Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Parents Universal Resource Experts - Sue Scheff - Teen Runaways


Teen Runaways are on the increase. Many teens think that the grass is greener on the other side.

They are confused and following the crowd of peers making poor choices. Teens want to escape the “rules of a household” and we as parents, become their number one enemy. They feel that they are fearless and can prove they can survive without their parents and our rules. Rules are put in place for a reason; we love our children and want them to grow up with dignity and respect we try to instill in them. Their flight plan, in some ways, is a cry for attention. Many times runaways are back home shortly, however there are other situations that can be more serious. This is not to say any child that runs away is not serious, but when this becomes a habit and is their way of rebelling, a parent needs to intervene.

So many times we hear how “their friend’s parents” allow a much later curfew or are more lenient, and you are the worst parents in the world. This is very common and the parent feels helpless, hopeless and alone. It is all part of the manipulation the teens put us through. With their unappreciative thoughts of us, they will turn to this destructive behavior, which, at times, results in them leaving the home.

Some teens go to a friend’s house or relative they believe they can trust and make up stories about their home life. This is very common, a parent has to suffer the pain and humiliation that it causes to compound it with the need to get your child help that they need. If you fear your child is at risk of running, the lines of communication have to be open. We understand this can be difficult, however if possible needs to be approached in a positive manner. Teen help starts with communication.

If you feel this has escalated to where you cannot control them, it may be time for placement and possibly having your child escorted. Please know that the escorts (transports) are all licensed and very well trained in removing children from their home into safe programs. These escorts are also trained counselors that will talk to your child all the way, and your child will end his/her trip with a new friend and a better understanding of why their parents had to resort to this measure.

Helpful Hint if you child has runaway and you are using all your local resources – offer a cash reward to their friends privately, of course promising their anonymity and hopefully someone will know your child’s whereabouts.

Having a teen runaway is very frightening and it can bring you to your wits end. Try to remain positive and hopeful and do all you can to help understand why your child is acting out this way. These are times when parents need to seek help for themselves. Don’t be ashamed to reach out to others. We are all about parents helping parents.

Learn more at http://www.helpyourteens.com/ .

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Sue Scheff: Teen Courts


“[I]t feels like at times you have more … power in the school system and more of a chance to make a decision for others and help make decisions.”

– Anthony Mayson, 14 years old

“Can you all please stand and raise your right hand,” the bailiff says as he administers the oath to the eight jurors about to hear a case.

Meanwhile, in another room, the “attorneys” prepare their cases for the prosecution and the defense while the judge prepares to enter the courtroom.

There’s only one unusual thing about everyone involved in this court proceeding: All of the participants are high school students. However, the cases they handle are real.

Eight years ago, about 80 youth court programs existed across the country. Today, that number has increased to more than a thousand.

Fourteen-year-old Anthony Mayson says participating in the teen court gives him – and the other students involved – a real feeling of empowerment.

“It feels good. And it feels like at times you have more … power in the school system and more of a chance to make a decision for others and help make decisions,” Anthony says. “[It gives you a chance to] not only be a younger person but be able to be at the same level as an adult.”

Most teen courts handle minor discipline problems ranging from insubordination to first-offense truancy. Teen courts do have power. The sentences are limited to written apologies or hours of community service, but the indictment, the defense, the prosecution and the verdict are handled entirely by the students.

John De Caro, a teen court coordinator, says the youth court helps demystify the legal process for teens and makes them feel like they’re part of the system.

“[It helps break] down the barrier between the “us” and “them” that usually exists,” De Caro says. “And this way, it’s sort of in their own hands and they feel as though they have an actual stake in the system.”

Experts say that parents should encourage their children to participate in a teen court in their community or in their school. If the community doesn’t have a youth court, families should help start one in order to provide their children with the opportunity to learn about responsibility and the consequences of risky behavior.

“It’s no longer something that they just view on television or hear about on the news; it’s actually [something] that they can get a feel for themselves,” says faculty adviser Charlotte Brown.

Tips for Parents
Teen courts are real elements of the judicial system that are run by and for young people. In a teen court, all or most of the major players in the courtroom are teens: the lawyers, bailiffs, defendants, jurors, prosecutor, defense attorney and even the judge. A teen court either sets the sentence for teens who have pleaded guilty or tries the case of teens who – with parental approval – have agreed to its jurisdiction.

How many teen courts are there in the United States? What began as just a handful of programs in the 1960s has risen to over 1,000 teen courts in operation, according to the U.S. Justice Department.

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) says that teen courts are generally used for younger juveniles (ages 10 to 15), those with no prior arrest records and those charged with less serious violations, including the following:

Shoplifting
Vandalism
Illegal alcohol possession
Criminal or malicious mischief
Disorderly conduct
Traffic violations
The OJJDP says that teen courts impose the following types of sentences:

Paying restitution (monetary or in kind)
Attending educational classes
Writing apology letters
Writing essays
Serving jury duty on subsequent cases

According to the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC), while these courts may vary in composition, responsibilities and operation from town to town, their goal remains the same: to provide teens with an opportunity to take an active role in addressing the problem of juvenile crime within their communities.

Teen courts take advantage of two of the most powerful forces in the life of an adolescent – the desire for peer approval and the reaction to peer pressure. Teens sometimes respond better to their peers than to adult authority figures. Youth courts can be a potentially effective alternative to traditional juvenile courts staffed with paid professionals, such as lawyers, judges and probation officers.

The U.S. Justice Department says that teen courts offer at least four potential benefits:

Accountability: Teen courts may help to ensure that young offenders are held accountable for their illegal behavior, even when their offenses are relatively minor and would not likely result in sanctions from the traditional juvenile justice system.

Timeliness: An effective teen court can move young offenders from arrest to sanctions within a matter of days instead of months that may pass with traditional juvenile courts.

Cost savings: Teen courts usually depend heavily on youth and adult volunteers, with relatively little cost to the community. The average annual cost for operating a teen court is $32,822, according to the National Youth Court Center.

Community cohesion: A well-structured and expansive teen court program can affect the entire community by increasing public appreciation of the legal system, enhancing community-court relationships, encouraging greater respect for the law among teens and promoting volunteerism among both adults and teens.

References
National Crime Prevention Council
U.S. Department of Justice

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sue Scheff - Parenting Teens - Parenting Tips

Sue Scheff – Founder of Parents’ Universal Resource Experts and Author of Wit’s End! Advice and Resources for Saving Your Out-Of-Control Teen
Offers 10 Parenting Quick Tips


1. Communication: Keeping the lines of communication of your child should be a priority with all parents. It is important to let your kids know you are always there for them no matter what the subject is. If there is a subject you are not comfortable with, please be sure your child has someone they can open up to. I believe that when kids keep things bottled up, it can be when negative behaviors can start to grow.

2. Knowing your Children’s Friends: This is critical, in my opinion. Who are your kids hanging out with? Doing their homework with? If they are spending a lot of time at a friends house, go out of your way to call the parent introduce yourself. Especially if they are spending the night at a friends house, it important to take time to call the parents or meet them. This can give you a feeling of security knowing where your child is and who they are with.


3. Know your Child’s Teachers – Keep track of their attendance at school: Take time to meet each teacher and be sure they have your contact information and you have theirs if there are any concerns regarding your child. In the same respect, take time to meet your child’s Guidance Counselor.

4. Keep your Child Involved: Whether it is sports, music, drama, dance, and school clubs such as chess, government, school newspaper or different committees such as prom, dances and other school activities. Keeping your child busy can keep them out of trouble. If you can find your child’s passion – whether it is football, soccer, gymnastics, dance, music – that can help keep them focused and hopefully keep them on track in school.


5. Learn about Internet Social Networking: In today’s Cyber generation this has to be a priority. Parents need to help educate their kids on Cyber Safety – think before they post, help them to understand what they put up today, may haunt them tomorrow. Don’t get involved with strangers and especially don’t talk about sex with strangers. Avoid meeting in person the people you meet online without you being there. On the same note – cell phone and texting – don’t allow your child to freely give out their cell numbers and never post them online. Parents should consider ReputationDefender/MyChild to further help protect their children online.

6. Encourage your teen to get a job or volunteer: In today’s generation I think we need to instill responsibility and accountability. This can start early by encouraging your teen to either get a job or volunteer, especially during the summer. Again, it is about keeping them busy, however at the same time teaching them responsibility. I always tell parents to try to encourage their teens to get jobs at Summer Camps, Nursing Homes, ASPCA, Humane Society or places where they are giving to others or helping animals. It can truly build self esteem to help others.


