Friday, January 30, 2009

Sue Scheff: College Dropouts

Source: Connect with Kids

“It’s very, very easy for students to become over-committed very quickly and to lose sight of why they’re in college.”

– Sherrie Nist, Ph.D., Professor.

Lee Hutto’s first attempt at college was not successful.

“My first semester I withdrew because I was gonna fail all my classes,” he says.

As a college freshman, Lee was not prepared for the fraternities, parties, sports and long hours of hard work.

“It’s very, very easy for students to become over-committed very quickly and to lose sight of why they’re in college,” says Dr. Sherrie Nist, director of academic enhancement at the University of Georgia.

In fact, some estimates show 20 percent of college students drop out before the start of their sophomore year- one in five!

One problem, experts say, is they never really learned how to manage their time.

Dr. Nist agrees, “That’s sort of hard to do when your son or daughter is just walking out the door, ‘oh, by the way, manage your time.’ That should be a skill they’re trying to instill in their children from the time they are small children.”

She says parents need to start years before college, allowing kids room to make mistakes, gradually increasing their freedom while they are still at home.

“And then instilling in them once they give them the freedom, they have to accept the responsibility for that freedom. That’s a hard lesson to learn,” she says.

Lee agrees, “I was ready to leave home, but I just wasn’t ready to accept everything that came with college. So, I guess, I wanted the freedom, but not the responsibility.”

One way to reduce freshman dropouts, experts say, is make sure your child is really ready for college, even if that means waiting a year or two.

Dr. Nist says, “Not all 18-year-olds are ready to go off to school and sometimes a year or two out in the workplace and maturing a little bit is the best thing students can do.”

And many kids will go back to school. Lee plans to start again next semester.

“I’ll go there in January and hopefully get the ball rolling again,” he says.

Tips for Parents

For parents, sending their child away to college means a major life adjustment. Packing up their belongings and dropping them off in a foreign environment may be as depressing for you as it is exhilarating to them. Your attitude can have a dramatic impact on their first days or even weeks away from home.

Going to college is an exciting time for students. They are out on their own for the first time, away from mom and dad and living on their own time. They make their own decisions - whether they will go to class or not, who they will hang out with and how late they should stay out the night before exams.

Time management becomes a successful college student’s most valuable tool, one that can make or break their college career. Poor time management skills may be the main reason over 20 percent of college students drop out before the start of their sophomore year.

So how do you ensure your child is prepared for the coming semester? The first step is to make sure they understand why college is important. The U.S. Department of Education says a college degree can mean:

Greater Knowledge. A college education will increase your child's ability to understand developments in science and in society, to think abstractly and critically, to express thoughts clearly in speech and in writing, and to make wise decisions. These skills are useful both on and off the job.

Greater Potential. A college education can help increase your child's understanding of the community, the nation and the world as they explore interests, discover new areas of knowledge, consider lifelong goals and become responsible citizens.

More Job Opportunities. The world is changing rapidly. Many jobs rely on new technology and already require more brain power than muscle power. In your child's working life, more and more jobs will require education beyond high school. With a college education, your child will have more jobs from which to choose.

More Money. A person who attends college generally earns more than a person who does not. For example, in 1994, a person with a college degree from a four-year college earned $12,500 more than a person who did not go to college. Someone with a two-year associate's degree also tends to earn more than a high school graduate.

After explaining the importance of higher education, you need to make sure your child can mange their own time. You may want to consider giving them more room, allowing them to make mistakes. Clemson University also suggests going over the following time management tools:

Remind your teen that in college they control the timing of their academic schedule and they need to do it wisely. Give them a few tasks to do around the house without telling them when and how to do it. This will give them (and you) an idea of how they will manage their time.
Tell them studying properly is serious business. They should plan on devoting hours of out-of-class time per week to the task. The general rule of thumb is 2 hours outside of class for every one hour in class.

Suggest that they will study better if they study often and in relatively short sessions.
Tell them that weekly planning is a good way to ensure that they have adequate time for studying. Before high school ends, have them plan out their week – school activities, extracurricular activities and chores at home. Remind them that writing it down works!
Have them get in the habit of making a weekly schedule of their study plans.
Suggest they stick to their plan!

