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.


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


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 -

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.


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

Eating Disorder Statistics

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
Sue Scheff

Wit’s End Book

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Sue Scheff: Teen Eating Disorders

Recently I was contacted by a wonderful woman that has struggled with Bulimia since she was 14 years olds. Teen Eating Disorders are a very serious concern for many parents - and they need to be made aware of the warning signs as well as solutions.

Lori Hanson is the woman I am speaking of, she is an Author, Speaker and Life Balance Expert.
Her new book - “It Started with Pop-Tarts” at the age of 14 - and through her college years suffered and battled with Bulimia. She shares a journey that parents with teens that are at-risk with having an eating disorder should read.

Learn more about Lori at - she may be able to help you help your kids.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Sue Scheff: Parenting ADHD Children - Advice from Moms

By ADDitude Magazine

Moms' advice for parenting ADHD children, creating an ADD-friendly household and smoothing out daily rough spots

It’s the stuff attention deficit disorder (ADD ADHD) days are made of: You’re trying to get your daughter to finish her homework, but she insists on doing cartwheels across the living room. Or you’ve already had two big dustups with your son — and it’s only 9 a.m.

Sound familiar? Parents of ADHD children have a lot on their plates. And while doctors, therapists, and ADD coaches can offer helpful guidance, much of the best, most practical advice on parenting ADD children comes from those who have been there, done that. In other words, from other ADHD parents.

For this article, ADDitude asked members of support groups across the country (both live and online) for their tried-and-true parenting skill tips for monitoring behavior problems, disciplining and smoothing out the daily rough spots. Here’s what they said.

The morning routine
In many families, the friction starts soon after the alarm clocks sound. It’s not easy to coax a spacey, unmotivated child out of bed and into his clothes; the strategizing required to get the entire family fed and out the door on time would test the mettle of General Patton.

Getting off to a slower start can make all the difference, say parents. “We wake our son up a half-hour early,” says Toya J., of Brooklyn, New York, mother of eight-year-old Jamal. “We give him his medication, and then let him lie in our bed for a while. If we rush him, he gets overwhelmed — and so do we. Once the meds kick in, it’s much easier to get him going.”

Some parents aren’t above a little bribery. “In our house, it’s all about rewards,” says Jenny S., of New York City, mother of Jeremy, age seven. “Every time we have a good morning, I put a marble in the jar. For every five marbles, he wins a small reward.”

Amy B., of Los Angeles, mother of Jared, age seven, is another believer in reward systems. “If the TV is on, it’s impossible to get him moving. Now the TV stays off until absolutely everything is done and he’s ready to go. He moves quickly because he wants to watch that television.”

Another way to keep your morning structured and problem-free is to divide it into a series of simple, one-step tasks. “I’m the list queen,” says Debbie G., of Phoenix, mother of Zach, 10. “I put a list on his bedroom door that tells him step-by-step what he needs to do. I break his morning routine down into simple steps, like ‘BRUSH TEETH,’ ‘MAKE BED,’ ‘GET DRESSED,’ and ‘COME DOWNSTAIRS FOR BREAKFAST.’ The key is to make it easy to follow.”

What about kids who simply cannot, or will not, do what’s asked of them? When 10-year-old Liam refuses to comply, his mom, Dina A., of New York City, shifts into “if-you-can’t-beat-’em,-join-’em” mode. “I can’t believe I’m admitting this,” she says, “but I wake him up and bring him cereal in bed. Once he’s gotten something to eat, he’s not as crabby.”

Behavior patterns
At first glance, a child’s misadventures may seem random. But spend a week or two playing detective, and you may see a pattern. Pay attention to the specific situations that lead to trouble and — even more important — to the times of day when trouble usually occurs.

“You may find that tantrums come at certain times of the day,” says Laura K., of San Francisco, mother of Jack, eight. “With my son, we found that it was right after the medication wore off. So we asked the doctor for a small booster dose to get us through. It’s worked wonders for cutting down on the bad behavior.”

Sometimes children simply fail to see the connection between how they behave and how they’re treated. In such cases, behavior charts are a godsend. The idea is to post a chart, specifying the behaviors you expect and the rewards the child will earn for toeing the line.

Renee L., of Northbrook, Illinois, mother of Justin, nine, explains: “Once children see that good behavior gets them privileges and bad behavior gets them nothing, they’re more likely to comply.” It helps to focus on only a few behaviors at a time.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Sue Scheff: What is Inhalant Abuse?

As a parent advocate, I am shocked at the growing abuse of inhalants among teens and pre-teens. This is a subject that is not discussed enough. Inhalant are easily accessible in most homes today. Learn more by visiting - After being contacted by a wonderful and caring mother that lost her son to inhalant use, I feel I need to help her be a voice to educate parents everywhere.

What is Inhalant Abuse?

