Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teens and the Pressure to Have Sex

Teenage Sexuality and the Pressures to Have Sex

We began this site with the intention of providing useful information and advising on all issues regarding teen pregnancy. We thought it might also be helpful to parents to understand some of the reasons teenage girls are choosing to have sex at younger and younger ages. The idea of sexuality has become embedded in almost every part of our society.
The media is crawling with sexual innuendo and suggestive imagery; music and magazines put forth all kinds of evocative material while movies and TV shows often feature situations in which teenagers are experimenting with increasingly scandalous sexual behavior. It's no wonder that young women often feel pressured to conform to societal standards of acceptable sexual conduct and do so by allowing sex to occur earlier than it otherwise might have. Right now nearly half of teens in the US ages from 15-19 have had sex at least one time. So, if fifty percent of AmericaÕs teenagers are participating in sexual intercourse, itÕs not difficult to imagine the amount of pregnancies that are occurring as a result.

The studies done on teenage pregnancies show staggering results. If you are the parent of a teen or pre-adolescent, it is wise to educate yourself on the current trends regarding pregnancy and sexual activity in order to be informed about what pressures your child might be exposed to. A survey done by [The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy( )], an organization dedicated to reducing the number of unwanted teen pregnancies, reveals that 46.8 percent of all high school students in America had have sexual intercourse at least once. The National Campaign has also reported that close to half of all pregnancies yearly in the United States are unplanned, and that the rate of unwanted or unplanned pregnancies is highest among teens.

When thinking about the causes and consequences of teen sexuality and pregnancy, a parent should consider some additional factors that play into the topic. There are some further outlying trends in terms of teenage sexual behavior that affect a teenÕs decision to participate in sexual activity. How much does the idea of peer pressure actually influence teen sex? Where are teens experiencing their first sexual encounter? What are the tendencies among age groups- that is, are teens in relationships with older partners more likely to engage in sexual behavior than those who are closer in age to their partner? Another issue to bear in mind is that of drugs and alcohol, and how often substances play a part in the choice to have sex. Being prepared in these areas prior to a discussion can help a parent remain open-minded instead of intimidating or harsh.

Pressure to Have Sex
Perhaps because of the media's representation of sex, or the desire to portray a "cool" image to friends and schoolmates, it's no doubt that teenagers today feel the pressure of having sex. The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy reports that at least ten percent of teenage girls Òdescribe their first sexual experience as [unwanted ( )] Although this may not mean the encounter was completely unwarranted, it means that there was still a level of hesitation and uncertainty on the part of the female. In addition, more younger sexually active teens report wishing they had waited longer to have sex than do older sexually active teens. The fact is, many teenagers submit to the idea of sex merely to assuage the pressure that accompanies not having it.

Birth Control
One of the most detrimental factors to teens is a lack of the use and knowledge of birth control methods available to them. A common thought is that a girl cannot get pregnant the first time she has sex, and she therefore may decide to forego using any type of birth control whatsoever. However, more and more, teenagers are finding out about different contraceptive options and utilizing them. Around two-thirds of teenagers say that they used some type of contraceptive during their very first experience with sexual intercourse.

Differences in Age
One interesting fact is that among teenagers around the age of 14, almost half in relationships report dating someone at least two years older. Teens are often romantically drawn to older people, yet the gaps in age have shown sexual intercourse to happen earlier and more frequently than in relationships where the partners are closer in age. The rate at which teenagers who are two or more years apart have sex almost doubles compared with the rate for those who are the same age. In addition, if the age difference is three or more years, the rate goes up another ten percent.

Substance Abuse as a Factor
For many parents the idea of their teen having sex is enough of a disturbing reality that adding the notion that alcohol or drugs could play a part in the act is too much to take. But turning a blind eye to the possibility could be very hazardous to your relationship with your child and also to his or her safety. Knowing the truth about teens and the affect substances have on judgment can enhance a parentÕs understanding of why teens often choose to have sex earlier than they might be ready to. Not only do drugs and alcohol have the ability to influence teensÕ decisions in a potentially sexual situation, but studies have also shown that teenagers who are sexually active are more likely on the whole to abuse drugs and alcohol. A survey done by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy showed that almost half of sexually active teens used marijuana in the past, while only ten percent of non-sexually active had tried it.

We believe that no matter what a family's views on sex and pregnancy may be, communication between family members early and often about the subject is key to not only a teen's safety but also to a functional relationship between teenagers and their parents. One of the core hindrances in communication is the divergence of opinions about sex and what sex means. As a parent, you probably believe you know what is best for your child, and do not see other options as viable.
For parents, it is easy to overlook the fact that teens truly believe they know themselves and how the world works, and act accordingly. Sometimes the difference in age between a parent and child creates discrepancies in judgment, and both parties involved think their ideas are the most sensible. But whether the barriers are based on generational differences or contrasting personalities, there are still ways a parent can assert guidance without coming across as authoritative or imposing.
Adolescent sexual behavior cannot always be prevented, but if you are a parent, there are avenues you can take to educate your teen so that they will be informed to make the best decision for themselves when the time comes. This site aims to promote positive communication between parents and teens, and also will help educated parents so that they may be as informed as possible on the subject.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Sue Scheff: Can Internet Advocacy Help Teen Quit Smoking?

Source: BodyMojo

Can Internet Advocacy Help Teens Quit Smoking?

By Teen Contributor

By Aseem Mehta

Although the risks are well documented, and teens are more aware of the risks of smoking, lighting up continues to be a major problem among people my age. There is no doubt that health classes, advocacy campaigns like TRUTH, and, of course, common knowledge, have made the negative impact of smoking well-known to older teens like me, those in high school and college.

Yet somehow, we don’t seem to be getting the message: Young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 have the highest rates of smoking compared to any other age group, but they have among the lowest rates of quitting. With conventional methods of awareness and treatment clearly failing to impact teenage decisions with regards to smoking, it is clear that a new approach is necessary.

That is why I’m enthralled by a new research study commissioned by the National Cancer Institute aimed at increasing demand for Internet based smoking treatment, specifically for individuals in my age group. The $2.9 million study is a new approach to an old problem, but one that is dynamic and innovative. It seeks to harness the connective networking power of outlets like Facebook and Twitter, with the interactive components of YouTube. This new proposal for online media announcements and treatments for teens is important. The result seems to be promising: a new tool which teens can relate to and better comprehend to find their way out of a sticky situation: nicotine addiction.

Psychologist Robin Mermelstein, on of the researchers, says, “Even though many young adults think about quitting and actually want to stop smoking, they tend not to use what we know works — evidence-based approaches to quitting.” Thus, making such information easily accessible and user-friendly for young adults to tap into is a mandate, and one that hopefully this new project will fulfill. However, it is not enough to just make the site and let it sit on the web.
The research teams collaborating on the project need to develop a way to actively recruit young adult smokers and show them a positive message about kicking the habit, and encourage them to stick with it.

Quitting smoking is a difficult task. Just look at President Obama, who promised his family to quit once he entered the White House but has had trouble doing so. This new project cannot be solely Internet based, but must also demonstrate to young smokers that seeking advice and help from health professionals is also an important step in moving forward.

Every day during the school year, I would walk down the ramp that separated the school itself from the off-campus parking lot, only to find myself enveloped in a plume of cigarette smoke from students trying to get their daily fix. Their smoking was not only damaging to their own health, but to the streams of high schoolers who walked by them each day and inhaled their fumes. There is no doubt that smoking in teens is unhealthy. The question is how can teens stop – and will this new effort be the answer?

Aseem Mehta is a high school senior who is interested in studying about public health and economics. In his spare time he loves to discuss (and debate) politics and current events, and of course, sleep.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Sue Scheff: Plain Talk and Straight Answer for Parents of Troubled Teens

Plain Talk and Straight Answers for Parents of Troubled Teens

Wit's End is the shockingly gripping story of how Sue Scheff, a parent of a formerly troubled teen, turned her mistakes—and her relationship with her daughter—around. This highly practical and prescriptive book calls upon Scheff’s personal experiences with finding help for her daughter.

