Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sue Scheff: Parenting Girls - Tween Girl Summit 2009

The first ever Tween Girl Summit brought to you by AK Tweens and

On October 10, 2009, hundreds of tween girls ages 9 to 14 from across the nation, as well as parents, experts, politicians and celebrities, will descend upon the historic Capital Hilton Hotel in Washington DC for the First Ever National Tween Girl Summit.

At the Summit, girls will talk about their passions, challenges, values, goals, heroes, dreams, fears, tween girl power, community activism and what they are going to do to change their world. We want the President and the First Lady to know that girls have heard their call for community activism and they’re ready to change the world!

Everything is here: Everything you need to know about the Tween Summit is on this site. Please check back often for updates on speakers, sponsors and celebs who will be joining us!
Summit Online: Can’t attend the Summit on October 10th? We’ll be live blogging on so everyone can be a part of The First Ever Tween Girl Summit.

The 2009 Summit Research Report: From the Tween Summit observation deck, we will obtain insights from 300 tween girls attending the event, as well as gathering data from thousands of AllyKatzz members streaming the experience online. Learn more.
The Tween Summit Agenda - PDF available.

For more information email and visit

Also read on

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sue Scheff: Help STOMP OUT BULLYING - Blue Shirt Day 2009

Celebrities STOMP Out Bullying With Love Our Children USA

NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg proclaims October 5th BLUE SHIRT DAY

NEW YORK September 28 2009: Love Our Children USA announced that NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg is proclaiming October 5th BLUE SHIRT DAY to signify the importance of National Bullying Prevention Awareness Week, October 4th – 10th.

Love Our Children USA created National Blue Shirt Day on Monday, October 5th, where thousands of kids and adults will wear blue shirts as they make their way to school or to the office as a grassroots national movement to STOMP Out Bullying.

The organization launched the STOMP Out Bullying Campaign in October, 2008 and its new dedicated Web Site this past Monday. STOMP Out Bullying focuses its efforts to reduce Bullying and Cyberbullying, decrease school absenteeism and truancy, educate against homophobia and racism and deter violence in schools, playgrounds and communities across the country. To date over 53,000 have committed to STOMP Out Bullying on the site.

It’s not just our politicians who support STOMP Out Bullying an initiative of Love Our Children USA, but celebrities are out in full force to help.

Teen Celebrities Demi Lovato, JoJo and the latest children’s sensation The Oogieloves participate in the public service campaign which includes TV spots, videos, posters, brochures and wristbands. Additional celebrities such as Brittany Snow, Naturally 7 and others are slated to join the ongoing campaign created by the Geppetto Group.

In order to raise funds for bullying and cyberbullying prevention, education and peer mentoring in schools, Love Our Children USA is holding its Second Annual Celebrity STOMP Out Bullying Auction on CharityFolks from October 5th –16th.

This year’s celebrity contributors include: Elton John, Billy Joel, Bette Midler, Ellen Degeneres, Phil Collins, Demi Lovato, Kelly Clarkson, Daughtry, Bryan Adams, Metallica, Guster, Dancing With The Stars, American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance, Bye Bye Birdie, Rock Of Ages, the NJ Nets and more.

“Kids who are intimidated, threatened, or harmed by bullies often experience low self-esteem and depression, whereas those doing the bullying may go on to engage in more serious antisocial behaviors. Some kids are so traumatized by being bullied, that they contemplate suicide. Bullies often have been the victims of bullying or other mistreatment themselves” said Ross Ellis, Love Our Children USA Founder and Chief Executive Officer. This campaign’s key purpose is to educate those kids who are being bullied and those who are bullying, that there are choices for them to get help.

Bullying can be so painful and clearly has played a role in school shootings across the country. While boys are more physical, girls use weapons, exclusion, slander, rumors and gossip.

And cyberbullying is on the rise. This social online cruelty is used in the forms of e-mail, cell phone; pager text messages, instant messaging, defamatory personal Web sites, and defamatory online personal polling Web sites, deliberate, repeated, and hostile behavior, and is used by an individual or group -- intended to harm others – especially amongst our youth. While most kids use the Internet for friendly interactions, more and more kids are using these communication tools to antagonize, terrorize and intimidate others.

Add that to the hazing going on in high schools and the kids who bring guns to school and our kids are in even more danger of emotional and physical harm.

Bullying Statistics
• 1 out of 4 kids is Bullied.

• 1 out of 5 kids admits to being a bully, or doing some "Bullying."

• 282,000 students are physically attacked in secondary schools each month.

• More youth violence occurs on school grounds as opposed to on the way to school.

• 1/3 of students surveyed said they heard another student threaten to kill someone.

• As many as 160,000 students may stay home on any given day because they're afraid of their bullies due to the pain of bullying.

Cyberbullying Statistics

• 42% of kids have been bullied while online. 1 in 4 have had it happen more than once.

• 35% of kids have been threatened online. Nearly 1 in 5 have had it happen more than once.

• 21% of kids have received mean or threatening e-mail or other messages. • 58% of kids admit someone has said mean or hurtful things to them online.

Hazing Statistics

• 1.5 million high school students are hazed each year

• 91% of all H.S. students belong to at least one group, and half of them, 48% report being subjected to hazing activities.

• 43% were subjected to humiliating activities and 30% performed potentially illegal acts as part of their initiation

All of this has everyone worried. Not just the kids on its receiving end, but the parents, teachers and others who may not understand how extreme bullying can get. Love Our Children USA is working aggressively to prevent these issues and to help the kids and teens affected by it.
Ellis said “STOMP Out Bullying brings awareness and educates kids, parents and schools about the issue. It offers hope for every kid who experiences the harmful effects of bullying and teaches parents to keep open communication with their children and to look for signs. It also educates school administrators across the country, who have swept this issue under the rug for too long.”

She also added, “Bullying is a form of child abuse and bullies are very likely to grow up as adults who abuse children. By educating our children, we can stop the bullying BEFORE it ever starts. We are grateful to the entertainment industry and with their help we can keep kids safe across the country.”More information about bullying and how to help your children and students can be found at and

About Love Our Children USA

Love Our Children USA is the national nonprofit leader that honors, respects and protects children. Its mission is to break the cycle of violence against children. Love Our Children USA has become ‘the go-to’ prevention organization for all forms of violence and neglect against children in the U.S. Working to eliminate behaviors that keep children from reaching their potential, it redefines parenting and creates kid success by promoting prevention strategies and positive changes in parenting and family attitudes and behaviors through public education. Empowering and supporting children, teens, parents and families through information, resources, advocacy, and online youth mentoring. Its message is positive of prevention, empowerment and hope. Since 1999, Love Our Children USA has paved the way in the prevention of violence and neglect against children … keeping children safe and strengthening families.

Contact: Media Relations

Love Our Children USA

1.888.347.KIDS (5437) / 212.629.2099

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sue Scheff: Homework - are you struggling already with your kids?

The Homework Debate
Every school day brings something new, but there is one status quo most parents expect: homework. The old adage that practice makes perfect seems to make sense when it comes to schoolwork. But, while hunkering down after dinner amongst books and worksheets might seem like a natural part of childhood, there's more research now than ever suggesting that it shouldn't be so.

