Saturday, February 28, 2009

Sue Scheff - ADHD and Teen Help

Source: ADDitude Magazine

How can parents best help their ADHD teens? Sometimes, stepping back to allow for some independence (and mistakes) is more important than enforcing discipline and structure on young adults with attention deficit.

I saw Donny for an ADHD evaluation shortly after his eleventh birthday. Like many parents, his mother, Christine, reacted to diagnosis of her adolescent son with mixed feelings: sadness that he was not perfect and that the attention deficit disorder (ADD ADHD) wouldn’t go away - and concern about the implications for Donny’s future.

She hoped that the treatment plan we devised - a combination of academic accommodations, therapy, and ADHD medication - would improve their day-to-day lives. Mostly, she was determined to do whatever was necessary to help her son.

Christine became the boy’s champion, protector, and advocate - getting him the ADHD teen help he needed.

She coordinated with Donny’s teachers, school counselors, soccer coaches, piano teachers, and the parents of his friends to make sure that they understood his needs and treated him fairly. She attended IEP meetings and helped shape his academic plan. Morning, homework, and bedtime routines were established to structure life at home.

The bottom line? Donny thrived.

Changes for the worse

I saw the family again almost four years later. Sad to say, their life had taken a turn for the worse. Donny was and ADHD teen experiencing many of the same problems he had in the past: He was angry and defiant at home; he procrastinated about homework and became disorganized in the classroom. Finally, Donny began to rebel against taking his medication and going for after-school academic support sessions.

The old disciplinary standbys of grounding Donny and taking away his privileges had little effect on his behavior. Christine expressed worry about his choice of friends, and urged him to find more responsible buddies. Donny withdrew from family life and spent more time in his room or with his friends.

Christine was the same motivated mother, but the parenting approach that had worked so well before was now exacerbating Donny’s behavior. What happened, she wondered? And where could she find ADHD teen help.

For one thing, Donny wasn’t the same youngster at 15 that he had been at 11. His perceptions, expectations, and needs had, in some cases, changed drastically. To hear Donny describe things, his caring and dedicated mother had somehow become a controlling, demanding parent. She nagged him constantly, about “everything.” Why couldn’t she get a life and get off his back?

Trying too hard

I told Christine that she was trying too hard. The take-charge, proactive parenting that used to work was now smothering Donny. He didn’t want to be taken care of; he wanted to be independent and mature. He was embarrassed when his mother checked with his teachers about his academic work. The routines set up at home now felt like a straitjacket to Donny. He perceived many of the family rules as attempts to limit his freedom. He hated taking medication. Donny was sick and tired of his AD/HD! He wanted to be like other kids his age.

Christine began to realize how Donny had outgrown many of the old strategies to manage his AD/HD, and her attitude started to change. She had run interference for her son for three years, but now he resented the interventions. She felt frustrated and guilty over Donny’s struggles and concluded that she wasn’t doing enough to help him.

In a nutshell, Donny wanted to grow up, but his loving mother - of all people - was standing in his way. It frustrated both of them. Christine needed a plan to find the right balance in mothering her AD/HD son. Here is the 10-step plan I devised to help her:

1. MAINTAIN REALISTIC GOALS. AD/HD cannot be “cured” because there is nothing to cure; it’s not an illness or a disease. A realistic goal is to help your child manage it well by providing strategies and interventions helpful to that particular child. Even with ideal interventions in place (a great IEP, therapeutic and tutoring help, the right medication at the right dosage), most children will continue to struggle at times. Expecting too much from your child, or from yourself as a parent, isn’t fair to either of you.

Perspective: Everyone slips up occasionally - kids with AD/HD and those without it. Sometimes the school paper is put off until the night before it’s due, and sometimes the garbage doesn’t get taken out. Look at the implications of a given act. If there are none, ask yourself, “What am I getting so upset about?”

2. MINIMIZE THE GUILT AND FEAR.AD/HD is a biological condition that, in most cases, is genetically transmitted. It’s no one’s fault. Parents aren’t guilty of “giving” their child AD/HD any more than they are guilty of giving their child life. Feeling guilty or worrying excessively leads to trying to do too much. Take a breath, relax, and remind yourself that your child isn’t doomed to a life of failure.