It includes the same advice that Scheff offers parents through her internationally recognized organization Parents' Universal Resource Experts (P.U.R.E.)—an advocacy group that draws parents together and helps them find ways to protect their children from destructive influences by educating them about the issues their family faces and creating a safe environment to revive familial bonds.

Using the same criteria P.U.R.E. uses to research residential treatment centers and other teen-help programs around the world, Wit's End provides positive, prescriptive help for families who want to put their children on the road to a safe, healthy, happy, and independent adulthood.

Wit’s End is a much-needed guide—written by a parent who has been there—that helps parents navigate the choices and methods available to them and their child. It serves as an action plan that empowers parents—and their children—toward healing.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sue Scheff: Many learning and behavior problems may begin in your shopping cart

The Feingold Program has been around for many years and has helped many families. If you have an ADD/ADHD child, take the time to see if this may be an alternative for you.

Source: Feingold Association

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

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

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

ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is the term currently used to describe a cluster of symptoms typical of the child (or adult) who has excessive activity or difficulty focusing. Some of the names that have been used in the past include: Minimal Brain Damage, Minimal Brain Dysfunction (MBD), Hyperkinesis, Learning Disability, H-LD (Hyperkinesis/Learning Disability), Hyperactivity, Attention Deficit Disorder, ADD With or Without Hyperactivity.
In addition to ADHD, many children and adults also exhibit one or more other problems which may include: OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder), Bi-polar Disorder, Depression, Tourette Syndrome (TS), and Developmental Delays. These people often have food or environmental allergies. Many have a history of one or more of these physical problems: ear infections, asthma, sinus problems, bedwetting, bowel disorders, headaches/migraines, stomachaches, skin disorders, sensory deficits (extreme sensitivity to noise, lights, touch), vision deficits (the left and right eyes do not work well together, sometimes nystagmus).

While all the above symptoms might be helped by the Feingold Program, generally the characteristic that responds most readily is behavior. Although the symptoms differ from one person to another, the one characteristic that seems to apply to all chemically-sensitive people is that they get upset too easily. Whether the person is 3-years-old or 33, they have a short fuse.
Dr. Feingold began his work on linking diet with behavior back in the 1960's. He soon saw that the conventional wisdom about this condition was not accurate. At that time most doctors believed that children outgrew hyperactivity, that only one child in a family would be hyperactive, and that girls were seldom affected. Parents using the Feingold Diet also saw that these beliefs were not accurate. Years later, the medical community revised their beliefs, as well.
Another change in the medical community has been the increased use of medicine to address ADHD. In the 1960's and 1970's medicine was used with restraint, generally discontinued after a few years, and never prescribed to very young children. If there was a history of tics or other neurological disorders in a family member, a child would not be give stimulant drugs. The Feingold Association does not oppose the use of medicine, but believes that practitioners should first look for the cause(s) of the problems, rather than only address the symptoms. For example, ADHD can be the result of exposure to lead or other heavy metals; in such a case, the logical treatment would be to remove the lead, arsenic, etc.

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

Used originally as a diet for allergies, improvement in behavior and attention was first noticed as a "side effect." It is a reasonable first step to take before (or with if already begun) drug treatment for any of the symptoms listed on the Symptoms page.

Read more:

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teen Truancy

So how do you get your truanting teen back to school?

By Sarah Newton

Getting your truanting teen or pre-teen back to school can be a very challenging process. The government in this country is still fining and in some cases imprisoning parents if their child skips school. The question on everyone minds is – is this the right thing to do?

Fundamentally I think it is and this is not a stab in the dark. During my days as a police officer I was on a number of truancy patrols and about 80% of the parents I spoke to knew that their child was off school; some even encouraged it. Some used excuses such as, “I needed someone to look after her little sister”, or, “I needed someone to carry the shopping.” In extreme cases I have arrested children truanting who had been caught shop lifting and actually had lists of things to steal written by their parents, and others who took their child shoplifting so they could, if caught, shift responsibility to the child and therefore not be prosecuted. Some of these cases were extreme I know but I have to say not isolated and I saw, at most, four of these a week. Surely parents who turn a blind eye to, or even encourage, truancy should be punished?

So, let’s turn our attention to the other 20%. These are the parents who believe that their children are at school. The ones who see them off in the morning, only to have the child come in through the back door as soon as the parents back is turned, the ones who really have tried everything from dropping them off at the school gates to a host of other punishments. What do we do with them? These parents need support, they need a system that can work efficiently and easily.

Recently, a coach I was supervising who is trained in our approach had a client whose son was truanting. Using the system I am going to describe below, they had the child back in full time education within 6 weeks.

I offer then, as a suggestion and a plea, that when issuing fines to parents, we do have some consideration for those who are trying their absolute best to get their child into full time education.

1. Firstly – State your intention to the child and ask for their support

“Paul, I want you to go to school and enjoy it, I want you to feel happy to go to school and learn – how can we make this happen?”

We must first tell the child what we want for them in a positive way, and then ask them how we can do it. If we as the Parents decide the best way forward and don’t include the child then you can absolutely guarantee that the child will not buy in.

If the child refuses to listen, just daily keep repeating the same thing.

2. Listen – listen to what your child has to say and listen with your mouth shut – no “When I was a child …”or, “ I know how you feel…” or, “You’ll never get anywhere without a education!” Listen, truly listen, listen for their interpretation of the situation and listen for what they may not be saying. There may be a valid reason this child is not going to school, which you may have to sort out.

3.Take your focus on what your child is doing wrong and focus on what you want – your child to go to school and be happy. Notice when you are focused on what you don’t want and shift it to what you do want. Begin to notice all the qualities your child has and all the good things they do and acknowledge these. What you focus on is what you get, so focus as much as possible on the good behaviour.

4.Make an agreement – see what you and your teen can make an agreement on when it comes to school – can you make an agreement that they go to school every Tuesday or that they get up every morning and get ready? What can you make an agreement on with them? Tell your child that this is what you want for them and that you make an agreement with them - what will they be willing to agree with?

5.Ensure that the child sticks to the agreement. If the agreement is broken then discuss with your child a natural consequence for that.

Keep following these steps and you will begin to see results. Your job as a parent is to ask your child how you can support them to get them into full-time education.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Sue Scheff: Trichotillomania or Hair Pulling Disorder

Trichotillomania, or “hair pulling” is an impulse-control self injury disorder which affects approximately 10% of the population, occurring twice as often in females than in males. While hair pulling most commonly begins during adolescence, it has been found to occur in children as young as one year old!

People with hair pulling disorder pull out hair (root and all) from one or any number of areas all over their body. Some patients will pull out patches of hair at a time, while others pull hair out a strand at a time. Patients then may play with the freshly pulled hairs, and roughly half of all pullers put the freshly pulled hairs in their mouths. Hair pullers may also be nail biters or exhibit some other form of compulsive disorder. They may also suffer from depression, anxiety or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

Doctors still do not understand much about hair pulling, but hypothesize that it may be directly related to OCD, and may be caused by an imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain. Like other forms of self abuse, the pain caused by pulling the hair out of the body can also create a feeling of relief in the puller, though that relief is short-lived, which is why pullers continue to pull.

While trichotillomania is less “dangerous” than other self injury behaviors (such as cutting) it can still be quite damaging to teens that have the disorder. Often teens with hair pulling disorder will have very thin hair or large obvious bald spots on their heads, which can cause negative comments and taunts from peers. As a result teens may have a harder time dealing with feelings of depression and these feelings can increase. Teens may as a result become more withdrawn from daily life and activities, and be more likely to hide or skip school or social activities.