Many in the education field today are looking for evidence to support the case for homework, but are coming up empty-handed. “Homework is all pain and no gain,” says author Alfie Kohn. In his book The Homework Myth, Kohn points out that no study has ever found a correlation between homework and academic achievement in elementary school, and there is little reason to believe that homework is necessary in high school. In fact, it may even diminish interest in learning, says Kohn.

If you've ever had a late night argument with your child about completing homework, you probably know first-hand that homework can be a strain on families. In an effort to reduce that stress, there are a growing number of schools which are banning homework.

Mary Jane Cera is the academic administrator for the Kino School, a private, nonprofit kindergarten through 12th grade school in Tucson, AZ which maintains a no homework policy across all grades. The purpose of the policy is to make sure learning remains a joy for their students, not a second shift of work that impedes social time and creative activity. Cera says that when new students are told there will be no homework assignments, they breathe a sigh of relief.

Many proponents of homework argue that life is filled with things we don't like to do, and that homework teaches self-discipline, time management and other nonacademic life skills. Kohn challenges this popular notion: If kids have no choice in the matter of homework, they're not really exercising judgment, and are instead losing their sense of autonomy.

At the Kino school, Cera says children often choose to take their favorite parts of school home. “A lot of what we see kids doing is continuing to write in journals, practicing music with their friends, and taking experiments home to show their parents,” she says. Anecdotal information from Kino graduates suggests that the early control over their education continues to serve them well into college; they feel better equipped to manage their time and approach professors with questions.

One of the reasons that we continue to dole out mountains of homework, Kohn says, is our obsession with standardized tests. This concern is especially relevant with the latest Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) results placing American students 25th in math and 21st in science. “The standards and accountability craze that has our students in its grip argues for getting tougher with children, making them do more mindless worksheets at earlier ages so that we can score higher in international assessments,” Kohn says. “It's not about learning, it's about winning.”

Even if we can agree to the importance of kids doing better on tests like PISA, Kohn says, there is no research to suggest that homework is our ticket to success: our “competitors” in the global marketplace are coming up with the same conclusions about homework. A recent comparative study of kids in China, Japan and two U.S. cities shows there is no correlation between time spent on studying and academic achievement.

So, what's the solution? The National Parent Teacher Association suggests children in kindergarten through second grade should do homework for no more than 10-20 minutes a day, and for third through sixth graders the limit is 30-60 minutes a day. Kohn says the question isn't just "How much homework is too much?" Many parents would be delighted if teachers reduced the amount their children are getting, but he says the quality of those assignments needs to be addressed as well. “Some of this stuff isn't worth two minutes of their children's time.”

Kohn believes that the “default” setting for schools should be no homework, but that if evening work was assigned on occasion, it better be for a good reason. That means repetitive practice problems from 500-page textbooks get tossed out the window. Instead, Kohn says parents should be asking two fundamental questions:

Does this assignment make kids more excited about the topic and learning in general?
Does this assignment help kids to think more deeply about questions that matter?

For parents who want to probe deeper into the quality of homework their child is getting, Kohn says the first step is to check the school's policy. In the case where poorly designed homework is being given, it's time to talk to the teacher, sit down with the principal, write a letter to the editor, and/or speak up at the next school board meeting. “It makes sense to do this with other parents,” he says. “Ten parents saying that homework does more harm than good are hard to ignore.”

Wherever the homework debate goes next, be it the front pages or on the back burner, it's worth taking a moment to examine if we're asking the right questions about our child's education. The good news is, it's never too late to start.

For more information on Alfie Kohn and his latest book, The Homework Myth, visit

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Sue Scheff: High School “Slut List of 2010″: A Wake-Up Call For Another Troubling Youth Trends Sexual Harassment and Aggressive Girls

Michele Borba Blog: High School “Slut List of 2010″: A Wake-Up Call For Another Troubling Youth Trends Sexual Harassment and Aggressive

By Michele Borba

A high school “Slut List of 2010” is causing nationwide concern amongst educators and parents this week. The list featured almost two dozen names of 13 and 14 year old girls and three “honorable mentions,” who were incoming freshmen and was widely circulated amongst students at Millburn High School in New Jersey.

Among the sexually explicit details and highly derogatory comments (supplied by Millburn-ShortHillsPatch) are:

•“My friends practice giving head on me because I’m a man.”
•“ I’m so desperate and hairy that I’ll give you [drugs] for free if you get with me.”
•“I want it so bad I’ll beg you to stick it in.”
•“I (censored) like I blow the candles out on the menorah.”
•“Keeping up with the family tradition, [blank] me…. and knock me up.”
In addition to the “slut list” there are other allegations including freshmen being slammed into lockers and seniors blowing loud whistles into the targeted girls’ faces. The “prank” was made public after half a dozen parents complained (thank heavens) to school officials. School superintendent, Richard Brodow, e-mailed parents saying that hazing was not only against school policy “and just plain wrong.” (Interesting thing is that apparently this “slut list” is a high school tradition that “welcomes” incoming freshmen for the last 10 or 15 years. My, my, wouldn’t that make a kid feel like a welcome and safe?)

So what’s going on? It’s clear sexual harassment–intentional, mean, and aggressive behavior which can cause a victim (any girl on that list) severe anxiety and distress. But such an incident affects not only those victims, but an entire school body.

Such insidious incidents break down the foundation of a “safe and caring learning environment” and destroy the fiber that creates a moral community and can create for its victim and bystanders a hostile environment.

But there are also a few parenting wake-up calls here—lessons to be learned because such incidents are not just happening at this high school. So let’s add a few more concerning details so we recognize a few disturbing youth trends:

Wake Up Call #1: The infamous “slut-list” was generated by senior girls at a “sleep-over.” It was girls who also distributed the list and senior girls on the soccer team who blew the whistles into the freshmen’s faces and pushed them into the lockers. Parenting Lesson: Research finds that the “sugar and spice” gender is not only no longer always “nice” but also becoming more violent and aggressive. This is a growing and disturbing trend that is not just happening at this high school. Let’s raise our daughters to be assertive but respectfully so.

Wake Up Call #2. Many of the students at that high school reported to the press that the incident is getting far too much press and has been blown “way out of proportion.” The whole slut-list thing they said was just meant to be “fun.” Oh really? Fun? Slamming younger girls into lockers? Blowing whistles in their faces? Making them wear stickers on their backs that read: “Whore” or “Slut”? Fun?? Parenting Lesson: Watch out. Cruelty is learned and slowly becomes “acceptable” if it’s allowed to continued. Each cruel act becomes easier and what I see here is not only some of these students adopting the belief that “it’s cool to be cruel” but also losing touch with the feelings of those victims. There is nothing fun about peer intimidation or being slammed into a locker. How do you ever feel safe in such a school again?

Wake Up Call #3. Millburn High School is a top-ranked high school that was selected by Newsweek as one of the most prestigious high schools in the United States. It also happened at Essex County township, one of those Norman Rockwell kind of places to raise a family. Parenting Lesson: Moral intelligence that helps our kids become compassionate, respectful, know right from wrong and good citizens is a separate ability from mental aptitude. Make sure you are stressing both commodities. What good is a high SAT score or attending one of the top-ranked high schools in the nation if you graduate with only a strong mind void of a caring heart?