Often the difference between high school and college is the biggest challenge for new college students. Offer up the following advice on how college is different than high school:

Material is presented more rapidly and in larger quantities.
Fewer exams are given and each exam covers more material.
All assignments typically count toward the final grade.
Keeping up with previous material is essential to understand new topics.
Considerable out-of-class time investments are required to effectively learn course material.
Critical thinking is more important than rote memorization.
Students are expected not only to understand the specific examples given in class, but also to apply their knowledge broadly.
Neither professors nor parents are “looking over your shoulder” to ensure that necessary coursework gets done on time.

Help is available, but you must take the initiative to seek it out.

Clemson University
U.S. Department of Education
University of Minnesota-Duluth

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Sue Scheff - Preventing Drug Abuse

D.A.R.E. - Drug Abuse Resistance Education has been known for many years and has helped been part of many schools in helping children learn the dangers of drug abuse. As a parent, take some time to review their newly updated information and website. It is important that parents and educators work together to help prevent drug use.

This year millions of school children around the world will benefit from D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education), the highly acclaimed program that gives kids the skills they need to avoid involvement in drugs, gangs, and violence.

D.A.R.E. was founded in 1983 in Los Angeles and has proven so successful that it is now being implemented in 75 percent of our nation’s school districts and in more than 43 countries around the world.

D.A.R.E. is a police officer-led series of classroom lessons that teaches children from kindergarten through 12th grade how to resist peer pressure and live productive drug and violence-free lives.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Sue Scheff: Parenting Teens Online

This is a very interesting article that will make parents think when safety trumps privacy - do you suspect your teen or tween is posting disturbing photos or communicating with questionable others? As a parent is is our responsibility to help keep our kids safe online. Having open lines of communication can help tremendously and helping them to understand the consequences of unflattering posts is critical.

We will spy on your teen’s website for you

More and more worried parents are resorting to using data-tracking services to keep up with what their teenagers are doing on the internet, writes Siobhan Cronin

Irish parents are the best in Europe at monitoring their kids on the internet. However, their kids are the least likely of all European children to turn to mum or dad for advice when something happens to them online.

These were the results of a recent survey by the European Commission into internet supervision by parents.

While our parents might be good at keeping tabs on their kids, cyber bullying is still on the increase, sometimes with tragic results.

Cork girl Leanne Wolfe’s horrific tales of bullying were revealed in her diary, days after her death by suicide last year.

Her sister later told of the nasty text messages and vicious internet entries which led Leanne to take her own life.

It is real-life stories like Leanne’s which have led thousands of American parents — and now a few hundred Irish ones — to resort to using a service that will keep tabs on what their children are reading, and uploading, on the web.

But it’s not just bullying that worries parents. Unfettered access to the web for our kids has also meant open access to them from anyone who is ‘roaming’ around in cyberspace.
This has led some parents to take the ultimate action — spying on their own children.

The founder of Reputation Defender, Michael Fertik, has been called to justify his online service: “Would you like to know your 16-year-old daughter is putting pictures of herself wearing only a bra on the web? Yes. People are not born with good judgment and it rarely develops by 15,” he says.

But another defence of Fertik’s service is, he claims, the prevalence of web bullying.
“When we were at school, we wrote mean notes to each other but you threw the piece of paper out the next day — now it’s on the internet wall forever,” he says.

Fertik’s solution, MyChild, scours the internet for all references to your child — by name, photography, screen name, or social network profiles.

For about €9.95 per month, the ‘online spy’ will send you a report of what your child has posted on the worldwide web.

Its approach is unashamedly tapping into parents’ paranoia: “Worried about bullies? Concerned that your teens’ friends and peers are posting inappropriate materials online,” the site asks.
Fertik, who says he has a “few hundred” Irish customers already, says his company grew out of a need to protect online privacy.

“Young people do the same things that they always did,” he points out. But now it’s on a wall on a web page. The internet is like a tattoo parlour.”

The firm, which started in his apartment in Kentucky, and now employs 65 staff servicing 35 countries, brought in revenues of $5.5m (€4.3m) this year.

He insists there is no “hacking” involved. His staff go through legitimate channels, but are simply better trained in the ways of teenage internet usage than most parents.

“We always encourage the parent to get the password — we don’t want to be spying on kids,” he adds.

One of the things that often causes concern among parents is the practice of their own lives being discussed on a website. “These things have always been discussed by children, but now it’s up there for everyone to see. Things like: ‘My parents are fighting’ or ‘I think they are going to get a divorce’.”

