Tag Archives: teenagers

New Beginnings Also Mean Endings

William the Graduate

William the Graduate

This essay originally appeared in Palo Alto Patch. I am reposting it in honor of all of the parents who are sending their beloveds off to college this month. Yes, one year later, and it is easier, much easier, but still bittersweet.

It’s graduation week around town. We’re hearing lots of speeches about new beginnings, following your dreams, and choosing roads less traveled. Students are told repeatedly “it’s all ahead of you.” But for those of us with children in cap and gown, it’s not all about the future. For us, it’s also about the past. Continue reading

The New Face of Addiction

I spent months researching for this article in Diablo Magazine on the rise of prescription drug abuse amongst suburban teens. I interviewed mothers whose honor roll/athlete sons and daughters became slaves to their addictions. I interviewed teens who gave up their dreams of college and professional careers to live “one day at a time.” I was awed by their courage and willingness to speak out. They do not want any one else to go through what they have. And if you think it is “there,” think again. It is here, wherever your here is. Please read it, share it, and talk with others about it. Thank you.

It's A Pharmacy!

It’s A Pharmacy

You might recognize Ann Le Veille of Danville because so many of us are like her. She is a devoted mom who has focused almost all of her time on her family. She volunteered in her children’s schools, chauffeured her kids to their many activities, and was active in her church. Still in love with the man she’d married decades before, she thought she had the perfect life. And then her teenage daughter got hooked on prescription pain medications, and Le Veille realized nothing would ever be the same.

“Chelsea was a happy, social girl in elementary and middle school. Then she hit high school, and soon things began to change. The pressure to get top grades, to be popular, to be on the fast track for admission to a top college was overwhelming,” Le Veille says. So, she took her daughter to a doctor who prescribed Klonopin for Chelsea’s anxiety. Little did Le Veille know that would be the gateway drug to addiction.

The antianxiety medicine worked. Chelsea felt better, and things seemed to calm down. What Le Veille didn’t realize was that Chelsea liked the feeling of relief so much, she moved on to other pills, including Vicodin, Xanax, and finally, OxyContin. Soon, Chelsea’s grades were slipping, and she started hanging out with a new group of kids. “I knew something was wrong; I just didn’t understand what,” Le Veille says.

Within about six months, Le Veille’s daughter became so addicted, she would do anything for the next high. Chelsea stole pills from friends’ parents’ medicine cabinets and from anyone who had a prescription, and when those sources dried up, she turned to dealers to keep her buzzing. She got caught stealing jewelry from a store to pay for her habit. After many unsuccessful attempts to get Chelsea off pills, Le Veille and her husband felt forced to throw her out of the house. Their beloved daughter ended up on the streets.

“The drugs won,” says Le Veille. “The only way we could survive was if we went on without her. One of the worst days of my life was when I saw my ragged, barefoot daughter at a local gas station. She was living in the car of a friend, eating candy and potato chips to stay alive. I felt like I was in this movie of someone else’s life. I never dreamed it could happen to me.” Read more…
 

Soccer and My Daughter’s Concussion: What’s A Good Mother to Do?

This column first appeared on BlogHer.

At first, I didn’t even realize it had happened. My sixteen-year-old daughter was playing goalie for her premier soccer team at a college scouting tournament during Thanksgiving break this past November. As a player from the other team charged the goal, by daughter went in for the save. They both missed the ball and hit each other head-on. The other player fell down and then got up and brushed herself off. My daughter stumbled but didn’t fall. She then managed to capture the ball and save the goal. The hit was so fast, so seemingly inconsequential, I assumed it was just another mild collision between two competitive players. Little did I realize the concussion my daughter received that day would challenge us both in deep and unexpected ways.

Continue reading

The Other One Percent: Why Reinstating The Draft Would Benefit Us All

This essay originally appeared in Palo Alto Patch.

Reinstating The Draft Would Benefit Us All

It seemed so innocuous, just a little box at the bottom of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). But the box was so much more than it appeared, because when my recently turned 18-year-old son checked said box, it meant he was now officially registered for the draft.

I wouldn’t have given it much thought until I realized the draft is in the news again. At the Aspen Ideas Festival hosted earlier this month, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the former top commander of international forces in Afghanistan, argued for reinstatement of the draft.

He said, “I think if a nation goes to war, every town, every city needs to be at risk. You make that decision and everybody has skin in the game.” Continue reading

I Am An Emotional Creature

This column originally appeared on Palo Alto Patch.

Eve Ensler Is An Emotional Creature
Source: http://www.VDay.org

At a recent dinner party, a friend shared his frustration and confusion about a young woman who works for him. He told us, “she’s a hard worker” and “she’s  headed for success.” But earlier in the week, as he was giving her constructive feedback about her performance on a project, she suddenly burst into tears. He was totally flummoxed.

“I didn’t know what to do,” my friend complained. As we discussed his options, he finally ended the conversation by saying, “Women are so damn emotional.”

Well friend, yes we are.

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Prom: It’s More Than Just A Dance

This essay originally appeared on BlogHer.

Daddy's Little Girl - All Grown Up

It’s prom season around our house. My seventeen-year-old son is a prom pro. He’s been to so many in the past few years, I don’t even need to give him the Prom Speech.  He knows the drill and I trust him. This year, however, his fifteen-year-old sister was invited to the prom. Funny how different my reaction was; I said, “No!” Continue reading

Speaking the Truth About One Teen’s Suicide

This article originally appeared on Palo Alto Patch.

Loving the Rainbow

I was browsing the local news the other day when I came across this headline: “Apparent Suicide With Chemicals Forces Evacuation in Redwood City.” It seemed so innocuous. A small bit, really. Not even worthy of an obituary. But I knew better. It was what the story didn’t say and what it got so very wrong that haunts me.  Continue reading