Tag Archive for: familial relationships

If You have a Teenager You Better Know about Vaping

Alarming Trends:

-Currently 1 in 4 Middle School and High School students have used a vape pen or e-cigarette, 1 in 6 over the past 30 days.

-There is evidence to suggest that e-cigarette use increases the risk of using combustible cigarettes.

-Nearly 6 in 10 cigarette users also us e-cigarettes. This is a two-way relationship.

-A recent study found that teens who use e-cigarettes are 4 times more likely to begin smoking tobacco cigarettes within 18 months when compared to teens that do not vape.

-E-Cigarettes are now the most commonly used tobacco product among teenagers.

What are Vape Pens or E-Cigarettes?

They are electronic nicotine delivery devices, plain and simple. They come in many flavors and are called by various names: e-cigs, vape pens, e-hookahs, vapes, and mods just to name a few. Make no mistake, if your teen is using a vape pen, it is delivering nicotine.

Why are E-Cigarettes so Popular with Teens?

Three reasons:

1. Curiosity.

2. Flavors. 8 of 10 teen users use flavored e-cigarettes. In a recent study, the primary reason that teens use is because “they come in flavors that I like.

3. Teens believe that e-cigarettes are safer. 1 in 5 teens believe that e-cigarettes cause no harm.

Are E-Cigarettes Harmful to Teens?

Simply put, YES!

-Nicotine disrupts the development of brain circuits that control attention and learning.

-Nicotine use by teens can puts them at risk for mood disorders and permanently lowering their impulse control.

-The nicotine in e-cigarettes affects development of the brain’s reward system, making them more susceptible to addiction to other drugs.

-Although e-cigarettes are safer than combustible cigarettes, there are still many questions being asked about the health risks of e-cigarette aerosol. There is no question, however, that nicotine exposure poses a major health risk for teens.

What Can You Do?

First, do not be hoodwinked. If your teen is using e-cigarettes, they are using nicotine.

Second, treat them as combustible cigarettes and let them know that you know!

Third, prohibit the use of e-cigarettes by your teens. I understand that this is not going to be easy, but you have to start by setting limits. You can randomly use a urine test to hold them accountable.

Fourth, educate them about e-cigarettes.

Fifth, if you have tried everything, enroll them in our Stop Vaping-Education Group at True North Counseling. This group is called: Salvage and is somewhat of an acronym for Stop Vaping Group Education. Salvage means: to preserve something from potential loss or adverse circumstances. We want to preserve the health and welfare of your teens. Call 502-777-7525 for more information.

Setting Boundaries

Lately, I’ve been talking a lot about boundaries, especially as people set their intentions for the New Year.

As a refresher, here are some healthy boundary reminders:

  • It is not your job to fix others.
  • It is okay if others get angry.
  • It is okay to say no.
  • It is not your job to take responsibility for others.
  • You do not have to anticipate the needs of others.
  • It is your job to make you happy.
  • No one has to agree with you.
  • You have a right to your own feelings.
  • You are enough, and don’t have to convince people that you are.

It took me a long time to learn that fourth one–not being responsible for others. As a social worker and family therapist, I think it’s common for those of us in the helping profession to feel like we have to do all the things for all the people. As it turns out, that’s not all that healthy, either for the person helping, or for the person being helped! (There’s a lovely poem by Shel Silverstein called “Helping.” It’s one of my favorites, and has adorned the wall in several of my offices over the years.)

do all the things

Here’s some of what boundaries are NOT:

  • Shutting everyone out, and not sharing any information or asking for help.
  • Not caring about the people you love.
  • Ignoring/avoiding your own feelings or concerns in order to “keep the peace.”
  • Rules by which you dictate the behavior of others.
  • A guarantee that everything will be perfect.

I like to use the analogy of a house. Rigid boundaries are a big stone wall miles away from the house. No one gets in, but nothing gets out, either. If there’s an emergency and you need help, no one can assist you without knocking down the wall. In contrast, diffuse boundaries are no barriers between your house and the outside world. Anything and anyone can get in or out. While that may seem fine if you need help, you also have to put up with people peering in your windows, and even potentially walking right into your house!

The ideal would be a fence with a gate. You get to choose what you let in and out. You can see what’s over the horizon, and prepare, if necessary. (One of the downsides to the big stone wall is that you can’t see what’s over the horizon until it’s right on top of you. So if there’s a tornado coming, you won’t be able to see and prepare for it until it has torn down your wall and is coming toward your house.)

If you feel like you need to work on healthy boundaries in your relationships, contact True North Counseling!

Jennifer Kendrick

AAMFT Approved Supervisor
Kentucky Board Approved MFT Supervisor

Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist and Clinical Social Worker in KY
Licensed Clinical Social Worker in IN
cell: 502.203.9197