Friday, October 30, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teen and Youth Violence

Teen violence and youth violence is becoming too common.It seems we can't turn on our news without hearing about a violent incident including teens and kids. Over the past month our community has been grieving over the shocking attack on 15-year-old, Michael Brewer, who was doused in rubbing alcohol and set on fire by other teens. This happened in Deerfield Beach, Florida.
More recently our attention is in Coral Springs, Florida where 14-year-old Matthew Gorzynski was stabbed to death by his 15 year old brother. Matthew was a student at Taravella High School. Police said he and his older brother, William Gorzynski, 15, also a student at Taravella High, got into an argument at their Coral Springs home about the noise level on a home computer on Monday. Police said William Gorzynski grabbed a kitchen knife and fatally stabbed Matthew.

Both of these stories are tragic and cry out for more education on teen violence, bullying, teen aggression, rage and more. Both parents and educators, as well as everyone that works with children, need to learn more about preventing violence and how to detect warning signs.I am listing resources that can help you help today's children and possibly prevent another act of violent behavior.

MADE Coalition (Moms and Dads for Education to Stop Dating Abuse): Dating violence is a growing concern that parents need to be aware of. Tips for Teens, Teen Resources and more.

Don't allow our news to continue with these horrific stories, take a stand, learn more about preventing violence and be proactive in your school and community.
Be an educated parent, you will have a safer teen.

Updated news on this story visit Miami Herald UPI, NBC Miami

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Sue Scheff: College Application Tips

College applications are a lengthy process that requires time and dedication. If your teen is in their junior year, the time is now to start learning about the college admissions process. Learning about scholarships and financing college is also a priority, especially in today's economy. If you have a High School Senior, please take the time to also review last minute tips for college applications.Here are some great college application tips to help you and your teen get started today:

•Start early – Being prepared can help you perfect your College Admissions Application.

•Apply to more than one school. You should apply to 3 to 5 colleges just in case you don't get accepted to your first couple of choices. Many students have their wish list of colleges, however you need to be prepared with a backup plan such as a community college or one that is easier for you to be accepted in to if your desired schools don’t work out.

•Career and College Counseling – Some teens and parents prefer to meet with a college career counselor to go over any college admissions questions you may have. In many High Schools, your guidance counselor can be of great assistance to you and your child.

•Common Application – Become familiar with the Common Application. This can help you easily apply to more than one school at a time. •Proofread the Application - Make sure you fill out the Application for Admission completely. Whether you are filling it out online or sending it in, always double check it. It is also beneficial to have a second pair of eyes (whether a parent or friend) read it also for typos or errors.•FAFSA – This is for financial aid. If you will require this, get it in on time. Take the time to review grants and scholarships. They can help can reduce your tuition costs.

•Deadlines for Admission – Be aware of the deadline for each individual application. There are different deadlines for admission applications, financial aid and transcripts. Take the time to learn about Early Decision and Early Action. This may benefit you if you are confident on the school you would like to attend.
•Apply Online - Many colleges give the option of applying for admission online. This is a great way to speed up the college application process. Again, be sure to double check your information before you hit the “send” button.

•Admission Application Fees - Remember to include any application fees, if required. Most schools have application fees, some are waived. Check the school you are applying to for their cost and be sure you include it with your application. Online application fees are usually accepted with a credit card.

College Admissions Essay - Write about something you are enthusiastic and passionate about. Proofread many times and revise. Use your own words, rather than picking words out of the thesaurus.

•Letters of Recommendation - Have your best teachers write you letters of recommendation.

•Follow Up - Always make copies of your application and follow up with the school to be sure they have received all the necessary documents.

SAT - You can take the SAT as many times as you like. A higher score will increase your chances of getting accepted. To increase your SAT Scores be sure read about SAT test tips.

•Stay in contact - If the college admissions department contacts you for more information, respond as soon as possible.

•College Evaluation - Thoroughly evaluate the college you would like to apply to. Prepare a list of questions, visit the campus, research articles on the school and talk to other students that have attended or graduated from there.
For more information on college applications and what college may be right for your child, resources and more visit College Board, College View, and Campus Grotto.
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Monday, October 26, 2009

Sue Scheff: How do your children use the Internet?

During National Cyber Safety Awareness Month, I am adding some great articles from a variety of different websites. School Family, which offers a vast amount of information for you and your child regarding education, teachers, activities and more, have included an excellent article about Cyber Safety.

How do your children use the internet? Here’s what you should know about six common activities kids do online.

by Sharron Kahn Luttrell

As the first generation of Internet parents, we’re at the bottom of a learning curve that seems to grow steeper with each new application and digital device. It’s tempting to try to keep our kids away from the computer. After all, what we don’t know could hurt them. But the Internet offers many benefits, educational as well as social.

We can help our children take advantage of the best the Internet has to offer by showing them how to make smart decisions both online and off. To do that, we must keep pace with technology. The best way is to step into our children’s online world. Here are six key ways kids use the Internet and what you should know about each one.

1. Learning Online

The Internet is often the first (and only) stop for students who have a project to research or a question they want answered. Children as young as kindergarten age may use the Internet to do simple web searches or to find a book in the school library’s online catalog.

As students advance through the grades, school assignments may include emailing book authors or experts in subjects they’re studying. They’ll be expected to research topics and write reports using online resources, including text, images, and videos.

