Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sue Scheff: ADHD and Aniexty

Is ADHD causing your child’s anxiety? Or could an anxiety disorder be to blame? Symptom and treatment information.

Free ADHD handout from ADDitude Magazine

Moderate anxiety - when taking a test or performing in a school play - is normal and healthy. But if your child’s anxiety is more severe and commonplace, you may fear that an anxiety disorder is to blame. ADDitude has made it easier to understand anxiety with this quick comparison sheet that will help you understand the symptoms and treatment of anxiety disorder vs. ADHD. Contents include…

Common symptoms of anxiety disorder in childrenAn explanation of primary vs. secondary anxiety in children with ADHDEffective treatment options for children with primary or secondary anxiety

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I was asked by caring parents and individuals to give people encouraging news. StopMedicineAbuse is making a difference in creating awareness in parents and helping open up the lines of communication with their teens and tweens today.

Although almost two-thirds parents have talked to their teens about cough medicine abuse, a large number still have not had this critical conversation. To help alert these parents, many OTC cough medicines will now feature the Stop Medicine Abuse educational icon on the packaging. The icon, which also can be viewed online (see above), is a key reminder for parents that teen medicine abuse is an issue that they need to be aware of.

How can you help?

More Parents Talking with Their Teens about Cough Medicine Abuse
Posted by Five Mom, Christy Crandell , on Monday, May 11, 2009

Our efforts to educate parents about medicine abuse have reached thousands of families in the United States. With your help, more parents than ever are learning about this risky teen substance abuse behavior and are talking with their teens. According to the Partnership Attitude Tracking Study, released by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, 65 percent of parents have talked to their teens about the dangers of abusing OTC cold and cough medicine to get high-an 18 percent increase in the number of parents who talked to their teens in 2007.
My fellow Five Moms and I are excited to share this promising news with you, but there is still much work ahead. Although nearly two-thirds of parents have talked with their teens, 35 percent of parents said that they have not had this important conversation.

We know that when parents talk to their teens about the risks of substance abuse, their teens are up to fifty percent less likely to abuse substances. If you have not already talked with your teens about the dangers of cough medicine abuse, visit our talk page for some helpful ideas on how to have this discussion.

It is also critical that we share this information with our friends and communities as well. Too many parents are still unaware that some teens are abusing OTC cough medicine to get high, and it is important that we talk with them about this behavior. By talking with other parents, we can make sure that every family has the knowledge and tools to help keep teens safe and healthy.

Sharing information about cough medicine abuse is easy. It only takes a moment to start a conversation, and thanks to Stop Medicine Abuse, you can Tell-A-Friend through e-mail or post the Stop Medicine Abuse widget to your blog or web site. The more parents are aware of cough medicine abuse, the better we can prevent this behavior from happening in our communities.

Have you talked with other parents about cough medicine abuse? Share your advice about having this conversation at the Stop Medicine Abuse Fan page

Friday, May 15, 2009

As a Parent Advocate, I always find the some of the best parenting tips and articles on Education.com.

Education.com continues to bring many parents, educators and others working with today children up-to-date and timely articles to help us better understand help us raise our kids in today’s society. Summer is around the corner and here are some great parenting tips that can help motivate your kids in a positive direction.

Positive Parenting Tips for Summer
by Trish Hatch, Ph.D Source: American School Counselor Association
Topics: Communicating With Children of All Ages, more…
Summer Safety

For 180 days a year, school counselors work with students on how to express their feelings in appropriate ways, how to deal with their anger and how to cope with stressful situations. But what happens when school is not in session, especially during the extended summer break? As a parent, you are the most influential person in your children’s lives, and how you work through family issues can have a positive influence on behavior throughout the family as well as the school. Following are some parenting tips to work on throughout the summer months.

Sibling conflicts: Stay on the sidelines of sibling arguments (unless there is bloodshed) and help your children learn to appropriately express their negative feelings. At my school, students learn to use the “magic sentence.” The sentence includes phrases such as “I feel…because,”"I want you to…” and “I am willing to…” Example: “I feel angry because you called me a name and I want you to stop. I am willing to stop calling you names.”

