Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Sue Scheff - Military Schools


As a parent that had a son graduate a very prestigious Military School, I know the firsthand what an honor and privilege he was given. Many parents think of Military Schools as a punishment or where the “troubled” kids go - that is simply a myth. My son was accepted in accordance with his GPA as well as letters of references and interviewing with the school. It is almost as rigid as applying for some colleges. To further my opinion of Military Schools, when my son interviewed and applied to Universities, all the Admissions Directors were extremely impressed with his schooling at a Military School and was accepted to all the colleges he applied to.


Has your child mentioned military academies to you? Have they expressed an interest in attending such a school? If so, you as a parent have an obligation to listen, and more importantly to help them make the right decision. Many ADD/ADHD students do very well in Military Schools.


A military school teaches various ages (middle school, high school, or both) in a manner that includes military traditions and training in military subjects. The military is a prominent force in America today, and with so much press it is very easy for a child to become exposed to this type of education as a viable option in their own lives. While this is perfectly acceptable on its own, like many of life’s choices it needs to be considered fully before a commitment is made. There are many factors that go into choosing the type of schooling that is appropriate for your child, and it is important that you and your child approach the subject together, as the both of you will have to reap the consequences of this decision in the future.


It is advisable to assess honestly the needs of your child, the requirements that will be placed upon them in a military school and what you as a parent bring to the mix. With many students the structure and positive discipline that military schools offer are very beneficial. It not only encourages them to become the best they can be, it enhances them to grow into mature respectable young men and women. Military schools and academies offer a student the opportunity to reach their highest academic potential as well as build up their self-esteem to make better choices in today’s society, within a very rigid and disciplined framework. It is this framework that forms the backbone of the military school experience, and one of the chief distinctions between military educations and those of other schools. It is important to note that this structure will suit some students more than others, and this will largely determine a child’s chances of success in a military school setting. Military schools can give your child the vision to reach their goals and dreams for their future. The high level of academics combined with small class sizes create a strong educational background from which they grow into productive, happy adults.


If you have questions for me, please visit http://www.helpyourteens.com/ - and email or call me. Second semester is starting soon, it is a great opportunity to see if your child is a good candidate for Military School.
954-349-7260

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Sue Scheff - Parenting Teens - What Video Games Are They Playing?

Do you know about the video games your kids just received for the holidays? Be an educated parent - keep informed. Connect with Kids offers great parenting tips to help you.

Source: Connect with Kids www.connectwithkids.com

Violent Video Games

“You can do anything. Just try to kill him.”

– T.J Trimmer, 12-year-old video game player

12-year-old T. J. Trimmer is playing one of his favorite video games- Mortal Kombat.

The goal, he says simply, is to beat your opponent. “You can do anything,” T.J. says, his fingers frantically manipulating dials and buttons. “Just try to kill him. Like right now I’m attacking this guy with, like, punches and kicks. There are all these special moves that you can use…You attack your opponent….it’ll do more damage to him when you have one of (these) weapons.”

But according to new research from Iowa State University, T.J. isn’t just hurting his opponents.

Researchers studies over 1,500 kids and found that the children who played violent video games were more aggressive afterwards than those who did not.

“They’re not just releasing aggression,” says child psychiatrist Dr. Adolph Casal. “They’re practicing aggression. When we practice something, we get good at it. If we don’t practice something, we don’t get good at it. So spending a considerable amount of time in an aggressive, violent situation on a daily basis, is going to improve our aggression skills.”

Of course, T.J. disagrees. “Like this way, you take your anger out on someone else, but you don’t really take it out on someone. You can take it out on this.”

Experts say parents need to set rules about which games they will allow their children to play and for how long.


Tips for Parents
The video-game industry has undergone a dramatic change since the birth of Super Mario, the happy acrobat who once thrilled children for hours as they played with their Nintendo systems. Today, dark and adult-themed games like Grand Theft Auto and Mortal Kombat are outselling kids’ games. Even Nintendo has switched gears by offering games with edgier subjects like the zombies featured in Resident Evil.

Why has the landscape of the video-game industry undergone such drastic change? Consider these statistics from the Entertainment Software Association:

The average game player is 35 years old and has been playing games for 13 years.
The average age of the most frequent game purchaser is 40 years old.
Forty percent of all game players are women. In fact, women over the age of 18 represent a significantly greater portion of the game-playing population (33 percent) than boys age 17 or younger (18 percent).
In 2008, 26 percent of Americans over the age of 50 played video games, an increase from nine percent in 1999.
Thirty-six percent of heads of households play games on a wireless device, such as a cell phone or PDA, up from 20 percent in 2002.
In its annual report at the end of 2008, the consumer watchdog organization the National Institute on Media and the Family (NIMF) gave the video-game industry nearly straight-A’s, with particularly high grades in the rating system and retail policies.

Parents, on the other hand, scored an “incomplete” by NIMF, due mainly to their lack of attention to the ratings system and because most don’t use the parental control features on game consoles.

As a parent, how can you prevent your child from becoming exposed to violent or sexually explicit media? You can start by familiarizing yourself with the video game rating system. The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) rates every video and computer game for age appropriateness (located on the front of the packaging) and, when appropriate, labels games with content descriptions. The ESRB’s current rating standard is as follows:

E: Everyone
T: Teens (13 and older)
M: Mature audiences (17 and older)
AO: Adults only
Children Now, a research and action organization, offers these additional tips for helping you to choose the right video games for your child:

Know your child. Different children handle situations differently. Regardless of age, if your child becomes aggressive or unsettled after playing violent video games, don’t buy games with violence in them. Likewise, if your child likes playing games with characters that look like her or him, purchase games with characters that fit the bill.
Read more than the ratings. While the ESRB ratings can be helpful, they do not tell the whole story. Some features that you may consider violent or sexual may not be labeled as such by the ESRB. In addition, the ESRB does not rate games for the positive inclusion of females or characters of color. The language on the packaging may give you a better idea of the amount and significance of violence and sexuality and the presence of gender and racial diversity or stereotypes in the game.
Go online. The ESRB website provides game ratings as well as definitions of the rating system. In addition, you can visit game maker and distributor websites to learn more about the contents of a game. Some have reviews that will provide even more information about the game.
Rent before you buy. Many video rental stores also rent video games and consoles. Take a trial run before you purchase a game.
Talk to other parents. Find out which games other parents like and dislike as well as which games they let your child play when he or she visits their house. This is a good way to learn about the games that your child enjoys and those that other parents approve of, and to let other parents know which games you do not want your child playing.
Play the games with your child. Know what your child is being exposed to and how he or she reacts to different features in the games.
Talk about what you see. If your child discovers material that he or she finds disturbing or that you find inappropriate, talk about it. This is a great opportunity to let your child know what your values are as well as to help him or her deal with images that may be troubling.
Set limits. If you are worried that your child spends too much time playing video games, limit the amount of time or specify the times of day that video games can be played.
Put the games in a public space. Just as with the Internet, keep your game consoles and computers in public family space so that you can be aware of the material your child is viewing.
Contact the game makers. If you find material that you think is offensive or inappropriate, let the people who make and sell the games know about it. Likewise, let game makers know if you think that a game provides healthy messages or images. They do care what you think!
To make your search easier, the NIMF cites the following video games that are either positive for children or contain negative images for children to avoid:

Positive games for your child:

Guitar Hero World Tour
Rock Band 2
Rock Revolution
Spider-Man: Web of Shadows
Shaun White Snowboard
Games that are inappropriate for your child:

Blitz: The League II
Dead Space
Fallout 3
Far Cry 2
Gears of War 2
Legendary
Left 4 Dead
Resistance 2
Saints Row 2
Silent Hill: Homecoming

References
Children Now
Entertainment Software Rating Board
Federal Trade Commission
Interactive Digital Software Association
Iowa State University
National Institute on Media and the Family

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Sue Scheff: More Kids Value Giving




“You don’t get paid, but see that’s not the issue really, the issue is just helping out and you have fun while you do it.”

– Vishnu Kuttappan, 16 years old

For years, Vishnu wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a doctor. But after volunteering at a hospital, he’s not so sure. “It’s kind of a battle,” Vishnu says, “between me, you know, sticking to medicine—and I like medicine a lot—or trying something new.”

Vishnu is part of a new trend among teens who volunteer in order not only to help their community, but also to choose a career.

“If you want to go into medicine,” Vishnu says, “you know, you can learn facts all you want, but until you’re in a hospital, you won’t really experience what it’s like.”

Teens say volunteering also teaches them respect and compassion for others.

“You don’t get paid, but see that’s not the issue really, the issue is just helping out and you have fun while you do it.”

Vishnu’s father, Dr. Muthu Kuttappan says, “I think that’s a very encouraging step and I hope other students follow, get a first hand knowledge of what is the real world.”

Experts add that when teens volunteer they are less likely to abuse drugs and alcohol, and are more apt to do well in school.

Hospital Volunteer Coordinator Susan Esslinger says, “Hopefully when they’re 40, 50, 60, 70 years old, they’ll still have that sense of volunteerism in giving back to the community, whether it’s at a hospital or a soup kitchen or whatever the place may be.”

Tips for Parents
While many adults are convinced of a decline in the values and morals of today’s young people, recent surveys show that many teens are giving of their time to work for causes they believe in and to help those that are less fortunate. Teens find volunteer opportunities through religious organizations, school-based programs and community agencies.

There are several reasons why teens choose to volunteer:

Compassion for people in need
Feeling they can do something for a cause in which they believe
A belief that if they help others, others will help them
In addition, some teens volunteer their time in occupational fields in which they are interested. In addition to being helpful, they are able to use their experiences in deciding on future career choices.

Teens reported benefiting from their volunteer experiences in many ways, including:

Learning to respect others
Learning to be helpful and kind
Learning to understand people who are different from them
Developing leadership skills
Becoming more patient
Gaining a better understanding of good citizenship
Exploring or learning about career options
Developing new career goals
Children learn from their parents. The survey showed teens that reported having positive role models were nearly twice as likely to volunteer as those who did not. Encourage your child to volunteer by setting an example.

Youth Service America provides additional ways to increase teen volunteerism:

Ask them to volunteer.
Encourage youth to get involved at an early age. Volunteering when young creates lifelong adult volunteers.
Encourage children and young adults to participate in community groups, faith-based organizations, student government, and school projects.
Encourage a positive self-image so that young people are able to help others and contribute to their communities.
Be a mentor in your community.
Provide young people with opportunities to take courses that include and even require community service.
References
The Higher Education Research Institute
The Independent Sector
Youth Service America

Monday, December 22, 2008

Sue Scheff - Teenage Pregnancy

Every year, approx. 750,000 teenage girls become pregnant in the United States. That is roughly 1/3 of the age group’s population, a startling fact! Worse, more than 2/3 of teens who become mothers will not graduate from high school.

If you are a parent who has recently discovered that your teenage daughter is pregnant or may be pregnant, we understand your fear and pain. This is a difficult and serious time in both yours and your daughters’ life.
Our organization, Parent’s Universal Resource Experts (P.U.R.E.™) works closely with parents and teenagers in many troubling situations, such as unplanned pregnancy. We understand how you feel!

No matter what happens, you and your daughter must work together to make the best choice for her and her unborn child. Your support and guidance is imperative as a mother. You CAN make it through as a family!

We have created this website as a reference for parents dealing with teenage pregnancy in hope that we can help you through the situation and make the best decisions.

Please visit our website, Help Your Teens, for more information as well as support.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Sue Scheff - Parenting ADHD

Source: ADDitude Magazine

4 Ways to Be a Better Parent: Raising ADHD Children

Expert advice for parenting your ADHD children -- forging powerful connections and becoming a positive life coach.

by Edward Hallowell, M.D.

Parenting children with attention deficit disorder (ADD ADHD) brings more ups and downs than a roller coaster.
One day you're basking in your child's creativity, the next you're worried about his social isolation and discipline problems at school. You do everything you can think of to help your son or daughter, yet wonder if you could do more.
What does it take to be a good, even great, parent of an ADD child? How can you create an environment that helps your special, wonderful child overcome the obstacles in his path?
Let me suggest four strategies:

1. Forge connections

Once you've taken care of your child's safety and feeding, your top job as a parent is to help her feel connected. By this, I mean creating an environment in which she feels part of something big and warm and benevolent. Reading to your child" is a great way to create connections. Sharing a bedtime story each evening (and doing a little cuddling in the process) lets you create a special, "slowed-down time together, and, of course, it's a great way to build your child's vocabulary.
Don't assume you have to give up this ritual once your child is reading on his own. You can continue it well into his teens.

How else can you create connections? Consider getting a family pet. And encourage contact between your child and his extended family. Frequent visits or calls from relatives extend a net of warmth and caring around your child. One of my favorite research studies showed that the single best predictor of happiness in adulthood is whether a person regularly shared family dinners when growing up.

2. Stay positive

It's too easy for parents to focus only on the problems associated with ADD. Yes, children with ADHD lose things. Yes, they often forget to turn in their homework. Yes, they are easily frustrated. But constantly harping on your child's shortcomings only undermines his self-confidence and optimism.

Try focusing on the positives for a change. What is it that your son does well? What hidden (or not-so-hidden) strengths does your daughter have? One mom I know used to say that her ADD daughter had trouble seeing the fish in the aquarium at the doctor's office - because she was so fascinated by the tiny fish eggs clinging to one leaf of an aquatic plant. Well, that daughter is now hoping to use her ability to see the unusual to launch a career in fashion design.