Inhalant abuse refers to the deliberate inhalation or sniffing of common products found in homes and communities with the purpose of “getting high.” Inhalants are easily accessible, legal, everyday products. When used as intended, these products have a useful purpose in our lives and enhance the quality of life, but when intentionally misused, they can be deadly. Inhalant Abuse is a lesser recognized form of substance abuse, but it is no less dangerous. Inhalants are addictive and are considered to be “gateway” drugs because children often progress from inhalants to illegal drug and alcohol abuse. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that one in five American teens have used Inhalants to get high.

Inhalation is referred to as huffing, sniffing, dusting or bagging and generally occurs through the nose or mouth. Huffing is when a chemically soaked rag is held to the face or stuffed in the mouth and the substance is inhaled. Sniffing can be done directly from containers, plastic bags, clothing or rags saturated with a substance or from the product directly. With Bagging, substances are sprayed or deposited into a plastic or paper bag and the vapors are inhaled. This method can result in suffocation because a bag is placed over the individual’s head, cutting off the supply of oxygen.

Other methods used include placing inhalants on sleeves, collars, or other items of clothing that are sniffed over a period of time. Fumes are discharged into soda cans and inhaled from the can or balloons are filled with nitrous oxide and the vapors are inhaled. Heating volatile substances and inhaling the vapors emitted is another form of inhalation. All of these methods are potentially harmful or deadly. Experts estimate that there are several hundred deaths each year from Inhalant Abuse, although under-reporting is still a problem.

What Products Can be Abused?

There are more than a 1,400 products which are potentially dangerous when inhaled, such as typewriter correction fluid, air conditioning coolant, gasoline, propane, felt tip markers, spray paint, air freshener, butane, cooking spray, paint, and glue. Most are common products that can be found in the home, garage, office, school or as close as the local convenience store. The best advice for consumers is to read the labels before using a product to ensure the proper method is observed. It is also recommended that parents discuss the product labels with their children at age-appropriate times. The following list represents categories of products that are commonly abused.

Click here for a list of abusable products.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Sue Scheff: Summer Reading for Parents and Teens

Summer is almost here and what a better time to catch up on relaxation and reading!

Go to your local library with your kids or a bookstore and find some educational and fun books to read. Health Communications Inc. offers a wide variety of wonderful books for both parents and kids today.

Also review for great reading!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Sue Scheff: Is Parent Coaching for your Family?

Why Family Coaching Works by Dr. Paul Jenkins, PhD

The CreationTree Coaching Model:

Life coaching is a service that has been designed to assist individuals, couples, families, and organizations to achieve their highest potential.

Coaching is a deliberate process of focused conversations to create an environment for individual, family, and corporate prosperity, living on purpose, and sustained improvement in all aspects of life.

Genius Was Once Described ...

… as the ability to take the complex and describe it in simple terms without oversimplifying. Dr. Paul's keen insights into marriage and family has allowed him to distill these seemingly complicated topics down to practical core concepts. This is a gift absent in the motivational industry.

This is accomplished through the four P’s which are:

Principle: Add power to your life through principle. Principles are always true in every context. Natural laws are examples of principles - like gravity. Gravity will act on you whether you believe in it or not - and whether you like it or not. Identify the correct principles that will create freedom in your life, and get busy applying them. Principles govern.

Paradigm: Add power to your life through paradigm. The most powerful concept I have discovered in psychology is that there are two paradigms (victim vs. hero). You can choose which paradigm you embrace, and the outcome of each is sure. If you adopt a victim paradigm, you will experience misery and captivity. If you adopt a hero paradigm, you will experience happiness and liberty.

Purpose: Add power to your life through purpose. Your life is going somewhere for sure. Where it goes depends a lot on where you aim it. Develop a personal mission statement, and also one for your marriage, family, business, or other ventures. Start living on purpose. The phrase, “Live On Purpose” has a nice double meaning – that you have a clear purpose or mission for your life, and that you do it intentionally.

Passion: Add power to your life through passion. Passion is the driving force that motivates you. After you have successfully learned principles, the challenge is to apply those principles in your life in meaningful ways. This requires change, and to change you must find ways to get leverage on yourself. Passion for life increases dramatically as you begin to spend more of your time doing the things that you love for the people who love what you do.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Parents Universal Resource Experts (Sue Scheff) ADHD Teens - Room to Bloom

By ADDitude Magazine

10 ways for protective parents to step back and allow their ADHD Teens to Grow..

I saw Donny for an evaluation shortly after his eleventh birthday. Like many parents, his mother, Christine, reacted to his diagnosis with mixed feelings: sadness that her son was not "perfect" and that the attention deficit disorder (ADD ADHD) wouldn't go away - and concern about the implications for his future. She hoped that the treatment plan we devised - a combination of academic accommodations, therapy, and medication - would improve their day-to-day lives. Mostly, she was determined to do whatever was necessary to help her son.

Christine became the boy's champion, protector, and advocate. She coordinated with Donny's teachers, school counselors, soccer coaches, piano teachers, and the parents of his friends to make sure that they understood his needs and treated him fairly. She attended IEP meetings and helped shape his academic plan. Morning, homework, and bedtime routines were established to structure life at home. The bottom line? Donny thrived.

Read entire article here: