Monday, August 31, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teen Driving

When your teenager reaches the age of their new freedom, called driving, it can cause many parents to reach stress levels that they never knew existed. Or quietly honestly, just hoped this day would never come, since it was only yesterday we taught them to ride a bike.

As a Parent Advocate I believe an educated parent is a prepared parent that equals a safer teen! I know personally the stress I went through when both my teens (now adults) started driving. What I found to be interesting was that my daughter was very anxious to get behind the wheel and had her permit within a week of her birthday. My son wasn’t in any hurry and actually was 18 before he got his license.

We all have different teens with unique personalities; however the nature of parenting usually doesn’t change: we worry. I am listing a few great resources targeted at helping you with this next stage of parenting teens - teen drivers.

Teen Driving – A must read and print out, Teen Driving Contract. This website offers tremendous tips about teenage driving, maintaining their cars, driving in a variety of weather conditions, looking into car insurance for teens and more.

Safe Teen Driving Club – 1-866-930-TEEN (8336) is a comprehensive website and organization that I encourage parents to take the time to review. From choosing a safe car to learning about defensive driving, Safe Teen Driving Club covers a wide range of topics that are critical for you and your teen to be aware of. You may also be interested in their recommended vehicle tracker (GPS).

ZoomSafer – “We don’t let friends drive distracted.” Distracted driving is a complicated and growing behavioral problem, especially with teenagers. Whether it is texting or talking on your cell phone while driving, it is a distraction that can potentially lead to tragic endings. Follow ZoomSafer on Twitter at @IDriveFocused and get updates.

Vision 20/20 – The Vision 20/20 P.O.M. Pilot is one of the smallest real-time GPS tracking devices available. If you are considering a GPS, this one is waterproof, highly sensitive and comes equipped with a panic button, GeoFencing features, remote control and more. Follow Vision 20/20 on Twitter at @GoVision2020.

I am confident there are many other great resources online for parents (feel free to leave comments below), as well as products. It is up to the parent to decide what is best for their individual families. There are many different services and products. I encourage all parents to do their research before choosing the right product for them.

For more info: CDC - Teen Drivers, Save Teen Drivers Blog, The Safe Driver. Take the time to visit these websites and resources.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Sue Scheff: Parents, teachers and schools unite to enhance education

Schools are now opening in many areas of our country. As a parent we need to know what resources are available to help enhance your child’s academic year.

I am listing some great organizations that are targeted at assisting schools, teachers and parents to work together for a common goal: your child’s education.

Many of these groups you have heard of; but have you become involved? With today’s stressful economic times, as well as families going in so many different directions, it is more important than ever to become involved in our child’s education. They are our future.

Parent Teacher Association (PTA) – Every child. Once Voice. PTA advocates have been at the heart of our nation’s greatest advances for youth. This year they installed their first male President of the PTA. Follow the PTA on Twitter at @PTAEditor to keep up to date with their progress and programs.

Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) – Helping parent leaders make better schools. PTO's are found at all types and levels of schools - public, private, parochial, charter, elementary, middle school, HS, etc. Expert advice and real-world insight on how to build parent and community involvement in school, recruit and manage volunteers, and more. Follow the PTO on Twitter at @PTOToday and stay informed.

School Family – Your go-to guide for school success. This website and their Blog offers volumes of great information from academics and studying to finding the right school for your child. School Family also offers a community to share ideas, tips and learn from other parents of school-aged kids facing the same challenges - and triumphs - you may be. Follow School Family on Twitter @SchoolFamily and stay connected.

Great Schools - Giving children a greater opportunity to succeed by inspiring and guiding parents to be effective champions of education at home and in their communities. A fantastic educational website that can give you timely articles and insights on schools today. Follow Great Schools on Twitter @GreatSchoolsorg and learn more.

There are many more, but here is a jumpstart for your child's new school year!
For more info: Be sure to visit the above websites and follow them on Twitter.
Also posted on

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sue Scheff: Parenting for Divorced Parents

Source: Blended Families Advice

Guidelines for Divorced Parents
By Shirley Cress Dudley

1- Keep contact to a minimum

One phone call a day is excessive, several text messages a day is extremely excessive. If you have a subject related to the kids- speak briefly and clearly about your expectations. Emails are better than phone calls, if your issue is not an emergency.

2- Do not contact your ex-spouse unless you have a topic related to the children.

You no longer have a relationship with this person, except that he or she is the other parent of your children. Your only relationship is one of co-parenting. Asking for assistance with household repairs, meals, or even just talking about your day- is no longer acceptable.

3- Do not speak negatively about your ex-spouse in front of the children.

It doesn't make you look better in front of the kids, and it does not help with the co-parenting relationship you have with your ex. Children are confused by negative talk and should not be trapped in the middle of your marital issues.

4- Don't send messages to your ex-spouse through the kids

Your children have been through some major changes- mom and dad not living together, divorce, and now visitation back and forth between the houses. They do not need to be involved in adult discussions or arguments.

5- Don't question the kids about their activities when they return from a visit with the other parent.

Children are very suspicious of this and wonder what they are supposed to say. They wonder if it's O.K. to have fun at Dad's house. You want your children to have a positive relationship with their Daddy, and want them to feel that they don't have to "report back" all the activity going on in his house. It's O.K. to ask them if they had a good time over the weekend, and then smile and say, "great" after their brief response. Move on to another topic, immediately after the question, so that the kids know it's O.K. to have enjoyed the time, and that you're not being nosy about their Dad.

6-Work together with your ex to coordinate a visitation schedule for the kids.

Let your ex know if there are any changes to your schedule, as soon as possible. Emergencies will arise (for both parties) but planning ahead allows both parents to care for the kids as best as possible.

7-Don't sabotage family events at your ex's house.

You may be considering planning a huge meal to serve to your kids right before dropping them off for Thanksgiving dinner at your ex's house, or bringing them to their other parent's house, late, so that they miss an important event scheduled for them. You may think these tactics hurt your ex, but in reality, you are only hurting your own children. Step back, and remember to do what's best for your kids.

8-Don't speak negatively about your ex's new partner

This is the person who will help raise your children. This person is caring for your children when they are not with you.

9-Choose a new partner that loves your kids

Now that you're a parent, you can't just marry someone for your own needs, but also someone who will be a great parent to your kids. When you're ready to remarry, make sure this person is willing to devote time to get to know, love and help you care for your kids.

10-Focus on the Kids

Some of these rules sound pretty tough, but remember to focus on your kids. This isn't about trying to hurt your spouse or "get even" - your goal should be to do what's best for your children.

Check out Blended Family Advice ebook for more information on how to blend your step family.

Shirley Cress Dudley is a licensed professional counselor with a master's degree in Marriage and Family Counseling, and a master's degree in Education. She has a passion for helping blended families grow strong and be successful. Visit our website for more help with your blended family and step parent issues.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sue Scheff: Kids are Heroes

This is one of my favorite inspirational websites for kids! It not only encourages them to reach their goals, it helps parents to see how much their children can make a difference in today's world.

