Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Parents Universal Resource Experts - Sue Scheff - 2009 Parents and Teens - Stay Safe in Cyberspace!

2009 will be here, as parents, making a resolution to learn more how to keep your child safe online should be a priority. With the ever expanding cyberworld - social networking - texting etc. the time is now to learn more.

You don't have to be a computer expert to keep your child safe online.As parents, we want our children to be safe and responsible while using technology. We will have succeeded when each child can recognize and minimize the three main risks associated with all connected technology (i.e., iPods, instant messaging, chat, computer games, game consoles, cell phones, text messaging, webcams). Read More

For more information:
Hot TopicsVideos & Tutorials

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Sue Scheff - Military School Information (Second Semester Starting Soon)

As a parent that had a son graduate a very prestigious Military School, I know the firsthand what an honor and privilege he was given. Many parents think of Military Schools as a punishment or where the “troubled” kids go - that is simply a myth. My son was accepted in accordance with his GPA as well as letters of references and interviewing with the school. It is almost as rigid as applying for some colleges. To further my opinion of Military Schools, when my son interviewed and applied to Universities, all the Admissions Directors were extremely impressed with his schooling at a Military School and was accepted to all the colleges he applied to.

Has your child mentioned military academies to you? Have they expressed an interest in attending such a school? If so, you as a parent have an obligation to listen, and more importantly to help them make the right decision. Many ADD/ADHD students do very well in Military Schools.

A military school teaches various ages (middle school, high school, or both) in a manner that includes military traditions and training in military subjects. The military is a prominent force in America today, and with so much press it is very easy for a child to become exposed to this type of education as a viable option in their own lives. While this is perfectly acceptable on its own, like many of life’s choices it needs to be considered fully before a commitment is made. There are many factors that go into choosing the type of schooling that is appropriate for your child, and it is important that you and your child approach the subject together, as the both of you will have to reap the consequences of this decision in the future.

It is advisable to assess honestly the needs of your child, the requirements that will be placed upon them in a military school and what you as a parent bring to the mix. With many students the structure and positive discipline that military schools offer are very beneficial. It not only encourages them to become the best they can be, it enhances them to grow into mature respectable young men and women. Military schools and academies offer a student the opportunity to reach their highest academic potential as well as build up their self-esteem to make better choices in today’s society, within a very rigid and disciplined framework. It is this framework that forms the backbone of the military school experience, and one of the chief distinctions between military educations and those of other schools. It is important to note that this structure will suit some students more than others, and this will largely determine a child’s chances of success in a military school setting. Military schools can give your child the vision to reach their goals and dreams for their future. The high level of academics combined with small class sizes create a strong educational background from which they grow into productive, happy adults.

If you have questions for me, please visit - and email or call me. Second semester is starting soon, it is a great opportunity to see if your child is a good candidate for Military School.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Sue Scheff - Parenting Teens and Internet Safety

i-Safe Inc. is one of the leading organizations in promoting Online Safety for our kids and teens. As a parent advocate, I believe it is a parents responsibility to keep informed and updated on todays technology and what and where are our children are “surfing.” For the New Year - take the time to learn more about Cyber-Safety.

Source: i-SAFE Inc. is the worldwide leader in Internet safety education. Founded in 1998 and endorsed by the U.S. Congress, i-SAFE is a non-profit foundation dedicated to protecting the online experiences of youth everywhere. i-SAFE incorporates classroom curriculum with dynamic community outreach to empower students, teachers, parents, law enforcement, and concerned adults to make the Internet a safer place. Please join us today in the fight to safeguard our children’s online experience.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Sue Scheff - Wishing Everyone a Merry Christmas

Today is a time for reflection of the past and all we have to be thankful for. Most of all it is a time for families! Take the time to spend time with friends, family and all the people that have been there for you.

Here is a very special story that has meaning at this time of the year.

Can I Borrow $25?

A man came home from work late, tired and irritated, to
find his 5-year old son waiting for him at the door.

SON: 'Daddy, may I ask you a question?'
DAD: 'Yeah sure, what is it?' replied the man.

SON: 'Daddy, how much do you make an hour?'
DAD: 'That's none of your business. Why do you ask
such a thing?' the man said angrily.
SON: 'I just want to know. Please tell me, how much do
you make an hour?'
DAD: 'If you must know, I make $50 an hour.'
SON: 'Oh,' the little boy replied, with his head down.
SON: 'Daddy, may I please borrow $25?'