Perspective: Recall the baby and giant steps your child has taken since the original diagnosis. Ask yourself honestly: Hasn’t your child made more progress than you thought he would after first being told he had AD/HD? Pat yourself and your child on the back for how far you’ve come and how far you will go.

Read entire article here:

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Sue Scheff: Drug Free America - 20th Annual Teen Study

Data Reveal First Major Increase in Number of Teens Reporting “Learning a Lot” About Risks of Drug Use From Parents

Teen Abuse of Prescription and Over-The-Counter Medicines Remains a Serious Concern

NEW YORK, NY – February 24, 2009 – The Partnership for a Drug-Free America today announced the findings from the 2008 Partnership Attitude Tracking Study, (PATS) which revealed the first major increase in the number of teens who reported “learning a lot” about the risks of drugs from their parents. The study shows that 37 percent of teens reported learning a lot about the risks of drugs from their parents, a significant 16 percent increase from the previous year and the first major increase since the inception of the study. Research consistently shows that teens who learn a lot about the risks of drugs at home are up to 50 percent less likely to use, yet many parents have difficulty talking with their kids about drugs and alcohol.

This progress coincides with data showing remarkable, sustained declines in several drugs of abuse – notably methamphetamine (meth) and marijuana – over the past several years.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teen Safe Driving

The CAUTION-NEWLY LICENSED® Car Magnet was developed to reduce teen car crashes and fatalities.The magnet identifies teens with Learners Permits and First Year Licenses. Placed on the rear of the vehicle, the magnet alerts other drivers to use extreme caution, courtesy, and patience.

A proven method to reduce teen car crashes is more experience behind the wheel. The CAUTION-NEWLY LICENSED® car magnet provides a "shield of protection" from other drivers and allows the teen to concentrate on the road. The magnet protects not only the inexperienced drivers, but also surrounding drivers.

Buses, semi-trucks and drivers education vehicles clearly mark new drivers. The same concept works for teen drivers. Identifying teen drivers is already the law in many other countries including those in Europe, Asia, Canada, and Australia.

The CAUTION-NEWLY LICENSED® Car Magnet Program launched a pilot program in Cobb County, Georgia in April 2007 with a distribution of more than 3,000 magnets with tremendous success.

In October 2007, the CAUTION-NEWLY LICENSED® car magnets became available nationwide.

We believe that by working together as a society, we will save teen lives. Please help us by identifying all new teen drivers.

What Parents Are Saying

My daughter had a fender-bender two weeks ago. The other guy was following way too close and then she was afraid to drive. Thanks for sending the magnet so quickly. People are no longer tailgating her and she is much calmer. So am I! -- Cathy in GA

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sue Scheff - Teens and Sexual Orientation

This topic is brought up frequently with parents today. It seems many teens have questions that parents need to be prepared to answer and more importantly, prepared to understand this sensitive subject. Without getting into religious beliefs, parents needs to recognize that kids today are more exposed to many subjects that were taboo years ago - generations ago! However, it doesn’t make them less important. I believe that parents need to take the time to try to understand all concepts of today’s generations, although it has probably been in previous times too - living in the past won’t help us today.

Source: KidsHealth

It’s a natural part of life to have sexual feelings. As people pass from childhood, through adolescence, to adulthood, their sexual feelings develop and change.

During the teen years, sexual feelings are awakened in new ways because of the hormonal and physical changes of puberty. These changes involve both the body and the mind, and teens tend to wonder about new — and often intense — sexual feelings.

It takes time for many people to understand who they are and who they’re becoming. Part of that understanding includes a person’s sexual feelings and attractions.

The term sexual orientation refers to the gender (that is, male or female) to which a person is attracted. There are several types of sexual orientation that are commonly described:

Heterosexual. People who are heterosexual are romantically and physically attracted to members of the opposite sex: Heterosexual males are attracted to females, and heterosexual females are attracted to males. Heterosexuals are sometimes called “straight.”
Homosexual. People who are homosexual are romantically and physically attracted to people of the same sex: Females who are attracted to other females are lesbian; males who are attracted to other males are often known as gay. (The term gay is sometimes also used to describe homosexual individuals of either gender.)