In pre-web days, we all had very intimate conversations with our peers about our home lives — either in person, or on the phone. Now it’s all on the internet, Fertik notes.

Once the offending material is identified, Reputation Defender can delete it, on the instructions of the parent, whether it involves comments, photographs or videos posted on social-networking sites, or on chat rooms or forums.

The service has become so popular that the company now offers packages to adults to manage search engine results, ‘reputation’ for career purposes, and general ‘privacy’ — so that you can stop sites selling your personal information to others.

But that very privacy is the reason that children’s rights organisations around the world have come out strongly against the practice.

Michael McLoughlin of Youthwork Ireland, which provides support and youth services for over 40,000 young people, says that while there may be some justification of the service for younger teens, this could become somewhat blurred when dealing with children of 16 or 17 years of age.
“At that stage in their lives they should really know what they are doing themselves,” he says. Youthwork Ireland is currently preparing guidelines for youth workers dealing with online bullying. “We try to tool them up on social networking, and try to improve the safety aspects.”
The ISPCC agrees that children need to be made aware of the risks of online networking. However, National Childline Manager Margie Roe says that while parents need to respect privacy and maintain trust, they also need to police their children if they think they might be in any danger.

“If a parent is concerned about their child, they have a right to protect them,” she says.
“They need to be careful they don’t damage the trust between them and their child, but if they feel their behaviour is in anyway unusual, or their child is disappearing a lot, then it could be justified.”

This would be particularly relevant if parents are concerned their children might be making plans to hook up with people they have only met online, says Margie.

Michael Fertik is adamant that he is not doing anything ethically wrong.

“If a kid is 18 or older, we won’t do it. Parents who are signing up for this feel they don’t know how to keep up with their kids and they don’t understand Facebook or Bebo.”

He says the children themselves have mastered the art of ‘multiple’ personalities, in order to make discovery of their sites more difficult, but Reputation Defender is on their case.

However, even Fertik’s own ’solution’ can be subject to unsavoury interference. The system flags a query when the last name of the parent does not match the child’s, prompting further requests from the applicant, before they are given information on the child’s use of the web.
Fertik’s attitude appears to be that online surveillance is now a necessary evil in our modern world.

“There is no medical privacy for kids, no legal privacy. We are not suggesting they shouldn’t be allowed use the internet, but it’s like driving a car — you want to make sure they know how to drive first.

“We are not spying on someone else’s kid. It’s a new day, the internet brings new threats, and we need new armour.”
- Siobhan Cronin

Friday, January 23, 2009

Sue Scheff - Teen Birth Rates Up?

Teen birth rates up? Parents need to take steps to learn why - what can they do to help their young teens understand having a child is not easy. Before you are faced with this difficult and sensitive situations, continue opening communication about sex as well as contraceptives. Years ago a young teen getting pregnant seemed like the worst possible situation - now having unprotected sex can not only lead to pregnancy and big decisions for young teens, but deadly diseases. Take time to learn more.

“It does give them another way to look at themselves, and to look at their bodies as a powerful force and not just sort of ornamental.”
– Laura Mee, Ph.D., Child Psychologist.

One girl gives birth to a baby. Another plays basketball with her brother. What’s the connection?

Studies show girls who play sports are less likely to have sex and less likely to get pregnant. One reason may be these athletes gain confidence and respect for their bodies.

“It does give them another way to look at themselves, and to look at their bodies as a powerful force and not just sort of ornamental,” explains child psychologist, Dr. Laura Mee.

Experts say experiencing pressure on the court gives them the strength to resist pressure from a boyfriend. And, in their free time, it gives them something else to focus on besides how they look, “Their hair, their clothes, their, like reputation… mostly all they want to do is impress the boys,” says 12-year-old Claire.

What’s more, studies have found that athletic girls have higher self-esteem, better grades and less stress.

So, experts say, encourage your daughters to get involved in sports and then cheer them on. “Make it as important that your daughters have sporting events as you would for your son that you treat them as equally as you possibly can, that you support and encourage and that the other children, whether they are male or female, support and encourage each other in their sports activities,” says Mee.