The father was furious, 'If the only reason you asked
that is so you can borrow some money to buy a silly toy or
some other nonsense, then you march yourself straight to
your room and go to bed. Think about why you are being so
selfish. I don't work hard everyday for such childish
frivolities.' The little boy quietly went to his room and shut the door.

The man sat down and started to get even angrier about the
little boy's question. How dare he ask such question
only to get some money? After about an hour or so, the man
had calmed down, and started to think: Maybe there was
something he really needed to buy with that $25.00 and he
really didn't ask for money very often. The man went to
the door of the little boy's room and opened the door.

'Are you asleep, son?' He asked. 'No daddy,
I'm awake,' replied the boy.

The man said
'I've been thinking maybe I was too hard on you
earlier. ?It's been a long day and I took out my
aggravation on you. Here's the $25 you asked for.'
The little boy sat straight up, smiling. 'Oh, thank you
daddy!' he yelled. Then, reaching under his pillow he
pulled out some crumpled up bills. The man saw that the boy
already had money and started to get angry again. The little
boy slowly counted out his money, and then looked up at his
father. 'Why do you want more money if you already have
some?' the father grumbled. ?'Because I didn't
have enough, but now I do,' the little boy replied.

'Daddy, I have $50 now. Can I buy an hour of your time?

Please come home early tomorrow. I would like to have dinner
with you.'

The father was crushed. He put his arms around his little
son, and he begged for his forgiveness. It's just a
short reminder to all of you working so hard in life. We
should not let time slip through our fingers without having
spent some time with those who really matter to us, those
close to our hearts. Do remember to share that $50 worth of
your time with someone you love.

If we die tomorrow, the company that we are working for
could easily replace us in a matter of hours. But the family
& friends we leave behind will feel the loss for the
rest of their lives.

From my house to yours.

'The light of God surrounds us.
The love of God enfolds us.
The power of God protects us.
The presence of God watches over us.

Wherever we are God is and all is well.'


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Sue Scheff: More Kids Value Giving

“You don’t get paid, but see that’s not the issue really, the issue is just helping out and you have fun while you do it.”

– Vishnu Kuttappan, 16 years old

For years, Vishnu wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a doctor. But after volunteering at a hospital, he’s not so sure. “It’s kind of a battle,” Vishnu says, “between me, you know, sticking to medicine—and I like medicine a lot—or trying something new.”

Vishnu is part of a new trend among teens who volunteer in order not only to help their community, but also to choose a career.

“If you want to go into medicine,” Vishnu says, “you know, you can learn facts all you want, but until you’re in a hospital, you won’t really experience what it’s like.”

Teens say volunteering also teaches them respect and compassion for others.

“You don’t get paid, but see that’s not the issue really, the issue is just helping out and you have fun while you do it.”

Vishnu’s father, Dr. Muthu Kuttappan says, “I think that’s a very encouraging step and I hope other students follow, get a first hand knowledge of what is the real world.”

Experts add that when teens volunteer they are less likely to abuse drugs and alcohol, and are more apt to do well in school.

Hospital Volunteer Coordinator Susan Esslinger says, “Hopefully when they’re 40, 50, 60, 70 years old, they’ll still have that sense of volunteerism in giving back to the community, whether it’s at a hospital or a soup kitchen or whatever the place may be.”

Tips for Parents
While many adults are convinced of a decline in the values and morals of today’s young people, recent surveys show that many teens are giving of their time to work for causes they believe in and to help those that are less fortunate. Teens find volunteer opportunities through religious organizations, school-based programs and community agencies.

There are several reasons why teens choose to volunteer:

Compassion for people in need
Feeling they can do something for a cause in which they believe
A belief that if they help others, others will help them
In addition, some teens volunteer their time in occupational fields in which they are interested. In addition to being helpful, they are able to use their experiences in deciding on future career choices.

Teens reported benefiting from their volunteer experiences in many ways, including:

Learning to respect others
Learning to be helpful and kind
Learning to understand people who are different from them
Developing leadership skills
Becoming more patient
Gaining a better understanding of good citizenship
Exploring or learning about career options
Developing new career goals
Children learn from their parents. The survey showed teens that reported having positive role models were nearly twice as likely to volunteer as those who did not. Encourage your child to volunteer by setting an example.

