Monday, June 30, 2008

(Sue Scheff) Teen Smoking: How Parents Can Prevent It

By Aurelia Williams

Teen smoking statistics are on the rise. It is very important that children are informed of the teen smoking statistics and the harmful effects of smoking.Having involved parents — those who know a lot about their children’s friends, activities and performance in school — can help children overcome peer influence to start teen smoking, according to a study by a researcher at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).

The study also confirmed earlier findings that the more widespread children think smoking is, the more likely they are to start. Moreover, children who are socially competent — who have the ability to exercise self-control and good judgment — and have parents who monitor their behavior tend not to start smoking. The study, which was published in the December 2002 issue of Prevention Science, surveyed students in four middle schools in a suburban Maryland school district.

Why Parental Involvement Is Key

While researchers have known that both peers and parents play an important role in whether young teens and preteens start smoking, they’ve known less about whether the effects of peer influence on starting smoking is affected by other factors, such as parents’ involvement and children’s adjustment to school and degree of social competence.

“Many children start to experiment with smoking in early adolescence,” said Duane Alexander, M.D., director of the NICHD. “Many then go on to develop a life-long addiction that can cause them serious health problems later in life. This study shows that by staying involved in their children’s lives, parents can help them to avoid the smoking habit.”

Bruce Simons-Morton, Ph.D., of NICHD’s Division of Epidemiology, Statistics and Prevention Research, surveyed 1,081 students in four middle schools at the beginning and again at the end of sixth grade. The students completed a questionnaire that measured a variety of factors, including their friends’ behavior and expectations; their own ability to resist dares, resolve conflicts and retain self-control; and how well they follow rules, complete school work on time and get along with classmates and teachers. The questionnaire also asked children about their parents’ involvement in their lives, their parents’ expectations for them and whether their parents check to see if the children have done what they’ve been asked to do.

The researchers found that teens with friends engaging in problem behavior — those who smoked, drank, cheated on tests, lied to parents, bullied others or damaged property — were more likely to smoke if their parents were relatively less involved than if their parents were relatively more involved. This finding pertained to all of the children studied — boys, girls, African-Americans, whites, children living with one parent and children with mothers who had not attended college. Parents’ expectations about smoking and whether an adult at home smokes did not significantly influence children’s decision to start smoking.

“Parents’ involvement may be particularly important during early adolescence,” said Dr. Simons-Morton. “It is a time when many young people first begin asserting their independence from their parents, but before peer influences reach their full strength. It’s also a time when young people are still sensitive to their parents’ values and concerns, and may be reluctant to try smoking, because they know their parents would disapprove.”

The study also confirmed two earlier findings. The researchers found that students who provided higher estimates of how many other youth smoke were more likely to smoke than those who provided lower estimates. This finding was true regardless of whether children had relatively more or relatively fewer friends who smoked. In addition, the researchers found that sixth graders who had the ability to exercise self-control and good judgment, and had parents who monitored their behavior, were less likely to start smoking. Dr. Simons-Morton noted that the study was not a nationally representative survey, but was limited to four middle schools in one suburban location. Also, some groups of children may not have been fully represented in the study, because their parents did not give permission for them to participate, or because they were absent from class on survey days.

From a December 2002 National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development news release. Providing teen smoking statistics and other health relate information

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Sue Scheff - 10 Parenting Quick Tips for Parents

Sue Scheff – Founder of Parents’ Universal Resource Experts
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 or places where they are giving to others. It can truly build self esteem to help others.

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

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

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

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

Saturday, June 28, 2008


Safe Eyes 5.0 Parental Control Software Receives Parents’ Choice Award

Safe Eyes™ 5.0, the latest edition of Internet parental control software from, has earned a 2008 Parents’ Choice Approved award from the Parents’ Choice Foundation. The award is the latest in a series of honors for the parental monitoring software, including two consecutive Editors’ Choice awards from PC Magazine.

“If you think your family’s safety requires Internet filtering and monitoring, whatever level, this program provides an array of options to get it done,” said the Parents’ Choice Foundation in its recognition of the Safe Eyes product. The 30-year-old foundation is the nation’s oldest non-profit program created to recognize quality children’s media, including books, toys, music and storytelling, software, videogames, television and websites.

“This commendation from the Parents’ Choice Foundation reflects the growing concern that parents have over their children’s Internet use as well as the wide range of control choices that Safe Eyes offers,” said Forrest Collier, CEO of “Every child and every family is different, so flexibility is essential. The product lets parents decide how their children use the Internet.”

Safe Eyes is a comprehensive program that enables parents to easily block objectionable websites, control Internet use by length of time as well as time of day and day of the week, block or record instant messenger chats, and block peer-to-peer file sharing programs that may expose children to dangerous material. It also allows parents to limit email use to certain addresses, and receive alerts when children post inappropriate or personal information on social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook.

The software provides broader controls than any other filtering product, including the ability to define which websites will be blocked by category, URL and keyword; receive instant alerts about inappropriate online behavior by email, text message or phone call; and remotely change program settings or view reports from any Internet-enabled computer.

Safe Eyes is also the only program of its kind that can be used in mixed Mac/PC households. A single $49.95 annual subscription covers up to three Mac and/or PC computers with the ability to customize settings for each child and enforce them on any machine. The product’s website blacklist is updated automatically every day, eliminating the need for manual updates. Safe Eyes can be downloaded at

All Parents’ Choice Awards winners are posted to the Parents’ Choice Foundation website (

Established in 1999, specializes in providing Internet safety solutions. Its flagship software, Safe Eyes, is the two-time recipient of the PC Magazine Editors’ Choice Award and was rated as the #1 parental control solution by America’s leading consumer advocacy publication. The company’s Safe Eyes and EtherShield products are providing online protection for PCs and Macs in homes, businesses and schools across more than 125 countries.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Sue Scheff: What is the Strengths Movement?

At its core, the Strengths Movement is a social movement intended to change how we view ourselves, our children and our world. We have all been conditioned to see weaknesses and mine for deficits. This movement seeks to change that perspective and then apply the positive strengths perspective to our families and our schools.

There is no better place to begin this movement than in our families and the schools.

A vast collection of committed individuals does not constitute a movement. A movement must have followers and actions. Movements usually spring up in response to a threat.

What is the threat?

Our schools are failing to prepare children to thrive in the 21st century. There are many good ideas about how to change that. This movement seeks to unite all those ideas and wrap them in one force field: discovery, development and use of strengths. What is a strength? It is what energizes you, differentiates you, make you feel useful and whole. Strengths combined with direction create a chain of positive and right actions.

Who has a stake in this movement?

Businesses--whose productivity depends upon the talent of the next generation.

Parents and educators, preschool through university--who share responsibility for finding the strengths in the next generation.

Students-- who have the biggest stake. After all, they are their strengths and it is their future.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Sue Scheff: Political Teens

By Connect with Kids

“When parents talk about politics with their kids, when they participate themselves -- this leads to a higher level of interest in politics among their children,”

– Dr. Alan Abramowitz, Political Science Professor, Emory University

Nineteen-year-old Will Kelly is pounding the pavement, knocking on doors and talking to voters.

Seventeen-year-old Amelia Hartley is answering phones, making copies and filing news clips.

She is a die-hard Democrat, and he is a faithful Republican. Both teenagers have a passion for politics and for getting involved.

“To be honest,” Will says of his volunteer work, “because I care about what’s going on and it troubles me to see how so many people become apathetic with what they do have in this country – that we take so much for granted.”