Right now, Calista needs our help to reach her goal to help her brother and area athletes for the Special Olympics. They are raising funds to travel to Maryland to attend Kids Are Heroes Day. Every dollar counts! Read her Essay now:

I have been fundraising for Crawford County Special Olympics for 2 1/2 years now to help my brother and area athletes. I would like to be able to go to Kids Are Heroes Day to spread the word about my project, but I need your help to get there. Kids Are Heroes Day 2009 will be held on Saturday, October 24th at the Francis Scott Key Mall in Frederick, MD and my family and I need help covering travel expenses and overnight at a hotel. One hotel KAH found gave them a discounted rate for $109.00/night and it will be around a 5 hour drive to get there. Any help would be great! More information can be found at This is my essay:

My project is fundraising for Crawford County Special Olympics. I fundraiser for Special Olympics because my brother is a Special Olympics athlete. He is my inspiration because he loves to do the competitions. I overheard the Special Olympics management team talking and they said they weren't raising enough money to go to all of the competitions. So, I started Calista Cares. I love to see my brother and all of the athletes happy knowing they can do the trainings and go to competitions. I hope you can support my family and I to go on this trip. Without you, I wouldn't be able to go. I would love to go because it would be nice to sell my crafts somewhere I have never been before. I also think Special Olympics will be extremely proud. If you would be able to help me, it would be so great. I also really want to go because I want to make new friends who are also doing community service projects. Some people don't understand why I do my project. It would be fun to meet others who understand and feel the same way. I think it would also be really fantastic to get the word out about Calista Cares and also getting the word out about Special Olympics. I think it would be a really fantastic trip.

Thanks for your help,

Calista Pierce

Monday, August 24, 2009

Sue Scheff: Parenting Tips - Inhalant Abuse

Tips for talking to your tween and teens about the dangers of Sniffing Inhalants and please take the time time to visit - for more information. You could save a life!


Ask your pre-teen or teenager if he or she knows about Inhalant Abuse or
is aware of other kids abusing products.

• Reinforce peer resistance skills. Tell him or her that sniffing products to get
high is not the way to fit in. Inhalants are harmful: the “high” comes with
high cost.

• Encourage your child to come to you if he or she has any questions about

• Tell your child that the consequences of Inhalant Abuse are as dangerous as
those from abusing alcohol or using illegal drugs. Be absolutely clear
— emphasize that unsafe actions and risky behavior have serious consequences.

• Monitor your teen’s activities — set boundaries, ask questions. Be firm,
know his or her friends and his or her friends’ parents, know where they
meet to “hang out.”

• Educate your child about the dangers, but don’t mention specific
substances unless your child brings them up. While many youngsters know
kids are sniffing some substances, they may not know the full range of
products that can be abused; and you don’t want to give them suggestions.

• Tell your children that you love them and that their safety is your number
one priority. Tell them again…and again…and again.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teens that inspire

Being a Parent Advocate offers me an opportunity to meet not only parents, but also amazing teens.

With my organization, Parents’ Universal Resource Experts (P.U.R.E.), we are in contact with parents that are struggling with their teenager. Whether it is failing school, defiance, disrespectful, running away (sneaking out), using drugs and/or alcohol as well as other negative behaviors, parents are at their wit’s end.

Teens that inspire need to be recognized. I am listing a few that I have personally been in contact with and believe that parents will be amazed at what teenagers can accomplish. Some of these teens have taken a negative situation in their life and turned it around to help others. Then we have a 12 year old wonder boy! Take time to visit these websites and learn how one teen can change the lives of thousands.

Cati Cares– Cati is an amazing 16 year old that has created awareness and a crusade to help STOP bullying and cyberbullying. As a victim herself in the 6th grade, she has turned her unpleasant and hurtful experience into a campaign to help other teens. Her website offers Internet safety tips, Cyberbully Prevention and much more. Join her movement today! Follow Cati on Twitter at @wwwCatiCarescom

Joni Poole – When you think of a survivor, think of Joni. On August 22, 2007, Joni was raped and sexually assaulted. She was only 16 at the time. Since this horrific assault, Joni found the strength to fight back legally and found justice. From here, Joni could have moved on with life and attempted to put this time behind her. Instead, she created Sexual Assault Abuse and Rape Awareness (S.A.A.R.A.) Joni is now a voice to be heard and fighting for victims of sexual abuse. Join Joni on Facebook and MySpace. Help her to help others.

Danielle Herb –At 15 years old, Danielle has accomplished more than many adults do in a lifetime. Danielle created a program for ADHD/Autistic children with her expertise in horsemanship. Drop Your Reins is becoming nationally recognized, and Danielle is the driving force. As an ADHD child herself, she truly relates to the children and inspires them to overcome their fears. Learn more about this unbelievable teen at Drop Your Reins and follow her on Twitter at @DanielleHerb.

Lane S. – He is our 12 year wonder boy who is an incredible source of information and has a maturity that will blow you away! He owns, operates and writes for his website –– where he gives you insights through “kid’s point of view”. When I found out he was only 12, I was shocked. Be sure to follow him on Twitter at @KidCriticUSA and I am sure you will see what I and many others have realized, Lane is going places!

Krysten Moore – Grace, dignity, integrity, and beauty, both inside and out. Krysten is one of several of the Bullying Prevention Spokesperson (s) for Love Our Children USA. At 17 years old, she was Miss Teen New Jersey International. When I meet her, I was in awe of her. As a sophomore in college now, she is still active in helping others fight bullying and cyberbullying. In my latest book, Google Bomb, on page 198, you can read about Krysten’s experiences in school and how she was teased and bullied. She took action, took her life back and continues to be a voice against bullying.

For more info: Please take the time to visit each of these amazing teens websites. Send them an email of support and follow them on Twitter!
Also posted on the

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teen Vandalism

The US Department of Justice defines vandalism as “willful or malicious destruction, injury, disfigurement, or defacement of any public or private property.” Vandalism can encompass many different acts, including graffiti, public unrest, rioting, and other types of criminal mischief, like breaking windows or arson. Even seemingly harmless pranks like egging and toilet papering homes are considered vandalism in most states.

Unfortunately, many acts of vandalism may go unnoticed in the home, because teens can easily avoid bringing any evidence back with them. This is why it is of particular importance that parents make an effort to know where their teens are at all times. Keeping an open dialogue with your teen about his schedule and friends can help you to better keep tabs on him.

A teen that knows his parents care is more likely to avoid criminally mischievous behaviors in the first place.

If you suspect your teen is engaging in vandalism, don’t be afraid to discuss your fears with your teen. While again, it is important to not be accusatory, you should leave no doubt in your teen’s mind that you believe any act of vandalism- big or small- is wrong. Often, teens think vandalism is a ‘victimless crime’; in other words, they don’t believe they’re hurting anyone by spray painting graffiti on a brick building, or tossing a few eggs at a neighbor’s car.