Youth Service America provides additional ways to increase teen volunteerism:

Ask them to volunteer.

Encourage youth to get involved at an early age. Volunteering when young creates lifelong adult volunteers.

Encourage children and young adults to participate in community groups, faith-based organizations, student government, and school projects.

Encourage a positive self-image so that young people are able to help others and contribute to their communities.

Be a mentor in your community.

Provide young people with opportunities to take courses that include and even require community service.

The Higher Education Research Institute
The Independent Sector
Youth Service America

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Sue Scheff - Teen Obesity

Learn more about keeping your kids in good health. Especially with more and more kids sitting behind their computer screens we need to encourage more activities!

Here is a recent News Article

On paper, the statistics are shocking enough: the obesity rate for teens has tripled over the past 25 years and with this increase an average weight, type 2 diabetes, once unknown in young people, is now diagnosed in 45 percent of all new cases involving children or teens. Medical experts fear that high blood pressure and heart disease could become increasingly prevalent among young adults, making this generation of teens the first to have potentially poorer health and shorter life spans than their parents.

Seeing a young person you love struggle with overweight or obesity in the sensitive pre-teen or teen years is painful, frustrating and alarming — from watching them deal with cruel remarks to seeing them on the sidelines in sports or social events or knowing that they face significant health risks even in young adulthood. Maybe you’ve nagged or dropped hints or taken your child for medical help or sent him or her to weight loss camps — all to no avail.

Doctor Kathy McCoy, author of “The Teenage Body Book,” explains how you can help your teen lose weight and feel better!
• Put the emphasis on good health, not weight, and make it a goal for the whole family. Teens hate being singled out and criticized. Approaching this from a “YOU need to lose weight!” point of view will guarantee a battle of the wills. Instead, ask for your teen’s help in making an action plan to promote better family eating and exercise habits.

• Have real family meals at least once a day and encourage your teen to eat what the family eats. Frantic family schedules have equaled fast food or processed, prepared food dinners — and expanding waistlines. With real, home-cooked meals, you can better control calories, fats, sugars, sodium and other nutritional issues.

• Look at and discuss all of your less than ideal eating behaviors. Maybe your teen craves junk food when she’s bored and watching TV. Maybe you dive into high calorie comfort food when you’re angry or frustrated. Pay attention to the difference between physical and emotional hunger. Discuss all this with your family — and come up with ways to comfort or reward yourselves that have nothing to do with food.

• Make it convenient for everyone in the family to eat breakfast. Advance planning can help: fresh fruit and yogurt in the fridge, whole grain bread and cereals in the pantry, and encouraging all to get up and get going early enough in the morning to grab a bite. Those who don’t eat breakfast tend to overeat during the rest of the day, especially in the evening

• Get your family moving. Trying to motivate an overweight teen to go to the gym can be frustrating and non-productive. Schedule exercise into your family routine: a family walk or bike ride after dinner doesn’t have to cut into homework or leisure time too dramatically — and the exercise is good for everyone.

• Become smart, skeptical consumers: There are no weight loss miracles. Help your teen to avoid quick fixes. The weight didn’t come on overnight and it can’t be lost — for good — overnight either. The goal should be health improvement with a slow, steady weight loss of no more than two pounds a week. The loss can add up to more than 100 pounds in a year — and weight lost slowly as one changes one’s eating and exercise habits is more likely to stay off.

• Make a vow — together — to enjoy a full and healthy life now. You don’t have to wait until you or your teen is slim to do this. With good health as your top family priority, you can feel better starting today. Good nutrition, regular exercise and the feeling that “we’re all in this together” can make a positive difference for everyone in your family.

Award-winning writer and author of “The Teenage Body Book,” Dr. Kathy McCoy is a teen psychology and health expert who has appeared as a guest on such programs as The Today Show and The Oprah Winfrey Show. Winner of the American Library Associations’ Best Book for Young Adults Award, “The Teenage Body Book” contains everything teenagers and their parents need to know about nutrition, health, fitness, emotions and sexuality.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Sue Scheff: Citizen Leadership and Teens

As American citizens, we find ourselves in a privileged and unique position as members of the most powerful Democratic state in the entire world. But the luxuries we enjoy in this country come with a powerful responsibility—the responsibility of positive citizenship.

