Blinders Off #32: A Single Parent Can Start The Ripple

February 29, 2016  That ripple can grow into a storm surge if enough of you get behind it. During my meetings with parents, two needs have become apparent. It’s going to take more than this initial group of parents who participated in the Parent to Parent series to influence an entire community of Boise High...Read More 

Blinders Off #28: Four Part Series Beginning Feb 25th – Teens and Substance Abuse

February 2, 2016   Parents these presentations by local and national experts will be a strong resource and answer many of your questions about teen drug use trends in our area. It is free but you must register to attend to reserve a spot.   Teen and Substance Abuse ….What every parent, educator, and health...Read More 

Blinders Off #21 : A Letter

Dear ______________, ____________ this may feel like asking for a sip of water and being blasted by a fireman’s hose of information all at once.  I’ve tried to remember where I was at the point you are and I was SO HUNGRY for information and desperate for HELP!  So, I have a difficult time not...Read More 

Blinders Off #24: What is it Going to Take for Parents to Talk to One Another?

January 4, 2016 You know, I’ve got a dilemma here and I’m going to put it before the readership and ask for your input.  I’ve focused my writing on education about what drugs and partying trends are present in your teens’ lives, explained how the adolescent brain is uniquely primed for making poor choices while...Read More 

Blinders Off #20: A Primer on the Drugs Out There

November 23, 2015 I’ve added some new resource pages to the Blinders Off website    They are comprehensive and easy to read;  they are recommended for TEEN READING and sitting down with your teen to review a few may be helpful, or share a link or two and let them decide. This is how you...Read More  

Blinders Off #33: Picking Up Your Daughter from the Out of Control Party

March 07, 2016   A father gets a text message from his daughter, “Hey Pops can U pick me up from ###address?”  He recalls that his daughter left with some girls about six and they had plans to hang out, she’s calling before curfew and he’s feeling pretty good about things. She’s been a little difficult lately, pushing her...Read More

​​Blinders Off #31: Insights from the Three Part Parent to Parent Series

February 22, 2016   Our Parent to Parent three part series came to a close last week and I admit that I was sad to end the gatherings. Hearing the genuine sentiments of gratitude that parents had for the opportunity to come together with other parents, and the way we lingered to talk even after our...Read More 

​​​Blinders Off #35: Positive Motivators can have an Even Bigger Impact

March 28, 2016 We talked quite a bit about consequences in our three part Parent to Parent Series, and consequences – the loss of something one values, do have their place in your family contract with your teenager.  However, motivators are also highly effective in changing behaviors and I don’t feel I’ve spent enough time ...Read More

Blinders Off #17: Has Your Young Adult Crossed Over to the Dark Side Already?

November 2, 2015 I’ve pretty much focused on educating parents about the prevalent teen party culture and how to prevent their son or daughter’s involvement.  And I’ve written about the red flags to look for, but there is a significant subset of adolescents who have already crossed over into avid drug use.  And for these...Read More 


Blinders Off #27: Marijuana is no Worse than Alcohol and It’s Legal! How Do I Respond?

January 25, 2016  As a parent and as a community we’re going to have to continue to respond to statements, like this one.  This column is timely because on January 26th, 2016 there is a pro legalization panel,  New Approach Idaho, presenting at BSU Student Union Building at 6:45pm in the Jordan A,B,C, Ballroom.  Take a...Read More 

​​Blinders Off #36: Rx Take Back

April 18, 2016 She gets her hair from her mom. Her eyes from her dad. And her drugs from her grandma's medicine cabinet. Join us for the Medication Drop-Off Day. Saturday, qpril 30th, 10:00am - 2:00pm at the Ada County Sheriff's Office ...Read More

​​Blinders Off #34: Could One Parent's Courage to Call Make All the Difference?

March 14, 2016  It’s been a rough stretch at BHS … an arrest, a suicide warning with school lockdown, a lovely young woman, a recent alumnus, tragically lost, all in a less than a month. The earth seems to have shifted and the emotional tone of sadness and unease, for many of the varied inhabitants...Read More 

Ginny Gobel Awarded Volunteer of the Year, Boise High School

Excerpt from The Brave Weekly May 23, 2016 Ginny Gobel has been named Volunteer of the Year the by Boise Brave Parents for her column, “Blinders Off”, which is published most weeks in the online Brave Weekly. Created to help parents deal with the challenging prevalence of alcohol and other drugs used in teen culture ...Read More

Blinders Off #23: A Hallmark Greeting Card or a Nuclear Family Holocaust

December 14, 2015 Holiday vacations can be very stressful for parents who are trying to figure out if their teen’s behaviors are within normal limits or reason for concern.  Days off when we’re all together for long stretches of time can be both enjoyable and anxiety provoking.   Try to take care of yourself by taking...Read More 

Blinders Off #29: The Family Contract 

February 8th, 2016  I posed an offer, a few weeks back, to Boise parents who read this column to attend a facilitated group of 3 sessions for the purpose of promoting a more cohesive parenting community that addresses teenage drinking and drug use.  And I’m happy to report that 21 parents responded and it’s...Read More 

Blinders Off #26: Two New Resources for Parents in Boise, ID

Jan 18, 2016 Two New Resources for Parents in Boise: I’ve mentioned a parent group forming for parents to find positive solutions to our young people using drugs and alcohol through enhanced communication between parents in the community. I’ve planned an outline of skill building for these meetings and it seems a series of 3...Read More 

Blinders Off #25: Parents Coming Together

Jan 11, 2016 A number of parents have written back and expressed an interest in meeting as a group.  The themes of their letters are familiar:  concerned about alcohol and drug use in their teens’ social encounters, some worried that their own young adult is exhibiting concerning signs of persistent drug use – others suspect...Read More

Blinders Off #18: Your Teenager’s Behavior is Getting Worse – Now What? Getting an Initial Drug Assessment

November 9, 2015 The realization that your teenager’s alcohol or drug use is out of control usually isn’t instantaneous, most parents have talked themselves out of it a time or two before they can bring themselves to face it. It’s complicated to make the distinction because most times while a kid is developing drug dependence...Read More 

​​Blinders Off #19: What to Look for in Any Substance Use Treatment Program for Your Teenager

November 16, 2015 Okay, so you’ve decided, either based on your teen’s escalating out of control behaviors and/or the recommendations of a professional who did the drug assessment, that it is time to find a program to help your family.  And I write ‘your family’ because this WILL be a family effort; anyone dealing with...Read More 

​​​​Blinders Off #35: Prom and Parties - Word of Advice from Bishop Kelly's Principal

April 11, 2016 Dear Parents, Before you go any further, this email may not apply to you.  If you are not at all worried about your child or any of their friends ever making a dumb decision, you can stop reading.  Everyone else, please know that this is written not only by your Principal, but ...Read More

​​Blinders Off #15: Parents Need to Make a Pact with Each Other

October 19th, 2015 There’s this dance that happens, between parents, and I understand it – I once was caught up in it too and the dance has not changed. Parents, wouldn’t it be reassuring if you could count on each other, watch out for each other’s kids and when a teenager in your child’s friend...Read More

Blinders Off #14: I Know Parents Hosting the Party are Turning a Blind Eye – My Daughter Really Wants to Go. What Can I Do?

October 12, 2015 This scenario plays out every weekend in our community; I know this because I hear from parents from every geographic area and demographic in the Treasure Valley; this is a topic concerned parents almost always bring up. Their son or daughter is imploring them, more like badgering...Read More

​Blinders Off #13: There’s This Thing That Parents Do…And It Is Destructive

September 28, 2015   I wish parents could break through their fears and talk to each other without judgment of the other’s son or daughter or the perceived superiority of their own parenting. It’s the... Not-My-Kid-It’s-That-Other-Bad-Kid-and-If-I-Just-Can -Keep-My-Kid-Away-From-that... Read More

Blinders Off #12: Announcements for Parents in Boise, ID

September 21, 2015 Announcements: The Parent Reality Party is a live re-enactment of a commonplace house party done by high school students. Many parents attended last year and found it a jaw dropping dose of reality. It is well worth the drive to Meridian. To register... Read More

Blinders Off #11: Having the Talk

September 14, 2015 It’s important that you talk with your teenager early and often about drugs and alcohol and make your values and rules known. This is a skill that can be learned and armed with knowledge and practice you can be quite effective. If you have limited time today, click on this NPR report by Renee...Read More

Blinders Off #10: Clear Your House

September 7, 2015   Welcome back to Blinders Off the weekly blog for parents – it’s about the things I wish I’d known about drugs and alcohol before my sons hit junior high and high school. If you’re new to Blinders Off and you wonder what this is all about, grab a pile of laundry to fold...Read More

Blinders Off #9: Why Talking to Other Parents is Important

May 18, 2015 Having been in the position to hear many young people recount how they first became exposed to alcohol and other drugs and the story of how their use progressed to an out of control level, I’ve cataloged some common themes. First use happens in a social setting: it’s often an older sibling, visiting cousin or most...Read More