7. Make Time for your Child: This sounds very simple and almost obvious, but with today’s busy schedule of usually both parents working full time or single parent households, it is important to put time aside weekly (if not daily at dinner) for one on one time or family time. Today life is all about electronics (cell phones, Ipods, Blackberry’s, computers, etc) that the personal touch of actually being together has diminished.

8. When Safety trumps privacy: If you suspect your teen is using drugs, or other suspicious behaviors (lying, defiance, disrespectful, etc) it is time to start asking questions – and even “snooping” – I know there are two sides to this coin, and that is why I specifically mentioned “if you suspect” things are not right – in these cases – safety for your child takes precedence over invading their privacy. Remember – we are the parent and we are accountable and responsible for our child.


9. Are you considering outside treatment for your child? Residential Therapy is a huge step, and not a step that is taken lightly. Do your homework! When your child’s behavior escalates to a level of belligerence, defiance, substance abuse or God forbid gang relations – it may be time to seek outside help. Don’t be ashamed of this – put your child’s future first and take steps to get the help he/she needs – immediately, but take your time to find the right placement. Read Wit’s End! for more information.

10. Be a parent FIRST: There are parents that want to be their child’s friend and that is great – but remember you are a parent first. Set boundaries – believe it not kids want limits (and most importantly – need them). Never threaten consequences you don’t plan on following through with.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Sue Scheff: Counseling can cut back on Youth Drinking


Source: Connect with Kids

“If it comes from me, I’m the objective observer. I’m interested in the child, and I try to let them know that. I want what’s best for them, but yet it’s not Mom or Dad saying that.”

– Rhonda Jeffries, M.D., Pediatrician

It’s a troubling fact of life: some kids drink.

“Especially the older they get,” says Dr. Rhonda Jeffries, a pediatrician. “And by senior year, 50 percent or more of kids are drinking. And in fact, by 12th grade, usually 80 percent of the kids have tried alcohol.”

But can a doctor persuade kids not to drink? Kids seem to think so.

“I think coming from somebody besides, maybe, just the parents for some people it will help,” says 18-year-old Andrew Scott, a high school senior.

Lars Thrasher, 17, agrees. “I would think it would be more helpful from a doctor,” he says.

And Christine Terrell, calls doctors advice on drinking and other potentially touchy subjects “extremely beneficial.”

According to a study published in the Annals of Family Medicine, when a physician spends just a few minutes talking to kids about the dangers of alcohol, those kids are 50 percent less likely to drink.

Dr. Jeffries says: “If it comes from me, I’m the objective observer. I’m interested in the child, and I try to let them know that. I want what’s best for them, but yet it’s not Mom or Dad saying that.”

The study reports when kids talked with their doctor, they had 55 percent fewer traffic accidents, 42 percent less emergency room visits and fewer arrests for underage drinking. It seems that when doctors warn kids about alcohol, they listen.

Christine Terrell explains: “They’re not invested in you as their child. They’re invested in you for your health, for your interests, for your sake. And I would definitely listen to a doctor, and I have listened to doctors who have talked to me about subjects like that.”

The study suggests it’s a good idea to ask your doctor to talk with your children about alcohol. Of course, experts add, parents should bring up the subject as well. “They need to be open to discussion and to bringing these issues up with their kids,” says Dr. Jeffries. “And I think that parents who are in touch with their kids and connected to them are really helpful in getting their children though adolescence without negative effects.”

LaShauna Pellman, 17, sums it up best. “If my parents tell me something,” she says, “then I listen to them even more.”

Tips for Parents

Alcohol-related fatalities are a leading cause of death among young adults in the United States. In the United States, 70.8 percent of all deaths among persons aged 10 to 24 result from only four causes – motor-vehicle crashes, other unintentional injuries, homicide and suicide.

Should your family doctor take just a few moments to counsel your child about the risks of alcohol, there is great potential for positive outcome. Just a few minutes of a doctor's counseling helped young adults reduce their high-risk drinking and the number of traffic crashes, emergency room visits, and arrests for substance or liquor violations, says a study in the Annals of Family Medicine. Consider the following:

Underage drinking causes over $53 billion in criminal, social and health problems.
Alcohol is a leading factor in the three leading causes of death for 15- to 24-year-olds: automobile crashes, homicide and suicide.

Primary-care doctors should make it a priority to counsel young adults about high-risk drinking. Young adults, ages 18 to 30, who received counseling about reducing their use of alcohol:

Experienced a 40 to 50 percent decrease in alcohol use.
Reported 42 percent fewer visits to the emergency room.
Were involved in 55 percent fewer motor vehicle crashes.

The ways a parent can influence his or her teen’s drinking habits is complex. A universal method regarding what works best in preventing underage drinking may not exist. A study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health found that a parent’s attitude toward drinking influences a child's behavior in various ways. One controversial finding was that teens who drank with their parents were less likely than others to have binged or used alcohol at all in recent weeks. Others, of course, argue passionately that parents who drink with their underage children are not only breaking the law but encouraging dangerous behavior that can lead to life-long consequences.

The Journal study also found that strict parenting can curb kids' drinking. Teens who said they feared they would have their privileges taken away if they got caught drinking were half as likely to drink as those who thought their parents would not punish them. In addition, consider the following:

The average girl takes her first sip of alcohol at age 13. The average boy takes his first sip of alcohol at age 11.

Teenagers who said their parents or their friends' parents had provided alcohol for a party during the past year were twice as likely as their peers to have used alcohol or binged during the previous month.

Nearly 75 percent of teens surveyed said they had never used alcohol.
About 25 percent of teens in the study said they'd been at party in the past year where parents supplied alcohol.

Fourteen percent of teens surveyed said they were with their parents the last time they drank.

References
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Focus Adolescent Services
Health Day
National Youth Violence Prevention Center
Reuters
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
University of California, Irvine

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Sue Scheff: Mistreated Depression

Source: Connect with Kids

“Basically, psychiatrists are pretty busy. They don’t want to spend a lot of time with people. They want to get people in and out, maybe two or three an hour. … It pays better to do that than spending an hour doing psychotherapy.”

– David Gore, Ph.D., clinical psychologist

Fifteen-year-old Sarah McMenamin suffers from depression. It started a year ago with the death of her father.

“I was just like, ‘I just want to die,’” she says, describing her feeling before seeing a therapist. “I would never kill myself, but I just wish I was dead, I just wish I was never going to wake up.”

For depressed teens, experts at the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry say what can help is medicine – combined with talk therapy.

“I think the therapist helped me,” explains Sarah, “’cause it was talking, you know, I got it out. I didn’t bottle everything up.”

“The advantage to getting some therapy along with medication is that you get to the root of the problem,” explains Dr. David Gore, clinical psychologist. “You get to see why you’re feeling that way. And if you start understanding why you’re feeling that way, chances are pretty good you’ll stop feeling that way.”

But according to a new study from Thomson-Reuters, more teens than ever are getting medication without psychotherapy. Why? Gore has an answer.

“Basically, psychiatrists are pretty busy,” Dr. Gore says. “They don’t want to spend a lot of time with people. They want to get people in and out, maybe two or three an hour. … It pays better to do that than spending an hour doing psychotherapy.”

Three months ago, Sarah started seeing a new doctor.

“Right away he put me on Zoloft,” she says. “He didn’t even know me for an hour and he put me on it.”

But psychologists say medicine alone just won’t work as well.

“You take your pill, you’ll get some immediate relief,” explains Dr. Gore, “but the problem’s going to crop up again in two months or four months or six months. You’ve got to get to the root of the problem.”

Sarah will resume talk therapy again in a few months. She says she is looking forward to it.

“You get it out on the table and you know your feelings’” she says, “and you go in thinking it’s one thing and you come out finding out it’s like 10 different things and you’re like, ‘Wow.’”

Tips for Parents

All teens experience ups and downs. Every day poses a new test of their emotional stability – fighting with a friend, feeling peer pressure to “fit in” with a particular crowd or experiencing anxiety over a failed quiz – all of which can lead to normal feelings of sadness or grief. These feelings are usually brief and subside with time, unlike depression, which is more than feeling blue, sad or down in the dumps once in a while.

According to the Nemours Foundation, depression is a strong mood involving sadness, discouragement, despair or hopelessness that lasts for weeks, months or even longer. It also interferes with a person’s ability to participate in normal activities. Often, depression in teens is overlooked because parents and teachers feel that unhappiness or “moodiness” is typical in young people. They blame hormones or other factors for teens’ feelings of sadness or grief, which leaves many teens undiagnosed and untreated for their illness.