We must all embrace our unique ability to be good citizens, and we must maintain our civic duty by helping the community around us through positive civic involvement. This site is dedicated to helping show people how they can be a positive part of their community and truly embrace the ideal of a good citizen.

My name is Sue Scheff™, and I’ve been working to help promote proper parenting techniques and information through Parent’s Universal Resource Experts, an organization I created in 2001 that helps compile information and share parenting knowledge among an ever expanding network of concerned families. I want to use this web site to share some of the things I’ve learned through my involvement with parenting advocacy, and extend this knowledge to the idea of promoting good citizenship, because if we are going to become good parents in this troubled world, we must set proper examples for our children, and what better example to set then being a good citizen?

If we want to be responsible parents, why restrict our influence and caring to just our children when we can teach them how to be better citizens while helping enforce positive ideals in our own communities? This is no longer the time for us to hide in our homes as our neighborhoods face difficulties, the community is where our children grow and live, so we must do our best to make it a better place while helping show our kids healthy life skills. The lack of community involvement and citizenship is one of the biggest detriments to American society. Many of our once close knit communities are becoming disjointed, as technology and crime widens the gap between neighbors and community organizations. Healthy communities should be connected and constantly working together and good citizens should strive to promote this community connection. This is the modern day philanthropy, the new way to help build a strong community heart and soul.

I hope that the knowledge I have gained through my parent advocacy experiences has helped me learn some basic guidelines for productive citizenry in our modern society. Feel free to read, analyze and take away what you would, and explore some of the avenues with which we can not only improve our lives, but the livelihood of our children and our community.

Learn more at

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Sue Scheff - Is It More Than ADHD? Diagnosing & Treating Bipolar Disorder

Symptoms of ADHD and bipolar disorder are often confused—and often coexist in the same person. How to make the distinction, and suggestions for treating bipolar disorder along with ADHD.
by William Dodson, M.D.

It can be difficult enough to obtain a diagnosis of attention deficit disorder (ADD ADHD), but to complicate matters further, ADHD commonly co-exists with other mental and physical disorders. One review of ADHD adults demonstrated that 42 percent had one other major psychiatric disorder. Therefore, the diagnostic question is not “Is it one or the other?” but rather “Is it both?”

Perhaps the most difficult differential diagnosis to make is between ADHD and Bipolar Mood Disorder (BMD), since they share many symptoms, including mood instability, bursts of energy and restlessness, talkativeness, and impatience. It’s estimated that as many as 20 percent of those diagnosed with ADHD also suffer from a mood disorder on the bipolar spectrum -- and correct diagnosis is critical in treating bipolar disorder and ADHD together.


ADHD is characterized by significantly higher levels of inattention, distractibility, impulsivity, and/or physical restlessness than would be expected in a person of similar age and development. For a diagnosis of ADHD, such symptoms must be consistently present and impairing. ADHD is about 10 times more common than BMD in the general population.

Bipolar Mood Disorder (BMD)

By diagnostic definition, mood disorders are “disorders of the level or intensity of mood in which the mood has taken on a life of its own, separate from the events of a person’s life and outside of [his] conscious will and control.” In people with BMD, intense feelings of happiness or sadness, high energy (called “mania”), or low energy (called “depression”) shift for no apparent reason over a period of days to weeks, and may persist for weeks or months. Commonly, there are periods of months to years during which the individual experiences no impairment.

Making a diagnosis

Because of the many shared characteristics, there is a substantial risk of either a misdiagnosis or a missed diagnosis. Nonetheless, ADHD and BMD can be distinguished from each other on the basis of these six factors:

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Sue Scheff: Teens and 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.