3. Be a coach

Helping your child grow into a happy, successful adult involves more than giving her medication each day. It means helping her find success and confidence in relationships and activities that she enjoys. Medication can be instrumental in helping her apply the brakes to her racecar brain. But medication alone is never enough.

Certain issues will persist throughout your child's school career - and, in all likelihood, her whole life. I'm talking about practical matters, like getting along with others, planning each day, and staying motivated in the face of setbacks. As a parent, you must be ready to help your child in these areas. Medication is not the whole treatment for ADD. Never was, never will be.

4. Allow time for play

Parents sometimes fear that their child won't "keep up" or develop friendships unless he is signed up for several organized activities - sports, clubs, and so on. But kids need some time for unstructured play. It shows them that they can learn to create joy all by themselves - a skill that will help them preserve the positive energy of childhood into their adult years. So pick a couple of things your child loves, then give him the gift of time.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Sue Scheff - Teen Eating Disorders


As the holidays are here, parents should be aware of their teens and tweens concerns with body image. Today’s peer pressure compounded with Internet Images of what a teen should look like, can add stress and frustration to a young teen (both girls and boys).


Eating Disorders can sometimes be hard to recognize. As a parent, it is important to be informed and know the warning signs.


Here is a great article from Connect with Kids from this week’s parenting articles and tips:


“I would never want to look at one. I think that would be really depressing to tell you the truth.”
– Mary Hardin, 14 years old


What Mary doesn’t want to see, to millions others is just a few key words and mouse clicks away.
“Who’s the skinniest and how can they stay the skinniest (or) here’s how you can have only one thing to eat all day or how you can survive on water and gum,” explains Bryna Livingston, a licensed clinical social worker who specializes in eating disorders.


Livingston is referring to pro-anorexia websites – where girls are applauded for losing weight and surviving hunger – that are emerging on the Internet. On many such sites, anorexics journal thoughts and feelings and even post pictures of their thin celebrity idols.


“It’s a pseudo-support group, and the problem is you’re not really getting support,” says Livingston. “You’re feeding a competition. You’re feeding a disease, and you’re feeding what you want to hear so you don’t have to make any changes.”


For Mary Hardin, change was hard. She struggled with anorexia for three years. These websites, she says, spell danger. “I think (the websites) could have really made me worse and (made me) fall more into my eating disorder and encouraged me more,” she says. “That’s the last thing I needed was to be encouraged to be in an eating disorder.”


Experts say parents of anorexics have to show tough love, especially if their child is being enticed by these Internet sites. “I’d turn off the computer. I’d get it out of the house,” says Livingston.
Mary’s advice: “Listen to who you trust. Do you trust your family and your friends, or do you trust these people (on the Internet) that you don’t even know that are trying to give you lessons about your life?”
Luckily, Mary avoided the lure of anorexia websites when she was struggling with her illness. After years of therapy and family support, she says she is now healed. “It is possible to recover and to be a healthy girl with a happy life after it all,” she says. “There is hope to get through it.”

Tips for Parents


Many dangerous places exist in cyberspace, especially for those with body image difficulties. A quick, easy Google search can produce a long list of pro-anorexia and pro-bulimia websites – places where those who suffer from eating disorders (ED) support each other and establish a sense of community. There are at least 100 active pro-anorexia and pro-bulimia sites. Some statistics state that several of these sites have accumulated tens of thousands of hits. Many sites treat eating disorders as lifestyle choices, rather than the illnesses they truly are. Most personify anorexia (“Ana”) and bulimia (“Mia”) into companions – individuals one can look to for guidance and strength.


The medical community classifies eating disorders as mental illnesses. Experts say girls with eating disorders focus on their bodies in a misguided bid to resolve deeper psychological issues, believing that they can fix their inner troubles by achieving a perfect outside. Eating disorder specialists say pro-anorexia sites are particularly dangerous since those suffering from the disease are usually in deep denial and cling to the illness to avoid dealing with its psychological underpinnings. Websites that glorify eating disorders make treatment increasingly difficult.


Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.


There are an estimated 7 million females and 1 million males suffering from eating disorders in the United States.


The Harvard Eating Disorders Center estimates that 3 percent of adolescent women and girls have anorexia, bulimia or binge-eating disorders.


Four-of-five 13-year-old girls have attempted to lose weight.


One study showed that 42 percent of first- through third-grade girls want to be thinner.


About 1 percent of females between 10 and 20 have anorexia nervosa. Between 2 percent and 3 percent of young women develop bulimia nervosa. Almost half of all anorexics will develop bulimia or bulimic patterns.Without treatment, up to 20 percent of people with serious eating disorders die. With treatment, the mortality rate falls to 2 to 3 percent. The recovery rate with treatment is about 60 percent. Alas, only 10 percent of those with eating disorders receive treatment.


Pro-ED sites are just one reason why parents need to monitor children’s online behavior. In the web journals or logs (blogs) of these sites, users share near-starvation diets, offer tips for coping with hunger and detail ways to avoid the suspicions of family members. They post “thinspiration” – images from the media of their ideal celebrities, such as supermodel Kate Moss and the Olsen twins. They discuss extreme calorie restriction and weight loss through laxatives, diet pills and purging (self-induced vomiting).


Between the ages of 8 and 14, females naturally gain at least 40 pounds.


More than half of teenage girls are – or think they should be – on diets.


Websites were changing the very culture surrounding eating disorders, making them more acceptable to girls on and off the Internet.


Pro-ED sites thrive off the denial aspect of the illnesses while promoting the perceived benefits of having an eating disorder.

References


Anorexia Nervosa and Related Eating Disorders, Inc.
Harvard Eating Disorders Center
The National Institute of Mental Health
Reuters
Socialist Voice of Women
South Carolina Department of Mental Health


I also recommend you visit a survivor of Eating Disorders, Lori Hanson’s website at http://www.lori-hanson.com/ and check out her book, It All Started with Pop-Tarts.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Weston mother helps other parents


Posted on Sun, Dec. 14, 2008
Weston mother helps other parents
By JULIE LEVIN


When Sue Scheff was at the end of her rope trying to deal with her own out-of-control teenager, she admits she never could have imagined a time when she would become a leading voice in the field of parent advocacy.
Yet the Weston author is rapidly becoming a familiar face in the national spotlight speaking about just that.

''I never went into this to become a national voice or figure, but that is what I have become,'' said Scheff, author of Wit's End: Advice and Resources for Saving Your Out of Control Teen.

Scheff appeared last month on the Lifetime Network's daily television series The Balancing Act during an episode entitled ``Plain Talk and Straight Answers for Parents with Troubled Teens.''

A taping with the Oprah Winfrey show also is planned.

Wit's End, a 168-page book released earlier this year, is a tool for parents navigating the choices and methods available to help struggling teens.

Scheff, now a full-time parent advocate, said she wrote the book not as an expert or therapist but as a parent who endured a long and painful experience trying to help her daughter, Ashlyn.