Recently scientists have uncovered a set of two genetic mutations that may be responsible for causing trichotillomania. These mutations are known as SLITKR1 mutations, and are present in a small percentage of trichotillomania patients. These mutations may eventually lead to better ways to treat patients with trichotillomania, but for now are still being studied. For more immediate treatment of hair pulling, treatments like therapy and prescription anti-depressants like Zoloft and Paxil seem to be very affective at helping hair pullers with their impulse control problems.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Sue Scheff: Moms and Dads for Education to Stop Dating Abuse

MADE - Moms and Dads for Education to Stop Dating Abuse

MADE: Moms and Dads for Education to Stop Teen Dating Abuse is a national coalition of parents, teachers and concerned citizens who are advocates for ensuring that every middle school and high school in the country is teaching a curriculum on preventing dating relationship violence and abuse.

MADE is inspired by those courageous and dedicated parents who are committed to mobilizing people across the nation to spearhead education efforts in all middle and high schools after watching their children suffer at the hands of a violent partner.

MADE aims to strengthen the pathways to healthy dating relationships and take the essential steps to break the cycle of relationship violence in the future.

MADE is working to support the 50 State Attorneys General who have endorsed a teen dating violence resolution and have committed to introducing curricula on dating violence education in their state's schools.

MADE is working with the National Foundation for Women Legislators (NFWL) and their outstanding members to support the introduction of legislation to teach about teen dating abuse and violence.

Follow MADE on Twitter @MADECoalition and on Facebook.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Sue Scheff: Parenting - Defiant Teens? Disrespectful Teens? Angry Teens?

It stems back to "children need to have their self-esteem built up to make good decisions." Today most families are either single parent or both parents are working full time. This is not the fault of the teen, nor is it the fault of the parents. It is today's world and we must try to find the middle. Troubled teens, rebellious teens, angry teens, problem teens, difficult teens, depressed teens; unfortunately are part of the society of adolescents today.
Communication is always the first to go when people get busy. We have seen this over and over again. We have also experienced it and feel that our children shut us out; this can lead to difficult teens and teens with problems. Although we are tired and exhausted, along with the stress of today's life, we need to stop and take a moment for our kids.
Talk and LISTEN to them. Ask lots of questions, get to know their friends and their friend’s parents, take part in their interests, be supportive if they are having a hard time, even if you can't understand it; be there for them.

This all sounds so easy and so simple, but take it from parents that have walked this path, it is not easy. When a parent works a full day, has stress from the job along with household chores, not to mention the bills, it is hard to find that moment. We are all guilty of neglect at one time or another after all, we are only human and can only do so much. We feel the exhaustion mounting watching our teens grow more out of control, yet we are too tired to address it. Out of control teens can completely disrupt a family and cause marriages to break up as well as emotional breakdowns.

We know many feel it is just a stage, and with some, it may be. However most times it does escalate to where we are today. Researching for help; P.U.R.E. is here for you, as we have been where you are today.
Do you have a difficult teen, struggling teen, defiant teen, out of control teen, rebellious teen, angry teen, depressed teen? Do you feel hopeless, at your wits end?
Visit If you feel your teen is in need of further Boarding School, Military School or Program Options, please complete our Information Request Form. Please visit Informational Articles for more beneficial information. Read more about Parents’ Universal Resource Experts.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Sue Scheff: Remarkable Parents - Using Information and Technology to Improve Lives

Today more than ever, parents need to become educated in technology to better understand what their kids are doing online!
Here is a great website with lots of information, tips, articles and more to help your improve your technology intelligence.
Source: Remarkable Parents

Twitter. Google Docs. MySpace. Facebook. When you hear these words, does it sound like a foreign language?

Is MySpace your idea of outer space?

Better Communication

Try to communicate with your kids using these new social media and software tools and you’ve probably thought Forget it

Don’t Forget it. Get it, with the help of Remarkable Parents.

Use technology as an ally, not an enemy .

Remarkable Parents don’t fight the flow, they roll with it.

You already know that everything is happening now on the web. It’s where your kids are interacting with their friends.

What you may not know is that it’s also a forum that allows us to be in contact with each other, and more importantly, to stay in touch with your kids.

Higher Productivity
The internet has been called ‘The Great Equalizer’ between big business and small business.

This is because it allows small business to have a large presence in it’s venue.

It’s also ‘The Great Equalizer’ between generations

More Quality Time
Our site will help you make better use of your precious time.

We will help you become more organized and productive.

This will enable you to be part of the conversation, instead of fighting it.

“Because the truth is, these technology tools aren’t just for teens.

Adults are using them to connect with each other, to learn new things, and to be more productive at home and at work!”

Technology is not going away and the web is not going anywhere. The sooner you learn to use these resources to your advantage, the better off you will be.

Our kids, in this era, have never experienced life without computers. We have some catching up to do, and this is where Remarkable Parents comes in.

We Can Help
At Remarkable Parents, you’ll find all the information, tools, and resources to stay on top of what’s happening on the web and we recommend only the good stuff.

We are wading through the junk for you and only presenting you with the best.

Use our resources to help you be the best parent, spouse, employee, and individual you can be!.

Remarkable Parents is a community of sharing, growth, and support. Together we are so much more remarkable than any one of use is alone!

Parenting is tough! It is a constant challenge as we are raising remarkable human beings, and that my friend is hard work!

We Will Help
Make it easier for yourself by joining the Remarkable Parents community.

You can subscribe via RSS feed or by email and we will help you stay on top of the constantly changing technological landscape.

Join the community of Remarkable Parents who are gathering to exchange ideas, information, best practices, as well as sharing how they are using technology to become even more remarkable.

Welcome. We’re glad your here. Visit and follow them on Twitter at @eeUS

The Remarkable Parents Team

Monday, July 20, 2009

Sue Scheff: The BIG Book of Parenting Solutions - Coming soon!

As a Parent Advocate, I am a huge fan and friend of Michele Borba! I am very excited that her 23rd book will be released in September 2009.
Her first review is in - and it is outstanding!
The Big Book of Parenting Solutions: 101 Answers to Your Everyday Challenges and Wildest Worries
Publishers Weekly

Borba, author and Today Show regular, employs a cookbooklike approach in her latest volume: rather than read through the entire tome, parents can flip to topics pertinent to their family. Borba opens with a friendly overview, noting that contemporary parents feel more stressed and find their roles increasingly difficult (June Cleaver, she points out, didn’t have to deal with cyberbullying or Facebook). With characteristic wit, Borba identifies the “seven deadly parenting styles,” including helicopter, buddy, incubator, bandage, paranoid, accessory parenting (judging themselves by their kids’ accolades) and secondary parenting (relinquishing power to such outsiders as marketers or the media).
In nine sections on family, behavior, character, emotions, social scene, school, special needs, day-to-day and electronics, the author urges readers to roll up their sleeves and get back to basic, instinctual parenting. As she tackles 101 issues ranging from sibling rivalry, lying and peer pressure to cell-phone use and TV addiction, Borba helps readers identify the reason underlying the behavior or problem, and work with 10 essential principles of change. With her no-nonsense yet compassionate voice, Borba once again delivers an indispensable resource for parents of toddlers to 13-year-olds. (Sept.) Publishers Weekly

The Big Book of Parenting Solutions is available now for advance orders — on online stores or at Amazon.
Follow Michele Borba on Twitter @MicheleBorba

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sue Scheff: Adopted teenagers face their own unique set of troubles

As any parent can tell you, raising a teenager is no simple task. The teenage years are a rollercoaster of complicated emotions, as teens struggle to transition through new, confusing stages of their lives. These years are characterized by uncontrollable floods of emotion that teens are often unable to handle, which can lead to many psychological problems. Parent advocates like Sue Scheff™, the founder of Parent Universal Resource Experts™, have been working to raise awareness on important parent-teenager relationship issues that have previously stood silent.

Sue Scheff™ is working to help spread information and knowledge to help parents with some of the most difficult issues for children to deal with; adoption. Adopted teens face an entirely new set of problems in addition regular list of teen angst and despair.

