Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sue Scheff: Empowering Kids to Be Successful!

In today’s economy, this is an encouraging website for teens, tweens and parents. Encouraging your kids to reach for their goals and dreams. This website has great employment tips for all age of teens up to college kids. I am so amazed at the wealth of ideas for kids and being successful!

Want to Raise Successful, Self-Made, Sharing Millionaire Kids?


Do your kids think money grows on trees?

Do you worry your kids may end up in debt when they grow up?

And do you want them to become a doctor or lawyer so they’ll make a high salary and live comfortably?

If so, you’re not alone.

Sadly, most kids don’t have a clue how to handle money…and will most likely make costly mistakes…no matter how high their salary is…that will cause them years of struggle and stress.

Sadly, most kids don’t have a clue how to handle money…and will most likely make costly mistakes…no matter how high their salary is…that will cause them years of struggle and stress.

That’s why it’s SO important for you to teach your kids how to develop smart money habits.
So they don’t end up stuck working at a dead end job because they need the money…or working for a boss they hate.

My name is Sonja Mishek and I have a BA in Commercial Economics and have been a tax preparer, a credit analyst, a small business owner, and real estate investor for over 20 some years now.

But more importantly, I’m a proud parent just like you.

And I want the very best for my four kids…Rachel (17), Tony (15), Matthew (13), and Maria (11).

I want my kids to be…




and of course, Financially Secure…

And that’s what this website is all about…tips and techniques on how to teach your kids smart money habits so they can become self-made, self-sufficient, successful millionaires.

Read more on the above link to the website.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Sue Scheff: Florida Summer Program for ADD/ADHD

Wow, Danielle Herb (check out her video) offers an amazing program for kids with ADD/ADHD as well as helping kids overcom their fears. Since I am in Florida, I am always asked about programs here and honestly, there are not that many. Well, not many in my opinion - if you know my story and my organization, I am a bit on the picky side.

Attention Children (Aged 10-16) With ADHD/ADD:
Horse Kid Scholarship 2009 for Danielle Herb’s ADHD Horse

Level 1 Master Class 21st - 28th June 2009- Visit

Start Your Summer In Florida With Danielle Herb, The ADHD/ADD Natural Horsemanship Coach

WHAT: The ADHD Horse Level 1 Master Class is an exciting new weeklong program developed by Danielle Herb and Drop Your Reins to help you manage your ADD/ADHD using natural techniques and without the need for prescription drugs.

WHO: Children Diagnosed with ADHD/ADD Aged 10-16

WHEN: June 21-28, 2009

WHERE: North Florida (Location to be announced)

The Master Class will allow you to teach other young people the skills you learn, while at the same time teaching you how to manage your own ADD/ADHD by learning the language of the horse and mirroring.

By taking part in this Master Class you will discover:

How to manage energy in Positive and Peaceful ways by allowing the horse to mirror you.
How to improve your grades by developing a natural ability to focus.
How to easily plan and manage your diet for natural, positive affects.

Winners of The ADHD/ADD Horse Kid Scholarship will receive:

ADHD Horse Level 1 Coach Certification, allowing you to help other young people (worth $2499)
Lodging and Meals for the duration of the Master Class
A exclusive swag bag filled with books, music, DVD’s and services that will help you
You will gain life skills which will help you to control your ADHD/ADD

Friday, May 29, 2009

Sue Scheff: Summer Reading for Teens

Summer reading and teens don’t always mix, however offers some great advice and ideas to get your High School teens reading this summer.

Summer reading is a great way to get your child interested in books, on his or her own terms. For the best books for high school summer reading, we turned to the nation’s finest independent bookstores to get their favorites, from classics to new releases, death-defying adventures to thought-provoking insights. Here are their recommendations for a summertime full of fantastic books:

Hang a Thousand Trees with Ribbons by Ann Rinaldi

This work of historical fiction is the story of Phillis Wheatley, America’s first published black poet. She goes from being a slave to being the toast of literary society, but the story of her success is also a thought-provoking exploration of a time, place, and culture. Recommended by Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, CO. Where to buy.

A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth Bunce

A retelling of the Rumpelstiltskin story taking place on the cusp of the Industrial Revolution, this book has a strong heroine with a big serving og romance, suspense, and a fine historic sense about it. Recommended by Powell’s Books, Portland, OR. Where to buy.

Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer

In this third installment in the wildly popular Twilight Saga series, Bella is again caught up in a world of vampire romance and danger. A perfect summertime read for fans and newcomers to the series alike. Recommended by Prairie Lights Books, Iowa City, IA. Where to buy.

My Most Excellent Year by Steve Kluger

Just the young adult book we’ve been waiting for! With characters both achingly real and creatively imaged, Kluger is sure to garner favorable reviews from teens and parents alike, and probably some national awards and honors along the way. Recommended by 57th Street Books, Chicago, IL. Where to buy.

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

A coming of age story about a young girl’s aspirations to become a famous author, this is a wonderfully written and timeless story with real characters that anyone can relate to.

Recommended by Linden Tree Children’s Recordings and Books, Los Altos, CA. Where to buy.
Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

Set in San Francisco, a few years in the future, terrorists blow up the bay bridge and 3 young teens find themselves taken into custody by homeland security. Outraged by their treatment, one of the kids takes it upon himself to fight the system and take down “Big Brother”. This is a fabulous techno-thriller, widely regaled as the “Hipper, Younger Brother of Orwell’s 1984.” Hands down the best book of the summer! Recommended by Kepler’s Bookstore, Menlo Park, CA. Where to buy.

Want to see more from’s book list? Here’s a collection of our favorite books for high school:

The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper

This fantasy series melds adventure, magic, and myth in an epic battle between the powers of Light and Dark. Before there was Harry Potter, there was Will Stanton, the seventh son of a seventh son who discovers on his eleventh birthday that he is one of the Old Ones, dedicated to battling the powers of evil. This series strikes the perfect balance between everyday characters and a world of ancient magic, humor and danger.

Read the entire article here:

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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Sue Scheff: ADD/ADHD Youth Program - Drop Your Reins

Drop Your Reins – Learn to TrustPeaceful Solutions for ADHD/ADD & Autistic Children Using Natural Horsemanship

Founded and run by Danielle Herb, Drop Your Reins is a holistic training school based in Live Oak, FL. From direct interaction with horses to supplemental training videos the program uses Natural Horsemanship For Kids helps guide the powerful minds of ADD/ADHD and Autistic children to reach their greatest potential while maintaining their innocence and purity.

Horses are amazing because they are sentient animals that mirror our personalities as well as our fears. –Danielle Herb

The old model of parenting and training horses, still being used by many today, is to break their spirit into submission to get them to do what you want. They are repeatedly worn down until the end result is unhappy, unhealthy kids and horses.

Are you curious about how horses can help humans learn to communicate more effectively, build inner self-esteem and outer confidence? By partnering with horses, we create an experiential learning environment that invites open communication, personal reflection, and increased self-awareness. Find out more about this “horse stuff” by joining us for a short, complimentary, introductory demonstration of this truly amazing learning process!

We begin each demo with introductions, to each other, to horse assisted learning and to horse behavior. Next, we partner with our four-legged friends to give you an opportunity to experience, first-hand, an on-the-ground (non riding) Drop Your Reins experience. Following the exercise with the horses, we take time “debrief” or talk – seeking to help identify assumptions and belief systems, increasing understanding and awareness. There’s also time to answer questions about how we can collaborate to help you reach your families development or personal growth goals.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sue Scheff: Parents Need to Learn Technology Their Kids Know

Source: WiredMoms

What is WiredMoms?