This kind of thinking is your perfect segue into teaching your teen just how wrong vandalism can be.

When your teen defiantly tells you that “nobody got hurt,” explain to them that by spray-painting the fa├žade of his high school, they costs the taxpayers (including you) money to have the graffiti covered and the crime investigated. Remind them that the money for these repairs has to come from somewhere, and that every dollar wasted to fix vandalism is a dollar that must now be cut from somewhere else.Maybe the school will have one less dance, or will be forced to cut out arts programs or programs for under privileged students. If your teen has been egging homes, point out the waste of food that some families cannot even afford. Remind them that someone will have to scrape the dried egg off your neighbor’s windshield, possibly making him late for work, costing him time and money.

Posted from

Friday, August 21, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teen, Parents, Employers, Legislation, and Safe Driving Solutions

Teen, Parents, Employers, Legislation, and Safe Driving Solutions

Teen driving related accidents is a major concern and distractions such as cell phones are a significant cause. This has been a major catalyst in the creation of many teen-related driving sites ( ,, and just to name a few) and has also sparked a slew of technology solutions -- sometimes called tracking solutions -- such as parental controls ( e.g. from Sprint ). But when it comes to safe driving practices, we have also noticed that parents (and other adults) are not being the best role models -- tow truck drivers running into swimming pools and tram drivers crashing are just two of the plethora of very recent accidents due to distracted driving and cell phone use.

Over the last year state legislators have made distracted driving a hot topic – with the use of all cellphones by novice drivers now restricted in 21 states and the District of Columbia, and text messaging banned for all drivers in 17 states. But enforcement issues abound. Worse yet, hardware based solutions are expensive, the big brother nature of the current solutions are very intrusive, and in some cases, are only reactive and not preventitive in the context of driving -- only telling users or their parents after the fact that they may have done something wrong or applying a broad restriction which covers all times and places (e.g. not limited to actual driving conditions).

A recent ZoomSafer video provides a funny look at how adults think they are just fine texting and driving. As reported here earlier, many adults think that only poor texters get into accidents . So isn't it about time that the soccer moms and the busy dads of this world start providing better examples for our teen drivers? Companies and government agencies should help too.

Distracted driving is definitely a large and complicated issue. Changing behavior is not easy for anyone - teens, moms, dads, etc. However, education and legislation alone is not going to change the habits of our hyper-connected society. As the word spreads on the dangers of distracted driving , some people will choose to abstain from using their phones when driving, but a larger percentage of the population will seek legally compliant safe driving solutions that are capable of providing safer alternatives to what they do today -- something that still keeps them connected with their modern lifestyles.

At ZoomSafer , we are trying to take this problem head on. With a variety of tactics meant to address the spectrum of user types, ZoomSafer can be both very restrictive, like the proverbial stick, but simultaneously it can also be a carrot.

At one end of the spectrum, a parent might say -- “You can only drive, if you put ZoomSafer on your phone. It will let me know you're safe and allow me to get a hold of you in an emergency.”
But on the other end, ZoomSafer can also be a cool technology for teens that keeps their peeps (and mom or dad) up to date while they drive. It can also be a great excuse to get yourself upgraded to the latest smart phone.

And for truly highly connected individuals of all ages, it can provide a set of significantly safer alternatives to keyboard based texting and emailing – while still keeping two hands on the wheel and two eyes on the road when driving.

ZoomSafer is the only safe driving solution to address such a broad spectrum of uses and users – hopefully making everyone a little safer. So let’s all start using ZoomSafer and make the roads safer for everyone.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Sue Scheff: Back to School: Cheating with IPods

School is opening, and here is a great article and parenting tips about cheating! What will be next, I am not sure, however now we have to be concerned about kids using IPods for cheating in school. Read on.

“It is kind of obvious, but teachers don’t really notice. They just think you are listening to music.”

– Danny, 16 years old

A new survey of young people from Common Sense Media shows more than one- third of all students admit to using their cell phones to cheat on a test. This has prompted many schools to ban them in the classroom, but cheaters have found another hi-tech weapon.

“[Students] will be looking at the test, and they will just have their iPod on their desk, and they will be scrolling down the information on it,” says 16-year-old Danny.

Because the latest iPods display word documents, some students will download cheat sheets.

“I know somebody who does it all the time, and he hasn’t gotten caught yet,” says Carlton, 18.

Other kids will speak the answers into their iPods while studying, then play them back during a test.

“It is kind of obvious, but teachers don’t really notice. They just think you are listening to music,” says Danny.

“Except for maybe the young teachers, I don’t think the older teachers know much about iPods or any new technology,” adds Joie, 16.

According to the non-profit group Common Sense media, 65 percent of students have heard or seen other students use hi-tech devices to cheat.

And one-third of students admit to cheating themselves.

Still, some kids say that cheating with an iPod is uncommon, partly because it takes too much work.

Nick, 18, says it’s just too much trouble. “If you are going to be wasting your time finding out how to get answers on an iPod, you might as well just study.”

Blake, 16, says there are easier ways to cheat. “I’d rather just go in and copy off of someone else.”

Experts say parents should make sure their kids understand that cheating has consequences.

For example, says 18-year-old Marquis, “I heard of some kid who was taking the SATs and his sister recently passed it. She texted him the answers or something, and he got expelled.”

Amber, 16, says the biggest deterrent is her own conscious. “It makes you feel guilty. It makes me feel guilty when I cheat.”
Tips for Parents

A recent edition of the “Report Card on the Ethics of American Youth,” a comprehensive national survey on the ethics of young people administered by The Josephson Institute of Ethics showed the following concerning high school students:

■Nearly two-thirds (71 percent) admit they cheated on an exam at least once in the past 12 months (45 percent said they did so two or more times)
■Almost all (92 percent) lied to their parents in the past 12 months (79 percent said they did so two or more times)
■Over two-thirds (78 percent) lied to a teacher (58 percent two or more times)
■Over one-quarter (27 percent) said they would lie to get a job
■Forty percent of males and 30 percent of females say they stole something from a store in the past 12 months

These statistics seem to be indicative of a drift away from the morals and values that parents traditionally associate with society in the United States. In the press release accompanying the preliminary result of the survey, Michael Josephson, founder and president of the Josephson Institute of Ethics and CHARACTER COUNTS!, called on politicians to recognize the vital importance of dealing with “shocking levels of moral illiteracy” as part of any educational reform package. Saying the survey data reveals “a hole in the moral ozone,” Josephson added: “Being sure children can read is certainly essential, but it is no less important that we deal with the alarming rate of cheating, lying and violence that threatens the very fabric of our society.”