Tips for Parents

Sex is something parents should constantly discuss with their teens, but you should really give your teens “the talk” before summer and Christmas vacation. According to one study, teens are much more likely to lose their virginity during the months of June and December than any other time of the year. Almost 19,000 adolescents in grades seven through twelve participated in the survey, which identified the month they had sexual intercourse for the first time. The survey also asked if the act was with a romantic partner or was more “casual.”

The findings, published in the Journal of Marriage and Family, show June as the most popular month, followed closely by December. Summer and Christmas vacations are believed to be the cause with school out and teens with time on their hands. More events are also planned in June, including high school proms, graduations and summertime parties. The “holiday season effect” makes December the second highest month for teen sex. Experts explained that during the holidays, young females in relationships are more likely to have sex. The holidays usually bring people together and make them closer. The same is true with teenagers.

All studies indicate messages from parents regarding sex are extremely important to teens (Washington State Department of Health). In fact, teens state parents as their number one resource for information on the topic. This talk may be uncomfortable for many parents, so the National Parent Teacher Association (PTA) has provided the following tips for parents:

Practice. It may take practice to feel comfortable talking about sex with your kids. Rehearsing with a friend or partner can help. Be honest. Admit to your child if talking about sex is not easy for you. You might say, “I wish I’d talked with you about sex when you were younger, but I found it difficult and kept putting it off. My parents never talked to me about it, and I wish they had.”

Pay attention. Often parents do not talk to their teens about sex because they did not notice they wanted or needed information. Not all teens ask direct questions. Teenagers are often unwilling to admit they do not know everything. Notice what is going on with your child and use that as a basis for starting a conversation about sexual topics.

Look for chances to discuss the sexual roles and attitudes of men and women with your child. Use television show, ads and articles as a start.

Listen. When you give your full attention, you show that you respect your child’s thoughts and feelings. Listening also gives you a chance to correct wrong information they may have gotten from friends. As you listen, be sensitive to unasked questions. “My friend Mary is going out on a real date,” could lead to a discussion of how to handle feelings about touching and kissing.
Parents can also share their feelings on the topic through words and actions. The best way is to talk to teens. Even though it may seem like they are not listening – they are. To have a healthy and effective discussion on sex, the Advocates for Youth Campaign encourages parents to:
Educate yourself and talk with your children about issues of sexuality. Do not forget about discussing the importance of relationships, love, and commitment.

Discuss explicitly with preadolescents and teens the value of delaying sexual initiation and the importance of love and intimacy as well as of safer sex and protecting their health.

Encourage strong decision-making skills by providing youth with age-appropriate opportunities to make decisions and to experience the consequences of those decisions. Allow young people to make mistakes and encourage them to learn from them.

Encourage teens to create a resource list of organizations to which they can turn for assistance with sexual health, and other, issues. Work together to find books and Web sites that offer accurate information.

Actively support comprehensive sexuality education in the schools. Find out what is being taught about sexuality, who is teaching it, and what your teens think about it.
Actively voice your concerns if the sexuality education being taught in local public schools is biased, discriminatory, or inaccurate, has religious content, or promotes a particular creed or denomination.

Demonstrate unconditional love and respect for your children.

Advocates for Youth Campaign
Journal of Marriage and Family
National Parent Teacher Association
Washington State Department of Health

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Sue Scheff - Teen Truancy

As second semester is open, the phones are ringing and the parents have a common thread, their teens are not going to school! Skipping classes and already talking about dropping out.

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, January 11, 2009

Sue Scheff - Teen Gangs and Teen Cults

Teen Gangs and Teen Cults

Gangs prey on the weak child that yearns to fit in with a false illusion they are accepted into the “cool crowd”. With most Gangs as with Teen Cults, they can convince your child that joining “their Gang or Cult” will make them a “well-liked and popular” teen as well as one that others may fear. This gives the teen a false sense of superiority. Remember, many of today’s teens that are acting out negatively are suffering with extremely low self confidence. This feeling of power that they believe a gang or cult has can boost their esteem; however they are blinded to the fact that is dangerous. This is how desperate some teens are to fit in.

