Thursday, December 18, 2008

Sue Scheff - Teen Eating Disorders


As the holidays are here, parents should be aware of their teens and tweens concerns with body image. Today’s peer pressure compounded with Internet Images of what a teen should look like, can add stress and frustration to a young teen (both girls and boys).


Eating Disorders can sometimes be hard to recognize. As a parent, it is important to be informed and know the warning signs.


Here is a great article from Connect with Kids from this week’s parenting articles and tips:


“I would never want to look at one. I think that would be really depressing to tell you the truth.”
– Mary Hardin, 14 years old


What Mary doesn’t want to see, to millions others is just a few key words and mouse clicks away.


“Who’s the skinniest and how can they stay the skinniest (or) here’s how you can have only one thing to eat all day or how you can survive on water and gum,” explains Bryna Livingston, a licensed clinical social worker who specializes in eating disorders.


Livingston is referring to pro-anorexia websites – where girls are applauded for losing weight and surviving hunger – that are emerging on the Internet. On many such sites, anorexics journal thoughts and feelings and even post pictures of their thin celebrity idols.


“It’s a pseudo-support group, and the problem is you’re not really getting support,” says Livingston. “You’re feeding a competition. You’re feeding a disease, and you’re feeding what you want to hear so you don’t have to make any changes.”
For Mary Hardin, change was hard. She struggled with anorexia for three years. These websites, she says, spell danger. “I think (the websites) could have really made me worse and (made me) fall more into my eating disorder and encouraged me more,” she says. “That’s the last thing I needed was to be encouraged to be in an eating disorder.”


Experts say parents of anorexics have to show tough love, especially if their child is being enticed by these Internet sites. “I’d turn off the computer. I’d get it out of the house,” says Livingston.


Mary’s advice: “Listen to who you trust. Do you trust your family and your friends, or do you trust these people (on the Internet) that you don’t even know that are trying to give you lessons about your life?”
Luckily, Mary avoided the lure of anorexia websites when she was struggling with her illness. After years of therapy and family support, she says she is now healed. “It is possible to recover and to be a healthy girl with a happy life after it all,” she says. “There is hope to get through it.”

Tips for Parents


Many dangerous places exist in cyberspace, especially for those with body image difficulties. A quick, easy Google search can produce a long list of pro-anorexia and pro-bulimia websites – places where those who suffer from eating disorders (ED) support each other and establish a sense of community. There are at least 100 active pro-anorexia and pro-bulimia sites. Some statistics state that several of these sites have accumulated tens of thousands of hits. Many sites treat eating disorders as lifestyle choices, rather than the illnesses they truly are. Most personify anorexia (“Ana”) and bulimia (“Mia”) into companions – individuals one can look to for guidance and strength.


The medical community classifies eating disorders as mental illnesses. Experts say girls with eating disorders focus on their bodies in a misguided bid to resolve deeper psychological issues, believing that they can fix their inner troubles by achieving a perfect outside. Eating disorder specialists say pro-anorexia sites are particularly dangerous since those suffering from the disease are usually in deep denial and cling to the illness to avoid dealing with its psychological underpinnings. Websites that glorify eating disorders make treatment increasingly difficult.


Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.


There are an estimated 7 million females and 1 million males suffering from eating disorders in the United States.


The Harvard Eating Disorders Center estimates that 3 percent of adolescent women and girls have anorexia, bulimia or binge-eating disorders.


Four-of-five 13-year-old girls have attempted to lose weight.


One study showed that 42 percent of first- through third-grade girls want to be thinner.


About 1 percent of females between 10 and 20 have anorexia nervosa. Between 2 percent and 3 percent of young women develop bulimia nervosa. Almost half of all anorexics will develop bulimia or bulimic patterns.Without treatment, up to 20 percent of people with serious eating disorders die. With treatment, the mortality rate falls to 2 to 3 percent. The recovery rate with treatment is about 60 percent. Alas, only 10 percent of those with eating disorders receive treatment.


Pro-ED sites are just one reason why parents need to monitor children’s online behavior. In the web journals or logs (blogs) of these sites, users share near-starvation diets, offer tips for coping with hunger and detail ways to avoid the suspicions of family members. They post “thinspiration” – images from the media of their ideal celebrities, such as supermodel Kate Moss and the Olsen twins. They discuss extreme calorie restriction and weight loss through laxatives, diet pills and purging (self-induced vomiting).


Between the ages of 8 and 14, females naturally gain at least 40 pounds.


More than half of teenage girls are – or think they should be – on diets.


Websites were changing the very culture surrounding eating disorders, making them more acceptable to girls on and off the Internet.


Pro-ED sites thrive off the denial aspect of the illnesses while promoting the perceived benefits of having an eating disorder.

References


Anorexia Nervosa and Related Eating Disorders, Inc.
Harvard Eating Disorders Center
The National Institute of Mental Health
Reuters
Socialist Voice of Women
South Carolina Department of Mental Health


I also recommend you visit a survivor of Eating Disorders, Lori Hanson’s website at http://www.lori-hanson.com/ and check out her book, It All Started with Pop-Tarts.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Sue Scheff - Parent Training


“If we can help parents do a better job at parenting, then you’ll see less and less of children acting out because … acting out is really a symptom usually of what’s happening in the home.”

– Alesia Brooks, area director for Community Solutions, Inc.

Fighting, stealing, lying, cruelty- some psychologists call all of this a “conduct disorder” and according to the American Academy of Adolescent Psychiatry, one in 10 teen girls suffers from the disorder. What’s more, some experts say many of these girls share one thing in common: parents who resist being a parent.

“If we can help parents do a better job at parenting, then you’ll see less and less of children acting out because … acting out is really a symptom usually of what’s happening in the home.”
-- Alesia Brooks, area director for Community Solutions, Inc.

One approach to treating violent teens is gaining popularity across the country. It’s called multi-systemic therapy. The goal is to change the teen – by starting with the parent.

Last year, during a fight with her older sister, 16-year-old Angela pulled a knife. Angela says, “I wasn’t going to hurt her or nothing. I guess I was just threatening her with it.”

Angela was arrested and a judge recommended multi-systemic therapy. A therapist came to the house for five months. But instead of counseling Angela, he focused on her mom.

“Mom had no rules, so Angela didn’t know left from right, right from wrong,” says Alesia Brooks, an area director of home-based services for Community Solutions, Inc., a licensed provider of multi-systemic therapy. “She just did whatever she wanted to do. And if there was a conflict, then the conflict was managed through yelling and screaming.”

First, the counselor helped Angela’s mom Cecilia write a list of rules. Cecilia says, “Well, it was kind of, I had to get used to it myself, to enforcing the rules. And I noticed [having] the rules was much better.”

“If we can help parents do a better job at parenting,” says Brooks, “then you’ll see less and less of children acting out because the children acting out is really a symptom, usually of what’s happening in the home.”

“I was just kind of used to arguing,” adds Angela, “like kind of like how a child would throw a tantrum and get what they want. That’s kind of like how I was doing it when I was 13, 14, 15. And then when [the therapist] came in, he kind of made it that I couldn’t do it no more!”

The idea? Change the parent – and you will change the child.

Brooks says, “We don’t want to be the agent for change because we’re gone, we are not going to be there for the lifetime, the parent will be.”

Cecilia says the therapist helped her listen more, and yell less. “He taught me to communicate, calm down. We talk and try to solve the problem.”

Tips for Parents

When parents run into problems with a cranky toddler or a difficult teen, they now have a new place to turn for help – a parent coach. According to the Parent Coaching Institute, these individuals are trained with a broad background of education and experiences. Making themselves available by phone, they ask key questions, provide information and offer specific suggestions to help parents address challenges and develop new strategies for dealing with problems at home.

How do you know if parenting coaching is right for your family? Heritage Communications, which offers support and coaching services to families, cites the following types of parents who could benefit from hiring a parent coach:


Parents of older adopted children
Parents of challenging children
Parents dealing with adoption adjustment issues
Parents of children with RAD (reactive attachment disorder)
Parents looking for new parenting techniques to use with their children
Parents who don’t have a support system that truly understands the issues
Parents feeling overwhelmed

Parents taking their children to therapy but in need of parent support

Power struggles with teens are not uncommon. Whether or not you have a parent coach for support, as a parent, it is your responsibility to diffuse the situation in a calm manner. Jane Nelson, author of Positive Discipline, offers parents the following advice for reducing power struggles within the home:

After realizing you may be actually promoting the power struggles with your teen, you can decide to not fight and to not give in. Disengage from the fight and try to remain emotionally cool and calm. Without anger, the power struggle will diminish because your teen will have no one to fight against.

Give up the concept that you can make your teen do anything. Instead, inspire, teach, influence, lead, guide, motivate, stimulate and encourage your teen to positive, cooperative behavior. Catch him or her being good!
When disengaging, you need to act, not speak. For example, a temper tantrum becomes ineffective and silly if you withdraw to the other room – with slamming of doors.

Later, during a cooled-down period, you can talk about what you want from your teen. You can say, in a loving, accepting tone, “Son, after school, would you prefer to do your homework in the office or at the kitchen table?” If your teen feels personal power through choices, then he or she does not feel the need for power through conflict.

References
Community Solutions, Inc.
Heritage Communications
Multisystemic Therapy Services
Parent Coaching Institute
Positive Discipline

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sue Scheff on Parenting Blog


About.com: Teens by Denise Witmer offers a wealth of information for parents dealing with today's teens. Take a moment to learn more!


Denise D. Witmer has been a "professional parent" at the Masonic Childrens Home in Elizabethtown, Pa. She worked in the adolescent buildings from May 1988 - September 1997 and again from May 2003 - July 2006. She was very active in the teen development and independent living programs.


She is the author of the book, The Everything Parent's Guide to Raising a Successful Child: All You Need to Encourage Your Child to Excel at Home and School. Her advice has also been featured in US News and World Report, Better Homes and Garden's Raising Teens Magazine, and USA Today online and has been referenced in several books for parents of teens, including Surviving Ophelia.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sue Scheff: PE4Life - Parenting Teens


Parents are busy with a full workday, helping their children with homework, engaging their children in after school activities, and so on. This doesn't leave a whole lot of time for physical activity in your own lives. Do you realize that schools have devalued and cut physical education to the point that the majority of children get one day of PE per week? Children today have a shorter life expectancy than their parents for the first time in one hundred years because of the epidemic of obesity, according to Dr. William Klish, Professor of Pediatrics and Head of Pediatric Gastroenterology at Baylor College of Medicine. Lack of PE at school is a disservice to your child's health. Speak up. Demand that your school offers daily quality physical education. Use PE4life as a resource partner to enhance your school's PE program. A recent study revealed that 81% of teachers and 85% of parents favor requiring students to take physical education every day at every grade level. As parents, you can rally people in your community to get involved by ordering a PE4life Community Action kit video and show it to the PTA, the school board and other community groups. The next step is to invite PE4life to make a presentation to your school leaders, bring a team of people to train at a PE4life Academy, or invite PE4life to do an in-service for your school staff. As your resource partner, PE4life can provide these and many other services to your school as you work to get children more active and healthy.



Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Sue Scheff: Teen Internet Addiction


Introduction


In today's society, the Internet has made its way into almost every American home. It is a well-known fact that the web is a valuable asset for research and learning. Unfortunately, it can also be a very dangerous place for teens. With social networking sites like Myspace and Friendster, chat rooms, instant messaging, and online role-playing video games, our children are at access to almost anyone. Sue Scheff, along with Parent's Universal Resource Experts™, is tackling the dangers of the web.


Keeping tabs on our teens' online habits doesn't just keep them safe from online predators. More and more parents are becoming wary of the excessive hours their teens spend surfing the web, withdrawing from family, friends and activities they used to enjoy. Internet Addiction is a devastating problem facing far too many teens and their families. While medical professionals have done limited research on the topic, more and more are recognizing this destructive behavior and even more, the potential mental effects it can have.
Though the web is a great place for learning and can be safe for keeping in touch, it is important that families understand the potential risks and dangers to find a healthy balance between real and virtual life.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Sue Scheff: ADHD School Behavior

How teachers and parents can inspire better ADHD school behavior with help from these impulse-controlling exercises for children with attention-deficit.

by ADDitude Editors

The problem: The student with attention deficit disorder (ADD ADHD) interrupts the teacher and classmates by calling out answers or commenting while others are speaking.

The reason: Children with ADHD have difficulty controlling their impulses. Scientists believe that a problem with dopamine, a brain chemical, causes them to respond immediately and reflexively to their environment — whether the stimulus is a question, an idea, or a treat.
That’s why they often seem to act or talk before thinking, and ADHD school behavior suffers as a result.

The obstacles: Children with ADHD may not be aware that they are interrupting. Even if they are, they have difficulty understanding that their behavior is disturbing or disruptive to others.Simply telling them their behavior is wrong doesn’t help. Even though they know this, their impulsivity overrides their self-control. Many ADHD children can’t understand nonverbal reprimands, like frowning, either.

Read entire article here: http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/1977.html

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Sue Scheff - Parenting Book - Wit's End!

With peer pressure and social influences at all-time highs, many good teens are making bad choices, placing intense emotional and financial strain on parents and families. Lack of motivation, substance abuse, negative peers and gang affiliation are just some of the common challenges facing kids today.

To help address these and other issues, parent advocate Sue Scheff has announced the release of her new book, “Wit’s End: Advice and Resources for Saving Your Out-of-Control Teen.”

Scheff’s book chronicles her painful journey with a struggling teenage daughter and also offers advice, resources and help to mothers and fathers forced to make tough choices regarding their children.

“In the MySpace generation, kids are under more pressure than ever before,” says Scheff, author and founder of Parents’ Universal Resource Experts (P.U.R.E.), an organization that assists families with at-risk children.

“This book will be an invaluable resource and allow parents to learn from my past mistakes,” she adds.

As a single mother in the ‘90s, Scheff struggled to raise her teen daughter, who embraced disturbing friends, beliefs and behaviors. Ultimately, Scheff was forced to utilize a residential treatment facility as a way to instill discipline and structure.

What happened next was chilling -- stories of beatings, sexual abuse, forced starvation and neglect all surfaced from the very facility that was supposed to be protecting and rehabilitating Scheff’s daughter.

In the years following her ordeal, Scheff championed for safe alternatives for at-risk teens and began helping other parents who were facing similar challenges as she once did.

Published by Health Communications, Inc., “Wit’s End” is an extension of the assistance Scheff has been able to provide to families over the years.

“Parents need to know that they’re not alone,” says Scheff. “This book is a much-needed guide to avoid the pitfalls and will ultimately help expedite the healing process.”

For more information, visit http://www.witsendbook.com .

About the Author

Sue Scheff is the founder of Parents’ Universal Resource Experts

(http://www.helpyourteens.com) and is a sought-after interviewee and speaker on topics such as Internet abuse, struggling teens, cyberbullying and defamation. She has been featured on 20/20, CNN Headline News, ABC News, Fox News, The Rachael Ray Show, Lifetime Television, NPR, BBC Talk Radio and has appeared in the USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Miami Herald and San Francisco Chronicle.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Sue Scheff: Stressed Out Students' Guide to Saying No to Cheating


By Dr. Lisa Medoff


As school is now open - first semester in full swing - these books are a tremendous help for parents and kids.


With a rise in recent years in the number of students seeking mental health services, an increase in cheating behavior in school, and constant concern from parents, teachers, and especially students about academic achievement, the time is now for a book series to address academic stress.


Personally, these books by Lisa Medoff are a very easy read for both parents and kids - if you have a niece, nephew, son, daughter, friend that is a teen or pre-teen - there is a lot to gain from these books.


Type the title in the Amazon Box for more information.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Sue Scheff: Tips for When your Child Starts Dating!


Source: OneToughJob


Your Child's Behavior at 12 -15 years old


As your child moves from childhood into the teenage years, she will encounter many social and cultural challenges. It is an exciting time and yet a scary time for your child. As she moves more toward independence, she will be convinced she knows everything, you know nothing and you were literally born yesterday. In fact, at this time, she needs you more than ever. By knowing what to expect at this stage of your child's life, you are better equipped to interact effectively with her. By communicating clearly with your child and listening to what she has to say and the emotions she is expressing, you can help your child through this stage.