My definition of a safe and caring school is straight from CHEERS: “A place where everyone knows your name, and everyone’s glad you came.” I just can’t imagine any student–regardless of those high-ranking and multiple AP class option saying, “Yep, that’s my school.”

Let’s wise up folks and keep our eye on these trends. They are learned and can be turned around. This is not the way to raise the future citizens and should be a wake-up call to us all.

Michele Borba is the author of 23 parenting books including The Big Book of Parenting Solutions: 101 Answers to Your Everyday Challenges and Wildest Worries which includes dozens of practical, research-based ways to turn troubling trends such as insensitivity, bullying, and aggressiveness around.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Sue Scheff: Talking to your teens and kids about difficult topics

Last week we had a difficult week in South Florida with violence in a Coral Gables High School that resulted in the loss of a young life. Great Schools website offers a wide range of information about schools, parenting, educators and so much more. I am posting an article to help you talk to your kids about difficult situations in life.

How to talk to your child about events with no easy explanation.

By GreatSchools Staff

Whether it's a school shooting or a natural disaster, TV images of tragedies may upset and confuse your child. How should a parent talk about events that raise questions with no easy answers?

Experts advise that when your child asks questions, it's important to respond honestly but with answers that are simple and age-appropriate. Limit exposure to frightening TV and newspaper images, particularly for elementary school children. Small children may not realize that a tragedy isn't happening over and over when the TV plays the same images again and again. Here are five more tips and additional resources to help:

1.If your child asks you a difficult question, find out what she knows already so that you can correct misinformation. Be prepared to be asked the same question again as she thinks about issues that trouble her.

2.Be sensitive that some children are especially likely to be fearful if they have experienced a personal loss, such as death or serious illness in the family.

3.When your child asks questions, be aware of your own feelings of shock, anger or sadness. Your child is likely to reflect them.

4.Learn the emergency and communications plans at your child's school. Talk to your child about the steps school officials, the police and community leaders are taking to keep her safe.

5.Encourage your child to take action by sharing concerns about safety with school officials and by developing his own personal safety plan.
Follow Great Schools on Twitter @GreatSchoolsorg

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Sue Scheff: College Students Living at Home

Especially during today's struggling economic times, many students are living at home during their college years. Read more about this topic and some parenting tips.

College Students at Home

“My dad pretty much said, ‘Okay, you don’t have a curfew, but you need to call in, and we need to know what’s going on.’”

– Lisa, 21 years old

Students will borrow 75 billion dollars this year to attend college. That’s up 25 percent over last year, according to the Department of Education. With rising costs, more students are finding ways to save money. One example: living at home instead of a college dorm. And for the student and the parents, that can be both good and bad.

Lisa, 21, lived at home her first semester at Georgia State University. She and her dad came up with a new set of rules.

Lisa says, “If I wanted to spend the night at one of my friend’s houses on a random night, on a Wednesday night, I could. I just needed to make sure that I told him.”

Her dad Joseph says, “What I told her was, ‘You are an adult. I’m going to treat you like an adult, and I expect you to act like an adult.’”

Sometimes Lisa forgot to call, sometimes her dad did worry. But there was a bigger problem: Lisa felt she was missing out on college life. Lisa says, “All my friends would talk about everything that they were doing like late at night, hanging out in the dorms, going to different parties and things, and I was at home watching TV.”

College advisors say students living at home should look for ways to get involved in campus life.
“Having a job on campus, for example, is a great way for your friends to know where to find you,” says Dr. Ken Carter, an associate professor of psychology at Oxford College of Emory University. “Even though it may not pay the best, it’s a great way to feel connected with the campus. Most universities have commuter associations, which is a great place also to be involved.”

Lisa says, “I would sit in the plaza a lot, and just kind of watch people walk by, and kind of look at the groups, and sometimes I would go and approach people and try to talk to them.”

Lisa made friends, got a job at the college bookstore, and studied at the library. Plus, at the end of the day, she went home. Dr. Carter says, “Interestingly, their mental health seems to be a little bit better (than students who live on campus) because they have a lot of support from their families. They also sleep more.”

Tips for Parents

A number of college students are making a decision that seems taboo to some students – they are deciding to live at home with their parents. Some of the reasons for this decision include:

■Money saved – If it costs a student $6,000 per year for room-and-board that means a savings of at least $24,000 during the college years.
■Convenience – For many students who live in dorms, moving their belongings during extended breaks can become tedious. Students living at home aren’t faced with this dilemma.
■Lack of distractions – Even the most studious of students will likely become tempted by the seemingly ceaseless string of parties and events that occur on campus life. And while these are not necessarily bad, they are not exactly conducive to a good study environment. Neither are the late-night gatherings in the dorm room next door or the distractions of a roommate, for that matter.

You and your child will need to discuss what option is best for your child in regards to living at home or in a dorm. Whatever decision is reached, it is important for you and your child to discuss your expectations for him or her. According to Dr. Ruth A. Peters, consider covering the following areas:

■What grade point average needs to be maintained before your child may need to consider going to a community college for two years until he or she is ready to venture out again? Keep in mind that community colleges can offer excellent educations, are usually less expensive, and you can offer more guidance and supervision if your child is just not ready to “do it on their own.”
■What are your expectations about going to class and not sleeping in, skipping class and hoping to get the class notes from a roommate?
■How about drinking or even drug usage? Underage drinking is an all-too-common and socially acceptable college practice, but underage drinking is illegal and can quickly get out of control.
■How many credits must the student complete in the semester? Lots of kids register for twelve or fifteen hours but drop to six or nine by the end of the semester. The expectation of the minimum number of credits completed per semester is an issue that should be addressed and agreed upon by both the parents and the child before the semester begins so that there are no ambiguities. Statistically, more kids take four-and-a-half to five years to complete college than the traditional four years – partly due to legitimate changes in their major area of study, but also due to too many wasted semesters when only six or nine hours of course work were actually completed.
■What should the child do if he or she finds that he or she is in over his or her head – either academically (grade or credit problems), socially (too many friends or parties), or emotionally (not enough friends, lonely)? The college counseling center is usually an excellent resource if the college student doesn’t feel comfortable talking to his or her parents about these issues.
Newsweek did an investigation into which students did best in college. Dr. Peters used the findings to create the following list that can be shared with your child and may improve his or her college experience, whether he or she lives in a dorm or at home:

■Students who engage in extracurricular activities are the happiest students, as well as the most successful in the classroom. They seem to find a way to connect their academic work to their personal lives. It may be more difficult for students living at home to get involved in campus activities, but it can be done.
■The most successful kids found “mentor professors” to work with during their tenure at school – this activity led to letters for job recommendations or future references, which become exceedingly important later in life.
■Seventy to 75 percent of the students in the study felt that they needed more guidance on courses to take, extracurricular activities and advice from administrators than they were receiving.
■Time management is key. Most students are not very good at managing their time, and the Newsweek investigation showed that studying in a long, uninterrupted block of time was much more effective than studying in short bursts.
■Dr. Ruth A. Peters, Child Psychologist

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

MATERIALISTIC KIDS on the rise! Real Parenting Solutions to Troubling Youth Trends–What Parents Can Do to Fix It

Dr. Michele Borba, Parenting Expert and Today Show Contributor recently launched her BIG Book of Parenting Solutions. This is simply amazing, over 600 pages of sound advice, researched tips and helps you to be a better parent!