Anorexia Nervosa and Related Eating Disorders, Inc.
Harvard Eating Disorders Center
The National Institute of Mental Health
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 and check out her book, It All Started with Pop-Tarts.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sue Scheff - Healthy Holiday Gifts for Teens

Speaking with parents on almost a daily basis, it is obvious teens and kids are exercising less and less. Well, except with their keypads! Get your kids into a healthy New Year!
With the holidays quickly approaching and the economy quickly dwindling, it's important more important than ever to purchase gifts wisely. This year, instead of wasting your money on another expensive kitchen gadget, why not give them a gift that invests in the future and improves the lives of children across the country?
PE4life is offering you the chance to purchase a Friend of PE4life subscription for a loved one. You can choose from four levels of giving - Rookie, All Star, Champ, or MVP - one for every price range. By joining this exclusive opportunity, the recipient will become an appreciated contributor to the organization that has trained teams from 38 states and five countries, impacting more than 2 million school children! Remember to visit the Pro Shop for other holiday gift ideas! Learn more

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Dozier Internet Law: New Laws Are Coming

Want to know more about the Internet and the Legal Boundaries? Leading Internet Specialist Attorney, John Dozier Jr. is one of the best in the country and represents some of the top businesses in the world. Keep in touch with the Legal World of the Internet at John's Blog at
John W. Dozier, Jr. began practicing law in 1981 and has the highest rating (AV) by Martindale-Hubbell (meaning he has reached the "height of professional excellence and is recognized for the highest levels of skill and integrity"). Mr. Dozier is a "Legal Elite for 2008" as an Intellectual Property Lawyer through a peer selection process of the Virginia Bar Association and Virginia Business Magazine, was recognized through peer review as a "Super Lawyer" in Internet Law in the "Superlawyers" Magazine, was named as one of the top attorneys nationwide for 2008 in Intellectual Property Litigation in the Law and Politics Corporate Counsel Edition, and is peer selected as preeminent in the 2008 "Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers".

Have we now reached the point in which the web is so out of control that governmental authorities in the form of prosecutors and state Attorney General offices feel compelled to act? A federal prosecutor in LA gets a conviction of a mom for violating the terms of use of Myspace. The New Jersey AG sues for consumer protection violations based upon misrepresentations in its terms of use. A Colorado prosecutor brings criminal charges against a poster for allegedly defamatory comments on Craigslist. What's going on here?

At Dozier Internet Law we have for a long while encouraged the self regulation and self policing of the web. History has told us that if that fails, government will get involved in one way or another. What we are seeing today is action by the executive and judicial branches of state government. Absent self policing, Congress, state legislators and even city and county governments will begin passing laws that will profoundly impact the web as we know it.

Codes of ethics for search engine optimization and affiliate marketers have been around for a while. So that industry is trying, at least. But what can web developers, web hosts, ISPs, and domain registrars do to send the message to the legislators that positive steps are being taken to provide a more safe, secure and civil Internet? Each can consider establishing strict guidelines and implementing them through their User Agreements and Acceptable Use Policies. Then, they can each aggressively enforce those rules. And there is no law prohibiting a business from deciding with whom it will do business absent discrimination being visited upon a protected class. And why not do so? In a time when Dozier Internet Law is defending lawsuits filed against webhosts, ISPs, software developers, and ESPs for the conduct of their customers, why would a legitimate business not police itself? There is no reason.

Recently we have seen high profile calls by Public Citizen for web hosts to be willing to bring their financial resources to the table to defend the misconduct of their customers. We, and other lawyers in the know, call this type of a host "bullet proof hosting" or "black hat hosting". The reputation of these hosts, to say the least, is anything but stellar. No legitimate host would want those labels. And there is no business reason to do so. Is this the type of protection a web host would freely offer up to a $7 a month customer? Of course not.
So, on the one hand we have a pressing need to self regulate and self police, and efforts being made within industries and specific businesses to do so. On the other hand, there is the move afoot by the free speech and anti-business property rights groups to do everything they can to encourage misconduct. If the Public Citizen advice is followed that would be an invitation for legislation, a solicitation for more governmental intervention by the executive and judicial branches, and a recipe for disaster.

Web hosts should not only develop, implement and enforce strict guidelines aimed at returning safety, security and sanity to the online world, but undertake an industry-wide effort to establish a Code of Ethics and performance standards and good practice certifications. "Bullet proof" and "black hat" hosts need not apply because, well, you are ruining it for everyone.

Some of these free speech expansionsist public interest groups might think that high profile litigation surrounding new laws would be a good thing for fund raising. I am sure it would be. Is their advice motivated by greed? Or just a fanatical, one sided perspective nurtured by their long standing support of the scofflaws?