The Mayo Clinic reports that sometimes a stressful life event triggers depression. Other times, it seems to occur spontaneously, with no identifiable specific cause. However, certain risk factors may be associated with developing the disorder. Johns Hopkins University cites the following risk factors for becoming depressed:

Children under stress who have experienced loss or who suffer attention, learning or conduct disorders are more susceptible to depression.

Girls are more likely than boys to develop depression.

Youth, particularly younger children, who develop depression are likely to have a family history of the disorder.

If you suspect that your teen is clinically depressed, it is important to evaluate his or her symptoms and signs as soon as possible. The National Depressive and Manic-Depressive Association cites the following warning signs indicating that your teen may suffer from depression:

Prolonged sadness or unexplained crying spells
Significant changes in appetite and sleep patterns
Irritability, anger, worry, agitation or anxiety
Pessimism or indifference
Loss of energy or persistent lethargy
Feelings of guilt and worthlessness
Inability to concentrate and indecisiveness
Inability to take pleasure in former interests or social withdrawal
Unexplained aches and pains
Recurring thoughts of death or suicide

It is important to acknowledge that teens may experiment with drugs or alcohol or become sexually promiscuous to avoid feelings of depression. According to the National Mental Health Association, teens may also express their depression through other hostile, aggressive, risk-taking behaviors. These behaviors will only lead to new problems, deeper levels of depression and destroyed relationships with friends and family, as well as difficulties with law enforcement or school officials.

The development of newer antidepressant medications and mood-stabilizing drugs in the last 20 years has revolutionized the treatment of depression. According to the Mayo Clinic, medication can relieve the symptoms of depression, and it has become the first line of treatment for most types of the disorder. Psychotherapy may also help teens cope with ongoing problems that trigger or contribute to their depression. A combination of medications and a brief course of psychotherapy are usually effective if a teen suffers from mild to moderate depression. For severely depressed teens, initial treatment usually includes medications. Once they improve, psychotherapy can be more effective.

Immediate treatment of your teen’s depression is crucial. Adolescents and children suffering from depression may turn to suicide if they do not receive proper treatment. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for Americans aged 10-24. The National Association of School Psychologists suggests looking for the following warning signs that may indicate your depressed teen if contemplating suicide:

Suicide notes: Notes or journal entries are a very real sign of danger and should be taken seriously.

Threats: Threats may be direct statements (“I want to die.” “I am going to kill myself”) or, unfortunately, indirect comments (“The world would be better without me.” “Nobody will miss me anyway”). Among teens, indirect clues could be offered through joking or through comments in school assignments, particularly creative writing or artwork.

Previous attempts: If your child or teen has attempted suicide in the past, a greater likelihood that he or she will try again exists. Be very observant of any friends who have tried suicide before.

Depression (helplessness/hopelessness): When symptoms of depression include strong thoughts of helplessness and hopelessness, your teen is possibly at greater risk for suicide. Watch out for behaviors or comments that indicate your teen is feeling overwhelmed by sadness or pessimistic views of his or her future.

“Masked” depression: Sometimes risk-taking behaviors can include acts of aggression, gunplay and alcohol or substance abuse. While your teen does not act “depressed,” his or her behavior suggests that he or she is not concerned about his or her own safety.

Final arrangements: This behavior may take many forms. In adolescents, it might be giving away prized possessions, such as jewelry, clothing, journals or pictures.

Efforts to hurt himself or herself: Self-injury behaviors are warning signs for young children as well as teens. Common self-destructive behaviors include running into traffic, jumping from heights and scratching, cutting or marking his or her body.

Changes in physical habits and appearance: Changes include inability to sleep or sleeping all the time, sudden weight gain or loss and disinterest in appearance or hygiene.

Sudden changes in personality, friends or behaviors: Changes can include withdrawing from friends and family, skipping school or classes, loss of involvement in activities that were once important and avoiding friends.

Plan/method/access: A suicidal child or adolescent may show an increased interest in guns and other weapons, may seem to have increased access to guns, pills, etc., and/or may talk about or hint at a suicide plan. The greater the planning, the greater the potential for suicide.

Death and suicidal themes: These themes might appear in classroom drawings, work samples, journals or homework.

If you suspect suicide, it is important to contact a medical professional immediately. A counselor or psychologist can also help offer additional support.

References
American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
American Foundation for Suicidal Prevention
Johns Hopkins University
Mayo Clinic
National Association of School Psychologists
National Depressive and Manic-Depressive Association
National Institute of Mental Health
National Mental Health Association
Nemours Foundation
Thomson-Reuters

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Parents Universal Resource Experts- Sue Scheff - Teen Runaways - Parent Help

If you are currently dealing with a runaway, act immediately. Do not waste any time in utilizing every resource you can to find your child.

The list below details a plan of action and tips for finding help.

Tips For Finding a Runaway

Keep an updated phone list with the home and cell numbers of your teen’s friends. Using the phone list, call every one of your teen’s friends. Talk immediately with their parents, not their friends, as teenagers will often stick together and lie for each other. The parent will tell you anything they know, including the last time contact was made between their child and yours. They will also know to keep closer tabs on their own child.

Keep an updated photo of your child on hands at all times. With this photo, create one-page flyers including all information about your teen and where they were last seen. Post these flyers everywhere your teen hangs out, as well as anywhere else teenagers in general hang out. Post anywhere they will allow you to.

Immediately contact your local police. It is advised that you actually visit the office with a copy of the flyer as well as a good number of color photos of your teen. Speak clearly and act rationally, but make sure that they understand how serious the situation is.

Contact the local paper in order to run a missing ad. Also, contact any other printed media available in your area; many will be very willing to help.

Contact your local television stations, as well as those in nearby counties. Most stations will be more than happy to run an alert either in the newscast or through the scrolling alert at the bottom of the screen.

Having a teen runaway is very frightening and it can bring you to your “Wits End”. Remain positive and be creative: try to understand why your teen is acting this way, what they are running from and where they might be running. These are times when parents need to seek help for themselves. Don’t be ashamed to reach out to others. We are all about parents helping parents. Please visit Sue Scheff™’s Parents Universal Resource Experts™ to find support and professional help with your runaway situation.

Right Direction can also help at www.rdas.net

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Sue Scheff: Teen Truancy


Truancy is a term used to describe any intentional unauthorized absence from compulsory schooling. Children in America today lose over five million days of their education each year through truancy. Often times they do this without the knowledge of their parents or school officials. In common usage the term typically refers to absences caused by students of their own free will, and usually does not refer to legitimate "excused" absences, such as ones related to a medical condition. It may also refer to students who attend school but do not go to classes. Because of this confusion many schools have their own definitions, and as such the exact meaning of the term itself will differ from school to school and district to district. In order to avoid or diminish confusion, many schools explicitly define the term and their particular usage thereof in the school's handbook of policies and procedures. In many instances truancy is the term referring to an absence associated with the most brazen student irresponsibility and results in the greatest consequences.

Many educators view truancy as something much more far reaching than the immediate consequence that missed schooling has on a student's education. Truancy may indicate more deeply embedded problems with the student, the education they are receiving, or both. Because of its traditional association with juvenile delinquency, truancy in some schools may result in an ineligibility to graduate or to receive credit for class attended, until the time lost to truancy is made up through a combination of detention, fines, or summer school. This can be especially troubling for a child, as failing school can lead to social impairment if the child is held back, economic impact if the child drops out or cannot continue his or her education, and emotional impact as the cycle of failure diminishes the adolescent's self-esteem.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Sue Scheff - Teens and Steroids


Don’t Be An Asterisk. Whether it is a potential college scholarship or just helping the team win, some teens feel pressure to do whatever it takes to get an “edge”, even if it means taking steroids or other illegal substances.Hopefully the striking video and information available on the official website (link below) will educate teens and their families about performance enhancing drugs.

Check out the 30 second PSA video here:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJ-DaJvBKuc

For more information on the campaign visit:http://www.dontbeanasterisk.com/

I just received this educational information for parents to be aware of - be sure to take a minute to visit this website and a minute to watch the video. Being an educated parents helps you to help your teen!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Defiant Teens, Troubled Teens - Frustrated Parents

As the founder of Parents’ Universal Resource Experts (P.U.R.E.) I have found that children that have ODD (Oppositional Defiance Disorder) are very confrontational and need to have life their own way. A child does not have to be diagnosed ODD to be defiant. It is a trait that some teens experience through their puberty years. Defiant teens, disrespectful teens, angry teens and rebellious teens can affect the entire family.