Tips for Dating


1.Talk with your child about what she hopes for from dating and from relationships.
2.Let her know your concerns and hopes for her as she goes out on dates.
3.Know who your child is hanging out with and dating.
4.Talk with the parents of those kids.
5.Set clear rules about who can be with her in your home when there are no adults present.
6.Teach manners and how to be respectful of others.
8.Let your child know she can always call home if she is uncomfortable or feels worried.
9.Tell your child to have fun—dating should be fun.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Sue Scheff on South Florida Voices


Sue Scheff was on South Florida Voices and talked about her new book - Wit's End!

Hosted by Deborah Ally, South Florida Voices features in-depth analysisof issues affecting the lives of South Floridians.Recent shows have explored health care, personal financial planning, the arts and community resources.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Sue Scheff Shares Her Story


Weston, Florida - Parent Sue Scheff knows all too well the frustrations of dealing with a troubled teen. Being a single mom was tough, but as daughter Ashlyn reached her teenage years, the problems became too much to handle. Bad decisions and difficult situations left Sue Scheff with no choice but to look to outside help for her troubled teen and salvation for strained family.What she didn’t know continues to haunt her. Seven years after her devastating travels through the teen help industry,Sue Scheff has become an advocate for safe alternatives and parent education. Through her organization, Parents Universal Resource Experts, Scheff has helped numerous families safely and successfully find help.




"Leap, and the net will appear!" Julia CameronListen to my new Radio Show, Journeys from the Heart...

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Sue Scheff presents: Becoming a part of your government and getting your teen involved


America may be the world’s most powerful democracy, but even the strongest democratic government only succeeds because of the participation of its citizens. However, the voting participation percentages of Americans are some of the worst in the world for major modern democracies. Due to this alarming fact, one of the most pressing responsibilities of good citizens is participation in the democratic process.


If you wish to become a productive citizen, Democratic participation does not end with simply voting, one must influence others to participate as well. There are many ways to get fellow community members out to the polls to vote. Luckily, the act of voting is one of the best ways to get others to vote. Leading by action is an important tool for good citizens, because we all know actions speak much louder than words.


You can also put an “I voted” sticker on your car or even offer to drive someone to a polling place to promote community voting participation. Simply sharing your knowledge about candidates, as well as times or places to vote will influence greater participation in those around you. Use this poll locator to find polling places around your area and be sure to share that knowledge.


An extremely important part of the democratic system is manning the polling places themselves. The importance of this job is extremely underrated and overlooked, but its Democratic necessity is undeniable. The poll workers help maintain the ability for everyone to have an honest and fair place to vote, which is the basic foundation of our political process. Anyone can volunteer to work at a polling place and be a part of the American political system. Working at a polling place puts you on the front lines of the government system, allowing you to become the gate keeper to American Democracy. Working at a local polling area is a classic example of productive citizenship.


Another classic and positive good citizen practice is writing letters to your regional congressional representative when you feel import issues require their attention. Often people have problems in their community but do nothing, when even one letter sent to a state or regional representative can solve the problem or at least bring attention to your community needs. A good citizen becomes a spokesperson for their community, and when problems arise they can lead the charge to solve them. Writing these letters shows other people that you are taking an active role in the government process, and this action is what good citizens stand for.
City council meetings are another great way to become involved in your community. Any member of the community can attend these meetings and have their voice heard by the local government. You can go and say whatever you want and the local government must to listen to your words.


One very simple and small key to good democratic citizenship may at first seem insignificant, but actually provides the foundation for all future political processes. When at dinner, bring up political issues and facilitate family discussions on important political matters. This will get your kids thinking about politics, so they may be more likely to talk about it a school, which will spread this idea of civic thought to other kids. Putting your family in an active and citizenship oriented mindset creates important building blocks to good citizenship because you are ensuring the growth of healthy democratic thought and deliberation to younger generations. Passing political knowledge and good citizen habits down to your children ensures that your legacy as a good citizen continues well into the future.


Learn More - Click Here.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Ballad of the Adopted Child by Jeanne Droullard

DOES your teen,

- always seem angry?
- have anger that turns into rage?
- show signs of depression, i.e., withdrawal, slipping grades?
- show disrespect to you or disrespect people in authority?
- self-protect by keeping people at a distance?
- lie, manipulate and steal?
- ever talk about his/her biological parents?
- want to find his/her biological parents?

DO you,

- feel comfortable about your teen's behavior?
- recognize signs of RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder)?
- believe you must be adopted to show signs of RAD?
- understand what is meant by the Primal Wound?
- think it makes a difference at what age a child is adopted?
- understand bonding and how it can be disrupted?
- understand the fear and pain of an adoptee?
- understand adoptee' difficulty in trusting and showing love


It can be difficult to know if your adopted teen's anger is normal and within the range of typical teenage behavior. Most teenagers get angry, especially during the years when their bodies are changing and the hormones can bring quick and severe mood swings. All teenagers are searching the world trying to find out who they are and what they want to become. They all want to know how the world will affect them and how they will affect the world.

If not addressed as a child, an adopted teenager has a duality of conflicts to overcome. Whether adopted as a baby or as an older child, this teenager has had a separation from the birth mother and this is a strong link that is not forgotten. Nancy Verrier calls this the Primal Wound. In the womb, Psychologists now agree that the child is very aware of the mother, how she smells, how she laughs and feels, even how she sounds. The baby has been inside the womb for nine months. This baby even realizes if it was a wanted pregnancy or an unwanted pregnancy - this baby knows. It also has an awareness of the physical, mental and emotional connection with the mother. Bonding begins before physical birth and possibly shortly after conception. Many professionals used to laugh at this idea and thought it impossible for a little baby to know and remember being separated from its birth mother. Alas, the tide has changed and the professionals now believe that this child couldn't help but know the separation from the birth mom that carried it - and this is the primal wound that stays with that child forever.

Read entire article here: http://www.helpyourteens.com/adoption/index.html

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Teen Peer Pressure



Peer Pressure leads to “Good Teens Making Bad Choices” which is very common today.


Teen Peer Pressure can be extremely damaging to a pre-teen or teen that is desperately trying to fit in somewhere – anywhere in their school. They are not sure what group they belong in, and those that are suffering with low self esteem can end up fitting more comfortably with the less than desirable peers. This can be the beginning of a downward spiral. When a child doesn’t have confidence of who they are or where they belong, it can lead to the place that is easiest to fit in – usually the not the best crowd.


Keeping your child involved in activities such as sports, music and school clubs can help give them a place where they belong. We always encourage parents to find the one thing that truly interests their child, whether it is a musical instrument, swimming, golf, diving, dance, chess club, drama, etc. It is important to find out what their interests are and help them build on it. Encourage them 100%. They don’t need to be the next Tiger Woods, but they need to enjoy what they are doing and keep busy doing it. Staying busy in a constructive way is always beneficial.


It is very common with many parents that contact us that their child has fallen into the wrong crowd and has become a follower rather than a leader. They are making bad choices, choices they know better however the fear of not fitting in with their friends sways them to make the wrong decisions. Low self esteem can attribute to this behavior, and if it has escalated to a point of dangerous situations such as legal issues, substance use, gang related activity, etc. it may be time to seek outside help. Remember, don’t be ashamed of this, it is very common today and you are not alone. So many parents believe others will think it is a reflection of their parenting skills, however with today’s society; the teen peer pressure is stronger than it ever has been. The Internet explosion combined with many teens Entitlement Issues has made today’s generation a difficult one to understand.


It is so important to find the right fit for your child if you are seeking residential treatment. We always encourage *local adolescent counseling prior to any Residential Treatment Programs or Boarding schools, however this is not always necessary. Many parents have an instinct when their child is heading the wrong direction. It is an intuition only a parent can detect. If something doesn’t seem right, it usually isn’t. If your gut is talking to you, you may want to listen or investigate what your child is doing. Parents need to understand that teen peer pressure can influence adolescents in negative ways. Do you know who your child’s friends are?


Visit http://www.helpyourteens.com/ for more information.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Sue Scheff: Parents Struggling with their Young Adult Teens


“My 18 year old is out of control and I am at my wits end! What can I do?” – Anonymous Parent.

18 – 19 year old teens can be the most difficult to address simply because they are considered adults and cannot be forced to get help. As parents, we have limited to no control. Practicing “Tough Love” is easier said than done, many parents cannot let their child reach rock bottom – as parent’s, we see our child suffering – whether it is needing groceries or a roof over their head and it is hard to shut the door on them.