When discussing issues of morality and values, how can a parent illustrate what it means to be a person of character? The Center for the 4th and 5th R’s provides the following examples of characteristics of an individual with a positive character. For example, a person of character …
Is trustworthy:

■Honesty – Tell the truth. Be sincere. Don’t deceive, mislead or be devious or tricky. Don’t betray a trust. Don’t withhold important information in relationships of trust. Don’t steal. Don’t cheat.
■Integrity – Stand up for your beliefs about right and wrong. Be your best self. Resist social pressures to do things you think are wrong. Walk your talk. Show commitment, courage and self-discipline.
■Promise-keeping – Keep your word. Honor your commitments. Pay your debts. Return what you borrow.
■Loyalty – Stand by, support, and protect your family, friends, employers, community and country. Don’t talk behind people’s backs, spread rumors, or engage in harmful gossip. Don’t violate other ethical principles to keep or win a friendship or gain approval. Don’t ask a friend to do something wrong.

Treats all people with respect:

■Respect – Be courteous and polite. Judge all people on their merits. Be tolerant, appreciative and accepting of individual differences. Don’t abuse, demean or mistreat anyone. Don’t use, manipulate, exploit or take advantage of others. Respect the right of individuals to make decisions about their own lives.
Acts responsibly:

■Accountability – Think before you act. Consider the possible consequences on all people affected by actions. Think for the long-term. Be reliable. Be accountable. Accept responsibility for the consequences of your choices. Don’t make excuses. Don’t blame others for your mistakes or take credit for others’ achievements. Set a good example for those who look up to you.
■Pursue excellence – Do your best with what you have. Keep trying. Don’t quit or give up easily. Be diligent and industrious.
■Self-control – Exercise self-control. Be disciplined.

Is fair and just:

■Fairness – Treat all people fairly. Be open-minded. Listen to others and try to understand what they are saying and feeling. Make decisions which affect others only on appropriate considerations. Don’t take unfair advantage of others’ mistakes. Don’t take more than your fair share.
Is caring:

■Caring and kindness – Show you care about others through kindness, caring, sharing and compassion. Live by the Golden Rule. Help others. Don’t be selfish. Don’t be mean, cruel or insensitive to other’s feelings. Be charitable.
Is a good citizen:

■Citizenship – Play by the rules. Obey laws. Do your share. Respect authority. Stay informed. Vote. Protect your neighbors and community. Pay your taxes. Be charitable and altruistic. Help your community or school by volunteering service. Protect the environment. Conserve natural resources.
According to experts at CHARACTER COUNTS!, character building is most effective when you regularly see and seize opportunities to …

■Strengthen awareness of moral obligations and the moral significance of choices (ethical consciousness).
■Enhance the desire to do the right thing (ethical commitment).
■Improve the ability to foresee potential consequences, devise options and implement principled choices (ethical competency).
When trying to instill morals and values to your child, experts at CHARACTER COUNTS! say it is important to …

■Be consistent – The moral messages you send must be clear, consistent and repetitive. Children will judge your values not by what you say but by what you do and what you permit them to do. They will judge you not by your best moments but by your last worst act. Thus, everything you say and do, and all that you allow to be said and done in your presence, either reinforces or undermines the credibility of your messages about the importance of good character. Over and over, use the specific language of the core virtues – trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship – and be as firm and consistent as you can be about teaching, advocating, modeling and enforcing these “Six Pillars of Character.” When you are tired, rushed or under pressure you are most tempted to rationalize. It may help to remember that the most powerful and lasting lessons about character are taught by making tough choices when the cost of doing the right thing is high.
■Be concrete – Messages about good attitudes, character traits and conduct should be explicit, direct and specific. Building character and teaching ethics is not an academic undertaking; it must be relevant to the lives and experiences of your children. Talk about character and choices in situations that your children have been in. Comment on and discuss things their friends and teachers have done in terms of the “Six Pillars of Character.”
■Be creative – Effective character development should be creative. It should be active and involve the child in real decision-making that has real consequences (such as teaching responsibility through allocating money from an allowance or taking care of a pet). Games and role-playing are also effective. Look for “teaching moments,” using good and bad examples from television, movies and the news.


■The Josephson Institute of Ethics
■Center for the 4th and 5th R’s
■“Turn It In” Plagiarism Prevention Program
■National Education Association

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Sue Scheff: Social web tips for parents

As school is opening and always, parents need to be educated on today’s kids and latest and expanding trend of social networking. ConnectSafely offers a valuable website that every parent should take the time to review, study and learn more about social web tips and how to keep your kids safe both online and with their cell phones. An educated parent is a prepared parent.

These tips for parents about safety on the social Web are based on the latest research from the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire (with input from our colleagues there).

Be reasonable and try to set reasonable expectations. Pulling the plug on your child’s favorite social site is like pulling the plug on his or her social life. Instead of being protective, it can shut down communication and send kids “underground” where they’re more at risk. It’s too easy for them to set up free blogs and profiles from anywhere, including friends’ houses or even a cell phone.

Talk with your kids about how they use the services. They, not news reports or even experts, are the ones to consult about their social-Web experience. Help them understand basic safety guidelines, such as protecting their privacy (including passwords), not harassing peers, never talking about sex with people they don’t know, avoiding in-person meetings with people they “meet” online, and taking care in what they post – because anything people put online can be grabbed, reworked, and used against them.

Support critical thinking and civil behavior because no laws or parental-control software can protect better than a child’s developing good sense about safety and relationships. Research shows that kids who are aggressive and mean online toward peers or strangers are at greater risk of becoming victims themselves. So teach them to be good citizens and friends online as much as offline.

Consider requiring Internet use in a high-traffic place in your home – not in kids’ rooms – to help you stay aware of their online time. This way, you can encourage a balance between online time and their offline academic, sports, and social times. Know that there are also many ways kids can access the Internet away from home, including on many mobile phones and game players.

Try to get your kids to share their profiles and blogs with you, but be aware that they can have multiple accounts on multiple services. Use search engines and the search tools on social-networking sites to search for your kids’ full names, phone numbers and other identifying information. You’re not invading their privacy if they’re putting personal info in public “places” online. If their pages are private, that’s a good thing, but it’s even better if they share it with you.

If you’d like to print these tips out, here’s a PDF version.

Reprinted with permission from

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Sue Scheff: Parenting Your Teens in a Positive Direction

School is opening throughout our country this month. It can be an exciting time for some and a trying time for others.

Having a successful school year is always a parent’s desire, however sometimes there are bumps and struggles. Especially if your child is in High School and preparing for their college applications, we need to be sure your teen is motivated in a positive direction.

I always encourage parents to find their child’s passion. It could be tennis, swimming, photography, baseball (sports), chess, fine arts, music, dance, or many other interests. Does your child show an interest in writing? Get them involved in the school newspaper or on the yearbook committee. Doe your child like politics? Look for groups and clubs within their school or outside and encourage them to join. Check your local library for a variety of clubs or groups.

A teen that is guided in a positive direction has a better chance at reaching their goals and developing their skills in their area of interest. It can also enhance their academic progress knowing they have a goal. I also recognize many teens don’t know what they want to be when they “grow up,” however many do have something they are passionate about.