Wired Moms is an online community of people that are dedicated to keeping our kids, and all kids, safe online. This site is your virtual back fence - a place where you can come and meet with other moms to share stories and learn different ways to navigate through the latest technologies that our kids seem to know intuitively. Register today, stay involved, meet new people and have fun at the same time. We look forward to hearing from you! Click here:

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sue Scheff: A Parents' Guide to Middle School Years

By Joe Bruzzese
As I am half way through this book, I am very impressed, and can't wait to finish. Why? Not because I have middle school kids (I have young adults, but I wish I had this book and advice back then), but I am anxious to pass this on to my sister since my niece will be entering Middle School next year.
What I am saying is - if you have a child entering Middle School this fall, this book is an educational and valuable book that can help you prepare for the changes your child is about to confront.
From peer pressure, to "sex talk", to bullying and much more - the Middle School years can be the most challenging.
As the Founder of Parents' Universal Resource Experts, I receive calls from parents daily that are struggling with their teens, usually in High School already, and I can't help but think if parents had this book prior Middle School, many of the problems kids face in High School could be limited or at least handled with ease.
I can't wait to finish this book - (unfortunately I don't have much free time as I would like, but I will finish it, since I can't wait to pass it on).
Purchase or learn more here:

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sue Scheff: Power Moms Unite - Learn More about ADHD

Power Moms are moms working to successfully balance the needs of child, family, and self. Some work outside the home, balancing a career with the needs of their child, family and personal self. Other moms are working from home, managing families while managing a small home-based business or managing large families and a homeschool. There are a wide range of us- all power moms- looking to do our best at our many hats as mom- be that nuturer, coach, educator, cheerleader, psychologist, disciplinarian, party arranger, role-model, etc. The roles are vast and numerous, the balance often difficult to strike. This site hopes to empower these moms by providing timely, valuable and informative resources for celebrating family life and successfully managing ADHD.

Visit and read their educational and informational articles, ideas and experiences! As a parent of an ADHD child (now young adult) I love this website and can relate!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Sue Scheff: Internet Safety and Kids

The importance of family internet safety education and etiquette is often overlooked by both kids and teenagers today. While most teens are more ahead of the curve than most parents when it comes to the internet, they may not have the knowledge to help keep them safe from online dangers and its potentially negative effects. On behalf of Girl Scouts of the USA and Microsoft Windows, I have been asked to to introduce you to a new initiative called “LMK (text-speak for “Let Me Know,”) which provides parents and girls with resources catering to both generations, and whose goal is to bridge the digital gap between parents and teenagers. On, the girl-targeted website, teens can find interactive quizzes, videos, and expert articles to be informed about online safety in a fun way!

Girls can comment on the site content, sharing their thoughts, experiences and perspectives on topics many teens face everyday, like cyberbullying and social networking. New content is posted periodically and will cover twelve different areas related to being a teen online today.

Teens can even download an interactive patch they can share on social networking sites like Facebook, just by registering for the site at no cost. Best of all, it’s for all teenagers, not just Girl Scouts!

When parents visit, they can sign up for the e-newsletter written and developed by a team of “LMK Teen Editors” who are sharing their knowledge about the ways teens use technology and help parents understand it all. Parents will have the chance to learn need-to-know skills to keep them up to speed with what their kids are doing online too. Expert advice is also offered to give guidance on tougher issues.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Sue Scheff: Is Your Child Sexting?

Is Your Child Sexting? What Parents Need to Know

By Rose Garrett

Parents may never have heard of it, but surveys show that 20 to 60 percent of teens are doing it: “sexting”. While this troubling trend continues full speed ahead, parents, teachers and lawmakers are struggling to react appropriately to the phenomenon that puts kids at risk for exploitation, harassment, and even felony charges.

What is sexting? A combination of the words “sex” and “text messaging,” “sexting” is the sending of sexually provocative messages or visual images to and from cell phones and computers. Kids as young as 9 years old may be doing in it, according to the research of Susan Lipkins, a psychologist specializing in bullying and hazing.

Some teens and young adults use sexting to flirt, others to have fun or be funny, and still others to gain recognition, improve their social status, or hurt or harass. “Sometimes it's gossip, sometimes it's a mating call, sometimes it's sexual harassment,” says Lipkins, who urges a nuanced view of the phenomenon.

“It's an abrupt change that's uncomfortable and scary to adults,” she concedes, but says parents need to look at the trend as an expression of larger changes in the way teens and young adults relate sexually. “It's really an expression of the kinds of sexual behavior they're having,” she says, noting that young people today may be more interested in casual sex than relationships, in contrast with past generations. “Many girls are not looking for a relationship: they're looking for experience and looking for freedom. Sexting is just a reflection of what's actually going on.”

Sexting makes use of cell phone and computer technology to send sexually provocative images and messages, and with increased accessibility comes greatly increased risk. Gone are the days of a girl slipping a suggestive Polaroid photo to her boyfriend: now, provocative photos sent in private can be forwarded to the entire school body after a break-up, posted online, and available in perpetuity over the Internet. That's exactly what happened to 18-year-old Jessica Logan, who committed suicide on July 3, 2008 after her ex-boyfriend forwarded nude images she had sent him to hundreds in their high school.

Emotional trauma is just one of the dangers associated with sexting behavior. Several teens across the country are now facing child pornography charges for sending or receiving sexually provocative images of themselves or peers. In Wyoming, three high school girls have been threatened with child pornography charges over digital photos in which they appear topless or in their underwear, and similar cases have appeared across the country, with charges ranging from misdemeanor to felony obscenity.

"Kids should be taught that sharing digitized images of themselves in embarrassing or compromised positions can have bad consequences, but prosecutors should not be using heavy artillery like child-pornography charges to teach them that lesson," said Witold Walczak, Legal Director for the ACLU of Pennsylvania, which has filed a lawsuit against the Wyoming County district attorney. "Child pornography is a terrible crime that involves the abuse and exploitation of children, neither of which exists here," said Walczak in an ACLU press release. "In many states these charges would land these kids on Megan's Law databases, with their pictures on Internet registries for ten years or more, and prevent them from getting many types of jobs.” That means that convicted teens could end up as registered sex offenders for the simple act of taking and sending photos of themselves.

While the legal system is slapping teens with outsized charges for sexting behavior, it's the real predators that we should be worried about, says Richard Guerry, Executive Director of the Institute for Responsible Online and Cell Phone Communication. Guerry warns that private videos and photos are increasingly becoming stolen fodder for sexually suggestive or explicit websites and blogs, even when the personal content is password protected or saved on a private hard drive.

The consequences of 'sextcasting', the wider dissemination of images and video across the Internet, are far more serious than those of simple camera-phone messaging, says Guerry. “Sexting is limited to cell-phones and is really a method of 'sextcasting,' which is a much larger issue.” Parents and lawmakers worried about sexting are already behind the times, says Guerry, who says that where previously parents worried about keeping kids from stumbling across online pornography sites, now they should be worrying about preventing children from becoming unwitting “content providers”.

It's easy to vilify sexting as an out-of-control trend to be stopped at all costs. But parents should consider sexting in the larger context of the changing sexual and technological attitudes of the next generation. “We need to really take a step back and and look at it and understand it,” says Lipkins, who thinks of sexting as a symptom, not a source, of teen sexual attitudes.

Lipkins says that prosecuting kids for sexting behavior is a misguided approach to a new problem that's best solved the old-fashioned way: by communicating with your child about risks and teaching responsible behavior. “Parents have to talk about sexting behavior as part of other behaviors, and really try to have kids learn how to navigate this world without us, because we're not going to be around forever,” says Lipkins. “We want kids to learn how to make healthy decisions on their own.”

Want to keep your child safe from sexting and its consequences?