Parents of adopted teens must not only help their teens transition safely and comfortably to their next stage of life, while keeping them away from all the dangers of our modern world, such as drugs, gangs, and internet dangers, but they must help them live without their birth parents, which can cause a variety of detachment, anger, and depression problems to fester if they are not dealt with by the new parents.

There is no simple solution that explains how to properly raise an adopted teen and the cold analysis of experts in the academic world often falls short of actual real world application. However, Sue Scheff™ offers real parenting advice, proven through hands on parent experience. Sue Scheff’s advice can help a resourceful parent guide their adopted teenager on the path to adulthood.

Sue Scheff™ offers a variety of helpful resources to those seeking help with their adopted teen troubles. Teenagers should be treated with the respect parents want for themselves, and this site will help facilitate the mutual understanding an adopted teenager and parent relationship needs to succeed.

Learn more click here.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Sue Scheff: 17 Ways Parents Can Help ADHD Children Make Friends

Children with ADHD sometimes struggle with social skills, and making friends can be tough. But parents can help! Learn how to guide your child through sticky social situations and make lasting friendships.

Sometimes, ADHD children need help making and keeping friends. Parents can make a big difference without stepping on toes by helping an ADD child start a conversation or by "supervising from the window."

Find out other ways to become your child's ADHD friendship coach and guide his social development here.

Observe the Situation

Get to the root of the problem. ADHD children often have little sense of how they're perceived by their peers, and will commit social blunders without realizing it. Help them by discussing what went wrong, why it happened, and what your child could (not should) do differently next time. Be as sensitive with your attention deficit child as you would be with a close adult friend -- too much negative feedback can hurt your child's self-esteem.

On the flip side, when your child has a successful interaction, congratulate him.
Watch your child closely. Whenever he's playing with other kids, make sure you can see and hear what's going on. Be ready to intervene if he picks a fight, starts telling fibs, or does something dangerous in an effort to impress others.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Sue Scheff: Be a Curious Tourist in your Teen's Digital World 2

From Educator and Author, Sue Blaney, her parenting tips are priceless! In today's digital world of social networking and texting - you need to be a proactive and educated parent! Learn what your kids are doing in cyberworld!

My tip this week is Be a Curious Tourist in Your Teen’s Digital World >>Listen

I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that your teen is living in a different world than you are. His or her world most likely includes computer-based activities like online gaming, virtual worlds, social networking and more that you may find unfamiliar. Your teen is a “digital native;” you are not. This presents an opportunity…and your resident expert has lots to teach you if you play your cards right.

It is helpful for you to get a realistic perspective about how fundamentally the digital world is changing. In February, social network usage exceeded web-based email usage for the first time. There are 87 percent more online social media users now than in 2003, with 883% more time devoted to those sites*. This isn’t a passing fancy; this is a paradigm shift that has dramatic implications on all fronts. One study released this week titled Learning in the 21st Century: 2009 Trends Update says students have become…”'Free agent learners,’ and as such, they are less dependent upon traditional education institutions for knowledge acquisition and are much more self-reliant, exercising their internet-based skills to aggregate data and information. It has become increasingly clear that students are functioning as a 'Digital Advance Team' for our nation illuminating the path for how to leverage emerging technologies …” So, tap into your teenager’s world, and ask him to show you around.

My suggestion is to make this fun, and to approach it as a curious tourist. Being a digital native, your teenager approaches his digital tools, games and activities fundamentally differently than you do, so use this opportunity to get into his head a bit to try to understand his point of view. What can she do online that amazes you? What is fun about his world? Being open minded and curious will make it more likely that your teenager will be happy to show you around. Be careful not to express an attitude that is judgmental or negative in any way. If she plays games with kids in Japan, ask her to show you what she does. If he has an avatar in Second Life, have him give you a tour of some Hot Spots or cool areas there. Does she like to watch some of the funny videos on youtube? Ask her to show you her favorites.

We will discuss the fact that you have an important role to play in providing guidance in your teen’s digital life…and I’ll speak about that aspect in future articles and 2 minute tips… But this week’s tip is to relax and have some fun learning from your teen, allowing her to be the expert showing you around. You probably have a lot of catch-up to do, and it’s never too late to start. Your attitude of curiosity will get you there faster.

Follow Sue Blaney on Twitter at @sueblaney

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Sue Scheff: "Supervised" Underage Drinking

Source: Connnect with Kids

It's kind of like [parents] open the door as soon as you get to the party, and they have a bowl to the side where they take your keys before you even start drinking.”

– Cameron Herron, 19

New research from Penn State University reports that high school kids who aren’t allowed to drink alcohol are far less likely to drink heavily when they get to college. This contradicts the conventional wisdom that forbidding alcohol turns it into a kind of “forbidden fruit” that causes kids to go wild in college.

But still, every year there are parents who break the law: they host a party and serve teens alcohol.

How often does this happen? According to teens, all the time.

“It’s kind of like they open the door as soon as you get to the party,” says 19-year-old Cameron Herron, “and they have a bowl to the side where they take your keys before you even start drinking.”

Why do some parents allow underage drinking?

“Because they would rather it be at their house and for them to have the control,” answers 19-year-old Marlena Flesner, “and for them to know where their kids are.”

“I hear that a lot,” says Dr. Michael Fishman, an addiction specialist, “and the fallacy is ‘to keep the kids safe’.”

That’s the assumption, but is it true? Is it really safer when kids drink with adult supervision?

“I’ve been at parties where I’ve seen a mom say, ‘hey, this kid is a little too drunk - no more for him,’” says 19-year-old Anthony Machalette.

The problem, kids say, is that sometimes there is no supervision.

“And it was pretty much all of us downstairs partying,” recalls 19-year-old Ryan Soto. “The parents are upstairs doing - nothing. They just kind of minded their own business and let us have a party downstairs.”

“Usually they are not around,” agrees Marlena Flesner. “They just kind of host it and sometimes buy the alcohol - or they just allow it.

And often, the kids start drinking at home - but they don’t stay there.

“In fact, some people are going to leave that house intoxicated,” says Dr. Fishman.

“It was a lot of the wealthy parents who had a big house,” says 20-year-old Jessica Holt, about one party she attended. “A lot of people could come. They wouldn’t collect keys or anything.”

Finally, experts say, allowing kids to drink at home sends a message.

“You’re introducing a lifestyle to your 15, 16, 17 year old and that lifestyle is alcohol. And so by allowing them to drink in your home, you’re basically giving them permission to drink in the world at large and any time they’d like,” explains Stacey DeWitt, President of Connect with Kids.

She says it’s easier for kids to say no if you make a stand against underage drinking that is loud and clear.

“I know my mother would kick my behind if I was drinking underage,” says 20-year-old Erin Smith.

Tips for Parents

Research shows that adolescents may be more vulnerable to brain damage from excessive drinking than older drinkers. Alcohol impairs brain activity in the receptors responsible for memory and learning, and young people who binge drink could be facing serious brain damage today and increased memory loss in years to come. If one begins drinking at an early age, he/she is more likely to face alcohol addiction. Consider the following …

■Imaging studies have revealed a connection between heavy drinking and physical brain damage.
■Neither chronic liver disease nor alcohol-induced dementia, the most common symptoms of severe alcoholism, need be present for alcohol-induced, physical brain damage to occur.
■Alcohol-induced brain damage usually includes extensive shrinkage in the cortex of the frontal lobe, which is the site of higher intellectual functions.
■Shrinkage has also been observed in deeper brain regions, including the cerebellum, which helps regulate coordination and balance, and brain structures associated with memory.
■Alcohol abstinence has shown positive results. Even three to four weeks without alcohol can reverse effects on memory loss and problem-solving skills.

Adolescents have a better chance of recovery because they have greater powers of recuperation. If you suspect your child has alcohol-related brain damage, it is imperative to have him or her assessed by a medical doctor or psychologist. Treatment depends on the individual and the type of brain damage sustained. People with impaired brain function can be helped. Often it is necessary to reduce the demands placed on the patient. Also, a predictable routine covering all daily activities can help. Consider the following points when easing your child’s routine …

■Simplify information. Present one idea at a time.
■Tackle one problem at a time.
■Allow your child to progress at his or her own pace.
■Minimize distractions.
■Avoid stressful situations.
■Structure a schedule with frequent breaks and rest periods.
■Consider joining an alcoholism support group.

■Alcoholism Home Page
■Better Health Channel
■National Youth Violence Prevention Center
■Psychological Assessment Research and Treatment Services

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sue Scheff: How to Talk To Your Kids About Layoffs

What a timely article by Parenting Expert, Dr. Michele Borba

By Michele Borba

I'm sure you've read those dismal reports about job insecurities: The U.S. unemployment rate is now at the highest level since 1993. In fact, more jobs were lost in 2008 than in any year since the end of World War II. We are stressed and worried and rightly so, but so too are our kids.

I've received a number of email queries lately from parents asking for guidance. Today's tough financial times are forcing many parents to answer very tough questions from their children.

"Why did you lose your job? Will we be able to eat out? What will I tell my friends? Will we still be able stay in our house? How can I go to college if you don't have a job?"

Parents tell me they are trying to avoid those heart-wrenching questions. They just can't face telling their kids they lost their job, may have to give up their house or can't go to college.

But keeping kids in the dark about something so serious as a job layoff is a huge mistake. First, children come equipped with built-in radar and notice those hushed conversations and pick up on your tension. They may even feel they somehow caused your stress. And hearing such an immensely personal family problem from anyone other than you is plain unfair and could well break down the trust between you and your child. Believe me, your children are far better off hearing this news straight from your mouth. Regardless of how difficult this is, the truth must be told.

So where do you begin such a tough topic as a job layoff or financial crisis to a child? Here are a few guidelines to get you started.

Prepare what you want to say. Doing so will help you feel more comfortable and seem less tense. And those are how you need to appear to your kids.

Be on the same page with your spouse. Your kids deserve to hear the same message from the two of you. Put those disagreements aside and put your kids front and center.

Find the least distracting time when all family members are present. Set aside enough time that allows your kids to ask as many questions as they need to ask.

Keep the explanation simple and age appropriate. Young children are literal so watch your terminology. "I lost my job," may make a kid wonder "So why don't you find it?" "I was fired" might mean someone is trying to shoot you. "I was let go" could be construed as why your friends didn't grab onto you tighter. Terms such as layoffs, recession, foreclosure, and downsizing confuse a teen. You might start with a question: "What have you heard?" or a simple explanation: "I don't have a job anymore so for a while we won't have as much money to pay for things."

Describe the potential impact on your family. Most kids' prime concern is how this personally affects them. So be honest and clear about any foreseeable changes. For instance: Dining out less. Not going to movies. More bag lunches. Less allowance.

Take their questions seriously. Answer each as best you can. You can always say you will get back to them with the answer. Take as much time as needed to talk about the situation.

Be prepared for any response. Some kids will shut down. Others might be angry or cry. This is not the time to discipline or try talking them out of their feelings. Acknowledge their pain, confusion, anger or hurt. Then tailor your response to their response.

Explain your plan and how you will look for new employment. Kids don't need a lengthy discussion so just briefly explain that you're seeking a new job and it may take awhile. Knowing that you have a "plan" (even if you have no idea what to do) helps kids feel secure.

Involve your kids so they feel they are part of the solution. Asking them for cost-cutting ideas to help your family reduce costs. For instance, mention that turning off the lights will conserve energy. Then ask them for other suggestions.

Keep the discussion going. A one-time talk won't be enough for your children to absorb what is happening. So let them know that you are available any time to discuss this or answer their questions.

Try to appear optimistic even in the worst-case scenario. Your children will be watching your behavior closely and take their lead from your attitude. Your aim is to give your kids the impression that you're confident everything will turn out for the best. (And that's even if you're a nervous wreck inside).

In difficult times it's often not what we say but how we say it that matters more. Children are usually far more resilient than we give them credit for. What they need most in any tough time is reassurance and security. Above all, they need to believe that you will get through these tough times together. Don't forget to take care of yourself especially during these times so you can take care of your kids.

Please pass on your ideas o how to help your children as well as your questions. I'm sure it would help other parents and I'd love to hear from you.

Follow Michele Borba on Twitter @MicheleBorba

Look for her new book - The BIG Book of Parenting Solutions!

Watch her on the Today Show here:

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!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Sue Scheff: Helping Your Teen Become a Involved in Community Service

As American citizens, we find ourselves in a privileged and unique position as members of the most powerful Democratic state in the entire world. But the luxuries we enjoy in this country come with a powerful responsibility—the responsibility of positive citizenship. We must all embrace our unique ability to be good citizens, and we must maintain our civic duty by helping the community around us through positive civic involvement. This site is dedicated to helping show people how they can be a positive part of their community and truly embrace the ideal of a good citizen.

My name is Sue Scheff™, and I’ve been working to help promote proper parenting techniques and information through Parent’s Universal Resource Experts, an organization I created in 2001 that helps compile information and share parenting knowledge among an ever expanding network of concerned families. I want to use this web site to share some of the things I’ve learned through my involvement with parenting advocacy, and extend this knowledge to the idea of promoting good citizenship, because if we are going to become good parents in this troubled world, we must set proper examples for our children, and what better example to set then being a good citizen?
If we want to be responsible parents, why restrict our influence and caring to just our children when we can teach them how to be better citizens while helping enforce positive ideals in our own communities? This is no longer the time for us to hide in our homes as our neighborhoods face difficulties, the community is where our children grow and live, so we must do our best to make it a better place while helping show our kids healthy life skills.
The lack of community involvement and citizenship is one of the biggest detriments to American society. Many of our once close knit communities are becoming disjointed, as technology and crime widens the gap between neighbors and community organizations. Healthy communities should be connected and constantly working together and good citizens should strive to promote this community connection.
This is the modern day philanthropy, the new way to help build a strong community heart and soul. I hope that the knowledge I have gained through my parent advocacy experiences has helped me learn some basic guidelines for productive citizenry in our modern society. Feel free to read, analyze and take away what you would, and explore some of the avenues with which we can not only improve our lives, but the livelihood of our children and our community.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Sue Scheff: How to Raise Active, Not Passive Children

How to Raise Active, Not Passive Children
Passivity in children is often seen in a clinical setting, as it is often a symptom of an emotional problem. Some children that have depression or anxiety are very passive and they withdraw and do not cope well with their own pain. As teenagers, passive children often use drugs or alcohol to deal with their issues. How do we as parents raise children that are active participants in their own life and destiny as well as children that have strength in their convictions. Passivity is not necessarily a bad thing, however passive children are often very entitled and feel that their parents and those around them should “wait” on them and do everything for them. Passive children feel that by simply being born and being a child or teenager that they deserve to have others do everything for them. Do not fall into this trap parents! Here are the ways we can develop an active child instead of a passive child:

1.) Take an active role in your child’s life. Make your child do things for themselves. If you are a parent that has been used to do everything for your child while they do very little, they are certainly going to fight you in the beginning.

2.) Be a good role model for them. Our lives as parents are not centered around our children to the exclusion of everything else in our lives. Life is about a balance between our children, families, work, friendships, health. The parent that centers their entire existence around their children is influencing their children to think that life is about only being a parent or that you as a parent will be serving and catering to them forever. The healthiest parents are those that have relationships of their own that don’t involve their children. Take up your own interests and you as a parent will be healthier and you will have a better relationship with your child.

3.) Don’t avoid setting limits with your child. Remember, passive children just sit and let everyone do everything for them. Discuss problems with your child and do not avoid conflict with them, just because you don’t want them “to like you.” We are not our children’s friends, we are their parents. We must set limits in all areas and give them responsibilities if we are going to move them towards personal growth and autonomy.

4.) Children by their very nature will let you as a parent do everything for them. Parents tend to want to try to “fix” everything and “do things” for their children to the exclusion of having their children do very little for themselves. I have seen so many exhausted; harried parents that are running around doing everything for their children, meanwhile their children have no household chores and have no responsibilities. Wrong! If you do all of the work for your child, then it is your fault that they have not learned how to be responsible. Start by saying to your child, “I am sorry, but cleaning up your room is your responsiblity.” Or, “Sorry I am late again, what are you going to get me for dinner?” Your response of course will be, “you know when you are supposed to be home, now you have to get yourself something to eat.” Do not wait on your child, as you just reinforced their being late coming home.

Help your child take initiative to solve their own problems and be responsible in their actions and choices and you will have a child that matures and has personal strength. When parents are overly active in doing everything for their children, the child then becomes overly passive and expects everything to be done for them including someone solving their problems. The key to raising strong; healthy children is to teach them to be responsible and to be active participants in their life. Remember passive children often avoid relationships in general as they do not have enough strength of character to take the initiative in a relationship or they are fearful of doing things on their own.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sue Scheff: Annie Fox Parenting Blog

Thoughts about teens, tweens, parenting and this adventure of living on Earth in the 21st century.

When we say “That’s not my problem” what we usually mean is some variation of:

a) “Tough luck, buddy.”

b) “Couldn’t care less.”

c) ”Better you than me!”

d) “Karma’s a bitch, ain’t it?”

Pretty heartless stuff. And because callousness isn’t part of the standard definition of “good parent” many of us believe that when it comes to our children… su problemo es mi problemo. Isn’t that our biological imperative? To solve all of their problems so that their lives hum along without a hiccup? To guarantee through our tireless efforts that our offspring live a joyful existence 24/7 and are constantly bathed in the sunlight of public acceptance and approval?

Put it that way and it sounds like a twisted crock, doesn’t it? Our obsession with perfecting our kids’ imperfections and rushing in whenever we hear the faintest sigh of frustration is no measure of parental love or responsibility. The more we indulge in making their struggles our own the more we blur the line between love and control. That’s the best way I know to prevent them from developing self-confidence and self-sufficiency. (AKA the primary parenting objective)

I’ve got a massive marshmallow for a heart. So I know from almost 30 years of personal experience that no parent enjoys seeing their kid (of any age) struggling academically, physically, socially, emotionally, psychologically, financially. But the truth is, allowing kids, tweens and teens to deal with age-appropriate “problems” provides them the satisfaction of working things out for themselves this time. Better still it gives them the real confidence of knowing that in the future when something like this comes up again (and it will) they’ve got what it takes to deal with it. Parents who provide their kids with those kinds of learning experiences aren’t good parents… they’re great parents.

So, repeat after me: Her crooked tooth is not my problem. His complexion is not my problem. Nor is her shyness. Nor is his height. Nor is their level of popularity amongst their classmates or the way their so-called friends treat them. The fact that he doesn’t have the money to go with his friends to the new Harry Potter movie on opening day (because he spent it all on a new game last week) is not my problem. The fact that he’s annoyed because I won’t give him more money this month is not my problem. The fact that his friends are teasing him because is not my problem. The fact that he’s not talking to me and is barricaded is not my problem.

See… when you get into this, it becomes so much easier to see what isn’t your problem without losing one bit of love, affection or respect for your kids.

We all have so much on our plates these days. Wouldn’t it feel great to lighten our loads? You can start by giving yourself a break from trying to make your child and his/her life experience perfect. Of course, if you’d rather not, that’s cool. It’s not my problem.

Sue Scheff: Should Students and Teachers Be Online "Friends"?

What a great article from and I am sure many parents have asked this question at one time or another.

In the virtual world, the definition of a student-teacher relationship is hazy, particularly on social networks like Facebook and MySpace, where adults and teens share the same forums to connect and keep in touch with friends, classmates, relatives, and co-workers. Chances are, your teen has already found her teachers on Facebook and sent friend requests to join their networks.

But is it appropriate for your child to “friend” a teacher on a social network? Terrence Jegaraj, a senior at Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan, primarily adds former teachers or instructors from summer programs in which he has participated. “I am friends on Facebook with a current teacher of mine, but there are teachers who tell us specifically not to add them until we graduate,” says Jegaraj.

Many of the teachers we asked, in fact, were reluctant to add students on Facebook. While a teacher can use some networking sites, such as Twitter, to extend a classroom discussion or offer quick homework assistance in 140 characters or less, networks like Facebook and MySpace easily blur the student-teacher relationship because of the personal information made available on profiles.

“I think that students and teachers have different personas in the classroom than outside of it, and the two should not necessarily be mixed,” says Heather Steed, a recent graduate of Florida State University in Tallahassee, Fla. As a student herself, Steed never added instructors on a social network until she completed their class.

“There needs to be a certain distance between teachers and students in order to maintain respect,” adds Rabbi Avi Schwartz, an educator at Magen David Yeshiva in Brooklyn, N.Y. “A teacher needs to be a role model, mentor, and advice giver – not a ‘friend.’” When a high school student gains access into a teacher’s network of friends and acquaintances and is able to view their family photos, for instance, the student-teacher dynamic is altered. “Friending students provides more information than you are willing to provide in an educational setting,” says Patrick Sweeney, an adjunct professor of history and government in Houston, Texas.

But student-teacher relationships can be transparent and visible to others online, which may have its pros and cons. Carlton Brown, a former community college instructor in Pittsburg, Pa, says interaction on a social network may be viewed and evaluated by classmates and others on the website, which, in turn, may deter inappropriate behavior. “Parents also have the opportunity to review and make judgments,” says Brown. If you have your own account on Facebook, you may opt to join your child’s teacher’s classroom group as a parent “chaperone,” for example, to supervise the discussion. (Based on current research, though, teens flock to Facebook because it’s mainly a parent-free space, so this type of supervision may not work for all families.)

Alternatives exist, however, for teachers and students who wish to enhance learning outside of the classroom via the Internet. Schwartz has helped many students with homework or studying via instant messaging, and even keeps in contact with parents this way. Other tools – such as online classrooms on sites such as Blackboard and forums within a school district’s website or teacher’s own webpage – make student-teacher interaction possible on the Web. Of course, don’t rule out more traditional methods to foster close student-teacher connections. “Appropriate relationships between teachers and students can be built by attending office hours or emailing for class-related advice,” says Steed.

While students may be eager to find and friend their teachers on Facebook, many of them understand the implied rules and boundaries of this virtual environment. “I do understand why my teachers do not want me to add them until I graduate,” says Jegaraj. “I think being friends with a teacher on Facebook while being their student may close the gap between the teacher-student relationship, and some teachers may not want this to happen while they are still teaching their students.”

Ultimately, sites like Facebook are social environments. Teachers guide students in a professional capacity, and being social doesn’t seem like part of the job description.

Cheri Lucas has her Master's of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction. She was a writing aid at Corte Madera Middle School for six years. She is currently working as a freelance writer in San Francisco.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Sue Scheff: The 9 Best Ways to Respond to Kids’ Mistakes So They’ll Be More Likely to Try Again and Again and Again

My child hates to make a mistake, and if he does he’s just devastated. I’ve probably not done the best job of responding. How should I help my son bounce back?

Dania M from Bolder Colorado

Of course we want our kids to succeed. And how we hate it when they fail. But the truth is life isn’t a bed of roses. Our kids will fail and suffer disappointments. An important parenting secret is helping our children learn how to bounce back from defeat and disappointments, and how we respond when they do does make a difference in how they learn to cope. Unfortunately all too many kids cut short their opportunities for success because they give up at the first sign of difficulty. If they see errors as indications that they are failures, eventually they are likely to stop trying. So one of the most common questions parents ask is: “What’s the best way to respond when my child makes a mistake?”