One 15 year old,Danielle Herb, has taken her passion and reached heights that many only dream of. Her mother has been her inspiration and has encouraged Danielle to be all she can be.
Danielle Herb organized and runs Drop Your Reins, a program for kids with ADD/ADHD and Autism. She and her mother offer peaceful solutions for ADHD/ADD & Autistic Children using natural horsemanship. Visit Cheers Ranch on Amelia Island, Florida.

As a young teen, Danielle is driven, motivated and determined to do what she does best, relate with her horses and help others with her gift. Danielle herself is ADHD, and relates to the children she is helping and mentoring.

I understand this is an exceptional young woman, however your teen can be successful too. Find their passion – encourage them to get involved – be an involved parent – and don’t forget, these years go so fast, don’t waste a minute.

Be an educated parent; learn more about your teen and their goals. You may have a teen entrepreneur in your home and not realize it!

Also on The

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sue Scheff: Parenting Resources and Valuable Parent Websites

Back to school usually means back to a more structured environment in your home. It is also time for parents to become familiar with the vast amount of online resources (websites) that offer parenting advice, tips, forums and more.

From toddlers to teens, these resourceful websites offer a wealth of information that you may find yourself needing at some point. Raising kids (teens) today can be challenging. I believe an educated parent is a prepared parent. – This comprehensive website is full of educational tools for all ages, as well as “expert” answers to your parenting and academic questions.

Love Our Children USA - Helping educate and protect children against violence, bullying, neglect and more. Love Our Children USA is commited to "Stomp Out Bullying."

Connect with Kids – Offers a wide variety of parenting articles, DVD’s, parent forum and more about all stages of raising your children through the challenges of teen puberty.

ReputationDefender – An online reputation and privacy service that helps you monitor your online profile, your children’s safety in cyberspace, as well as help prevent Identity Theft. – Whether you are looking for Internet Safety tips or Cell Phone Safety tips, you will find quick and sound advice on technology and your kids today. – A non-profit organization targeted at keeping kids safe online. They offer resources for Educators as well as parents.

MommyPerks – Looking for great bargains? MommyPerks offers all sorts of up to date promotions on “all things for kids” as well as a Parenting Blog with many great parenting ideas.

Remarkable Parents – Using information and technology to improve lives, this website focuses on improving your family relations even through technology! – An amazing website that encourages physical education with your kids. It is time to get offline and get motivated.

ADDitude Magazine Online – Are you parenting an ADD/ADHD child? Or are you ADD/ADHD? What a wealth of information this is!

More 4 Kids Today – From pregnancy to parenting teens, you will find it here. Don’t miss this one!

Parents’ Universal Resource Experts – If you are struggling with your teenager and considering Boarding Schools, learn all about the teen help industry here.

There are many great websites out there. As school opens, be sure to open your mind as a parent too. Learning is for all ages.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Sue Scheff: Family Time Out

School is opening in many areas of our country and soon kids and teens will be getting back into their academic schedule.

As a parent we need to be sure our teens are prepared not only with school supplies, but more importantly, with the self-esteem and motivation to have a fantastic academic and social year.
Parents and their teens need to take the time to open their lines of communication and turn off technology. Creating a “family-time-out” as part of your evening schedule can help you become more in tune to your child’s life; both at school and socially.

Take at least 15 minutes each evening and turn off all electronics. Including TV, cell phones, Computers, telephones (don’t answer), radio, Ipods, etc. Many families find that doing this in the later evening is easier; around 8:30-9:00pm after dinner when parents are home from their jobs and have had time to unwind.

Ask your teen how their day was? Did they meet any new friends? How are their teachers? What are they studying? I am amazed that many parents are so busy with their own work and lives, they are not aware of what subject a child is studying in school. With today’s technology, I always encourage parents to ask about virtual friends and where your teen is surfing online. Remember, being an educated parent can help you be a better parent.

Part of family-time-out is also sharing your day. Many teens are not aware of what their parents do or how they feel. Once your teen realizes that you are human too, with feelings that can get hurt by friends or co-workers, they will be more open to share their feelings with you.As school opens, let’s start opening the lines of communication at home too.
Visit for more information.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Sue Scheff: Back to School - School Uniforms

What a great subject for this time of the year! Personally, as a parent, when my kids were in school, I applauded uniforms. The kids don't always agree with this.

“Uniforms — they’re just so plain … and eeewww ... I don’t like them,”

– Chelsea, 12

Every year, as tens of millions of students head back to school, there is a question that routinely gets asked this time of year: should public schools require uniforms? The research shows what a child wears can have an impact on learning and behavior.

“This is the plaid skirt. It’s really cute,” says 10-year-old Paige, as she displays her new school uniforms.

Paige is trying to stay positive, but the truth is she and her older sister Chelsea don’t like the thought of having to wear uniforms.

“I think it’s kind of a bad idea because you want to be your own self,” says Paige.

According to Chelsea, 12, “It doesn’t give you your chance to shine as a person. And uniforms — they’re just so plain … and eeewww ... I don’t like them,” she exclaims.

This year, the girls are switching to a new school that requires uniforms — much to their parent’s delight.

“I think that uniforms remove a great, great barrier from one child to the next,” says Charles Addison, Paige and Chelsea’s father. “They just have to deal with their schoolwork and concentrate on math, science, history and not those other distractions.”

Researchers at Youngstown University found that wearing uniforms can lead to better attendance and graduation rates as well as lower suspension rates.

“It reduces conflict and branding among student groups — cliquishness. [Uniforms also reduce the] potential for bullying for not wearing the right clothes,” explains psychologist Dr. Jennifer Thorpe. “Uniforms keep kids on task, doing their work, engaged in the curriculum.”

But this research isn’t conclusive. Previous studies have shown that uniforms don’t improve student performance or behavior. And critics argue uniforms suppress a student’s individuality.

“As kids move into middle school and high school, they begin to use clothes to define themselves as a form of self-expression that can carry a lot of weight in terms of how they are perceived by their peers,” Dr. Thorpe explains.

She says if your children are required to wear uniforms, you can do what Chelsea and Paige’s parents do: remind them there are lots of other ways to express yourself.

“Do it with your mind, your mouth, your smile. Be happy,” says Clarence Addison. “You can show all of the things that you wanted to show through clothes, just show it through your personality.”

Tips for Parents

In September 1987, the students of Cherry Hill Elementary School, an inner-city public school in Baltimore, Md., began voluntarily wearing uniforms to school. Cherry Hill is attributed as the first public school to adopt a uniform policy. Donning the uniforms was part of a community, grass roots effort to curb clothing costs and social pressures. After a decade had passed, principal Geraldine Smallwood believed students were doing better in the classroom because by dressing in the uniforms, “they know that they are coming to work.”