Here's how to help:

Communication is Key

Kids probably won't respond well if you ask them pointblank, “Are you sexting?” In fact, many may not even recognize the term. Instead of grilling your child, keep informed about what's going on generally, from crushes and relationships to friendships and bullying. Many small conversations will give you a much better idea of your child's social life than one big interrogation, and you child will be more apt to talk to you if she feels you're consistently on the level. If you learn that your child is dating or engaging in sexual behaviors, have a frank talk about sex and include the topic of sexting. If not, make sure to have a discussion about bullying that addresses the issue of using text messages to harass or humiliate others.

Be Real About Risks

Teens are neurologically disposed to be more impulsive and less rational than adults, which makes it all the more important that they know the dangers of sexting. Although it might not be an easy conversation, parents should communicate to teens that school-wide embarrassment, legal consequences, and viral distribution across the Internet are among the very real risks of this seemingly inconsequential behavior. Stopping to think twice may make all the difference if your teen is thinking of pressing “send” on something she might regret.

Emphasize Empathy

Sexting isn't a two-way street: it's more like a multi-lane highway. That means that kids who may not be sending sexts are receiving them, forwarding them to others, and contributing to a potentially malicious environment of gossip and harassment. Urge your child to think before forwarding sexually provocative images of other people – how would he feel if that were his image instead of someone else's? Using empathy may help your teen make the decision to press “delete” instead of saving or forwarding.

Teach 21st Century Responsibility

Kids who may be model citizens offline can make big mistakes online, so it's important to stress that responsible behavior extends to the world of email, text messaging, video chatting and social networking. Make sure that your child knows that anything posted online, or sent via cell phones or email, can be saved, shared, and virally disseminated across the Internet. That means that friends, enemies, strangers, teachers, parents and future employers could potentially see your images and videos.

Parents should see sexting not as an isolated trend, but as a new expression, fueled by technology, of the social and sexual experimentation that has always characterized adolescence. That means that the best way for parents to keep kids safe is still to send a message of their own, which emphasizes responsibility, explains the risks, and keeps the lines of communication open.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Sue Scheff: Parent's Influence on Teen Drinking

Source: Connect with Kids

“My parents are pretty powerful in my life. I have their respect, and they have mine.”

– Deepak, 16 years old

Teenagers are bound to experiment with drugs, alcohol and sex – right?

Not necessarily, says 15-year-old Nick. “It’s not inevitable,” he says. “It’s just a personal decision.”

“There’s [sic] a lot of people who just don’t want to try any of that stuff, but there are some people who do,” says 15-year-old Chris Mullings.

The Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs reports that when underage drinkers are disciplined by their parents they are less likely to become heavy drinkers compared to kids whose parents ignore their drinking.

“My parents have a pretty big influence on everything that I believe in – what I will and won’t do,” says Elizabeth, 15.

Nick echoes her sentiments. “For all my decisions, I’m always thinking about what they taught me, and even if I don’t do what they said, it’s still always in my head,” he says.

What’s more, teens themselves say parents help them make healthy choices by talking to them and knowing where they are, whom they’re with and what they’re doing. And when their expectations are clear.

“If they have heard what you think is appropriate behavior and you have modeled it, when they are in a position where they have to think critically, they have already had a chance to, in some ways, rehearse it,” says psychologist Dr. Peter Thomas.

And, experts say, if you find your teen has been experimenting- speak up!

“By not commenting directly, they’re, in essence, giving their child permission to continue to drink or get stoned or do whatever they’re doing because the child will interpret their silence as its okay, it doesn’t matter,” explains psychologist, Alexandra Phipps. “I would tell parents if you don’t talk about things with your child, it’s probably going to happen again and again and it’s probably going to get worse.”

Tips for Parents

Research defines binge drinking as having five or more drinks in a row. Reasons adolescents give for binge drinking include: to get drunk, the status associated with drinking, the culture of drinking on campus, peer pressure and academic stress. Binge drinkers are 21 times more likely to: miss class, fall behind in schoolwork, damage property, injure themselves, engage in unplanned and/or unprotected sex, get in trouble with the police, and drink and drive.

Young people who binge drink could be risking serious damage to their brains now and increasing memory loss later in adulthood. Adolescents may be even more vulnerable to brain damage from excessive drinking than older drinkers. Consider the following:

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

Underage drinking causes over $53 billion in criminal, social and health problems.

Seventy-seven percent of young drinkers get their liquor at home, with or without permission.

Students who are binge drinkers in high school are three times more likely to binge drink in college.

Nearly 25 percent of college students report frequent binge drinking, that is, they binged three or more times in a two-week period.

Autopsies show that patients with a history of chronic alcohol abuse have smaller, less massive and more shrunken brains.

Alcohol abstinence can lead to functional and structural recovery of alcohol-damaged brains.
Alcohol is America’s biggest drug problem. Make sure your child understands that alcohol is a drug and that it can kill him/her. Binge drinking is far more pervasive and dangerous than boutique pills and other illicit substances in the news. About 1,400 students will die of alcohol-related causes this year. An additional 500,000 will suffer injuries.

A study by the Harvard School of Public Health showed that 51 percent of male college students and 40 percent of female college students engaged in binge drinking in the previous two weeks. Half of these drinkers binged frequently (more than three times per week). College students who binge drink report:

Interruptions in sleep or study habits (71 percent).
Caring for an intoxicated student (57 percent).
Being insulted or humiliated (36 percent).
An unwanted sexual experience (23 percent).
A serious argument (23 percent).
Damaging property (16 percent).
Being pushed, hit or assaulted (11 percent).
Being the victim of a sexual advance assault or date rape (1 percent).

Students must arrive on college campuses with the ability to resist peer pressure and knowing how to say no to alcohol. For many youngsters away from home for the first time, it is difficult to find the courage to resist peer pressure and the strength to answer peer pressure with resounding no. Parents should foster such ability in their child’s early years and nurture it throughout adolescence. Today’s youth needs constant care from parents and community support to make the best decisions for their wellbeing.

Alcohol Policies Project
Focus Adolescent Services
Harvard School of Public Health
National Youth Violence Prevention Center
Psychological Assessment Research & Treatment Services

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Sue Scheff: Parents You're Empowered!

Sue Blaney continues to educate parents and her audio collection for busy parents and limited time is now available. Check out her recent Blog today.

YOU’RE EMPOWERED! Parenting Teens with Conviction, Communication & Love

By Sue Blaney

You’re Empowered! Parenting Teens with Conviction, Communication and Love has been named as a top-three finalist for a 2009 Benjamin Franklin Award for best audiobook-nonfiction. The Benjamin Franklin Awards are among the most respected Book Awards in the country and recognize excellence in both editorial and design. The award is administered by the Independent Book Publishers Association, IBPA, (formerly PMA) with the help of industry professionals coming from the library, bookstore, reviewer, designer, publicity and editorial markets.

I am a big fan of audio content. Commuters, runners and parents who spend hours in the car each week transporting kids have great opportunities to listen to valuable and beneficial audio programming. I developed this program so parents can listen when it’s convenient for you, and the 28 page workbook accompanies the audio so that you can revisit the concepts and make some notes. The Parents’ Action Tool makes the program even more concrete and actionable. This program is created for typical parents with typical teens.

This 3-hour audiobook (available as an MP3 download or as a 3-CD set) looks at parenting teens through a communications framework because I believe the key to raising teenagers is good communication.

The first CD is titled De-Mystifying Teens. In it we examine three Growth and Development Factors and three Invisible Motivators. When parents understand more about why kids behave the way they do, it is easier to understand your teen and find ways to motivate, communicate and support them.

