Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Sue Scheff: Parenting and Headaches

This isn’t exactly a parenting article or a Blog about teens, but as a parent that raised two teens, I definitely had the headaches that went with them. So this Blog is about YOU – the Parent – do you get headaches? Stress headaches? Migraines? Read more

The National Headache Foundation to introduce you to a new, cool and unique educational portal called Headache U. We all know parents can’t really take a day off, or even a “time out” for a headache. We always need to be “on” for our families, but headaches can quickly shut us down! For some, headaches can get so severe, that family, social and work life takes a serious hit. Worse yet, headaches are very personal, with combinations of triggers ranging from hormones to weather, stress to diet. So, the approach to headache care needs to be as personal as the headaches are.

That’s why Headache U is the perfect website for headache sufferers to turn to! It’s all about YOU, which can help people with headache take a personal approach toward getting relief.

By logging onto Headache U, you and your readers can begin to “Chart Your Course to Relief,” with the first of many educational resources to be introduced in the portal. This first-of-its-kind online and interactive personal headache care tool asks you questions about your own experiences and based on your answers, guides you to resources… tailored specifically to YOU! Because sufferers want to spend less time worrying about their next headache and more time enjoying those important family moments, Headache U matches sufferers with resources based on personal headache patterns, providing the steps toward getting relief!

The NHF also really stresses the importance of becoming a student of your own headaches so you get to know your personal headache patterns. Maybe you can blame your parents! Did you know that migraines can be hereditary, and affect three times more women than men? Whatever the pattern may be, get out some paper and start taking notes! The National Headache Foundation and Headache U is the perfect resource for you to check out. In an effort to keep programs like Headache U going, NHF has recently launched an endeavor to help raise funds for future programs.
To check out the details, and to learn more about Headache U, simply visit http://www.headaches.org/!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Sue Scheff: Parenting Teens: Tattoos may teach young ones a lesson they don’t want

I understand that some people say that this is some type of way of kids wanting to have their own identity, personally, I would not want my teen to get a tattoo. I am not judging those that have tattoos, however I don't feel many teens know the long term effects and how it appears in that job interview. O-kay, maybe I am old fashion, but it is just my opinion.

Norwich Bulletin

There’s one thing I know for sure I don’t want to see on my sons: tattoos.

Perhaps I’m squeamish, as I always associate tattoos with the scary image on the Ray Bradbury cover of “The Illustrated Man,” hunched over in a ball in an isolated landscape.

When I was growing up, tattoos were for the fringe of society — and the two adults I knew that had them always kept them covered up in embarrassment.

Now, tattoos adorn movie stars such as Angelina Jolie, who makes for an odd sight in an evening gown and lines of Oriental writing marching up her neck. It’s jolting, to be sure.

From star athletes to movie and TV characters, tattoos are now a part of what is acceptable — even the norm.

Now, 36 percent of 18-25 year-olds have tattoos, inching towards the 50/50 mark that would make having a tattoo almost blase.

Risk for infection

And while most states have laws regulating tattoos for minors, it seems they have no problem getting inked — some going to more shady parlors that will ignore consent laws, and putting themselves at greater risk for infection.

I watched in horror when the young teen from Belgium claimed in the news the 56 black stars that now blanket her face like a constellation were the result of a tattoo artist gone wild as she slept. The story had many people skeptical, but one look at the tattoo artist, who had his own face covered in tattoos and had stretched his skin with heavy piercings stirred sympathy for the 18-year old.

In reality, it was the teen lying to deflect the anger from her father, who will likely be stuck with the expensive cost of removing the tattoos.

As tattoos become more mainstream, the risqué little rose blooming on an ankle is passé these days. More people are getting them on their neck, and on their face.

It’s one thing to dye your hair chartreuse, but tattoos aren’t easily removed, even with more advanced laser techniques.

Tattoos, which seem like such a drastic step — and one with potentially harmful health consequences — could be revisited for a stricter age limit, as drinking was when it was set at 21.

I say this not because I want to be a killjoy, but because of concern that the reason some teens might be attracted to tattoos has to do with image, and rebellion, all of which is mutable at the age of 18, or even 19 years of age.

At 21, people are young adults who are entering the workplace, and less likely to be swayed by wanting to be part of a group identity, but are rather guided by the person they have become.

If that person is one who will enjoy a tattoo forever, either as artwork or as a statement about their individuality, then there is less likely to be regret.

I cannot imagine the Belgian teen wanting her face to be adorned with heavy black stars forever. And the cost — and pain — of getting them removed likely will teach her a life lesson she could have done without.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sue Scheff: Parents' Universal Resource Experts - Bringing Families Back Together

Parent's Universal Resource Experts, Inc. (P.U.R.E.™) is an organization that was founded in 2001 by Sue Scheff. For the past several years Parent's Universal Resource's has assisted families with valuable information and resources for their children and teens that are at risk. Teens that are struggling with today's peer pressure, experimenting with drugs and alcohol, and simply good kids starting to make bad choices. We have many very satisfied families that have used our services. Please take a moment to read some of our testimonials.
Whether you are seeking Boarding Schools, Therapeutic Boarding Schools, Residential Treatment Centers, Wilderness Programs, Christian Schools, Summer Programs, Military Schools and more, Parent's Universal Resource's can offer you options to explore to help educate you in a very important decision for your child and family. We invite you to fill out a Free Consultation Form for more information.

Parent's Universal Resource Expert's™ are parents helping parents. As a parent that experienced and survived a difficult teen, we believe that desperate parents are at high risk of making rash and detrimental decisions in choosing the best placement for their child. Please take a moment to read my story - "A Parent's True Story" - which is one the reasons this organization was created.

As a member of the Better Business Bureau for many years we are an organization that prides ourselves in helping others and bringing families back together.

There are many Doctors, Attorney's, Therapists, Police Departments, Schools, Guidance Counselors, and other professionals that refer Parent's Universal Resource's to families. In many cases, after a family has used our service, they recommend us to their friends and relatives. We have built our reputation on trust and putting families first. At Parent's Universal Resource's we believe in bringing families back together.

In searching for schools and programs we look for the following:

Helping Teens - not Harming Them
Building them up - not Breaking them down
Positive and Nurturing Environments - not Punitive
Family Involvement in Programs - not Isolation from the teen
Protect Children - not Punish them

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Sue Scheff: PTA - Parent Teacher Association

Although school is out for the summer, behind the scenes of the PTA never stops. This was a great year as they installed their first male President. If you have a child just starting school, or thought you didn’t have time to be involved, take time to reconsider. Being involved in our kids lives should be our priority. I know, as a single parent, it is very difficult to juggle all the responsibilities of raising kids – and I also recognize today is very different from when my kids were younger. Although I did participate in some PTO activities, not as many as I should have. (PTO is similar to PTA, however more frequently seen in private schools).

After this week of losing three major celebrities including a music ICON at the young of 50, we all need to reflect on how short life is. Take the time to get involved in your kid’s lives now.

The Best Resource for Parents

As the largest volunteer child advocacy association in the nation, Parent Teacher Association (PTA) reminds our country of its obligations to children and provides parents and families with a powerful voice to speak on behalf of every child while providing the best tools for parents to help their children be successful students.

PTA does not act alone. Working in cooperation with many national education, health, safety, and child advocacy groups and federal agencies, the national PTA organization collaborates on projects that benefit children and that bring valuable resources to its members.
Interested in starting a PTA? We can help. Fill out this simple form to get started.
Learn more at http://www.pta.org/Index.asp.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teen Fitness

Fitness and your 13-18 year old
Kids who enjoy sports and exercise tend to stay active throughout their lives. The revised food guide pyramid emphasizes physical activity by showing a stick figure climbing steps to the top of the pyramid. The 2005 Dietary Guidelines recommend that teens get at least one hour of physical activity on most, and preferably all days of the week.
Regular physical activity can help prevent heart disease, diabetes, and other medical problems down the road.
But don't underestimate the immediate benefits of an active lifestyle: maintaining a healthy weight, feeling more energetic, and promoting a better outlook. Participating in team and individual sports, can boost self-confidence, provide opportunities for social interaction, and offer a chance to have fun. Such benefits are not limited to competitive sports; noncompetitive activities can also help teens achieve these goals.
Fitness in the Teen Years

Physical activity tends to decline during the teen years. Many teens are dropping out of organized sports and participation in daily physical education classes is becoming a thing of the past.

