Thursday, March 6, 2014

Spoiled Rotten Brat Syndrome: Good Kids, Bad Choices

Let's face it, many parents experience a happy baby that bounces into a toddler and enjoys their elementary years only to leap into the teenage time of turmoil.  What happens?  Where did that bubbling, fun-loving child go?

Today's generation of entitlement is a new breed.  It's true - parents want to give kids what they didn't have when they were younger, but they need to remember they still need the foundation of an upbringing.

Many of us were brought up with respecting our parents, teachers and elders in general.  We would never dream to talk back to a person in authority - even if we didn't like or respect them.

If our parent told us to be home at 10pm, we were home at 10pm.  There was never a screaming match or a debate.

Today teenagers believe they can rule the homes.

The recent case that is splashing across the headlines it he Rachel Canning story.  Thankfully the ruled for the parents. 

“Do we want to establish a precedent where parents live in basic fear of establishing rules of the house?”

Exactly!  We would have a nation of teens controlling their parents!

Many parents call with a very smart teen, athletic, good looking, etc... suddenly they are hanging out with a negative peer group, underachieving in school, smoking pot, drinking, or simply making really bad choices.

It is wise to start with local resources and counseling.  Sadly in many situations, the one-on-one therapy once or even twice a week rarely makes a difference with a defiant teenager.

However I encourage all parents to try, since there some kids that are receptive to therapy.

After all local resources have been exhausted some parents try the residential therapy route.  This is usually more successful since it removes your teen from the negative influences.  It can give them an opportunity to focus on their issues without distractions.

Either way, parents need to understand, you are in control and teens should not be dictating your household rules to you.




Friday, February 21, 2014

Bullying in Sports: A Guide to Identifying the Injuries We Don't See

By Randy Nathan

Experts agree that bullying is a national epidemic and impacts hundreds of thousands of lives across the country.

This book uncovers the prevalence of bullying in sports by identifying the behavior. It calls out those who are involved in enabling the culture and the matter in which it is being used, and what can be done to stand up against this conduct.

Bullying in Sports offers a comprehensive approach that openly acknowledges the bullying in sports and identifies the breeding ground that inculcates athletes into a certain mindset that spills over into the classroom, hallways, and bathrooms. Chapters offer strategies and tactics on how to put policies into action. Furthermore, this book offers an important paradigm shift that has the ability and potential to completely transform our bullying programs and strategies.

Order today on Amazon.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Teen Dating Violence: Knowing If Your Teen is in Trouble

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. 

Although many parents and teens never believe that dating abuse will happen to them, they believe they are immune to such behavior, they couldn't be more wrong.

Domestic violence doesn't discriminate.

Parents, what you need to know if you suspect your child is in a bad relationship:

You can look for some early warning signs of abuse that can help you identify if your child is in an abusive relationship before it’s too late. Some of these signs include:
  • Your child’s partner is extremely jealous or possessive.
  • You notice unexplained marks or bruises.
  • Your child’s partner emails or texts excessively.
  • You notice that your son or daughter is depressed or anxious.
  • Your son or daughter stops participating in extracurricular activities or other interests.
  • Your child stops spending time with other friends and family.
  • Your child’s partner abuses other people or animals.
  • Your child begins to dress differently.
What can you do?

  • Tell your child you’re concerned for their safety. Point out that what's happening isn't "normal." Everyone deserves a safe and healthy relationship. Offer to connect your son or daughter with a professional, like a counselor or attorney, who they can talk to confidentially.
  • Be supportive and understanding. Stress that you’re on their side. Provide information and non-judgmental support. Let your son or daughter know that it’s not their fault and no one "deserves" to be abused. Make it clear that you don’t blame them and you respect their choices.
  • Believe them and take them seriously. Your child may be reluctant to share their experiences in fear of no one believing what they say. As you validate their feelings and show your support, they can become more comfortable and trust you with more information. Be careful not to minimize your child’s situation due to age, inexperience or the length of their relationship.
  • Help develop a safety plan. One of the most dangerous times in an abusive relationship is when the victim decides to leave. Be especially supportive during this time and try to connect your child to support groups or professionals that can help keep them safe.
  • Remember that ultimately your child must be the one who decides to leave the relationship. There are many complex reasons why victims stay in unhealthy relationships. Your support can make a critical difference in helping your son or daughter find their own way to end their unhealthy relationship.
You may be fortunate and you haven't experienced any negative behavior, however it doesn't mean you shouldn't talk about it! It’s never too early to talk to your child about healthy relationships and dating violence.