The second hour is titled simply Improving Communication. Here we look at obstacles to communication and common mistakes that parents make. Then we look at how parents can improve your listening skills, and various approaches and tactics to improve your communication effectiveness.

For the most part, parents don’t need to rework your approach…improving communication is a matter of making little tweaks and adjustments. This feels very doable using these relatively simple tactics.

In the third hour of the program we look at Keeping Your Teens Safe from Risky Behavior. Examining risky behavior through a communications lens is a unique approach, and a very valid one. It is through effective communication that parents have the best possibility to influence kids and diminish tendencies for experimentation. We examine alcohol use, drug use and sexual activity, providing a combination of facts and communication approaches that parents can use.

Learn more at

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Sue Scheff: Smart Parenting

This is a very unique and interesting concept - Smart Parenting with SleepTalk.
Today parents are always looking for new help and ideas to raise our kids. As our society is constantly changing, raising our kids is shifting too.

Smart Parenting is facilitated by certified SleepTalk™ Coach David Dixon, an Australian living in Singapore and is Director of Next Step To Success Pte Ltd. David originally trained as a Podiatrist in 1979 and became a certified hypnotherapist in 1997. David is a Member of the AACHP, ACHA, and a Foundation Member of CCH (AU). As well, he is a member of the NGH (US). Since arriving in Singapore, David has become a Singapore People’s Association Trainer and a Singapore Rugby Union Referee. He is the father of two teenagers.

Learn more about Smart Parenting and SleepTalk visit

Monday, May 18, 2009

Sue Scheff: Secrets to Surviving and Thriving in Your Teens


Award-Winning Author of “It Started with Pop-Tarts (R)”, Lori Hanson, wrote an amazing very quick and easy read parent and teen book. What I loved about this book is it was written in a fashion that addresses some serious issues that teens face today, however in a condensed and easy to understand format.

I literally finished it in less than 2 hours (with many interruptions) and was very impressed how Lori both talked to teens and parents - almost at the same time - and you could feel that Lori is connecting.

I recommend any parents of teens today purchase this book and share it with their teen. What a great way to start communications - since today many parents have lost that connection with many teens.
Oh, did I mention Lori incorporates her dogs (Sasha and Yagger) as analogies - absolutely fantastic - we all love dogs and to see them and their actions helping us as parents to understand human behavior was brilliant and again, something we can all relate to.

You can purchase this book here. Don’ miss it! Get it before it hits the book stores!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sue Scheff: Rules for Internet Use


1.The Golden Rule: Treat others as you would like to be treated. Just because you can’t see them doesn’t make them any less human. Don’t say or do something to someone online that you wouldn’t do in person.

2. No “Flaming”: Flaming is a form of verbal abuse when you intentionally attack or disrespect somebody for whatever reason. Maybe you didn’t agree with something they said, but there’s a nice way to share a different point of view without name calling or attacking someone. Harassing or insulting someone will not likely help you gain friends.

3. Respect Copyrights: . Copying the works of someone else without permission or in the case of students - plagiarism, can get you into real trouble.

4. DON’T TYPE IN ALL CAPS: It hurts our eyes. It makes people think you are shouting at them. It’s okay to type in caps to accentuate a word or two, but please don’t do it all the time everywhere you go.

5. Don’t Spam: Respect people’s privacy and time.

7. Use Proper Grammar & Spelling: If u rite liek this lol ppl might start 2 get mad lol. It’s distracting and annoying to constantly read online text in “textease”. Be careful not to use too much web jargon, seeing lol more than twice in a paragraph is a clue it’s too much.

8. Abide by TOS: Most sites have a” terms of service” policy that also lists rules of netiquette.

9. Keep it PG-13: Never write anything you wouldn’t want to see on the front page of your local paper. It can really come back to haunt you if you write something that’s not appropriate .

10. Research Your Facts/Cite Sources: Especially true for students.
Learn more at

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teens and Smoking

A casual smoking habit can easily turn into a lifelong struggle with addiction. Find out how to keep your teen from starting to smoke — or help him quit now.


Find tips for keeping your teen off cigarettes — the most difficult drug addiction to beat.
Stamping Out Teen Smoking
Save Your Teen from Smoking
"My Kid's Smoking? You've Got to Be Kidding

Expert Advice

Read answers to parents' questions about teens and smoking.
"How do I help my 17-year-old stop smoking?"
"How can I convince my parents that tobacco addiction is real?"

More Resources

Find more information, books, and websites to help you inform yourselves and your teens.
Drugs, Alcohol, Tobacco
Quick Tips: Kids, Drugs, and Alcohol
Talking with Teens About Drugs and Alcohol

Friday, May 15, 2009

Sue Scheff: Parent Alert: Teens and Porn

By Judith Newman
From Readers Digest
Photo-Illustration By Kevin Irby

My seven-year-old, Henry, can’t spell. Yet there’s one word he can spell perfectly. That word is boob. I discovered this last week when I gave him my iPhone to noodle around with. He told me he was playing on Disney’s Club Penguin, but when I turned on the phone later, the page that popped up was a porn site. When I confronted him, he looked at me very seriously and said, “Well, Mom, I’m extremely interested in the human body.”

This makes me laugh because he is seven. What’s not at all funny is what this incident says about the future. If the ability to spell one palindrome at his age can get him to one of the most explicit sites imaginable, how blasé will he be about porn by the time he’s a teenager? And how much of a leap is it to imagine my son getting into the latest teenage craze, so-called sexting—nude photos taken by teens and posted or sent to others over the Internet or cell phone? How long before he turns to me—as a friend’s 15-year-old did to her mother recently—and says, “Mom, it’s no big deal”?

Sexting is, in fact, a very big deal. Not because sexual curiosity and boundary pushing aren’t normal parts of growing up; they are. The thing is, on the Internet, nothing ever truly vanishes. Of course, it’s perfectly possible that a teen’s knuckleheaded homemade Girls Gone Wild moment sent to her boyfriend stays on his computer or cell phone forever, as precious to him as any 19th-century billet-doux. Then again, it is possible those photos will be sent to everyone she knows (and doesn’t know), will turn up as her first Google hit when she’s looking for a job, or, just maybe, will land her in jail.

Just a Click AwayKids as young as 11 and 12 have been discovered taking compromising photos of themselves and sending those shimmering pixels over their phones and computers. More than a few incidents have made the nightly news. In February, for example, a 15-year-old girl from central Pennsylvania faced charges for possessing, distributing, and creating child pornography after she sent topless photos of herself to a man on MySpace; the man, 27, was also charged. Last year, an 18-year-old Orlando, Florida, teen began serving five years’ probation and had to register as a sex offender after forwarding naked photos of his then-16-year-old ex-girlfriend to her friends, teachers, and relatives. And six middle school boys in Massachusetts were questioned by police after they passed around a picture of a half-naked 13-year-old classmate on their cells.

Surely this is just one of those salacious, overblown “trend” stories, right? There can’t be that many teenagers sending and receiving inappropriate photos of themselves.

Think again.

Last fall, the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy teamed with to canvass 1,280 teenagers and young adults about their electronic activities. According to their survey, one in five girls (11 percent between 13 and 16) and 18 percent of teen boys have sent or posted nude or seminude pictures or videos of themselves. About 15 percent of senders forwarded photos to people they hadn’t actually met but knew only online. E-mails containing sexual come-ons are even more prevalent: About 39 percent have tapped out lurid e-mails and text messages.

Social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace are lousy with pages that boast names like “I’ve Sent Naked Pictures of Myself Over the Phone” and “Practicing Safe Sexting.” (Sample rules: “Don’t get your phone taken away during school” and “Don’t get caught.”)