Here's the lesson, perhaps. Is the message for web hosts that if you freely associate with outlaws, you find yourself thinking like them? I don't know. But it could explain Public Citizen's position.

Monday, December 15, 2008

(Sue Scheff) Weston mother helps other parents

Posted on Sun, Dec. 14, 2008
Weston mother helps other parents

When Sue Scheff was at the end of her rope trying to deal with her own out-of-control teenager, she admits she never could have imagined a time when she would become a leading voice in the field of parent advocacy.
Yet the Weston author is rapidly becoming a familiar face in the national spotlight speaking about just that.

''I never went into this to become a national voice or figure, but that is what I have become,'' said Scheff, author of Wit's End: Advice and Resources for Saving Your Out of Control Teen.

Scheff appeared last month on the Lifetime Network's daily television series The Balancing Act during an episode entitled ``Plain Talk and Straight Answers for Parents with Troubled Teens.''

A taping with the Oprah Winfrey show also is planned.

Wit's End, a 168-page book released earlier this year, is a tool for parents navigating the choices and methods available to help struggling teens.

Scheff, now a full-time parent advocate, said she wrote the book not as an expert or therapist but as a parent who endured a long and painful experience trying to help her daughter, Ashlyn.

Almost a decade ago, she watched her child go from promising athlete to troubled teen, repeatedly running away, being verbally abusive and having serious problems at home and school.

With no experience or help to fall back on, she enrolled Ashlyn in a residential treatment facility that wouldn't allow her contact with her daughter for six months.

She would later learn her daughter endured months of beatings, sexual abuse, starvation and neglect.

''It nearly destroyed her,'' Scheff said. ``It took us two years to deprogram her after what they had done.''

The experience led Scheff to her new purpose. She founded a group called PURE, or Parents Universal Resource Experts, which she said has served thousands as a parent advocacy group.

Through Wit's End, she provides parents with resources to help them sort out and evaluate treatment options, including therapeutic boarding schools and treatment centers.

''You step into an arena of teen help and you are bombarded with a barrage of information,'' she said. ``This is one way to help sort it out.''

In her newfound role as advocate, Scheff also has appeared nationally on the ABC news magazine program 20/20, The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet and Rachael Ray, among others.

Ashlyn, now 23, has seemingly rebounded and gone on to coaching gymnastics and becoming a mother herself.

Scheff said she would like their story to provide a light for other families.

''I think any parent out there struggling with a teen right now, you don't see the hope and you don't think you will ever come out of it. I didn't think I would,'' she said. ```But now I look back and see all those dark times have actually helped others.''

For information, visit .

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sue Scheff - Parenting Teens and Being a Teen

By Nic Sheff

After reading Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through his Son's Addiction by David Sheff (which is a must read - in my opinion, for all parents with at risk adolescents), I felt compelled to read Tweak, his son's story.

I just started it, and find it extremely difficult to read - not that I don't like it, it is so raw and painful. Since I personally have never tried these drugs (meth, heroin, etc) a lot of the lingo I am not understanding. But what is clear is the inner pain these people are suffering with. The irony of confusing it with happiness is the reason many parents should consider reading this book - after - reading Beautiful Boy.

Any parent that is even questioning their adolescents behavior, these are a must read - as painful as they may seem, it is ignorant to think it couldn't happen to you. Be an educated parent - an informed parent. Most importantly, don't be a parent in denial.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Sue Scheff - Parenting At Your Wit's End

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?
Is your teen involved in legal problems? Have they been arrested?
Juvenile Delinquent?
Conduct Disorder?
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. 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 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

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Sue Scheff - Parenting Teens Social Networking - The Value of the Internet

As usual, Connect with Kids offers valuable articles for parents. This week they touch on the critical subject of our kids and the Internet. I know first hand the pros and cons of Cyberspace, however the challenge is getting our children to understand how important it is to protect yourself online and know that the Internet has a vast amount of great information but like with many things in life, you need to be aware of the pitfalls that may come with it.

“I wasn’t like other kids, you know, they had the Internet at home and I didn’t, so I felt like I was being deprived of something.”
– Ashley, 16 years old

Sixteen-year-old Ashley has always been a good student, but two years ago, she became a better student.
“In my history class, where we had to do a lot of research, I went from a B to an A,” she says.
What made the difference? Ashley believes it was her increased use of the Internet. She always had Web access at school but not at home.

