Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Sue Scheff: Parenting Teens - At Your Wit's End? Don't Get Scammed During Your Sense of Urgency to Get Help

With the recent closing of Magnolia Christian School, which was formerly Carolina Springs Academy, it seems that World Wide Association of Specialty Programs and Schools (WWASPS) is slowly decreasing in size.  Is it the economy or the fact that there are many disturbing stories out there, as well as successful lawsuits such as mine.  Currently I believe Red River Academy is their East Coast/Central States main program as Horizon Academy and Cross Creek are on the West Coast.

Are you considering residential therapy?  Are you are your wit’s end with your teenager?  Researching these programs and schools can be a daunting experience.  Glowing websites and slick sales reps at many toll free numbers – how do you know who to trust?

I can’t answer that except to say to remember, your child is not for sale. You will know in your gut if someone is being sincere or simply doing their job.

I am considered a disgruntled parent by WWASPS, and I will accept that since my daughter was abused by them, I defeated them in a jury trial and feel that any parent that was duped the way I was would also be disgruntled. They also enjoy telling parents I own, operate or manage other residential programs – I don’t. The last thing I would want to do or am I qualified to do is run a program.

Finally they love to send parents to website that spread ugly lies about me and twisted truths. However neglect to add that I also won a landmark case for the Internet Defamation of over $11M in a jury trial.
So, as much as they want to discredit me, the truth is in the court papers. The truth is in my book, published by the home of Chicken Soup for the Soul, Health Communications, Inc.

Back to your at-risk teenager, if you are seeking outside help: Stop, think, research and take your time making this major financial and emotional decision. I firmly believe in getting your child help, I also believe there are many excellent programs out there – just do your homework.

As a side note, remember the Internet is not gospel - there are many sites that may have disturbing and ugly statements about a school you are considering – check out the source – in many cases they are former students with a beef. There is a difference between legitimate complaints and former students or parents (usually a divorced one without custody) that are just being vindictive.

Read more.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sue Scheff: Fourth of July - Blast off but don't drive Buzzed!

Summer is officially here and one of the biggest weekends of the summer is coming soon! The Fourth of July brings many picnics, parties and good old fashion fun with friends and family. It is also a time when many enjoy an alcoholic drink or two.

While many of us focus on fireworks safety each Fourth of July, we also need to keep our roads safe for the drive home after the festivities.

Whether at a family barbeque or viewing the local fireworks, many will be on the roads this Independence Day. It's time to spread the word about the dangers of buzzed driving and to remind people that Buzzed Driving IS Drunk Driving, and the best way to stay safe is to plan ahead.

Help keep your roads safe for everyone this July Fourth by spreading the word that buzzed driving IS drunk driving.

There are four steps you should take to protect your loved ones on the Fourth of July.
  1. Designate a sober driver before you leave for your Fourth of July events.
  2. Be ready to take alternate transportation such as a bus or taxi.
  3. Have the phone number of a taxi service stored in your phone before you leave for the party.
  4. Call 9-1-1 if you see an impaired driver on the road.
Even if you will not be drinking alcoholic beverages this Fourth of July, keep in mind that over the course of 2008, 1,179 people in other vehicles were killed in crashes involving alcohol-impaired drivers. And there were a total of 491 motor vehicle traffic fatalities during the Fourth of July Holiday period (Thursday, July 3rd, 6 pm to Monday, July 7th, 5:59 am). And for those who say they don't plan on over-indulging . . . a buzzed driving crash looks the same as a drunk driving crash.

We are working with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Ad Council as they continue their efforts with the "Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving" PSA campaign. Buzzed drivers drink and drive, but do not consider themselves a hazard on the roadway because they have had "only a few" drinks.
Learn more about Broward County's Driving Under the Influence and the consequences you will face if pulled over for drunk or buzzed driving.

Be an educated parent, you will have safer teens!

Watch short video today and save a life tomorrow.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Sue Scheff: Internet Porn - When Your Firewalls Don't Work

I have said it before and can’t re-iterate it enough, summer time brings more online time.  You may have all your digital parental monitors up and your spy-ware in place, but do your children know the dangers of what lurks in the box?  No, not the television, which used to be one of our fears (what our kids are watching), now that seems like a walk in the park.  The box, whether it is a PC, iPhone, Laptop, etc… anything with WWW service – you need to talk to your kids about the strangers that mingle online.