A study by the National Association of Elementary School Principals found that principals reported dress codes as having positive effects on:

■The school’s image within the community.
■Classroom discipline.
■Peer pressure.
■School spirit.
■Concentration on schoolwork.
■Student safety.
Further findings from the U.S. Department of Education show uniforms:

■Decrease violence and theft among students over designer clothing and expensive sneakers.
■Prevent gang members from wearing gang colors and insignias to school.
■Instill students with discipline.
■Help parents and students resist peer pressure.
■Help school officials recognize intruders on the campus.
Unless there are clear disciplinary or safety problems in the schools (which may or may not be the situation in your district), the federal government advises that uniform-style dress codes be optional or include an opt-out clause. In some districts, students whose parents "opt out" attend another school that does not have a uniform policy. If your district has only one middle and one high school, these students would have to attend other schools at district expense, or be given homebound instruction. Furthermore, districts must make uniforms available to low-income families at reasonable – or no cost. Given these guidelines, there are certain elements parents should expect if their child’s school is implementing a uniform policy.

The U.S. Department of Education gives these guidelines to adopt a school uniform policy:

■Involve parents from the beginning.
■Protect students’ religious expression, e.g. allow heads, arms and legs to be covered.
■Protect students’ other rights of expression, e.g. political viewpoints displayed on items meeting uniform criteria.
■Determine whether the policy is mandatory or voluntary. Mandatory policies without an opt-out provision are vulnerable to legal challenge.
■Do not require students to wear a message on the uniform.
■Assist families that need financial help.
■Treat uniforms as part of an overall safety program.
■National Association of Elementary School Principals
■Pauline Harding's School Uniforms and Dress Codes Page
■U.S. Department of Education

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Sue Scheff: Parenting - The Difference Between Large Schools and Small Schools

Size Matters: The Difference Between Big and Small Schools

By: by Merry Gordon

“Supersize me!” While this approach may be a deal in the world of fast food, is it equally effective in education? Or is there something to be said for the iconic one-room schoolhouse of the 19th century? No real concurrence exists on optimal school size, and both small and large schools offer experiences that can add to your child’s academic experience.

Good Things Come in Small Packages: What’s So Great About Small Schools?

It’s a matter of logic: smaller schools typically have smaller classes, and low teacher-student ratios translate into more focus on your child and his education. From a cognitive standpoint, scaling back class size is good because it offers the opportunity to delve deeper into the curriculum and move through it at a faster pace. In fact, many studies show improvement in instructional quality and academic success at small schools. It’s equally beneficial from a social standpoint—fewer students in the room make class participation inescapable, but also usually less intimidating. The size of such schools actually promotes belongingness; it becomes difficult for kids to go unnoticed and slip through the proverbial cracks. The Chicago Public School system small schools website puts it this way: “Smaller numbers of students, a more intimate and personalized learning environment, and a cohesive vision among teachers characterize small schools.”

Smaller schools operate more like a community than a corporation. They frequently have a greater sense of unity, especially if they are built around a particular belief system (religious, educational, cultural, philosophical, etc.) shared by the parents and faculty alike. Another reason for this close-knit feel is that there are often more opportunities for kids to participate. Take, for example, a typical high school sports team. In a big school, competition is fierce for a coveted few spots; those students who make the team gain a personal investment in the school, while those who don’t make the roster—and their families, by extension—may walk away feeling marginalized. In smaller schools the chance for student participation is recurrently higher because students are required rather than redundant; as a result, children in smaller schools and their families have more of a stake in their school.

Larger than Life: What’s So Great About Big Schools?

On the other hand, larger schools can be equally advantageous for different reasons. One of the primary arguments for large schools is the curricular diversity, or variety of classes, they offer. While small schools may only be economically equipped to offer Spanish, for instance, larger schools might offer instruction in Japanese, German and French as well, or offer more opportunities for gifted education, Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate coursework. Large schools generally have more to offer students in the way of extracurricular activities too. Take, for example, G. Holmes Braddock Senior High School in Dade County, Florida. Over 4500 students strong, it boasts more than 60 clubs and activities that range from salsa dance to Amnesty International—and that’s not even counting their sports programs. This large school also delivers on academics, ranking within Newsweek’s top 5% of high schools in the U.S. for its graduation rate and Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate test scores. Big schools are also succeeding at the elementary level. Grenada Elementary School in Grenada, Mississippi, has a Kidzeum for their 1800 K-3 students. The Kidzeum, “the first full-scale school-based children's museum,” according to the Grenada website, has been honored by Business Week and American School Board Journal for excellence in education. Clearly, big things are happening at big schools.

Big schools also tend to have more diversity in their student body. A varied representation of ethnicities, creeds and races at a school can mean more multiethnic, philosophical and interracial dialog. Historically, the benefits of racial and ethnic diversity in education have been viewed in this way, as explained in 2007 by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights: “Recent studies have shown that students of all racial or ethnic groups who attend more diverse schools have a higher comfort level with members of racial and ethnic groups different than their own, an increased sense of civic awareness, and a greater desire to live and work in multiracial settings relative to their segregated peers.” As we move toward a more global marketplace, this ease with diversity can benefit kids in both their future personal and business relationships.

Size alone does not determine a school’s success, but it certainly can be a contributing factor to the success of your child. Whether big or small, embrace what your child’s school has to offer and make the most of the upcoming school year.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Sue Scheff: Empowering Parents with Mommy Perks!

Mommy Perks website offers so many great parenting giveaways, ideas, resources and much more!
Their Monthly Giveways are always very timely. This month the free book giveaway is - Your Big Sister's Guide to Surviving College - do you have a daughter going off to college? This may be a perfect gift!
Take the time to learn more about Mommy Perks and all they have to offer. Whether you are searching for gift ideas or surfing for up-to-date parenting ideas - Mommy Perks can boost your knowledge!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Sue Scheff: Connect Safely - Be An Educated Parent

ConnectSafely is for parents, teens, educators, advocates - everyone engaged in and interested in the impact of the social Web.

The user-driven, all-media, multi-platform, fixed and mobile social Web is a big part of young people's lives, and this is the central space – linked to from social networks across the Web - for learning about safe, civil use of Web 2.0 together. Our forum is also designed to give teens and parents a voice in the public discussion about youth online safety begun back in the '90s. ConnectSafely also has all kinds of social-media safety tips for teens and parents, the latest youth-tech news, and many other resources. is a project of Tech Parenting Group, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization based in Palo Alto, Calif., and Salt Lake City, Utah. The forum is co-directed by Larry Magid of and Anne Collier of, co-authors of MySpace Unraveled: What It Is and How to Use It Safely. (Peachpit Press, Berkeley, Calif., July 2006).

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Sue Scheff: Parenting, Friend or Parent?

This is a great topic that is often discussed among parents. Trying to determine whether you can be both a friend and a parent to your child?
Idealistically, it seems easy, but in reality parenting should always come first. Debra Beck, author and Teen Mentor, recently wrote an article about this very subject.

