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 na├»ve 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:

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 - as well as my book where you can hear my daughter's experiences for the first time - order today at .

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 -

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:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Wit's End! by Sue Scheff Founder of Parents Universal Resource Experts

Help for Parents of Out-of-control Teens
Resources to help families in this critical time

(SOUTH FLORIDA)—In 2000, a teenager at a residential treatment center was locked-up in an isolation box for 17 hours with no windows, heat or air conditioning because she had tried to help a girl who was having a seizure. Later, that same teenager got food poisoning and was rushed to the ER (unbeknownst to her mother) because sewage had contaminated the food she was eating and sunk into the carpet of the living areas.

These are just some of the experiences that Sue Scheff’s daughter, Ashlyn, experienced while enrolled in a residential treatment program, supposed to be helping her cope with emotional and behavioral problems while building up her self-esteem. Furious about how Ashlyn had been treated, Scheff posted her experiences online about the program and was promptly sued for libel. Scheff won by a long shot.

Now parents can read Scheff’s story and learn from her mistakes in Wit’s End: Advice and Resources for Saving Your OUT-OF-CONTROL TEEN (HCI Books, July 2008). The book is the result of her years of effort to educate parents and provide them with the proper resources to care for their own difficult teen.

“I was desperate to find good help for my daughter, but this program ended up making things worse,” says Scheff. “My book provides positive, prescriptive help for families who want to put their children on the road to a safe, healthy adulthood. It is imperative parents do their homework and Wit’s End can offer a convenient outline to get them started.”

Parents doing their homework becomes even more important in light of a 2007 study released by the U.S. Government Accountability Office which uncovered thousands of allegations of abuse, some of which involved death, at residential treatment programs across the country and in American-owned and American-operated facilities abroad between the years 1990 and 2007.

For parents who need one-on-one guidance, Scheff founded Parents’ Universal Resource Experts (P.U.R.E.), an advocacy group that not only researches residential treatment centers and other teen help programs around the world, but helps educate parents to choose which facilities are best suited to match their child’s needs.

Sue Scheff is a parent advocate and the founder of Parent’s Universal Resource Experts, Inc. She has been featured in numerous publications and broadcasts, including: 20/20, The Rachel Ray Show, ABC News, CBC News: Sunday Morning, CNN Headline News, Fox News, BBC Talk Radio, National Public Radio and The New York Times.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Parents Universal Resource Experts (Sue Scheff) It's Normal - Raising Teens

Source: Shoulder to Shoulder

Wondering what happened to the sweet kids we were raising? They've turned into teenagers. While we know there are going to be good and bad times, it's helpful to know that some of this "crazy" behavior is just part of being a teen.

It's normal for a teen to:

Argue for the Sake of Arguing
Believe it or not, teens can find arguing exciting. As they grow, they are developing new skills in thinking and logic. This means that arguments with you aren't necessarily about winning, but rather experiencing the "art" of an argument. Fun, isn't it?

Be Self-Centered
It's all about them. You know the whole world isn't focused on their zit, but they truly believe it is. All we can do is be patient and help them through the "disasters" as best we can.

Be Dramatic
Why is everything such a big deal to teens? Jenny has a fight with her boyfriend and it's the end of the world. While it's good for teens to - ahem - care deeply about so many things, the drama will decline as they grow up.

Jump to Conclusions
As teens develop the capacity to think logically, they sometimes make leaps in judgment and come to bizarre conclusions. Resist the urge to correct. Listen to what they are saying, and let them think out loud. When asked, offer your perspective.

Find Fault
Can we ever do anything right in the eyes of teens? We can't take it personally (even though we could do no wrong when they were younger), and this isn't a sign of failure. It's just a normal part of the teen years. And yes, we really do a lot of things right.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Sue Scheff: Parental Power by Dr. Paul Jenkins

In this 2 CD set, Dr. Jenkins teaches what every parent should know about maturity and control. Parents will also learn three rules for a happy home, four rules just for parents, and four steps for teaching children responsibility. This is the second edition of this popular seminar, with the same powerful content in a studio quality recording.

Visit for more information