Source: Connect with Kids
Internet Safety Includes Guarding Kids From Online Porn

“Sometimes if you’re just looking for a picture, or if you’re looking for something not gross at all, all of a sudden all this gross stuff pops up.” – Annelise, Age 14

The American Academy of Pediatrics has declared the month of June to be Internet Safety Month. Keeping kids safe online is a year-round challenges – and that means knowing what they have access to.

A growing number of teens around the country admit they’ve logged onto pornographic websites
Ask about online pornography, and it’s clear many kids have seen it.

12-year-old David says, “There’s a lot of bad stuff on the Internet, like porn.”
14-year-old Annelise says, “Sometimes if you’re just looking for a picture, or if you’re looking for something not gross at all, all of a sudden all this gross stuff pops up.”

12-year-old Kaveh says, “You feel all nasty, and just kind of trashy, and dirty, and you just kind of want to maybe go take a shower or something, but it doesn’t feel right for the whole day.”

Psychologists say there are many reasons why viewing porn can be harmful to kids. First, they may become interested in sex before they are ready.

Dr. Colleen Taylor, a licensed psychologist in metro-Atlanta says, “Research does indicate that when children are exposed to sexually explicit information or images, that they do become more sexually active at an earlier age.”

And research shows that, for some, online porn is addictive. “One begins to need more and more intense stimuli in order to produce the same type of arousal,” says Dr. Taylor. “It creates a greater appetite for more bizarre, more violent, more deviant types of sexual images. So what you really see is a progression from what you might call soft core pornography to more hard core.”

She says when viewing porn goes beyond simple curiosity parents need to find out why. Dr. Taylor says, “You want to find out if there are other areas in their life that aren’t going so well, that maybe they are using pornography to kind of escape.”

She recommends parents get a filter to block porn on your home computer. They are relatively inexpensive and easy to use.

13-year-old Hannah says, “A lot of things are kind of gross on the Internet, so child blocks are always a good thing.”

What Parents Need To Know

In the past, pornography was mainly limited to artwork, magazines and the red-light districts. With the advent of the Internet and cable television, however, pornography has now made its way into our family rooms, home offices and kids’ bedrooms. It is easily – and often inadvertently — accessible by children and teenagers, and parents must work even harder to prevent their children from becoming addicted to it.

