Family & Friends

Fatherless Children, A Consequence of Drug Addiction, Fathers and Prison

Posted by on Sep 10, 2012 in Alcohol and Drugs Misuse, Family & Friends, Parenting | 0 comments

Fatherless ChildAccording to the principles behind the New Jersey Mandatory Drug Court Program, signed into active law on July 19, 2012 by N.J. governor Chris Christie, no life is disposable. Legislation S-881 establishes guidelines for helping individuals overcome drug addiction. The Program stands on the groundwork of fiscal and moral commonsense: Helping drug addicts reclaim their lives exceeds the performance of a warehouse prison system.

A fatherless child remains one of the worst consequences of drug addiction. The addicted adult ends up in prison. The child of the prisoner – rose to adulthood by a faulty system – ends up following suit. Addiction begets addiction. In the end, society reaps even greater fiscal and moral consequences.

Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)

A study initiated by the BJS reports on the issue of minors with incarcerated parents. The background study group includes parents in prison for sexual abuse, alcohol addiction, mental health, drug abuse and other complications. Primary points of notice include:

  • Over 744,000 fathers in prison
  • Over 65,000 mothers in prison
  • Over 1.5 million minor children left without a father, mother or both
  • Better than one quarter of the minor children are under four years old
  • 59% of the offenders with children are incarcerated on drug charges
  • Over 34% of the prisoners with children report a home background that includes drug and/or alcohol abuse by their parents or legal guardians.

Prison life is filled with frustration – even for those with strong minds, courageous hearts and the ability to focus on a promising future. If you are addicted to drugs, alcohol, sex or any other form of mental illness, don’t wait until help becomes part of a mandatory jail term. You need not live in torment. You need not let your children live without a father or without a mother.

It’s not easy to step into a drug rehabilitation and treatment program. But for happiness, self-control and the sake of your children, it is one of the most important decisions you will ever make.

Seek help now.

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The Affordable Care Act: A Step-up In Providing Mental Health Care

Posted by on Jul 25, 2012 in Family & Friends | 0 comments

Listen up Parents

Parents recognize that being able to keep their kids on their insurance policies until age 26 will help them in getting the health care they need. Most parents view this benefit as being great for routine medical care and perhaps even hospitalization – most do not recognize its value in treating those with mental illness.

Frequently, serious mental illnesses manifest themselves before a person attains the age of 25. This age group, 18-26 were formally a large component of those without healthcare insurance before passage of the Affordable Care Act.

Another way the Affordable Care Act has made it easier to get treatment for mental health issues is the removal of the “pre-existing condition” exclusions that are now removed from all health insurance. Even a person diagnosed with depression can not be denied health coverage for this pre-existing condition. Mental illnesses can be treated. If you suffer from anxiety, depression, an eating disorder or even have thoughts of hurting yourself you can lead a productive and fulfilling life if you seek treatment.

Left untreated these disorders have a huge societal cost – absenteeism, loss of productivity, domestic violence and suicide all have a negative impact on individuals as well as society.

Barriers for Mental Illness’s?

Barriers still exist to folks seeking treatment for mental disorders. Frequently coverage for mental health is handled differently from other medical coverages with limits on how long therapy can be continued and still be covered as well as the perceived stigma that patients have of being labeled “mentally ill.” While the Affordable Care Act will likely lead to improved coverage for mental health, the fear of stigma for seeking treatment is not addressed by the bill.

Nevertheless, by eliminating pre-existing conditions and allowing previously uninsured young people the ability to seek appropriate psychiatric treatment it is clear that the Affordable Care Act will be able to make a significant impact to improve the lot of those who need access to this kind of healthcare.

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Teenagers and Depression

Posted by on Mar 31, 2012 in Family & Friends | 0 comments

Everyone’s on your case. You fret about dating and school. You’re weirded out about changes in your body. You write really sad poems or ask yourself deep questions about the meaning of life.

You’ve got the blues.

For many teens, life can be described as an ongoing case of the doldrums. It’s a time for trying out new things, and it’s expected that there are going to be ups and downs. It may be perfectly normal to feel sadness, like when your friend suddenly puts you in the deep freeze, your current sweetheart moves away or ignores you, or you flunk an exam and your mood takes a major nose-dive. Some sad feelings come when you feel like you have little control over what’s happening in your life.

But then there are other forms of more serious sadness.

Sometimes this sadness doesn’t go away and affects all parts of your life. It doesn’t seem to have any real reason for being there, but it just is. It robs you of the joy that was once there (or has you forgetting that you ever experienced any joy at all). Far too many young people are suffering in silence, and sometimes with disastrous results.