An effective way to work with defiant teens is through anger and stress management classes. If you have a local therapist*, ask them if they offer these classes. Most will have them along with support groups and other beneficial classes. In today’s teens we are seeing that defiant teens have taken it to a new level. Especially if your child is also ADD/ADHD, the ODD combination can literally pull a family apart.

You will find yourself wondering what you ever did to deserve the way your child is treating you. It is very sad, yet very real. Please know that many families are experiencing this feeling of destruction within their home. Many wonder “why” and unfortunately each child is different with a variety of issues they are dealing with. Once a child is placed into proper treatment, the healing process can begin.

For more information and help - visit www.helpyourteens.com or www.witsendbook.com

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Sue Scheff: National Suicide Prevention Week


Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in older children and teens. And statistics show that suicide rates in teenagers are on the rise.

That makes it even more important for everyone to raise awareness of suicide prevention, especially now during National Suicide Prevention Week.
In addition to learning to recognize the risk factors and warning signs of suicide, spread the word about the availability of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline — 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Dr. Gary Nelson, Author of “A Relentless Hope” Surviving Teen Depression recently talked about this serious subject of teen suicide - http://www.wtap.com/daybreak/headlines/27988159.html


Learn more about Teen Suicide.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Parents Universal Resource Experts (Sue Scheff) Teen Cults and Gangs

As with many adult cults, most Gangs prey on the weak and the child that yearns the need to fit in. With most Gangs as with Teen Cults, they will convince your child that joining "their Gang" will make them a "cool and popular" teen.

In reality, it is a downward spiral that can result in much damage both emotionally and psychically. We have found Teen Gangs and Teen Cults have cleaned up their act, ever so slightly, to disguise themselves to impress the most intelligent of parents. We have witnessed Gang members who will present themselves as the "good kid from the good family."

If you suspect your child is involved in any Gang Activities, please seek local therapy and encourage your child to communicate. This is when the lines of communication need to be wide open. Sometimes this is so hard, and that is when an objective person is always beneficial. Teen Gangs and Teen Cults are to be taken very seriously.

www.helpyourteens.com

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Parents Universal Resource Experts (Sue Scheff) Teen Substance Abuse


With today's society, kids have access to many different substances that can be addictive and damaging. If you suspect your child is using drugs or drinking alcohol, please seek help for them as soon as possible. Drug testing is helpful, but not always accurate. Teen Drug use and Teen Drinking may escalate to addiction.


We get calls constantly, that a child is only smoking pot. Unfortunately in most cases, marijuana can lead to more severe drugs, and marijuana is considered an illegal drug. Smoking marijuana is damaging to the child's body, brain and behavior. Even though marijuana is not considered a narcotic, most teens are very hooked on it. Many teens that are on prescribed medications such as Ritalin, Adderall, Strattera, Concerta, Zoloft, Prozac etc. are more at risk when mixing these medications with street drugs. It is critical you speak with your child about this and learn all the side effects. Educating your child on the potential harm may help them to understand the dangers involved in mixing prescription drugs with street drugs. Awareness is the first step to understanding.


Alcohol is not any different with today's teens. Like adults, some teens use the substances to escape their problems; however they don't realize that it is not an escape but rather a deep dark hole. Some teens use substances to "fit in" with the rest of their peers – teen peer pressure. This is when a child really needs to know that they don't need to "fit in" if it means hurting themselves. Using drug and alcohol is harming them. Especially if a teen is taking prescribed medication (refer to the above paragraph) teen drinking can be harmful. The combination can bring out the worse in a person. Communicating with your teen, as difficult as it can be, is one of the best tools we have. Even if you think they are not listening, we hope eventually they will hear you.


If your teen is experimenting with this, please step in and get proper help through local resources. If it has extended into an addiction, it is probably time for a Residential Placement. If you feel your child is only experimenting, it is wise to start precautions early. An informed parent is an educated parent. This can be your life jacket when and if you need the proper intervention. Always be prepared, it can save you from rash decisions later.


A teen that is just starting to experiment with substance use or starting to become difficult; a solid short term self growth program may be very beneficial for them. However keep in mind, if this behavior has been escalating over a length of time, the short term program may only serve as a temporary band-aid.


Drugs and Alcoholic usage is definitely a sign that your child needs help. Teen Drug Addiction and Teen Drinking is a serious problem in today’s society; if you suspect your child is using substances, especially if they are on prescribed medications, start seeking local help. If the local resources become exhausted, and you are still experiencing difficulties, it may be time for the next step; Therapeutic Boarding School or Residential Treatment Center.


Visit http://www.helpyourteens.com/ for more information.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Teens Say School Pressure Is Main Reason For Drug Use

Source: digtriad.com, Triad, NC

New York — A new study reveals a troubling new insight into the reasons why teens use drugs.The study conducted by the Partnership for a Drug-free America shows that of 6,511 teens, 73% report that school stress and pressure is the main reason for drug use.

Ironically, only 7% of parents believe that teens use drugs to cope with stress.


Second on the list was to “feel cool” (73%), which was previously ranked in the first position. Another popular reason teens said they use drugs was to “feel better about themselves”(65%).Over the past decade, studies have indicated a steady changing trend in what teens perceive as the motivations for using drugs. The “to have fun” rationales are declining, while motivations to use drugs to solve problems are increasing.

On the positive side, the study confirms that overall abuse remains in a steady decline among teens. Marijuana, ecstasy, inhalants, methamphetamine alcohol and cigarette usage continue to decrease.

Additional findings show:

- 1 in 5 teens has abused a prescription medication- Nearly 1 in 5 teens has already abused a prescription painkiller- 41% of teens think it’s safer to abuse a precription drug than it is to use illegal drugs.

Teens continue to take their lives into their own hands when they intentionally abuse prescribed medications, said Pasierb. “Whether it’s to get high or deal with stress, or if they mistakenly believe it will help them perform better in school or sports, teens don’t realize that when used without a prescription, these medicines can be every bit as harmful as illegal street drugs.”

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Self Injury and Cutting by Sue Scheff


Self Injury and Cutting


Self abuse (or self mutilation) can come in many forms; most commonly it is associated with cutting, hair pulling or bone breaking, but it can also manifest itself as eating disorders like bulimia, and/or anorexia. This site will focus mainly on cutting, which is the most common form of self abuse, with 72% of all self injurers choosing to do so by cutting themselves, and hair pulling. Cutting is exactly as it sounds; when your teen cuts him or herself as a physical expression to feel emotional pain. There are many reasons why teens injure themselves, but many people assume it’s just ‘for attention’. Often this can be an element of why your teen may be abusing him or her self, but just as often it can be something your teen does privately to express the emotional pain they feel inside. And while self injury is a taboo subject, it is estimated that 3 to 6 million Americans self injure themselves in some way, and that number is on the increase- in fact, its already doubled in the past three years.


Why Teens Self Injure


According to experts, one of the most common reasons teens self injure is because the injury is in some way a “release” from emotional anxiety. The pain of the injury provides a distraction from the emotional pain the teen is feeling, and acts almost as a drug to them. It can also help the injured feel ‘human’ again, by putting them in touch with a common human experience: pain.
Another reason teens may self injure is for the attention they get from the physical manifestation of their injuries. For example, some teens may cut because they get attention from the blood and scars obtained from cutting. Teens that cut for attention may feel neglected in some way, and usually do not care if they receive negative or positive attention from cutting.
Statistics have shown time and time again that the “average” cutter (and in fact, self injurer) is most commonly female.


According to [Dr. Charles Goodstein of the New York University School of Medicine, cutting regularly occurs in one in every 200 adolescent girls between the ages of 13 and 19. Typically, young women begin cutting in their teens following some sort of physical and/or sexual abuse (most commonly sexual abuse). Statistically, the average female cutter was raised with at least one alcoholic parent in the home. Cutters are also typically of middle to upper middle class backgrounds and usually well educated, though this is not always the case. Experts suggest women may be more prone to cutting or self injury because (as opposed to young men) they are not taught to repress their emotions, so keeping any traumatic ‘secret’ becomes extremely difficult for them. Cutting is then used as an outlet for that anxiety; the bleeding is metaphorically releasing the painful secrets the cutter has been holding on to, without requiring the cutter to tell anyone anything.


Unfortunately, studies have also shown that women who self injure are less likely than men to be taken seriously when and if they do seek help for their disorder. Despite its tendency to appear in young women, it is important to remember that cutting affects both men and women, and can appear in any age group, socio-economic group or education level.