But given the opportunity and interest, teens can pick up on almost any activity that they enjoy, from competitive to noncompetitive sports from exercise classes to playing with friends. Skateboarding, in-line skating, yoga, swimming, dancing, or kicking a footbag in the driveway all qualify as great fitness activities. Weight training, under supervision of a qualified adult, can improve strength and help prevent sports injuries. The possibilities to get physically fit are endless.

Teens can also incorporate activity into their everyday routine, such as walking to school, doing chores, or finding an active part-time job. Even younger teens can enjoy opportunities to take on new responsibilities and be in charge, so jobs as junior camp counselors, baby sitters, or assistant coaches for young sports teams can serve that need while also providing the child with a chance to be active.
Motivating Teens to be Active

Teens face many new social and academic pressures in addition to dealing with emotional and physical changes. Recent studies have shown that teens on average are spending more than 6 hours a day on various media, including watching television, listening to music, going online, and playing video games. It's not surprising that teens can't seem to find the time to exercise and many parents find it difficult to motivate their teens to get active.

It's a good idea to give your child control over how he or she decides to be physically active. Since teens are defining themselves as individuals and want the power to make their own decisions, they are reluctant to do yet another thing they're told to do. Emphasize that it's not what they do, they just need to physically active on a regular basis. There are plenty of options for physical activity, but to keep them motivated it has to be fun. Support your child's choices by providing equipment, transportation, and companionship. Peers can play an influential role in your child's life at this point, so create opportunities for them to be active with their friends.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Sue Scheff: Self Harm - Self Injury

“If I get upset or mad usually upset and I'll want to cut, but then I'll try to think about other things. It's like it’s really hard because it's like in your stomach. Like you feel like you have to do it. It like goes throughout your whole body like the urge.”

– Stephanie, 16 years old

16-year-old Stephanie says she’s angry and frustrated for lots of reasons.

“Getting really nagged by my parents… And I don’t have many friends and I’m lonely a lot,” she says.

So, in 9th grade she began cutting herself. Small surface cuts at first using pins, but, “Each time you have to go deeper, to get like more satisfaction I guess,” she says, “Like the last time I’ve been doing it I’ve been using razors and stuff and have like really deep ones.”

Sharpened pencils, paper clips, knives, even razors… but… why? Why would a child do this?

“By cutting themselves it takes their mind off what they’re struggling with,” says counselor Lara Wilson.

“The physical pain makes you not think about the emotional pain,” says Stephanie, “Like when you look at the cut you just focus on the cutting and it makes other problems seem better.”

Experts say if a child wears several bracelets, thick sweatbands, or long sleeves… those are warning signs.

And parents who discover them need to understand… it’s a cry for help. “They want to be the type of parent that the child can say ‘mom, dad, I have this struggle, I have this pain. I have this problem. I need to talk to you,” says Wilson.

Wilson adds the child may also need professional help for the underlying cause of the cutting, “Whether it be depression, obsessive compulsive disorder.”

Stephanie is now seeing a counselor. She stopped cutting herself 2 months ago. She says she wishes she had never started.

“It’s like ruined my body,” she says, “I can’t wear like bathing suits, I can’t wear shorts. Cause I have really big scars on my thighs. It just really messed up my body. And I wish I hadn’t done that.”

Tips for Parents

Self-mutilation is the act of deliberately harming oneself physically, and different groups and cultures in society view it differently. The act of self-mutilation seems to be gaining popularity, especially among adolescents. According to experts at the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), some common forms of self-mutilation or injury include:

■Picking and pulling skin and hair
■Head banging
■Excessive body piercing
Parents are encouraged to talk with children about respecting and valuing their bodies. Parents should also serve as role models for their teenagers by not engaging in acts of self-harm. Experts at the AACAP suggest the following helpful ways for adolescents to avoid hurting themselves:

■Accept reality and find ways to make the present moment more tolerable
■Identify feelings and talk them out rather than acting on them
■Distract themselves from feelings of self-harm (for example, counting to ten, waiting 15 minutes, saying “NO!” or “STOP!” practicing breathing exercises, journaling, drawing, thinking about positive images, using ice and rubber bands, etc.)
■Stop, think and evaluate the pros and cons of self-injury
■Soothe themselves in a positive, non-injurious way
■Practice positive stress management
■Develop better social skills
If your child is involved in self-mutilation, he/she may suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), a psychiatric illness characterized by a pattern of instability in relationships, self-image, mood and impulsivity in a variety of situations. People who suffer from BPD very often have an intense fear of family members, friends and romantic interests. They may have an unstable self-image as well. They frequently engage in impulsive behaviors such as reckless driving, unsafe sex, physically harming themselves or substance abuse. Instability in mood and chronic feelings of emptiness are also common among BPD sufferers. They may be prone to rage attacks as well.

BPD can lead to significant impairment. The disorder accounts for approximately 20 percent of inpatient psychiatric hospitalizations and about 10 percent of patients with BPD commit suicide. According to the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry, some clues to the presence of Borderline Personality Disorder include:

■Unstable, intense “love-hate” relationships
■Feeling abandoned
■Rapid or frequent mood swings
■Rage attacks in response to interpersonal slights or frustrations
■Difficulty controlling anger
■Risk-taking and impulsiveness (i.e. gambling, shopping sprees, reckless driving, binge eating, substance abuse)
■Feeling depressed, sad or empty
■Zoning out under stress
■Intentional self-mutilating behavior (i.e., cutting or burning self)
■Recurring suicide attempts
■Addictive behaviors
Historically, it has been very difficult to successfully treat BPD. However, recent developments in the study of the neurobiology of this disorder have given clinicians new tools to help patients.

■American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
■Department of Psychiatry – Mt. Sinai School of Medicine
■Everything You Need to Know About Self-Mutilation: A Helping Book for Teens Who Hurt Themselves by Gina Ng

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Sue Scheff: Parenting Looking for Their Teens Athletic Scholarships

As a parent, I had one athletic child that had the ability to get a scholarship in college athletically, however that doesn't mean your grades can slip. There is more to acquiring an athletic scholarship than just being good at your sport. Read these great tips through Education.com.
Scoring an Athletic Scholarship

by Rose Garrett

Sports Pressure and Competition

Your teen has been balancing academics, athletics, and high school social life for years now. But all her hard work is about to pay off: as most kids and parents know, the more accomplished teens are in a variety of fields, the better their chances of getting into the college or university of their dreams.

But for some, high school sports aren't just an extra on the college application. In fact, for many accomplished all-stars, sports can mean a free ticket to the college of their choice, and a chance to play with the big boys. But hard work on the field isn't all it takes, according to Nancy Nitardy, former ivy league head coach and author of a scholarship guide for student-athletes called Get Paid to Play. Here is Nitardy's list of do's and don'ts for scoring that athletic scholarship:

•Do take research to the next level. Sure, you know you want to study psychology and play volleyball, but how do you know if you have what it takes on the court? “The best way to determine what it might take is to go on the school website and look at the roster,” advises Nitardy. Most team rosters will list the height and weight of their players. So, if all the girls on the volleyball team are over six feet tall, and you're 5'9'' on a good day, chances are you won't get on the team, let alone off the bench.