Here is an excerpt from her book and Blog.

REALITY CHECK: Sure, it’s a recession, but it doesn’t mean our kids still aren’t money conscious and it starts early. Almost two thirds of moms of toddlers admit their kids are already brand conscious. Today let’s take on the third in our series of troubling youth trends: MATERIALISM.

We’re all trying to save money these days, but tell that to the kids. They’re still trying to keep up with the latest trends, toys, and fashion. Despite our own money consciousness in today’s economic hardships, studies show our kids are still more materialistic than previous generations. Not only are kids more materialistic but they are also more brand conscious. Tighter times may put a damper on the wallet strings but their outlook on life still seems to be that fame & money is the golden ring to grab onto. But what’s especially troubling is a recent survey found that 89 percent of adults admit that kids are far more materialistic at younger ages than in years past.

Of course, we love our kids are want them to have the best. But money isn’t the answer. In fact, studies also show that the more materialistic the child, the less happy she is and the lower her self-esteem.

One of the 101 issues I address in The Big Book of Parenting Solutions is Materialism (as well as Selfish and Spoiled and Money). I’ll give you specific solutions based on the lastest research to help you turn this troubling trend around, and pronto. (Those of you with a copy of the book and following along on these makeovers with me turn ASAP to Money on page 559, roll up your sleeves and start parenting for this change).

As I wrote this book I devoured the best research and late-breaking studies to find only the best solutions for this troubling issues. I was fascinated with one study with tweens from the University of Minnesota in particular. So simple, so profound, and significant results! (What I called “Results-Driven Parenting.”)


University of Minnesota researchers found a quick solution to turn materialism around is to compliment your child’s INSIDE qualities instead of focusing on appearance or things. Simple but effective. The more those sincere, genuine, and specific compliments were geared at the child’s “inside” strengths, the less the child had to focus on purchasing things to boost their “outside” appearance. (See The Big Book of Parenting Solutions page 185 for more specific tips and dozens of other solutions.)

So to start using this simple solution, find a real and deserved quality your child deserves recognition for (maybe she is respectful, kind or fair). And then start boosting it. The study found the more you focus on a child’s inside strengths, the less the kid needs to show off what he wears or has on the outside. Your goal:


Besides common sense parenting techniques of putting away your wallet, not being afraid to say no, spending more time than money on your kids, reducing the hoarding, and watching what you model, use the science-based technique from the University of Minnesota: praise your child’s inside qualities.

There are dozens of other simple, practical and proven solutions to counter this third troubling trend in The Big Book of Parenting Solutions. My goal is to offer dozens of strategies for you to try. Your job is to choose the one that works best for your family. And then please stick with it until you reap the change you seek. After all, your only barometer of good parenting is for your child to act right without you. That means you need to parent for REAL and LASTING CHANGE.

If you need any other reason to put away your wallet and work on turning your kid’s materialistic streak around, read this: The University of Minnesota found that materialistic kids are less happy, more anxious, less able to handle adversity, less generous and charitable and feel less secure and have lower self-esteem. And materialistic kids have lower opinions of their parents and argue with them more.

Stay tuned. We’re taking on another troubling youth trend in the next blog. Meanwhile, go start complimenting your child’s inside strengths.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teen Cults

Even though the threat of cult membership largely remains a hidden danger, there are some important preemptive measures parent’s can take to protect their teenagers from falling prey to cult rhetoric. Sue Scheff™ promotes education and learning to help teens through troubled times, and dealing with teen cult danger should be approached similarly to other teen issues.

To prevent teenage cult membership, keep communication open and healthy between you and your child. Stay involved with their life, but not so involved you push them away. Keep in touch with how your teens are feeling and what they are doing as they go through their difficult teenage transition period.

Cults offer simple answers and immediate happiness as a temptation for membership, so help guide troubled teens through the complexities of being a young transitioning adult, and help them cope with the stress of teen life so they don’t turn to cults for help.

Teens are often looking for a community or place to belong, so help your troubled teen find group activities and places for friendship. Encourage them to join sports teams or any organization that is trustworthy and safe that they can join and help feel community involvement.

Refrain from pressuring teens too much for success. Often, our culture becomes much too involved with the idea of success and succeeding in school, and this unnecessary pressure can be destructive to a teenager’s psyche. Cults can serve as any easy way to get away form this stress, and can appear as nice alternative to deal with the pressure-filled, success obsessed world that parents sometimes push upon their children.

Parents must offer both love and support to their teens, while flexing proper parental authority. Teens must be reassured their parents love them, because if they feel lonely they will turn to cults for the love and friendship that troubled teens need. However, parents still must exert authority, because cults can offer guidance and structure that helps teens feel comfortable and secure. Basically, a strong parental presence that his both nurturing and secure will help teens avoid cult temptations.

Sue Scheff™ knows there are many warnings signs signaling cult activity in your troubled teen’s life. These signs include a dramatic change in grades and study habits, change in personality, change in physical appearance, sudden increases in talk about God or Spirituality, as well as changes in social interactions. Teachers and school counselors who see your child on a daily basis can provide a good resource t if you are worried about possible ten cult issues.
Learn more at Teen Cults Website.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Sue Scheff: Can High School Extracurriculars Get You Into College?


By Zrinka Peters

What's a high school student to do? After a full day of classes, the temptation for many might be to head home and kick back for a while in front of the tube before taking time for dinner and homework. But is this really the best they can do? Should teens take on more?

The indications are (and research supports) that teens who are involved in extracurricular activities actually do better than their non-involved peers in a number of areas. Instead of test scores falling and sleep being sacrificed because a student is taking on more activities, the opposite is true. Most studies show that students who are involved in extracurricular activities excel above their peers academically. But that's not all.

According to a study published in Education, the benefits of teen participation in extracurricular activities go well beyond just filling up an already-busy schedule and having another line to add to the college application.

Benefits include having a sense of team spirit and belonging, personal pride and an understanding of the value of fair play, an increased sense of honesty and trustworthiness, and, importantly, the prevention of drug and substance abuse – among others. The study states "Repeated records of high school students across the United States have shown that those students who become heavily involved in extracurricular activities tend to be model students and seldom get involved in delinquency and crime."

Involvement in extracurricular activities builds personal life skills. Melinda Voss, Public Relations Director for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System, says "[Extracurricular activities] can help them by developing some leadership skills, some time management skills; it's a good way to explore areas of interest that might lead to careers, so it might help them to select an area of study in college."

Of concern to many students is how involvement in extracurricular activities can positively impact his or her college application. Certainly, a student's involvement does show college officials that the person is more likely to be a balanced and well-rounded individual. But if a student is involved in a host of activities just to pad their application, administrators can tell, and aren't impressed.