Using the magic sentence requires practice and parental guidance. It may feel contrived at first, but if your children and you get into the habit of thinking and stating your feelings rather than acting out, you’ll find it opens up the lines of communication and decreases outbursts.

Encourage your children to listen to other people’s magic sentences and then repeat back to them what they understand they heard. If they think they heard, “You said you don’t want me calling you a frog face - even though you really are one. And you want me to stop, but I won’t until you do,” then they may have to listen (or repeat it again) until they get it right.

Discipline: Children develop security, increased self-esteem and have fewer behavioral problems when in an environment that provides consistency, rules, consequences, praise and positive acclamations. Consistency means your behavior as a parent is absolutely predictable; this is key. To a child this means, “Every time I throw a fit in the store, Mom or Dad will leave the store” If you give in once, it’s like a slot machine that pays off. Winning once is addicting. If the slot never paid, no one would ever put money in.

Having rules in print is important. When the child breaks a rule, the parent can point to a printed sheet and ask, “What is the rule?” This takes the heat off the parent as the bad guy and places it on the “rule.” Rules must be clearly stated and reasonable for the child’s age, developmental level and emotional stability. In some situations, the rules can be created with the child, which creates buy-in. For example: The rule might read: “Marie’s bed time is 8 p.m.” When Marie tries to negotiate for a later time, the parent asks the child, “What is the rule?”and the answer is clear.

Also choose consequences that fit when rules are broken. Coming home late from a friend’s house should result in your child not being able to see the friend for a few days. Missing a trip to the amusement park as punishment does not fit this offense. Praise is also important. Look for the good in your child and praise it. Sometimes parents must look hard to find something to praise, but you still should look for it. Also work to build your child’s self-esteem through positive acclamations, such as “You know Billy, I love you because you’re my son, but I really like you because you’re you.” Messages like these really help in building self-esteem, especially when they are unearned and spontaneous. Your child always will appreciate them.

Parental conflicts: Two wonderful words can be used when your child wants to engage in an unending argument with you or chooses to defy your authority. They are “nevertheless” and “regardless.” For example:

Parent: John, please pick up your room and then feed the dog.Child: But Mom, Sarah never has to do any chores.Parent: Nevertheless, I want you to pick up your room and feed the dog.
By using these simple argument deflectors you can avoid the confrontation and negotiation and keep the child’s focus on the issue. These deflectors can be used to avoid arguments in almost any situation. In resolving conflicts at home, especially those regarding how thoroughly your children have accomplished their chores, it helps to specify the task while being direct and to the point. In this way, there is no confusion. You will have the greatest success if you keep the statements short and direct, and you child will feel more successful upon completion. As always, don’t forget to praise a job well done.

Family meetings: At least one night a week should be set aside for family meetings. These should be open forum in that everyone should have an opportunity to tell how they feel. A family meeting isn’t the time to punish or discipline but rather to listen to your children’s feelings and concerns and to ask them to listen to yours. Only through open, honest communication can a family increase its positive relationships and grow together.

Parenting is hard work. There is no instruction manual for children when they are born. Therefore, we must try new things, hone our skills, learn from and support each other and give ourselves a break when we have rough days. It helps to have a positive attitude.

Remember these two phrases from Janet Lane and Henry Chester. Lane says, “Of all the things you wear, your expression is the most important.”Chester says, “Enthusiasm is the greatest asset in the world. It beats money, power and influence.”

Trish Hatch, Ph.D., is assistant principal, Moreno Valley High School in Moreno Valley, Calif. She can be reached at thatch@mvusd.k21.ca

Monday, May 4, 2009

Sue Scheff: Middle School Sex

“I wanted to be in the 'in' crowd and my friends. And I wanted to be able to say 'yes, I've had sex before,'”

– Katelyn, Age 13

Katelyn is now 16, but when she was only 13, “I started skipping school,” she says. “Having sex.”