Thursday, August 7, 2008

Troubled Teens and Military Schools by Sue Scheff Founder of Parents Universal Resource Experts


Some parents may have a teen they feel is in need of special attention needs. Often times parents look at the public school system and realize that it is not fully equipped to handle troubled teenagers. This leads many parents to turn to military schools as an option to discipline and educate their troubled teenagers. Unfortunately, it is a common misconception among many parents that military school can “cure” or somehow transform an unruly child into a model of propriety. Military schools, which seemed headed for extinction in the late 1960s and early '70s, have seen enrollments increase steadily in recent years. Many military schools are jammed to capacity and sport long waiting lists, as anxious parents scramble for slots.

While parents may seek a military school with the hopes that it can provide exactly the discipline they believe their teenager needs, most military schools are seeking motivated candidates that want to be a part of a proud and distinguished institutional history. Many students do not realize they would enjoy military school until they actually visit the campus and understand the honor it is to attend. Typically, traditional military schools will not accept a student who does not want to be there; as such, it is very difficult to find a military school that will accept a teen that has a history of behavioral problems. Parents should realize that attending military school is a privilege and honor for the right candidate, and they are encouraged to emphasize this to their children as well.

The very common misperception of military schools as reforming institutions is a direct result of some states' policies of having chosen to house their child (juvenile) criminal populations in higher-security boarding schools that are run in a manner similar to military boarding schools. These are also called reform schools, and are functionally a combination of school and prison. They attempt to emulate the high standards of established military boarding schools in the hope that a strict structured environment can reform these delinquent children that have often times run afoul of the law. The results of these institutions vary, and successful reform may or may not be the case, depending on the institution and it's “students.” Popular culture sometimes shows parents sending or threatening to send unruly children off to military school, and this reinforces the incorrect, negative stereotype.

However, military programs for troubled teens do exist; these specialized military schools can provide the most effective ways to teach your teenager how to be a respectable, hard-working, and responsible human being. Keep in mind, however, that these military schools, like their counterparts, are not for punishment; they are a time for growth. Many are privately run institutions, though some are public and are run by either a public school system (such as the Chicago Public Schools), or by a state. Regardless, this should not reflect on the long and distinguished history of military schools; their associations are traditionally those of high academic achievement, with solid college preparatory curricula, schooling in the military arts, and considerably esteemed graduates.

Many ADD/ADHD students do very well in a military school or military academy-type setting, due to the structure and positive discipline. Many parents whose children have been diagnosed ADD/ADHD have considered this type of environment, and found it to be beneficial to their child's development. In these instances many times parents will start by enrolling their child in a summer program to determine if their child is a viable candidate for that particular military school. Provided the child responds in a positive manner, they can extend the enrollment to subsequent terms.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Teen Suicide


If your teen tells you he or she has been experiencing suicidal thoughts or feelings, or if you think your teen may be feeling suicidal but is not telling you, get help immediately. Do not call your teen’s bluff- take all mentions and threats of suicide seriously. There are many mental health professionals trained to deal with suicidal feelings and suicide specifically in teens, and many pediatricians or family physicians can refer parents to specialists if there is an urgent need for your teen to be treated. Another resource is your local emergency room. If your teen is suicidal, do not leave him or her alone, and do not wait for an appointment to see a doctor or specialist- take your teen immediately to the closest ER, where a psychological evaluation can be performed without an appointment. This can literally be the difference between your teen’s life and death.


Some less obvious signs that your teen may be contemplating suicide include depression, withdrawal from daily activities your teen once enjoyed, dramatic personality shifts, drug or alcohol use, lack of attention to personal hygiene, violent behavior or outbursts, running away, decline in school attendance and grades, and change in sleeping patterns. Also, if your teen has already attempted suicide once before, they may be more likely to try again if adequate treatment was not received following the first attempt.


Other behaviors may include: giving away important personal belongings, statements by your teen that he or she is a “bad person” or that he or she “won’t be a problem for much longer”, or any signs of psychosis, which can include hallucinations or bizarre thoughts. According to NIMH, often times many of these warning signs go without notice by family and friends until it is too late. Further complicating matters, just because your teen is exhibiting any of these signs does not mean he or she is suicidal. This is why it is crucial to keep the lines of communication open between yourself and your teen. There is no better way to predict or decipher suicidal feelings than to simply ask your teen how he or she is feeling.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Teen Partying - Pros and Cons by Vanessa Van Petten


Parties are a regular occurrence during the course of a teenager’s high school career. They typically involve bad DJing, a lot of red plastic cups, and plenty of people. They can be a lot of fun, but they can also have unfavorable endings if you don’t act responsibly.
Pros

It’s a great way to meet new people

There is usually a good mix of classmates, familiar and unknown, and students from other school. Attending a party can provide you with the opportunity to encounter a new group of characters outside your usual circle of friends. It’s always fun to make new acquaintances and create new ties.

Fun way to de-stress after the school week

Who doesn’t want to kick back and unwind after a long week of tests and homework? Parties are entertaining, adult-free social gatherings where we can just relax and be ourselves. There’s no pressure from parents to be serious and mature. Instead, we can be silly and giggly, far away from the demands of the scholastic atmosphere.

The “high school experience”

Fun, carefree, and sometimes secret house parties have a short lifespan. Once you’re out of high school and onto college, your schedule becomes increasingly busy. Your mind is no longer solely occupied with the latest drama in the locker room and what you plan on doing over the weekend. Suddenly you have a nightly paper to write and career choices to make. Once responsibility has taken over, you’ll become less available for late-night-partying and more focused on what you want to do with your life when school’s over. So enjoy your worry-free time and make the most of it.

Cons

ALCOHOL

I’ve found that the negative side of partying tends to be centered around the underage drinking part. Even though it is illegal to purchase alcohol until you are at the ripe old age of 21, teens don’t usually have a problem getting their hands on it. Besides the easy access at home, there are a lot of places that either don’t card or don’t pay much attention to fake IDs.

Unpleasant Side Effects

It doesn’t take very much alcohol for teenagers to get “the buzz”, and the consumption generally doesn’t stop at that point. In addition using alcohol as party refreshments, drinking games like Quarters and Beerpong are both common and popular. The ingestion of large amounts of alcohol at a time can lead to all kinds of undesirable side effects. They include: dizziness, memory loss, slurred speech, nausea, intense headaches, sensitivity to noise, poor judgment, impaired coordination and dexterity, and vomiting.

Boredom

When you’ve opted not to drink, and EVERYONE else is drinking, a party can become very dull, very fast. “Drunkards” or drunken teens usually find anything and everything around them to be hilarious and amusing. Their speech is slurred and their thought process has been altered, making it difficult to hold a conversation with them. When you are sober, this scene may not seem quite so comical. Instead, all you’ll see is a bunch of teenagers, falling all over themselves laughing and doing things that are totally out of character. And you’re the one who ends up sitting on the couch for the rest of the night, watching all your drunken friends enjoy themselves.

My advice: Have a good time but be cautious. It’s fine to get together and hang out with friends but it’s always good to be aware of your surroundings and be mindful of the consequences of your actions.

Visit www.onteenstoday.com for more information.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

(Sue Scheff) STOP BULLYING NOW? Why do kids bully?


There are all kinds of reasons why young people bully others, either occasionally or often. Do any of these sound familiar to you?


Because I see others doing it
Because it's what you do if you want to hang out with the right crowd
Because it makes me feel, stronger, smarter, or better than the person I'm bullying
Because it's one of the best ways to keep others from bullying me


Whatever the reason, bullying is something we all need to think about. Whether we've done it ourselves ... or whether friends or other people we know are doing it ... we all need to recognize that bullying has a terrible effect on the lives of young people. It may not be happening to you today, but it could tomorrow. Working together, we can make the lives of young people better.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Parents Universal Resource Experts Experts (Sue Scheff) Communicating with your Teen About Suicide

As you have probably heard before, talking to your teen about suicide is one of the most important things you can do in helping to prevent a suicide attempt. Many times parents are unsure of what to say and instead say nothing. Here are some suggestions of how you can open the channels of communication and help your teen open up.

First, tell your teen you care; no matter the state of your relationship, just hearing this can go a long way. Tell your teen you are there if needed, and are willing to listen without judging. NAMI estimates that around 80% of all teens who attempt suicide give some sort of verbal or nonverbal warning beforehand, so be sure to take whatever your teen says completely seriously.