Almost a decade ago, she watched her child go from promising athlete to troubled teen, repeatedly running away, being verbally abusive and having serious problems at home and school.

With no experience or help to fall back on, she enrolled Ashlyn in a residential treatment facility that wouldn't allow her contact with her daughter for six months.

She would later learn her daughter endured months of beatings, sexual abuse, starvation and neglect.

''It nearly destroyed her,'' Scheff said. ``It took us two years to deprogram her after what they had done.''

The experience led Scheff to her new purpose. She founded a group called PURE, or Parents Universal Resource Experts, which she said has served thousands as a parent advocacy group.

Through Wit's End, she provides parents with resources to help them sort out and evaluate treatment options, including therapeutic boarding schools and treatment centers.

''You step into an arena of teen help and you are bombarded with a barrage of information,'' she said. ``This is one way to help sort it out.''

In her newfound role as advocate, Scheff also has appeared nationally on the ABC news magazine program 20/20, The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet and Rachael Ray, among others.

Ashlyn, now 23, has seemingly rebounded and gone on to coaching gymnastics and becoming a mother herself.

Scheff said she would like their story to provide a light for other families.

''I think any parent out there struggling with a teen right now, you don't see the hope and you don't think you will ever come out of it. I didn't think I would,'' she said. ```But now I look back and see all those dark times have actually helped others.''

For information, visit www.suescheff.net .

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Parents Universal Resource Experts - Sue Scheff - Parenting at Your Wit's End

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

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Sue Scheff: Parenting and The Value of the Internet


As usual, Connect with Kids offers valuable articles for parents. This week they touch on the critical subject of our kids and the Internet. I know first hand the pros and cons of Cyberspace, however the challenge is getting our children to understand how important it is to protect yourself online and know that the Internet has a vast amount of great information but like with many things in life, you need to be aware of the pitfalls that may come with it.



“I wasn’t like other kids, you know, they had the Internet at home and I didn’t, so I felt like I was being deprived of something.”
– Ashley, 16 years old


Sixteen-year-old Ashley has always been a good student, but two years ago, she became a better student.
“In my history class, where we had to do a lot of research, I went from a B to an A,” she says.
What made the difference? Ashley believes it was her increased use of the Internet. She always had Web access at school but not at home.


“I wasn’t like other kids, you know, they had the Internet at home and I didn’t, so I felt like I was being deprived of something,” Ashley says.


Researchers, funded by the MacArthur Foundation, observed over 800 teens and their parents. The study found that, sure enough, parents think that spending hours online is unproductive for kids. But, the study also found that online teenagers are learning- socially, technologically … and academically.


“They are spending more time looking at text, so certainly they are going to be exposed to more reading opportunities,“ says Christine Colborne, an English teacher.


“You have to read through the websites,” Ashley says. “You have to read through the links and everything like that. So it does improve reading skills. And I think it improves vocabulary.”


But some experts warn parents to be cautious. Simply having online access is not a guarantee your child is learning.


“Many students are on the Internet simply in chat rooms. They are on the Internet looking up graphical material. They are looking up websites that are not text intensive where they are purchasing things or they are looking up pictures or downloading pictures,” Colborne says.


Ashley’s parents have set up filters on her computer that limit her access to inappropriate sites. Still, she says having the Internet at her fingertips at school and at home has opened a world of opportunities.
“I’m able to meet new friends, new people … to explore new subjects that I never knew about,” she says.

Tips for Parents


Another study by Michigan State University found that contrary to popular belief, spending time surfing the Internet can actually be beneficial to children. The study, which analyzed the Internet use of 120 parents and 140 children, found no negative effect on users’ social involvement or psychological well-being. In fact, researchers say that Internet use actually increased the children’s grade-point averages and standardized test scores.
As a parent, you are faced with the monumental task of monitoring the activities of your child in a world of virtually unlimited sources of information. One of the most expansive, confusing and frightening sources of information available to children today is the Internet.


You can take a number of steps to communicate the appropriate use of the Internet and other technologies to your child.


The Cyber Citizen Partnership offers these tips for setting Internet limits for your child:
Be aware of your child’s computer skills and interests. Remember that it takes only a little knowledge to wreak a lot of havoc. Often, kids will develop technical skills and look for ways to challenge themselves.
Focus your child’s interests. If you recognize that your child is interested in exploring computer technology, you can reinforce positive behavior and encourage positive applications of this interest. Ideas include encouraging emailing with friends and family to become comfortable with appropriate and respectful online communication; recommending that your child adopt a position of responsibility in school as a computer monitor to assist classmates with computer use; fostering creative computer use by developing a personal or family website; or suggesting participation in school or community programs that teach in-depth technological skills or offer challenging technical opportunities.


Explore the Internet together. Ask your child to teach you about the Internet, visit educational sites, email questions and participate in online discussions together.


Take advantage of teachable moments. ­ When events or activities arise that provide the right time and place to do so, take advantage of these moments to help your child understand the issues involved in good cyber citizenship. For example, take time to read news articles about hacking or cyber crime incidents to your child and discuss the impact it has had on those involved. Use personal situations to frame the context of these discussions (e.g., ask your child how cyber crimes or irresponsible online behavior could affect friends and family). Address cyber ethics messages as your child conducts research online or shares his experiences on computers at school.

References
Cyber Citizen Partnership
Michigan State University
University of California-Irvine

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Sue Scheff: Safe Teen Driving Information


At holiday times - the busy roads can be frustrating for adult drivers, however for the inexperienced teen driver it could be potential dangerous. Parents, take a moment to educate yourself on Safe Teen Driving. Visit http://www.safeteendrivingclub.org/ for valuable, life saving information.


Parents: as your teen begins driving, you are entering the most dangerous phase of your entire child-rearing career.


You might have seen that comment elsewhere on our site. It bears repeating.


Teens are under the control and influence of parents. There is no more important factor that affects a teen's driving behavior than parents. Here are some excellent insights into parenting issues that we hope you'll find helpful.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Sue Scheff: Next Generation Parenting - Innovative Parenting


Check out this new innovative parenting website - http://www.nextgenparenting.com/ - which offers great idea, parenting skills, parenting books, Blogs and more!


Parenting today has become more and more challenging. Whether it is Social Networking, Texting or some other new form of communication this New Generation of kids are using - we as parents need to keep informed and up to date!


Check out their NextGenBlog here: http://nextgenparenting.com/blog/

Friday, December 5, 2008

Sue Scheff: Drug Free America


Parenting today has become more challenging than ever. Social Networking is expanding a new area of concern for parents - and today more than ever, parents need to be informed and keep updated about substance abuse, teen drug use, huffing, drinking, inhalant use and other harmful habits. Peer pressure, the need to fit in - combined with kids suffering with low self esteem can lead to negative behavior.


Stay informed - visit http://www.drugfree.org/ to keep yourself educated.