Walter Wolff, Ph.D., Admissions Director at the University of Minnesota at Mankato, cautions against placing too much emphasis on extracurricular activities. He says, "As far as the actual application review goes, generally speaking we look more at their academics. On our campus, we take a look at the academic preparedness of the students, then look at the likelihood of long-term success. In the second review process, if a person is not automatically admitted, [involvement in extracurriculars] may matter more." And Voss adds, "At the universities here, GPA is certainly more important than extracurriculars."

Voss also stresses that many 2-year colleges require only a high-school diploma for admission – and the majority of high school students in the US who pursue post-secondary education do so at community or state colleges. So, even for students who haven't had much if any involvement in extracurricular activities, college can still be an option for them.

That being said, for students who are trying to get into Harvard or other highly selective colleges and universities, involvement in extracurriculars is much more important.

What are your child's extracurricular options? Here's a list of activities that can add to your teen's high school experience...and beyond:

From soccer to the swim team to tennis club, there is something for everyone when it comes to sports. And the benefits of being involved in athletics go beyond just improved physical fitness and health. Students learn teamwork and gain confidence, leadership and endurance from sports – all skills that can help the new college student succeed under the pressures of college life.

Performing Arts
Dance, drama and music – these can offer a much-needed creative outlet, as well as improving a student's academic standing. Several studies have shown that students who are involved in the arts score higher SAT scores than their non-involved peers – and the more arts classes, the higher the scores.

Academics on the side
For students who just can't get enough academics, the math or science team, the debate club, or even time spent tutoring can add valuable knowledge and experience. Building strong core skills, especially in areas the student plans to pursue further in college, shows a love of the subject and mental discipline that will be valuable assets when digging into more advanced study.

So, encourage your teen to get involved – not just because of college prospects, but also for his own personal development. It is sure to make for a happier and healthier teen.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Sue Scheff: Girls in Gangs

“He wanted me to sell drugs. I’m like, ‘no I can’t do it, you know, I want to be a doctor when I grow up, and I don’t want to get in any trouble.’”

– ChanTrell, Age 16

The Office of Juvenile Justice has some good news for us and some bad: according to the latest numbers, from 2005 to 2007, the arrest rate for boys went down four percent, but for girls it’s up 10 percent. Experts say one reason is more girls are joining gangs.

In the small park, there are swing sets, a small stream, and dozens of families with small children playing. It is the park where Roger Raney’s 18-year-old daughter allegedly took part in a gang murder.

He still wonders why. “I’ve wracked my brain trying to figure out why but I have no clue, honestly,” Raney says.

But there were clues. When his daughter was 13, he noticed gang-related graffiti and tattoos. “In her room, papers, notebook, just all over really.”

But he thought it was just posing, just a joke. Now Roger and thousands of other parents realize it’s no joke at all. The idea of girls being gang members is no longer far-fetched.

According to the National Youth Gang Survey, there are 800,000 active gang members in the U.S. And over six percent are female, that’s 50,000 girls.

And new “recruits” are being propositioned every day.

Sixteen-year-old ChanTrell was approached. “He wanted to sell drugs. I’m like, ‘no I can’t do it. I want to be a doctor when I grow up, and I don’t want to get in any trouble.’”

“It’s not just what most people would consider the poor sections or less affluent sections. They’re everywhere,” says psychologist and gang expert Dr. Stephen Mathis.

Experts say girls join gangs for the same reason boys often do. “It’s all about acceptance,” says youth counselor Irving Carswell, “You know, ‘I want to be a part of’… and we have to take alternative measures…as parents and say ‘you don’t have to be a part of that.’”

And if your child is lonely, just moved to a new school or a new town, explain how gangs really work. “A kid often trades loneliness and isolation or whatever the kid’s feeling inside for an initial attraction for unconditional acceptance when in fact the conditions are very, very conditional,” says Mathis.

Conditions like selling drugs, even committing murder.

“Parents and teens need to somehow keep a bond,” Roger Raney says, “and not have a distance come between them, because it’s hard to repair it once it goes away.”

Tips for Parents

According to the Southwest Missouri Interagency Task Force on Gangs and Youth Violence, possible signs of gang involvement include:

■Skipping school
■Violent acts
■Disregard for persons or property
■Dress changes
■Unexplained extra money or expensive purchases

To help prevent your child from becoming a gang member, the SMI Task Force offers these suggestions:

■Arrange for adult supervision of teen’s and children’s activities
■Help the teen or child become involved in athletics or other group activities
■Set reasonable rules and consistently enforce them
■Hold family meetings and keep the lines of communication open
■Educate the child about the dangers of gang involvement
■Provide a strong religious background
■Be aware of changes in your child’s life
■Practice mutual respect with your child

■Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention
■Southwest Missouri Interagency Task Force on Gangs and Youth Violence

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sue Scheff: Michele Borba Release the BIG BOOK of Parenting Solutions

I feel both privileged and honored Dr. Michele Borba took the time in her busy schedule to speak with me about her latest book, and one of the most comprehensive parenting books I have yet to read. This book doesn’t miss a beat, and whether you are a parent, grandparent, educator, daycare provider, Family Coach, therapist or anyone that works with children, this book has to be part of your library! My daughter is definitely receiving one from Santa this year! (My daughter is the proud mother of 2 beautiful kids - my grandchildren, and I want both her and my son-in-law to have this reference book for parenting in today’s generation). Thank you in advance Michele!
Like most parents, you desperately want to raise healthy, happy, caring, self-sufficient kids. But despite the stacks of parenting books you’ve collected, you’re still struggling to find workable solutions to your child-rearing conundrums. Enter parenting expert and author Dr. Michele Borba. In a marketplace overly saturated with trend-based parenting books promising dubious quick fixes, Borba saw a void that needed to be filled. She realized parents were getting answers to their questions, and yet these “solutions” failed to deliver lasting, long-term results. Her response was to sit down and write the parenting book to end all parenting books. I had the opportunity to interview TODAY’s parenting contributor about her latest book, The Big Book of Parenting Solutions. Here is what she said:

Q. Let’s face it, there are so many parenting books. Why did you find need to write another?

I wanted to write one all-encompassing, go-to guide that promises to be the last resource parents will ever need for raising kids 3 to 13.I think there’s too much conflicting information out there and many parenting books don’t offer common-sense solutions that are research-based. Everything in The Big Book of Parenting Solutions is based on the latest scientific research as well as practical solutions that reap the most effective results.

Q.What are some of the 101 topics you address and how did you choose those issues?

I surveyed 5000 parents and asked them what their concerns and topics in 75 of my TODAY show segments that were based on late-breaking issues. The book offers advice for issues including biting, tantrums, cheating, bad friends picky eaters and homework wars to more hot-button challenges like inappropriate clothing, sex, drugs, peer pressure and cyberbullying. Each of the 101 issues also gives specific step-by-step solutions and advice that is age appropriate.
Q. Why did you also covers tougher issues like eating disorders, cyberbullying depression, stress, drinking, sex in a book for 3 to 13 year olds?