Your child’s school should teach students to avoid plagiarism as well as how to distinguish between good information and bad. You can reinforce these lessons at home. Use child-safe search engines, for example. And focus on results from trusted resources, such as the websites of established organizations and well-known newspapers and magazines. Show your child how to put her findings into her own words and to cite the sources she uses.

2. Visiting Virtual Worlds

Children of all ages are drawn to virtual worlds where they can customize and control their own characters (called “avatars”), play games, interact with other players, enter contests, and shop using virtual money. Virtual worlds are so popular with kids that there are 200 such sites already live or being planned, according to media company Virtual Worlds Management. Some of these have strong educational components, challenging players with learning games and encouraging social and civic responsibility. Others focus more heavily on consumer opportunities, encouraging users to win or earn money to buy virtual items for their avatars.
Ask your child for a tour of her favorite virtual worlds. Check out the privacy features and parental controls. Some sites allow users to chat but block certain information, such as email addresses or telephone numbers. Others allow users to interact only through prewritten phrases. Steer your child toward virtual worlds that promote values similar to your own.

3. Social Networking

Social networking sites are the online equivalent of hanging out with friends. They allow users to stay in touch through instant messaging, posting public messages to one another’s profiles, sharing photos and videos, playing online games, sending virtual gifts, and much more. Privacy settings allow users to restrict who can view their profiles.

Some social networking sites cater to younger children, though the most popular, Facebook and MySpace, require users to be 13 or older. However, neither site has a way to verify the ages of users and preteens might open accounts by misstating their age.

The best way to learn about social networking is to create your own profile and play with the different applications. If your child has an account, add him to your list of friends so you can view one another’s profiles and see who else is on your child’s list of friends. These lists can easily grow into the hundreds as users give access to friends of friends. A good rule of thumb is that only people your child has met in person should have access to her social networking profile.

4. Staying in Touch With Friends

Once children reach their preteen and teenage years, texting and instant messaging through computers, cell phones, and other mobile devices become their preferred means of communication. And they’re not limited to the written word. Kids use camera-equipped cell phones, digital cameras, and webcams to send images of themselves to friends. While this can be a fun and creative way to share their lives, it’s important to remind your child that he’ll lose control of his message or image as soon as he sends it out. Many have learned this the hard way when a text or picture they meant for only one friend to see appeared on the cell phones and computer screens of all their classmates.

5. Posting and Viewing Videos

Video-sharing sites are incredibly popular with kids. Children log on to see the funny homemade video the other kids are talking about; to watch their favorite soccer player score a winning goal; even to learn how to tie a slip knot. With a free account, users can also create and post their own videos and give and receive feedback.

With access to millions of videos comes the risk that your child will stumble upon something disturbing or inappropriate. The video-sharing site YouTube has a policy against sexually explicit content and hate speech, but it relies on users to flag content as objectionable. Sit down with your child when she logs onto video-sharing sites so you can guide her choices. Tell her that if you’re not with her and she sees something upsetting, she should get you. Reassure her that you won’t be angry and you won’t punish her. But it’s important that you know what she sees so you can figure out together what to do about it.

6. Playing Games

Certain game consoles, such as Xbox Live, allow players to interact online through text messaging or voice chat using a headset. If your child plays online games, set a rule that he play only with people he knows in person. And make sure he knows that if he sees anything that makes him feel uncomfortable, he should stop playing and tell you immediately.

As your child grows and digital technology evolves, keep the lines of communication open. Show that you’re interested in her online life. But don’t worry if you’re always a few steps behind. Because as a parent your job isn’t to hold your child’s hand every step of the way. It’s to prepare her to one day go out into the world without you. Both online and off.

Follow School Family on Twitter.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Sue Scheff: Last Minute College Application Tips

It is that time of year again when many High School teens seniors are applying to colleges. Are you running behind? Struggling to get through the application process? Here are some last minute college application tips from Peterson's Guide.

Applications are highly evolved documents, based on numerous admission deans asking themselves if they're asking you the right questions. For that reason, how you fill out an application is almost as important as the information you include. In other words, follow directions!

Review the requirements

Applying to college typically involves a fair amount of paperwork. So before you hit the post office or hit send, take a long last look at your application.

If you're applying electronically, did you type carefully and check your spelling? If you're applying on paper, was your application filled out neatly?

Did you take shortcuts? A partially completed application is a clear signal that you are not an eager applicant.

Did you send too much information? If a two-page essay is requested, did you send in four? Only do so if you’re not sending fluff!

Did you send all the information that was asked for — including transcripts, test scores, and recommendations?

Did you meet or beat deadlines?

Submit as early as possible

With deadlines in sight, keep in mind that admission offices are inundated with applications for a few months each year. When applying to college, consider getting your application in when the staff doesn't have hundreds and hundreds of them to read.Stragglers are accepted of course, but why send yours in at the last minute when you could get it there before the rush hits?Double-check the writing in your college application

Nothing says "I don't really care about this college" like inadvertently putting another college's name somewhere in the application. The same goes with spelling the college's name incorrectly. Either error signals a major lack of seriousness about really wanting to attend that particular school. Avoid sending gifts

Gimmicks don't impress application readers, either. No matter how tempting it may be when you really, really want to get into a particular school, sending cookies or balloon bouquets doesn't make a good impression. It’s better to get noticed for the right things, like academic excellence and leadership qualities.