I think this is one of the most important reasons that if you are a parent of a 16-17 year old that is out of control, struggling, defiant, using drugs and alcohol, or other negative behavior – I believe it is time to look for intervention NOW. I am not saying it needs to be a residential treatment center or a program out of the home, but at least start with local resources such as therapists that specialize with adolescents and preferable offer support groups.

It is unfortunate that in most cases the local therapy is very limited how it can help your teen. The one hour once a week or even twice, is usually not enough to make permanent changes. Furthermore getting your defiant teen to attend sessions can sometimes cause more friction and frustrations than is already happening.

This is the time to consider outside help such as a Therapeutic Boarding School or Residential Treatment Center. However these parents with the 18-19 year olds have usually missed their opportunity. They were hoping and praying that at 16 – 17 things would change, but unfortunately, if not addressed, the negative behavior usually escalates.

In the past 8+ years I have heard from thousands of parents – and most are hoping to get their child through High School and will be satisfied with a GED. It is truly a sad society of today’s teens when many believe they can simply drop out of school. Starting as early as 14 years old, many teens are thinking this way and we need to be sure they know the consequences of not getting an education. Education in today’s world should be our children’s priority however with today’s peer pressure and entitlement issues, it seems to have drifted from education to defiance – being happy just having fun and not being responsible.

I think there are many parents that debate whether they should take that desperate measure of sending a child to a program and having them escorted there – but in the long run – you need to look at these parents that have 18-19 year olds that don’t have that opportunity. While you have this option, and it is a major decision that needs to be handled with the utmost reality of what will happen if things don’t change. The closer they are to 18 – the more serious issues can become legally. If a 17+ year old gets in trouble with the law, in many states they will be tried as an adult. This can be scary since most of these kids are good kids making very bad choices and don’t deserve to get caught up the system. As a parent I believe it is our responsible not to be selfish and be open to sending the outside of the home. It is important not to view this as a failure as a parent, but as a responsible parent that is willing to sacrifice your personal feelings to get your child the help they need.

At 18, it is unfortunate, these kids are considered adults - and as parents we basically lose control to get them the help they need. In some cases - if the teen knows they have no other alternatives and this is the only option the parents will support, they will agree to get outside help.
Visit http://www.helpyourteens.com/ for more information.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

11 Strategies - Do You Suspect Your Teen is Smoking Pot?


Source: OnTeensToday.com by Vanessa Van Petten Author of “You’re Grounded!”


This is a tricky subject and different for every family, but I truly believe that every kid who wants to get pot, can.

Therefore, I always tell parents, it is extremely difficult to try to shield a kid today from being exposed to pot because it is so prominent. I believe parents, and what I do with many of my clients, need to spend their efforts trying to equip kids to make the right choices, so when they are exposed to it, they will choose not to smoke.

To be very honest, no matter how strict a curfew you have, how often you drug test your kids, or whether they are an athlete, a scholar or a jock (see Teens Dealing Urine Post), your kid will always find a way to smoke marijuana if they want to. They key is making sure they do not want to.

1) Ask Questions
Before you dive into trying to equip them with the power to ‘say no,’ try to gauge their level of involvement. Ask the tough questions. I am not saying to grill them before they go out, but showing them you are paying attention and are very involved is important and you can get an idea of how much or how little you know about their social life.

2) Listen to the Answers
Most times, when I hear parents talk to their kids, parents do ask questions, but then answer the questions themselves. A question, and then silence will get you a long way. For some reason, even after we have already given a one-word answer, if we feel you are still waiting for more, we either get nervous (a sign we are hiding something) or splurge and let our mouths go. Also look at your kid’s immediate facial response as soon as you ask a question. We are not as good at hiding our emotions and you might be able to gauge a lot by watching our reaction.

3) Look at Their Friends
I constantly hear the “well, it’s not my kid because…” response when I do speaking engagements on this topic. If you feel your child is either an angel or unreadable, look at their friends behavior. Have they gotten in trouble? Are they the ones who make the decisions where to go on the weekends? Friend’s behavior means everything in the world of pot.

4) Talk to Your Friends and Other Parents
Get informed about the pot culture in general and in your specific community. I post frequently on this topic and what kids are doing right now, so you can stay a step ahead. I highly recommend getting together with parent friends and talking about what your kids are doing and sharing notes about what they think is going on.

5) Don’t Lecture!
If you think we are doing pot, dabbling in pot, seeing it at parties or just want to talk to us about it, please talk, don’t lecture. I promise, we have heard all of the negative sides to smoking weed in health class. As soon as you start lecturing us, we stop listening. So, instead of approaching it like a health teacher, ask questions and let us come to our own conclusion, usually we know what is right or wrong, and if we feel like you are talking to us about it, not at us, at least we will come to you if we have questions or problems down the road.

6) Find Out Why:
This is tricky, it is important to understand that, today, pot is not only for ‘the stoner’ kids. All different kinds of kids are doing it and it has become a sort of social unifier. A drama kid and a jock might not hang out at a party, but if they get to the party and share a joint, they are friends. It is really important to understand this new social aspect and that it permeates all kinds of peer groups.

7) Build their Esteem:
If you cannot prevent them from encountering pot, you can empower them to make the right choices. I do believe there is peer pressure to smoke (see video). It is hard to say no when it feels like everyone is doing it and you know that if you smoke, you have the chance to be friends with that jock, who would never talk to you other wise. So encourage them to do esteem building activities, like running for student council, working out, or doing a hobby and help them be proud of who they are by engaging in their unique qualities.

Offer Other Activities:
When you talk to your parent friends, make sure everyone is on the same page with curfews and activities. If there is a semi-formal or prom coming up, offer to host a substance-free after party, host bbqs and movie nights. I think many kids smoke simply because there is nothing better to do.

9) Offer Other Options:
As horrible as it sounds, if your kid wants to smoke, they will find a way. Make sure that they know never to drive high. If you think they are smoking and you cannot do anything about it (sometimes it happens), then at least tell them to call you if they are ever in a situation and they will not get in trouble. Many, many, kids drive high or drunk and this worries me more than anything. If you do not think they would call you, then encourage an aunt, uncle, priest, rabbi, teacher, friend to be their secondary support system if they ever need to be bailed out or get a ride home.

10) Give Other Reasons Not to Smoke:
I constantly talk to teens about smoking and always give them non-health class reasons not to smoke which, I believe, appeal more to their interests. I always stress to girls the aging effects of smoking. I spoke to a group of 16 year-olds about ‘anti-partying’ and gave them my reasons not to smoke (they were shocked, because they were so a-typical)

-At a prestigious internship interview, a friend got offered the job and when they asked for a drug test, he knew couldn’t pass it and they took back the offer.
-Gives you lip wrinkles.
-The smoke makes your teeth yellow
-Lowers your sperm count
-Makes you taste bad when you kiss
-(I know a little crude) makes oral sex for your partner taste bad.
-Make allergies worse
-You never know who is going to take an incriminating picture and post it somewhere, or use it against you later.

11) Give Them Excuses
Ok, so maybe they have the self-esteem to say no, and maybe they agree with the reasons above to say no, but sometimes people will not let up with the “just take one hit!, Just try it!” So, think of excuses for them to use. Here are some that I have given and tell teens to use:

-It makes me really sleepy, and I am no fun when all I want to do is sleep.
-I am on a diet, it gives me uncontrollable munchies and I am not giving up my summer goal for one hit.
-It makes me sneeze.
-My parents/job/school/coach drug test me.
-My parents are waiting for me when I get home, and they will smell it/notice it.
-I have dance class/practice/a run tomorrow and I can never perform as well.
-I hate the taste.

**Offer to be the reason! My parents told me to clearly tell people that they were watching me like hawks and that I would get in big trouble if I smoked. This almost always works, because everyone understands strict parents. So tell them to use you as the reason…after all there is some truth to it!

Stay Informed and don’t give up!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Teen Truancy

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

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

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Teen Dating Violence




“I’ve never had one guy come into my life that hasn’t hurt me.”

– Jenny, 18 years old

Jenny, 18, has been hurt as many times as she’s been in love. At age 13, her boyfriend was physically abusive.

“He grabbed me by my neck one time, and I had fingerprints, bruising,” she explains.

Later, Jenny dated Mateo.

“He promised me, he said I promise you, I’ll never hurt you like they did,” Jenny says tearfully.