Because it’s a different world—8 is the new 13. We’re now seeing depression in 3 years olds, eating disorders in 8 year olds, and 13year olds are having oral sex. Parents can get real solutions to tough problems, no matter what age their kids are, and head them off before it’s too late to turn that behavior around.

Q.Your book is designed almost like a cookbook. How did you choose the design?

What parent has the time or the energy at the end of a long, stressful day to pore over pages in a parenting book? So I designed this book to work like a cookbook or a desk reference. Parents can look up the problem they want to address, flip right to the correct chapter, and find an easy-to-follow formula for getting the results they want.

Q. Why did you list signs of every problem in every chapter?

Unless parents dig deeper to uncover the reasons their kid is using that bad behavior, the problem will just pop up again later, perhaps in a different form. I’ll help you get to the root of every kid problem so you can begin to truly fix it—and to ensure that the results are both effective and long-lasting. I’ll help parents figure out why their child is using the behavior ad I’ll offer a list of new skills to replace the bad habits so the problem stops once and for all.
How does a parent know its time to worry and consult a professional for the problem?
Sometimes a child’s problem may be bigger than her parents’ ability to solve it. I’ll help you determine what “normal” kid behavior is and what requires the guidance of a professional. For every problem I address, I also list the warning signs that indicate the need to seek outside help.
Q. What makes you a parenting expert that parents should trust?

True parenting experts not only have credentials, they also have the years of experience to back them up. I have a doctorate in counseling and psychology, taught child development, wrote 23 parenting books, had a private practice for troubled kids, and taught special education as well as gifted students. I’ve also given workshops to over a million parents and teachers on four continents, and stay current with late breaking parenting news as a contributor to NBC’s Today show. But my best experience is that I’m the mother of three sons—so I’ve been in the same trenches and I know how challenging parenting can be.

I’ve literally put over 25 years of my experiences into this book with the absolute best parenting solutions, responses, and research. My passion is to share what I’ve learned with others so that they can get the help they need and deserve. I think I’ve done it – The Big Book of Parenting Solutions really has everything parent needs to raise a strong, caring kids in a today’s challenging world.

Follow Michele Borba on Twitter @MicheleBorba and read her Blogs on

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Monday, September 14, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teen Suicide Prevention Month

As you have probably heard before, talking to your teen about suicide is one of the most important things you can do in helping to prevent a suicide attempt. Many times parents are unsure of what to say and instead say nothing. Here are some suggestions of how you can open the channels of communication and help your teen open up.

First, tell your teen you care; no matter the state of your relationship, just hearing this can go a long way. Tell your teen you are there if needed, and are willing to listen without judging. NAMI estimates that around 80% of all teens who attempt suicide give some sort of verbal or nonverbal warning beforehand, so be sure to take whatever your teen says completely seriously.
A common mistake parents make when dealing with a suicidal teen is thinking that if they mention suicide they will be planting the idea in their teen’s brain.

This is simply not accurate. In fact, by mentioning your fears, you are showing your teen that you take their actions and their life seriously. Remember, most people who are suicidal do not really want to die- they want to put an end to the suffering they are experiencing. When given an opportunity to be helped through that suffering, or when some of that suffering is alleviated by knowing they aren’t alone, this can help reduce the desire to end the pain by more drastic means.

Worldwide over 1,000,000 people die each year by suicide.

The CDC's most recent report shows the largest One-Year Increase in Youth Suicide Rate in 15 Years

Suicide takes the lives of over 2,400 Floridians and over 33,300 Americans in 2007.
Suicide is the 11th cause of death in the Americans.

In 2004, there were 2,382 reported suicide deaths in Florida.

In Broward County Florida the youngest documented child to complete suicide was 9 years of age.

Florida has the 2nd highest number of suicides in the Nation and ranks #13 highest rate of all the states [2001].

Florida has more than two times the number of suicides than homicides or deaths by HIV/AIDS.
Every 43 seconds someone in the U.S. attempts suicide; Every 17 minutes someone in the U.S. dies by suicide.

For every single completed suicide there are at least 25 attempts!

Each person who dies by suicide leaves behind an average of eight loved ones or survivors, not to mention friends, co-workers, schoolmates and religious affiliates
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Saturday, September 12, 2009

Sue Scheff: What is your 12 year old doing?

Lane Sutton, also known as KidCritic, is not your average 12 year old. He created his own website critiquing movies, restaurants, books, activities and more as well as taken on Twitter by storm.

Learn about this amazing kid! I was honored to interview him and hopefully covered the questions people wanted to know. Someday we are going to hear big things about this young entrepeneur.

1. How old were you when you started using the computer and when did you decide to create your own website?

I have been using the computer since I was five years old when I had ran my own newspaper that was circulated to family members and friends for a couple years. I have been reading since I was three years old. On December 29, 2008 I came up with an idea to run a website where I can use my entrepreneurial expertise and writing skills as well as computer, design and code skills to create the website posting reviews. I worked very diligently to get the site up and running for a grand opening on January 1, 2009 when it was opened to the public!

2. What inspired you to create a review website of books, restaurants and movies?

There is so much to review which makes creating a critique website so interesting because I love finding new places to go and things to do but I also wanted to make a website that kids and families can visit for ideas of the latest hotspots in town or even movies and books.

3. Where do you get your ideas from?

Great question! I search around for places, sometimes I get book review requests as well as video games and iPhone applications I am offered to review. Some of it is on the spot spontaneous. I’ll explore the area and if I find a place that I like then I’ll review it. I watch the movie trailers and previews to get an idea of the newly released movies. Visiting a bookstore and just browsing is another great way but when people come up to me and ask if I will review their book, I like that because most of the books, I would never have found which makes it much more interesting.

4. Do you work alone or do you have others that help you with reviews or website content?

I work solo, the website is a one man production, I own, operate, write and control all aspects of the business including promoting and making connections.

5. What do your friends and family think of your young success?

People are amazed at my work and always wonder what I will be when I grow up. They are very proud of me and I could not have done it without their help and support. It is my site visitors, Twitter friends and my connections that help make it such a success. I love getting compliments and the great feedback from visitors.

6. You are considered the “12 Year Old Wonder Kid” on Twitter, how do you feel about that?

I love it! I feel so honored to have my own Twitter name! I like being called it.

7. What are your plans for the future?

My dream is to become the next Donald Trump, he is my idol. There is so much I want to do in life and my goal is to accomplish most of it, I do want to be a writer for a newspaper. Starting early is the best thing to do because you will have more experience.

8. Do you have other hobbies outside of technology?

Writing is my passion, I like art and am very creative. I enjoy doing business and am a great salesman! I am known for my good sales! Other than that, I am a techie! I write for our school newspaper, E-Zine and am on the Yearbook Club. I like acting too and participate in the school plays.

9. What motivates you?

I met a young adult writer for the Boston Globe, I was inspired by him and the articles that he wrote. I got to meet him and we were pen pals for a while, I liked asking him questions about his writing. I also had a tour of the Metrowest News (my local newspaper) and I was amazed by that, it was so interesting to have an insider tour of what goes on in a newsroom!
10. Do you have anything more you would like to add?