A common mistake parents make when dealing with a suicidal teen is thinking that if they mention suicide they will be planting the idea in their teen’s brain. This is simply not accurate. In fact, by mentioning your fears, you are showing your teen that you take their actions and their life seriously. Remember, most people who are suicidal do not really want to die- they want to put an end to the suffering they are experiencing. When given an opportunity to be helped through that suffering, or when some of that suffering is alleviated by knowing they aren’t alone, this can help reduce the desire to end the pain by more drastic means.

www.helpyourteens.com

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Teens - National Crime Prevention Council


Growing up in the 21st century provides young people with amazing opportunities. We have access to incredible technology that allows us to communicate instantaneously through email and cell phones. We are the healthiest, best-educated generation in history. We volunteer at an even higher rate than adults do. The level of crime that we face is lower than it has been in 30 years. However, crime rates are still too high. The good news is that there are real things we can do about the problems that plague our communities.


Community Works offers us a way to do something about crime and violence. When we participate in the Community Works curriculum, we can work with our friends, other young people, and adult leaders to learn the facts about crime and violence, how we can help prevent crimes, and how we can become involved in service-learning projects that benefit our community.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Troubled Teens, Struggling Teens, Teen Depression, Teen Help, by Sue Scheff

Are you at your wit’s end?

Are you experiencing any of the following situations or feeling at a complete loss or a failure as a parent? You are not alone and by being a proactive parent you are taking the first step towards healing and bringing your family back together.

• Is your teen escalating out of control?
• Is your teen becoming more and more defiant and disrespectful?
• Is your teen manipulative? Running your household?
• Are you hostage in your own home by your teen’s negative behavior?
• Is your teen angry, violent or rage outbursts?
• Is your teen verbally abusive?
• Is your teen rebellious, destructive and withdrawn?
• Is your teen aggressive towards others or animals?
• Is your teen using drugs and/or alcohol?
• Does your teen belong to a gang?
• Do they frequently runaway or leave home for extended periods of time?
• Has their appearance changed – piercing, tattoo’s, inappropriate clothing?
• Has your teen stopped participating in sports, clubs, church and family functions? Have they become withdrawn from society?
• Is your teen very intelligent yet not working up to their potential? Underachiever? Capable of doing the work yet not interested in education.
• Does he/she steal?
• Is your teen sexually active?
• Teen pregnancy?
• Is your teen a good kid but making bad choices?
• Undesirable peers? Is your teen a follower or a leader?
• Low self esteem and low self worth?
• Lack of motivation? Low energy?
• Mood Swings? Anxiety?
• Teen depression that leads to negative behavior?
• Eating Disorders? Weight loss? Weight gain?
• Self-Harm or Self Mutilation?
• High School drop-out?
• Suspended or Expelled from school?
• Suicidal thoughts or attempts?
• ADD/ADHD/LD/ODD?
• Is your teen involved in legal problems? Have they been arrested?
• Juvenile Delinquent?
• Conduct Disorder?
• Bipolar?
• Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)?

Does your teen refuse to take accountability and always blame others for their mistakes?

• Do you feel hopeless, helpless and powerless over what options you have as a parent? Are you at your wit’s end?


Does any of the above sound familiar? Many parents are at their wit’s end by the time they contact us, but the most important thing many need to know is you are not alone. There is help but the parent needs to be proactive and educate themselves in getting the right help.



Many try local therapy, which is always recommended, but in most cases, this is a very temporary band-aid to a more serious problem. One or two hours a week with a therapist is usually not enough to make the major changes that need to be done.

If you feel you are at your wit’s end and are considering outside resources, please contact us. http://www.helpyourteens.com/free_information.shtml An informed parent is an educated parent and will better prepare to you to make the best decision for your child. It is critical not to place your child out of his/her element. In many cases placing a teen that is just starting to make bad choices into a hard core environment may cause more problems. Be prepared – do your homework.

Many parents are in denial and keep hoping and praying the situation is going to change. Unfortunately in many cases, the problems usually escalate without immediate attention. Don’t be parents in denial; be proactive in getting your teen the appropriate help they may need. Whether it is local therapy or outside the home assistance, be in command of the situation before it spirals out of control and you are at a place of desperation. At wit’s end is not a pleasant place to be, but so many of us have been there.

Finding the best school or program for your child is one of the most important steps a parent does. Remember, your child is not for sale – don’t get drawn into high pressure sales people, learn from my mistakes. Read my story at www.aparentstruestory.com for the mistakes I made that nearly destroyed my daughter.

In searching for schools and programs we look for the following:

• Helping Teens - not Harming them
• Building them up - not Breaking them down
• Positive and Nurturing Environments - not Punitive
• Family Involvement in Programs - not Isolation from the teen
• Protect Children - not Punish them

www.helpyourteens.com
www.suescheff.com

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Sue Scheff: Know Your Child's Friends and Their Parents

Know Your Child’s Friends and Their Parents

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

A New Era

As children move into middle school and on to high school, they meet new people and experience changes in style, outlook, and social life. Don’t be surprised to see major shifts in your child’s fashion sense, the movies she watches, and the music she listens to. As your adolescent develops her new identity, she may challenge the way things are done and may see little need for advice and direction. Disappearing into her room, spending endless hours on the phone, and hanging out with friends—often new friends—are behaviors that signal a whole new scene.

Peer Influences
As a child begins to declare his independence, his social circle may provide new views about what’s right, acceptable, “cool,” or “hip.” Unspoken expectations as well as direct encouragement can sway an adolescent’s behavior as well as his attitudes.

The youth scene inevitably includes issues of drinking, smoking, and illegal drug use. When a young person has friends who engage in these activities, it becomes easier for her to believe that such conduct is normal. Besides, adolescents tend to think nothing bad can happen to them. As a result, a child may be inclined to go along with the crowd. She may try a substance that not only is dangerous, but also can get her in trouble. Remember, tobacco and alcohol use are against the law for adolescents.

A Watchful Eye
Young people often are so focused on their personal world of friends and activities that parental influence may seem to be squeezed out. But you can do a lot to help your adolescent take the right social cues.

Getting to know a child’s friends is a good place to start. Meeting them will give you a sense of their personalities, what they are “into,” and their family situations. Don’t be too quick to judge a child’s friends, though. Radical styles and unconventional appearances may be nothing more than a badge of identity. Besides, your child will dismiss any snap judgments that you offer.

Welcome your child’s friends into your home. Encourage your child to invite them over. Talk with them. Offer to drive them home or to drop the group off at a party, the movies, or a school event.

Get to know the friends’ parents. If you haven’t met them, give them a call. Ask what their expectations are regarding curfews, sleepovers, and entertainment. Share your rules and views. Invite the friends’ parents to contact you with any questions or concerns regarding the adolescents’ behavior or to clarify arrangements for their activities. Doing so will add to your impressions of your child’s friends. It will help you know where your child is, whom he is with, and how (or if) he is being supervised when he’s not at home.

A Guiding Hand

Adolescents may react negatively to any pressure or direct suggestions about whom they should hang out with. But there are plenty of opportunities to learn more about their friends. You can ask a child what she likes about a friend or what she thinks of a situation. Use examples from your own experience. Spending time together and being involved in a child’s life allows communication about friends and other sensitive topics to become natural and expected.
Encourage your children to get involved in activities that match their interests. Trying different activities channels an adolescent’s curiosity into things that are safe and fun. Positive activities are good ways to meet friends who have positive attitudes.

Read the entire article here: http://www.education.com/reference/article/Ref_Know_Your_Childs/

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Parents Universal Resource Experts (Sue Scheff) Home Alone


By Connect with Kids

“99 Percent of the time we would follow the rules but you know, every time every now and then you want to just stray from the circle and do what you want instead of the rules.”

– Jamal, 16 years old

We know them as latch key kids. Most afternoons they come home alone and unlock the door to a world free from adult supervision.

Once inside, they often encounter boredom … and temptation.

Because both of his parents work, sixteen-year-old Jamal Inegbedion spends many afternoons home alone with his sister. He says it’s hard to be good all the time, “99 Percent of the time we would follow the rules but you know, every time every now and then you want to just stray from the circle and do what you want instead of the rules.”

Whether young or old, kids alone are prime targets for trouble.

“When there’s no parent around or anyone involved in supervising them they have idle time,” explains Judge Greg Adams, “and what is the old adage idle time is the devil’s workshop. And as a result of that, they get with other young people and they are experimenting with drugs. That’s when a lot of it takes place right after school before the parents get home.”

So, how do parents decide when to leave kids alone? How to keep them safe? And how to keep them out of trouble?

Experts say leaving kids alone before age twelve is a big risk.