“And I promised her that, but I didn’t keep my promise,” Mateo, 17, admits. “Verbal abuse, emotional. You name it,” he says.

Research in the Journal of American Medicine finds that 42% of teens have been the victim of dating violence. 17% have been the perpetrator.

“Violent activity and dating violence begins early in adolescence; you know, begins when dating begins,” says psychiatrist Dr. Lynn Ponton, author of a book about the dating lives of teenagers.

She says too often kids are so excited to have their first boyfriend or girlfriend that they rush into a relationship. They become intimate too soon, before they even really get to know each other. By the time they know their partner is abusive, a lot of damage is already done.

Other research shows that girls in violent dating relationships are more likely to experiment with drugs, develop eating disorders and attempt suicide.

Experts say that parents must convince kids to slow down.

“By, I think, by actually setting up structures for kids to participate in where they get to know the people first before they’re off with them privately,” says Dr. David Fenstermaker, a clinical psychologist.

He suggests that group dates are safer. At the bowling alley, the water park or the ice rink, kids can get to know each other, and slowly discover what really lies in the heart of their date.

Tips for Parents

‘Dating violence’ may seem like a vague, murky term, but the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control defines ‘dating violence’ very specifically:

Dating Violence: “The perpetration or threat of an act of violence by at least one member of an unmarried couple on the other member within the context of dating or courtship. This violence encompasses any form of sexual assault, physical violence, and verbal or emotional abuse.”

How often does dating violence happen? Estimates vary, but the NCIPC offers these statistics:

24% of 8th and 9th graders have been victims of nonsexual dating violence.
8% of 8th and 9th graders have been victims of sexual dating violence.
Among high school students, the average prevalence rate for nonsexual dating violence is 22%.
Among college students the rate is 32%.

27% of college females have been victims of rape or attempted rape since age 14.
Over half of 1,000 females at a large urban university surveyed said they had experienced some form of “unwanted sex.”

Women are 6 times more likely than men to experience violence at the hands of an intimate partner.

According to the Massachusetts Department of Education, teen dating violence follows a pattern which is similar to adult domestic violence. The major elements of this pattern are:

Violence that affects people from all socio-economic, racial and ethnic groups.
Repeated violence that escalates.
Violence that increases in severity the longer the relationship continues.
Violence and abusive behaviors are interchanged with apologies and promises to change.
Increase danger for the victim when trying to terminate the relationship.
Occurrence in heterosexual and gay and lesbian relationships.
How can you tell if your teenager may be suffering from dating violence? Here are some signs from the Massachusetts Department of Education.

Is your child involved with someone who:

Is overly possessive and demonstrating a real need to control
Is jealous to the extreme point where it becomes an obsession
Is into controlling your child’s everyday events
Is prone to violent outbursts
Is a person who has a history of poor relationships
Is infringing upon your child’s freedom to make choices for himself/herself
Is limiting the time your child spends with other people
Is using external pressure to influence decision making
Is into passing blame and denying their own mistakes
Is in the habit of using put downs or playing mind games
Is not a person who can be disagreed with easily
Is encouraging your child to keep secrets
Is causing your child to become more withdrawn

And for teenagers trying to get out of a violent relationship, the following advice from the Boulder (CO) Police Department:

Tell your parents, a friend, a counselor, a clergyman, or someone else whom you trust and who can help.

The more isolated you are from friends and family, the more control the abuser has over you.
Alert the school counselor or security officer. Keep a daily log of the abuse.
Do not meet your partner alone.

Do not let him or her in your home or car when you are alone.
Avoid being alone at school, your job, on the way to and from places.
Tell someone where you are going and when you plan to be back.
Plan and rehearse what you would do if your partner became abusive.

References
National Center for Injury Protection and Control
Massachusetts Department of Education
Boulder (CO) Police Department
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Friday, July 25, 2008

Parents Universal Resource Experts (Sue Scheff) Inhalant Abuse


I know I have Blogged a lot about Inhalant Abuse and I will continue to do so - especially after reading about the recent senseless deaths. Take a moment to read their Blog at http://inhalant-info.blogspot.com/ - Take the time to learn more and you never know when this knowledge will be necessary. http://www.inhalant.org/

Monday, July 21, 2008

Sue Scheff - Can the Feingold Program Help Your Child?

For years we have struggled with ADD/ADHD children and the issues that surround mediciation and the affects it has on the kids. As a parent of an ADHD son, after extensive testing, he was diagnosed ADHD in Kindergarten. Through the years, we tried a variety of medications however always came back to the one that worked best for him. I don’t believe he was over-medicated and neither does he. By freshman year in college, he was medication free.

I was made aware of The Feingold Diet when my son was younger, but as a single mother of two children, it didn’t fit our schedule or my busy routine. Some people may view this as an excuse, but for me, it wasn’t an option I could accomodate. But - that doesn’t mean it isn’t a viable alternative to medications.

Over the years, I have heard from many parents of the success of The Feingold Program as well as recently reviewed “Why My Child Can’t Behave” by Jane Hersey. Understanding how this program works can help parents understand the negative behavior of ADD/ADHD and what triggers it.

If you have a child that has behavioral issues or has been diagnosed ADD/ADHD please take the time to learn more about The Newly Updated Feingold Program that is designed to accomodate the busy lives of families today.

Read this wonderful testimonial from Joshua - I think this sheds light on what the right diet can do for you and your family.

www.findingjoshua.org

My son, Joshua, was plagued with social and behavioral problems. He was asked to leave two private schools, rejected from several local day care facilities, and finally placed in a program for “severely emotionally handicapped” children and put on medication for ADHD - all before the age of five!

He was in a class of six children and three teachers to deal with the behavioral challenges these children presented. Throughout the years my son was diagnosed with severe ADHD and ODD (oppositional defiant disorder), along with traits of obsessive compulsive disorder, Tourette’s syndrome, and mood disorder syndrome. These years proved to be more difficult than I could have ever imagined.



Even before they’re born, parents have so many hopes and desires for their children. I felt as though my dreams had turned to nightmares and it seemed like I’d never wake up.

Even though testing indicated that Joshua was extremely gifted, his emotional and behavioral problems kept him labeled as emotionally handicapped.

During the next seven years he was on three medications, totaling nine pills a day. It seemed necessary to keep him medicated 24 hours a day, every day. Symptoms that were treated with one medicine caused him to have trouble sleeping, so he had to take an additional medication for that, and yet another for the endless anxiety resulting from the issues he faced daily with social and behavioral problems. He had huge problems with opposition, defiance, aggression, anger, and impulsivity. The doctors tried different dosages and combinations of the medicines but without success.

He was kept medicated 24 hours a day and the problems only got worse.

Toward the end of his fourth grade year, Joshua was placed in an outpatient facility for depression, leaning towards suicidal. Children typically attended this facility for a week at the most, just enough time to be evaluated, receive recommendations for therapy, medication, behavior modification and family counseling. However, Joshua’s behavior was such that he continued for five weeks.

None of the many professionals we saw were able to help him.

Time passed and problems remained despite medication and continual counseling. Two other medicines were recommended, in addition to the three he was on, but I couldn’t bring myself to give my ten-year-old 5 different drugs. Towards the end of his fifth grade year he was placed in a children’s psychiatric facility after he threatened to kill others and tried to hurt himself. Joshua had reached the end of his rope.

I was told that I could not see him or call him for the first 24 hours he was at the facility. As I said “good-bye” there was so much hurt behind his beautiful blue eyes, so much uncertainty of “Where do I fit in, why am I like this? When will my life be normal, and when will I feel at peace inside?”

The immense pain I felt for my child left me numb and hopeless. I wanted so badly to take him in my arms, hug him and tell him that everything would be okay, but I didn’t know that to be so. I would go to the ends of the earth for him but felt as though I was already there and didn’t know where to go from here. Despite all the avenues I took, all the endless hours of searching, every year continued to grow darker and darker.

The immense pain for my child left me numb and hopeless.

After several days Joshua was released from the hospital. Since the medicines were not helping, his doctor recommended we remove them all and start on a different regimen. For the remaining weeks of school he was in a homebound program where the teacher came to our home.

The doctor assured me that by weaning Joshua off the medicines slowly there would be no problems with withdrawal. The opposite was true! We went through three weeks of severely out-of-control behavior. Several times Joshua became extremely violent and I came close to calling 911 for help.

His reaction to withdrawal from the many drugs was a nightmare.