For more information visit College Board, Peterson's Guide

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teen Help - Parents Universal Resource Experts

The past several months we have been hearing disturbing news on bullying, school violence, drug abuse and the dangers surrounding our kids and teens today.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

With the increase of school violence, you need to be an educated parent. An educated parent is a prepared parent, which leads to a safer teenager. Don't be a parent in denial, reach out for help if you feel your teen is escalating out of control.

For more information, please read my book, Wit's End! How to Save Your Out of Control Teen. Also available in major books stores and Amazon. Visit

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Monday, October 19, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teens Stealing

Too Young To Start

There are almost as many reasons teens steal as there are things for teens to steal. One of the biggest reasons teens steal is peer pressure. Often, teens will steal items as a means of proving’ that they are “cool enough” to hang out with a certain group. This is especially dangerous because if your teen can be convinced to break the law for petty theft, there is a strong possibility he or she can be convinced to try other, more dangerous behaviors, like drinking or drugs. It is because of this that it is imperative you correct this behavior before it escalates to something beyond your control.

Another common reason teens steal is because they want an item their peers have but they cannot afford to purchase. Teens are very peer influenced, and may feel that if they don’t have the ‘it’ sneakers or mp3 player, they’ll be considered less cool than the kids who do. If your teen cannot afford these items, they may be so desperate to fit in that they simply steal the item. They may also steal money from you or a sibling to buy such an item. If you notice your teen has new electronics or accessories that you know you did not buy them, and your teen does not have a job or source of money, you may want to address whereabouts they came up with these items.

Teens may also steal simply for a thrill. Teens who steal for the ‘rush’ or the adrenaline boost are often simply bored and/ or testing the limits of authority. They may not even need or want the item they’re stealing! In cases like these, teens can act alone or as part of a group. Often, friends accompanying teens who shoplift will act as a ‘lookout’ for their friend who is committing the theft. Unfortunately, even if the lookout doesn’t actually steal anything, the can be prosecuted right along with the actual teen committing the crime, so its important that you make sure your teen is not aiding his or her friends who are shoplifting.

Yet another reason teens steal is for attention. If your teen feels neglected at home, or is jealous of the attention a sibling is getting, he or she may steal in the hopes that he or she is caught and the focus of your attention is diverted to them. If you suspect your teen is stealing or acting out to gain your attention, it is important that you address the problem before it garners more than just your attention, and becomes part of their criminal record. Though unconventional, this is your teen’s way of asking for your help- don’t let them down!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teens Homework and Procrastination

As the first quarter of school is either completed or about over, many parents are either thrilled with the reports they are receiving less than happy results. I have heard over and over again how teens are very intelligent, do well on exams yet fail to complete their homework assignments which can lead to failing grades. Does this sound familiar? Check out these great parenting tips from Connect with Kids.

Source: Connect with Kids


“For me, it probably started [in] sixth grade, seventh grade.”

– Tony, 18 year old

During the school year, it’s one of the most common household battles of them all: homework. Getting your kids to finish their homework before they turn on the TV, or get on Facebook, or start texting their friends.

About getting homework finished, there are a million excuses.

“Best one was freshman year, I said my mom was driving me to school and it was really hot, so we had the window rolled down. I was doing my math homework, and it flew out the window,” 17-year-old Hamida says.

“I’ve said that I’ve been beaten up by rival schools on my way to school and they’ve taken my homework,” says Tony, 18.

Nearly every student has used excuses and exaggeration to wiggle their way out of finishing their homework. And it usually starts in grade school.

“I always used to blame not having my homework or an assignment on my mom. She didn’t put it in my backpack, or she must have left it on the kitchen counter,” 17-year-old Heidi says.

But eventually, the homework gets done, and that’s why experts say the REAL issue is procrastination. “There’s always fun things to do that are more fun than studying, more fun than learning,” says Viera Pablant, a clinical psychologist.

The challenge is to train your kids to get unpleasant tasks out of the way early, before they have to make excuses. “Since early childhood, begin to teach children how to wait for things, how to work for things, how to save money, for example, to get what they want,” Pablant says.

Psychologists call it “delayed gratification,” which means chores and homework come first; fun comes after they’re done. Then, your child won’t need excuses like the one’s Hamida uses.

“Oh, my favorite one was I said I left my homework in my car. It was a worksheet, and I took my car to the cleaners and when they were vacuuming inside it just went away; they sucked it up,” she says.

Parents beware: a study from researchers at DePaul University in Chicago shows that students’ excuses for missing academic deadlines are actually bald-faced lies about 70% of the time. The study of 224 American college undergraduates also rated the most common “fake” excuses used by student procrastinators, which included the following:

•“I was sick.”
•“I didn’t understand the assignment.”
•“I overslept.”
•“My alarm failed.”
•“I forgot.”
•“I had a family emergency.”
•“My grandma/grandpa died.”

According to study author Joseph Ferrari, “It sounds cynical, but professors really need to be skeptical when a student tells you ‘well, this is why I can’t do this or that. Most of the time, they are falsehoods.”

Tips for Parents
Why do some children procrastinate? According to the National Association of Children’s Hospitals and Related Institutions, power struggles begin to kick in when children begin school. They want to exert more independence and control. Putting off homework that an authority figure has assigned is one way in which children try to take more control. Sometimes, if kids feel a lot of pressure from parents, peers and others to achieve, they might procrastinate because they fear failing. Another reason for procrastinating is the feeling of being overwhelmed. These children procrastinate because they want to postpone those negative feelings.