Bisexual. People who are bisexual are romantically and physically attracted to members of both sexes.

Teens — both boys and girls — often find themselves having sexual thoughts and attractions. For some, these feelings and thoughts can be intense — and even confusing or disturbing. That may be especially true for people who are having romantic or sexual thoughts about someone of the same gender. “What does that mean,” they might think. “Am I gay?”

Thinking sexually about both the same sex and the opposite sex is quite common as teens sort through their emerging sexual feelings. This type of imagining about people of the same or opposite sex doesn’t necessarily mean that a person fits into a particular type of sexual orientation.

Some teens may also experiment with sexual experiences, including those with members of the same sex, during the years they are exploring their own sexuality. These experiences, by themselves, do not necessarily mean that a teen is gay or straight.

Do People Choose Their Sexual Orientation?

Most medical professionals, including organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Psychological Association (APA), believe that sexual orientation involves a complex mixture of biology, psychology, and environmental factors. A person’s genes and inborn hormonal factors may play a role as well. These medical professionals believe that — in most cases — sexual orientation, whatever its causes, is not simply chosen.

Not everyone agrees. Some believe that individuals can choose who they are attracted to — and that people who are gay have chosen to be attracted to people of the same gender.

There are lots of opinions and stereotypes about sexual orientation. For example, having a more “feminine” appearance or interest does not mean that a teen boy is gay. And having a more “masculine” appearance doesn’t mean a girl is lesbian. As with most things, making assumptions just based on looks can lead to the wrong conclusion.

It’s likely that all the factors that result in someone’s sexual orientation are not yet completely understood. What is certain is that people, no matter their sexual orientation, want to feel understood, respected, and accepted — particularly by their family. That’s not always easy in every family.

What’s It Like for Gay Teens?

For teens who are gay or lesbian, it can feel like everyone is expected to be straight. Because of this, some gay and lesbian teens may feel different from their friends when the heterosexual people around them start talking about romantic feelings, dating, and sex. They may feel like they have to pretend to feel things that they don’t in order to fit. They might feel they need to deny who they are or that they have to hide an important part of themselves.

These feelings, plus fears of prejudice, can lead teens who aren’t straight to keep their sexual orientation secret, even from friends and family who might be supportive. Kids and teens who are gay are likely to face people who express stereotypes, prejudices, and even hate about homosexuality.

Some gay or lesbian teens tell a few accepting, supportive friends and family members about their sexual orientation. This is often called coming out. Many lesbian, gay, and bisexual teens who come out to their friends and families are fully accepted by them and their communities. They feel comfortable about being attracted to someone of the same gender and don’t feel particularly anxious about it.

But not everyone has the same feelings or good support systems. People who feel they need to hide who they are or who fear rejection, discrimination, or violence can be at greater risk for emotional problems like anxiety and depression.

Some gay teens without support systems can be at higher risk than heterosexual teens for dropping out of school, living on the streets, using alcohol and drugs, and even in some cases for attempting to harm themselves.

These difficulties are thought to happen more frequently not directly because they are gay, but because gay and lesbian people are more likely to be misunderstood, socially isolated, or mistreated because of their sexual orientation.

This doesn’t happen to all gay teens, of course. Many gay and lesbian teens and their families have no more difficulties during the teen years than anyone else.

The Importance of Talking

No matter what someone’s sexual orientation is, learning about sexuality and relationships can be difficult for a teen to come to terms with. It can help a teen to talk to someone about the confusing feelings that go with growing up, whether it’s a parent, another family member, a close friend or sibling, or a school counselor. It’s not always easy for a teen to find somebody to talk to, but many of them find that confiding in someone they trust and feel close to, even if they’re not completely sure how that person will react, turns out to be a positive experience.

In many communities, resources such as youth groups composed of teens who are facing similar issues can provide opportunities for people to talk to others who understand. Psychologists, psychiatrists, family doctors, and trained counselors can help teens cope — confidentially and privately — with the difficult feelings that go with their developing sexuality. These experts can also help teens to find ways to deal with any peer pressure, harassment, and bullying they may face. They can also help parents manage any complicated feelings they may be having as they come to terms with their teen’s sexuality.