Next, I tried allergy treatments at a clinic and they helped somewhat. Still searching, I learned of the Feingold Program and that’s when my son’s recovery began in earnest.[www.feingold.org / (800) 321-3287]

Joshua has a severe behavioral reaction to certain synthetic food additives.

Joshua had traveled down a difficult road filled with hurt, disappointment and fear for as long as he can remember. He lost much of his childhood to this journey, but because of Feingold, Joshua has a new beginning.

Now, at age 17, we are starting our seventh consecutive year that Joshua does not carry the label “emotionally handicapped.” Looking back, our success began when Joshua was in the sixth grade. It was roughly 8 weeks prior to school starting that we began the Feingold diet. Six weeks into the diet we saw dramatic changes in Joshua. Seventh grade went so well that during the annual meeting required for all students that receive “special services,” the school suggested a battery of behavioral testing and classroom observations to determine if Joshua still needed the services and the label that he carried in his file. After thorough testing and review, Joshua’s eight-year special needs folder was permanently closed. He no longer exhibited any signs of needing help in any form. This was truly a victory!

This is the seventh consecutive year Joshua’s teachers have told me he shows respect and cooperation without any opposition. Joshua is finally able to manage his anger when things don’t go his way (this feat alone was like a mountain to conquer).

Joshua no longer has trouble controlling his behavior. He is thriving in school and in all areas of his life.

His teachers view him as pleasant to be around as well as a good student. Joshua is able to remain seated for an extended period, is capable of thinking before acting, and no longer needs behavioral therapy. I no longer receive calls to come pick him up at school because he’s out of control and disruptive. Joshua has been able to attend events through the school or sports where I was not required to stay “just in case there’s a problem.”


Joshua went a total of seven years being medicated 24 hours a day with three medications (totaling 9 pills a day, for 365 days a year) to a healthy diet and absolutely no medicine.


Joshua is finally forming strong friendships. This list could go on but the bottom line is …since Feingold, this is the first time I like my son, and best of all HE likes who he’s become.

Our life finally feels, and is, “normal.” This is what we have both hoped for.

I know my son’s “transformation” did not occur due to maturity, changing schools, peer pressure, a reward system, or anything of the sort. The changes in Joshua came as a result of the simple changes we made in the food we eat.

A few months after we began seeing success on Feingold, Joshua wanted to do what he called “an experiment.” I allowed him to eat the synthetic chemicals (foods containing artificial colors and flavors) for a week because I knew his cooperation was essential for this to work. On the fourth day he began having rage attacks, showing opposition and defiance, just like before. He shouted at his teacher, threw a book across the room at another student, and spent a day in the principal’s office.

When he went back to eating the synthetic chemicals, the old behaviors returned in four days. It was a humiliating experience for my son.

He embarrassed himself terribly in front of his peers and came home asking to ditch the experiment. This validated the fact that the diet was truly the key to his happiness and success.

For the entire story - visit www.findingjoshua.org

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Sue Scheff Discusses Wit's End and Cyber Abuse


It was very exciting to be on Miami DayBreak to discuss my first book, Wit's End!

Over the past several months I have been on many radio and TV shows discussing both my book and the effect Cyber Abuse can have on peoples lives. My Podcast website will be updated shortly with many of these shows.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Troubled Teens, Struggling Teens, At Risk Teens, Teen Help by Sue Scheff

Are you at your wit’s end?

Are you experiencing any of the following situations or feeling at a complete loss or a failure as a parent? You are not alone and by being a proactive parent you are taking the first step towards healing and bringing your family back together.

• Is your teen escalating out of control?
• Is your teen becoming more and more defiant and disrespectful?
• Is your teen manipulative? Running your household?
• Are you hostage in your own home by your teen’s negative behavior?
• Is your teen angry, violent or rage outbursts?
• Is your teen verbally abusive?
• Is your teen rebellious, destructive and withdrawn?
• Is your teen aggressive towards others or animals?
• Is your teen using drugs and/or alcohol?
• Does your teen belong to a gang?
• Do they frequently runaway or leave home for extended periods of time?
• Has their appearance changed – piercing, tattoo’s, inappropriate clothing?
• Has your teen stopped participating in sports, clubs, church and family functions? Have they become withdrawn from society?
• Is your teen very intelligent yet not working up to their potential? Underachiever? Capable of doing the work yet not interested in education.
• Does he/she steal?
• Is your teen sexually active?
• Teen pregnancy?
• Is your teen a good kid but making bad choices?
• Undesirable peers? Is your teen a follower or a leader?
• Low self esteem and low self worth?
• Lack of motivation? Low energy?
• Mood Swings? Anxiety?
• Teen depression that leads to negative behavior?
• Eating Disorders? Weight loss? Weight gain?
• Self-Harm or Self Mutilation?
• High School drop-out?
• Suspended or Expelled from school?
• Suicidal thoughts or attempts?
• ADD/ADHD/LD/ODD?
• Is your teen involved in legal problems? Have they been arrested?
• Juvenile Delinquent?
• Conduct Disorder?
• Bipolar?
• Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)?

Does your teen refuse to take accountability and always blame others for their mistakes?

• Do you feel hopeless, helpless and powerless over what options you have as a parent? Are you at your wit’s end?


Does any of the above sound familiar? Many parents are at their wit’s end by the time they contact us, but the most important thing many need to know is you are not alone. There is help but the parent needs to be proactive and educate themselves in getting the right help.



Many try local therapy, which is always recommended, but in most cases, this is a very temporary band-aid to a more serious problem. One or two hours a week with a therapist is usually not enough to make the major changes that need to be done.

If you feel you are at your wit’s end and are considering outside resources, please contact us. http://www.helpyourteens.com/free_information.shtml An informed parent is an educated parent and will better prepare to you to make the best decision for your child. It is critical not to place your child out of his/her element. In many cases placing a teen that is just starting to make bad choices into a hard core environment may cause more problems. Be prepared – do your homework.

Many parents are in denial and keep hoping and praying the situation is going to change. Unfortunately in many cases, the problems usually escalate without immediate attention. Don’t be parents in denial; be proactive in getting your teen the appropriate help they may need. Whether it is local therapy or outside the home assistance, be in command of the situation before it spirals out of control and you are at a place of desperation. At wit’s end is not a pleasant place to be, but so many of us have been there.

Finding the best school or program for your child is one of the most important steps a parent does. Remember, your child is not for sale – don’t get drawn into high pressure sales people, learn from my mistakes. Read my story at www.aparentstruestory.com for the mistakes I made that nearly destroyed my daughter.

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

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

www.helpyourteens.com
www.suescheff.com
www.witsendbook.com

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Parents Universal Resource Experts (Sue Scheff) Communication is a Key to Success for Students


Source: Learning Forum International

Strong verbal communication skills help students at school in everything from getting better grades in class presentations to making a positive impression with teachers. These same skills also help students with their relationships in and out of school. At the learning and life skills summer camp, SuperCamp, students learn how important effective communication is in life and are given advice on how to improve their communication skills. Here are some of the tips they learn.

Don’t Be a Communication Killer
Beware! Some conversation responses-like reassurance, advice, and identification-that seem helpful on the surface can actually hinder positive communication, and may even end a conversation before it has a chance to become meaningful communication.

Don’t be a communication killer-be an active listener
Here are the three don’ts: don’t deny, don’t resolve, and don’t me-too.

Don’t deny: “You don’t need to lose weight, you look fine.”
When a friend shares an experience, a fear, or a feeling (”I’m so fat …”) and you respond with reassurance, you may mean to comfort her, but what you’re really doing is cutting off her sharing with the statement that she shouldn’t feel that way. You’re denying her feelings.
Don’t resolve: “If I were you …”
When someone tells you about a problem they’ve having, and you quickly hand them a solution, you shut them right down. Think about it. If you wanted to chat with a friend about a problem and maybe share some ideas and they quickly throw a solution at you, it wouldn’t feel very good. Their two-minute solution to a problem you’ve been struggling with for weeks would probably (a) be unlikely to work, (b) be something you already though of, and (c) be very likely to end the conversation.
Don’t me-too: “I know exactly what you mean; the same thing happened to me …”
When a friend begins to share something they’re going through and you cut them off with a “Me, too” and go into your “story”, you’ve killed the conversation. Your friend may never get to finish telling you about his experience, but he’ll know all about what happened to you.
None of these responses gives a conversation a chance. Often the best “conversations” are very one-sided as far as speaking is concerned. This is called active listening and it’s a vital ingredient in meaningful communication. The “listener” listens very intently and hardly says a word, only contributing enough to let the other person know they’re really hearing them. Think about the difference active listening would have made in the three don’ts examples above.
Don’t kill a conversation with reassurance, advice, or identification. Your goal is not to diagnose, pacify, or fix. Let your goal be to listen, and to let the speaker know he’s been heard.