“I wasn’t like other kids, you know, they had the Internet at home and I didn’t, so I felt like I was being deprived of something,” Ashley says.

Researchers, funded by the MacArthur Foundation, observed over 800 teens and their parents. The study found that, sure enough, parents think that spending hours online is unproductive for kids. But, the study also found that online teenagers are learning- socially, technologically … and academically.

“They are spending more time looking at text, so certainly they are going to be exposed to more reading opportunities,“ says Christine Colborne, an English teacher.

“You have to read through the websites,” Ashley says. “You have to read through the links and everything like that. So it does improve reading skills. And I think it improves vocabulary.”

But some experts warn parents to be cautious. Simply having online access is not a guarantee your child is learning.

“Many students are on the Internet simply in chat rooms. They are on the Internet looking up graphical material. They are looking up websites that are not text intensive where they are purchasing things or they are looking up pictures or downloading pictures,” Colborne says.

Ashley’s parents have set up filters on her computer that limit her access to inappropriate sites. Still, she says having the Internet at her fingertips at school and at home has opened a world of opportunities.
“I’m able to meet new friends, new people … to explore new subjects that I never knew about,” she says.

Tips for Parents

Another study by Michigan State University found that contrary to popular belief, spending time surfing the Internet can actually be beneficial to children. The study, which analyzed the Internet use of 120 parents and 140 children, found no negative effect on users’ social involvement or psychological well-being. In fact, researchers say that Internet use actually increased the children’s grade-point averages and standardized test scores.

As a parent, you are faced with the monumental task of monitoring the activities of your child in a world of virtually unlimited sources of information. One of the most expansive, confusing and frightening sources of information available to children today is the Internet.

You can take a number of steps to communicate the appropriate use of the Internet and other technologies to your child.

The Cyber Citizen Partnership offers these tips for setting Internet limits for your child:
Be aware of your child’s computer skills and interests. Remember that it takes only a little knowledge to wreak a lot of havoc. Often, kids will develop technical skills and look for ways to challenge themselves.

Focus your child’s interests. If you recognize that your child is interested in exploring computer technology, you can reinforce positive behavior and encourage positive applications of this interest. Ideas include encouraging emailing with friends and family to become comfortable with appropriate and respectful online communication; recommending that your child adopt a position of responsibility in school as a computer monitor to assist classmates with computer use; fostering creative computer use by developing a personal or family website; or suggesting participation in school or community programs that teach in-depth technological skills or offer challenging technical opportunities.

Explore the Internet together. Ask your child to teach you about the Internet, visit educational sites, email questions and participate in online discussions together.

Take advantage of teachable moments. ­ When events or activities arise that provide the right time and place to do so, take advantage of these moments to help your child understand the issues involved in good cyber citizenship. For example, take time to read news articles about hacking or cyber crime incidents to your child and discuss the impact it has had on those involved. Use personal situations to frame the context of these discussions (e.g., ask your child how cyber crimes or irresponsible online behavior could affect friends and family). Address cyber ethics messages as your child conducts research online or shares his experiences on computers at school.


Cyber Citizen Partnership
Michigan State University
University of California-Irvine

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Sue Scheff - Teen Sex, Social Networking and Parenting

The news today? Teens floating photo's of themselves in their birthday suits, well, more or less. It seems more and more teens are not thinking about the consequences of sending questionable photos through email, texting, social networks etc. Parents need to explain to their child that placing such pictures may potentially cause them "not" to be accepted at a college or not get a job. More and more college admissions offices and potential employee's are Surfing the Net to find out more information on applicants. What you post today, may haunt you tomorrow!

With all the discussions around the nude pictures - it brings up another concern - does this mean your teen is being recognized as a sex object? Does it say he or she is "easy"?

Many people will ask, "where are the parents?", however it is almost impossible to monitor your teen 24/7, especially Online. As parents and adults everywhere, we need to tell our kids how this can harm them in the future. Their BFF today - may be their enemy next summer! Then where will those photos end up?

Keep informed - stay up to date with information for parents and teens.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Parents Universal Resource Experts (Sue Scheff) Holiday Gift Ideas from

As a Parent Advocate I am always looking for great parenting ideas, thoughts and articles. Now has given parents terrific gifts that can enhance your child's learning growth no matter what age they are! Check it out!
Need gift ideas? We have you covered!