Blinders off #8: Testing For Drugs and Alcohol

May 11, 2015 Once parents express their concern for their son/daughter using alcohol or another drug – things go one of two ways: Either a kid stops getting into alcohol and other drugs OR A kid gets more invested in hiding her/his use and getting parents to back off. Parents, this is important to hear and you may...Read More

Blinders Off #7: Writing a Family Contract

May 4, 2015 A Family Contract is a written contract that clearly outlines your expectations of your teen while they are living in your home and receiving the benefits of your support . Many frustrations and conflicts can be avoided by having this type of clear outline of your expectations. Visit these free websites for very clear examples...Read More

Blinders Off #6: What Do I Do If I Think My Child is Into Drugs/Alcohol

April 27, 2015 If you are facing a problem with your teenager and drugs, take a deep breath, know that you have support and that you as a parent do have tremendous influence and can help your child. Get on it sooner than later. Here is a helpful free download: The Free Marijuana Talk Help document. The first...Read More

Blinders Off #5: Parent Reality Party

 April 20, 2015 This weekend I attended a Parent Reality Party and got to meet with 5 separate groups of parents after they went through the house party. The student volunteers did a phenomenal job of re-enacting a typical house party. Parents were exposed to the reality that kids were taking random pharmaceutical drugs that kids had...Read More

Blinders Off #4: How Will I Know if Drugs are Showing Up in My Teen's Life?

April 13, 2015 First you have to recognize the signs: Recommendations for an excellent book: What’s Wrong With My Kid? When Drugs or Alcohol Might Be a Problem and What to Do About it by George Leary Jr., Hazelden Publishing 2012 Borrowing from this book, this is the “Unlucky 13 Behavioral Test” Mood Swings That Are Unusually Excessive...Read More

Blinders Off #3: Is it Okay to Let Teenagers Drink At My House?

April 6, 2015 Many parents are thinking , “… they are going to drink anyways, so at least if my son and his friends do it under my roof, I’ll insist they not drive or go anywhere else and that way it will be safer. ” It is both illegal and not supportive to provide safe haven for...Read More 

Blinders Off #2: Partying- A Parents Decision

March 30, 2015 Parent Rationale #1 “I went to my share of parties in high school and I was OK, it’s part of being a teenager.” I hear parents fondly reminisce about the keggers they went to, and tell their teens stories of their teenaged escapades as a way to get closer. Parents: If you are doing this...Read More

Blinders Off #1: Marijuana - Is it Really That Harmful?

March 15, 2015 How does a teenager feel when she/he smokes pot? Short – term effects Euphoria … a giddiness, sense of time distortion Dry Mouth Rapid Heart Rate Desire To Eat “the munchies” Diminished Coordination and Thought Processing Longer – term effects Memory Impairment Loss of IQ up to 8 points lower anxiety distrust depression suicidal thoughts​...Read More

Blinders Off Intro

March 15, 2015   AUTHOR: I am a parent who just went through escalating drug and alcohol problems with a teenager in the Boise Idaho community: Roosevelt Elementary, North Junior High, Boise High and it’s been a rough ride. I’ve assembled a body of experience, knowledge and passion for working with other parents at Ashwood...Read More


​​Blinders Off #30: The Constellation of Behaviors

February 16, 2016 What to look for if you suspect your teenager is using alcohol or drugs.   It’s not the one symptom or the one time a parent finds drug paraphernalia that convinces them their son or daughter is experiencing “a problem” with alcohol or other drugs. It’s the constellation of behaviors and the...Read More 

​​​​Blinders Off #37: A Call to Action

May 31, 2016 THE TIME HAS COME IN BOISE TO CREATE TWO RESOURCES TO IMPROVE THE FUTURE FOR YOUNG ADULTS WITH SUBSTANCE USE PROBLEM I have experienced and witnessed many young adults and their families go through a problem with substance use and I’ve seen MANY pull out of it and go on with a...Read More

Blinders Off #16: Parents and the Parent Reality Party

October 26, 2015 Boise High Parents made a respectable showing at the Parent Reality Party last Tuesday and their responses overwhelmingly showed that they felt the experience was eye opening and worthwhile. During the post party debriefing sessions key themes surfaced: From parent attendees: “I’m shocked and really upset to know this is going on...Read More  

Blinders Off #22: TALK – They Hear You: an App to Help Parents Get Started

November 30, 2015 This week I’m traveling so I’m going to remind parents about a resource on the website and encourage them to use it to practice; it can help you practice online role-play and depicts real life scenarios of parents talking to their teenagers about underage drinking; it’s called “Talk They Hear You”....Read More