Friend or Parent

It’s a fine line between friend and parent.
By Debra Beck

I remember this when my girls were teenagers, and it was coming up again with my partners boys. It’s tough for me to be their parent when they come to stay twice a year, so the best I can do is try to be a friend and still be view as a parent, where they respect me. I noticed that one of the twins started to do things that wasn’t showing respect, not listening to me when I’d ask him to do something, teasing a little to much, so I started to look at what was going on. The other twin was still treating with respect and I was treating him the same way I was treating the other.

My behavior with them was very casual, and fun, and they knew that they could talk to me for some reason. A lot of the time they would tell me things they wouldn’t tell their Dad, mostly because I didn’t react. I didn’t want our relationship to change, although I wasn’t enjoying the behavior of the one twin that wasn’t showing any respect. So, I decided to talk to him, tell him how I felt, that I liked our relationship, it was fun and I wanted to be able to maintain my relationship with him to have fun and I also wanted him to respect me. I told him the things that he was doing that was showing a lack of respect and ask him if he thought I was asking to much? He said “No”. I addressed this at the end of their stay so I won’t know if he was actually listening, or if it would have changed his behavior, I will have to see this winter.

I think we can have a relationship with our teens that is open and communicative, like a friendship, but with a strong parental umbrella. The parenting umbrella has to be there because if they have issues that only a parent can help them through, they have to have a strong parent to go to. I believe the friendship has to be there too because if it’s not there, there won’t be a comfort level to bring the big stuff to you.

I don’t think it’s a good idea to create a friendship with your kids where you are hanging out with them and their friends, and partying with them. You want to create a friendship where you are still the parent, not just a friend. Kids need their parents.

Kids also need parents who understand them and allow them to be teens, this is where the friendship comes in. Their friends understand them and allow them to be themselves. This is what we need to practice. Understanding doesn’t mean giving them permission to do what ever they want, it just means understanding what they are going through and being there to help them through it. If the friendship part is missing all together, they may never come to us with there big issues and we may never get the opportunity to help them through things.

My girls always knew they could talk to me about anything, now whether they did or not, who knows. I do know that they came to me with some pretty big issues. I wanted them to talk to me. I treated them like teenagers, and didn’t expect them to act like adults. They also had rules and consequences for braking those rules, but the rules weren’t rules expecting them to be adults. I didn’t set them up for failure. The part about the friendship that is so important is loving them and not judging them, so they can come to you when the need you, isn’t that what friends are for?

So, friend or parent? I say a perfect blending of both. Let me know your thoughts, and happy parenting.
Follow Debra Beck on Twitter at @DebraBeck

Friday, August 7, 2009

Sue Scheff: The Daughter Becomes The Teacher

Is there anything that strikes as much fear into the hearts of mothers of teenage girls as clothes shopping? It's such a loaded, slippery activity -- essentially, a minefield of opportunities to mess up your daughter's self-esteem forever.

Or at least it feels that way sometimes.

Maybe it's not that dramatic, but it's still intimidating to me -- and to a lot of moms I know. As I wrote in You'd Be So Pretty If..., shopping trips with my mom were often filled with "helpful" comments about what would look good on my figure. My mother meant well, for sure, but her own wardrobe was all about camouflaging what she felt were her flaws and frankly, she taught me to do the same. Choosing clothes was always about hiding the worst of me rather than accentuating the best of me.

It's been a very tough habit to break for myself. But I'm working hard to change that attitude in my daughter.

During a trip to the mall this weekend, we came upon a fabulous clearance sale. She needs new clothes for school, so I encouraged her to search the racks and try on anything she remotely liked. We left with an armful of clothes that look great on her -- at an exceptionally good price, I might add -- but more important than my savings was the fact that she loves these clothes so much, she couldn't wait to wear them. A new cheetah-print tank top, which we agreed would look lovely under a red sweater for school, was worn to yesterday's beach party.

This morning she told me, "I just love my cheetah shirt. I'm going to wear it again today." And I wondered: When was the last time I loved a piece of clothing so much that I didn't want to take it off?

I'm thrilled that my conscious effort to change my behavior is affecting my daughter this way -- that she's choosing clothes she feels she looks great in, instead of picking things that hide what she feels are her flaws. When you think about it, it's a fairly monumental shift in attitude.

The real beauty of all this, though, is that she's inspired me. I could use some new clothes, so when I head out to the store, my mission is this: To find only clothes that I love, that make me feel great about the body I have today.

And to never try to hide again.
Visit Dara's website at and check out her book!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Sue Scheff: Keeping Your Teens and Youths Safe From Gang Activity

What You Can Do

If you are worried that your child may likely become involved in a gang or already has done so, there are a number of ways to decrease the likelihood and protect your son or daughter. The main reason that teenagers decide to join a gang is to find a place of belonging and worth, as well as for something to do. Oftentimes, teenagers are simply bored and are looking for an activity and social outlet, and gangs serve just that purpose. To combat this, keep your son or daughter involved in extracurricular activities. Sports teams can provide the comradeship that many teens seek in a positive, productive environment. Not only will the individual be in a safer environment but they will also learn teamwork and other valuable skills. Arts programs and student leadership activities can serve a similar purpose, while teaching incredibly pertinent skills or developing a hobby or skill.

While extracurricular activities can be a great venue for teenagers to express themselves and release pent up emotions, energy, and feelings, there is no replacement for spending time with the family. The best anti-gang measure that you can take is to spend time with your children and let them know that you are there for them. Gangs provide support and companionship, but families can do the exact same thing. Just knowing that they are unconditionally loved will give your teenager more confidence and motivation. Having the support that family provides can be a major deterrent from joining a gang.

It is also important to be aware of gang activity in your area. If there are particularly active gangs in your proximity avoid their hang outs and do not wear their gang colors. It is not uncommon for an unfortunate teenager to wear a certain color and be confused for a rival gang member. Sadly, far too many teenagers become the victim of gang violence whether or not they are associated with a gang. Knowing about the local gangs will allow you and your teenager to know what to avoid in terms of colors and signs, but it also allows you to speak out against local activity. You can join an existing group in the area that works to rid the community of gangs. If none exists, establish a Neighborhood Watch or talk to the police about gang graffiti and activity.

It is important to point out that carrying a firearm is not advisable. While it may provide an appearance of safety and a mental feeling of power, guns usually just escalate conflicts. Also, make sure that your teenager does not carry a weapon with him or her. If someone is in danger or attacked and chooses to brandish a weapon, this often causes the assailant to do the same and can lead to far greater physical harm to everyone involved.

Learn more.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Sue Scheff: When do we complete homework with the ADHD child?

By Kara Tamanini (Author and Therapist)

Parents often tell me that completing homework with their ADHD child is often a great challenge and causes a lot of frustration. Children usually by the time they get home are tired and simply want a “break” from their work and want to play or “chill out” and watch television. However, homework still has to be done and parents usually wait until late afternoon or night to complete homework. Inevitably, children procrastinate and “fight” their parents every inch of the way in completing their homework. By the time the homework is completed, everyone including the child are usually angry and frustrated and homework took a very long time as the parent tries to cajole their child to complete the work.