If you have difficulty getting your child to do his or her homework, the Coordinated Campaign for Learning Disabilities suggests that you need to begin by acting as a role model for your child. Take the opportunity to read a book or newspaper while your child studies. Show your child that learning is a lifelong process.

Try these additional tips from the National Parent Information Network to prevent your child from putting off a project until the last minute:

Make homework a priority.

•Encourage your child to take responsibility for completing his or her assignments.
•Set rules making homework more important than other activities, such as television, games, etc.
•Supply your child with the materials he or she needs to do work both at school and at home.
Show interest in your child’s learning and education.

•Talk to your child about school and show interest in what your child is learning.
•Encourage your child to ask and answer questions about what he or she is studying.
•Set up family literacy-related activities, such as regular trips to the library and reading together.
•Attend or participate in school activities.
Know the homework policy of your child’s teachers.

•Know what type of assignments your child is expected to complete.
•Find out how much time your child is expected to spend on homework each night.
•Find out what type of parental involvement each teacher expects.
•Encourage your child’s school to set up homework hotlines and a website that allows teachers to post daily assignments and other information to help parents know what their children are working on.
Set aside a time and place to study and to do homework.

•Create a place at home that makes it easy for your child to study and learn.
•Set a time your child can devote to doing homework.
•Eliminate distractions, such as television, telephone and other noises, while your child is studying.
•Some children may find it easier to work with soft music playing; others may not.
Help your child keep track of daily assignments.

•Check homework schedules each day.
•Call your local homework hotline, if available.
Check your child’s completed homework.

•Check to ensure that work is complete and neat.
•Read teacher comments on graded assignments to see what areas your child needs to work on.
Help your child develop a study plan.

•Help your child identify what he or she needs to accomplish during each study session.
•Make sure your child reads and follows directions on all assignments before beginning work.
•Make sure your child understands what he or she is expected to do.
•Allow your child to take breaks based on his or her individual needs.
Help your child learn time management skills.

•Establish and follow a daily schedule.
•Encourage your child to complete homework when it is assigned, not just before it is due.
•Help your child learn to break longer assignments down into shorter sections.
Be consistent!

•Enforce the rules you establish for your child.
•Children of all ages and grade levels sometimes need parental involvement in homework. Make yourself available to help.

•Coordinated Campaign for Learning Disabilities
•DePaul University
•National Association of Children’s Hospitals and Related Institutions
•National Parent Information Network

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Sue Scheff: How to teach kids self-control

As usual, Kara Tamanini has a great article on kids today and learning self control. Her children's book series is excellent! I encourage people to purchase their today!
How to teach kids self-control

Self-control truly is a basic lesson that needs to be learned early in life. Children must understand early that they are the ones that have control over the quality of their life and they have a choice over whether they have privileges or if they have consequences for their behaviors/actions. If a child chooses to do what they are told then they receive privileges or get to do what they want and if they decide to not do what they are told, then their should be consequences for this. Parents must set limits and boundaries and then stick to the consequences of their children’s choices, whether good or bad on a consistent basis.

The basic formula to teach self-control is to give children freedom, allow them to make choices whether it is good or bad, and then deal with the consequences of their actions depending on what choices they have made. When a child has done something good and they have listened, then praise them for it. When they have not, then we dole out consequences. Parents should give privileges when they have been earned and let their children know that they are receiving privileges as a result of having made good choices, no matter what the age of your child. When a child has made poor choices, parents should empathize with what they have lost (ie.. consequences), however they should not say, “I told you so” or “I told you this would happen.” Rubbing it in will not help matters. Make statements such as, “That’s sad that you can’t go out with your friends” or “I feel for you that you don’t get an allowance this week, now you can’t buy that CD.”

The goal as parents is to not control our children, but to make them do what you want them to do. Parents need to give them the choices of what to do and make it painful for them when they make the wrong choices so they won’t want to do them again. When we balance children’s freedoms, their choices, and hand out consequences, this is how we can teach children to control themselves accordingly.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Sue Scheff: National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month

As a Parent Advocate, I am frequently asked to post current events that can help you be an educated parent and raise safer children. Today’s generation of teens as well as the challenges of parenting can be overwhelming.

I recently posted an article about the dangers of Inhalant Abuse. These are items that can be found in your home and kids today have learned how to use them to ”get high.”

Today we are talking about cough medicine abuse. One of several parents is sharing her story with us. Please take the time to learn more about this growing trend. As with inhalants, these items can be easily located in your home and simply purchased at your local stores.
Read a recent letter (reprinted with permission) from a mother that is sharing her own experience of losing her son to medicine abuse.

My name is Misty Fetko. I am a registered nurse, mom of two, and the newest member of the Five Moms: Stopping Cough Medicine Abuse campaign. As I have been told, you have been one of the biggest allies of the Stop Medicine Abuse program, and I speak for everyone who’s been involved (even though I’m new!) when I say thank you for what you’ve done for these initiatives.

The reason you are hearing from me now is that October is National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month, something that has particular meaning to my family and me. In 2003, I discovered my older son, Carl, unresponsive in his bedroom. He passed away that day from a lethal mix of drugs including Fentanyl, a prescription narcotic; marijuana; and dextromethorphan (DXM), the active ingredient in over-the-counter cough medicines.

As an emergency room nurse, I know about substance abuse from first-hand experience, but even with all that knowledge I never knew that teens were abusing cough medicine to get high. I’ve joined the Five Moms campaign in an effort to ensure that parents have all the information about medicine abuse that I unfortunately did not have.