Whether gay, straight, bisexual, or just not sure, almost all teens have questions about reaching physical maturity and about sexual health (for example, avoiding sexually transmitted diseases). Because these can be difficult topics, it’s especially important for gay and lesbian teens to find someone knowledgeable who they can trust and confide in.

Parents can help by becoming more knowledgeable about issues of sexuality — and learning to be more comfortable discussing them. Parents also can help their teen gain access to a doctor or health professional who will provide reliable health advice.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Parents Universal Resource Experts - Sue Scheff - Sleeping Pills and Teens

“Part of it I think now is there is so much more pressure in the academic settings. There are kids who are working tremendous numbers of hours each evening to get their schoolwork done. I get a sense that many of them worry about how they are doing academically, and that tends to spill over into difficulties with sleep.”

– Richard Winer, M.D., Psychiatrist

Whether it’s an over-the-counter medication like Nyquil, or a prescription drug like Ambien or Sonata, more and more teens say they often take something to get to sleep.

“It’s mainly just stress… you want to study and then you realize you need to sleep because you have a test the next day and then you just take something,” says Chelsea, 19.

“An Ambien to knock me out,” adds 19-year-old Jessica.

“I’ll take Nyquil or something like that, just to help me get to sleep easier,” explains Allison, 19.

Why do kids today need help getting to sleep? Experts say there are several answers: greater academic pressure, more stimulation late at night, with cell phones, TV, computer games, instant messaging, more kids with ADHD taking stimulants like Ritalin, and an explosion in the use of caffeine drinks.

The result: at bedtime, many kids are looking for help in a pill.

“Our culture is certainly turned more toward a living better through chemistry approach,” say Psychiatrist Richard Winer, M.D.

He says the problem is the obvious: Sleeping aids can be habit forming. “My bias is toward keeping kids away from medication for sleep if at all possible. Because you don’t want to create some habits that’ll be even harder to break as time goes on in adulthood.”

He says for many kids, the solution is routine: Relax for a while, and then go to bed at the same time every night.

But, for some, the problem is more serious.

“There are a number of kids out there that have honest to goodness insomnia difficulties,” says Dr. Winer, “They have sleep disorders that do require treatment.”

Tips for Parents

A study performed by researchers at Stanford University found that teenagers require approximately one to two hours more sleep than 9- and 10-year-olds, who only require about eight hours of sleep. This goes against the school of thought that allows older kids to stay up later. Parents may want to be on the lookout for the following things, which could be caused from sleep deprivation:

Difficulty waking in the morning
Irritability in the afternoon
Falling asleep during the day
Oversleeping on the weekend
Having difficulty remembering or concentrating
Waking up often and having trouble going back to sleep
Sleep deprivation also can lead to extreme moodiness, poor performance in school and depression. Teens who aren’t getting enough sleep also have a higher risk of having car accidents because of falling asleep behind the wheel.

As the lives of children seem to be getting busier, their sleeping habits may be one of the first things impacted. Sleep, though being something that often gets sacrificed, is actually one of the most important things in a child’s life. Experts say taking sleep medications unauthorized by the FDA for teenage consumption is not the answer, however. Here are some suggestions about sleep:

Sleep is as important as food and air. Quantity and quality are very important. Most people need between seven-and-a-half to eight-and-a-half hours of uninterrupted sleep. If you want to press the snooze alarm in the morning you are not getting the sleep you need. This could be due to not enough time in bed, external disturbances or a sleep disorder.

Keep regular hours. Try to go to bed at the same time and get up at the same time every day. Getting up at the same time is most important. Getting bright light, like the sun, when you get up will also help. Try to go to bed only when you are sleepy. Bright light in the morning at a regular time should help you feel sleepy at the same time every night.

Stay away from stimulants like caffeine. This will help you get deep sleep, which is most refreshing. If you take any caffeine, take it in the morning. Avoid all stimulants in the evening, including chocolate, caffeinated sodas and caffeinated teas. They will delay sleep and increase awakenings during the night.