The age of the kids involved sometimes upsets the kids themselves. Monica D. (her name, and those of other minors in this story, have been changed) went to a Connecticut middle school where one giggling girl took a picture of her friend, 12, vamping naked while changing for dance class. They sent it to a friend as a joke, and the friend sent it to the entire school. A parent saw the image on her son’s computer and called the principal. The girl who sent the photo was suspended, and she eventually changed schools.

“But this is what shocked me,” says Monica. “Two months later, the girl who posed was at orchestra rehearsal, and she raised her hand and said, ‘I just lost a tooth.’ She was young enough to still have her baby teeth!”

Living Libido LocaThere is a me-me-ME quality to blogging, Facebooking, Twittering, and the like. And what could be more attention-grabbing to a teenager than taking your clothes off?

“It’s pretty appalling,” says Pamela Paul, the author of Pornified: How Pornography Is Transforming Our Lives, Our Relationships, and Our Families. “Among girls and boys, porn has become increasingly accepted, even kind of cool.”

And with “the American Idol-ization of the culture, where everyone can be a star,” she says, it’s almost inevitable that kids would be tempted to cross the line into interactive porn. “Every form of media has become interactive. Why shouldn’t porn be as well?” she laments.

The biggest technological facilitator of teen porn is the webcam. Making a video and then e-mailing it or uploading it to Facebook is as easy as pressing a button. That’s how one New York mother’s 15-year-old daughter got into trouble.

“Cheryl was upstairs in her bedroom with her laptop,” the mother begins. “A friend was sleeping over. I’d seen her do video chats plenty of times, and apart from language I disapprove of, I hadn’t thought of it as a big risk. So mostly I was alert to her staying up too late chatting with her friends.

“We’d gone to bed when I heard a thump from upstairs like someone jumping out of bed,” the mother continues. “I go up, and she immediately flips the laptop lid down. The girls—in bed, wearing jammies and cami tops—look guilty. I repossess the laptop and go downstairs. There’s a picture of the ‘I’ll show you mine if you’ll show me yours’ variety, only this is creepier because it’s of the two girls and they’d sent it to some teenage boy. There was even a script right out of a porn movie. Plus, she had screen shots of some naked boy on her desktop.”

The computer was confiscated, but by that point, it was too late. Those photos could turn up anywhere.

Why would kids take this kind of risk? “Teenagers are not exactly known for their great judgment,” notes Lawrence Balter, a professor of applied psychology at New York University. “They are sexual beings, of course, and they want to push the envelope. They’re playacting. And they’re impulsive. Generally, there’s not a lot of thought before hitting the send button.”
But there’s another aspect to sexting that many parents haven’t considered.

“Because it’s not exactly face-to-face—it’s visual, but the other person isn’t right there—a kid can be more revealing,” Balter continues. “It’s the distance that makes a kid feel both bolder and safer.”

Perception = RealityAnd now for some good news: Not every kid is a budding Jenna Jameson. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, promiscuous behavior is down. In 1991, 54.1 percent of 9th- through 12th-grade students said they’d had sexual intercourse. In 2007, that number was 47.8.

Could it be that sexting and Internet porn are substitutes for sexual acting-out in real life? Ralph DiClemente, a professor at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University, is trying to find out. He’s studying how exposure to sex on the Internet affects teens.

The results aren’t in yet, but DiClemente thinks he has relevant information from another study he conducted, on African American teenage girls and their exposure to rap music videos. Many of the videos are violent and misogynistic, he points out. “We wanted to know how this music affected the girls’ perceptions of themselves and women in their community.” He discovered that the girls who watched the most rap videos were more likely to binge drink, smoke pot, and have multiple sex partners. Distressing, too, was the teenagers’ belief that the scantily clad models and dancers in the videos were a lot like women in their community. “So their perception of what was real and what wasn’t was skewed,” says DiClemente.

Extrapolating from those results, DiClemente thinks that

1) kids are likely to believe more of what they see in the media than adults are,

2) they perceive people in porn to look and act just like you and me,

3) many kids see nothing abnormal about creating and/or starring in porn, and

4) their perceptions lead to behavior that is less than desirable.

Jay W., a freshman at Brown University, sees the same nonchalant attitudes toward sexting that DiClemente found in his study. “The first experience I had with sexting was a video my friend sent me when I was in ninth grade. It was of a naked girl, really young,” he says. And though he insists he didn’t do it himself, passing around nude photos of girlfriends was fairly common in Jay’s California school. “What I’ve seen has changed the way I think about sex,” he says. “Even at a younger age, I began to feel jaded and numbed out.”

Although Jay may have become inured to it all, some of the girls who posed found their new fame downright alluring. Notes Monica, the middle school student from Connecticut, “The girl who had her picture sent around the school was at the low end of the popular set. But once she took off her clothes, it upped her visibility. She got a lot more attention, from boys especially.” Just as there is no longer such a thing as bad publicity, apparently there is no such thing as bad attention in junior high school.

What Do We Do Now?“We live in a precarious society for young people,” says Michael Josephson, president of Character Counts, an organization that runs values-education programs.

“There are many ways they can damage themselves, the Internet being the most dangerous of all. Parents have a responsibility to know what children are doing on it.”

Fair enough. So how do we prevent our kids from becoming citizens, wittingly or unwittingly, of the vast pornopolis of American culture?

The most important thing, says Marisa Nightingale, senior adviser to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, is to be proactive, not reactive. In other words, don’t wait until your daughter’s breasts are plastered across her boyfriend’s MySpace page. “You have to raise the issue, even if it’s uncomfortable. Instead of the ‘Don’t do that’ lecture, open up the conversation. Say ‘What do you think about this? Do you know kids who’ve done it? What do you think can happen when you have that photo of yourself out there?’ ” Explain that “when you send a photo of yourself off into the ether, you are making a decision to forgo control over yourself and your image.”

Chances are, Nightingale says, you have no idea what your teen’s definition of privacy is. Chances are, it’s very different from yours. “This is a generation that thinks nothing of updating their Facebook friends on mundane little activities of the day. The concept of having a private life has been muddied.”

Setting limits is key, she says. “Let them know what is appropriate to you and what your values are. You can’t assume they know what you think.”

Michael Josephson wants to go one step further—he wants parents to discuss the ethics of sexting. “When we talk about morality or ethics, we’re also talking about responsibility,” he says. “None of these acts truly occurs in a vacuum; there are stakeholders. If a child puts his picture on the Web, you don’t think that’s a major embarrassment to brothers and sisters, possibly the school?

A responsible person thinks about how his or her decisions impact other people.”

At the very least, kids need to know how much trouble they can get into for simply making or possessing these images. “When the legislation for child pornography was enacted, no one was imagining minors taking photos of their own bodies,” says Jeffrey Douglas, a Santa Monica, California, defense attorney.

“People don’t realize that prosecutors may not have a lot of leeway in prosecuting these cases, and if kids are convicted, they could be labeled as sex offenders. Kids don’t think about this, because they never believe they’ll be caught. They don’t even know that what they’re doing is a crime.”

Seven seems absurdly young. But the next time an image from one of these sites pops up on my iPhone, Henry and I will have another talk, as age-appropriate as I can make it, about people’s bodies and how his body belongs to him and him alone. Once he takes off his clothes online, even as a joke, he becomes public property. Other people have control over him. Anyone can do with him what they like.

I know my son. He’s a control freak and a tightwad, and the idea that anyone could have something of his that he didn’t consent to give would be horrible. I can’t rely on this impulse forever, but for now and for the foreseeable future, he really doesn’t like to share.

Wanted: Peace of MindYour kids are savvy enough to delete the recent history of their Internet use from their computers. Here are other options for the wary parent: is a social networking site that restricts membership to kids and teens (”creepers,” adults trawling for teens, are sussed out and barred) and monitors bullying.