It’s never too early to talk to your child about healthy relationships and dating violence. Starting conversations -- even if you don’t think your child is dating -- is one of the most important steps you can take to help prevent dating violence. Here are some sample questions to start the conversation:
  • Are any of your friends dating? What are their relationships like? What would you want in a partner?
  • Have you witnessed unhealthy relationships or dating abuse at school? How does it make you feel? Were you scared?
  • Do you know what you would do if you witnessed or experienced abuse?
  • Has anyone you know posted anything bad about a friend online? What happened afterwards?
  • Would it be weird if someone you were dating texted you all day to ask you what you’re doing?
Need more tips to get started? Here are some other ways you can prepare to talk to your child about healthy and unhealthy relationships:
  • Do your own research on dating abuse to get the facts before talking to your teen or 20-something. Start with the information and resources on loveisrespect.org.
  • Provide your child with examples of healthy relationships, pointing out unhealthy behavior. Use examples from your own life, television, movies or music.
  • Ask questions and encourage open discussion. Make sure you listen to your son or daughter, giving them a chance to speak. Avoid analyzing, interrupting, lecturing or accusing.
  • Keep it low key. Don’t push it if your child is not ready to talk. Try again another time.
  • Be supportive and nonjudgmental so they know they can come to you for help if their relationship becomes unhealthy in the future.
  • Admit to not knowing the answer to a particular question. This response builds trust.
  • Reinforce that dating should be fun! Stress that violence is never acceptable.
  • Discuss the options your child has if they witness dating abuse or experience it themselves.
  • Remind your son or daughter they have the right to say no to anything they're not comfortable with or ready for. They also must respect the rights of others.
  • If your child is in a relationship that feels uncomfortable, awkward or frightening, assure them they can come to you. And remember -- any decisions they make about the relationship should be their own.
  • Find ways to discuss gender equality at A Call to Men
  • Contact Break the Cycle to find out if there are dating violence prevention programs in your community. If not, work with Break the Cycle to bring abuse prevention to your local school or community group.
Source:  Love is Respect

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Teens and Substance Abuse vs Addiction

With the recent death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman many people are discussing the topic of addiction.

It is an evil disease -- one that has taken many lives way too young, not only celebrities, but many others.

This is why parents need to understand the importance of continuing to talk with your children about the risks of substance abuse.  This is not your average marijuana -- in some cases -- that is being sold to kids, as reported on 20/20 about a year ago.

Dealers are getting savvy and hoping to "hook" your teen.

Yes, marijuana is legal in some states, however this is with good cause for medical reasons, not for the reasons teens are looking for.  This is where parenting needs to take over to explain the division.

So what is the difference between substance abuse and addiction?  When will it cross over?

The diagnostic criteria for Substance Abuse is defined as a maladaptive pattern of substance use leading to clinically significant impairment or distress, as manifested by one (or more) of the following, occurring within a 12-month period:
  • Recurrent substance use resulting in a failure to fulfill major role obligations at work, school, or home (i.e. repeated absences or poor work performance related to substance use; substance-related absences, suspensions, or expulsions from school; neglect of children or household).
  • Recurrent substance use in situations in which it is physically hazardous (i.e. driving an automobile or operating a machine when impaired by substance use).
  • Recurrent substance-related legal problems (i.e. arrests for substance -related disorderly conduct).
  • Continued substance use despite having persistent or recurrent social or interpersonal problems caused or exacerbated by the effects of the substance (i.e. arguments with spouse about consequences of intoxication, physical fights).
  • Absence of dependence has been established.
The diagnostic criteria for Addiction or Substance Dependence is defined as a pattern of substance use, leading to clinically significant impairment or distress, as manifested by three (or more) of the following, occurring at any time in the same 12-month period:
  • Tolerance as defined by either of the following: (1) The need for markedly increased amounts of the substance to achieve intoxication or the desired effect; or (2) A markedly diminished effect with continued use of the same amount of the substance.
  • Withdrawal, as manifested by either of the following: (1) The characteristic withdrawal syndrome for the substance; or (2) The same (or closely related) substance is taken to relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms.
  • Substance is often taken in larger amounts or over a longer period of time than intended.
  • There is a persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control substance use.
  • A great deal of time is spent in activities necessary to obtain the substance, use the substance or recover from its effects.
  • Important social, occupational, or recreational activities are given up or reduced because of use.
  • The use is continued despite knowledge of having a persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problem that is likely to have been caused or exacerbated by the use (i.e. continued drinking despite recognition that an ulcer was made worse by alcohol consumption).
Source: Caron Foundation