•Do make a tape that shows your best. Coaches use stats and scores to scope out athletes, but seeing really is believing. High school athletes should plan to make a videotape of themselves playing, but make sure to keep the focus on the game, not your computer's graphic design program or your favorite pump-up music. “They don't have to be fancy,” says Nitardy. “Most coaches just want to see you compete.” She advises athletes to make sure it's clear which team, position, and jersey number to look out for, and try to keep at least a few other players in view.
•Don't just sit there waiting to be found. “Kids are used to being stars in high school,” says Nitardy. “Especially with the boys, they sit there waiting for coaches to find them.” But no matter how many home runs you hit last year, coaches want to see real interest in the school and the team their recruiting for. This can indicate how dedicated a player will be in the long run.
•Don't let your grades slide. Being a superstar on the field and keeping your eye on the ball academically is tough, and colleges know it. So why not impress them with a great record all around? Even if school isn't your strong suit, studying hard to turn a “C” into a “B” can put you ahead. “I'm probably recruiting more than one athlete for one spot, and I'm going to take the ones with better grades,” says Nitardy.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teen Runaways

One of any parent's greatest fears is a missing child.

Each year, one million troubled teens from every social class, race and religion run away from home. Unfortunately, for American families, that number continues to rise.

Confused, pressured and highly impressionable teens follow their peers into bad choices. In most cases, runaway teenagers want to escape the rules and regulations of their family and household. Disagreements with parents leave them unhappy and frustrated to the point of rebellion. Naiveté leads them to believe they could survive outside the nest; and dreams of a life without parental guidance, rules and punishment seem ideal.

The dangers of a runaway lifestyle are obvious. Afraid and desperate, teens on the street are easy targets for robbery, rape, prostitution, drug addiction and violent crime. While the official Runaway Hotline cites nine out of ten teens return home or are returned home by the police within a month, any amount of time on the street can change a child forever. Protecting our children from a potential runaway situation is incredibly important; the problem is serious, and the effects are severe.

My name is Sue Scheff™, and through my organization, Parents Universal Resource Experts, I am working to keep America's teens safe. A troubled teenager is a difficult and uphill battle, but you are not alone! As parents, we must work together to educate and support each other through the crisis. The best resource is that of someone who has been there; and at P.U.R.E.™, parents can find the information and support of so many dealing with the same situations.

Are you worried that your troubled teen will run away from home? We have compiled some of the most helpful resources on teenage runaways.

Looking for support or professional help? Visit our website, Help Your Teens. Our consultation service is free of charge and available to any parent seeking help. You are not alone!
Learn more about Teen Runaways.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Sue Scheff: ADHD - Drop Your Reins Program

As many know, I raised my ADHD son, and know the struggles first hand that parents can go through. Personally, I tried different methods to help my son, and believe that everyone is different and what works for them is unique to them and their situation. We were successful with medication (which I know many frown upon, however it worked for us). Here is an alternative that many have found very successful. It is important to have an open mind and not be judgemental with what helps others.

Founded and run by 15-year-old 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.

Drop Your Reins is a Youth to Youth Program designed to give kids tools that will assist them in ways to overcome fears and challenges, develop healthy loving relationships, build trust, grow their inner confidence and self esteem, explore leadership

Perfect for your:

■Church Group
■Mom’s Group
■WAHM Group
■Rotory Club
■Youth Group
■CHADD Group
Contact us to learn more about how we will work with you to create your customized learning/training pwww.danielleherb.com



Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sue Scheff: Feingold Seminar 2009 – Change Behavior by Changing Your Grocery List

As a parent of an ADHD child, I have always been aware of the Feingold Program. Although I wasn’t able to use the diet for my son, I know many success stories and believe that parents should be aware of all alternatives.


WHAT: Free seminar on dietary options for children (and adults!) with learning, behavior, and other health problems,AND a hands-on activity in which you can find out for yourself just how much food dye it takes to create those pretty colors of frosting on a cupcake.

WHEN: Thursday, June 25, 2009 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

WHERE: Marriott SpringHill Suites Hotel 899 Elkridge Landing RoadLinthicum, Maryland (near BWI Airport)(410) 694-0555

SPONSOR: The Feingold AssociationTel: 800-321-3287 or 631-369-9340

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Sue Scheff: Tips for Parents - Teens Staying Home Alone

By Denise Witmer

When your preteen is too old for daycare, what do you do? As it happens often when parenting a teen, it’s tough decision time. You’ll either need to find someone to watch him/her, like a school mate’s parents, a relative or a neighbor or start allowing him/her to stay at home alone. Here are five tips if you choose to let him/her stay at home:

Establish a routine and write it down. Set a time to get up, a time to have breakfast, a chore to be completed, etc. Perhaps some reading before television or letter writing to pen pals or grandparents can be added. Brainstorm a list of things to do together and then make it a part of the routine. A healthy routine will become a habit. It promotes a good attitude and keeps your teen active. It is all to easy to fall into a unhealthy routine of sleeping half the day and then doing nothing but playing video games when a teen is home alone in the summer or spending all of their time on the phone with friends after school. By coming to a consensus, writing down the routine and checking up on your teen, he/she will follow it and be a much nicer person to come home to.

Make your expectations and the rules clear. Set up some rewards/consequences for following/not following the rules. Be sure to be fair and firm with the rules and let your teen have a say.

Role play situations with your teen. Examples: a stranger comes to the door, answering the phone or if your teen falls and hurts himself. Do each situation the right way and the wrong way. Have your teen tell you why the wrong way was wrong. This will help you both to communicate clearly about what is expect in each situation.

Inform your workplace that your child will be 'calling in'. While personal calls may be frowned upon, your parenting responsibilities need to take priority. You and your teen will feel more comfortable if you establish a call time. Most employers will be understanding of this.

Have a back up plan available if things should go awry. If your teen gets sick or is able to handle a whole day alone, perhaps having him go to an afternoon camp or to a friends. You could also have a relative or neighbor check on him/her. You will worry less if you have an alternate plan in the wings.

Teens Home Alone FAQ:

At what age is it okay to leave my teen home alone after school?
At what age is it okay to leave my teen home alone overnight?
My teen is going to be home alone this summer. What can I do?
We are going away and do not want to leave our teen home alone. What should we do?
We've heard our teen is planning a party in our home while we are going to be away. What should we do?
Our teen had a party while we were away and there was underage drinking. What should we do?

Learn more: http://parentingteens.about.com/od/familylife/a/teenshomealone.htm

Friday, June 19, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teen Paychecks - Teens Learning Financial Responsibility


“We know that the savings rate in our country is atrocious. As a matter of fact, last year was the first time since the Great Depression that we had a negative savings rate as a country. So as adults that have obviously very little value on savings, we're not passing it on to our kids to put much aside in savings, either.”

– Todd Mark, Spokesperson, Consumer Credit Counseling Service

17-year-old Vanessa Ceci works part time at a tanning salon. She says her paycheck belongs to her, and not her parents.

“They shouldn’t be too involved,” says Vanessa, “because it’s my money that I’m spending. Like, I’m working for it.”

“There are times that she’ll come home with a new purse,” says Vanessa’s mom Dianna, “or some more shoes that she doesn’t need - and we kind of get upset.”

Should parents decide how kids spend their money?

“It’s a good thing for parents to say, ‘you’ve got money coming in - these are the things that I would do if I were in your shoes,’” says Todd Mark with the Consumer Credit Counseling Service. “Not necessarily force them to, but strongly encourage them to.”

And, Mark says, one thing parents should strongly encourage in their children is saving.

“We know that the savings rate in our country is atrocious,” he says. “As a matter of fact, last year was the first time since the Great Depression that we had a negative savings rate as a country. So, as adults that have obviously very little value on savings, we’re not passing it on to our kids - to put much aside in savings - either.”

Vanessa says she now saves most of her paycheck---because that’s what her mom taught her to do.

“I like saving,” she says. “It makes me feel good knowing that I have money in my savings account. When I talk to some people they are, like, ‘oh, I only have, like, 50 dollars!’ I’m like, ‘wow! I have a lot more than that!’ So it just feels good because, like, in the future, I’ll be set up a little better than most people.”

And experts say that if you can afford it, encourage kids to save with a cash reward.

“Many parents really go the extra mile to encourage this by doing just as employers do with a 401(k),” says Mark. “And [they] say, ‘you are going to put 10 percent aside - we’ll match you dollar for dollar.’”