“At 17, I can’t vote yet, I don’t pay taxes, but within a year I’m going to have to know enough about leaders – not only national, but local and state – to be able to say who I want running things,” says Amelia of her involvement.

According to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, young voters are turning up in record numbers this presidential election.

One reason, experts say, their parents.

“There has been quite a bit of research that shows that when parents talk about politics with their kids, when they participate themselves, when they take their kids to vote with them, that all this leads to a higher level of interest in politics among the children,” says Dr. Alan Abramowitz, a political science professor at Emory University.

It is a level of interest, Dr. Abramowitz adds, that persists over time. “Even many years later, those who were raised in families that were politically active and where the parents talked about politics remain more active themselves.”

Amelia and Will say they’ve been invigorated by the hard work of politics. And, in fact, it’s sparked an interest.

“Is there a future in politics for me?” Will ponders. “Well that’s a question I seem to ask myself a lot. We’ll have to see.”

“There are a lot of career paths I’m considering,” says Amelia, “and politics is definitely one of them.”

Tips for Parents

The polls are showing teens are lining up in record numbers to have their say in this year’s election. Consider these statistics from a recent poll by Time Magazine, among 18-29 year olds:

70% said they are paying attention to the race
53% said Barack Obama was the candidate best described as ‘inspirational’
83% said this election will have a great impact on the country
A majority (54%) say the US was wrong to go to war in Iraq
80% of young people rate the economic conditions in this country as only fair or poor
Nearly three-quarters of the respondents said they feel the country is headed down the wrong track

Affordable health care (62%), the Iraq War (59%), and being able to find a stable, good paying job (58%) are the top issues a majority of young people worry about the most.

More than 6.5 million young people under the age of 30 participated in the 2008 primaries and caucuses. In fact, Obama’s margin of victory in Iowa came almost entirely from voters under 25 years old. In New Hampshire, his edge among young voters was 3 to 1; in Nevada, it was 2 to 1; and in Michigan, nearly 50,000 under-30s voted "Uncommitted" because Clinton's name was the only one on the ballot.

The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, getting kids involved in a civics or government class is a great way to get them more interested in the elections. From the 2006 Civic and Political Health of the Nation Report, young people who report that they recently choose to take a civics or government class are more likely than other young people to say that:

they helped solve a community problem,
they can make a difference in their community,
they have volunteered recently,
they trust other people and the government,
they have made consumer decisions for ethical or political reasons,
they believe in the importance of voting, and
they are registered to vote.

Parents are also one of the greatest influences on young voters.

Start with the basics. Make sure your 18-year-old knows when and where to vote.
Getting your 18-year-old to the polls could pay big dividends. People who have been motivated to vote once are more likely to become repeat voters.

Acquire and fill out voter registration forms with your teen. If your teen meets age requirements, you should each fill out a voter registration form.

If your teen meets age requirements on Election Day, go to your polling place together to cast your ballots.

If your teen doesn’t meet age requirements for the 2008 election, but will turn 18 before the 2012 election, involve them in the current election as preparation for the next election.

Consider taking teens between 14 and 17 to the polling place with you. Even if they are not permitted inside for security reasons, the visit will demystify the voting process.

Remind your child that the November election is the result of many local primaries and that Americans are able to vote for their national, state and local leaders.

Kids who are not old enough to vote can still have an impact on elections. Encourage kids to get involved in the political process. They can go door-to-door in support of candidates or help with fundraising efforts.

It can seem daunting to research candidates, because information on the different races is not centralized in one place. Parents can share news articles with their kids. The key is to engage students with issues they will find relevant to their lives.

Time Magazine
The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Sue Scheff: Teen Body Image

Teen Body Image

If you're in high school, most of your friends are probably on a diet. A recent study shows that 90% of junior and senior girls are on a diet regularly, even though only 10-15% are actually overweight.

The modeling industry also promotes the idea that you need to diet and exercise religiously. Fashion models are actually thinner than 98% of American women. An average woman stands 5'4" tall and weighs about 140 lbs, while the average fashion model is a towering 5'11" tall and weighs under 117 lbs.

In reality no amount of dieting, exercise and discipline can earn you a magazine cover-ready body because those photos have been Photo Shopped, doctored and airbrushed. Don't waste your time attempting to be what you are not, instead; focus on cultivating who you are!

Body Image Tips
As you progress through puberty and your high school years, your body changes as fast as your favorite ringtones. But learning to appreciate your body and have positive self image is a task that few adults have even mastered. Here are some tips to help you learn to love yourself:

Learn to Cook- It is never too early to learn to cook. In just a few years, you will be on your own and you will be expected to feed and take care of yourself. Get some practice at home by preparing some family meals or meals for just yourself. Try some new foods by looking through cookbooks and online. Impress your friends by having a dinner party. This also helps you understand how food functions within a regular diet. Learn how to cook healthily so you can eat healthily, but don't spend too much time worrying about food!

Don't Diet!- Dieting is a great way to ruin your eating habits and your relationship with food and your body. Instead, learn about healthy eating and exercise habits. The healthy habits you learn while you are young will serve you throughout your life!

People Watch- Go to the mall or a public space and people watch. How many are fat or thin? How tall are most women? Men? What do you like or dislike about people's styles, looks or body type? How much of their appearance is "style" and how much is their actual body types? Cultivate the ability to see style and beauty in everyone. As you learn to do this, you can be a trend-setter instead of a trend-follower.

Keep it Real- Remember, people only pick the best photos to be on their MySpace or Facebook page. Remind yourself that they all have bad hair days, the occasional zit or an unflattering outfit choice.

Stay Well Rounded- Sign up for activities that you have never tried. Join an intramural sport or speech meet. Build up your college resume by participating in extracurricular activities. It's a great way to broaden your social circle and prepares you for college or a job.

Be a Trend Setter- Don't just follow the crowd - create your own crowd by being a trend setter. Find your own style and look by experimenting with your hair, makeup and clothing. What is your look trying to say? Does it match what you want people to think about you? Someone has to set the trends. Why not you?

Learn to meditate- It is never too early to learn to meditate. You will find that this is a skill you can use all your life. By focusing inward, it is easier to distill the truth rather than listening to outside influences. It will also help you manage the stress of your busy life.

Parental Tips
If you are a parent of a teen, you know the challenges of living with an emotional, possibly aloof teenager who begs for guidance but disregards most of what you say. Their alternating moods and attitudes make approaching a touchy subject like body image feels dangerous. The following are some tips to help with a positive body image:

Have an Open Door Policy-You'd like your teen to approach you with any problem she is facing but often you aren't sure if she's coming to you, going to her friends or suffering alone. Encourage regular candid conversation by noticing what times and places your teen is most likely to talk. Is she a night owl? Does she talking on a long drive? Is she more comfortable emailing? Use the time and venue that is most comfortable for her and encourage open sharing.

Limit Harmful Media- Put your teen daughter on a media diet. Don't feel you need to restrict website, magazine or TV shows entirely. Just be cautious of what mediums she concentrates on. Be especially mindful of any one celebrity that she idolizes or photos that she tears out and stares at repeatedly. Discuss how all magazine photos are airbrushed and doctored.

Compliment Her and Her Friends- Make a point to compliment both your daughter and her friends on a well-put together outfit or a new hair style. Teens are trying on new looks and personalities as their bodies change. Let them know that they have hit on a good look when they experiment in the right direction.

Make sure to compliment them on things not related to their appearance as well. A good grade, a valiant sports effort or kind deed also deserve notice. Try to practice a 90/10% rule. Let 90% of your comments and insights be positive and only 10% should be carefully worded constructive criticism.


Health AtoZ: Is it a Diet or an Eating Disorder?