The best cure for addiction is prevention. Experts at the Jacob Wetterling Foundation developed the following tips to help parents prevent their children from becoming addicted to pornography:
  • Place home computers in a central area of the house, not a child’s bedroom or secluded area. Make surfing the Internet a family experience.
  • Talk with your children about what they can and cannot do online, while trying to understand their needs, interests and curiosity.
  • Know your child’s password and screen names; they may have more than one.
  • Set reasonable time limits on computer use, and ensure that your children adhere to the limitations.
  • You should also realize that children may be accessing the Internet from outside the home, such as friend’s homes, work, libraries and school.
  • Be open with your children and encourage them to come to you if they encounter a problem online.
  • Explore filtering and blocking software, which is used to sort information on the Internet and classify it according to content. A major drawback is that some filtering may block innocent sites, while many “negative” sites still get past the filters. Though these programs can be great assets, parents still need to maintain open communication with their children to inform and protect them.
Many parents may suspect their children of being sexually addicted, but may not be sure of the warning signs. Victor Cline, Ph.D., an expert on pornography and its effects, encourages parents to be on the lookout for the following symptoms of sexual addiction:
  • A pattern of out-of-control sexual behavior
  • Experiencing severe consequences due to sexual behavior, and an inability to stop despite these adverse consequences
  • Persistent pursuit of self-destructive behavior
  • Ongoing desire or effort to limit sexual behavior
  • Sexual obsession and fantasy as a primary coping strategy
  • Regularly increasing the amount of sexual experience because the current level of activity is no longer satisfying
  • Severe mood changes related to sexual activity
  • Inordinate amounts of time spent obtaining sex, being sexual and/or recovering from sexual experiences
  • Neglect of important social, occupational or recreational activities because of sexual behavior
If you discover your child viewing pornography or you know it is a problem in his/her life, reassure him/her. Let your child know that while you don’t agree with the use of pornography, you still love them and expect them to do better. Rob Jackson, a professional counselor specializing in sexual addiction and codependency, suggests taking the following four-area approach to prevent the possibility of your child using pornography in the future:
  • Behavioral – Behavioral approaches attempt to prevent a scenario from developing in the first place. The house and grounds, for example, should be purged of all pornography. Media should be carefully screened for “triggers” that serve as gateways to acting-out. If the problem occurred with the Internet, a filter can be one of your strategies, although it can never replace parental supervision and involvement. Other common sense approaches include moving the computer to the family room where others can easily view the screen, limiting the time on the computer and making sure no one is alone on the Internet, and developing a mission statement that directs the family’s use of the computer and the Internet.
  • Cognitive – Pornography generates destructive myths about sexuality. Once your child is exposed, it will be critically important to initiate a comprehensive sex education program, if you have not already done so. The child will need to learn what and how to think about sexuality. More than mere behaviors, parents will want to communicate the core values of sexuality, the multifaceted risks of sex outside of marriage, and their ongoing compassion for what it must be like to grow up in this culture.
  • Emotive – Sex is inherently emotional. Premarital sex has even been linked with codependency, where at least one person becomes compelled or addicted to be in relationship with another. The youth culture would lead you to believe that sex is not necessarily emotional for them – don’t believe it. Sexual relations of any type bond the bodies, minds and spirits of two individuals. At the conscious level, this attachment is largely emotional. Your children need to understand that emotional attachment is often involuntary, and especially when the relationship has been compromised sexually.
  • Spiritual – At its core, sexual integrity comes down to a spiritual commitment. Share your beliefs with your children, and explain to them the reasons to avoid the trappings of pornography. A strong spiritual foundation can be the best prevention method against pornography.


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Sue Scheff: Addiction - Recovery Month - Teen Drug Use

Summer is officially here, which will bring us into fall before we know it.  September is National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month. There will be many events throughout the country to raise awareness of substance abuse and promote recovery.

The Recovery Month Web sites aims to promote the societal benefits of alcohol and drug use disorder treatment, laud the contributions of treatment providers, and promote the message that recovery from alcohol and drug disorders in all its forms is possible. Today they are promoting Join the Voices of Recovery: Now More Than Ever!” toolkit.

National Drug and Alcohol Recovery Month is in September, however today is when you can start to be proactive in your community.  Join the voices for recovery on Facebook.  Find out where you can learn more about substance abuse and how you can be  part of recovery, not an enabler.

Don't wake up one morning to find out your teen has decided to chase the dragon. Start today in being proactive and educate yourself on the abuse of drugs and alcohol.  Over the last 20 years, National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month (Recovery Month) has inspired millions of people to raise awareness about addiction, share their stories of recovery, and assist others who are still struggling.

Join Recovery Month on Facebook for more up-to-date information on events throughout Florida and our country.  Don't be a parent in denial, be proactive.

Be an educated parent, you will have safer and healthier teens.

Related articles:

ADDICTED: Are you an enabler?
Addiction Destroys Families
Parents: The Anti-Drug
Fishbowl Parties: Learn More
OTC: Over the Counter Drug Abuse

Watch video.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Sue Scheff: Fundraising with Practical Products

Let's face it, many parents cringe when their child brings home that fundraising package.  You know you will have to call in the family troops, knock on your neighbors doors and the dreaded, bring it to the office.
I don't think there are many people that enjoy being approached to purchase items, whether it is for a good cause or not, today's economy has left many people having to cut back.  How much wrapping paper do you really need?  Do they not realize that Dollar Stores now sell fancy gift bags for a buck?

During the National PTA Convention the Exhibitors Hall was filled with great fund raising ideas.  With a range of percentages going to the schools, the attraction is truly what can people use today?  Another words, if they are going to support a good cause like the PTA or their school, let's sell practical products!
Here are the some great ideas for organizations to use for fundraisers and hopefully you will find the items useful.