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Residential Treatment Centers, Therapeutic Boarding Schools: Teen Help

The holidays are over, school is back in session and your teen is still driving you mad!

So many parents hope and pray, with each day - week - month - maybe after the holidays, after this or after that, things will get better.... Sometimes they do - however most of the time, the behavior seems to escalate.

As a parent you will go back to trying local therapy, if you can convince your teen to attend - maybe find peer support groups.  Then maybe out-patient, in-patient - maybe they think a few meds will do the trick.....

Yes, I am being a bit facetious.  I am not someone that is against medication when it is needed, but I see too often that teens are given mood stabilizers or anti-depressants so quickly.  (This happened with my own child) - when in reality we are dealing with kids today that have spoiled rotten brats - entitlement issues - and teens today that simple act-out when they don't get their own way?

After parents have exhausted all their local resources, usually including relatives (like I did), seeking outside help, such as a residential program is the next step.

You get online and oh my gosh, you are are so confused! 

Sure, you can hire an educational consultant for thousands of dollars, but who's corner are they in?  Did you know prior to working in this "teen help" industry, they are professionals that worked for those that could afford, fill out college applications, select colleges etc.... Then with the wave of technology this career seemed to diminish --- in comes the times of troubled teens with tech and entitlement issues.

I am not against educational consultants, but parents, you do know your child best, and this is something you can do.  There are actually more good programs out there than there are not.   Most EC's will immediately tell you your teen needs to complete a wilderness program before they go to a residential program.  Shouldn't they start and finish with the same therapist?  Why do they need to repeat their issues - and further more --- why do you have to pay twice?

I made a lot of mistakes, but I encourage you all to learn from them. 

On my site, I have helpful hints and questions to ask schools and programs when searching for schools and programs. 

Remember, first and foremost is what is most important for your family and your individual child.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Diamond Ranch Academy Residential Treatment Center

The stress parenting combined with Internet confusion.
As a parent advocate I am always receiving emails and phone calls on a variety of schools and programs from parents and students that have first hand experiences.

My personal experiences are with Carolina Springs Academy that is now closed -- I have heard it is reopened as Seneca Ranch. WWASPS (Worldwide Association of Specialty Programs and Schools) is the umbrella  organization that runs these programs.They also have others in the United States - at last glance there was Red River Academy, LA, Cross Creek, UT, River View, UT, Midwest Academy, IA, and you never know when more will pop-up in different names.

Diamond Ranch Academy, sadly, though I don't have first hand experiences, I am receiving more negative feedback about them.  I wrote about them in June 2012 - and since then it is not getting much better.

After speaking with several parents, that are looking for placement for their struggling teenagers, they encountered the website of Diamond Ranch Academy and were quickly advised their teens were accepted into DRA.

Knowing a bit about these teens, they are all very different, some I would say okay - good fit from the description of the program - others I would definitely question the admissions (not that I am a professional - but I have been working in this industry for over a decade and I do know what I am talking about by now).

I asked one parent who her "sales person" was - and was SHOCKED to find out it was a person that actually used to sell WWASPS programs!  I don't want to use identifying names here - but trust me - I know WWASPS sales people very well - I had a jury trial in Utah and defeated them.

Now I am extremely concerned for any parents considering DRA.  Years earlier they were always considered reputable - why they have stooped to a level of this is beyond me.  I also had a parent share with me there was a second death in September of 2013 that has been kept silent.  I don't know about - but if you are considering this program - you may want to ask and find out about it.