Eating Disorder Statistics

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Sue Scheff: Help Protect Your Kids in Cyberspace

This Press Release is posted with the permission of - Visit for more vital information to protect your children online.

10 Tips For Keeping Your Kids Safe On Social Networks

ATLANTA, GA — May 28, 2008 — June is Internet Safety month. With hundred of millions of teens, pre-teens—and adults—around the world using social networking sites, there’s no better time for parents to be aware of the fun, the benefits, the powerful attractions, and the potential risks that MySpace, Facebook and other similar sites offer their children., the recognized leader in Internet safety solutions, has assembled a list of practical tips parents can use to ensure a safe networking environment for kids:

Show Interest — Ask questions about how your child’s preferred social networking site or sites work. Kids are generally happy to demonstrate their knowledge if you show genuine interest. You can even ask your teen to show you how to set up your own social networking site—a great way to visit your child’s page and see what’s been posted there.

Encourage Instinctive Responses — Kids often can instinctively do the right thing, which makes them their own first defense against those who may take advantage online. Encourage your children to avoid contact with people they “feel funny about.” Tell them to not reveal anything online they would not want a stranger to know. Limit the posting of pictures and remind them that once something is placed online, it can never be taken back.

Know Your Kids’ Passwords — If your child changes his or her password suddenly and refuses to share it with you, that’s trouble. Insist on knowing how to access his or her accounts—then keep their confidence by not sharing the information with their friends or siblings.

Set Hours for When Kids Can Access Social Networks — Late nights are the favorite time for predators to seek out their adolescent prey. Set firm limits not only for the time of day, but also the total amount of time, that your children may access social networking sites.

Be Aware of Alternate Access Points — Kids don’t have to access their social networks at home. Libraries, friends’ houses, even cell phones make the Internet easy to reach today. Keep up with what’s happening on your child’s social networking page and be aware when changes have been made despite the lack of access from home.

Exercise Your Parental Right to Supervise — There’s a difference between being snoopy and ensuring safe activity. You don’t have to read every last word of a personal message your son or daughter sends to a friend. But you do have the right—and the obligation—to see who your kids are talking to, and to know the general subject matter.

Check for Photos — By clicking on the Windows “Start” button, you’ll find the “Search” tool. Click on “Pictures, Music or Video,” the box next to “Pictures and Photos,” and finally “Search”. Ask your child to identify any photos of strangers, or any other pictures you find questionable.
Install Filtering Software — PC products like Safe Eyes allow parents to block or record Instant Messenger chats, limit email use to prescribed addresses, block objectionable Web sites (including peer-to-peer file sharing programs that often expose kids to inappropriate material), and receive alerts when kids post personal information on social networking sites.

Watch for CyberBullying — Encourage your children to tell you immediately if they are being harassed online. Children also need to know that it is not acceptable to be a party to cyberbullying—or to remain silent when they know others are being harassed.

Visit or for excellent tips and information.
Don’t Lecture — Finally, if you should find reasons for concern, don’t browbeat, insult or condescend to your child. Have a discussion about values and why they are important. Respect your child but be firm. And most of all, lead by example. Parents have a powerful ability to influence their child’s behavior—and nothing is more powerful than someone who not only talks values, but lives them.

“Parents should never feel that their level of involvement in their child’s social network activity is excessive. Since 1998, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s CyberTipline has logged over 33,000 tips about children being enticed online for sexual acts,” said Shane Kenny, President and COO of “Better that the parent error on the side of intrusion, rather than bear the consequences of doing nothing.”

Established in 1999, specializes in providing Internet safety solutions. Its flagship software, Safe Eyes, is the two-time recipient of the PC Magazine Editors’ Choice Award and was rated as the #1 parental control solution by America’s leading consumer advocacy publication. The company’s Safe Eyes and EtherShield products are providing online protection for PCs and Macs in homes, businesses and schools across more than 125 countries.

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Monday, June 23, 2008

Sue Scheff: Can the Feingold Program Help Your Child's Behavior?

Many learning and behavior problems begin in your grocery cart!

Did you know that the brand of ice cream, cookie, and potato chip you select could have a direct effect on the behavior, health, and ability to learn for you or
your children?

Numerous studies show that certain synthetic food additives can have serious learning, behavior, and/or health effects for sensitive people.

The Feingold Program (also known as the Feingold Diet) is a test to determine if certain foods or food additives are triggering particular symptoms. It is basically the way people used to eat before "hyperactivity" and "ADHD" became household words, and before asthma and chronic ear infections became so very common.

ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is the term currently used to describe a cluster of symptoms typical of the child (or adult) who has excessive activity or difficulty focusing. Some of the names that have been used in the past include: Minimal Brain Damage, Minimal Brain Dysfunction (MBD), Hyperkinesis, Learning Disability, H-LD (Hyperkinesis/Learning Disability), Hyperactivity, Attention Deficit Disorder, ADD With or Without Hyperactivity.

In addition to ADHD, many children and adults also exhibit one or more other problems which may include: OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder), Bi-polar Disorder, Depression, Tourette Syndrome (TS), and Developmental Delays. These people often have food or environmental allergies. Many have a history of one or more of these physical problems: ear infections, asthma, sinus problems, bedwetting, bowel disorders, headaches/migraines, stomachaches, skin disorders, sensory deficits (extreme sensitivity to noise, lights, touch), vision deficits (the left and right eyes do not work well together, sometimes nystagmus).

While all the above symptoms might be helped by the Feingold Program, generally the characteristic that responds most readily is behavior. Although the symptoms differ from one person to another, the one characteristic that seems to apply to all chemically-sensitive people is that they get upset too easily. Whether the person is 3-years-old or 33, they have a short fuse.

Dr. Feingold began his work on linking diet with behavior back in the 1960's. He soon saw that the conventional wisdom about this condition was not accurate. At that time most doctors believed that children outgrew hyperactivity, that only one child in a family would be hyperactive, and that girls were seldom affected. Parents using the Feingold Diet also saw that these beliefs were not accurate. Years later, the medical community revised their beliefs, as well.

Another change in the medical community has been the increased use of medicine to address ADHD. In the 1960's and 1970's medicine was used with restraint, generally discontinued after a few years, and never prescribed to very young children. If there was a history of tics or other neurological disorders in a family member, a child would not be give stimulant drugs. The Feingold Association does not oppose the use of medicine, but believes that practitioners should first look for the cause(s) of the problems, rather than only address the symptoms. For example, ADHD can be the result of exposure to lead or other heavy metals; in such a case, the logical treatment would be to remove the lead, arsenic, etc.

The Feingold Association believes that patients have a right to be given complete, accurate information on all of the options available in the treatment of ADHD as well as other conditions. Sometimes, the best results come from a combination of treatments. This might include using the Feingold Diet plus allergy treatments, or plus nutritional supplements, or plus a gluten-free/casein-free diet, or even Feingold + ADHD medicine. We believe that it's useful to start with the Feingold Diet since it is fairly easy to use, not expensive, and because removing certain synthetic additives is a good idea for anyone.

Read entire article:

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sue Scheff: The Dangers of Inhalant Abuse

Inhaled chemicals are rapidly absorbed through the lungs into the bloodstream
and quickly distributed to the brain and other organs. Within minutes, the user experiences intoxication, with symptoms similar to those produced by drinking alcohol. With Inhalants, however, intoxication lasts only a few minutes, so some users prolong the “high” by continuing to inhale repeatedly.

Short-term effects include:

headaches, muscle weakness, abdominal pain, severe mood swings and violent behavior, belligerence, slurred speech, numbness and tingling of the hands and feet, nausea, hearing loss, visual disturbances, limb spasms, fatigue, lack of coordination, apathy, impaired judgment, dizziness, lethargy, depressed reflexes, stupor, and loss of consciousness. The Inhalant user will initially feel slightly stimulated and, after successive inhalations, will feel less inhibited and less in control. Hallucinations may occur and the user can lose consciousness. Worse, he or she, may even die. Please see Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome below.

Long-term Inhalant users generally suffer from:

weight loss, muscle weakness, disorientation, inattentiveness, lack of coordination, irritability and depression. Different Inhalants produce different harmful effects, and regular abuse of these substances can result in serious harm to vital organs. Serious, but potentially reversible, effects include liver and kidney damage. Harmful irreversible effects include: hearing loss, limb spasms, bone marrow and central nervous system (including brain) damage.

Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome:

Children can die the first time, or any time, they try an Inhalant. This is known as Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome. While it can occur with many types of Inhalants, it is particularly associated with the abuse of air conditioning coolant, butane, propane, and the chemicals in some aerosol products. Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome is usually associated with cardiac arrest. The Inhalant causes the heart to beat rapidly and erratically, resulting in cardiac arrest.

Learn more:


Saturday, June 21, 2008

Sue Scheff: The Importance of Friends with Today's Teens

By Connect with Kids

“There’s some research to indicate that one of the best indicators of how well adjusted we will be as adults is not based on IQ or grades in school, but the degree to which the child has good friendships.”

– Nick Long, Ph.D., Adolescent Psychologist

Parents worry about how much kids learn and how fast, but a child’s biggest worry is most likely something else: friends.

“Cause if anything is going on in school I always know that I can talk to Molly and she’ll understand,” says Meredith Albin.

The kids have got it right- learning the language of friendship is one of the most important lessons of childhood.

“There’s some research to indicate that one of the best indicators of how well adjusted we will be as adults is not based on IQ or grades in school, but the degree to which the child has good friendships,” says Dr. Nick Long, adolescent psychologist.

It’s not popularity, but learning to make friends that counts.

“I think that most people in this school want to have friends but they don’t know how to do it right,” says 11-year-old Johnathon.

By school age, a child needs at least one close friend, experts say.

“And if that child doesn’t have one close friend, it’s important for parents to try to set up situations for them to meet other children who might have similar interests to try to develop those relationships,” advises Long.

Psychologist Dr. Garry McGiboney adds, “It may take a while, but most of the time kids will enjoy that interaction with other kids.”

Kids without friends are at risk for lots of problems ranging from poor grades to depression, bullying, and drug abuse.

Experts say don’t underestimate the harm of isolation.

Fourteen-year-old Erica can tell you why: “Sometimes when you feel isolated and you feel like you should just be off this world. Just die.”

Tips for Parents

The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry says when teenagers begin to feel isolated and stressed out, it can lead to anxiety, withdrawal, aggression, physical illness and drug or alcohol abuse.

Why is a feeling of isolation so potentially dangerous? The AACAP says when we perceive a situation as difficult or painful, changes occur in our minds and bodies to prepare us to respond to danger. This response – what the AACAP calls the “fight, flight or freeze” response – includes a faster heart and breathing rate, cold or clammy hands and feet, an upset stomach and/or a sense of dread.

The AACAP says parents can do the following things to help their teens remain healthy:

Monitor whether or not stress is affecting their health, behavior, thoughts or feelings.
Listen carefully to teens, and watch for “overloading.”
Learn and model stress-management skills.
Support involvement in sports and pro-social activities.
If teens show signs of being overly stressed, it may be best to see a child and adolescent psychiatrist or qualified mental health professional. The following are signs that professional help may be needed:

Disorientation and memory gaps
Severe depression and withdrawal
Substance abuse
Inability to take care of basic needs (eating, drinking, bathing)
Fear of harming self or others
Inability to make simple decisions
Excessive preoccupation with one thought
The Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence (CSPV) says that, despite the tragedy at Columbine and other recent events, schools shootings are still relatively rare. The center points out that school-related deaths since 1992 represent only about 1% of all youth killed with guns during that time period. The National School Safety Center says the odds of a child dying at school remain one in 2 million.

In addition, a study by researchers at the University of Maryland found schools that rely on “secure building” measures, such as cameras and metal detectors, show higher rates of reported victimization than schools that create an atmosphere of nonviolence. They found that clearly defined rules and consequences can be more effective in creating an atmosphere of safety than metal detectors and cameras. Students in schools where rules are emphasized and the consequences of breaking the rules are known to all reported less victimization and disorder.

The CSPV recommends that schools include these steps in their safe school plan:

Create a climate of ownership and school pride.
Enhance multicultural understanding.
Be sure that all students have knowledge of school rules and consequences for breaking the rules.
Add “hard looks” and “stare downs” as actionable offenses to the student code of conduct.
Place students and parents on notice.
Provide adequate adult supervision.
Develop and enforce a school dress code.
Provide teacher training in behavior management.
Implement peer counseling and peer mediation programs.
Create a student advisory council.
Incorporate a life skills curriculum.
Develop a student crime prevention program.
The University of Virginia
The Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice
The Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence
American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

Friday, June 20, 2008

Sue Scheff: Keep Your Children Safe Online

On Tuesday, June 17th Dr. Paul featured Michael Fertik, CEO of Reputation Defender. If you are a parent of a child that surfs online - this is an important Podcast for your to listen to.

Michael Fertik is a repeat Internet entrepreneur and CEO with experience in technology and law. After law school, he clerked for Chief Judge Danny J. Boggs of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals of the United States. He is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. His company, Reputation Defender, helps parents to know what is online about their children, and provides services to find and eliminate potentially dangerous or damaging content.

On this call, Michael discusses some important information and resources to help parents become more proactive about knowing what is out there about their family, and doing something about it.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Teens and Energy Drinks

By Connect with Kids

“They’re going to get that boost, but in the long run they’re not going to be doing their best. And they may not even notice they’re not doing their best.”

– Elizabeth Redmond, Ph.D., Nutritionist.

In the past few years the market for so called ‘energy drinks’ has exploded. Full of sugar and caffeine, there’s now around a dozen energy drinks on the market, and they’re very popular with kids.

“I’ve had Rockstar,” says Hunter, 13.

Thirteen-year-old Will’s favorites? “Monster, Rooster Booster.”

“Sobe’s Adrenaline Rush,” answers T-J, 14.

“It tastes very good,” explains 16-year-old Corrissa, “It gives me energy.”

Energy, according to some of the marketing, makes these drinks good for school or sports performance. “They do kind of imply they’re sports drinks,” says Nutritionist Elizabeth Redmond, Ph.D., “but a sports drink like Gatorade or something would hydrate you. And these drinks have a lot of caffeine, and they’re actually going to have a diuretic effect and can dehydrate.”

And while the caffeine in many of these drinks, the same as the amount in an average cup of coffee, gives kids a boost, a couple hours later, they crash.

“Yeah if I drink one I might be kind of hyper for a while and then I’ll be like ‘Ehhhh’ and get real tired,” explains 12-year-old Luke.

Experts add the side effects of caffeine also include loss of appetite, moodiness, headaches, nausea, difficulty sleeping.

And while there haven’t been any long term studies on the effect of regular caffeine use by kids, Redmond explains that, “Once you get used to the caffeine boost you’re going to want to keep getting it. But it’s just not a healthy lifestyle that you want to get into.”