At the top of the list has to be RightResponse Responsible Fundraising. These are First-Aid Collection Kits for everyone, including your pet!  Whether you want to purchase a kit for your car, for your teen that is involved in sports, for those that love the outdoors, or even for your pet, RightResponse First-Aid packages are priceless for emergencies.  You never know when you need a First-Aid Kit and these mini-travel size ones are perfect for fundraisers.  Who doesn't need an instant First-Aid Kit at some time of their life? If you have an organization and looking for a practical fundraiser, check out www.rightresponse.com and see if they can help you grow!

Another practical fundraiser, especially for the younger kids, is GrowumsLocated right here in West Palm Beach, they offer a great line of gardening with their motto, "add a little character to your garden".  They mean that literally!  Growums™ garden kits are a fun, simple learning tool that teaches children and adults alike the joys and benefits of growing their own food. The results bring more than just entertainment and a tasty harvest. No more candy, no more popcorn, time for healthy eating and growing your own healthy treats.  Check out their interactive website that children can learn more about harvesting in the gardening playland.

Did you know that 82% of people drink coffee? With this, it is practical to offer friends, family, and those co-workers a product they will use. Ugly Mug Coffee is here for your fundraiser.  With 82% of Americans drinking coffee, you don’t have to wonder who’s going to be interested in your fundraiser – it’s not seasonal and it’s not a fad. In fact, most households purchase coffee on a weekly basis.

These and many others were featured at this year's National PTA Convention.  Whether your kids are involved in sports, clubs or other organizations, if they get involved in fundraisers, encourage them to take a look at products the average person could actually use!

Watch slideshow for more fun ideas.

Read more.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sue Scheff: Summer Reading for Parents and Teens

It is that time of the year again, time to pick your summer books.  Of course there are some people that would rather pick up People Magazine or other tabloid papers, however why not take the time to learn how to be a better parent or help your teenager to get ready for their upcoming school year?

Listed in the slideshow below (in no particular order) are ten books to consider for your summer reading.  Whether it is about guiding your at-risk teen in a positive direction, or learning on to maintain your digital image, one thing is for sure, education is the key to surviving in today's world.

Education meaning reading as much as you can about peer pressure, bullying, cyberbullying, texting, cell phone safety, teen body image, teen sex and much more that faces our kids today.

Please feel free to leave other recommended books in comments.  List your favorites, share titles, authors and why they were your favorite!  Or just leave the book titles.  Parenting networking is helps you become a better informed parent.

There are many excellent books and only a limited space to write them all in.

In the slideshow are the following books and their websites:
  1. Big Book of Parenting Solutions, by Michele Borba
  2. Boys, Girls and Other Hazardous Materials by Rosalind Wiseman
  3. Odd Girl Speaks Out by Rachel Simmons
  4. Curse of the Good Girl by Rachel Simmons
  5. Queen Bee Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman
  6. You'd Be Pretty If.... by Dara Chadwick
  7. Brave: Be Ready and Victory's Easy, a Story About Social Anxiety  by Marjie Knudsen and Jenne Henderson
  8. Wild West 2.0 by Michael Fertik and David Thompson
  9. Wit's End! Advice and Resources for Saving Your Out of Control Teen by Sue Scheff
  10. Google Bomb! How the $11.3M Verdict Changed The Way We Use the Internet by Sue Scheff
This list could go on forever!  Read, read, read and educate yourself and our kids through the pages of many authorsPlease remember to list your favorite books in comments here.

Watch slideshow.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Sue Scheff: Father's Day - All Pro Dad's Making a Difference

Father's Day is a day to honor our father as well as anyone that has been a father figure to you.  Whether it is an uncle, neighbor, pastor, friend, having a father figure in a child's life can make a world of difference in their future.

Celebrities and Sports Icons have been part of our culture forever.  They can be leaders bring an important message to people throughout the country.  All Pro Dad is part of Family First which is sponsored by Florida's AAA.