Use the bed just for sleeping. Avoid watching television, using laptop computers or reading in bed. Bright light from these activities and subject matter may inhibit sleep. If it helps to read before sleeping, make sure you use a very small wattage bulb to read. A 15-watt bulb should be enough.

Avoid bright light around the house before bed. Using dimmer switches in living rooms and bathrooms before bed can be helpful. Dimmer switches can be set to maximum brightness for morning routines.

Don't stress if you feel you are not getting enough sleep. It will just make matters worse. Know you will sleep eventually.

Avoid exercise near bedtime. No exercise at least three hours before bed.
Don't go to bed hungry. Have a light snack, but avoid a heavy meal before bed.
Bedtime routines are helpful for good sleep.

Avoid looking at the clock if you wake up in the middle of the night. It can cause anxiety.
If you can't get to sleep for over 30 minutes, get out of bed and do something boring in dim light till you are sleepy.

Keep your bedroom at a comfortable temperature.

If you have problems with noise in your environment, you can use a white noise generator. A fan will work.

American Sleep Apnea Association
National Sleep Foundation
Thomson Reuters

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Sue Scheff: Bullying Webinar by

Bullying is part of your child’s life – find out how to reduce it in your neighborhood, at school, and online.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM PST

The most recent data indicates that more than half of all school aged children are directly involved in bullying either as a bully or as a victim. Many more are affected by bullying as witnesses or accomplices. Bullying is an ‘equal opportunity’ issue affecting kids of all races, genders, and socio-economic statuses. While bullying is a serious and pervasive problem there is hope.

By learning the truth about bullying and taking action as a family, parents can help keep their kids safer and happier in their neighborhood, at school, and online. and the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) invite all parents to participate in a powerful and free web seminar that will reveal common myths surrounding bullying, the real facts, and actions parents can take to reduce bullying. The web seminar will be delivered by renowned bullying expert Dr. Shelly Hymel, PhD who will present a highly interactive session with plenty of time devoted to answering participants’ questions. Don’t miss this event – chances are your child is experiencing bullying. This is your chance to find out how you can help.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Sue Scheff - Teen Help - Residential Therapy

Are a parent dealing with a defiant, belligerent at risk teenager and you are at your wit's end - It may be time to think about intervention. It is out of love that we seek to give our teens a second opportunity in life. If it is obvious they are escalating in a downward path, as a parent, it is our responsibility to find help. Whether it is seeking local therapy or support groups, or taking the major step of residential boarding schools - be a proactive parent.

If you are debating residential therapy for your teen, learn more about this extremely daunting and confusing industry.Yes, you need to get help - but educate yourself first.

Learn more about Wit's End at and author Sue Scheff at -the response has been overwhelming!If you are struggling with your teen today - pick up Wit's End and learn more!

For a quick read, check out - the foundation of Wit's End!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Sue Scheff: Kidsfluence

Check out this fantastic and informational website offering webcasts, TV Show, articles and more about today’s teens and all kids. Up to date content on what your kids are doing online and how to understand it all! Yes - all confusing and all ever changing.

Source: Kidsfluence

Kidfluence is a brand created to strengthen youth development and education. Through its many programs such as Kidfluence TV, Teen Talk and Teen Screen, Kidfluence aims to be a leading advocate on teen issues.

The heart of the brand is an exciting new television show, Kidfluence TV, that discusses issues, events, and conflicts that affect our youth today.

A diverse group of opinionated personalities ranging from parents, coaches, teachers, professionals, advocates, and of course, tweens and teenagers will contribute to very candid discussions. With so many issues affecting our youth today, everyone has a point of view on what should be done, how matters should be handled.

Kidfluence is a television program that allows everyone to be an influential and a loyal supporter of tackling youth issues head on.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teen Runaways

One of any parent’s greatest fears is a missing child.

Each year, one million troubled teens from every social class, race and religion run away from home. Unfortunately, for American families, that number continues to rise.

Confused, pressured and highly impressionable teens follow their peers into bad choices. In most cases, runaway teenagers want to escape the rules and regulations of their family and household. Disagreements with parents leave them unhappy and frustrated to the point of rebellion. Naiveté leads them to believe they could survive outside the nest; and dreams of a life without parental guidance, rules and punishment seem ideal.