Experts say parents should teach kids caffeine can be addictive, and that if they’re looking for better performance, there’s a much better way. “Getting enough sleep, being hydrated and eating a healthy diet would be the three biggest things you’d want to look at if you wanted to get more energy to do better at sports,” says Redmond.

Tips for Parents

Now more than ever, it seems that students are relying on caffeinated products like coffee, Red Bull and caffeine pills to help them stay awake to study for tests. In fact, some experts report that caffeine dependency among high school students has steadily increased over the past five years. Consider these recent studies of children and caffeine consumption:

A researcher at the University of California-San Francisco found that when school-aged children took a high daily dose of caffeine, their attention span decreased. And after the effects of the caffeine dissipated, their performance in various tasks was impaired.

National Institute of Mental Health child psychiatry researcher Judith Rapoport, M.D., found 8- to-13-year-olds who regularly consumed high doses of caffeine were judged more restless by teachers, and that one-third were hyperactive enough to meet the criteria for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

In a study by Stanford University neurobiologist Avram Goldstein, fifth- and sixth-graders at a Denver school deprived of daily caffeine reported having symptoms including trouble thinking clearly, not feeling energetic and getting angry. Even children who typically consume 28 milligrams a day (less than an average soda) felt symptoms.

Since caffeine leaches small amounts of calcium from the bones, a 1994 Harvard study concluded that soda consumption increases the possibility for bone fracture among teenage girls.

Even though these products may seem like a quick fix for helping students study late into the night, most teens are unaware of how caffeine affects their bodies. According to the Nemours Foundation, caffeine is a mild stimulant that causes increased heart rate and alertness. Most people who are sensitive to caffeine experience a temporary increase in energy and elevation in mood. Yet, this energized feeling quickly evaporates and leaves students feeling tired and irritable. The Mayo Clinic cites these additional side effects of caffeine:

Intestinal upsets, such as constipation and diarrhea
Jitters, anxiety, heart palpitations or rapid heart rate
Increase in blood pressure
Temporary depression

Calcium loss: Kids build their peak bone mass as they grow through calcium intake and exercise. Yet, caffeine causes calcium loss, so if they’re drinking more coffee and soda, but less milk, they not only get less calcium from the dairy products but also lose calcium due to increased caffeine intake.

Dehydration: Because caffeine is a diuretic, it can cause your body to become weak from not having enough water. Although you may think you’re getting plenty of liquids, caffeine works against the body in two ways: It has a dehydrating effect on the body’s cells and increases the need to urinate. It is particularly important for active teens who play sports to drink non-caffeinated beverages each day to avoid dehydration.

Even though these side effects exist, caffeine remains one of the most popular drugs in the United States. Experts estimate that more than 90% of Americans consume caffeine every day, while 11 million Americans consume too much caffeine (over 300 milligrams). While no definitive numbers exist concerning how much coffee teens consume, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that children and teens guzzle more than 64 gallons of caffeinated soda a year – an amount that has tripled for teens since 1978, doubled for the 6-11 set and increased by a quarter for under-5 tots.

According to the International Food Information Council Foundation (IFICF), coffee is the chief source of caffeine in the United States. An 8-ounce cup of drip-brewed coffee typically contains 85 milligrams of caffeine. An 8-ounce serving of brewed tea has 40 milligrams, caffeinated soft drinks contain an average of 24 milligrams per 8-ounce serving and an ounce of milk chocolate has just 6 milligrams. Even though these products contain caffeine, they can all be found at school and at home, increasing the amount that teens consume.

Some health officials are concerned about the rise in popularity of so-called ‘energy drinks.’ Part of their concern is that the drinks, including Red Bull, Adrenaline Rush, and Rock Star Energy Drink, are being misused as party drinks. According to an online publication of the Boston University School of Public Health, the beverages are used by party-goers to get drunk faster. “It definitely put me on a fast pace,” one young woman told BU. “It gets you drunk quicker if you can stand the taste of it.”

Most of the drinks contain stimulants such as caffeine and guarana, a derivative of a South American plant.
Officials are concerned about the effects of the high-energy drinks when mixed with alcohol. What exactly is in an energy drink like Red Bull? Here’s a list of some ingredients from the manufacturer’s web site:

Taurine. An amino acid.
Glucoronolactone. Said to “accelerate the elimination of…harmful substances…has a detoxifying effect.”
Caffeine. Known for its stimulating effect.
Carbohydrates. Sugar in the form of sucrose and glucose.
Vitamins. B-complex vitamins.
The company that manufactures Red Bull says the drink was developed especially for “times of increased stress or strain.” Red Bull claims to:

Increase physical endurance
Improve reaction speed and concentration
Increase mental alertness
Improves the overall feeling of well being
Stimulate metabolism and increase stamina
But the main concern among doctors is the effect of energy drinks when mixed with alcoholic beverages like Vodka. What you get, one nutritionist says, is “a wide-awake drunk.”

Just because your child may be drinking energy beverages, doesn’t necessarily mean he or she is mixing them with alcohol. There are signs of teenage drinking parents can be on the lookout for. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence has some tips on how to tell if your child may be in trouble with alcohol:

Smell of alcohol on breath, or sudden, frequent use of breath mints.
Abrupt changes in mood or attitude.
Sudden decline in attendance or performance at school.
Sudden resistance to discipline at school.
Uncharacteristic withdrawal from family, friends or interests.
Heightened secrecy about actions or possessions.
Association with a new group of friends whom your child refuses to discuss.

University of Buffalo
United States Department of Agriculture
National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc.
Boston University School of Public Health

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Parents Universal Resource Experts (Sue Scheff) Parental Power by Dr. Paul Jenkins

A popular speaker and presenter, Dr. Paul is the founder and host of the Abundant Life, Parental Power, Live on Purpose, Face your Fears and Marital Magic seminars. Visit our products page at to obtain audio recordings of some of these events. Dr. Paul also hosts a weekly radio show called “Live On Purpose” which is now available through a podcast, and publishes and distributes a free weekly psychology e-zine called “M-Power” with helpful psychological tips and principles (now available on a blog - As a father of four, Dr. Paul takes his role as a parent very seriously, and has chosen to apply his expertise in this field together with his wife, Vicki, to host this Parental Power blog which includes a live teleconference each Tuesday.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Sue Scheff: How to Move Past Mistakes

Eight simple parenting rules for motivating a vulnerable child with attention deficit disorder (ADD ADHD).

What’s the key to reaching one’s goals and making a happy, productive life? Motivation. But it’s hard to feel motivated when much of what you try goes awry. Just ask (or observe) a child with attention deficit disorder (ADD ADHD); distractibility and memory deficits can lead to frequent mistakes at home and at school — and what feels like constant discipline and criticism from parents and teachers.

Some kids buy into the idea that they aren’t capable of much, and give up when faced with even small challenges. Others become so fearful of not doing things right that they don’t even try. Either way, these kids suffer a severe blow to their self-esteem.

Now for the good news: It’s surprisingly easy to “inoculate” your son or daughter against defeatism and low self-esteem. All you have to do is teach your child how to think about the mistakes they make. Use my eight rules (outlined below) at home, and encourage your child’s teachers to use them at school. The rules are known by the acronym DELICATE. (If you have trouble remembering all eight, write them down, and post them prominently in your home.)

Point out to your child when his mistakes are decreasing in magnitude or frequency — and assure him that they are likely to continue to do so. “Look how far you’ve already come,” you might say. “The more you practice, the fewer mistakes you make. Things will get easier.”

Kids are less likely to be discouraged by mistakes if they realize that mistakes are to be expected. Ask your child to name what is at each end of a pencil. Explain that the point is for writing and the eraser is for correcting mistakes. In fact, the inevitability of mistakes is why erasers were invented. Explain, “Of course there are going to be mistakes. That’s what erasers are for.”