Got a Minute?
Got a Minute? Have you ever had someone ask you this? Doesn’t it immediately send up a red flag in your mind: Why is he asking me this? Does he want me to have a cup of coffee with him? Does he want advice, or a favor? It’s an invisible question – you don’t know what he wants, you do know it probably won’t take just a minute, and you don’t know how to respond. Your honest answer is probably, “For what?” But you don’t feel comfortable being so blunt and you feel cornered.
If you get this a lot, handle it by reminding the person to be visible with “Why are you asking?” or “Tell me more.” This way, rather than uncomfortably saying, “Yes” without having any idea of what’s coming, you’re being direct in your communication and the final result will be better for both of you.

Another example of invisible communication is “What are you doing Friday night?” You wonder, Is she just curious? Does she want to invite me somewhere? Or maybe she wants me to babysit? What if she simply said, “I have an extra ticket for the concert on Friday night-would you like to come with me?” How easy is that to answer?

We all speak invisibly at times. When you catch yourself doing it, remind yourself to finish the sentence: “Do you have a minute to discuss …?” “What are you doing Friday night? I have concert tickets and I’m hoping you can join me.” When your intent is clear, people don’t feel as if they’re being manipulated or trapped-and they feel comfortable responding to you.

Visible communication strengthens relationships

Visible communication makes your purpose clear; invisible communication, as in the examples above, masks your purpose. When your intent is clear, people don’t feel as if they’re being tricked or manipulated. They feel safe and respected. And they feel comfortable responding to you. They’ll give your direct communication a direct answer. Communication is flowing and easy. Visible communication helps build stronger relationships. Make your intent visible, make your purpose clear, and strengthen your relationships.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Parents Universal Resource Expert (Sue Scheff) Teen Internet Addiction


In today's society, the Internet has made its way into almost every American home. It is a well-known fact that the web is a valuable asset for research and learning. Unfortunately, it can also be a very dangerous place for teens. With social networking sites like Myspace and Friendster, chat rooms, instant messaging, and online role-playing video games, our children are at access to almost anyone. Sue Scheff, along with Parent's Universal Resource Experts™, is tackling the dangers of the web.

Keeping tabs on our teens' online habits doesn't just keep them safe from online predators. More and more parents are becoming wary of the excessive hours their teens spend surfing the web, withdrawing from family, friends and activities they used to enjoy. Internet Addiction is a devastating problem facing far too many teens and their families. While medical professionals have done limited research on the topic, more and more are recognizing this destructive behavior and even more, the potential mental effects it can have.

Though the web is a great place for learning and can be safe for keeping in touch, it is important that families understand the potential risks and dangers to find a healthy balance between real and virtual life.

The Basics: The Dangers of Teen Internet Addiction

It’s clear that, for teenagers, spending too much time online can really deter social and educational development. The Internet world is such that there is always something new to do and to distract one from one’s responsibilities. We all do it- take ten minutes here or there to explore our favorite gossip or sports site. There is nothing wrong with using the Internet as a tool for research, news, and even entertainment. After all, the World Wide Web is the world’s most accurate, up to date resource for almost any type of information.

But as the Internet evolves and becomes more tailored to the individual, it grows increasingly easier to develop a dependency on it. This is especially true for teens- a group that tends to be susceptible to flashy graphics and easily enticed by the popularity of social networks. In a sense, the Internet is the new video game or TV show. It used to be that adolescents would sit in front of the TV for hours on end operating a remote, shooting people and racing cars. Now they surf the web. Teens are impressionable and can at times be improperly equipped to handle certain situations with a degree of reason and rationality. And although they may have good intentions, they might be at risk of coming across something inappropriate and even dangerous.
Learn More About Wrapped in the Web.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Parents Universal Resource Experts (Sue Scheff) What are the Symptoms of ADHD?

By ADDitude Magazine

The nine symptoms that suggest inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity.

How can you tell if your child has ADHD? He or she must exhibit at least six of the following nine symptoms from one of these lists, from the diagnostic criteria in the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

The symptoms must have been noticeable for at least six months in two or more settings — for example, at home and at school. What’s more, the symptoms must significantly impair the child’s functioning, and at least some of the symptoms must have been apparent before age seven.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Inattentive
1. fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes
2. has difficulty sustaining attention
3. seems not to listen when spoken to
4. has trouble following through on instructions or finishing tasks
5. has difficulty organizing tasks and activities
6. is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort
7. often loses things
8. is easily distracted
9. is forgetful in daily activities


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hyperactive/Impulsive
1. fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat
2. leaves seat in classroom
3. runs about or climbs excessively
4. has difficulty playing quietly
5. often seems “on the go” or acts as if “driven like a motor”
6. talks excessively
7. blurts out answers before questions have been completed
8. has trouble taking turns
9. interrupts or intrudes on others

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Parents Universal Resource Experts (Sue Scheff) Teen Body Image


By Sarah Maria - http://www.breakfreebeauty.com/

Teen Body Image


If you're in high school, most of your friends are probably on a diet. A recent study shows that 90% of junior and senior girls are on a diet regularly, even though only 10-15% are actually overweight.

The modeling industry also promotes the idea that you need to diet and exercise religiously. Fashion models are actually thinner than 98% of American women. An average woman stands 5'4" tall and weighs about 140 lbs, while the average fashion model is a towering 5'11" tall and weighs under 117 lbs.

In reality no amount of dieting, exercise and discipline can earn you a magazine cover-ready body because those photos have been Photo Shopped, doctored and airbrushed. Don't waste your time attempting to be what you are not, instead; focus on cultivating who you are!

Body Image Tips
As you progress through puberty and your high school years, your body changes as fast as your favorite ringtones. But learning to appreciate your body and have positive self image is a task that few adults have even mastered. Here are some tips to help you learn to love yourself:

Learn to Cook- It is never too early to learn to cook. In just a few years, you will be on your own and you will be expected to feed and take care of yourself. Get some practice at home by preparing some family meals or meals for just yourself. Try some new foods by looking through cookbooks and online. Impress your friends by having a dinner party. This also helps you understand how food functions within a regular diet. Learn how to cook healthily so you can eat healthily, but don't spend too much time worrying about food!

Don't Diet!- Dieting is a great way to ruin your eating habits and your relationship with food and your body. Instead, learn about healthy eating and exercise habits. The healthy habits you learn while you are young will serve you throughout your life!

People Watch- Go to the mall or a public space and people watch. How many are fat or thin? How tall are most women? Men? What do you like or dislike about people's styles, looks or body type? How much of their appearance is "style" and how much is their actual body types? Cultivate the ability to see style and beauty in everyone. As you learn to do this, you can be a trend-setter instead of a trend-follower.

Keep it Real- Remember, people only pick the best photos to be on their MySpace or Facebook page. Remind yourself that they all have bad hair days, the occasional zit or an unflattering outfit choice.

Stay Well Rounded- Sign up for activities that you have never tried. Join an intramural sport or speech meet. Build up your college resume by participating in extracurricular activities. It's a great way to broaden your social circle and prepares you for college or a job.

Be a Trend Setter- Don't just follow the crowd - create your own crowd by being a trend setter. Find your own style and look by experimenting with your hair, makeup and clothing. What is your look trying to say? Does it match what you want people to think about you? Someone has to set the trends. Why not you?

Learn to meditate- It is never too early to learn to meditate. You will find that this is a skill you can use all your life. By focusing inward, it is easier to distill the truth rather than listening to outside influences. It will also help you manage the stress of your busy life.


Parental Tips
If you are a parent of a teen, you know the challenges of living with an emotional, possibly aloof teenager who begs for guidance but disregards most of what you say. Their alternating moods and attitudes make approaching a touchy subject like body image feels dangerous. The following are some tips to help with a positive body image:

Have an Open Door Policy-You'd like your teen to approach you with any problem she is facing but often you aren't sure if she's coming to you, going to her friends or suffering alone. Encourage regular candid conversation by noticing what times and places your teen is most likely to talk. Is she a night owl? Does she talking on a long drive? Is she more comfortable emailing? Use the time and venue that is most comfortable for her and encourage open sharing.