But, he says, for kids to learn the value of money parents should allow them to spend part of their paycheck any way they choose.

“Before, like, when I didn’t have a job,” says Vanessa, “when I wanted something, I was like, ‘oh, okay - swipe the credit card and, like, Mom and Dad will pay for it.’ But once it’s my own money and I’m spending it, I look at a sweater and I’m like, ‘wow, that’s really way too expensive. I have to work like eight hours for this.’”

Tips for Parents

■$179,000,000,000: how much money US teenagers spend annually.

■$1,585: average credit card debt for a college freshman.

■17: percentage of students who pay off their credit card balances each month

■63: percentage of students who say they get financial information from their parents.

■3: the number of states that incorporate personal finance into curriculum standards for schools (Utah, Missouri, and Tennessee).

■18: the number of states that require personal finance instruction be incorporated into other subject matter area.

The American Savings Education Council believes schools are an ‘obvious and natural avenue’ to reach young people with financial information, but the group also says the importance of parents ‘should not be overlooked or underestimated.’

How can parents help their children become ‘financially proficient’? In an address to the Federal Reserve Bank in Dallas, David W. Wilcox, US Treasury Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy, offered his own personal list of concepts parents can teach their children about personal finance:

■The concept of a budget constraint. Every graduating senior should understand that resources are finite, and accordingly that choices have to be made. A dollar spent on something today necessarily means either that a dollar less is available for spending on other items, or that a dollar less is available for saving for a better tomorrow.

■The concept of present value. Every graduating senior should understand that a dollar today is worth more than a dollar in the future. This is the fundamental reason why the time to get started on retirement saving is now, regardless of how old you are.

■The concept of risk. Every graduating senior should understand that the financial market is a very uncertain place. You could make more money than you expect, but you also might lose more than you expect. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

What else? These suggested financial principles to impress upon children from the Kids’ Money Top Ten List:

■If you don’t have the cash to pay for it, you can’t afford it
■Begin a retirement and investment account now
■A sale in a store is not a sale if you can’t afford it
■Save at least 10% of each and every paycheck
■Always have and work toward a financial goal
■Money isn’t everything and greed is not good.

■Consumer Credit Counseling Service
■Financial Literacy and Education Commission
■The Department of the Treasury
■National Council on Economic Education
■Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Sue Scheff: GenTech: Are they any different then the Babyboomers?

Source: Examiner.com

When I was a teenager, a junior or senior in high school, I took a typing class so that I might have a bit of an edge in the business world after graduation. Back in the 20th century, we learned such things on typewriters. For those youngsters that read this, if you look up typewriter at Dictionary.com you will find: “A writing machine that produces characters similar to typeset print by means of a manually operated keyboard that actuates a set of raised types, which strike the paper through an inked ribbon.” It actually was fairly efficient – you created your printed copy instantly, but correcting mistakes was a chore, and getting multiple copies was generally pretty messy (another word to look up; Carbon paper).

I was in Subway the other day ordering lunch when I heard the familiar Beep Beep of a cell phone. The young lady (about 16 years old) in front of me looked at her cell phone she had apparently received a text message. When she started to reply to the text received I was stunned. She could “type” as quick, or quicker, than I can, but with only her two thumbs! I wasn't too surprised when I later heard news reports about how there are now braces that have been developed because of this repetitive type of motion.

Do they teach text messaging in school these days? No, of course not; most schools don’t even allow cell phones to be used on campus (not yet anyway). We are entering an age where our children are more tech savvy then their parents. Of course this is not unusual when we consider Moore’s Law. Gordon Moore founded Intel in 1968, but it was in 1965, Moore observed that micro-chip development was doubling itself on an annual basis. What was then dubbed Moore’s law has proven itself correct time after time as we can barely keep up with the development of our technology. It’s no wonder our teens are more savvy then their older generations.

PCMag.com had an interesting survey where the results were in every area of popular electronic devices, with the exception of cell phones, our teens possessed the market share of them. Not only that our 13 year olds are even more savvy then their 16 year old siblings!

What does all this mean? Well, we really don’t know what it means in the long run. Projections have been made that by 2019, the PC will be unseen. It will be embedded in our furniture, and even in our bodies. The keyboard will be gone, with a voice interface in its place. It is our GenTech generation that will bring this about.

CBS news.com has a very interesting article on this subject. But the answers (even in that article) are not there. Moore’s law of smaller and better every year is making it more and more difficult for ethics to keep up. Our kids rush home from school, all the while texting their friends in the car only to rush to the computer once home and log onto MySpace or some Instant Messaging program to communicate with friends even more. But is it only friends they communicate with. No, it is well known the pitfalls of the cyber-bullying and cyber-stalking. CBS news.com reports; “There's no question that the Web can be dangerous. The Justice Department boosted funding for its 7-year-old Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) program from $2.4 million in 1998 to $14.5 million this year. ICAC-related arrests tripled from 564 in 2003 to 1,597 in 2005”.

Teenage development is the stage where our kids are seeking independence from their ‘parental units’ (as they call us). The internet and cyber space is a place where they feel they can achieve this. Technology as been doing this from the beginning. The invention of television kept kids inside "glued to the tube", and when Hi-Fi’s came out in the 50’s, teenagers were booming music everywhere to their parents chagrin. The issues seem to be the same, it’s just that the technology is different, and granted more powerful.

Do we limit our teens use of technology? I don’t think so. To do so, may very well be putting them at a distinct future disadvantage. We as parents (as always) simply need to be aware, not only of the dangers of this ‘brave new world’, but also how it impacts our children emotionally. Watch for signs of depression perhaps motivated from isolation or cyber bullying. Instruct your child vigilantly about sharing too much information, because while the internet may seem anonymous, it clearly is not.
Then, “hpy txtn lol”

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sue Scheff: Parenting Solutions

A great article from Author Michele Borba - 9 Parenting Solutions to Help Beat the Summer Reading Slump

REALITY CHECK: Are you aware of that kids can lose an upward of three month’s worth of reading progress during this summer break?
The famous “summer reading slide” is well documented and shows that learning declines in all kids during these lazy, crazy days, but especially in reading. Kent State education professor, Timothy Rasinski , points out that this can mean a loss of one-and-a-half years of reading achievement through the sixth grade!

But don’t despair. The reverse is also possible. Reading just a few books before school starts can save kids from the summer reading loss. Studies also show that parents play a crucial role particularly on their older kids’ reading attitudes and behaviors, as well as helping to find the right book to capture their interest.

Here are nine tips from my upcoming, The Big Book of Parenting Solutions. I shared this on TODAY this week to help parents get their kids beat that dreaded summer reading slump, and hopefully even rekindle that great love of the printed page.

1. Let them pick. A study by Scholastic found that 89% of kids say their favorite books are the ones they pick. Kids also say a big reason they don’t read is that they don’t like what we selected for them. So get your child involved in the selection. If he has difficulties finding the right book, talk to a children’s librarian, check into a resource on great books kids like to read, or ask other kids for ideas. Or check out iVillage’s best series reads for tweens.

2. Find the right level. The big trick is finding reading material appropriate to your child’s reading level–not too high or not too low. Check your child’s last report card or reading achievement scores, which may give you a clue as to what is appropriate for your kid.

3. Think outside the book. Don’t be too picky as to what your kid reads: Cereal boxes, cartoons, the sports page, baseball cards, those new graphic comic book novels are fine. Find what piques your kid’s interest. What are his hobbies? What are other kids reading? Remember, the literary merit is trivial–getting your kid to feel comfortable with reading is what matters.

4. Set aside time to read. Kids say the biggest reason they don’t read for fun is there isn’t just enough time, so carve out a few minutes a day. Hint: Eliminating just one TV show or activity will free up 30 minutes a week to read. Set aside a time where everyone reads and make it a family routine. Encourage your older kid to read to a younger sibling.

5. Make reading material available. Be sure reading material is easily accessible. Stash books in backpacks, bathrooms, cars or on the dining table for those “just-in-case” lulls. Here’s a sure-fire tip: Give your kid the option of doing the dishes or reading the book. I’m betting on the book.