LMK, for “Let Me Know,” is a Girl Scouts site where girls can talk to one another about Internet safety. sells software that can be downloaded to your kid’s cell phone and computer to alert you if she’s sending inappropriate texts or photos.

Safe Eyes, from, lets you track your child’s instant messaging, monitor social networking sites, and impose limits on his online minutes.

Cell Phone Spy Elite, a device from, retrieves deleted text messages from cell phones.

Parental Guidance Is KeyWalking that fine line between parent and prison guard is tough.

Here’s what other parents do when it comes to their teens and social networking sites.

“My teenage boys have to ‘friend’ me on Facebook, and if I see something that crosses my line, we talk, and they remove it.”

“We limit her contact list to a few trusted friends.”

“Since friends do crazy things, they are not allowed to use his computer.”

“She has iChat and Google Talk, but she will have neither if she chats with someone she does not know.”

“Two rules: The computer stays in the family room, and we don’t buy laptops. They’re too easy to sneak into another room.”

“I snoop. She doesn’t want me on her Facebook page, but if the computer’s on, I will check it out.”

“I unwittingly reinforced the idea that raunchy paper trails are bad when my teenager discovered my high school yearbook. Reading notes from my friends, she was mortified to learn that I had tried drugs.”

“We conduct surprise inspections of her photo cache and iChat histories. We haven’t installed spyware—yet—but if we find anything out of line, we will, and she knows it.”

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Sue Scheff: Video Game Addition

Does any of this sound familiar? Great Parenting Article!!!

Connect with Kids

“When kids don’t have access to the computer, they feel unhappy, disphoric, bored, lonely. They need the computer and the computer game again to gain their sense of control, mastery and feel happy again.”

– Ashraf Attalla, M.D., Child Psychiatrist

For years Kristen Blosser has loved video games. She plays every single day.

“Four hours a day. Um you know if I don’t have anything to do that day I will try and play all day long,” says Blosser, 19.

Her current favorite? “World of Warcraft. It’s been a game that I’ve recently gotten addicted to.”

Kristen may joke about being ‘addicted’, but according to researchers at Iowa State University, nearly 10 percent of kids are video game addicts.

“Video games are very addictive,” says Dr. Attalla, “And some adolescents, children, become addicted to games. They play enormous amount of time on games.”

Experts say spending more than 14 hours a week playing is one indicator. “Consistent preoccupation with the game is another thing. Feeling euphoric and happy,” says Dr. Attalla, “Depressed and lonely when you’re not playing the game and the constant urge and need to keep playing the game to feel happy again. Those kids can’t finish their homework anymore on time. They’re socially withdrawn from their circle of friends. They’re not as interested in other things.”

Both Zachary Moore and his dad love video games, but they play no more than an hour per day.

“My mom or dad stops me when I get too much,” says Zachary.

“I mean it’s not something that they just turn off. I mean you have to basically manage and tell them to stop playing,” points out his father, Charles.

Dr. Attalla says it’s simple: “Access to the computer, the kind of games that they play, the amount of time that they spend should be tightly controlled by the parents.”

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.

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!

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

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Sue Scheff: Helping Teens Drive Safely

Calming the Fears of Parents with I DRIVE SAFELY’s Online Drivers Education

If you’re a parent, the number ‘15’ is probably a lot more significant to you than other adults, because in most states, it signifies the age when a teenager can start the process of getting their learner’s permit. If you’re terrified by the thought of your teenager behind the wheel, relax: we’re here to help.

Our I DRIVE SAFELY online Drivers Education ( ) website provides you with tons of important information about teen driving, and includes everything from helpful steps to guide your teen through the process of getting their learner’s permit to a Parent-Teen Safe Driving Contract.

Parent’s Guide for Teenage Driving

It’s completely normal to have reservations about your teen learning to drive (it’s hard enough for them to handle keeping their room clean), which is why we created our site. We want to do more than just offer the best online driver’s education course; we want to provide you, the parent, with helpful guides and resources to help ease your fears and bring a level of normalcy when it comes to your teenager driving.

Parent-Teen Safe Driving Contract

One of our most beneficial features is our I DRIVE SAFELY Parent-Teen Safe Driving Contract. Once your teen begins to drive, it is important that rules are established in order to help keep them as safe as possible on the road. Our I DRIVE SAFELY Parent -Teen Safe Driving Contract will help reduce the number of ‘driving disagreements’ between you and your teen by allowing you to pull the ‘you signed the contract’ card. And, you can edit the contract so it suits your family’s needs. To download our Parent-Teen Safe Driving Contract, log onto , select your state and navigate to the Driving Contract page.

Helpful Hints

When it comes to your teen learning to drive, try to remember that you are actually your teen’s primary driver’s ed instructor. Once they have completed their classes and have their learner permit, they will be learning to drive with/from you. If the thought of this is starting to cause you stress and anxiety, then you will probably want to visit our site and read our hints and techniques for teaching your teen s how to drive. If you still have questions, our Customer Support Team is available to help you 24/7.

We want you and your teen have the best experience possible when learning to drive, and is designed to help you every step of the way. Our site can help put your mind at ease when it comes to your teen driving, which will allow you to start focusing on the next major milestone in their lives: college applications and graduation. Happy driving!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Families Fight Flu, Inc.

As a parent, you want to do everything in your power to protect your children. With the recent H1N1 flu outbreak (initially called “swine flu”), FFF is sharing some important steps that you can take right now to help protect you and your loved ones.

1. Covering your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze. You can even teach your children to cough into their elbows.

2. Stressing the importance of washing hands often with soap and water. Any alcohol-based hand cleansers are effective as well.

3. Disinfecting frequently touched surfaces with an appropriate bleach-based solution. As you know, germs can spread by touching infected surfaces and then your eyes, nose or mouth.

For more information, please visit and please listen to this Public Service Announcement:

Monday, May 11, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teens and Community Service

By Sue Scheff

Making a difference through local Organizations

One of the best ways to become a productive citizen is through involvement with various community projects and organizations. Every American community will have its own flavor of local organizations, and it’s simply a matter of finding out which ones are around to participate in. There are also a series of programs that are available in most places in America, and anyone who wants to be a good citizen can join. The main goal in joining these organizations is to connect with other people in your community while promoting a good cause.

Neighborhood Watch Program™

One of the most popular and effective community organizations is the Neighborhood Watch Program™. The Neighborhood Watch™ is great to become a productive citizen because it is one of the best ways to connect members of a community in a unified crime prevention effort. If your area lacks a Neighborhood Watch Program™, then you can easily start one. All you need to do is gather a group of local neighbors who are concerned with community safety, inform the local police of your intentions, and get started with a new Watch program. The police will often arrange a meeting with Watch members and you can hash out exactly what kind of organization you w ant to run and figure out how you will work in cooperation with law enforcement. Then it is simply a matter of registering at the Neighborhood Watch Program™ web site.

The Neighborhood Watch™ is the perfect way to start your journey as a productive citizen because the Watch brings neighbors together as they gather for meetings and discussions on community safety. These meetings help keep the community informed of danger while promoting healthy neighborhood communication. Proper citizenship relies on participation, and the Neighborhood Watch™ doesn’t merely help connect neighbors but also helps protect your neighborhood from crime. Once becoming a part of the National Neighborhood Watch™ network, you can hold regular meetings and spread information through pamphlets and training techniques that the national organization sends you, this way you can help lead your entire community to a safer way of living, and as everyone looks out for each other it promotes a greater sense of community.