As a rule, children with ADHD seem to do better on schoolwork in the mornings, more often than children without ADHD. What this means exactly is that school work and/or homework should be completed earlier in the day or even some of the homework should be completed in the morning if possible. Tasks for children that are boring, repetitive, or that take sustained attention/concentration should be done earlier if possible. By the end of the day, children are usually tired; fatigued and if parents decide to complete homework late in the day, problems are sure to ensue and the work will most likely not be completed.

Therefore, a homework schedule should be implemented that includes part or the entire school work load to be completed in the morning. Also, when homework is completed with your child, it should be done in a quiet setting with no distractions. This means that the radio, television, and the noise from video games must be turned off. Children with ADHD are easily distracted and the less distractors for them when they are trying to complete their schoolwork the better. In addition, homework should be completed on a 1:1 basis. Children with ADHD do not do well in group situations where they are able to become over-stimulated and if possible homework should be done alone, just you and your child where individualized attention can be given.
Visit for more great quick tip articles from Kara!
Follow Kara Tamanini on Twitter at @KidTherapist

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Sue Scheff: Parenting ADHD Children: Advice from Moms Like You

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

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

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

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

The Morning Routine

In many families, the friction starts soon after the alarm clocks sound. It’s not easy to coax a spacey, unmotivated ADHD child out of bed and into his clothes; the strategizing required to get the entire family fed and out the door on time would test the mettle of General Patton.
Getting off to a slower start can make all the difference, say parents. “We wake our son up a half-hour early,” says Toya J., of Brooklyn, New York, mother of eight-year-old Jamal. “We give him his medication, and then let him lie in our bed for a while. If we rush him, he gets overwhelmed — and so do we. Once the meds kick in, it’s much easier to get him going.”
Some parents aren’t above a little bribery. “In our house, it’s all about rewards,” says Jenny S., of New York City, mother of Jeremy, age seven. “Every time we have a good morning, I put a marble in the jar. For every five marbles, he wins a small reward.”

Amy B., of Los Angeles, mother of Jared, age seven, is another believer in reward systems. “If the TV is on, it’s impossible to get him moving. Now the TV stays off until absolutely everything is done and he’s ready to go. He moves quickly because he wants to watch that television.”
Another way to keep your morning structured and problem-free is to divide it into a series of simple, one-step tasks. “I’m the list queen,” says Debbie G., of Phoenix, mother of Zach, 10. “I put a list on his bedroom door that tells him step-by-step what he needs to do. I break his morning routine down into simple steps, like ‘BRUSH TEETH,’ ‘MAKE BED,’ ‘GET DRESSED,’ and ‘COME DOWNSTAIRS FOR BREAKFAST.’ The key is to make it easy to follow.”

What about kids who simply cannot, or will not, do what’s asked of them? When 10-year-old Liam refuses to comply, his mom, Dina A., of New York City, shifts into “if-you-can’t-beat-’em,-join-’em” mode. “I can’t believe I’m admitting this,” she says, “but I wake him up and bring him cereal in bed. Once he’s gotten something to eat, he’s not as crabby.”

Number Two: Behavior Patterns

Monday, August 3, 2009

Sue Scheff: Promoting Internet Safety with Kids and Teens

LMK (Let Me Know) is an online safety campaign that aims to keep teens and parents informed and ahead of safety issues on the web. We are happy to announce the LMK Online Safety Sweepstakes from the “Let Me Know” partnership with Girl Scouts of America and Microsoft Windows.

You can enter today and be in the running to win a brand new desktop computer! There is no purchase necessary to enter the sweepstakes (see rules for details). Sweepstakes ends Monday, September 7 and the online entry form and official rules are found on the Web site: .

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Sue Scheff: Parenting At Risk Teens - Parent Choices

P.U.R.E. assists parents in finding the best resources for their child.

Local Therapy:

Local therapy is a good place to start with children that struggling at home and school. To locate a local therapist, it is beneficial to contact your insurance company for a list of adolescent therapists in your area. If you don't have insurance when calling therapists, ask them if they accept sliding scales according to your income. Check your yellow pages for local Mental Health Services in your area or ask your Pediatrician or Family Doctor for a referral.

Military Schools and Academies:

Military Schools have been around for over a hundred years. Many parents are under the misconception that Military Schools are for at risk children. Military Schools are a privilege and honor to attend and be accepted into. Your child must have some desire to attend a Military School. Many children believe Military Schools are for bad kids, however if they visit a campus they may realize it is an opportunity for them. Many parents start with a Military Summer program to determine if their child is a candidate for Military School.

Military Schools usually do not offer therapy, unless contracted on the outside of the school. They offer structure, positive discipline, self-confidence, small class sizes and excellent academics. Military Schools can build a student's self-esteem; motivate them to benefit their future both socially and academically.

Traditional Boarding Schools:

Traditional Boarding Schools are like Military Schools, in which your child will have to want to attend and be accepted into the school. There are many excellent Boarding Schools that offer both academics and special needs for students. Many specialize in specific areas such as fine arts, music, and competitive sports. In most cases, therapy is not offered unless contracted on the outside.

Therapeutic Boarding Schools (TBS):

Therapeutic Boarding Schools offer therapy and academics to students. Usually the student has not done well in a traditional school and is making bad choices that could have an effect on their future. Although many of the students are exceptionally smart, they are not working to their ability. Sometimes peer pressure can lead your child down a destructive path. Removing them from their environment can be beneficial to them to focus on themselves both emotionally and academically.

Christian Boarding Schools:

Christian Boarding Schools and Programs for struggling teens offer therapy and academics. They have a spiritual foundation that can assist a child to better understand Christianity as well as bring them closer to a Higher Power. Many offer Youth Groups and activities that can create life skills for a better future. A program with a Christian setting may enhance a child's better understanding of the world today.

Residential Treatment Center (RTC):

Residential Treatment Centers, similar to a TBS, offer therapy and academics. However Residential Treatment Centers are for children that require more clinical support. Their issues are more specific with substance abuse, eating disorders, self-mutilators, and other behavioral issues.

Summer Programs:

Summer programs are a great place to start if your child is beginning to make bad choices or losing their motivation. Finding a good summer program that can build self-confidence can be beneficial to student's prior starting a new school year.

Wilderness Programs:

Wilderness Programs are commonly referred to as an outdoor therapeutic and educational experience. There are reputable Wilderness Programs throughout the United States that offer short term assistance to parents that are in crisis with their teens. These programs can be very costly with most starting at $350.00 per day and up. The immediate impact Wilderness Programs have on many teens can be a positive change, however rarely long lasting according to families that we have spoken with. In most cases a longer term Therapeutic Boarding School is necessary for students after attending a Wilderness Program. Recently the ABC show Brat Camp has generated a lot of interest in Wilderness Programs. For more information please contact us directly.

For more information visit