The only difference between a stumbling block and a stepping stone is how your child uses it. Make sure your child understands that every mistake, no matter how big or small, can be used as a learning opportunity. “Let’s learn from what just happened,” you might say. “Remember, success means making progress—not being perfect.”

Teach your child to regard a mistake not as a mark of failure, but as an indication that a project remains unfinished: “You’re not done with it yet. We’ll work on it again later. You didn’t run out of talent, you just ran out of time.”

C is for CAUSE
The perfectionist parent believes there is no excuse for mistakes. The realistic parent understands that mistakes are inevitable, and—rather than trying to affix blame — looks for causes to correct. “Let’s see what’s giving you trouble here,” you might say. “Every mistake has a cause.”

Make sure your child knows that mistakes are, by nature, accidents, and that making one does not mean that he is “bad.”

Encourage your child to view each mistake as a temporary setback on the road to success: “You’re just not ready for that activity right now—you’ll do better later.”

E is for EFFORT
Mistakes should be viewed as proof of trying, not as proof of failing to try hard enough. Point out that Michael Jordan missed 63 percent of the baskets he attempted during his basketball career. Babe Ruth struck out more than 1,300 times. And Thomas Edison tried 611 different materials before discovering that tungsten makes the best filament for a light bulb. “The only way you can guarantee avoiding a mistake,” you might say, “is not to try. Thank you for trying.”

By applying these eight concepts to the mistakes your child makes, you’re helping him develop that “I can do it!” self-confidence, free of the specter of perfectionism.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Parents Universal Resource Experts (Sue Scheff) The Danger of Inhalant Abuse

Inhaled chemicals are rapidly absorbed through the lungs into the bloodstream
and quickly distributed to the brain and other organs. Within minutes, the user
experiences intoxication, with symptoms similar to those produced by drinking
alcohol. With Inhalants, however, intoxication lasts only a few minutes, so some
users prolong the “high” by continuing to inhale repeatedly.

Short-term effects include:

headaches, muscle weakness, abdominal pain, severe
mood swings and violent behavior, belligerence, slurred speech, numbness and
tingling of the hands and feet, nausea, hearing loss, visual disturbances, limb
spasms, fatigue, lack of coordination, apathy, impaired judgment, dizziness,
lethargy, depressed reflexes, stupor, and loss of consciousness.
The Inhalant user will initially feel slightly stimulated and, after successive
inhalations, will feel less inhibited and less in control. Hallucinations may
occur and the user can lose consciousness. Worse, he or she, may even die.
Please see Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome below.

Long-term Inhalant users generally suffer from:

weight loss, muscle weakness,
disorientation, inattentiveness, lack of coordination, irritability and depression.
Different Inhalants produce different harmful effects, and regular abuse of these
substances can result in serious harm to vital organs. Serious, but potentially
reversible, effects include liver and kidney damage. Harmful irreversible effects
include: hearing loss, limb spasms, bone marrow and central nervous system
(including brain) damage.

Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome:

Children can die the first time, or any time, they try an Inhalant. This is
known as Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome. While it can occur with many
types of Inhalants, it is particularly associated with the abuse of air conditioning
coolant, butane, propane, and the chemicals in some aerosol products. Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome is usually associated with cardiac arrest. The Inhalant causes the heart to beat rapidly and erratically, resulting in cardiac arrest.
Learn more:

Saturday, June 14, 2008

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

By Shoulder to Shoulder

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

Timing is Everything

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

Practice Makes Perfect

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

Is It Hot In Here?

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

Read entire article here:

Friday, June 13, 2008

Sue Scheff: Standing Up for Your Child's Educational Rights

Learn your child’s educational rights to get him the support he needs in the classroom.

In an ideal world, teachers and school administrators would be as eager as parents to see that children with ADD get what they need to succeed in school. Unfortunately, teachers are pressed for time as never before, and school districts are strapped for cash. So it’s up to parents to make sure that their kids get the extra support they need.

“The federal government requires schools to provide special services to kids with ADD and other disabilities, but the school systems themselves bear much of the cost of these services,” says Susan Luger, director of The Children’s Advisory Group in New York City. “Though they’ll never admit it, this gives the schools an incentive to deny these services. The process of obtaining services has become much more legalistic over the past 10 years.”
Click here for the entire article.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Sue Scheff: Teen Gambling Addiction

By Connect with Kids
“I think if someone had asked me if I had wanted to go out with a beautiful girl or sit at home and play poker, I probably would have said I’d play poker.”

– Daniel Gushue, 22 years old

Daniel was a compulsive gambler.

Over the course of two years he racked up 18 thousand dollars of credit card debt.

“So on a typical night, my gambling at its worst, say here Oct. 25th,” Daniel says looking at his bank statement, “I deposited $50, I deposited another 50, another 50, a 100, another 100, 50, and then 200. So all-in-all that’s 6- $600.”

A survey by the University of Buffalo found that over two percent of teens admit to having a gambling problem. That’s a small number, but that represents 750 thousand teens.

And some are stealing or selling possessions to continue gambling.

Experts blame accessibility.

“So whereas 15-20 years ago you have to get into a car, drive to a casino, might take you an hour or two hours or three hours to get there, now you can just pick up your cell phone and be gambling while you are waiting in the doctor’s office, or while you’re waiting at the bus stop,” explains Dr. Timothy Fong, Addiction Psychiatrist.

That’s why, experts say, parents need to be proactive.

According to psychologist Dr. Larry Rosen that means, “Familiarize yourself with what potential problems your kids might come up against, and sit them down and talk to them.”

Daniel doesn’t play online poker anymore, but he does gamble on sports.

That makes his girlfriend, Carlee Schaper, nervous. “When it comes to watching him online, sports betting and things like that, I don’t like to see him doing that, because I feel like it’s a slippery slope, and, um, it’s possible for him to go back to his old ways.”

“Should I be gambling?” says Daniel, “Probably not. But for the time being I’m in a good place.”

Tips for Parents

The numbers from a University of Buffalo study are staggering. Three-quarters of a million teens have a serious gambling problem. That includes stealing money to gamble, gambling more money then initially planned, or selling possessions to gamble more. Another 11 percent of teens admit to gambling at least twice a week. Evidence shows that individuals who begin gambling at an early age run a much higher lifetime risk of developing a gambling problem.

Some individuals and organizations support teaching poker to adolescents as a real-life means of instructing on critical reasoning, mathematics and probability. They say teaching the probability of winning is the most important aspect of the game and that the mathematics behind the reasoning that will show kids they won’t win in the long run.

The legal gambling age in the United States is 21. Poker sites enable minors to play by clicking a box to verify that they are the legal age and entering a credit card number. Age is verified further only if suspicions are raised.

Some researchers call gambling the fastest-growing teenage addiction. Teens are especially vulnerable to gambling because of the excitement, the risk and their belief that skill is involved. The Arizona Council on Compulsive Gambling and the Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling lists the following warning signs that a teen may be struggling with a gambling problem:

Unexplained need for money: Valuables missing from the home and frequently borrowing money

Withdrawal from the family: Changes in personality, impatience, criticism, sarcasm, increased hostility, irritability, making late-night calls, fewer outside activities, a drop in grades and unaccountable time away from home

Interest in sports teams with no prior allegiance: Watching televised sports excessively, exhibiting an unusual interest in sports reports, viewing multiple games at one time, running up charges to 900 sports phone numbers and showing hostility over the outcome of a game
Gambling paraphernalia: Betting slips, IOUs, lottery tickets, frequent card and dice games at home and the overuse of gambling language, such as “bet,” in conversation
Coming to parents to pay gambling debts
Using lunch or bus money to gamble

Ask yourself the following questions if you suspect your child has a gambling addiction:

Is your child out of the house or confined to a room with a computer for long, unexplained periods of time?