Thank you for reading and check out my website, for reviews by a kid, for kids and families on movies, books, activities, restaurants and more. You can also follow me on Twitter at @KidCriticUSA to tweet with me!

Do you have questions for Lane? Contact him directly through his website.

There you go, my interview with the incredible Wonder Kid, also known as KidCritic and to his parents, he is simply known as Lane! Lane is going places – we all need to try to keep up with him!

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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Sue Scheff: Voilence in the Media: What you need to know

This is a topic we hear about all the time. What are our kids watching? What are they listening to? Video games, movies, music - take the time to be an educated parent!

Violence in the Media: What You Need to Know

By Anna Weinstein

Finding Nemo—too violent for children under age 4?

We’ve heard of the studies—the research that shows that even some G-rated movies are inappropriate and potentially harmful to young children’s health. The research is out there, but largely ignored by parents.

Victor Strasburger, MD, noted pediatrician and author of many American Academy of Pediatrics position statements regarding children, adolescents, and the media, explains that over 2,000 studies have shown that viewing media violence is a risk factor for aggressive behavior in children. “Of all the aspects of media, parents seem most concerned about sex and drugs and least concerned about violence, and yet that’s what we know the most about,” Strasburger says. “That’s what the research has been about in the past 50 years.”

What exactly have the studies shown? Michael Rich, MD, a pediatrician and director of the Center on Media and Child Health at Children’s Hospital Boston, says media violence affects people in three basic ways. First, media desensitizes people to violence, Rich says, “and the way this plays out in kids’ lives is that they’re less likely to stick up for the kid getting picked on on the playground.” Second, media violence causes an increase in general fear and anxiety. And third, it can lead to an increase in aggressive thoughts and behaviors. “This is, in fact, the smallest effect in terms of numbers,” Rich says, “but it’s relevant even if just one kid picks up a gun and goes to school with it.”

Rich, also on the faculty at the Harvard School of Health, explains that what concerns doctors and researchers is that nobody knows who is predisposed to picking up the gun—who is most vulnerable. And this is why, Rich says, all parents should be selective in what their children watch.

“It’s always been amusing to me that we want kids to ‘just say no,’” Strasburger says, “but parents need to learn to ‘just say no,’ and they don’t know how.”
Strasburger says parents should be familiar with the concept of “ratings creep”: what used to be R-rated is now PG-13; what used to be PG-13 is now PG. The ratings have crept up over time, and parents are more and more frequently exposing their children to films that are inappropriate for their age.

Kimberly Thompson, Sc.D.,Harvard professor and director of the Kids Risk Project, explains that film producers provide information about their movies to the Rating Board, and parents have to trust that the producers have done the right thing. “The government doesn’t have any regulatory authority,” Thompson says. “It’s a really different situation than it is with food, for example.”

Rich says that censorship is not the answer, however. “What I think won’t work is legislation to restrict or censor this stuff out. The first amendment is far too important to use the blunt instrument of the law,” he says. “I think what we need to do is start to respect the media we use and understand how we are changed by them. We need to embrace that and say, ‘Let’s be changed in ways we want to be changed.’”
Follow on Twitter @Education_com

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Sue Scheff: School is open, Learn about Teen Truancy

Truancy is a term used to describe any intentional unauthorized absence from compulsory schooling. Children in America today lose over five million days of their education each year through truancy. Often times they do this without the knowledge of their parents or school officials. In common usage the term typically refers to absences caused by students of their own free will, and usually does not refer to legitimate "excused" absences, such as ones related to a medical condition. It may also refer to students who attend school but do not go to classes. Because of this confusion many schools have their own definitions, and as such the exact meaning of the term itself will differ from school to school and district to district. In order to avoid or diminish confusion, many schools explicitly define the term and their particular usage thereof in the school's handbook of policies and procedures. In many instances truancy is the term referring to an absence associated with the most brazen student irresponsibility and results in the greatest consequences.

Many educators view truancy as something much more far reaching than the immediate consequence that missed schooling has on a student's education. Truancy may indicate more deeply embedded problems with the student, the education they are receiving, or both. Because of its traditional association with juvenile delinquency, truancy in some schools may result in an ineligibility to graduate or to receive credit for class attended, until the time lost to truancy is made up through a combination of detention, fines, or summer school. This can be especially troubling for a child, as failing school can lead to social impairment if the child is held back, economic impact if the child drops out or cannot continue his or her education, and emotional impact as the cycle of failure diminishes the adolescent's self-esteem.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teens and Cell Phone Safety

Like Internet safety, as parents today, we need to be eduated on cell phone safety and our kids. Here are some great tips from Connect Safely. Take the time to be an educated parent.

Source: Connect Safely

Though teens make little distinction between fixed and mobile socializing, we adults still do. So here are some basic ideas for safe socializing on phones as well as the Web that we hope will work for both generations.

Smart socializing. Use the same good sense about what you post from your phone as from a computer. Once they’re posted, text, photos, and video are tough to take back, can be copied and pasted elsewhere, and are up there pretty much forever. Think about the people in them (including you!). Reputations are at stake, and even more if nudity or sex is involved.

Bullying by phone. Because people socialize on cellphones as much as online, cyberbullying can be mobile too. Treat people on phones and the Web the way you would in person, and the risk of being bullied goes down.

Sexting: It’s the same on phones as on the Web – do not take, send, post or even store on your phone nude photos of anyone under 18. You could be charged with production, distribution, or possession of child pornography, a serious crime. You could also be subjected to jokes, bullying, blackmail, expulsion from school, loss of a job, etc. and the images can circulate forever.

The value of “presence.” If you do a lot of texting, consider the impact that being “elsewhere” might be having on the people around you. Your presence during meals, at parties, in the car, etc. is not only polite, it’s a sign of respect and appreciated.

Down time is good. Constant texting and talking can affect sleep, concentration, school, and other things that deserve your thought and focus. Real friends understand there are times you just need to turn off the phone – harassment can happen between midnight and morning too.

Social mapping. Most cellphones now have GPS technology and there are a growing number of services that allow friends to pinpoint each other’s physical location. If you use such a service, do so only with friends you know in person, and get to know the service’s privacy features!

Reprinted with permission from Connect Safely

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Friday, September 4, 2009

Sue Scheff: Parenting teenage girls

Parenting is challenging, parenting teenage girls can be even more complicated.
Girls seem to be need more self-confidence in order to feel acceptance among their peers. Especially some young girls that are raised without a father figure in their life. Boys can also be influenced by not having a male figure in their young lives. This article focuses on girls today, however recognizing that boys can be a challenge too.

Whether is it not being pretty enough, not thin enough, or not fitting into a cool peer group; many girls strive to belong, to fit in – to be noticed and accepted. In some cases, they are trying to fit into the wrong group and step away from who they really are. Is your daughter worrying that she hasn’t been kissed yet? Why doesn’t she have a boyfriend?

I am listing some great resources and books that I encourage parents of teenage girls to review. There is enough in our society today that compounds many issues that we didn’t have to deal with generations before. Whether it is technology or considering the HPV preventative vaccination, we as parents need to be educated. An educated parent is a prepared parent which equals a safer teen.