After that, “Try very short periods of time and see how the child reacts and how fearful they are,” advises David Hellwig from Child Protective Services. “A parent really knows their child best about their maturity level. [And] Certainly, having emergency phone numbers being immediately available; whether there’s a supportive neighbor relative close by.”

Give them specific instructions, chores to keep them busy, rules to follow and make sure kids know there are consequences for bad behavior.

Jamal’s mom says her kids know the rules … and what will happen if they don’t follow them. “I would let them know that if they didn’t follow instruction I would punish them but most of all worse things could happen to them.”


Tips for Parents
Every day in America, nearly 8 million children go home to an empty house. Experts say, the after school hours are the peak time for juvenile crime and risky behaviors. The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention reports that teens are at the highest risk of being a victim of violence between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. and the peak hour for juvenile crime is from 3 p.m. and 4 p.m., just after school is dismissed. Studies also show that students who don’t take part in after-school activities, such as sports or after-school programs are 49 percent more likely to have used drugs and 37 percent more likely to become teen parents.

The National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center defines after-school programs as safe, structured activities that convene regularly in the hours after school and offer activities to help children learn new skills and develop into responsible adults. Activities may cover such topics as technology, reading, math, science and the arts. And the programs may also offer new experiences for children, such as community service, internships or tutoring and mentoring opportunities.

As a parent, why should you consider an after-school program for your child? Without structured, supervised activities in the after-school hours, youth are at greater risk of being victims of crime or participating in antisocial behaviors.

If you are interested in enrolling your child in an after-school program, you have several different types from which to choose. The Educational Resources Information Center says that a good after-school program should offer children the chance to have fun and feel comforted, as well as motivate them to learn. The best programs offer a comprehensive set of activities that do the following for your child:

Foster his or her self-worth and develop his or her self-care skills
Develop his or her personal and interpersonal social skills and promote respect for cultural diversity.
Provide help with homework, tutoring and other learning activities
Provide time and space for quiet study
Provide new, developmentally appropriate enrichment activities to add to his or her learning at school, help him or her develop thinking and problem-solving skills and spark curiosity and love of learning
Provide recreational and physical activities to develop physical skills and constructively channel his or her energy pent up after a day sitting in a classroom
Encourage participation in individual sports activities to help develop self-esteem by striving for a personal best, and participation in group sports to provide lessons about cooperation and conflict resolution
Provide age-appropriate job readiness training
Provide information about career and career-training options, preferably through firsthand experiences with community business leaders and tours of local businesses
Some programs may be excellent while others may be lacking in resources and staff, and therefore, less attractive to parents. It is important when choosing an after-school program to ask questions, visit the facility and get to know the staff.


References
21st Century Community Learning Centers
Boys & Girls Clubs of America
Educational Resources Information Center
National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Parents Universal Resource Experts (Sue Scheff) Teens and Theft- Why it Happens?


Too Young to Start


There are almost as many reasons teens steal as there are things for teens to steal. One of the biggest reasons teens steal is peer pressure. Often, teens will steal items as a means of proving’ that they are “cool enough” to hang out with a certain group. This is especially dangerous because if your teen can be convinced to break the law for petty theft, there is a strong possibility he or she can be convinced to try other, more dangerous behaviors, like drinking or drugs. It is because of this that it is imperative you correct this behavior before it escalates to something beyond your control.

Another common reason teens steal is because they want an item their peers have but they cannot afford to purchase. Teens are very peer influenced, and may feel that if they don’t have the ‘it’ sneakers or mp3 player, they’ll be considered less cool than the kids who do. If your teen cannot afford these items, they may be so desperate to fit in that they simply steal the item. They may also steal money from you or a sibling to buy such an item. If you notice your teen has new electronics or accessories that you know you did not buy them, and your teen does not have a job or source of money, you may want to address whereabouts they came up with these items.

Teens may also steal simply for a thrill. Teens who steal for the ‘rush’ or the adrenaline boost are often simply bored and/ or testing the limits of authority. They may not even need or want the item they’re stealing! In cases like these, teens can act alone or as part of a group. Often, friends accompanying teens who shoplift will act as a ‘lookout’ for their friend who is committing the theft. Unfortunately, even if the lookout doesn’t actually steal anything, the can be prosecuted right along with the actual teen committing the crime, so its important that you make sure your teen is not aiding his or her friends who are shoplifting.

Yet another reason teens steal is for attention. If your teen feels neglected at home, or is jealous of the attention a sibling is getting, he or she may steal in the hopes that he or she is caught and the focus of your attention is diverted to them. If you suspect your teen is stealing or acting out to gain your attention, it is important that you address the problem before it garners more than just your attention, and becomes part of their criminal record. Though unconventional, this is your teen’s way of asking for your help- don’t let them down!

Learn More - Click Here.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Sue Scheff - Parents Need to Take Time to Learn About Inhalant Abuse


In 2004, the Alliance for Consumer Education launched ITS Inhalant Abuse Prevention Kit at a national press conference at the National Press Club in Washington DC. The kit was successfully tested in 6 pilot states across the country. Currently, ACE’s Inhalant Abuse Prevention Kit is in all 50 states. Furthermore, the Kit is in its third printing due to high demands.

The Kit is intended for presentations to adult audiences. Specifically parents of elementary and middle school children, so they can talk to their children about the dangers and risks associated with Inhalants. We base the program on data from the Partnership for a Drug-Free America. Statistics show that parents talking to their kids about drugs decrease the risk of the kids trying a drug.

The Inhalant Abuse Prevention Kit contains 4 components: the Facilitator’s Guide, a FAQ sheet, an interactive PowerPoint presentation, and a “What Every Parent Needs to Know about Inhalant Abuse” brochure. Additionally, there are 4 printable posters for classroom use, presentations, etc.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Sue Scheff: Information on Inhalant Abuse




Click on the links below for more information about inhalant abuse, prevention, and treatment.







Our Prevention Approach Inhalants, more than any other drug, are readily available to children, and can be deadly on first use. Therefore, to do no harm, inhalant prevention messages for children should not teach them what products can be abused, how to abuse inhalants, or what their euphoric effects are. We do not want to engage their curiosity.


Today’s prevailing expert consensus about best practices recommends disconnecting inhalant abuse prevention from substance abuse prevention for children who do not already know about inhalants. Instead, education about inhalants should stress their poisonous, toxic, polluting, combustible and explosive nature and should emphasize product safety. When targeting young children who have had little or no exposure to the nature of inhalants, there is no reason to make the association for them, thereby giving them an easily accessible way to get high. When children already know about inhalants as a drug, we still teach about it as we would for a naïve child, but may add a substance abuse component. The materials in this section follow this approach.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Parents Universal Resource Experts (Sue Scheff) Information on Teen Suicide


Suicide is the third most common cause of death amongst adolescents between 15-24 years of age, and the sixth most common cause of death amongst 5-14 year olds. It is estimated that over half of all teens suffering from depression will attempt suicide at least once, and of those teens, roughly seven percent will succeed on the first try. Teenagers are especially vulnerable to the threat of suicide, because in addition to increased stress from school, work and peers, teens are also dealing with hormonal fluctuations that can complicate even the most normal situations.

Because of these social and personal changes, teens are also at higher risk for depression, which can also increase feelings of despair and the desire to commit suicide. In fact, according to a study by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) almost all people who commit suicide suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder or substance abuse disorder. Often, teens feel as though they have no other way out of their problems, and may not realize that suicidal thoughts and feelings can be treated. Unfortunately, due to the often volatile relationship between teens and their parents, teens may not be as forthcoming about suicidal feelings as parents would hope. The good news is there are many signs parents can watch for in their teen without necessarily needing their teen to open up to them.

At some point in most teens’ lives, they will experience periods of sadness, worry and/or despair. While it is completely normal for a healthy person to have these types of responses to pain resulting from loss, dismissal, or disillusionment, those with serious (often undiagnosed) mental illnesses often experience much more drastic reactions. Many times these severe reactions will leave the teen in despair, and they may feel that there is no end in sight to their suffering. It is at this point that the teen may lose hope, and with the absence of hope comes more depression and the feeling that suicide is the only solution. It isn’t.

Teen girls are statistically twice as likely as their male counterparts to attempt suicide. They tend to turn to drugs (overdosing) or to cut themselves, while boys are traditionally more successful in their suicide attempts because they utilize more lethal methods such as guns and hanging. This method preference makes boys almost four times more successful in committing suicide.

