 2012 (Centers for Disease Control, 2013).

 

According to Tim McAfee, M.D., M.P.H., director of the CDC Office on Smoking and Health “About 90 percent of all smokers begin smoking as teenagers(Centers for Disease Control, 2013). Therefore there is a legitimate concern as e-cig use increases among youth. Youth who use e-cigarettes could easily become adults with a nicotine addiction and begin smoking traditional cigarettes

 

Since e-cigarettes are a fairly new enterprise, skeptics question the long term health effects of using e-cigarettes. Recently, the National Institute on Health began researching e-cigarettes closely and what they’ve found counter argues everything the nicotine companies want you to believe about their products.

 

How do e-cigarettes work?

An e-cigarette, aka e-cig, is a battery powered device that has a heating feature that activates when a user puffs on it. E-cigarettes contain a cartridge where a liquid solution is stored. When the user puffs on the e-cigarette, the heating contraption (or vaporizer) transforms the liquid solution into a vapor which is inhaled by the user. When the liquid nicotine cartridge is empty you simply buy a new cartridge at a gas station or convenience store and refill your e-cig.   (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2014)

 

What’s in an e-cigarette?

Nicotine extracted from tobacco

Chemicals and flavorings

Cancer causing agents (aka carcinogens) such as formaldehude and acetaldehyde

Toxic metal nanoparticles (from the vaporizing mechanism)    (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2014)

 

What are the ultimate consequences if I use e-cigarettes?

Liquid nicotine is extremely more potent than the nicotine you find in a regular cigarette. Exposure to liquid nicotine (by the skin or eye contact, inhalation, or ingestion) can be toxic. See section on symptoms of nicotine toxicity.

One person spilled liquid nicotine in his pocket and was poisoned. (Bangor Daily News, 2014)

“A single teaspoon of highly concentrated nicotine can kill a small child.” (USA Today, 2014)

“A 1-year-old child in New York died from exposure to liquid nicotine after officials have been warning of the risks from sales lacking regulation.” (Huffington Post, 2014)

 

Others have been poisoned due to high concentrations of nicotine by simply smoking e-cigs as they were designed for. From 2012 to 2013 there was a 219% increase in reported exposures according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers; over half of these incidents occurred in children under the age of 6.

 

Symptoms of nicotine toxicity according to the American Association of Poison Control:

Nausea

Dizziness

Tremors

Seizures

Low Blood Pressure

Loss of Consciousness

Paralysis

Vomiting

Headache

Jitteriness

Fast or irregular heartbeat

Chest pain

 
Sources

http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/electronic-cigarettes-e-cigarettes

http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2013/p0905-ecigarette-use.html

http://vitalsigns.bangordailynews.com/2014/06/13/public-health/e-cigarette-refills-contain-enough-nicotine-to-kill-your-child-or-pet/

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/03/25/e-cigarette-warning-from-poison-centers/6873759/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/wendy-sue-swanson-md-mbe-faap/ecigarettes-one-dead-in-n_b_6348522.html

 

Our New Website

ARPNC (Addiction Recovery Prevention NC) is excited to announce the release of our new website, designed with a fresh new look and user-friendly navigation, updated with the latest information about our programs and services we offer to our communities.

One of our main goals was to build a user-friendly and simple to navigate site. The new design allows the users to quickly find the programs and services that are right for them.

We hope that you will enjoy browsing our new site and finding more information each time.