For me, I know there are many excellent programs in our country.  I am not of the mindset that all programs are bad.  This type of information only solidifies that parents need to take their time and do their due diligence before selecting a program.

This is one of the reasons I created Parents Universal Resource Experts, Inc. (P.U.R.E.) - with helpful hints to guide parents through the big business of teen help.

I don't own, operate or manage any schools or programs - I help educate parents on researching schools and programs.  I also have no connection with Diamond Ranch Academy - - however it seems they are marketing very similar to WWASPS - and that alone scares me.  However that is only my opinion.

I just caution all parents to do your homework - take your time - this is a major financial and emotional decision.  I firmly believe you can't ignore getting your teen help, but take trust your gut.

The moral of this Blog is - if you are considering Diamond Ranch Academy or any program - just be sure you are doing your homework.  Don't ignore getting your teen the help they need, just be sure you are getting them safe and quality help.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Holiday Blues and Teenagers: Risks of Teen Suicide

Holiday blues isn't only about adults, teens can struggling with depression too.

Teen suicide is a very real concern.

Sometimes parents will believe that their behavior is typical teen "stuff", but in reality it their child is deeply hurting.

I fully understand that many parents hesitate wanting to consider residential therapy over the holidays, however you have to think about your child's future.  Once Christmas, one New Year's Eve, one  Easter compared to the rest of their life is worth getting your teen's emotional health back.

Some warning signs:
  • Withdrawn, secretive
  • Change of appetitie
  • Change of friends, or no friends 
  • Sadness
  • Poor performance in school: grades are dropping
  • Rage, defiance, disrespectfulness
  • Frequent headaches, stomach aches
  • Check their arms, legs, stomach for scarring (cutting)
  • Check their social media sites for writing about death and other dark comments
Learn more from http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

If you are considering a residential treatment center, please contact Parents Universal Resource Experts.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Teens and Internet Predators

Would you know if your teen or child was being groomed by an online predator?

Did you know:
How can you help protect your kids from online threats?
  •  Communication is key.  Talk to your kids about sexual predators and potential online dangers.
  • Use family safety settings that are built into Windows 8, Windows 7, and Windows Vista.
  • Follow age limits on social networking websites. Most social networking sites require that users be age 13 and over. If your children are under the recommended age for these sites, do not let them use them.
  • Young children should not use chat rooms—the dangers are too great. As children get older, direct them towards well-monitored kids' chat rooms. Encourage even your teens to use monitored chat rooms.
  • If your children take part in chat rooms, make sure you know which ones they visit and with whom they talk. Monitor the chat areas yourself to see what kind of conversations take place.
  • Instruct your children to never leave the chat room's public area. Many chat rooms offer private areas where users can have one-on-one chats with other users-chat monitors can't read these conversations. These are often referred to as "whisper" areas.
  • Keep the Internet-connected computer in a common area of the house, never in a child's bedroom. It is much more difficult for a predator to establish a relationship with your child if the computer screen is easily visible. Even when the computer is in a public area of your home, sit with your child when they are online.
  • When your children are young, they should share the family email address rather than have their own email accounts. As they get older, you can ask your Internet Service Provider (ISP) to set up a separate email address, but your children's mail can still reside in your account.
  • Tell your children to never respond to instant messaging or emails from strangers. If your children use computers in places outside your supervision-public library, school, or friends' homes-find out what computer safeguards are used.
  • If all precautions fail and your kids do meet an online predator, don't blame them. The offender always bears full responsibility. Take decisive action to stop your child from any further contact with this person.

How can your kids reduce the risk of being victimized?

There are a number of precautions that kids can take, including:
  • Never downloading images from an unknown source-they could be sexually explicit.
  • Using email filters.
  • Telling an adult immediately if anything that happens online makes them feel uncomfortable or frightened.
  • Choosing a gender-neutral screen name that doesn't contain sexually suggestive words or reveal personal information.
  • Never revealing personal information about themselves (including age and gender) or information about their family to anyone online and not filling out online personal profiles. For more specific rules, see How to help your kids use social websites more safely.
  • Stopping any email communication, instant messaging conversations, or chats if anyone starts to ask questions that are too personal or sexually suggestive.
  • Posting the family online agreement near the computer to remind them to protect their privacy on the Internet.

    Source:  Microsoft