Alateen Question

Old 01-30-2017, 10:10 AM
  # 1 (permalink)  
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FireSprite's Avatar
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Alateen Question

I am largely ignorant to the teachings of Alateen, outside of the generalities of the program & what bleeds over from Alanon. My generic understanding is that they aren't terribly far apart in terms of focal points, tools, etc. My question is simply to satisfy a personal curiosity & I'm trying to phrase it as "politically correct" as possible.

What I know of Alateen tells me that it is likely VERY helpful for kids that show signs of becoming "future codies" - but what about those that are more likely to be "future addicts"?

Again - no flaming please, I'm not judging our kids, I'm asking a serious question. We ALL know that every child of an addict carries the potential to become an addict themselves - not ALL of them go over to the Codie side, especially in large families.

I'm NOT saying that we have some magical way of knowing (although I have seen research about working toward identifying early displays of behavior like risk-taking, emotional isolation, etc. which combined, can be indicative of future issues with addiction.) I also know that even in the most basic situations children often respond to different kinds of parenting. Often NEED different styles of parenting in order to individually thrive. We see this all the time in families due to all kinds of medical conditions like autism, etc. They have to apply different parenting to each child on an individual level - many of you can attest to that.

So if the alateen program doesn't somehow address this already, can they? Should they? Is this type of child just always better off in an individual counseling environment at that stage of life?

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Old 01-30-2017, 11:14 AM
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Well, just as Alanon doesn't necessarily address every issue a partner has, Alateen wouldn't address every issue a child has. I can't speak from personal knowledge of Alateen, but I wouldn't EXPECT it to address an addiction problem. And so far as potential future addiction problems go, I think to the extent anyone learns that there is strength in the power of others who share the same problems and have arrived at a common solution, it will make it easier for such people to reach out for, and to accept, appropriate help when it's needed.

Since nobody can say for certain what "causes" alcoholism or addiction, I think it's impossible to comprehensively prevent it. But to the extent a program like Alateen fosters a sense of self-worth, it probably helps those who turn to drinking and drugs as a way to cope with life.
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Old 01-30-2017, 12:53 PM
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I've heard a few alateens speak at Alanon events, in one case a pair of sisters in the 12-14 range and in another a few boys ranging from 10 thru 15 or so. All of them commented about how important it was to be with and communicate with others who understand what its like to have addict and/or raging parents- who won't tease or judge or marginalize them. In one boy's case I've seen a transformation nothing short of magical from a kid who couldn't put a sentence together to one who could speak confidently as part of an alateen panel in front of a room of 50+ Alanons.

I am not involved in Alateen myself, but I stay really tight with Alanon so there is occasional contact through joint events and I know a few Alateen sponsors. I've taken my daughter to some but I don't force her to go.

So I wouldn't propose Alateen in lieu of other work that might be necessary and helpful, OTOH I sure would propose it before putting a troubled kid on meds. The ease & speed with which shrinks start prescribing xanax to children is nothing short of criminal in my view.
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