What Can Lindsay Lohan's Mom Teach Us About Kids and Alcohol?

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Dr. Marc F. Kern has researched and developed a non-confrontational, positive approach to substance abuse called H.A.L.O. (Helping a Love One).

tip the balance of the status quo

Most parents of teens and young adults face the same parenting problem. Research suggests more and more kids are partying to excess (including binge drinking) while still in high school and living at home, away at college or in the armed services.

Lindsay Lohan has been in the news lately and appears to understand she is drinking too much.

She and her mom have agreed that she needs to do something, but what? Their current solution is to have Lindsay attend AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) meetings, which is an abstinence only program.

Yet it has been reported that Lindsay is still drinking.

What can a mother a do? A new poll (12/06) by The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) shows that most parents have difficulty getting through to their teens about important subjects, especially drug use.

Millions of people around the world still believe that the only choice for someone like Lindsay is AA. But is it? Does it really work? Does it really change a young person's drinking behavior or does it only foster black and white notions that become self-fulfilling prophecies?

Or do you use the "Tough Love" method where you must make ultimatums and conceptualize your son or daughter as a diseased person, and you have to kick them out into the street to help them?

Beverly Hills addictions expert Dr. Marc F. Kern recommends a non-confrontational approach for dealing with a loved one. "As a father and a husband, I can't imagine kicking my child out on the street. That's why I have researched and developed a non-confrontational, positive approach called H.A.L.O. (Helping a Love One).

"With the H.A.L.O. approach," Dr. Kern continues, "you can learn that when you make small changes in your own behavior, strategically planned and precisely timed, you can help your loved one begin to change their habit of excessive drinking and start down the road to recovery."

With this innovative approach, Dr. Kern explains, people learn how to "tip the balance of the status quo" of their relationship and change the behaviors that have actually fed the addictive behavior.

"Relationships are like dancing the tango," Dr. Kern explains, "You both get used to a predictable pattern of steps – which is the 'status quo' of your relationship. If you suddenly move to the left instead of the right, your partner or child has no choice but to change what he or she does next as a result of your action. This is the core idea of H.A.L.O. and the main reason it is an effective way to motivate problem drinkers out of their rut and start taking positive actions toward their own recovery."

Dr. Kern's non-confrontational H.A.L.O. approach helps parents and spouses:

     * Learn what triggers your loved one to use alcohol or drugs.

     * Know what to say and do to support non-using, pro-social behaviors and entry into treatment.

     * Improve communication with the substance user.

     * Keep your sanity while your loved one is making you feel insane.

     * Use positive and negative reinforcement effectively to discourage a loved one's harmful alcohol or other using behaviors.

     * Learn about effective approaches for moderating substance use, instead of complete abstinence.

Dr. Kern is one of a growing number of psychologists, therapists, and counselors who are taking their message to the Internet to reach areas of the country where people do not have local access to experienced specialists.

A popular guest expert on radio and TV shows, including 20/20 and Larry King Live, Dr. Kern will be featured on New Year's Day on "Resolutions" a one-hour program on the Learning Channel that illustrates four methods of quitting smoking.

He will also be presenting his workshop, "How to Cut your Drinking Down Now so You Don't Have to Go to AA Later" in January at Los Angeles' Learning Annex. He is the author of "Take Control Now!" and co-author of "Responsible Drinking."

To schedule an interview or get more information:

Marc F. Kern, Ph.D., Addiction Alternatives, Inc.

9171 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 680 , Beverly Hills, CA 90210




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