Limit Harmful Media- Put your teen daughter on a media diet. Don't feel you need to restrict website, magazine or TV shows entirely. Just be cautious of what mediums she concentrates on. Be especially mindful of any one celebrity that she idolizes or photos that she tears out and stares at repeatedly. Discuss how all magazine photos are airbrushed and doctored.

Compliment Her and Her Friends- Make a point to compliment both your daughter and her friends on a well-put together outfit or a new hair style. Teens are trying on new looks and personalities as their bodies change. Let them know that they have hit on a good look when they experiment in the right direction.

Make sure to compliment them on things not related to their appearance as well. A good grade, a valiant sports effort or kind deed also deserve notice. Try to practice a 90/10% rule. Let 90% of your comments and insights be positive and only 10% should be carefully worded constructive criticism.

Resources:

Health AtoZ: Is it a Diet or an Eating Disorder?


Eating Disorder Statistics
http://www.freewebs.com/anadeath/statistics.htm

Monday, June 16, 2008

Parents Universal Resource Experts (Sue Scheff) How Special Times Works with Teens


Author: Patty Wipfler
Source: Hand in Hand



Special Time* is a simple idea that carries a lot of power! It's a highly dependable way to build and to rebuild a close connection with a child.

The power of Special Time is that it puts the parent in the "back seat" of the parent/child relationship. The child does the steering. Until you do Special Time, it's hard to detect habits of control and direction that you may have adopted in your interactions with your child. Special Time helps a parent pull away from those habits, and gives the child a chance to bask in the parent's approval and demonstrate his own preferences and interests.

Children often ask for kinds of play or interaction that a parent wouldn't usually choose, or wouldn't think of. The child's choices are a direct but nonverbal communication about what he likes, his issues, or possibly the places he has become stuck in a rut of fascination or worry. But in any case, Special Time makes it safe for a child to "show himself" in ways that he might not usually dare to, because the parent has agreed to pay attention, to support the child's ideas, and has sworn not to allow anything to interrupt. The sense of closeness and caring that children derive from Special Time builds their confidence in their ability to think, to love, and to learn.

Used wisely, Special Time can be a powerful tool for creating and repairing connection between parent and teen, too. Here are a few things to remember when setting out to try Special Time with your teenager.

Teens need their parents to reach out for a genuine connection. Think for a minute about why you want to be close to your teenager. Think about what you used to love to do with him or her, and what has been fun recently. Think about his or her longings and the things your teen is interested in. Offer to spend one-on-one time, not because you "should," or because a problem needs to be solved, but because you want your life and his life to be good, and good together.
It's helpful to set the guidelines, so your teen's hopes aren't raised, then dashed unnecessarily. How much time can you really spend? How much money can you spend? Do you have transportation? How far can you go? Will you buy things you don't usually allow, i.e., candy, soda, body piercings, or not?
Don't bring up sore subjects. This is a time to put your attention on the good things about your teen, not on your irritations or worries. If you must bring up difficult topics, make an appointment for that, totally separate from Special Time. Let this time be led by your teen, not your worries or upsets.
If your offer of time together is rejected, don't give up! There are at least two things you can do to move things forward.


The first and most important one is to set up a good amount of time for a Listening Partnership, so you can talk fully about yourself and your teenager. What's great in your relationship with him, and what's difficult? What was life like for you at that age? What was your relationship like when he was an infant? A toddler? It's surprisingly helpful for parents to have 45 minutes or an hour to consider the big picture of their relationship without advice or interruption. Talking about one's own experiences, and noticing the feelings that make it hard to show respect, affection, or encouragement toward your teen will help to move the relationship between you forward.

The second thing a parent can do is to initiate time together without announcing it, and without drawing attention to it. This might mean taking a magazine into your teenager's room and plopping down on the bed while he's doing homework, moving close to really listen to the words of the songs on your daughter's favorite CD, or being awake and ready with a snack when your teen comes home late at night. Prepare yourself to pay attention to your teen, but in a low-key way. You're "leaning toward him," not rushing in to ask questions or try to be his best friend. Look for opportunities to offer approval. Discipline yourself not to ask probing questions. Just hang out.

You're "trolling" for an opportunity to engage. Your teen might not take immediate advantage of your unspoken availability. He may look like he doesn't notice. That's fine. You're learning to let him be in the driver's seat during these unannounced Special Times. You are making a commitment in your mind and heart to offer your attention, and to trust him to take the offer eventually. Every time you hang around, content to be in your teen's presence, you're making it safer for your teen to eventually talk with you about important things. The path won't be short or certain, but carving out times when you decide not to be busy, and you set out no demands or expectations, will take you in a good direction.

Special Time, tailored by you for your own circumstances with your teenager, can make a big difference at times of trouble. Having one-on-one time during which you offer approval, interest, and no reference to difficulties can help break the isolation that glues a rough spot affecting a teen and his parents in place.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Sue Scheff: Dealing with your 18 year old "child"


At this time of year, it seems we are contacted by more and more parents that have an 18 year old or a 17 year old that is almost 18. If you have been struggling with your younger teen and like many of us, keep hoping and praying it will change, take a moment to think about if it doesn’t. Don’t miss opportunities to give your child a second chance for a bright future. Whether it is local therapy, summer motivational program or a Boarding School, as parents we do what is best for our kids.

“My 18 year old is out of control and I am at my wit’s end! What can I do?” Anonymous Parent.

18 - 19 year old teens can be the most difficult to address simply because they are considered adults and cannot be forced to get help. As parents, we have limited to no control. Practicing “Tough Love” is easier said than done, many parents cannot let their child reach rock bottom ? as parent’s, we see our child suffering whether it is needing groceries or a roof over their head and it is hard to shut the door on them.

I think this is one of the most important reasons that if you are a parent of a 16-17 year old that is out of control, struggling, defiant, using drugs and alcohol, or other negative behavior? I believe it is time to look for intervention NOW. I am not saying it needs to be a residential treatment center or a program out of the home, but at least start with local resources such as therapists that specialize with adolescents and preferable offer support groups.

It is unfortunate that in most cases the local therapy is very limited how it can help your teen. The one hour once a week or even twice, is usually not enough to make permanent changes. Furthermore getting your defiant teen to attend sessions can sometimes cause more friction and frustrations than is already happening.

This is the time to consider outside help such as a Therapeutic Boarding School or Residential Treatment Center. However these parents with the 18-19 year olds have usually missed their opportunity. They were hoping and praying that at 16 or 17 things would change, but unfortunately, if not address, the negative behavior usually escalates.

In the past 7+ years I have heard from thousands of parents and most are hoping to get their child through High School and will be satisfied with a GED. It is truly a sad society of today’s teens when many believe they can simply drop out of school. Starting as early as 14 years old, many teens are thinking this way and we need to be sure they know the consequences of not getting an education.

Education in today’s world should be our children’s priority however with today’s peer pressure and entitlement issues, it seems to have drifted from education to defiance being happy just having fun and not being responsible.

I think there are many parents that debate whether they should take that desperate measure of sending a child to a program and having them escorted there but in the long run you need to look at these parents that have 18-19 year olds that don’t have that opportunity.

While you have this option, and it is a major decision that needs to be handled with the utmost reality of what will happen if things don’t change. The closer they are to 18 the more serious issues can become legally. If a 17+ year old gets in trouble with the law, in many states they will be tried as an adult.

This can be scary since most of these kids are good kids making very bad choices and don’t deserve to get caught up the system. As a parent I believe it is our responsible not to be selfish and be open to sending the outside of the home. It is important not to view this as a failure as a parent, but as a responsible parent that is willing to sacrifice your personal feelings to get your child the help they need.

At 18, it is unfortunate, these kids are considered adults - and as parents we basically lose control to get them the help they need. In most cases, if they know they have no other alternatives and this is the only option the parents will support, they will attend young adult programs that can offer them life skills, emotional growth, education and more to give them a second opportunity for a bright, successful future.

Parent’s Universal Resource Experts www.helpyourteens.com
Sue Scheff www.suescheff.com

Wit’s End Book www.witsendbook.com