6. Start a summer book club. Find other kids your child can read with or join with a few parents to start a kid-parent book club. Suggest they pick from their required school reading list (check the bottom of your kid’s backpack) or allow them to choose their own.

7. Become movie critics. Read a book, and then watch the movie together. (Harry Potter, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, or Hatchet are a few favorites). Then become movie critics and debate if the book or movie was better.

8. Read out loud. Around the age of eight is when studies say kids stop reading for enjoyment. It’s also the same age we usually stop reading to our kids. So find one book to read out loud this summer. Reading out loud increases comprehension, vocabulary, imagination and attention, but also fond family memories. Consider listening to books on tape during those long car rides. Make sure to keep it fun and set the listening time to your child’s attention span.

9. Read together. Dig through the bottom of your kid’s backpack for their school required reading list. Then get two copies of each requirement: one for you and the other for your kid. You can each read alone, but it’s a great way to open up a dialogue with your child about a great book. J.K. Rowling proved that kids do read, but it certainly didn’t hurt that many parents and kids read the series together.

Studies show the more books in your home, the greater the chance your kid will become a reader (as well as obtain higher math, science, civics, and history scores). So dig out that library card. Go to library sales or book fairs. Stop at those garage sales. Subscribe your kid to a magazine. Set up a book exchange with the neighbors. You don’t have to break the bank, but do have material available and carve out that time so your child -and you–reads and reads and reads!

Both parents and kids say a big part of the problem is trouble finding enjoyable books. So treat yourself to a great source that listing kids’ top reading choices.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Sue Scheff: Parenting Toolbox

This past weekend I was introduced (via online) to an Author and Therapist that specializes in parenting and families. As a Parent Advocate, I have to share this fantastic information with others, so please take the time to learn more. His website provides great parenting advice, tips on raising our children, as well as articles that are educational and informative.

Ron Huxley is the founder of the ParentingToolbox and has helped parents online for over a decade and offline for almost two decades.

Ron is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist currently practicing on the Central California Coast. He specializes in trauma, attachment and nontraditional families (like divorced, step, and adoptive families). He is the author of the book “Love and Limits: Achieving a Balance in Parenting” and has been in the field of parenting and mental health for 2 decades.

Ron believes in taking a strength-based approach to parenting that builds on solutions and not problems. He believes that the “person is not the problem, the problem is the problem” and he creatively crafts a parenting strategy that fits each family situation. He is a Certified Family Wellness Instructor, Incredible Years Parenting Instructor and he has advanced training in Play Therapy and Trauma Interventions.

Ron has spoken to parents on the importance of having a Balanced Parenting Styles and Secure Attachment in every conceivable setting, from a Women’s Prison to Parent/Teacher Conferences to Corporate Board Rooms. He has written articles for Disney Family, Child Magazine, Readers Digest, Pregnancy Magazine, the Recovery Journal, Self-Help Online and Woman’s World. He has appeared on numerous television and radio shows including BBC Radio, LA Talk Radio, the Leeza Gibbons Show, Parents Tool Talk Radio and Oprah.com. Currently, he is directing a children’s mental health clinic in California that specializes in attachment and trauma issues for foster care and adoptive families.

Read Ron Huxley’s articles here: http://parentingtoolbox.wordpress.com/
One of his articles is How to Stop Anger

Monday, June 15, 2009

Sue Scheff: Help Your Teens - Residential Therapy

Just a reminder of my organization that I created almost 10 years ago after a negative experience with my own teenage daughter. A Parent’s True Story has been widely read through my book Wit’s End! I was very fortunate that Health Communications, Inc. recognized the importance of my story and the valuable advice I offer to parents who are desperate for help and are at risk of making rash decision in searching for residential therapy. Order today at http://witsendbook.com/.

Parent’s Universal Resource Experts, Inc. (P.U.R.E.™) is an organization that was founded in 2001 by Sue Scheff. For the past several years Parent’s Universal Resource’s has assisted families with valuable information and resources for their children and teens that are at risk. Teens that are struggling with today’s peer pressure, experimenting with drugs and alcohol, and simply good kids starting to make bad choices. We have many very satisfied families that have used our services. Please take a moment to read some of our testimonials.

Whether you are seeking Boarding Schools, Therapeutic Boarding Schools, Residential Treatment Centers, Wilderness Programs, Christian Schools, Summer Programs, Military Schools and more, Parent’s Universal Resource’s can offer you options to explore to help educate you in a very important decision for your child and family. We invite you to fill out a Free Consultation Form for more information.

Parent’s Universal Resource Expert’s™ are parents helping parents. As a parent that experienced and survived a difficult teen, we believe that desperate parents are at high risk of making rash and detrimental decisions in choosing the best placement for their child. Please take a moment to read my story – “A Parent’s True Story” – which is one the reasons this organization was created.

As a member of the Better Business Bureau for many years we are an organization that prides ourselves in helping others and bringing families back together.

There are many Doctors, Attorney’s, Therapists, Police Departments, Schools, Guidance Counselors, and other professionals that refer Parent’s Universal Resource’s to families. In many cases, after a family has used our service, they recommend us to their friends and relatives. We have built our reputation on trust and putting families first. At Parent’s Universal Resource’s we believe in bringing families back together.

In searching for schools and programs we look for the following:

Helping Teens – not Harming Them
Building them up – not Breaking them down
Positive and Nurturing Environments – not Punitive
Family Involvement in Programs – not Isolation from the teen
Protect Children – not Punish them

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Sue Scheff: Military Schools and Teens

Almost on a daily basis I have to explain to parents that Military Schools are an honor and privilege to attend – they are not for troubled teens. For parents that seem to defy this, I share with them that if their child is expelled for any reason (such as drug use, alcohol, defiance, etc.) you -the parent – risk forfeiting your tuition which can be upwards of $20K or more. The misconception that drugs are not on Military School campus’ is simply not true. Where there is will, there is a way. They are not lock-downs.

In many Military Schools, your child needs to interview with the school, have a good GPA and in many cases have letters of references. Another words, they have to have a desire to attend a Military School. In some cases they may go reluctantly, but are not beligerent about it. Usually if you start them younger, you will find your child more cooperative.
So what are Military Schools?

Military Schools and Academies offer a student the opportunity to reach their highest academic potential as well as build up their self-esteem to make better choices in today’s society. We encourage parents to let their children know that Military Schools are a privilege and honor to attend and not for troubled children.

Military Schools are not for punishment; they are a time for growth. With many students the structure and positive discipline that Military Schools offer are very beneficial. It not only encourages them to become the best they can be, it enhances them to grow into mature respectable young men and women. Many students do not realize they would enjoy Military Schools until they actually visit the campus and understand the honor it is. Military Schools will give your child the vision to reach their goals and dreams for their future. The high level of academics combined with small class sizes creates a strong educational background.

Many ADD/ADHD students do very well in a Military School and Military Academy due to the structure and positive discipline. If your child is ADD or ADHD you may want to consider this type of environment. Many parents start with a summer program to determine if their child is a candidate for Military School.

Military Schools and Academies tuitions vary. Most start at $22,000.00 per school year. There is financing available through lenders and some scholarships. Visit http://helpyourteens.com/ if you would like more information about Military Schools and believe your child would be a good candidate. As a parent of a child that is ADHD, he successfully graduated Military School and obtained a full academic scholarship in a private college and starting medical school next year. Military Schools are an exceptional education for many students.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Sue Scheff: The Ballad of an Adopted Child

This article was written by a parent who adopted a child and although had some struggles, she knew there is a reason for every bump and every stumble, it is a learning experience. Whenever I re-print this article, the response is overwhelming. If you have an adopted child, or know someone that has, take a moment to read this insight - it is quite impressive, and most importantly, parents have that - "WOW" - moment - "someone understands what I am going through!"