As Father's Day approaches, make it part of creating or joining an All Pro Dad Dad's Day in your community. We are the home of the Miami Dolphins and Florida Marlins.  In Florida, there are currently 179 chapters!  Find one near  you. Click here.

All Pro Dad's Day is a simple idea with a profound impact. It's a one-hour monthly breakfast held before school where fathers and their children meet with other dads and kids in the school cafeteria or a local restaurant. During this time, they discuss a wide range of family topics, spend time together, create fun memories, and are equipped with resources to strengthen their relationship. For more about All Pro Dad’s Day, please watch this short video.

So this Father's Day, find a chapter near you, give your dad a pass to attend a one hour breakfast to learn how he can make a world of difference in your child's life.  Million Hours of Power: Men giving just 3 hours of volunteer time can make a lifetime of change in a child's future.

Watch this quick video, it puts it all in perspective in a few short seconds.

Read more.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Sue Scheff: Teaching Teens About the Importance of FICO Scores

With today's fumbling economy, unemployment rising, people losing their homes as well as real estate plummeting, teens need to learn today about how to protect and build their FICO score. It will make their future easier as well as better.

FinanceFREAK.com is an educational website that will enhance your teens level of understanding of the finance world. Starting with your critical credit rating, your FICO score. This number will be more important that your SAT or GPA scores in life.

What is a FICO score?

Your FICO score (credit rating) is a number that will tell lenders how responsible you are with your finances. The FICO score ranges between 300 and 850. The average score of 720 is considered "good".

What makes up a FICO score?

Payment History – 35%
Total Amounts Owed – 30%
Length of Credit History – 15%
New Credit – 10%
Type of Credit in Use – 10%

As teens are entering into adulthood, it is imperative they learn about building their FICO score early. Summer is here, and some teenagers will have summer jobs. This is a great way to start learning about financing and saving for their future.

Learn more about financing through FinanceFREAK.com.

Read more.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Sue Scheff: United Nations Foundation introduces Girl UP

June 2010 marks another historic moment with the launching of a new global United Nations Foundation (UNF) campaign: Girl UP.

What is Girl UP?

Girl Up, a campaign of the United Nations Foundation, gives American girls the opportunity to channel their energy and compassion to raise awareness and funds for programs of the United Nations that help some of the world’s hardest-to-reach adolescent girls. Through Girl Up’s support, girls have the opportunity to become educated, healthy, safe, counted and positioned to be the next generation of leaders. Campaign supporters are encouraged to give a “High Five” to girls in developing countries by donating $5 or more to provide girls with such basic needs as access to school supplies, clean water, life-saving health services, safety from violence and more. To give a High Five and learn more, join us at GirlUp.org.

Adolescent girls have tremendous potential to be strong, bright, and curious leaders, sports stars, prime ministers — you name it. But adolescent girls in developing countries face a number of challenges that can make it difficult to fulfill their aspirations. Join Girl Up and you can help girls globally live their dreams.
Girl UP Facebook Group, is over 1000 voices and growing strong.  Join today! Don't forget to follow them on Twitter too.

With today's strained economy, people out of work, stress in many homes combined with families losing their homes, we need to build hope and give help to the many kids that will be our future.
The world's adolescent girls are tomorrow's dreams.  Be a part of making a difference, be part of GirlUp today.

Watch video introduction. 

Read more.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Sue Scheff: June and July More Teens Start Smoking Pot

For many teenagers, summer is a time of freedom.  A time to do what they want and some have limited boundaries as both parents are working or they are in a single parent household.

For teens, is summer going to pot? What an interesting concept and essay by Connect with Kids.