The Partnership for a Drug-Free America is a nonprofit organization that unites parents, renowned scientists and communications professionals to help families raise healthy children. Best known for its research-based national public education programs, the Partnership motivates and equips parents to prevent their children from using drugs and alcohol, and to find help and treatment for family and friends in trouble. The centerpiece of this effort is an online resource center at drugfree.org, featuring interactive tools that translate the latest science and research on teen behavior, addiction and treatment into easy to understand tips and tools. Research conducted by AP and MTV recently showed that kids see their parents as heroes— at drugfree.org, parents can connect with each other, tap into expert advice for children of all ages, and find the support they want and need in their role as hero to their kids. The Partnership depends on donations from individuals, corporations, foundations and other contributors. The Partnership thanks SAG/AFTRA, the advertising industry and our media partners for their ongoing generosity.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Sue Scheff - Teen Peer Pressure


Peer Pressure leads to "Good Teens Making Bad Choices" which is very common today.


Teen Peer Pressure can be extremely damaging to a pre-teen or teen that is desperately trying to fit in somewhere – anywhere in their school. They are not sure what group they belong in, and those that are suffering with low self esteem can end up fitting more comfortably with the less than desirable peers. This can be the beginning of a downward spiral. When a child doesn’t have confidence of who they are or where they belong, it can lead to the place that is easiest to fit in – usually the not the best crowd.


Keeping your child involved in activities such as sports, music and school clubs can help give them a place where they belong. We always encourage parents to find the one thing that truly interests their child, whether it is a musical instrument, swimming, golf, diving, dance, chess club, drama, etc. It is important to find out what their interests are and help them build on it. Encourage them 100%. They don’t need to be the next Tiger Woods, but they need to enjoy what they are doing and keep busy doing it. Staying busy in a constructive way is always beneficial.


It is very common with many parents that contact us that their child has fallen into the wrong crowd and has become a follower rather than a leader. They are making bad choices, choices they know better however the fear of not fitting in with their friends sways them to make the wrong decisions. Low self esteem can attribute to this behavior, and if it has escalated to a point of dangerous situations such as legal issues, substance use, gang related activity, etc. it may be time to seek outside help. Remember, don’t be ashamed of this, it is very common today and you are not alone. So many parents believe others will think it is a reflection of their parenting skills, however with today’s society; the teen peer pressure is stronger than it ever has been. The Internet explosion combined with many teens Entitlement Issues has made today’s generation a difficult one to understand.


It is so important to find the right fit for your child if you are seeking residential treatment. We always encourage *local adolescent counseling prior to any Residential Treatment Programs or Boarding schools, however this is not always necessary. Many parents have an instinct when their child is heading the wrong direction. It is an intuition only a parent can detect. If something doesn't seem right, it usually isn't. If your gut is talking to you, you may want to listen or investigate what your child is doing.


Parents need to understand that teen peer pressure can influence adolescents in negative ways. Do you know who your child’s friends are?


Sunday, November 30, 2008

Sue Scheff: Parenting Teens During Holiday Times



With today's economy, many parents are working full time and/or two jobs leaving many teens home alone. Many will spend their days online - however it is important to get them involved in constructive activities outside the home. This can also help build self esteem!

Is there a local Humane Society?

A local Nursing Home that needs help?

Maybe a Holiday Tree Stand that hires many teens to help carry the trees or deliver them?

Booths in malls that wrap gifts?

Jobs at movie theaters increase - check in your local area. Encourage your teen to get busy!

Keeping your teen active can help prevent them from mixing and hanging out with peers that are less than desirable and looking for trouble.




As difficult as it is, keep your lines of communication open!




They may think they need a break from the structure of school and studies, but help them to see that all these activities could be fun!




Parents, your employment is critical to feeding your family and keeping up with your mortgage or rent payments - but your parenting job is just as important to help prevent potential negative issues.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Parents Universal Resource Experts - Sue Scheff - Teens and Shoplifting

Holiday’s are officially here - malls are crowded - stores are busy with the holiday rush especially today on Black Friday.

It doesn’t matter your economic status, it seems some teens from all financial backgrounds will try their “hand” at shoplifting. Why? Peer pressure? Is it cool? Part of the crowd?

What constitutes shoplifting? It doesn’t have to be only stealing, shoplifting can include changing price tags (which is harder to do now with the bar scans in some stores), consuming food or drink without paying for it, leaving a restaurant without paying, wearing items out of a store (again, hoping there isn’t an alarm tag on them) - this and more will land you in legal trouble if you are caught.

Teens seem to believe it could never happen to them - however more and more I am hearing from parents that have had to deal with this.

To learn more, visit www.stopyourkidsfromshoplifting.com and get some great parenting tips such as:

Why Children Steal and Your Role in Preventing Retail Theft

Very young children sometimes take things they want without understanding why it’s wrong. Elementary school-aged children know better, but may lack enough self-control to stop themselves. Most preteens and teens shoplift as a result of social and personal pressure in their lives. Here are just a few of the reasons why:

• Feel peer pressure to shoplift
• Low self-esteem
• A cry for help or attention
• The na├»ve assumption they won’t get caught
• The belief that teen stealing is “not a big deal”
• Inability to handle temptation when faced with things they want
• The thrill involved
• Defiance or rebelliousness
• Not knowing how to work through feelings of anger, frustration, etc.
• Misconception that stores can afford the losses
• The desire to have the things that will get them “in” with a certain group of kids.
• To support a drug habit.
• To prove themselves to members of a gang.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Sue Scheff: Internet Addiction


Source: Connect with Kids



“You treat [Internet addiction] by improving the relationships in the person’s life, so that they have another choice of something that is more fulfilling for their heart and their soul to do.”
– Eddie Reece, M.S., L.P.C., Psychotherapist



China is expected to become the first country in the world to officially classify internet addiction as a mental disorder. And here at home, many psychologists say Internet addiction is just as real as an addiction to drugs or alcohol or gambling or anything else.



“You treat [Internet addiction] by improving the relationships in the person’s life, so that they have another choice of something that is more fulfilling for their heart and their soul to do.”-Eddie Reece, M.S., L.P.C., Psychotherapist



Just ask any teen - and many will say they can’t live without the Internet.



“I’d say out of any given week it probably takes up more than half of my time,” says Adam Schindler, a student at the Savannah College of Art and Design.



“It’s a big part of my life,” says 21-year-old Chris Skinner. “And even when we have problems at home, with an internet connection. It’s like the whole world has crumbled, sadly enough.”



Internet addiction. It’s become so common the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto has started a new treatment program for teens.



Experts say signs that your child might be in trouble include isolation, giving up activities he or she used to enjoy and irritability.



”You come in and you are just asking what do you want for dinner, and you get snapped at because you have interrupted their virtual world,” explains psychotherapist Eddie Reece, M.S., L.P.C.
So what should parents do if their child is substituting a virtual world for the real one?