By Jeanne Drouillard

DOES your teen,

•always seem angry?
•have anger that turns into rage?
•show signs of depression, i.e., withdrawal, slipping grades?
•show disrespect to you or disrespect people in authority?
•self-protect by keeping people at a distance?
•lie, manipulate and steal?
•ever talk about his/her biological parents?
•want to find his/her biological parents?

DO you,

•feel comfortable about your teen's behavior?
•recognize signs of RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder)?
•believe you must be adopted to show signs of RAD?
•understand what is meant by the Primal Wound?
•think it makes a difference at what age a child is adopted?
•understand bonding and how it can be disrupted?
•understand the fear and pain of an adoptee?
•understand adoptee' difficulty in trusting and showing love

It can be difficult to know if your adopted teen's anger is normal and within the range of typical teenage behavior. Most teenagers get angry, especially during the years when their bodies are changing and the hormones can bring quick and severe mood swings. All teenagers are searching the world trying to find out who they are and what they want to become. They all want to know how the world will affect them and how they will affect the world.

If not addressed as a child, an adopted teenager has a duality of conflicts to overcome. Whether adopted as a baby or as an older child, this teenager has had a separation from the birth mother and this is a strong link that is not forgotten. Nancy Verrier calls this the Primal Wound. In the womb, Psychologists now agree that the child is very aware of the mother, how she smells, how she laughs and feels, even how she sounds. The baby has been inside the womb for nine months. This baby even realizes if it was a wanted pregnancy or an unwanted pregnancy - this baby knows. It also has an awareness of the physical, mental and emotional connection with the mother. Bonding begins before physical birth and possibly shortly after conception. Many professionals used to laugh at this idea and thought it impossible for a little baby to know and remember being separated from its birth mother. Alas, the tide has changed and the professionals now believe that this child couldn't help but know the separation from the birth mom that carried it - and this is the primal wound that stays with that child forever.

There is a story that Nancy Verrier tells in her book, "The Primal Wound" about a little girl who was adopted as a baby. She had never been told she was adopted. One night this four-year old child had a nightmare and called for her mommy. Her adopted mother went in to comfort her and held her and told her everything would be okay because "Mommy was here." The little girl said, "No, I want my other mommy." This story is not unique and other similar stories have surfaced. How did this child know?

Many adopted children develop RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder). This occurs when a child, teen or adult cannot attach and trust, as they should and experience trouble developing close intimate relationships. When the child is taken away from its birth mother, even if it is put in the home of a family giving the child love, this child is confused and knows this is not the same mother it had and its trusting abilities are lessened. If the child is put into a hospital, or foster care and then moved again and again, its trusting mechanisms do not know what it means to have a consistent caregiver to take care of its constant needs, i.e. hunger, pain, etc. This makes a child angry and scared and then the cycle has already begun.

After the child is adopted, hopefully in a loving home, a decision is made by the child as to what role to play within the family. Some have so many layers of anger and rage that negative behavior is exhibited constantly. Others may decide to be a complacent and pleasing personality because they want to make sure that these new parents are not disappointed or else abandonment will follow. Another choice is not to get close to anyone because this relationship probably won't last and getting close will be painful when it ends. Several adult adoptee's I've spoken to have confirmed this behavior. The more neglect, abuse and abandonment a child suffers, the more deep-seated will be this distrust for adults or anyone in authority.

It is common for adoption issues to remain hidden until adolescence. Sometimes a child seems well adjusted and happy during the early years and then everything comes out during the teen years. It is also very common for the child to stay in denial and hide deep feelings from everyone, even themselves, and in their teen years - which is an identity search time - these feelings rise to the surface. Usually, the child knows inside that something is not right but the complexity of their feelings give them fear and they hesitate talking about these fears since they believe they can trust no one.

You DO NOT have to be adopted to have RAD. Any child who suffered a separation from their original caregiver for a period of time could have symptoms. Separation from the mother due to illness or divorce can trigger separation anxiety, and divorce can also trigger guilt if the child feels part of the cause of the divorce.

Causes of RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder) and Symptoms of Attachment Disorder
Let's look a little deeper into RAD and see what some of the causes and symptoms are. I like Dr. Marcy Axness' approach when she says she is campaigning to change the name from Attachment Disorder to something like "Attachment Deprivation" because it is a failure in the RELATIONSHIP, not the child.

Causes of RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder)

•unwanted pregnancy
•inconsistent or inadequate day care
•dramatic prenatal experience (exposure to drugs/alcohol)
•sudden separation from the primary caretaker (illness, death, hospitalization)
•abuse (physical, emotional, mental, sexual)
•frequent moves (foster care, failed adoptions)

Symptoms of Attachment Disorder:

•superficially engaging and charming
•indiscriminately affectionate with strangers
•does not trust caregivers or adults in authority
•does not develop morals; no empathy, remorse or compassion
•resists all efforts to nurture or guide them
•acts out negatives, provoking anger in others
•lies, steals, cheats and manipulates
•destructive, cruel, argumentative and hostile
•extreme control problems
•cruel to animals, siblings
•poor peer relationships and lacks a conscience
•tries to separate adults - gets them into fights - divides them
•engages in hoarding or gorging on food
•has a preoccupation with fire, blood and gore
Children with some of these symptoms could be at risk. If they have half or more of these symptoms, they usually are RAD to some degree and would need therapy from a qualified attachment therapist. Don't waste your time and money with other therapy because it doesn't work. Don't take your attachment child to an ordinary therapist. Usually this therapist will take time to try to win the trust of your child and then will talk to them about their problems. Attachment children DO NOT trust. That is the main problem. Also, they do not learn from discussions and talking. Attachment children learn from feeling, doing and experiencing. They need attachment therapy.

Sometime during our lives, we all cross paths with attachment disordered individuals. In business, they are the ones having trouble getting along with others, or they have a desk in the back of the room and don't mingle with others. Others can sometimes charm us or con us. They might even shock us with unbelievable cruelty. Very often these individuals grow up untreated and have no concern for other people. RAD children have learned early on that the world is unsafe and have developed unhealthy protective shells
so the outside world cannot pierce it and then they feel safe. They become their own protectors and as such can turn everyone against them. Without help, they grow into dysfunctional adults.

RAD people are very controlling. They need to control in order to feel safe. Usually when they were very little children and could not control their environment, bad things happened to them. My daughter Elena is serious attachment disorder. One of her teachers used to tell me that he would watch Elena's eye movements and body language when she walked into his classroom. She would pause for a moment or two and look around the room very carefully and very deliberately. From that moment on Elena always knew exactly what was going on in any corner of the room at any moment. That is the only way she felt safe.

Usually attachment individuals have moved around from one institution to another or one foster home to another or even from relative to relative. They cannot trust that the same person will be there on any given day to gratify their needs. They learn not to trust or love and are unable to attach to anyone, causing them to be very resistant later to attachment if they are adopted. Trusting is very difficult for RAD children. Trusting means to love - and loving hurts. They have been hurt too deeply.

Parents adopting children who have experienced abuse, neglect or have been institutionalized have a long road ahead of them. When these children grow up and start exhibiting anger and then total rage, it can be quite fearful to the unsuspecting parents. These children have many layers of anger and rage, but it is based on fear that they will be abandoned again because they can't trust and believe deep down that they are not good enough for someone to love them. Their birth mom gave them away. It is amazing to hear some of these children tell you that they hoped their Moms could see them now as adults because then she would know that they didn't turn out to be such a bad kid. I've heard grown ups talk this way. This little child inside never leaves. Some of these same teens and adults still want to find their birth parents to answer questions of why they were given away. They just want to know.

My daughter Elena had been put in a program that promised me they knew all about attachment disorder but they grossly misrepresented themselves. I wasted seven months of her precious life before I had her moved into an appropriate program. This new program really acknowledges attachment disorder and in our four months I have seen a real improvement. Elena's improvement only occurred after the harm of the first program had been resolved.