Data released by the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse that shows 40% of teens first try marijuana during the summer. In fact, about 5,800 teens try marijuana for the first time each day in June and July.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention annual Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey, more than 38% of teens report having use marijuana in their life. Nearly 20% admitted to smoking pot within the past 30 days and 8% of kids tried marijuana prior to turning 13 years of age.
In order for parents to help curb the growing problem of marijuana use among teens, they must first understand the dangers involved in using the drug. The National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign cautions parents to be aware of the following points about marijuana use:
  • Marijuana is the most widely used illicit drug among youth today.
  • More teens enter treatment for marijuana abuse each year than for all other illicit drugs combined.
  • Marijuana is addictive.
  • Marijuana use can lead to a host of significant health, social, learning and behavioral problems at a crucial time in a young person's development.
  • Adolescent marijuana users show lower academic achievement compared to non-users.
  • Even short-term marijuana use has been linked to memory loss and difficulty with problem-solving.
  • Time and again, kids say that their parents are the single most important influence when it comes to using drugs.
Whether or not you suspect your child is using marijuana, it is crucial that you discuss the issue at an early age. The experts at DrugHelp suggest following these steps when discussing tough issues, like drug abuse, with your child:
  • Create a climate in which your child feels comfortable approaching you and expressing his or her feelings.
  • Don't shut off communication by responding judgmentally, saying, "You're wrong" or "That's bad."
  • Give your child an opportunity to talk.
  • Show your interest by asking appropriate questions.
  • Listen to what your child has to say before formulating a response.
  • Focus on what your child has to say, not on language or grammar.
  • Use probing questions to encourage a shy child to talk.
  • Identify areas of common experience and agreement.
  • Leave the door open for future conversations
Reference: Connect with Kids

Broward County offers Operation Medicine Cabinet. Be aware of who your teen's drug supplier is, and they may not even know it.

Be an educated parent, you will have safer and healthier teens.

Read more.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Sue Scheff: Traveling with Your Teens This Summer - City Slickers to Country Cowboys

Years ago parents would pack up their station wagons and head to the shore.  Some may think of the Jersey Shore and others may think Atlantic City and of course some simply took road trips.  Today going to the beach can be an average weekend hang-out and certainly not always considered a vacation.

With many families struggling financially today, vacations may be cut out of the budget, but it doesn't mean you can't find family fun things to do.  Day trips are always fun too!  Find your local parks and recreation.
Many teens can't be without their technology, and don't kid yourself, many parents can't be without it either.  As City Slickers, Billy Crystal and his crew discovered a new world in the country.  Yes, herding cattle, as they left their technology (at that time) behind and learned the value of enjoying life - just by living in nature. 

Now what can you do with your teenagers this summer?  Can you leave your city/tech stuff behind?  Going on a vacation with your teen can be a nightmare, many are certainly aware of that.  So plan your trips wisely.

Talk to your teens about what they would like to do on a family trip or a day trip.  Even if you are only going away for the weekend, include your teen in the choices they have.  Whether you are going camping and hiking or to an amusement park, spending time together is the most important part.  Of course, having fun is an added benefit.

If costs are an issue, explain the budget and what options you have.  If you aren't able to travel this summer, plan a fun weekend at home with bike riding, long walks, jogging, DVD's, and games.  No matter what, make it a time that everyone can kick back and enjoy their time together.

You can take your city slicker teen and bring them to the country or back to nature - good old fashion down and dirty fun!  Plan it today and enjoy your summer as a family.

As a post note: Cell phones are always safe to have, as long as you aren't texting and surfing all day long on them - spend quality time as a family.

References: Outdoor Vacations,Theme Parks in Florida, KOA Campgrounds, Cruise Supermarket, Dude Ranch Vacations, Places in Florida to Visit

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Sue Scheff: Dangerous Teen Drinking Game - Eyeballing

Eyeballing.  Yes, 'vodka eyeballing' to be exact.  Another dangerous game being played by teenagers.  Some teens claim it gets them drunk faster. Doctors say, however, it's not worth it. They said the alcohol has a corrosive effect and can lead to an eye condition called conjunctivitis, an irritation of the cornea, or worse.

There are two ways people can do it. The first is with a shot glass. However, because the name of the game is all about getting drunk quickly, some people just take a bottle of booze and pour it straight to the eye.

According to News4Jax, "It can lead to severe and ultimately permanent blindness," said Dr. Amit Chokshi, a local ophthalmologist.

What can parents do?  Talk to your teens.  Education and communication is the key to prevention. 

Related articles:

Rainbow Game
Dangerous Games - GASP
Parent's - The Anti-Drug
Fishbowl Parties