According to the American Medical Association, the rate of teen suicide has jumped alarmingly in the last ten years. Why are young people so depressed?

The reasons we hear from teenagers over and over again are:

  • No one is listening! – We have the most to say and are the least listened to group.
  • We feel a great sense of disconnection to the bigger society.
  • We have little hope and no passion for the future.
  • School does not fit with our life experience.
  • The world is cruel and isolating.
  • We fear having to leave home and be further alone.

Expressions of depression may vary. But remember these are not the cause but only the performance of sad feelings.

These expressions of depression may include:

  • changes in sleep patterns
  • weight gain or loss (visit our section discussing anorexia/bulimia)
  • ongoing feelings of sadness, anxiety, or hopelessness
  • thoughts of death or suicide

Read more in “Depression” section, origin article “Teenagers and Depression

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Perfect Parenting – Living with the Problem

Posted by on Mar 31, 2012 in Family & Friends | 0 comments

Almost all people arriving at parenthood for the first time report feeling some degree of uneasiness including loss of patience, lack of self-confidence, and diminished expectations. Such feelings may lead us to fear that our shortfalls might be affecting our child.

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Parenting – Possibilities for Change

Posted by on Mar 31, 2012 in Family & Friends | 0 comments

Many of the problems facing new parents arise from the media’s idealized images of who we should be and how we should act.

In the majority of these cultural images, parents are perfect. We see heterosexual partners who are both present and divide their parenting tasks without effort. They are constantly involved in activities with their kids. All the children are beautiful, smart, and responsive. The house is always spotless, and dinner is always ready on time.

These idealized images are held out as the high water mark of who we should be as parents, and leave us inevitably feeling as though we don’t quite measure up.

In real life, we must eal with responsibilities in addition to parenting — jobs to perform or jobs to find, bills to pay, grass to mow, meals to cook, phones to answer. Recognizing the tyranny of the idealized image, and how unrealistic it is, goes a long way toward relieving guilt, pressure, and stress.

Experienced parents, most of whom learned the hard way, will advise you to find time to nurture your relationships and yourself. As a byproduct, you will ultimately be able to give more to your child.

Parents have found these strategies useful:

  • Develop your own priorities.
  • Feel good about attending to the things most important to you.
  • Realize all babies and children are different.
  • Remember this isn’t a race.
  • Children are always changing.
  • Don’t negatively compare yourself as a parent, your children, or your family with others.
  • Don’t be distracted from what is important to you; find ways to resist it.
  • Develop a network of friends you can speak openly with who will accept you even though your house is a mess or your toddler pushes.
  • Be able to say, “I don’t like my daughter when she does whatever it is.” Seeing others nod in recognition will heal your heart.

Read more in Perfect Parenting section

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Prefect Parenting – Young Women/Youth Parenting

Posted by on Mar 31, 2012 in Family & Friends | 0 comments

Although in past generations and in some cultures, childbearing occurs at a very young age, in Western culture there is a strong bias against people becoming parents early in life.

A number of factors are associated with this bias: ideas about lack of maturity and experience, lost opportunities to complete academic education, and low earning potential because of limited formal education.

The picture often presented is one of young parents feeling bored and trapped. The other side of the picture, which is less often presented, is of a different life sequence in which teen parents have more energy for parenting and later go back to complete their education when they are more likely to appreciate it and more clear about career goals.

Although feelings of being bored and trapped can occur for parents of any age, young parents are more vulnerable to these feelings because of the contrast with the freedom and exploration available to many of their peers.

A peer network of other parents can provide an antidote to these difficulties. Enough help with childcare to allow young parents to continue a life outside of parenting can offer relief, as well.

Some of the biases against parenting at a young age have to do with associated problems, such as poverty and instability of relationships, that could occur at any age and may not be relevant to particular parents. Rather than conceptualizing and generalizing parenting by persons of a “younger” age as problematic, it may be more useful to identify specific problems and abilities that are unique to particular parents.

If you are a young parent or the parent of young parents, here are some questions that you might consider:


  1. What does being a parent/grandparent at this particular time in your life offer that might not be available at other times?
  2. If you keep the knowledge of this advantage in your awareness, how will that make a difference?
  3. If you think about your whole life, are there important things that you are putting on hold? How can you keep dreams and plans of those things alive for your future?
  4. Which people support and find joy in your parenting at this time in your life? Does it make a difference to spend more time with

Read more about parenting

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