You'd Be So Pretty If . . .: Teaching Our Daughters to Love Their Bodies by Dara Chadwick. Dara Chadwick has written articles about tweens and teens in many magazines such as Parenting, Psychology Today, Family Circle, Newsweek, Woman’s Day just to name a few. She remains a positive role model for young girls and offers educational articles on parenting today. Follow her on Twitter @DaraChadwick

A Way Through, Female Friendship Experts. Both Jane Balvanz and Blair Wagner specialize in girls from kindergarten thru 8th grade and also for educators. It’s tough to know what to do when your daughter is being hurt by other girls, learn how to detect what your daughter needs and feelings are. Take time to explore this website and the many resources they offer. Follow them on Twitter @AWayThrough

Queen Bees & Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and the New Realities of Girl World by Rosalind Wiseman. When she first published Queen Bees & Wannabes, it fundamentally changed the way that adults look at girls’ friendships and conflicts. From how they choose their best friends, how they express their anger, their boundaries with boys, and their relationships with parents—Wiseman showed how girls of every background are profoundly influenced by their interactions with each other. Don’t miss her latest version coming shortly. Follow her on Twitter @RosalindWiseman

My Feet Aren't Ugly, A Girl's Guide to Loving Herself From The Inside Out. It’s a journal and handbook for teen girls. I hope it offers encouragement, fresh ideas, and insight to become satisfied and confident with who you are on your journey to adulthood. This written by author and mentor, Debra Beck. Her website is absolutely delightful and encouraging. Follow her on Twitter @DebraBeck

The Curse of the Good Girl, Raising Authentic Girls with Courage and Confidence by Rachel Simmons. This book is an essential guide to contemporary girl culture and a call to arms from a new front in female empowerment. Follow Rachel on Twitter @RachelJSimmons

There are many more terrific resources and books for parenting today. This is a good start and hopefully motivates you to take the first steps in getting to know your daughter better. Parenting is not easy, however being equipped with knowledge gives you the tools you need to be a better parent.

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Sue Scheff: School Starts and so does bullying

LOVE OUR CHILDREN USA’s Campaign to STOMP Out Bullying

NEW YORK, August 24, 2009 Love Our Children USA announced today that bullying and teasing is at the top of kids’ issues at schools, and with school set to open in soon, parents, teachers and school administrators must take caution and sensitivity in handling these issues.
Childhood should be a time filled with wonder and joy, but the reality for many kids and teens is often much different. They're the victims of bullying and cyber-bullying at school or on neighborhood playgrounds.

October 4 – 10th is National Bullying Prevention Awareness Week. To observe the week, Love Our Children USA will speak at various schools about bullying, cyberbullying and preventing it. To signify the importance of the week, Love Our Children USA created National Blue Shirt Day. Specifically on Monday, October 5th, the organization is asking kids, teens and adults to participate in national BLUE SHIRT DAY by wearing a blue shirt to STOMP Out Bullying.
They chose blue because in many diverse cultures blue brings peace. The color conveys importance and confidence.

On Monday, October 5th, Americans across the country will wear blue shirts as they make their way to school or to the office as a grassroots national campaign to STOMP Out Bullying.
Participation is expected from major cities and proclamations from leading politicians and civic leaders. This day will be supported with a national media campaign. Last October, the organization created STOMP Out Bullying. To date over 48,000 people have committed to STOMP Out Bullying.

Kids who are intimidated, threatened, or harmed by bullies often experience low self-esteem and depression, whereas those doing the bullying may go on to engage in more serious antisocial behaviors. Some kids are so traumatized by being bullied, that they contemplate suicide. Bullies often have been the victims of bullying or other mistreatment themselves.
Ross Ellis, Love Our Children USA Founder and Chief Executive Officer remembers only too well what it is like to be bullied. Today it’s a regular occurrence in schools starting as early as kindergarten. It’s not a right of passage as some may think. It’s a crisis. And many kids have committed suicide because the taunting was so torturous.

Bullying can be so painful and clearly has played a role in recent school shootings across the country. While boys are more physical, girls use weapons, exclusion, slander, rumors and gossip. And beware of cyberbullying which is on the rise. This social online cruelty is used in the forms of e-mail, cell phone; pager text messages, instant messaging, defamatory personal Web sites, and defamatory online personal polling Web sites, deliberate, repeated, and hostile behavior, and is used by an individual or group -- intended to harm others – especially amongst our youth. While most kids use the Internet for friendly interactions, more and more kids are using these communication tools to antagonize, terrorize and intimidate others.

Ellis said “parents must keep open communication with their children. Look for signs. And school administrators can no longer sweep the issue under the rug. Students should be educated about the harmful effects of bullying. Many schools are sweeping the issue under the rug. Every school should declare No Bullying Policy and enforce it.”

Ross Ellis suggests that schools set up a web site where kids can anonymously report the person who is bullying them. That way victims can feel safe in making the report and the school can deal with the bully.

Recent Statistics Show:

• 1 out of 4 kids is Bullied.

• 1 out of 5 kids admits to being a bully, or doing some "Bullying."

• 8% of students miss 1 day of class per month for fear of Bullies.

• 43% fear harassment in the bathroom at school.

• 100,000 students carry a gun to school.

• 28% of youths who carry weapons have witnessed violence at home.

• A poll of teens ages 12-17 proved that they think violence increased at their schools.

• 282,000 students are physically attacked in secondary schools each month.

• More youth violence occurs on school grounds as opposed to on the way to school.

• 80% of the time, an argument with a bully will end up in a physical fight.

• 1/3 of students surveyed said they heard another student threaten to kill someone.

• 1 out of 5 teens knows someone who brings a gun to school.

• 2 out of 3 say they know how to make a bomb, or know where to get the information to do it.

• Almost half of all students say they know another student who's capable of murder.

• Playground statistics - Every 7 minutes a child is bullied. Adult intervention -4% Peer intervention - 11%. No intervention - 85%.

Ellis said “helping your children cope with either being a bully or being a victim often requires outside assistance, such as from your child's school or the community. School is the most likely place for bullying to occur, so discuss your concerns with your child's teachers and counselor and ask what they can do to help. School personnel can be influential in helping a child modify his behavior. Take advantage of any psychological counseling services that may be offered at your child's school or in your community.”

Bullying is a form of child abuse and bullies are very likely to grow up as an adult who abuses children.More information about bullying and how to help your children and students can be found at

Since 1999, Love Our Children USA has paved the way as the national nonprofit leader that honors, respects and protects children. Its mission is to break the cycle of violence against children. Love Our Children USA has become ‘the go-to’ prevention organization for all forms of violence and neglect against children in the U.S. It works to eliminate behaviors that keep children from reaching their potential. It redefines parenting and creates kid success by promoting prevention strategies and positive changes in parenting and family attitudes and behaviors through public education. It works to empower and support children, teens, parents and families through information, resources, advocacy, and online youth mentoring. Its goal is to keep children safe and strengthen families -- Its message is positive ... one of prevention and hope.

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1.888.347.KIDS (5437) / 212.629.2099