Here are nine, noncritical ways to respond to your child’s error from my upcoming book, The Big Book of Parenting Solutions. (The most important parenting solution is the one listed ninth.)

1. Offer support only when needed – “I’m here for you if you need help” — but avoid the temptation to do the task for your child. Your child needs to build confidence that he can figure out the problem for himself.

2. Help your child see that mistakes are chances to learn. Ask, “What did you learn so that you won’t make the same mistake again?”

3. Stay nonjudgmental and help your child focus on what she’s trying to achieve. Don’t criticize, but do calmly ask, “How did you want this to turn out?”

4. Help your child recognize that you believe he can succeed in his efforts. Say, “I know you can do it. Hang in there.”

5. Fight the temptation to say, “I knew that would happen” or “I told you so.” Instead try saying, “That’s interesting” or “That wasn’t what you had in mind, was it?”

6. Let your child watch you do the task again and again. Some children need to learn “by seeing” how to do the task correctly instead of hearing you tell them how to do it right.

7. Don’t yell, shame, criticize, judge, blame, or ridicule. Nobody (especially children!) likes to make mistakes, and everybody hates to be reminded of making them.

8. Teach your child an affirmation to bounce back. Select one phrase such as–“It doesn’t have to be perfect.” or “It’s OK to make a mistake.” or “Everybody makes mistakes.”–and then help your child practice saying it out loud several times for a few days. The more often she sees and hears it, the greater the chance she will remember to use it to encourage her to bounce back when she errors.

9. Stay calm, stay calm, stay calm! I know that sounds easier than it is, but the truth is our kids are watching our responses. How we act when our kids fail is often more important than what we say. So take a deep breath, Mom. See that failure as a learning opportunity.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Sue Scheff: Mentoring - Be a Part of Helping Children Today

Source: Connect with Kids

“Now that I got a big brother, we go out in public a lot [and] I smile a lot.”

– Tyrone Brown, 10

If you’ve ever thought about becoming a mentor for a lonely child, a new study might help you get motivated: kids with a mentor end up years later with more education, more money, and a better relationship with friends and family.

Ten-year-old Tyrone used to be shy and rarely played with other kids his age. “And I didn’t like to smile because of my teeth, but now that I got a big brother, we go out in public a lot, I smile a lot and I don’t care what anybody says about my teeth, so I smile,” he says.

The “big brother” he’s talking about is Anthony Spinola, his mentor.

A study by Big Brothers, Big Sisters of America reports that confidence is just one of the benefits from having a mentor.

Mentored kids are also more likely to grow up and have a four-year college degree, a job making over $75,000 a year and have more meaningful relationships with their friends and family.

And, they are more likely to become volunteers like Itoro Ufot. “A lot of people sacrifice a lot of time for me to be where I am now, and I feel like now that I’m in a position to give back, it’s probably my time,” he says.

Experts say mentors can even help kids who even have good role models in mom and dad. “The child needs someone that’s special to them. It’s someone that [they] can talk to sometimes when [they] can’t talk to [their] parent,” says Janice McKenzie-Crayton of Big Brothers Big Sisters.

But before signing off on any mentor, parents need to ask questions to make sure the mentor is right for their child.

“The parent ought be told the likes and dislikes of the volunteer, the background of the volunteer, what the volunteer’s involved with, what work they do, etc.,” McKenzie-Crayton says.

Tips for Parents
Mentoring is derived from a Greek word that means “enduring.” It is defined by the U.S. Department of Education as “a sustained relationship between a youth and an adult. Through continued involvement, the adult offers support, guidance and assistance as the younger person goes through a difficult period, faces new challenges or works to correct earlier problems.” Mentors can play a critical role, especially in situations where parents are unavailable or unable to provide responsible guidance for their children.

Why are mentors needed? In addition to the increase in single-parent homes and two-parent working families, statistics show that each day in the United States, nearly 7,000 students drop out of school and over 2,700 unwed teenage girls become pregnant.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, mentoring programs generally serve the following broad purposes:

■Educational or academic mentoring helps young people improve their overall academic achievement.
■Career mentoring helps mentored youth develop the necessary skills to enter or continue on a career path.
■Personal development mentoring supports mentored youth during times of personal or social stress and provides guidance for decision-making.
How successful can mentoring be? According to statistics from Creative Mentoring, a mentoring program in Delaware, surveyed teachers reported the following changes in students who took part in the program:

■Approximately 67% experienced an increase in self-confidence.
■About 51% improved their attitudes toward learning.
■An estimated 47% exhibited better cooperation.
■Approximately 43% improved their reading skills.
■About 40% completed more assigned tasks.
■Nearly 36% increased their ability to work independently.
■About 37% increased their ability to work well with others.
■An estimated 42% took more responsibility.
■About 46% improved their self-control,
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta reports the following statistics about students who are involved in its one-to-one mentoring program:

■About 46% are less likely than their peers to start using illegal drugs.
■Approximately 27% are less likely to start drinking alcohol.
■An estimated 52% are less likely than their peers to skip a day of school.
■Nearly 30% are less likely to hit someone.
■Female students participating in the program are five times less likely than other girls between the ages of 15 and 19 to become pregnant.
According to the National Mentoring Partnership, mentors and parents have specific roles to play in a mentoring relationship. A successful mentor is more of an adviser or a coach rather than a disciplinarian or substitute mother or father. In fact, if the mentor assumes a role as parent, it can do more harm than good. The National Mentoring Partnership recommends the following roles for parents and mentors:

Role Mentor Parent
Confidant X X
Adviser X X
Disciplinarian X
Teacher X X
Friend X X
Decision-maker X

■Big Brothers Big Sisters of America
■Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta
■National Mentoring Partnership
■U.S. Department of Education

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Sue Scheff: 9 Sure-Fire Parenting Tips to Help Curb Sibling Rivalry

By Dr. Michele Borba

Most of us have such visions of our offspring being the world’s best buddies, but with kids living under the same roof some bickering is bound to be the outcome. The closer your kids are in age, the more likely the squabbles. While you can’t force your kids to like each other, there are ways to fend off some of those battles and some skills you can teach that will minimize jealousies, help them appreciate one another, so they are more apt to get along (and just maybe learn to like each other).
Here are a few solutions:

Expect it! Studies show that one third of adults admit to having a rivalrous relationship with their sibs. Those squabbles are normal and healthy to a certain extent. Investigations now show that minor sibling tiffs actually help kids learn to handle conflicts and deal with the outside world better.

Tune into your parenting responses. Be honest. Might you be playing favorites or putting too much pressure on one kid or another? Do you: Expect more of one child? Give one kid more attention? Take sides? Encourage rivalry in academics, sports, or popularity by acknowledging one kid over another? Pay equal attention to each child’s hobbies, friends, school, and interests? Distribute chores, rewards, and opportunities fairly?

Never compare! Research repeatedly finds that the top reason for sibling rivalry is when parents compare their children. Make this be your sacred vow: Avoid comparisons and emphasize each child’s individual strengths instead.

Find time alone for each child. Depending on your schedule, set aside blocks of time when each of your children can have your attention, exclusively. While the other siblings are gone or another adult watches them, take turns taking each of the children on special outings, such as shopping, seeing a movie, or getting ice cream.

Acknowledge cooperation. When you notice your children sharing or playing cooperatively or trying to resolve issues peacefully, let them know you are proud of their behavior. If the children know you appreciate their efforts, they are more inclined to repeat them. “I really appreciate how you two worked things out calmly this time. Good for you.” “I noticed how you both made an effort to help each other figure out how to put the DVDs away. Nice job.”

Stay neutral. Most research finds that the more involved you get in those tiffs, the more likely the sibling rivalry. Siblings need to learn how to work problems out on their own. So intervene when emotions are high, before an argument escalates. If the conflict does get heated, stay neutral and make suggestions only when your kids seem stuck.