Does your child miss work, school or extra-curricular activities?

Can your child be trusted with money?

Does your child borrow money to gamble with or to pay gambling debts?

Does your child hide his or her money?

Have you noticed a personality change in your child?

Does your child consistently lie to cover up or deny his or her gambling activities?

Compulsive gambling is an illness, progressive in nature. There is no cure, but with help the addiction can be suppressed. Many who gamble live in a dream world to satisfy emotional needs. The gambler dreams of a life filled with friends, new cars, furs, penthouses, yachts, etc. However, a gambler usually will return to win more, so no amount of winning is sufficient to reach these dreams.

The compulsion to gamble can easily lead to self-destructive behavior, especially for teens. If you are concerned that a young person you care about has a gambling problem, encourage him or her to contact a gambling help line in your area or to seek professional help at a gambling treatment facility.

American Family Association
Arizona Council on Compulsive Gambling
Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling
National Gambling Impact Study Commission
Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education
University of Buffalo's Research Institute on Addictions

Monday, June 9, 2008

Sue Scheff: Parenting ADHD Children - Advice from Moms

By ADDitude Magazine

Moms' advice for parenting ADHD children, creating an ADD-friendly household and smoothing out daily rough spots

It’s the stuff attention deficit disorder (ADD ADHD) days are made of: You’re trying to get your daughter to finish her homework, but she insists on doing cartwheels across the living room. Or you’ve already had two big dustups with your son — and it’s only 9 a.m.

Sound familiar? Parents of ADHD children have a lot on their plates. And while doctors, therapists, and ADD coaches can offer helpful guidance, much of the best, most practical advice on parenting ADD children comes from those who have been there, done that. In other words, from other ADHD parents.

For this article, ADDitude asked members of support groups across the country (both live and online) for their tried-and-true parenting skill tips for monitoring behavior problems, disciplining and smoothing out the daily rough spots. Here’s what they said.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Sue Scheff: Teens and Internet Safety


Introduction: Teens Navigating Cyberspace

If you believe e-mail, blogs, and instant messaging are a completely harmless way for teens to communicate, think again! Many teens have Internet access--often private communication in the form of blogs, chat rooms, and forums. These online communication aids are not themselves a problem. But the ever-present threat of being sexually solicited or bullied while on the Internet is a big problem.

While online, teens may be persuaded to do things or share private/confidential information, to be sexually solicited, and/or to experience public humiliation. Recent testimony on child protection before Congress, alerted the public to online sexual solicitation of teens. However, parents and youth workers may be less aware of "cyber-bullying" in which peers viciously attack one another. This article will define online sexual solicitation and cyber-bullying, explain the risk factors and negative effects of these communications, and outline ways to protect youth from harm.

Online Sexual Solicitation

Online sexual solicitation is a form of sexual harassment that occurs over the internet. Incidents of online sexual solicitation include: exposure to pornography; being asked to discuss sex online and/or do something sexual; or requests to disclose personal information. This can start when an adult or peer initiates an online nonsexual relationship with a child or adolescent, builds trust, and seduces him or her into sexual acts. Several studies have found that:

30% of teen girls who used the Internet frequently had been sexually harassed while they were in a chat room.

37% of teens (male and female) received links to sexually explicit content online.

30% of teens have talked about meeting someone they met online.

19% knew a friend who was harassed or asked about sex online by a stranger.

33% of teen girls and 18% of teen boys had been asked about sexual topics online. (Dewey, 2002; Polly Klaas Foundation, 2006)

Friday, June 6, 2008

Sue Scheff: “A Parent’s Guide to the Teen Brain”. This new site is designed to help parents decode teen behavior and connect with their kids.


The Partnership for a Drug Free America to Hold a Virtual Press Conference Announcing Launch of “A Parent’s Guide to the Teen Brain”

- New Site to Help Parents Decode Teen Behavior and Connect with their Kids
- Release of the 20th annual Partnership Attitude Tracking Study

WHAT: The Partnership for a Drug Free America will debut their newest online parenting tool: “A Parent’s Guide to the Teen Brain.” The site launch also coincides with the release of the 20th annual Partnership Attitude Tracking Study (PATS), a survey of parents’ attitudes about drugs and alcohol.

WHY: For every parent of a teenager who has ever wondered “who is this kid?” the website aims to make answering that question easier. Designed to help parents navigate the confusing, often frustrating teen years, “A Parent’s Guide to the Teen Brain” translates recent scientific findings that shed light on how brain development shapes teens’ behavior and personalities into easy-to-understand tips and tools for parents.

The site explains that the human brain takes 25 years to fully develop, with areas responsible for complex judgment and decision-making maturing last. Through video, humorous interactive segments, role-playing and advice from experts, parents learn how adolescent brain development explains the “normal” teen behaviors that often confound parents—impulsiveness, rebellion, high emotions and risk-taking, especially with drugs and alcohol—and how to use this new information to connect with their teens.

The 2007 PATS study shows that as kids become teenagers, their parents need for information and help talking about drugs and alcohol peaks, and parents’ confidence in their ability to keep kids from using drugs and alcohol begins to wane.

WHO: A distinguished panel of experts will participate in a discussion about “A Parent’s
Guide to the Teen Brain including:
• Steve Pasierb: President and Chief Executive Officer of the Partnership for a Drug Free America
• Ken Winters, Ph.D.: director of the Center for Adolescent Substance Abuse Research, a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Minnesota, and a Senior Scientist with the Treatment Research Institute, Philadelphia, PA.
• Tara Paterson: certified parenting coach, mother of three, founder of the Mom’s Choice Awards (which honor excellence in family friendly media, products and services), author of the upcoming book Raising Intuitive Children and contributor to

Highlights of the Virtual Press Conference will include:
• Detailed explanation/run through of “A Parents Guide to the Teen Brain”
• Explanation about the links between teen behavior and the physiological changes happening in the teen brain
• Explanation of findings from the 2007 PATS study
• Discussion of how to apply the scientific findings about the teen brain to real life
• Valuable insight from a parent and parenting coach


WHEN: June 11, 2008 from 10:00 am – 11:00 am

To download video of the webcast in broadcast quality format (available June 11th from 10am – 11am ET) please visit the coordinates below:

Galaxy 26 Transponder 1 C BAND Analog
Downlink frequency is 3720 Vertica

Beta copies can be requested after the event, but will require additional time for delivery.

Media Contacts: Judy Klein, o: 212-251-1204, m: 917-282-9352, e:
Paul Costiglio, o: 212-973-3530, m: 917-686-8697, e:

For more information about the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, visit
# # #

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Sue Scheff: Internet Gossip

By Connect with Kids

“Sure enough, I had a parent come to my door and say, ‘Your daughter has been saying some rather nasty things about my daughter on this website.’”

– Patti Thrift, Mother

High school students have always spread gossip in the halls, on the walls and on the phone. Now, it’s on the Internet, too. On various message boards specific to communities around the country, kids write about whom they hate, whom they think is pregnant or has an STD and record other often hurtful rumors that may or may not be true.

Sixteen-year-old Jessica remembers once when some kids at her school wrote cruel things about her on the Web.

“They were just making fun of me,” she says. “You know, she’s really ugly, she’s this, she’s that, ba-ba-ba.”