I used to talk to my daughter and tell her how much I loved her and that I was going to be her "Forever Mom" and we were going to have a wonderful life and so on. Elena usually listened politely and I was so naive I just didn't know how much I was missing the mark. Talk doesn't work with Elena because she doesn't trust and doesn't believe she deserve love. What I learned to do was sneak up on her and tell her something like, "Elena, I love you so much and I'm so glad you're here with me" and then I was gone. Another time I might say, "Isn't it great, I've got you and you've got me?" And then I was gone. Just little tiny doses of love were all she could handle.

Working with an attachment child is very tough and there is not much gratification for a long time. Just when you think there is progress, the rage comes back. Yet, that doesn't' mean there isn't any progress. Progress inches in and keeps coming as long as we give these children lots of laughter, love and empathy. Don't let them drag you into an argument. They want your anger because they handle it better than love. I believe they have so much anger, turmoil and pain inside that they relate better to it. For example, Elena came home after getting a C- on a test. She didn't study and I knew it. She was almost proud when she showed me her report card and she really wanted me to get mad, why? She deals better with my anger and then it takes the responsibility for a bad grad off of her. But I didn't respond with anger. Instead when she showed me her well-earned C- I simply said, "I'm so sad for you. It must be very embarrassing getting a grade like that." Then I turned around and went back to my own life, leaving her to handle her life. Don't give them anger. That is what they want BUT give them what they really need which is laughter, love and empathy.

Remember there is always hope. Author Nancy Thomas when asked if older children could still be helped she enthusiastically answered, "Oh Yes, as long as they are still breathing - that is the only requirement." All these children need is the correct therapy - attachment therapy -- and parents who are willing to learn along with them.


Visit http://www.helpyourteens.com.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teen driving tips for parents

Teen driving tips for parents

By: Marvelous Girl

With summer revving its engine, classes ending and summer jobs starting, it’s a great time of year for teenagers. However, between driving to work, taking road trips and joyriding without care, teens are on the road a lot more in the summer months.

It is no surprise, then, that data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows an annual spike in traffic accidents, injuries and deaths among young people in the 100 days between Memorial Day and Labor Day. As teens start cruising around this summer, it is important for parents to remind them how to stay safe behind the wheel. Below are a few quick tips for parents of teen drivers from ThinkBeforeYouDrive.org:

Create a driving contract for your teen, and be prepared to stick to it. A driving contract is a great way to let teens know that driving is both a privilege and a serious responsibility. It also establishes clear expectations about driving for your teen: always wear a seat belt, never get into a vehicle with someone who’s been drinking, etc. A customizable contract template is available at http://www.thinkbeforeyoudrive.org/.

Choose an ICE contact. All drivers should designate an emergency contact in the address book of their cell phones under the name “ICE” — In Case of Emergency. Emergency workers in many towns check for an ICE contact in cell phones.

Set a good example. Practice what you preach. When parents run red and yellow lights, speed down the highway at 75 miles per hour, weave in and out of traffic, ride the bumper of the car in front of them and exhibit signs of road rage, they are telling teens that rules don’t count — and this can be fatal. Be a role model for your teen.

For more parent tips, visit http://www.thinkbeforeyoudrive.org/tips/parents.htm.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Sue Scheff: National Teen Acne Awareness Month

As a Parent Advocate, I am often asked to share information, Press Releases etc. to help promote wellness and concerns with today’s teens. June is National Acne Awarness Month - take the time to learn more and how teenage acne can scar more then a child psychically. Self-image is a big part of being a teenager - as a parent, we need to educate ourselves to help our kids.

According to a recent survey, more than half of teens (59%) said that they would be willing to stay off Facebook for a year if they could get rid of their acne forever! What’s more – 13% would actually pick one of their parents as a prom date to be zit-free for the rest of their lives! June marks the first-ever National Acne Awareness Month – the perfect time to help teens take control of their acne.

There are so many myths surrounding acne - that people with acne don’t wash their faces and/or eat poorly. But the truth is, even the cleanest and healthiest of us can be prone to getting acne! In fact, acne is a medical condition that can be treated, and has little to do with diet or cleanliness habits.

The AARS, with support from Galderma Laboratories, has developed a special announcement to educate teens on how to take control of their acne: to inform everyone on ways to take action when acne takes a hold of their lives: http://www.westglen.com/online/17612.html

Want more? Visit the brand new Web site, http://www.acnesociety.org/, designed to help you get educated on ways to treat and prevent acne. Help to spread the word about National Acne Awareness Month. The best defense is a well-informed offense!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teen Cutting and Self-Injury

After reading this article, I had to share it. Cutting and self-injury is a very serious concern for parents. If you suspect your child is cutting - please get help immediately. If you recognize warning signs in a friend of your child’s, find a way to tell the parents. We, as parents, need to keep informed. Parents helping parents gives us knowledge and the ability to help our children. My website on Teens and Self Injury has more information.

By Richard Hills

Contributor for Examiner.com

A few weeks ago, I was hanging out with my daughter and some of her friends. On one of her friends I noticed that both her arms were all scratched up like she’d been in a cat fight. The problem was there were far too many of them, they did not look to have been from one instance (in other words done at the same time, because of various levels of healing), and they were too regular in direction and severity.

It came out the young lady (of age 12) was cutting. When asked why she was cutting, her response was “I don’t know”. I asked her if she knew of anyone else that cut, and she said, “Oh yeah; lots of girls. One of my friends even tries to get other girls to cut because it helps”. “Helps with what?” I asked. “Helps to make you feel better” was the response.

I have been aware of self harm for some time now, but was never personally exposed to it so close, so I decide to check it out a bit and ask some questions. There does seem to be a ‘trend’ of this sort of behavior starting in middle school and high school teens. They are mostly girls that cut, but the number of boys is growing very fast. TroubledTeen101.com reports that one out of every five teens self harm in some way. Self harm spans across the board – from troubled homes in the projects to the up-scale homes of Clayton and Blackhawk.

Self harm (cutting) is generally outgrown, but not always. I’ve spoken to some women in their thirties that still cut today. The general reason for cutting is that it helps cope with difficult emotions. On some psychological level, cutting seems to be a release for those that self harm; the physical pain becomes a substitute for the emotional pain. The problem is that it is temporary and as such very addictive behavior – much like escaping into a glass of alcohol or popping a pill. If you think you can keep knives or razors away from a teen, guess again - The girl I know used a blade removed from a pencil sharpener.

There does seem to be a trend of self harm in our teens. If you are seen as the personality type “Emo,” cutting is an almost expected behavior. This girl I was speaking with gave me the impression that she really didn’t know why she was doing it, but was curious more than anything else. Once her cutting was discovered (cutters tend to hide their scars), she stopped as far as the information I’ve received from her parents.

Even if the issue is trendy there is still a problem. To self harm because they are told it will help them feel better is a curiosity that needs to be seriously addressed. Someone must feel pretty bad if they are willing to cut open their skin and bleed to feel better. Help must be sought and given to cutters, not only to stop the cutting, but to ease the underlying, emotional pain. Troubled Teen 101.com has a number of very good points on how to spot and help a cutter; key to all the advice given however is to remain as non-judgmental as possible and communicate openly.

Cutting is a serious problem with our teens, but it can be overcome with our communication, patience and most of all LOVE.

Richard Hills is an Examiner from San Francisco. You can see Richard’s articles on Richard’s Home Page

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Sue Scheff: Migraines and tension headaches impact many teen lives

By Sheryl Butterfield

June 7-13 is National Headache Awareness Week. According to the National Headache Foundation, 20 percent of U.S. kids ages 5-17 suffer from chronic headaches. Those 10.3 million young sufferers usually experience tension-type (15 percent) or migraine headaches (5 percent).
Kids get headaches for the same reasons adults do, but young people have a harder time handling them.

The National Headache Foundation educates families to know that young sufferers can “have fun, do well in school, and lead active lives.” Their new Headache U Web page was developed to give headache sufferers tools to cope on a personal level.

In their Adult Guide to Children’s Headache section, the foundation stresses the importance of understanding triggers, symptoms, prevention and treatments.