Let each kid tell the story. In the case of hurt feelings or a battle, ask each kid to take turns explaining what happened. Doing so helps each child (especially a younger or less verbal one) feel they have been heard. No interrupting is allowed, and everyone gets a turn. You might need to set a timer for “equal talking time.” When the sibling is finished, briefly restate her view to show you do understand.

Teach kids problem solving skills. Do teach your kids simple ways to solve their problems. Some of the best are “oldie but goodie” techniques that reduce squabbles such as: rock, paper, scissors; drawing straws, tossing a coin, oven timers (“You can use it until the timer goes off, then it’s my turn”), tossing a dice (“Highest number chooses first”). They are great sanity savers for now, but also teach beginning negotiation skills our kids will need for later.

Start family meetings. Don’t let animosity build up amongst siblings. It only lead to more conflicts and resentment. Instead, provide the opportunity for each child to be able to express their feelings and concerns and work through issues considered unfair such as in Family meetings. Some families set up a “Concern Box” where kids can request a “mediation” with the family member and parent present to help them work things out.

The secret is to find a way for kids to vent their feelings in a healthy way and not let them build into rivalry.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teenagers Use of Caffeine

Another great timely article from Tangerine Times!!!!

We already know that teenagers don’t get as much sleep as they should. The fact that the school systems in the U.S. haven’t “waken” to the fact that teens have a different sleep rhythm isn’t overlooked by me but I’ll not get into that subject today. Some studies say that only one in five teens is getting the recommended eight hours of sleep each night. I’m sure the rest are texting the night away. What I didn’t realize is the common and casual use of highly-caffeinated drinks to help them stay awake. We didn’t start “using” coffee to stay awake and study until college. Of course, that WAS to study not to text.

One-third of teens polled recently (as reported by U.S. News and World Report) fell asleep in school at least twice each day. Several students even confessed to falling asleep at the wheel while driving.

“We found that as these adolescents multitask into the night, they also caffeinate, and it affects their sleep dramatically,” said the study’s author, Christina Calamaro, an assistant professor of nursing at Drexel University in Philadelphia.
We’ve all read the poll published recently that stated the U.S. as a whole has lost about one to two hours of nightly sleep during the past four decades, putting us behind France but ahead of the Koreans who seem to work around the clock. At the same time, there’s been a twofold increase in the number of teens getting less than seven hours of sleep per night. Most experts agree that eight to nine hours a night isn’t enough sleep for most teens. (see the Sleep Foundation link in the sidebar)

Since almost all teens have at least one electronic device in their room — TV, cell phone, computer, telephone or music device, it’s not hard to see the stimulation driving the kids to stay up. Heck, the average sixth-grader has two devices in the bedroom, according to the study. By 12th grade, there are often four electronic devices in the bedroom.

Devices in the Bedroom
“These technological devices activate the mind. It’s like having a stressful work conversation just before getting into bed,” explained Dr. Jonathan Pletcher, an adolescent specialist at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.

“I think teens definitely underestimate the effect on sleep these devices have. I think most adults underestimate it, too,” he said. ( I don’t and frankly I think most reasonable parents don’t. It’s just really hard to wrangle these devices from the kids!!)

The current study, published in the June issue of Pediatrics, recruited 100 teens from the Philadelphia area to assess their technology and caffeine use, as well as their sleeping habits.

The teens were between 12 and 18, with an average age of 15. Fifty-eight percent were female. Sixty-two percent were white, and 27 percent were black. The average household income was $51,800.

Two-thirds of the teens had a television in their bedroom, and nearly one-third had a computer. Ninety percent of the teens had their own cell phone, and 79 percent had a personal music device.

On average, teens said they used four devices after 9 p.m. More than 80 percent of the teens reported watching TV after 9 p.m., and one-third said they sent text messages after 9 p.m. Fifty-five percent were online after 9 p.m.

Fifteen percent of the youngsters said they only slept three to five hours per night, while 62 percent reported getting six to eight hours nightly. Just 20 percent slept 8 or more hours each night.

Caffeine: Red Bull and Monster’ized’
Eleven percent of the studied teens drank the equivalent of more than four espressos daily. And, because many schools limit the sale of energy drinks, teens often got the bulk of their caffeine after 3 p.m., which Calamaro said could definitely disrupt sleep. Drinks such as Red Bull and Monster are loaded with caffeine and the combination of the caffeine and the late hour of consumption puts these teens in the exhaustion category.

And, we were worried about too much stress from school weren’t we?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Sue Scheff: Helping Your Teens Meet Their Goals

Getting your teens involved, helping them realize and reach their dreams and goals – in my opinion, that is part of parenting. Today teens have so much more to deal with, such as peer pressure as well as the competitiveness to get into their first choice colleges. If your teen has that special interest, dream, or goal in life, encourage them to reach for their passion. It can happen!

YES Seminar is about helping your teen reach their success.

Inspire & Connect

Two of the four reasons for this event are to INSPIRE and CONNECT young entrepreneurs, their parents and mentors, not only with other like-minded kids and mentors, but with Inspiring people that have been where you are and the Connectors that have “made it happen” for so many. This is not a Motivational Seminar – it’s purpose is to Inspire you on your journey!

Empower & Educate

The third and fourth reasons are to provide you with the tools you need to Empower and Educate Yourself! We would like to Open your eyes to the amazing Possibilities that are waiting for you, not only here, but right outside the front door of your home, in your town, today!
2009 Young Entrepreneurs Success Seminar, Orlando Fla.

When: September 25-27, 2009
Where: The Caribe Royale, Orlando Florida
Who: Young entrepreneurs aged 9 and up and their parents/guardians/mentors

The purpose of this event is to inspire, empower and educate young entrepreneurs and their parents to embrace their natural creativity, learn to find and leverage their resources, and grow their businesses and ventures.

Most importantly, this event will CONNECT young entrepreneurs and their parents with other like-minded people! This alone will provide powerful inspiration and empowerment that will live on long beyond the event! These connections will continue to grow within the community that will be created here.

This will be a “conference” unlike any other! Speakers will include best-selling authors such as Bob Burg, author of “The Go-Giver” and “Endless Referrals”, as well as teen entrepreneurs, and experts in fields related to publishing, marketing, social media and more. Breakout sessions will provide parents and teens to receive information specific to them, and will include fun, interactive and highly educational and powerful workshops and activities designed to inspire creativity and innovation, teach team building skills, marketing techniques, public speaking, networking and more! There will also be panel discussions and the opportunity for attendees to talk to speakers and experts one-on-one. Entertainment and time to meet and interact with one another will be an integral part as well.

How Can You Participate?

Attend! We have gone to great lengths to make this event affordable AND incredibly valuable! Ticket prices are $199 for parent AND teen, or $299 for 2 parents and teens. See our website for early bird special at $177. Register online at .

Sponsor! Your support can make this event even better, and accessible to even more people.
Sponsor a teen: We would love to offer sponsorships to the many amazing young people who would like to attend, but will be unable to due to finances. Feel free to sponsor an entire family, or simply provide a fixed donation to be applied toward their attendance costs.

Sponsor a portion of the event: We will also gladly promote anyone who would like to sponsor a specific portion of the event (ie. AV equipment provided by______), or a specific activity such as a cookout or workshop.

Sponsor a Speaker: We have young speakers who would be great for our event! Feel free to help them to attend by donating to their travel costs.

Sponsor with your Product: We would love to have products as prizes for our contests and activities! Donations can be gift cards, mp3 players, computers or anything you’d like! If you are a t-shirt designer, or promotional products provider and would like to donate products for our attendees, please contact us.

PROMOTE! Please support us by helping us promote this event! Please share our information, web address, etc with anyone that might be interested in attending, sponsoring, or who may know someone else who would!

Please feel free to contact us at or call us by phone at 919-427-7770.