Jessica’s 11-year-old sister, Emma, admits she’s used the Web to write nasty things about another girl, though she regrets it now.

“After a while, you’re like, how could I have been so mean? Like, why did I do that?” she says.

The other girl’s father eventually became so frustrated with what Emma had said that he came to her door and demanded her mother make her stop.

Experts say gossip on the Internet can be more harmful than the old-fashioned kind. It’s often anonymous because kids use fake screen names. It has the power of the written word, so it lasts longer and is taken more seriously. And, unlikely ugly words on the bathroom wall, there’s no way to scratch it out.

“Online gossip is to hearsay gossip probably what nukes are to dynamite,” says Dr. Ramah Commanday, a school psychologist. “It can get EXTREMELY raunchy.”

If your kids are victims of online gossip, Dr. Commanday suggests putting the gossip into perspective.

“Point out to them how what’s being said on the screen differs from what everyone knows about you as a person,” Dr. Commanday says.

You can also try what worked for Emma: Keep your kids off the offensive website!

“When she was using it all the time, her name was on there all the time. People were writing things about her,” explains Patti Thrift, Emma’s mother. “Since she has no longer had access to that, she’s no longer a topic of conversation.”

Experts say that any time your child is on the Internet, you should know what he or she is doing there. Online gossip is just another reason why.

Tips for Parents

Most of us remember passing notes during class or swapping stories over lunch with our friends in middle and high school. But with more teens accessing the Internet these days, it appears that gossip has gone high-tech. Teens are using message boards, instant messaging and even email to air out their frustrations – often in hurtful language – about their teachers and peers.

According to an Internet Report from the UCLA Center for Communication Policy, 97% of kids aged 12 to 18 access the Internet on a regular basis. What they’re doing on the Internet, however, may be surprising. The U.S. Department of Justice reports that approximately one in every 17 kids is threatened or harassed while using the Internet. In fact, most don’t tell their parents or other adults, and if they do, the adults often don’t know how to stop the online teasing.

Gossiping, whether it’s in the halls or on a message board, more often than not leads to hurt feelings. According to the Nemours Foundation, if teens spend enough time gossiping and passing on stories they don’t know are true, eventually no one will believe anything they say, even when it is the truth. Teens who gossip shouldn’t expect to be trusted ever again. Once friends learn that a peer can’t resist spreading secrets around, they won’t tell him or her anything personal. And if a teen gossips about personal or important issues, he or she could even end up in trouble at school and at home. Teachers don’t appreciate students who make it tough for other students to learn, and parents won’t be happy to hear that their child is causing trouble in school.

If you’ve heard your teen taking teasing and gossiping to a hurtful level, it’s time to remedy the situation. The experts at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota offer the following advice for curbing your teen’s gossiping and teasing:

Cultivate your teen’s compassion. Talk to him or her about feelings – how emotional blows can hurt as much as physical ones. “You wouldn’t throw a rock at that boy, would you? So you shouldn’t call him a ‘zit-face’ either.”

Give your teen a simple test he or she can use to judge if his or her teasing is playful or hurtful: “How would I feel if someone said this about me?”

Talk to your teen about the when and where of playful teasing. He or she shouldn’t always resort to sarcasm or jokes at someone else’s expense in order to get a laugh.

Examine your own behavior and that of other family members. Do you rib your children at length, even after they plead with you to stop? Do you tease inappropriately, that is, about the way people look or the habits they have? Are you confusing razzing with teaching and discipline – for instance, do you communicate your frustration about your teen’s messy room by calling him “Mr. Slob”? Make sure that your own teasing (and that of everyone else in your household) is good-natured, not aggressive or manipulative.

As a parent, it is also important to regulate how your teen uses the Internet. If you know what your teen is doing while online, you can better prevent him or her from visiting message boards where the temptation to gossip exists. The Media Awareness Network suggests considering the following questions concerning how your teen surfs the Net:

Are you involved in your teen’s online activities? Do you know what he or she is doing and whom your teen is talking to when he or she is on the Internet?

Does your family have a set of rules or an agreement for appropriate Internet use?

Do you make Internet use a family activity by guiding your teen to good sites and teaching him or her how to do safe, effective searches?

Have you taught your teen not to believe everything he or she reads online and to check online information with an adult or with another source?
If your teen has her or his own website, have you checked to make sure it doesn’t contain harmful or hurtful information?
Have you talked to your teen about responsible online behavior? Does he or she understand that making threats or harassing others online can be considered illegal activities?


Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota
Media Awareness Network
Nemours Foundation
UCLA Center for Communication Policy
U.S. Department of Justice

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Parents Universal Resource Experts (Sue Scheff) Make a Difference: Talk to Your Child About Alcohol

Quick Facts

Kids who drink are more likely to be victims of violent crime, to be involved in alcohol-related traffic crashes, and to have serious school-related problems.

You have more influence on your child̢۪s values and decisions about drinking before he or she begins to use alcohol.

Parents can have a major impact on their children̢۪s drinking, especially during the preteen and early teen years.

Read the entire article here:

Monday, June 2, 2008

Sue Scheff: It is June Already! Time for Summer Reading for Parents and Teens

Summer is almost here and what a better time to catch up on relaxation and reading!

Go to your local library with your kids or a bookstore and find some educational and fun books to read. Health Communications Inc. offers a wide variety of wonderful books for both parents and kids today.

Also review for great reading!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Sue Scheff: Getting Your Teen to Talk


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Depending upon your relationship, getting your teen to talk to you could be an agonizing or enjoyable exchange. If your teen is not communicative or willing to discuss issues, then it is up to you to find ways to get your teen to open up. How? Here are some suggestions.Oftentimes, teens are afraid to discuss a problem head on. Therefore, living in a home that is filled with love and understanding is crucial. While one teen may find it easier to talk to Mom and another feels more comfortable talking with Dad, the conditions in the home are critical to the teen being able to talk about anything at anytime. This process begins at birth. Having conversations with each other is one way to instill a sense of openness in the home. Moms and dads who constantly talk to each other and their children, whether at the dinner table or during bedtime, allow the child to feel good about discussing any topic with one or both parents. Consequently, your child will grow up in an atmosphere where freedom of expression is not only expected but encouraged.

Teenagers come with their own set of problems and issues. It’s the natural course of events for teens. This does not mean, however, they must sit in their rooms contemplating situations which they are neither ready for, nor can handle. Keeping the lines of communication open may be difficult at times, especially if all you get out of your teenager is a grunt of acknowledgement. Don’t give up, no matter how difficult the situation becomes. Whether your teen will admit it or not, having you there allows them to feel safe and secure, even though they don’t show it.

You can be assured, however, when the time is right and when the teen feels there are no other options available, he or she will open up. This is the point at which you should listen carefully to what is being offered. While your teen may not be asking your advice, the ability to be able to say what is on his or her mind may be enough to get out of the funk he or she is in.

However, if you feel your teen has become so distant that nothing seems to work, it may be time to seek help. In the meantime, without being invasive, keep an eye on your teen, ensure he or she is eating and sleeping, and communicating with friends. Every teen is different in how they approach life’s ups and downs. Think back to when you were a teen. Were you as open with your parents as you’d like your teen to be? If not, perhaps the inability to talk openly amongst family members began then.

As parents, we have a lot to deal with in our own lives. Sometimes even we shut down due to the pressure. Getting your teen to talk to you may be just as hard as getting your spouse to talk to you. It is in talking that we let out our innermost thoughts and feelings. Perhaps by learning how to talk to each other, you will instill confidence in your teen to follow your lead.