In reality, it is a downward spiral that can result in damage both emotionally and psychically. We have found Teen Gangs and Teen Cults are sometimes hard to detect. They disguise themselves to impress the most intelligent of parents. We have witnessed Gang members who will present themselves as the “good kid from the good family” and you would not suspect their true colors.
If you suspect your child is involved in any Gang Activities or any Cults, please seek local therapy* and encourage your child to communicate. This is when the lines of communication need to be wide open. Sometimes this is so hard, and that is when an objective person is always beneficial. Teen Gangs and Teen Cults are to be taken very seriously. A child that is involved in a gang can affect the entire family and their safety. Take this very seriously if you suspect your child is participating in gang activity or cult association.

Learn more click here.

Need help - visit

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Sue Scheff: Reactive Attachment Disorder and Internet Addiction

The internet is an incredible resource for information and entertainment, but it does have drawbacks. Besides creating an avenue for dangerous child predators to flourish, the internet has also caused a recent and misunderstood sickness to sweep across the nation. This dangerous new disease is known as Teenage Internet Addiction.

The idea of “internet addiction” began in the 1990’s to explain an unhealthy reliance on the internet that parents noticed their teens developing. Since then, the internet’s popularity explosion and use of sites like Myspace™ and Facebook™ have ushered in a new age of teenage internet addiction.

Sue Scheff™ and other parent advocates realize the danger of teenage internet addiction, and adopted teens are highly susceptible because they often experience Reactive Attachment Disorder, or RAD. RAD develops when a teen is unable to attach trust and development in interpersonal relationships. RAD is caused by the confusion and pain of a child’s separation from their birth mother. Even a child adopted early in life can experience dramatic RAD separation anxiety in their teenage years.

Sue Scheff™ has found that internet addiction increases feelings of anti-social tendencies and the inability to interact with others, much like RAD. Adoptive teens struggle to overcome RAD increases their vulnerability to internet addiction.

Teenagers should not be fearful of the internet, it is an attractive and exciting way to gather information and communicate with others, but parents must be aware of their adopted teen’s internet usage levels. Parents should never spy on their kids; instead they should focus on maintaining open lines of communication, much like they would when dealing with Primal Wound or other adopted teen issues. Parents should ask their kids about their internet habits and ask to look at their Myspace or other profile sites. Parent should never look at teenage pages or pursue web history behind teen’s backs; this can alienate your teenager even more, amplifying feelings of anxiety or RAD.

There are some signs of teenage addiction associated with internet use that Sue Scheff believes parents should be especially aware of. Some of these warning signs are very closely related to teenage depression, another condition that many adopted teens face.

When exploring the possibility of internet addiction, check if your adopted teen experiences powerful euphoric feelings while on the internet and extreme anxiety while away from it. Also check if the teen has intense cravings for the internet, always wanting to return to it. Other warning sings include adopted teens lying about their internet usage and withdrawing from past activities in favor of increased internet usage. Internet addiction’s physical effects include dry eyes, drastic changes in eating habits, increased headache or backaches from focusing on the screen, as well as sleeping problems.

Placing the family computer in an easily monitored area is a good way to prevent internet misuse. Never ban the internet, but work on a time schedule that will be fair for both you and your adopted teen. Also work to encourage non internet activity, which means forcing other family members to reduce internet usage while encouraging outdoor activities.

Adopted teens are at a high risk for internet addiction because of their problems with RAD, but if parents foster healthy family communication practices, do an honest job of trying to understand their teenagers internet needs, and let their teens know they are ready to help them if they need it, than internet addiction and its side effects can be prevented.
Learn more here

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Parents Universal Resource Experts, Sue Scheff - Teen Self Injury

Self abuse (or self mutilation) can come in many forms; most commonly it is associated with cutting, hair pulling or bone breaking, but it can also manifest itself as eating disorders like bulimia, and/or anorexia. This site will focus mainly on cutting, which is the most common form of self abuse, with 72% of all self injurers choosing to do so by cutting themselves, and hair pulling. Cutting is exactly as it sounds; when your teen cuts him or herself as a physical expression to feel emotional pain.

There are many reasons why teens injure themselves, but many people assume it’s just ‘for attention’. Often this can be an element of why your teen may be abusing him or her self, but just as often it can be something your teen does privately to express the emotional pain they feel inside. And while self injury is a taboo subject, it is estimated that 3 to 6 million Americans self injure themselves in some way, and that number is on the increase- in fact, its already doubled in the past three years.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Sue Scheff - Parents Universal Resource Experts - Parenting Talking Tips on Inhalant Use

As the new year has started, parents need to become more educated and informed about today's teens and the issues they face.