As a widely read and influential voice in the online community, I am asking you to help me spread the word about the dangers of medicine abuse among your readers.
Thank you Misty for sharing your story.

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Monday, October 12, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teens and Respect for Authority

Does today’s younger generation have less respect than past generations? According to a recent poll, the answer is “yes.” Do we need a poll to tell us that? Years ago we were never calling our parents friends by their first name. When our parents told us to be in by 10pm, we were in by 9:50pm to be sure we were on time.

Today, it seems many teens are stretching boundaries, using extremely disrespectful tones and words to their parents and in some cases have driven their parents to their wit’s end.

What can parents do? How does it start? Where does it start and more important, how do we get it to stop?

Source: Connect with Kids


“Sometimes we get recognized for bad behavior and in a competitive, complex world where everybody is sort of vying for attention, and people are accepting bad behavior and seeing people get recognized for bad behavior, it’s normal for children unless they are taught otherwise, to follow that.”

– Stacey DeWitt, President, Connect with Kids

Serena Williams curses at a line judge, Congressman Joe Wilson yells at the President, a rap star interrupts an award show. And, at the same time, the Parents Television Council reports that children today use more coarse language and cuss words than ever before. Is there a connection?

Fifteen-year-old Michelle was constantly in trouble at school. “I just had no respect for anyone or anything,” she says. “I definitely wasn’t a nice person.”

She says nearly every day she was sent to the principal’s office. And the first impression she left on Assistant Principal Eric King: “Nasty, just, she was a freshman girl who I think was referred the first time for cursing in the hall, yelling actually curse words in the hall.”

King says he talked to her parents at least 15 times on the phone. Her father, Al Di Tizio, remembers, “He said, ‘Mr. DiTizio, Michelle’s language is just out of control’.”

A tennis star curses, a Congressman interrupts the President, a rap star steals the microphone. And, all the while, experts say, kids are watching. “Sometimes we get recognized for bad behavior and in a competitive, complex world where everybody is sort of vying for attention, and people are accepting bad behavior and seeing people get recognized for bad behavior, it’s normal for children unless they are taught otherwise, to follow that,” explains Stacey DeWitt, President of Connect with Kids.

In order to raise respectful and courteous kids, DeWitt says parents need to ask themselves a couple of questions: “A – are we teaching our children about that, are we actually sitting down and actually talking to them about how they should behave… and B – are we modeling it. Are we teaching them to manage their behavior and are we showing them how to manage behavior because we manage our own?”

Michelle was suspended and got detention, but school staff never yelled at her, never insulted her, never said she was a “bad” person. And today she is on the honor roll and no longer in trouble. Why?

“Probably the look on their faces most of the time,” Michelle says. “Because it was just like a look of shame and I was tired of, you know, having people look down upon me. And I was tired of being like a failure, you know?”

“Deep down she started to say ‘my goodness it’s going to be easier for me to just be good’ or basically to just live up to the expectations,” says Assistant Principal King.

It just got easier to be good.

Tips for Parents

Does today’s younger generation have less respect than past generations? According to a recent poll, the answer is “yes.” Consider the following results:

•Nearly 75 percent of Americans thought manners were worse today than 20 or 30 years ago.
•Those surveyed primarily placed the blame on inadequate parenting.
•People also cited movies and television shows as influencing children to be less respectful.
According to Sara Alice Tucker, a fourth grade teacher in Cornelia, Ga., school curriculum can incorporate learning about respect and manners. Some suggestions include:

•Write/publish original books or short stories about good manners.
•Create “problem manners” stories for the rest of the class to read and role-play.
•Design cards that cover the proper use of eating utensils.
•Make videos of people properly greeting and introducing others.
•Take digital pictures of children using good manners, then add text to turn them into posters.
By the time children enter grade school, the groundwork for how they will respond to authority figures has already been laid. That’s not to say that children can’t correct bad behavior or change their attitudes, but their home situation plays a significant role in their character development. Experts at Friends Hospital in Philadelphia have created a list of ways to help prevent behavioral problems:

•Establish “together time,” including a regular weekly routine for doing something special with your child, even if it’s just going out for ice cream.
•Don’t be afraid to ask where, what, who, when — where your kids are going, who they’ll be with, when they’ll be home. Get to know your kid’s friends – and their parents.
•Try to be home when your child gets home after school.
•Eat together often. Meals are a great time to talk about the day, bond, and build relationships.
•Become a better listener. Ask and encourage questions. Ask for your child’s input about family decisions. When you show that you’re willing to listen, your child will feel more comfortable about opening up to you.
•Don’t react in a way that will cut off further discussion. If your child says things that challenge or shock you, turn them into a calm discussion.
•Be a day-to-day example of your value system. Show the compassion, honesty, generosity and openness you want your child to have.
•Know that there is no such thing as “do as I say, not as I do” when it comes to your kids.
•Examine your own behavior. Make sure it is consistent with what you want to teach your kids.
•Reward good behavior consistently and immediately. Expressions of love, appreciation and thanks go a long way – even for kids who think they’re too old for hugs.
•Accentuate the positive. Emphasize what your children do right. Restrain the urge to be critical. Affection and respect will reinforce good behavior (and can change bad behavior.) Embarrassment or uneasiness won’t.
•Create rules. Discuss in advance the consequences of breaking rules. Don’t make empty threats or let the rule-breaker off easy. Don’t impose harsh or new, unexpected punishments, either.
•Set a curfew. Enforce it strictly, but be ready to negotiate on special occasions.
•Have kids check in at regular times.
•Call the parents of a child who is having a home party to make sure that there will be adult supervision. On the night of the party, don’t be afraid to stop by to say hello (and make sure that a parent is home).
•Listen to your instincts. Don’t be afraid to intervene if your gut tells you something is wrong.
•Let your children know how much you care, especially when they are having problems.
•Keep a positive attitude about your ability to be a parent.
•Take care of yourself. Meet your needs for support with other adults so you can establish healthy parent-child boundaries.
•Take time to teach your children values while they are young. Live your own values every day.
•Make your home a safe, secure and positive environment. Provide appropriate privacy for each family member.
•Get involved in your child’s school, your neighborhood and your community. You are responsible for parenting your child — not teachers and other authority figures in your child’s life.
•Set clear rules and limits for your children. However, as your children grow, be flexible and adjust the rules and limits accordingly. Don’t forget to help children learn to set their own limits, too.
•Follow through with consequences for your children’s misbehavior. Be certain the consequences are immediate and relate to the misbehavior, not your anger.
•Let your children take responsibility for their own actions. They will learn quickly if misbehavior results in unpleasant natural consequences.
•Be a guide for your children. Offer to help with homework, in social situations and with concerns about the future. Help them direct and redirect their energy and to understand and express their feelings.
•You are separate from your child. Let go of the responsibility for all your children’s feelings or outcomes of their decisions. Your children’s successes or failures are theirs, not yours.
•Create a foundation of mutual appreciation, support and respect; this is the basis of your relationship into their adult years.

•Teenagers Today
•Education World
•Friends Hospital

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Sue Scheff: Inhalant Abuse - Talk to your teens

Inhalant abuse is a substance use that many parents are not aware of, or simply don't understand how easy this is for teen and tweens to take advantage of. Teen drug use is a major concern for all parents, however they need to think about simple household products that your teens can use to get high.

Here are some great talking tips with your teen. Remember, an educated parent is a prepared parent which leads to a safer teen.


• 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.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Sue Scheff: What NOT to Teach Your Kids/Teens Online

I recently wrote an article, Internet Things Your Children Should Never Know, so when I saw Michele Borba's article, I was thrilled she wrote about about this critical subject. Remember, be an educated parent, you will have a safer child!

7 Cyberspace DON’TS To Teach Your Kids To Help Them Stay Safer Online

REALITY CHECK: One survey found that half of three thousand U.S. children surveyed during the previous six months said they or someone they know had been victims or guilty of cyberbullying. Talk to your kids and monitor that computer!

Our kids are called the “Net Generation” and for good reason. After all, this is the first group born into the era of Ipods, cell phones, text messaging, websites, podcasts, and blogs. But it’s also caused many a parent to lose a good night’s sleep with images of online sexual predators, pornography, social networking, cyber stalkers and scores of inappropriate sites.

The parenting goal here isn’t about banning your kids’ Internet access. After all, the Internet is here to stay and the educational benefits for our children are enormous. Instead, we adults need to get a bit savvier about cyberspace and learn what our kids do online so we can give them the guidance they need to use the Internet safely.

Here are my seven cyberspace don’ts from The Big Book of Parenting Solutions you might consider discussing with your kids to help keep them safer online.

Don’t go on unapproved sites. Be clear as to which sites are “parent approved.” When in doubt, your child should ask you. Keep this rule until you know your child can be trusted.

Don’t download or buy. Don’t buy anything online without your parents’ approval, take or give anything to anyone unless your parents say it is okay, or download anything or install programs without first asking permission.

Don’t keep secrets. If you ever feel uneasy or uncomfortable about an exchange you had with anybody online or if you ever feel threatened tell an adult immediately. And then ask your parent needs to get you a new account and password. Even then periodically change your password. And if you log onto an inappropriate site tell your parent. They can track the history of where sites you frequented, so admit what happened.

Don’t give personal information. Never give out any personal information such as your name or your parent’s name, birthday, address, phone number, password, social security number or credit card number. Don’t sent a photograph over the Internet to someone you don’t know personally.

Don’t exchange. Don’t give out your passwords to even your closest friend. Don’t let someone take your place at the computer and pretend to be you.

Don’t respond. If you feel uncomfortable or the message you’re getting feels strange, don’t respond. Ever. Hit the back key, log off right then, and tell your parents.

Don’t meet. Never ever meet anyone you’ve met on-line without your parents present. You never meet anyone offline that you met online without your parents approval and accompaniment. Your parents may access and look at any of your files at any time.

Remember, parents will always be their kids’ best filter. Make sure to use your influence!

Dr. Michele Borba recently released her BIG BOOK of Parenting Solutions. It is a must have for every parent!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Sue Scheff: Internet Things Your Child Should Never Know

October is National Cyber Safety Awareness Month.
It is a perfect time to review some great tips for parents, teens, kids, small business owners and everyone. The Internet today is our new information highway.

It is important that we are educated on the power of the Internet as well as the pitfalls of it. The World Wide Web has been considered an educational tool, however like with many things in life; there can be a dark side.

Take the time to become aware of tips to keep you and your family safe in cyberspace.

I will be bringing tips through this month from different sources; all are targeted to helping you be more secure while online.