The dangers of a runaway lifestyle are obvious. Afraid and desperate, teens on the street are easy targets for robbery, rape, prostitution, drug addiction and violent crime. While the official Runaway Hotline cites nine out of ten teens return home or are returned home by the police within a month, any amount of time on the street can change a child forever. Protecting our children from a potential runaway situation is incredibly important; the problem is serious, and the effects are severe.

My name is Sue Scheff™, and through my organization, Parents Universal Resource Experts, I am working to keep America’s teens safe. A troubled teenager is a difficult and uphill battle, but you are not alone! As parents, we must work together to educate and support each other through the crisis. The best resource is that of someone who has been there; and at P.U.R.E.™, parents can find the information and support of so many dealing with the same situations.
Are you worried that your troubled teen will run away from home? We have compiled some of the most helpful resources on teenage runaways.

Looking for support or professional help? Visit our website, Help Your Teens. You are not alone!
Pick up my new book - Wit’s End! Advice and Resources for Saving Your Out-of-Control Teen.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Sue Scheff - Positive Parenting and Kids Today

Source: Love Our Children USA

Knowing that the world we live in today is very different, Love Our Children USA recognizes that we must redefine parenting.

No one is a perfect parent and there is no magical way to raise children. And we know kids can be challenging!

Parenthood and caring for a child is a gift bestowed upon us which comes with the greatest responsibility and pledge … to guarantee the safety, nurturing, loving environment and physical and emotional wellness of our children … for ALL children!

Anyone and everyone can learn good parenting skills. Even parents who are overwhelmed, or alone. The first three years of your child’s life are crucial. Those are the years that your child will develop significant intellectual, emotional and social abilities. That’s when they learn to give and accept love. They learn confidence, security, and empathy … they learn to be curious and persistent …everything your child needs to learn to relate well to others, and lead a happy and productive life. The first three years are the doorway to forever!

Learn more here:

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Sue Scheff - Teen Intervention - Parent Help - Teen Help

Are you struggling with debating whether you need to look for outside help with your troubled teenager?

Are you ready to make some very difficult decisions? Are you at your wit's end?

Do you believe you need teen intervention from outside resources? Struggling financially and emotionally with this decision?

Are you willing to share your story on TV? This is not about exploiting your family, but helping others that are silently suffering and not realizing they are not alone as well as giving your teen a second opportunity at a bright future. Most remember Brat Camp - this is a bit different. Starting with educating parents about the first steps in getting your teen help - determination and transportation.

If you are interested in participating, read below and contact Bud and Evan directly.

Brentwood Communications International is an award-winning television production company in Los Angeles, California. We have recently begun work on a new television series about the real life work of interventionist / transporter Evan James Malmuth of Universal Intervention Services (“UIS”).

If you would be willing to allow us to film your case / intervention for the television series, Evan Malmuth and Universal Intervention Services will provide intervention / transportation services at no charge to you. In addition, we will negotiate at least one month of treatment services at a qualified treatment center at no charge with the purchase of at least two additional months of treatment at pre-negotiated discount rates. At the current rate of these services, this represents thousands of dollars in savings.

BCII and Evan Malmuth are not interested in making exploitative reality television. We are committed to helping you and your family and improving lives through the media.

If you are interested in participating in the show and using the services of Evan Malmuth and UIS, please contact us right away. Every day counts.


Phone: 818-333-3685

With best regards,

Bud Brutsman, CEO - Brentwood Communication Intl., Inc.

Evan James Malmuth, CEO - Universal Intervention Services

Brentwood Communications International, Inc.
3500 N. San Fernando Blvd., Burbank, CA 91505

Friday, February 6, 2009

Sue Scheff - Tween - Teen Body Image - The Thin Club by Kim Tennant

Thin Club - What a great book for tweens and parents alike to read and discuss. I loved the book and finished it in a short time.

Mandy has the perfect life and is the perfect student; now she wants to have the perfect body and be beautiful, thin and graceful like the models and movie stars she sees in magazines and on television.