“How about working on the relationship that you have with your children, so that it would be more interesting to them to talk to you, then it would be to be on the computer,” suggests Reece.



He says along with setting limits on screen time, tell them why you’re concerned. “And then you can bring up the conversation of, ‘you know I noticed you haven’t been playing with Billy very much lately, you know what happened there? And then listen.”



“You have to go outside and make that initial approach sometimes,” says 21-year-old Jessica Criss. “And sometimes it’s hard, but it ends up being more fun then getting no new messages for the day.”



Tips for Parents



For many parents, video games are likely to be low on the list of addiction risks for their children. But as the video industry continues to grow, video game addiction is a problem being faced by more and more parents. This is especially true as the landscape of the video-game industry continues to change. Gone are the days of Super Mario and Donkey Kong. In their places are dark, adult-themed games like Grand Theft Auto and Mortal Kombat.



Why has the landscape of the video-game industry undergone such drastic change? According to the Entertainment Software Association, players 18 and older now make up more than 50 percent of the market. And although more games with fast cars and gun-toting villains are being created for a mature audience, these same games also appeal to younger teens. In fact, a recent study conducted by the Federal Trade Commission found that out of 118 electronic games with a mature rating for violence, 70 percent of them actually targeted children under 17. In addition, the marketing plans for 51 percent of these games expressly included children under 17 in the target audience.



One of the reasons addiction to video games is a reality is because it isn’t viewed as a serious addiction risk by parents. And while video games in and of themselves are not bad, excessive and unobserved game playing can lead to problems. According to experts at the National Institute on Media and the Family (NIMF), there are steps you can take to lessen the likelihood of your child getting addicted to video games. Consider the following:



Limit game playing time. (Recommended: No more than one hour per day.)
Play with your child to become familiar with the games.
Provide alternative ways for your child to spend time.



Require that homework and jobs be done first; use video game playing as a reward.



Do not put video game set in a child’s room where he/she can shut the door and isolate himself/herself.
Talk about the content of the games.



Ask your video store to require parental approval before a violently rated video game can be rented by children.



When buying video games for your child, it is important to purchase games targeted at his/her audience. The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) rates every video and computer game for age appropriateness (located on the front of the packaging) and, when appropriate, labels games with content descriptions. The ESRB’s current rating standard is as follows:
EC – Early Childhood (3 and older)
E – Everyone (6 and older)
E10+ – Everyone (10 and older)
T – Teens (13 and older)
M – Mature audiences (17 and older)
AO – Adults Only
RP – Ratings Pending



There are also other considerations besides the rating to take into account when deciding whether to purchase a video game for your child. Children Now, a research and action organization, offers these additional tips for helping you to choose the right video games for your child:



Know your child. Different children handle situations differently. Regardless of age, if your child becomes aggressive or unsettled after playing violent video games, don’t buy games with violence in them. Likewise, if your child likes playing games with characters that look like him/her, purchase games with characters that fit the bill.



Read more than the ratings. While the ESRB ratings can be helpful, they do not tell the whole story. Some features that you may consider violent or sexual may not be labeled as such by the ESRB. In addition, the ESRB does not rate games for the positive inclusion of females. The language on the packaging may give you a better idea of the amount and significance of violence and sexuality and the presence of gender and racial diversity or stereotypes in the game.



Go online. The ESRB website provides game ratings as well as definitions of the rating system. In addition, you can visit game maker and distributor websites to learn more about the contents of a game. Some have reviews that will provide even more information about the game.



Rent before you buy. Many video rental stores also rent video games and consoles. Take a trial run before you purchase a game.



Talk to other parents. Find out which games other parents like and dislike, as well as which games they let your child play when he/she visits their house. This is a good way to learn about the games that your child enjoys and those that other parents approve of, and to let other parents know which games you do not want your child playing.



Play the games with your child. Know what your child is being exposed to and how he/she reacts to different features in the games.



Talk about what you see. If your child discovers material that he/she finds disturbing or that you find inappropriate, talk about it. This is a great opportunity to let your child know what your values are as well as to help him/her deal with images that may be troubling.



Set limits. If you are worried that your child spends too much time playing video games, limit the amount of time or specify the times of day that video games can be played.



Put the games in a public space. Just as with the Internet, keep your game consoles and computers in public family space so that you can be aware of the material your child is viewing.



Contact the game makers. If you find material that you think is offensive or inappropriate, let the people who make and sell the games know about it. Likewise, let game makers know if you think that a game provides healthy messages or images. They do care what you think!
References
American Psychiatric Association
American Psychological Association
Children Now
Entertainment Software Association
Entertainment Software Rating Board
Federal Trade Commission
National Alliance on Mental Illness
National Institute on Media and the Family

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sue Scheff: Teen Entitlement Issues


Does your teen have Entitlement Issues?

Does your teen expect more from you than they have earned or deserve?

Many parents only want the best for their children (usually more than they had growing up), but has this actually backfired on families?

In today’s society many teens have major entitlement issues. Many parents feel that giving their teen’s material items will somehow earn them respect. Quite frankly, the opposite occurs in most families. The more we give, the more our children expect and the less they respect us. We literally lose ourselves in buying our children’s love. At the end of the day, no one wins and life is a constant battle of anger, hopelessness, and debt.

While interviewing a young teen, she was recently given a new car – brand new – felt she deserved it since her parents gave her two used ones previously. She is only 17 years old and already controlling her household and believes she was entitled to this car. She shows no appreciation or respect to her parents. Simply, she deserved it. Can you imagine owning 3 cars by the age of 17, yet never buying one? This is an extreme example, but I am sure many parents can relate.

Entitlement issues can lead to serious problems. Teaching your child respect and responsibility should be priority. Although the issues may have started to escalate, as a parent, it is never too late to take control of the situation and say “no” when your teen feels they are entitled to a frivolous item or anything that is considered a privilege.

Life is about responsibility, as parents we need to teach our children responsibility – helping our children comes natural to us, however when it becomes excessive and the child doesn’t appreciate it, it is time to step back and evaluate your situation.

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





Monday, November 24, 2008

Sue Scheff: Love our Children USA


For almost ten years, Love Our Children USA has become the go-to prevention organization for all forms of violence and neglect against children. Our commitment is to break the cycle of violence against children.

Empowering the public with knowledge … giving children and youth a voice by speaking for them… advocating for their safety and taking their message to the media and to our communities … a liaison between those with no power and those with power.

Practicing safe and positive parenting in every home … every school ... every community across America ... for all children ... creating successful families.

Getting to the root of the cause of child violence ... and breaking the cycle — before it starts. And ... by doing this we can stop domestic violence which begins with the victimization of children. Keeping America's Children Safe ... Strengthening America's Families This is the purpose, passion and commitment ofLove Our Children USA.

Mission StatementNovember 2006 marked Love Our Children USA’s eighth year as the national nonprofit leader in breaking the cycle of violence against children. It has become 'the go-to prevention' organization for all forms of violence and neglect against children in the U.S.