“I wanted to be in the ‘in’ crowd and my friends,” Katelyn explains, “and I wanted to be able to say ‘yes, I’ve had sex before’.”

According to a new study by the University of Texas, 12 percent of 7th graders have had sex. Nearly 8 percent have had oral sex. What’s more, nearly a third aren’t using protection.

Experts say one problem is instead of getting information about sex from their parents and other adults, kids are getting it from other kids.

“And a lot of the information that they are getting from each other is poor information, its misinformation, and it’s not good,” says sex educator, Sheena Pope-Holland.

And in a time when sexual messages are everywhere, parents need to have lots of conversations about sex and they need to begin when the kids are young.

“What they can expect to face in terms of pressures from their friends,” explains teen counselor Marie Mitchell, “In terms of what these new feelings will mean in their lives, what the consequences of acting on those feelings might be.”

She says parents also need to be pro-active: Get to know your child's friends. Know what they’re doing and where they're going and when they’re supposed to return.

And make sure your rules are age appropriate.

“You don't allow a 13-year-older to go out on a date by herself, because she's not mature enough to handle those situations,” says Mitchell.

Katelyn has been abstinent for over a year. What convinced her were conversations with teenage mothers.

“That was I think the biggest slap in the face to me…for somebody outside of my family to tell me ‘you’re dumb, you’re stupid, look where I am, I have nothing, I have absolutely nothing…do you want to be like this when you’re my age?’”

Tips for Parents
The American Academy of Pediatrics has suggested that portrayals of sex on entertainment television may contribute to precocious adolescent sex. Approximately two-thirds of television programs contain sexual content, and adolescents who viewed more sexual content were more likely to initiate intercourse and progress to more advanced non-coital sexual activities. Youths in the top 10th percentile of television sex viewing were twice as likely to have sex as those youths who were in the bottom 10th percentile of viewing.

Adolescence is a key period of sexual exploration and development. This is the time when teens begin to consider which sexual behaviors are enjoyable, moral and appropriate for their age group. Many teens become sexually active during this period; currently, 46 percent of high school students in the United States admit to having had sexual intercourse. Consider the following:

By ninth grade, 34 percent of teens have had sexual intercourse. By 12th grade, this figure increases to 60 percent.
On average, teens watch three hours of television every day.
Watching a program that talked about sex was associated with the same risks as exposure to a program that depicted sexual behavior.
Approximately one in seven television programs includes a portrayal of sexual intercourse.
Television programs with sexual content have an average of 4.4 scenes per hour containing sexually related material.
Youths who watched more depictions of sexual risks or safety were less likely to initiate intercourse.
Watching sex on television predicts and may hasten adolescent sexual initiation. Reducing the amount of sexual content in entertainment programming, reducing adolescent exposure to this content, or increasing references to and depictions of the possible negative consequences of sexual activity could delay when teens embark on sexual activities. A quarter of all sexually active teens will contract a sexually transmitted disease each year. According to 57 percent of adults and 72 percent of teens, the media has given "more attention" to teen pregnancy prevention in recent years.

Remember that as a parent you may be able to reduce the effects of sexual content in the media by watching television with your teenagers and discussing your own beliefs about sex and the behaviors being portrayed. Most parents say they have discussed sex with their teenagers, but far fewer teenagers say they had such talks with their parents. Sixty-nine percent of teens report that it would be "much easier" to postpone sexual activity if they could have "more open, honest conversations" about sex with their parents. In addition:

About 60 percent of teens have a television in their bedroom. The only way to keep parental control of television viewing is to not let your teen have a television in the bedroom.
Unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases are more common among those who begin sexual activity earlier.
Two-thirds of sexually experienced teens wish they had waited longer to have intercourse.
Seventy-nine percent of teenage virgins are not embarrassed to tell others they have not had sex.
Youngsters who receive little parental supervision may have more time and freedom to watch sexually based programming and more opportunities to engage in sexual activity.
The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation
Medical News Today
Rand Corporation
Talk With Your Kids
USA Today