Recycling and Composting

Another great option for community involvement involves local recycling programs. There are always recycling programs available to join in communities, often run through local school systems. Joining these programs is easy and helps promote an eco-friendly community view. You can even set up a compost system in your own backyard or through the recycling program. Compost provides some of the best soil you can ever produce and is a great way to recycle and reuse your waist products.

Becoming involved in these types of earth friendly activities helps show your children and the community that saving waste can help keep a community clean and isn’t even that difficult too do. If you are working on a compost system, you can use it to create a community garden in a local park; this can promote community unity and help beautify the area. People in the community will look up to you when working on these type of recycling projects, especially if you use them to create something more than just recycling, like a community garden. Creating this type of end product for your work to accumulate towards can solidify the idea of a good citizen in the minds of those who actually see you in action.

Red Cross™

There are a variety of Red Cross™ branches and splinter groups spread across communities throughout the United States, and it’s a good idea for serious citizens to become involved in at least some of them. There are a variety of different ways to become involved in Red Cross organizations, depending on your desired level of participation. Donating blood at a local Red Cross™ blood drive is a great way to become involved. Blood donations save the lives of large numbers of people each year are some of the easiest, but most rewarding forms of participation a good citizen can undertake.

Truly dedicated citizens may take their involvement one step further and volunteer at a blood drive or a Red Cross™ homeless shelter. There are a variety of programs and events going on through Red Cross™ that don’t take much work, but do a lot of good, and these programs impart a powerful sense of pride in those that participate.

Volunteering with Red Cross™ not only shows leadership and drive but helps aid those who need it the most. Working with the Red Cross™ on any level affects a much larger number of people then you might think and can help bring others in your community to the same level of involvement. The most important action a good citizen can do is serving as an example for others to follow, and there is no better way than volunteering with a local Red Cross™ organization.

Learn more here.

Saturday, May 9, 2009


On this mother’s day weekend - I am re-printing my experiences almost a decade ago. I wrote my story and published my book in hopes of helping other families that are struggling with their teens today. There is hope, you are not alone. Happily I can say my organization that was developed from this experience, Parents Universal Resource Experts, (P.U.R.E.) has grown tremendously - we have literally helped over 20,000 families in the past 9+ years! Many parents ask how my daughter is doing - she is happily married (wonderful son-in-law) and has two beautiful children and working at her dream job. Yes, I am very proud and I can’t help but think our horrific experiences were not in vain - since we have touched so many lives.

A Parent’s True Story - A mother and daughter’s story of courage, strength and inspiration. This story is now published in detail, with my daughter speaking out for the first time about the horrors she endured at Carolina Springs Academy. Wit’s End! A Mother and Daughter’s True Story published by Health Communications, Inc (HCI) can be purchased in all major bookstores and online.

By Sue Scheff, Weston, FL

Deception, Misrepresentation & Fraud

After experiencing my good teen making some bad choices, I found myself on the Internet surfing until I was so confused and stressed I couldn’t make any decision. One group of specialty schools and behavior modification programs kept popping up wherever I clicked; I figured they must be good. Then I received their beautiful glossy literature with a video that could make any parent weep (I actually received 4 packets of the same material)! The cost was reasonable in comparison with other programs, or so I thought until I enrolled my child. The hidden costs added up like a grocery bill. I was totally misled by my rash decision. This is a common mistake when parents are placed in a desperate situation and a swift sales rep is waiting for you; answering every question the way you want to hear it and making promises that convince you that they can help your child.My true nightmare was just beginning.

Impressed by the fancy words and glossy brochures, I enrolled my child with the understanding that they were qualified help. I am ashamed to say, I never did a background check on these programs. I had called their parent references that they gave me (and later found out they were paid to talk to me, some actually receiving a free month’s tuition). I know many of you are thinking I must have been nuts, and you are right. While in this stage of my life, I was in a total frenzy. I truthfully just wanted help for my child and thought for the money I was paying, it must be good.

Long story short, my frenzy and desperation was my biggest mistake I made. This was not what they sold me. It was more of a warehousing of teens program. I was looking for therapy and internalization through the help of professionals. I believe if you take a negative child, and put them in a negative environment, it builds resentment and anger. Literally, this is what I had done. I had no idea as to what I did. Fraud, misrepresentation, combined with a vulnerable parent can lead to danger for a child in my opinion.

I attempted using the so-called Independent Educational Consultant that immediately wanted a check for $350.00 just to talk to me. They claimed they could help me (without even knowing my daughter) for about another $3000.00 or more.

It was a couple of months later, after I attended some very bizarre seminars that were mandated in order to visit your child that I realized I had made a big mistake. I wrote my withdrawal letter immediately after the second seminar. Actually, in retrospect, red flags went up shortly after I dropped my child off and I asked who the psychologist would be, and guess what, there was none, unless I wanted to pay extra! So who led the group therapy they raved about? There was no group therapy, there was a person who sat in a circle with them as they reflected, which was usually another student. I would have hired their psychologist for another $100 per visit, but why? We could have done that at home. Their sales reps told me that there was a licensed therapist “on staff and on site”. I should have pulled my child then, however I thought I was over-reacting since I was in such confusion and frenzy. The staff was very good at convincing me to “trust the program” instead of addressing my concerns.

During my child’s entire stay of almost 6 months, I was never allowed to speak with my child. I only spoke with an employee once a week for about 15 minutes (In my further research, these employees had no credentials and many didn’t have education beyond High School including the President of the Organization). My child wrote me letters: some good, some bad. The good ones were considered manipulation; the bad ones were considered proof that they needed to stay longer. I couldn’t win and neither could my child.

After observing and listening to some of the other teens there and their families, I realized it was all very strange. Some of these kids were there for well over a year and the families were so deep into this program, it was sickening and sad. The support group meetings were like a Stepford Family Reunion, with a leader making her financial profits. These poor kids just wanted to be loved and held by their parents, who couldn’t be there. I later found out it usually takes up to 6 months to speak with your child, and in most cases up to a year to see them. Although they sell you another story, the truth be known, most take 2-3 years to graduation. Recently I understand a law was passed that mandates you can see your child after 3 months. I am not sure if this group of programs is abiding by this new regulation; however, it is in place.

I brought my child home and when she felt confident I wouldn’t send her back, I heard some unspeakable stories. The stories were very consistent with many others I was hearing and reading about. My child went immediately into real counseling where, after almost two years, we are recovering from this traumatic experience in our lives. My child was suffering from depression and nightmares from the stay at Carolina Springs Academy. The fear of being sent back, had created suicidal thoughts, however the excellent psychologist helped my child through this horrible post experience of WWASP. I have heard from many other post-WWASP students and families suffering from the same symptoms, which is very sad.

I firmly believe, until you walk the shoes as a parent of a teen, you really don’t know the feeling of hopelessness. I have been there and I have survived and learned from it. I believe in sharing my knowledge of this, very political, industry with as many families as possible. It is very scary to know that even Independent Educational Consultants (that are supposed to be professionals) have no state or government regulations. In other words, anyone can state they are Educational Consultants. This combined with the misrepresentation of schools and programs, is very frightening and costly in many ways.

Our experiences occurred with Carolina Springs Academy, one of many of their programs that are part of the World Wide Association of Specialty Programs (WWASP aka WWASPS aka Premier Educational Systems). Some of the program names are: Cross Creek Manor - UT, Cross Creek Center - UT, Spring Creek Lodge - MT, Tranquility Bay - Jamaica, Casa By The Sea (closed due to allegations of neglect and abuse), Academy at Dundee Ranch (raided and closed), Academy at Ivy Ridge - NY (accreditation suspended in April 2004; 2005 State Attorney General Spitzer made Ivy Ridge pay approx. $1.65 Millions Dollars in fines and to parents for Educational Fraud), Majestic Ranch - UT, Pacific View, Midwest Academy - IA, Paradise Cove (closed due to allegations of neglect and abuse), Morava Academy (closed due to allegations of neglect and abuse), Darrington Academy - GA, and Horizon’s Academy - NV. I feel all of their programs are simply boot camps that claim internalization; however, lack it tremendously. Their specialty is cash cropping children; marketing and using a child are part of their strategy. They are, in my opinion, a children’s warehouse and a parents’ escape from their desperate situation. Their deluxe *Marketing and Pyramid skills seems to be what they specialize in.