Love Our Children USA works to eliminate behaviors that keep children from reaching their potential. It redefines parenting and creates kid success by promoting prevention strategies and positive changes in parenting and family attitudes and behaviors through public education. Love Our Children USA honors and respects children and works to empower and support children, teens, parents and families through information, resources, advocacy, and online youth mentoring. Its goal is to keep children safe and strengthen families -- Its message is positive ... one of prevention, empowerment and hope.

Contact Information
Toll Free: 888.347.KIDS
Email Us

Saturday, November 22, 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.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sue Scheff: Teen Depression


Teenage depression is more than just bad moods or broken hearts; it is a very serious clinical illness that will affect approximately 20% of teens before they reach adulthood. Left untreated, depression can lead to difficult home situations, problems at school, drug abuse, and worse, violence toward themselves and others.


Certain young teens suffer from depression as result of situations surrounding their social or family life, but many are succeptable to the disease regardless of race, gender, income level or education. It is very important for parents to keep a watch on their teens - and to maintain a strong level of communication. Understanding the causes and warning signs of the illness can help parents prevent their teens from falling in to depression.


Learn more click here.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Sue Scheff: Safe Teen Driving Club


Are you a parent of a new teenage driver or is your teen about to take the wheel? Be an educated parent - learn more here on this valuable website promoting Safe Teen Driving!


*****************
Our mission is to educate parents and provide them services they can use to keep their teen safe and alive while driving. It's pretty well known that driving crashes are the #1 cause of teen injury and death, taking a back seat to suicide, homocide, drugs, alcohol and all other causes.Feel free to visit our site at http://www.safeteendrivingclub.org/, or our blog at http://safeteendrivingclub.wordpress.com/.


You'll find safety tips, information on our Crash Free America educational program for parents and services and products that are proven to reduce the chances of a crash with your teen.
You can also see a short video about the Club and other media coverage at http://www.safeteendrivingclub.org/stdc_page2.php?page_ID=1193759997.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Sue Scheff: PE4Life - Parenting Teens


Parents are busy with a full workday, helping their children with homework, engaging their children in after school activities, and so on. This doesn't leave a whole lot of time for physical activity in your own lives. Do you realize that schools have devalued and cut physical education to the point that the majority of children get one day of PE per week? Children today have a shorter life expectancy than their parents for the first time in one hundred years because of the epidemic of obesity, according to Dr. William Klish, Professor of Pediatrics and Head of Pediatric Gastroenterology at Baylor College of Medicine. Lack of PE at school is a disservice to your child's health. Speak up. Demand that your school offers daily quality physical education. Use PE4life as a resource partner to enhance your school's PE program. A recent study revealed that 81% of teachers and 85% of parents favor requiring students to take physical education every day at every grade level. As parents, you can rally people in your community to get involved by ordering a PE4life Community Action kit video and show it to the PTA, the school board and other community groups. The next step is to invite PE4life to make a presentation to your school leaders, bring a team of people to train at a PE4life Academy, or invite PE4life to do an in-service for your school staff. As your resource partner, PE4life can provide these and many other services to your school as you work to get children more active and healthy.


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Sue Scheff: Teens Skipping out on Life - 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.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Sue Scheff: Teen Internet Addiction


Introduction


In today's society, the Internet has made its way into almost every American home. It is a well-known fact that the web is a valuable asset for research and learning. Unfortunately, it can also be a very dangerous place for teens. With social networking sites like Myspace and Friendster, chat rooms, instant messaging, and online role-playing video games, our children are at access to almost anyone. Sue Scheff, along with Parent's Universal Resource Experts™, is tackling the dangers of the web.


Keeping tabs on our teens' online habits doesn't just keep them safe from online predators. More and more parents are becoming wary of the excessive hours their teens spend surfing the web, withdrawing from family, friends and activities they used to enjoy. Internet Addiction is a devastating problem facing far too many teens and their families. While medical professionals have done limited research on the topic, more and more are recognizing this destructive behavior and even more, the potential mental effects it can have.


Though the web is a great place for learning and can be safe for keeping in touch, it is important that families understand the potential risks and dangers to find a healthy balance between real and virtual life.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Sue Scheff: Exercise Can Improve Grades




“There is a connection between physical activity and learning and it is a positive one - children who are more physically fit do better academically. They concentrate better in the classroom [and] they perform better on math and reading examinations.”

– Dr. David Satcher, former U.S. Surgeon General

In an effort to boost test performance, many schools are taking time away from physical education and using it for more time in class.

But studies now show that rigorous physical activity can actually lead to better grades.

In Broward County, Florida, many schools are getting the message.

Fourth grade teacher Katherine Bennett takes her students out for a five-minute walk after a long lesson.

“I found that when my children start yawning and they start not paying attention, then one way I can refocus those children is to take them out for a brief, little fun walk,” she says. “And by the time we’ve got them back into the room again, they’re ready to study some more.”

In fact, according to new research from the Medical College of Georgia, kids who are active and play hard have higher levels of concentration, better organization skills and are less impulsive than kids who are sedentary.

“The area of the brain that’s involved in cognitive learning is the same area that’s stimulated by physical activity, so the two seem to work hand in hand,” explains Jackie Lund, Ph.D, President of the National Association for Sport and Physical Education.

Former U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. David Satcher agrees, “Children who are physically fit do better academically. They perform better on standardized examinations, they concentrate better, on the other hand, children who are obese are four times as likely to be depressed, very likely to be absent from school.”

What’s more, many kids say it’s easy to get distracted if you have to sit still, all day long, in school.

“After a while I just get antsy and I want to move around - cause I start to get stiff and it’s like, I want to get up and walk around,” complains 18-year-old Eric DeGreeff. “But in class you can’t really get up and walk around,”

That’s why, experts say, if your child’s school does not provide vigorous physical education, you have to speak up.

“If parents go out and demand quality physical education, where their kids are learning and they’re moving and they’re involved in activities that are going to create the next steps for a life time, then they will be heard,” says Lund.

Tips for Parents

“It is helpful to think of the brain as a muscle,” Dr. John Ratey told colleagues at a conference on “Learning and the Brain” in Boston. Dr. Ratey, a clinical associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, says the best way to “maximize the brain” is through exercise and movement. Emerging new research on animals and humans suggests his theory may be correct. In particular, the following two studies indicate that physical exercise may boost brain function, improve mood and increase learning:

A four-year study at Albion College in Michigan shows that children who participated in regular exercise (jumping rope, hopscotch, catching and throwing balls) significantly raised their scores on standardized mathematics tests. Teachers also reported that the exercise program helped improve the students’ social and emotional skills.