Ways adults can help teen headache sufferers:

Understand types of headaches – Headaches are migraine, tension or organic. Migraines are mostly inherited and tend to affect girls more often. Parents should not feel guilty about passing on migraines to their children. It’s counter-productive to positive treatment. Tension headaches can occur several times a month or even daily. Organic headaches are the result of serious disease or physical problems such as tumor, head trauma or abscesses. Thankfully, less than 5 percent of youth headaches are the result of organic problems.

Help develop the diagnosis – Use your teen’s medical history in tandem with a family doctor, pediatrician, or specialist during physical and neurological exams.

Understand the impact of headaches on the teen’s life – Chronic headaches affect kids’ home and school lives. The foundation recommends being sensitive and acknowledging concerns but not spending too much time on pampering. A parent’s goal is to help their child understand what is happening and take control so they can “pursue a rewarding lifestyle.”

Use professional resources – The foundation provides a list that includes newsletters and books containing practical information and insight on headaches.

The National Headache Foundation advises young sufferers on their Headache Headstart pages. The introduction lists famous people who have achieved success while dealing with chronic headaches.

Tips for teen headache sufferers:

Understand types of headaches – Understanding the warning signs of tension headaches and migraines is the first step to taking action.

Take control – Teens need to figure out ways to reduce stress, how exercise and relaxation can help, and which foods or drinks might trigger their headaches. It helps to take care of the headache then communicate to friends what’s happening. The foundation also recommends that kids accept themselves, try their best and do what’s right for them.

Know you can have fun – Even with chronic headaches, teens can still have fun. They need to understand they are not alone; many kids suffer from chronic headaches. Some events will be missed. They may need to talk with an adult about feeling left out. Avoiding triggers and taking control to reduce or prevent headaches is a practical way to stay positive.

Recognize symptoms and frequency of headaches – Be an investigator of yourself. Take action. Visit your doctor and discuss family history, when headaches occur and how often, what you’re eating or drinking when headaches come on, and what activities you’re doing when you get a headache. Communicate with adults and friends in your life. Know that there are professionals who can help.

For more info:

Sue Scheff: Teaching Children About Online Risks

Wiredsafety.org offers a tremendous amount of information to help you help your children to stay safe online. Here is one of their latest articles by Parry Aftab, a leading voice in educating parents and kids that surf on the net!

By Parry Aftab , WiredSafety.org
How can I teach my children about risks online if I have never used the Internet?
For some reason, the moment anyone mentions the word “computer” or the “Internet,” everyone panics. I don’t know why. All the normal advice about using common sense to stay safe applies exactly the same in cyberspace. Use the same lectures your parents gave you — the same ones their parents gave them. We can use the basic rules and just translate them into cybertalk. Let me show you how easy it is.

It’s The Same Old Thing-in a New and Improved Package

Don’t talk to or accept anything from strangers. (See? Familiar territory)

I need to meet your friends.
Come straight home.
Don’t say nasty things about other people.
Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
Be polite to and respectful of others.
Don’t tell people personal things about yourself.
Don’t tell people personal things about your family.
I told you that you already know this stuff but just needed someone to translate it into cyberspace terms. Here’s the translation:

Don’t talk to or accept anything from strangers.
Who’s a stranger online? Everyone is! Yet we talk online in chat rooms and discussion groups all the time. It’s one of the most entertaining things we can do online. So how does this advice work online?
Teach your children that anyone they don’t know offline is a stranger. You can chat with them, but never tell them anything that you would tell a friend. Remember, chat with them-but don’t confide in them. Talk about movies, or music, or sports-nothing personal. A teenager put it best; she said, “Remember that the people you chat with online are not your friends, they are just people you chat with.”

But this is the hardest thing for our children to remember. As I told you before, one of the biggest problems with cyberpredators is that they function in your home. Our kids feel safe with us seated nearby. Their stranger danger reflexes are not engaged.

There is a sense of intimacy online that cyberpredators count on. They need to convince your children that they are not strangers at all. They hope to convince them that the standard rules don’t apply. You need to remind your children that these people are strangers and that the standard rules always apply.
I need to meet your friends.

We all heard this from our parents, and have said this to our own children. You’d never let your children spend time with real-life friends you hadn’t met, would you? Why should it be any different in cyberspace? You should get to know the people they are frequently talking to online: who is influencing them, is the friendship appropriate, and are they the kind of children you want your child associated with. While you don’t have to know everyone they run into in cyberspace, you should find out whom they are chatting with regularly.

There are some special reasons to find out whom they are friends with online that don’t exist in real-life friendships. In real life our kids can spot the adults. In cyberspace they can’t. Most of the predators who are out to meet your child offline and who have something other than friendship on their minds- pretend to be children to get past their “stranger danger” radar screen.

Sometimes parents can tell an adult online better than a child can, and might be able to spot an adult who is posing as a teenager or young child to fool your kids.
Come straight home.

When I was young, I was famous for wandering around after school. Friends always invited me home with them, or something interesting was going on. My mother would panic and I would get the same lecture day after day.

Wandering aimlessly online isn’t any different from my wandering around after school. My mother needed to know I was safe, and that I was doing something productive, like homework. Allowing your children to spend unlimited time online, surfing aimlessly, is asking for trouble.
Make sure there’s a reason they’re surfing. If they are just surfing randomly, set a time limit. My advice is to limit surfing just for fun (not schoolwork) to under 1-1/2 hours per day You want them to come home after they’re done, to human interaction and family activities (and homework).

Don’t say nasty things about other people.

Saying nasty things about other people in cyberspace is called “flaming.” It often violates the “terms of service” of your online service provider and will certainly get a reaction from other people online. Flaming matches can be long and extended battles, moving from a chat room or discussion group to e-mail quickly. If your child feels that someone is flaming them, they should tell you and the sysop (system operator, pronounced “sis-op”) or moderator in charge right away.

Don’t take things that aren’t yours.

Kids are surfing and doing their homework. They are surfing and building their own Web sites. While surfing, they often “borrow” things that others have written, and photos and graphics belonging to someone else. For the most part, they are breaking the law. They are stealing someone else’s property.

Many people think that attribution (giving credit to the source) is enough when you copy something. But they are wrong. There is something called “fair use,” which I’ve mentioned elsewhere in this book. But using a graphic at your site, or using a whole poem or story, isn’t fair use. While it’s unlikely that anyone will sue your children for copyright infringement based on a term paper or school report, more and more people are being targeted by entertainment industry members for Web sites and public postings that violate their intellectual property rights.

Be polite and respectful of others.

There are rules for proper behavior everywhere. The online world is no exception. Many online areas have their own rules of correct behavior- sometimes called channel rules or codes of conduct. Learn the rules first.

Chat rooms each have their own rules, too. Don’t barge in and start talking until you’ve had a chance to see what everyone’s discussing. Read the discussion thread for a while, instead of asking everyone what they were talking about. And be respectful of others and their opinions.
Don’t post the same message over and over. Other people’s time is valuable, and they don’t want to have to weed through the same messages you posted in tons of places. If someone helps you, say “thank you.” Courtesy goes a long way in cyberspace. It all comes down to respecting others.

Don’t tell people personal things about yourself.

And don’t tell personal things about your family. You never really know whom you’re talking to. And even if you think you know whom you are talking to, there could be strangers lurking and reading without letting you know that they are there. It’s like writing your personal diary on a postcard.

With children especially, sharing personal information puts them at risk. Make sure your children understand what you consider personal information, and agree to keep it confidential online and everywhere else. Practice asking them questions about themselves they may encounter in a chat room. We teach our children to be polite, not to ignore people or tell them something is none of their business. We also tell them not to talk to strangers. This sometimes creates confusion, and confusion puts kids at risk. Whenever they don’t understand the clear rules, they may wing it. When it comes to sharing personal information online, you never want your kids to wing it.

Remember that the Internet is more like the telephone than it is like the television. Use the same kind of safety measures you would use if your children were talking on the phone to a stranger. If in doubt, think - phone call!

Parry Aftab is a noted online safety and privacy expert and Executive Director of WiredSafety.org