One day, when her friends tell her she looks fat in a new dress, she decides to diet just like everyone else. What Mandy doesn't know is her extreme dieting lands her into all sorts of trouble.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teenage Cigarette Smoking

Many parents call me about their teens and sometimes tweens that are lighting up. We like to say pick and choose issues, and we don’t condone smoking cigarettes - but we can’t panic. Let’s continue talking to our kid about how damaging smoking cigarettes is to your body as well as your overall health. Smoking is not cool - but it is cool to be an educated parent.

By Jessica Stevenson,

Most people who smoke first light up a cigarette when they’re teenagers. In fact, 80% of smokers began the habit before they turned 18. Here are a few quick facts about cigarette smoking, nicotine and tobacco that you may not have heard before. Even if you have, they’re facts that are worth keeping in mind when your friends and relatives light up a cigarette.

Nearly 70% of people who smoke say they wish they could quit.

Teens who smoke cough and wheeze three times more than teens who don’t smoke.

Smoking causes cancer, heart disease, lung disease and strokes.

Smokers as young as 18 years old have shown evidence of developing heart disease.

More than 70% of young people who smoke said they wish they hadn’t started doing it.

Smoking a pack of cigarettes each day costs about $1,500 per year — enough money to buy a new computer or Xbox.

Studies show that 43% of people who smoke three or fewer cigarettes a day become addicted to nicotine.

More than 434,000 Americans die each year from smoking-related diseases.

One-third of all new smokers will eventually die from a smoking-related disease.

Nicotine — one of the main ingredients in cigarettes — is a poison.

Nicotine is as addictive as heroin and cocaine.

All tobacco products — that includes cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco — have nicotine in them.

Smoking makes you feel weaker and more tired because it prevents oxygen from reaching your heart.

Smoking decreases your sense of taste and smell, making you enjoy things like flowers and ice cream a little bit less.

Smoking hurts the people around you: More than 53,000 people die each year from secondhand smoke.

Cigarettes have tons of harmful chemicals in them, including ammonia (found in toilet cleaner), carbon monoxide (found in car exhaust) and arsenic (found in rat poison).

Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health.

Just days after quitting smoking, a person’s sense of taste and smell returns to normal.

Ten years after quiting smoking, a person’s risk of lung cancer and heart disease returns to that of a non-smoker.

Most teens (about 70%) don’t smoke. Plus, if you make it through your teen years without becoming a smoker, chances are you’ll never become a smoker.

Adapted from “50 Things You Should Know About Tobacco” by Journeyworks Publishing.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Sue Scheff: Parenting Teens and Drug Use

O-kay - Michael Phelp’s, a role model for our kids - has screwed up. I am not condoning what he did - but can’t help to think that this is yet another opportunity for parents to open up a discussion about drugs with their kids. has an article encouraging coaches to speak with young athletes about this. I think it can hold true to parents of all children that look up to celebrities and athletes. For more information visit D.A.R.E.

Coaches: Michael Phelps scandal an opportunity to talk to young athletes

Michael Phelps’ apology for using a marijuana pipe presents an opportunity to talk to young athletes about drug use, poor judgment and how to learn from a mistake, Long Island swim coaches said.

Long Island coaches said they would use the incident as a teachable moment, driving home the point that drugs undermine athletic performance and that Phelps will suffer the consequences of his actions, losing esteem, and perhaps endorsements.

“It’s upsetting on so many different levels,” said Bill Kropp, head coach for varsity boys swimming at Sachem East High School, where the swim team swelled this year with students inspired by Phelps.

“As a coach, you bring up role models, and obviously he is the poster boy of excellence,” Kropp said. “It’s something that he has to live with, and we have to live with as coaches and parents.”Phelps posted an apology on his Facebook page, where more than 500 fans had written comments about the incident yesterday evening. Though the messages were overwhelmingly supportive, some fans were disappointed.

“We should all learn from this,” said Peter Hugo, Nassau County’s boys swimming coordinator. “Even Michael Phelps makes mistakes. We have to learn to forgive and forget as long as it doesn’t happen a second time.”

“That should bring the parent closer to their child, enhancing that teachable moment,” he said. “Saying listen, it’s something he regrets. You have to learn from your mistakes.”