Investigators from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute have found that running boosts the growth of nerve cells and improves learning and memory in adult mice. According to the study, the brains of mice that exercised had about 2.5 times more new nerve cells than sedentary mice.
Says Dr. Ratey: “Twelve minutes of exercise at 85% of your maximum heart rate is like taking a little bit of Prozac and a little bit of Ritalin in a very holistic manner.”

The National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) offers the following statistics and recommendations to support that physically active children “learn better”:

Elementary school students should participate in a minimum of 60 minutes of moderate and vigorous activity every day.

Middle and high school students should participate in 30 minutes of physical activity daily.
Play is an essential part of children’s social development.

Children learn how to cooperate, compete constructively, assume leader/follower roles and resolve conflicts by interacting in play.

Only 25% of American children participate in any type of daily physical activity.

More than 300,000 deaths are caused annually by a lack of exercise and a poor diet.

How much exercise does your child need? According to the American Heart Association (AHA), a “healthy level” of physical activity requires regular participation in activities that increase heart rates above resting levels. An active child plays sports, participates in physical education classes, performs regular household chores, spends recreational time outdoors and regularly travels by foot or bicycle.

The AHA offers the following guidelines for maintaining healthy physical activity in children:

Encourage regular walking, bicycling, outdoor play, the use of playgrounds and gymnasiums and interaction with other children.

Allow no more than two hours per day to watch television or videotapes.

Promote weekly participation in age-appropriate organized sports, lessons, clubs or sandlot games.

Have your child participate in daily school or day-care physical education that includes at least 20 minutes of coordinated large-muscle exercise.

Make sure your child has access to school buildings and community facilities that enable safe participation in physical activities.

Provide opportunities for physical activities that are fun, increase confidence and involve friends and peers.

Organize regular family outings that involve walking, cycling, swimming or other recreational activities.

Engage in positive role modeling for a physically active lifestyle.

Experts say it is important for parents to remember that physical activity doesn’t have to be strenuous to be beneficial.

References
American Heart Association
Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Medical College of Georgia
National Association for Sport and Physical Education

Friday, October 31, 2008

Sue Scheff: Gay Harassment


“People would push me into lockers or trip me in the hallways or throw rocks at me inside the school or throw trash at me.”

– Josh, 15 years old

Fifteen-year-old Josh is gay. He’s so afraid of bullies that he’s asked us not to show his face or reveal his full name.

“People would push me into lockers or trip me in the hallways or throw rocks at me inside the school or throw trash at me,” he recalls.

Josh is not alone. According to a report from the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), nine out of 10 gay teenagers are harassed at school.

Josh was and that’s why he decided to tell his parents the truth.

“I’m gay,” he told them. “I’m getting harassed. I’m very scared in school right now—please make it stop.”

Marnie Lynch, Josh’s mom, says, “I don’t know that I can even describe the pain that I felt.”

Josh’s parents felt hurt, angry and scared.

“What my worst fear was, is that yes, he could be brutally beaten or killed because of his sexual orientation,” Lynch says.

But experts say there are ways to prevent violence against gay and lesbian students.

“It’s very important that all youth who are being harassed let the (school) administration know about it somehow, whether it’s through their parents or going directly to the administrator, or telling a teacher about it,” says Steve Epstein, a counselor who works with gay teens.

Epstein says that Josh’s parents did the right thing. They demanded action from the school’s principal and soon afterwards, the bullying ended.

“You should be able to do and be whomever you want to be,” Josh says, “and not have to endure harassment and pain and struggles from other people.”

Tips for Parents

Sexual orientation in adolescents has previously been linked to increased rate of victimization. Previous studies have found that those students who identified themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual had a disproportionate risk for problem behaviors, including suicide and victimization. A study by Penn State found that risk is even greater when those kids feel rejected at school.

The recent survey showed that homosexual adolescents were nearly twice as likely as straight adolescents to report a history of violent attacks and witnessing violence. In addition, gay and lesbian youth were reported to be 2.5 times more likely to report that they had taken part in violence themselves. Bisexual adolescents reported no increased levels of perpetrating violence, but were more likely than heterosexual adolescents to report witnessing violence or being victimized.

The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) cautions parents that “gay and lesbian teens can become depressed, socially isolated, withdrawn from activities and friends, have trouble concentrating, and develop low self-esteem. They may also develop depression.” It is important for parents of gay and lesbian teens to understand their teen’s sexual orientation and provide support. The AACAP encourages parents and family members to seek understanding and support from organizations such as Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG).

The American Psychological Association provides these tips for teens who fear they may be a target of violence:


Above all, be safe. Don’t spend time alone with people who show warning signs of violence, such as those with a history of frequent physical fights, and those who have announced threats or plans for hurting others.

Tell someone you trust and respect about your concerns and ask for help ( a family member, guidance counselor, teacher, school physiologist, coach, clergy, or friend).

Get someone to protect you. Do not resort to violence or use a weapon to protect yourself.

References
American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
American Psychological Association
American Public Health Association
Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network
Pediatrics
Penn State University

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Sue Scheff: ADHD School Behavior


How teachers and parents can inspire better ADHD school behavior with help from these impulse-controlling exercises for children with attention-deficit.



The problem: The student with attention deficit disorder (ADD ADHD) interrupts the teacher and classmates by calling out answers or commenting while others are speaking.


The reason: Children with ADHD have difficulty controlling their impulses. Scientists believe that a problem with dopamine, a brain chemical, causes them to respond immediately and reflexively to their environment — whether the stimulus is a question, an idea, or a treat. That’s why they often seem to act or talk before thinking, and ADHD school behavior suffers as a result.
The obstacles: Children with ADHD may not be aware that they are interrupting.


Even if they are, they have difficulty understanding that their behavior is disturbing or disruptive to others.Simply telling them their behavior is wrong doesn’t help. Even though they know this, their impulsivity overrides their self-control. Many ADHD children can’t understand nonverbal reprimands, like frowning, either.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sue Scheff: Connect with Kids - Parenting DVD's


At Connect with Kids, our single aim is to help parents and educators help children. Each week we gather the freshest information from experts at universities, research organizations, hospitals, child advocacy groups and parents and kids themselves. We present that information in video news and feature stories that are understandable, compelling and useful.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Sue Scheff: Safe Teen Driving Club


Are you a parent of a new teenage driver or is your teen about to take the wheel? Be an educated parent - learn more here on this valuable website promoting Safe Teen Driving!
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Our mission is to educate parents and provide them services they can use to keep their teen safe and alive while driving. It's pretty well known that driving crashes are the #1 cause of teen injury and death, taking a back seat to suicide, homocide, drugs, alcohol and all other causes.Feel free to visit our site at http://www.safeteendrivingclub.org/, or our blog at http://safeteendrivingclub.wordpress.com/.


You'll find safety tips, information on our Crash Free America educational program for parents and services and products that are proven to reduce the chances of a crash with your teen.
You can also see a short video about the Club and other media coverage at http://www.safeteendrivingclub.org/stdc_page2.php?page_ID=1193759997.