Here is some advice from Nurse Practitioner Schools:

Internet Things Your Child Should Never Know

Strangers online are okay. Remind them that a stranger on the internet should be treated like a stranger in real life. If ignoring them doesn’t work, they should tell a parent. Check out NetSmartz for more.

Posting a picture is okay in certain situations. Even an innocent looking picture, once it is out there, can be changed to do all sorts of damage. Encourage your child to post a picture of themselves as a favorite cartoon character as a safe and fun option.

It’s okay to chat with other children online. Because anyone can pose as anyone else on the internet, chatting and other activities still fall under the no stranger rules. If you’re child does chat, make sure you know who they are chatting to both online and in person.

What type of monitoring software you use. If they can Google it, chances are a savvy child will be able to find out how to disable it. Keep software boxes and receipts out of sight so the child cannot find out that way, either.

If they are being monitored. Children who know they are being monitored may wait until they have access to another computer to do the stuff they know they shouldn’t be doing. If you catch your child doing something you don’t approve of, talk with them instead of blowing up at them.

Your passwords. Because adults often use the same passwords for different sites, telling your child even one password can open the door to them accessing every online account you have. If you have a family account on a site such as Flickr, have the whole family come up with a password together.

More advice and tips will be coming soon. Don’t miss this month of Cyber Safety Awareness. Keep in mind, an educated parent is a prepared parent which leads to safer children.

Also on

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sue Scheff: Bullying Victims

Tomorrow (October 5th) is Blue Shirt Day to join together and STOMP OUT BULLYING. Today, October 4th – 10th is National Prevention Awareness of Bullying week. Take the time to get involved.

Bullying Victims

“They just think that that’s a part of high school, like that’s just the process they go through.”
– Becky, 17 years old

A child is taunted in the hallway, a child is pushed in the bathroom, and another child is punched on the bus. The latest numbers on bullying show that one in four students is bullied, one in five admits to being a bully, over a quarter of a million kids are physically attacked each month, and eight percent of students have missed school because they were afraid.

“People don’t usually take a stand about that because they’re too scared,” says Brittany, 15.
“And I can remember the names of every single kid who used to kick me, jump me, take my lunch, push me around,” says Nam, 19.

Experts say bully victims often become depressed and isolated and that those feelings can last into adulthood.

“That they go to work and they can’t stand up and speak for themselves. They go to do something in their religious community, and they don’t feel empowered to give back – something that they want to do, that will make them part of the community. They just don’t have it. It got shut down in school through the systematic abuse,” explains Dr. David Fenstermaker, a psychologist and expert on school violence.

Bullying has been around since the days of the one-room schoolhouse, but kids say parents still don’t understand.

“A large percentage of the students at our school get bullied every day. The ones that don’t are the bullies themselves,” says Brittany, 15.

Experts say it’s vital that you learn about your child’s school day … every day. And sometimes, specifically ask about bullying. “You can be sensitive, have empathy with them so they realize they are not alone. That’s one of the most devastating feelings is that you feel, ‘I’m all alone in this. Nobody understands, nobody cares,’” says Dr. Allen Carter, a psychologist.
Carter says parents should take their children’s fears seriously. They must talk to teachers, the principal, the bully’s parents … do whatever it takes to stop the pain.
“Ten years later, and I still got it embedded in my mind,” Nam says.

Tips for Parents

Parental involvement is the key to reducing and preventing bullying and the problems it brings. The NCPC offers the following tips to help prevent bullying incidents in your child’s school and community:

Listen to your child. Encourage him or her to talk about school, social events, classmates and the walk or ride to and from school so you can identify any problems he or she may be experiencing.
Take your child’s complaints of bullying seriously. Probing a seemingly minor complaint may uncover more severe grievances.

Watch for symptoms that your child may be a bullying victim. These symptoms include withdrawal, a drop in grades, torn clothes or the need for extra money or supplies.

Tell the school or organization immediately if you think that your child is being bullied. Alerted caregivers can carefully monitor your child’s actions and take steps to ensure his or her safety.
Work with other parents in your neighborhood. This strategy can ensure that children are supervised closely on their way to and from school.

Teach your child nonviolent ways to resolve arguments.

Teach your child self-protection skills. These skills include how to walk confidently, staying alert to what’s going on around him or her and standing up for himself or herself verbally.

Help your child learn the social skills needed to make friends. A confident, resourceful child who has friends is less likely to be bullied or to bully others.

Praise your child’s kindness toward others. Let him or her know that kindness is valued.

Don’t bully your child yourself, physically or verbally. Use nonphysical, consistently enforced discipline measures as opposed to ridiculing, yelling or ignoring your child when he or she misbehaves.

Although anyone can be the target of a bully, victims are often singled out based on psychological traits more than physical traits. The National Resource Center for Safe Schools says that passive loners are the most frequent victims, especially if they cry easily or lack social self-defense skills.

Many victims are unable to deflect a conflict with humor and don’t think quickly on their feet. They are usually anxious, insecure and cautious and suffer from low self-esteem. In addition, they rarely defend themselves or retaliate and tend to lack friends, making them easy to isolate. Therefore, it is vital that you instill confidence in your child and empower him or her to become a healthy, socially adjusted adult.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Crime Prevention Council
National Institute of Child Health & Human Development
National Resource Center for Safe Schools
Also visit for more information.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Sue Scheff: 50 Things Your Child Should Never Know

50 Things Your Child Should Never Know

Source: Nurse Practitioner Schools (There are 50 great tips from this Blog. I listed several, however encourage you to visit the site and read them all.)