Many parents know about substance abuse, and teach our kids to say no to drugs - but do you know about Inhalants? Ordinary household items that can be lethal to teens looking for a quick and inexpensive high? More importantly, sometimes deadly high.

Parent learn more about Inhalant Abuse.

Here is a great "talking tips" page from The Alliance for Consumer Education (ACE) - take the time to learn more today. You could save a child's life.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Sue Scheff 2009 Parenting Tips and Ideas

Sue Scheff – Founder of Parents’ Universal Resource Experts and Author of Wit’s End! Advice and Resources for Saving Your Out-Of-Control Teen
Offers 10 Parenting Quick Tips for 2009

1. Communication: Keeping the lines of communication of your child should be a priority with all parents. It is important to let your kids know you are always there for them no matter what the subject is. If there is a subject you are not comfortable with, please be sure your child has someone they can open up to. I believe that when kids keep things bottled up, it can be when negative behaviors can start to grow.

2. Knowing your Children’s Friends: This is critical, in my opinion. Who are your kids hanging out with? Doing their homework with? If they are spending a lot of time at a friends house, go out of your way to call the parent introduce yourself. Especially if they are spending the night at a friends house, it important to take time to call the parents or meet them. This can give you a feeling of security knowing where your child is and who they are with.

3. Know your Child’s Teachers – Keep track of their attendance at school: Take time to meet each teacher and be sure they have your contact information and you have theirs if there are any concerns regarding your child. In the same respect, take time to meet your child’s Guidance Counselor.

4. Keep your Child Involved: Whether it is sports, music, drama, dance, and school clubs such as chess, government, school newspaper or different committees such as prom, dances and other school activities. Keeping your child busy can keep them out of trouble. If you can find your child’s passion – whether it is football, soccer, gymnastics, dance, music – that can help keep them focused and hopefully keep them on track in school.

5. Learn about Internet Social Networking: In today’s Cyber generation this has to be a priority. Parents need to help educate their kids on Cyber Safety – think before they post, help them to understand what they put up today, may haunt them tomorrow. Don’t get involved with strangers and especially don’t talk about sex with strangers. Avoid meeting in person the people you meet online without you being there. On the same note – cell phone and texting – don’t allow your child to freely give out their cell numbers and never post them online. Parents should consider ReputationDefender/MyChild to further help protect their children online.

6. Encourage your teen to get a job or volunteer: In today’s generation I think we need to instill responsibility and accountability. This can start early by encouraging your teen to either get a job or volunteer, especially during the summer. Again, it is about keeping them busy, however at the same time teaching them responsibility. I always tell parents to try to encourage their teens to get jobs at Summer Camps, Nursing Homes, ASPCA, Humane Society or places where they are giving to others or helping animals. It can truly build self esteem to help others.

7. Make Time for your Child: This sounds very simple and almost obvious, but with today’s busy schedule of usually both parents working full time or single parent households, it is important to put time aside weekly (if not daily at dinner) for one on one time or family time. Today life is all about electronics (cell phones, Ipods, Blackberry’s, computers, etc) that the personal touch of actually being together has diminished.

8. When Safety trumps privacy: If you suspect your teen is using drugs, or other suspicious behaviors (lying, defiance, disrespectful, etc) it is time to start asking questions – and even “snooping” – I know there are two sides to this coin, and that is why I specifically mentioned “if you suspect” things are not right – in these cases – safety for your child takes precedence over invading their privacy. Remember – we are the parent and we are accountable and responsible for our child.

9. Are you considering outside treatment for your child? Residential Therapy is a huge step, and not a step that is taken lightly. Do your homework! When your child’s behavior escalates to a level of belligerence, defiance, substance abuse or God forbid gang relations – it may be time to seek outside help. Don’t be ashamed of this – put your child’s future first and take steps to get the help he/she needs – immediately, but take your time to find the right placement. Read Wit’s End! for more information. Take a moment to read a recent News Articles from the Miami Herald on Wit’s End and Sun-Sentinel - Rescuing Your Troubled Teens.

10. Be a parent FIRST: There are parents that want to be their child’s friend and that is great – but remember you are a parent first. Set boundaries – believe it not kids want limits (and most importantly – need them). Never threaten consequences you don’t plan on following through with.