In many parents and professionals’ opinions, the fine line of their cult-like program is enough to destroy many families and children, as we have many testimonials to. (Please review some of our Informational Articles for more true stories). I am speaking from experience. I used to sell their program and market their schools to gain free months’ tuition. Yes, whenever you refer a family, you would get a free month! What a concept, and I fell for it! Being involved in selling the program controls your mind in the consistency of how great they are when in reality, you have not even spoken to your child. I had no idea how the program was working; I was just trained to sell like a good follower.

There are many followers of this program who have become programized. There is many like myself, and more waking up daily. Dateline, Primetime, 48 Hours & Inside Edition has done segments on this organization that paint the same picture of negative experiences. There are many newspaper and magazine articles (including People, Forbes, New York Times, LA Times, News Day, Miami Herald, Sun Sentinel, Guardian, Jamaican Observer, YM Magazine, Salon, Time Magazine, Spin, etc.) and lawsuits pending against WWASP that they are struggling to keep silent. Where there is smoke, there is usually fire. Why take a chance with your child?

Many wonder why they are allowed to continue, it is simple, money and plenty of it. Money is usually the root of evil, and it seems obvious with this. I am a firm believer that one day WWASP aka WWASPS aka Premier Educational Systems will be held accountable for their actions. The day will come that many truths will be exposed. For the sake of the silent cries of the children, the sooner the better.

First Lawsuit WON Against WWASP:

P.U.R.E. ™ is proud to have defeated WWASP (click here to learn more about this victory) as they attempted to silence P.U.R.E. ™ and myself. Please note that we won in their state of Utah. I believe this is the first of many wins. Additionally, in June of 2006, P.U.R.E. went on to defeat WWASP in the Federal Supreme Court of Appeals.

I hope my experiences have saved parents from making the mistake I made in desperation. I am sharing my personal experiences to create awareness about the misrepresentation and fraud I endured. This story was not written out of malice against WWASP (World Wide Association of Specialty Programs), it was written for the principle and morals that they lacked. I think they call it “Accountability.” I am accountable for what I have written as being the truth as I experienced it.

*As a footnote for their Marketing, when I was searching, I was recruited by a Miami based parent that has made a mission (in many peoples’ opinions) of building this pyramid for WWASP. Although she claimed she had no financial gain from this, we have further learned that she collects large sums of money for her involvement with WWASP. Although she states she makes her income from her Title Company, it was discovered that she was arrested in February 2002 on charges of illegally diverting nearly $6 million in trust money through a variety of schemes. Lynn Pretzfeld, of Miami Florida, was charged with conspiracy to commit racketeering and grand theft.

According to the Florida Department of Insurance, the now closed Title Examiners Inc. diverted money into personal accounts from escrow accounts.

UPDATE - According to public record, on June 3, 2003, Lynn Pretzfeld is now a Convicted Felon and on 10 years probation as well as paying restitution. Case #F02003735B (Click here to view PDF file)

Please note that WWASP seems to make it a habit to change their names. When I was involved, it was WWASP. A couple years ago, it became WWASPS (with an “s”) and presently we understand they are opening under Premier Educational Systems. I assume when parents do Search Engine research, it eliminates any bad press that may be associated with previous names. This is just an opinion. If you have nothing to hide, why the constant name changes?

As of May 2009 it is believed that WWASP aka WWASPS or Premier Educational Systems LLC has affiliations with the following:

Academy of Ivy Ridge, NY (CLOSED)
Bell Academy, CA (CLOSED)
Canyon View Park, MT
Camas Ranch, MT
Carolina Springs Academy, SCCasa By the Sea, Mexico (CLOSED)
Cross Creek Programs, UT (Cross Creek Center and Cross Creek Manor)
Darrington Academy, GA (CLOSED)**Discovery - Mexico (see below)
Help My Teen, UT (Adolescent Services Adolescent Placement) Promotes and markets these programs.
Gulf Coast Academy, MS (CLOSED)
Horizon Academy, NV
Jane Hawley - Lifelines Family Services
Kathy Allred - Lifelines Sales Representative
Lisa Irvin - Helpmyteen and Teens in Crisis
Lifelines Family Services, UT (Promotes and markets these programs) Jane Hawley
Mark Peterson - Teen Help Sales Representative
Majestic Ranch, UT
Midwest Academy, IA (Brian Viafanua, formerly the Director of Paradise Cove as shown on Primetime, is the current Director here)
Parent Teen Guide - Promotes and markets these programs
Pillars of Hope, Costa Rica
Pine View Christian Academy, (Borders FL, AL, MS)
Reality Trek, UT
Red River Academy, LA (Borders TX)
Respect Academy, NV
Royal Gorge Academy, CO (CLOSED)
Sherri Schwartzman - Lifelines Sales Representative
Sky View Academy, NV (allegedly closed?)
Spring Creek Lodge, MT (CLOSED) Rumors they have re-opened in another location of MT.
Teen Help, UT (Promotes and markets these programs)
Teens In Crisis - Lisa Irvin
Tranquility Bay, JamaicaOceanside, CA - rumors of short term program there.

**There is reason to believe a new program in Mexico is now open - parents need to be aware of this. It is believed they may have re-opened Casa By the Sea location with another name - possibly Discovery. We have heard that Jade Robinson is running this program - he was formerly at Horizon Academy, Bell Academy (closed) and Casa by the Sea (closed).

In addition to the legal battle with WWASP, P.U.R.E. and founder Sue Scheff won an unprecedented $11.3 million jury verdict for Internet defamation. Despite being vindicated, many of the attacks on P.U.R.E. continue out of malice and spite.

When you can’t defeat someone legally, it seems the Internet/Keypad is the next best legal lethal tool - or so they thought. Pre-Order my next book - Google Bomb, when revenge becomes e-venge to find out how I won this landmark case.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Sue Scheff: National Teacher Appreciation Week

Don’t forget our educaters! It is Teacher’s Appreciation Week - a time to show our teachers our appreciation for their time, support and energy! offers great ideas and thoughts you can do for your teacher.

Another gift idea it The Ultimate Teacher book! We all know teachers love books - check this out!

By Todd Whitaker

It’s Teacher Appreciation week and not too late to honor yours or your kids’ teachers with a sweet book, The Ultimate Teacher.

The hope of inspiring another generation, the need to give something back, the desire to share one’s passion—these are some of the reasons people become teachers. They influence us in obvious ways—the kind grade-school teacher who helped you memorize your times tables or the demanding coach who pushed you to be the best you could be. They influence our lives in subtle ways, too—challenging us to discover hidden talents, helping to mold us into productive members of society, and motivating us to view the world through different lenses.

You’ll get a glimpse into the lives of dedicated teachers and share their struggles, triumphs, and passion for teaching. You’ll delight in the recollections of students who celebrate and commemorate educators who not only inspired them, but ultimately changed their lives. And you’re sure to pick up a new idea from the experts who share their proven techniques for conducting successful parent-teacher conferences, making a substitute teacher an invaluable member of your team, helping a struggling reader, and many other subjects that affect teachers in the trenches.

Celebrate the difference a teacher can make—celebrate The Ultimate Teacher.