Things Your Child Should Never Know for the Safety of the Family

Just because they can access it, doesn’t mean they know what to do with it. Keep your children from inadvertently putting your family in danger by concealing these items:

9. Your social security number. With no need to know this in the first place, a child with a parent’s social security number can do a lot of damage. Refrain from telling them unless there is a very good reason.

10. Your pin number. Even if you graced your child by using their birthday or date that is special to them, there is no reason to tell them your pin number. Anyone who happens to hear your child discussing this can use that information to clean out your bank accounts.

11. Hiding places of valuables. Don’t show them where you hide your valuables or even tell them that there is a hiding place, as they will look. If the child happens upon it, then it’s a good time to find a new hiding place.

12. How much the family is worth. Children who announce their families worth in a dollar amount can make an attractive target to predators. If the child asks, provide vague answers such as “we’re doing okay” or “can’t complain.”

13. Vacation schedule. While it is true that the child is going on vacation with the family, it is important that the child not share that information with strangers. Let them know it is okay to tell teachers, trusted friends, etc. but not everyone needs to know.

14. Where the “adult” items are. Parents who entertain adult reading material, films, or items can expose their child to much confusion. A good idea is to keep it in a locked box and keep the key with you at all times.

15. How to access protected files. Most internet users carry at least some sensitive information on their hard drive such as bank statements or credit card bills. Be sure to keep these locked away and password protected so the child cannot view them.

Learn more at

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Sue Scheff: Online Safety - Online Fool - Be Safe while your surf!

It is October, which starts National Cyber Safety Awareness Month. Take the time to be an educated parent - you will have a safer child while they surf online!

Online Fools
“With 70-thousand videos a day being uploaded to YouTube, it’s kind of hard to stand out. So the kids find they have to keep pushing the envelope - to do something more outrageous - to be able to get attention from that.”

– Steve Harmon, Chair, Division of Learning Technologies, Georgia State University

A new study finds that what kids do online and what parents think they’re doing are not always the same. One example: 29 percent of parents say their kids make fun of teachers online, but almost twice that many kids say they complain and ridicule teachers.

For instance, teacher baiting: students pick a fight with a teacher and record it on their cell phones. The video is then posted to the Internet.

In one such video, a clearly enraged male teacher screams, “When I tell you to stop talking, that means stop whistling and stop acting like an idiot!!”

Kids today are using their cell phones to record all kinds of pranks.

“I remember one time in the wrestling room actually, doing a little exercise that was kind of weird- and somebody actually videotaped it and put it on YouTube. So yeah, that was kind of embarrassing,” says Nathaniel, 18.

On sites like You Tube and eBaum’s World there are videos of heinous wrecks, intentional and otherwise. One boy shoots himself in the face with a paintball gun. Another wipes out after attempting a huge jump on his bike.

Underage drinking is also a popular theme. “I’m going to chug a pint of Jack Daniels out of this here beer bong,” announces a boy who’s made a home video from his college dorm room.

Many kids will try anything to become famous on video-sharing websites.

“With 70-thousand videos a day being uploaded to YouTube, it’s kind of hard to stand out,” says Steve Harmon, the Chair of the Division of Learning Technologies at Georgia State University. “So the kids find they have to keep pushing the envelope - to do something more outrageous - to be able to get attention from that.”

He says parents should remind kids that, besides their friends, teachers, employers and college admissions staff might watch their videos.

“Kids don’t have a good sense that what they put on YouTube is public,” says Harmon. “They feel like they are alone in their room with a computer - and so whatever they upload is private.”

And for kids who think they can post embarrassing video of others and remain anonymous?

“It’s really pretty easy to track down who loaded something up to YouTube if you have any sort of sophisticated search mechanism,” explains Harmon, “And even worse than that, though - kids like to talk about what other kids are doing. So in a local setting, even though the kid thinks what they’ve put online is known only to them and their closest friends, all the other kids know about it - and they are going to tell.”

Tips for Parents
The vast majority of teens spend time online. According to a recent Harris Interactive Poll, 72 percent of teens have an online social-networking profile, 73 percent use cell phones and 91 percent have an email address. But what information are they sharing? Consider these statistics:

■59 percent say posting personal information or photos on public blogs or social-networking sites is “somewhat unsafe” or “very unsafe.”
■7 percent say posting personal information is “very safe.”
■34 percent say it’s “somewhat safe.”
■62 percent say they post photos of themselves.
■45 percent post the name of their school.
■4 percent post their address.
■14 percent post their cell phone number.
Experts say make sure your kids never use their real name or address when posting any material on the Internet. Avoid posting information that would allow a stranger to locate your child. This includes the name of a school or sports team. Also, avoid revealing the city where you live.

Before you buy a video camera, web cam or video phone for your child, take their level of maturity into account. Some children may be too immature to understand the risks involved in posting videos or pictures online. Steve Harmon of Georgia State University also advises it would be difficult to search the web to figure out if your child is posting videos online. There is simply too much content on video-sharing websites. It’s much more productive to talk to your child. Explain the potential downside of posting embarrassing videos online and make sure your kids understand that they lose exclusive control over videos once they are posted on the Internet.

■Federal Bureau of Investigation (Innocent Images National Initiative)
■Georgia State University
■Harris Interactive Poll
■i-SAFE America, Internet safety education group
■Wired Safety, an online safety, education and help group