Studies have borne out that suicide rates rise considerably when teens can access firearms in their home. In fact, nearly 60% of suicides committed in the United States that result in immediate death are accomplished with a gun. This is one crucial reason that any gun kept in a home with teens, even if that teen does not display any outward signs of depression, be stored in a locked compartment away from any ammunition. In fact, the ammunition should be stored in a locked compartment as well, and the keys to both the gun and ammunition compartments should be kept in a different area from where normal, everyday keys are kept. Remember to always keep firearms, ammunition, and the keys to the locks containing them, away from kids.

Unfortunately, teen suicide is not a rare event. In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that suicide is the third leading cause of death for people between the ages of 15 and 24. This disturbing trend is affecting younger children as well, with suicide rates experiencing dramatic increases in the under-15 age group from 1980 to 1996. Suicide attempts are even more prevalent, though it is difficult to track the exact rates.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Sue Scheff: Teens and Gateway Drugs


A gateway drug is a drug that opens the metaphorical gateway to more potent, dangerous drugs. Substances like alcohol, cigarettes and marijuana are considered gateway drugs. While many parents are tempted to say "it's only beer" or "its just pot", the danger in gateway drugs is their ability to convince the user that they can handle larger quantities or in many cases, stronger, more potent substances.


Learn more at Teen Drug Prevention.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Parents Universal Resource Experts (Sue Scheff) Tough Talks with your teen


By Shoulder to Shoulder

It’s not easy talking about sex, drugs, gangs and violence with our teens. But it’s a “must do.” Here are a few pointers and tips for talking with teens about the very real issues they face.

Timing is Everything


Know that teens will catch us off guard when they decide to ask questions about sex or other “tough” topics. Resist the urge to flee. Try saying, “I’m glad you came to me with that question.” This gives us time to think of a response, and will let teens know they can come to parents for advice. It’s important to answer the question right away, rather than put off a teen by saying something like - “you’re too young to know that!” Chances are, the subject has already come up at school and they’re already getting “advice” from their friends. When teens ask questions, look at it as an opportunity to help them learn by sharing our thoughts.

Practice Makes Perfect


As parents, anticipation is our best friend. Anticipate what teens’ questions may be about sex, drugs or alcohol, then think about your responses ahead of time. What to say? It’s different for each family, but become familiar with typical questions and behaviors that occur during the teen years. Do a little digging around popular teen Web sites to find out what’s hot in a teen’s world.

Is It Hot In Here?


If you’re feeling embarrassed or uncomfortable about a question your teen asks, say so. Acknowledging your own discomfort allows your kids to acknowledge theirs - and may make everyone feel a little less awkward all around. It’s also okay for parents to set limits. For example, you do not have to give specific answers about your own teen behaviors.

Read entire article here: http://www.education.com/reference/article/Ref_Tough_Talks_your/

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Sue Scheff: Are you struggling with your teenager?

Are you considering any of the following programs for your child? Take a moment to read my experiences - www.aparentstruestory.com as well as my book where you can hear my daughter's experiences for the first time - order today at www.witsendbook.com .

Choosing a program is not only a huge emotional decision, it is a major financial decision - do your homework!

Academy of Ivy Ridge, NY (withdrew their affiliation with WWASPS)
Canyon View Park, MT
Camas Ranch, MT
Carolina Springs Academy, SC
Cross Creek Programs, UT (Cross Creek Center and Cross Creek Manor)
Darrington Academy, GA
Help My Teen, UT (Adolescent Services Adolescent Placement) Promotes and markets these programs.
Gulf Coast Academy, MS
Horizon Academy, NV
Lisa Irvin (Helpmyteen)
Lifelines Family Services, UT (Promotes and markets these programs) Jane Hawley
Majestic Ranch, UT
Midwest Academy, IA (Brian Viafanua, formerly the Director of Paradise Cove as shown on Primetime, is the current Director here)
Parent Teen Guide (Promotes and markets these programs)
Pillars of Hope, Costa Rica
Pine View Christian Academy (Borders FL, AL, MS)
Reality Trek, UT
Red River Academy, LA (Borders TX)
Royal Gorge Academy, CO
Sky View Academy, NV
Spring Creek Lodge, MT
Teen Help, UT (Promotes and markets these programs)
Teens In Crisis
Tranquility Bay, Jamaica

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Sue Scheff: Raising Teens in a New Culture - Education.com


Source: Shoulder to Shoulder



Raising teens poses enough challenges in itself - parenting a teen in a new culture adds another level of complexity. Chances are, your teen years were very different than your child's will be living in America. Here's a few things to keep in mind as you guide your teen into young adulthood:

YOUR TEEN MAY TRY TO FIT THE "AMERICAN" NORM.
We may not like it, but this is normal. Sometimes it means they will dress in strange ways or "reject" their culture. Peer pressure is a big deal to kids at this age, and they're just trying to fit in with the rest of their friends and schoolmates at this time.

PASS ON YOUR CULTURE AND LANGUAGE.
Your teen should know your family's traditions, beliefs, religion and language, as well as the story of your journey to America. Right now, teens may not be interested or even "rebuff" their culture. As they grow up, they will learn to appreciate their language, food and customs - and take pride in these traditions.

LISTEN TO YOUR TEEN.
It's hard to grow up in two cultures. Teens need support to help understand their roots, while you may need their help to understand what it's like to grow up in America. Talking and listening to each other will help you both succeed.

KNOW THE CULTURAL DIFFERENCES.
There are many "standards" that may be different from your culture. For example, friendships outside the family may be more common than they were in your childhood. Or, you may be concerned that your children aren't obedient or respectful. Your teens are growing up in two cultures. To help your teen succeed in America, decide what expectations you need to keep and what you can change.

TALK WITH OTHER PARENTS. YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
As private as parenting is, we all need ideas - especially when we are raising our teens in a new culture. Get together with other parents to share advice and stories, and explore this site for more culturally-specific parenting resources.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Sue Scheff: ADHD Meds in High School

By ADDitude Magazine

Three ways ADHD teens can master the challenges of meds at school.

No one likes being "different," particularly as teens, when fitting in is important. That’s why many students with attention deficit disorder (ADD ADHD) decide to discontinue the ADD medication they took as a child.

But contrary to popular belief, ADHD doesn’t usually go away with age. Stopping medication could make your differences stand out more and lead to social disaster.

Here are better ways to deal with the challenges posed by your ADHD.

“I’m embarrassed that everyone knows I have ADHD and take medication. If don’t take medication, no one has to know I have it.”
As a teen, having ADHD is your business, and whom you choose to share this information with is your decision. Talk to your parents about an action plan to minimize your feelings of embarrassment. There are now once-a-day medications that mean you don’t have to go to the school nurse for a midday dose.

If you have an insensitive teacher, talk to him or her about respecting your medical privacy. If you visit a friend, take responsibility for your own medication so others won’t have to know you take it.

“When I take my medication I’m never hungry, so I’m a lot smaller than everyone else my age.”
To put on weight and muscle, create “windows of opportunity.” Try to eat a huge breakfast before your first dose in the morning. Make it a hamburger or pizza if you want; there’s no law that breakfast has to be cereal and toast.

Accept that you may not be hungry at lunch. Try eating small amounts of high calorie foods such as cheese, peanut butter or ice cream.

Time your medication so that it wears off between 4:00 and 6:00 pm. Your appetite should return and you can enjoy a hearty dinner, even though you may not be able to do your homework at this time. Take your final dose after dinner if you need it to concentrate. If this timing isn’t practical, ask your parents to excuse you from eating and save your plate for later, when your medication wears off.

Some kids make smoothies using high calorie food supplements such as Ensure. Add your own ingredients — ice cream, milk, fruit and flavorings.

If you still cannot gain weight, discuss with your doctor the possibility of switching to another medication that does not affect appetite. In any event, don’t worry. While medication may slow your growth somewhat, studies show it has little or no effect on your ultimate height.

“Some of my friends drink beer and smoke pot. I don’t want them to think I’m uncool. Is just a little okay?”
Sorry, but it’s not okay. Besides being illegal, drugs and alcohol don’t mix well with ADHD medications. Even if you don’t take medication, drugs and alcohol can worsen your ADHD symptoms, which can make you a social outcast. If you’ve already got problems controlling your impulses and your social interactions, what’s going to happen when drugs and alcohol take away whatever restraint you have?

That said, let’s get real. If you find yourself in a social situation where you think you may be drinking, make sure your medication is not in effect. If it is, be forewarned that you may experience a greater “high” or “buzz” than expected. Use less. Regular use of alcohol and drugs with ADHD medications can lead to serious problems. As a teenager, only you can decide whether to step into adult shoes and do the mature and responsible thing. Take it slow or better still, don’t drink and don’t use illegal drugs.