We found the best toys, games, and books for each grade that will build your child's brain, as well as being chock-full of fun. We've also factored in the economy, with most gifts falling in the $20-$40 range, so you can shop smart. This list of loot is kid-tested, teacher approved, and easy on your pocket book. So check out our 2008 Gift Guide.

All these items and more are also available at our online store.

Happy Wrapping!
The Team

Monday, December 8, 2008

Teenage Runaways by Sue Scheff (Parents Universal Resource Experts)

Teen Runaways are on the increase. Many teens think that the grass is greener on the other side.

They are confused and following the crowd of peers making poor choices. Teens want to escape the "rules of a household" and we as parents, become their number one enemy. They feel that they are fearless and can prove they can survive without their parents and our rules. Rules are put in place for a reason; we love our children and want them to grow up with dignity and respect we try to instill in them. Their flight plan, in some ways, is a cry for attention. Many times runaways are back home shortly, however there are other situations that can be more serious. This is not to say any child that runs away is not serious, but when this becomes a habit and is their way of rebelling, a parent needs to intervene.

So many times we hear how "their friend’s parents" allow a much later curfew or are more lenient, and you are the worst parents in the world. This is very common and the parent feels helpless, hopeless and alone. It is all part of the manipulation the teens put us through. With their unappreciative thoughts of us, they will turn to this destructive behavior, which, at times, results in them leaving the home.

Some teens go to a friend's house or relative they believe they can trust and make up stories about their home life. This is very common, a parent has to suffer the pain and humiliation that it causes to compound it with the need to get your child help that they need. If you fear your child is at risk of running, the lines of communication have to be open. We understand this can be difficult, however if possible needs to be approached in a positive manner. Teen help starts with communication.

If you feel this has escalated to where you cannot control them, it may be time for placement and possibly having your child escorted. Please know that the escorts (transports) are all licensed and very well trained in removing children from their home into safe programs. These escorts are also trained counselors that will talk to your child all the way, and your child will end his/her trip with a new friend and a better understanding of why their parents had to resort to this measure.

Helpful Hint if you child has runaway and you are using all your local resources – offer a cash reward to their friends privately, of course promising their anonymity and hopefully someone will know your child’s whereabouts.

Having a teen runaway is very frightening and it can bring you to your wits end. Try to remain positive and hopeful and do all you can to help understand why your child is acting out this way. These are times when parents need to seek help for themselves. Don’t be ashamed to reach out to others. We are all about parents helping parents.

More parenting articles at

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Sue Scheff: Parenting the Next Generation

Check out this new innovative parenting website - - which offers great idea, parenting skills, parenting books, Blogs and more!

Parenting today has become more and more challenging. Whether it is Social Networking, Texting or some other new form of communication this New Generation of kids are using - we as parents need to keep informed and up to date!

Check out their NextGenBlog here:

Here is a brief example from NextGenParenting:

Who Are You?

The Who asked this question in the 1960s, but their Boomer generation is still searching for the answer. The soul searching, self-actualizing hippies that characterize our parents' generation (1943-1960) are called Prophets by Strauss and Howe, "because they are remembered best for their coming-of-age passion and principled elder stewardship."

But clean-cut behavior can be a good thing. The last Artist generation experienced the lowest levels of suicide, teen pregnancy, crime and drug abuse in history. They also scored higher on standardized tests than any generation before or after.

Next came Generation X (1961-1981), which Strauss and Howe describe as Nomads. "We remember Nomads best for their rising-adult years of hell-raising and for their midlife years of hands-on, get-it-done leadership," say the authors. Gen X has now given birth to the Homeland Generation. (Gen X was the only generation whose alphabetical letter stuck. Today's teens, once known as Gen Y, rejected that label and voted online to change it to "The Millennial Generation." The Homeland babies could easily change their name as they come to define themselves in later years, but that's the only nickname floating around generational circles at the present time.)

In predictable generational reincarnation, the Homelanders will be Artists like all generations that follow Nomads. Other Artist generations include the log-cabin settlers of the early 1800s and the new suburbanites of the 1960s. Famous Artists include John Quincy Adams, Theodore Roosevelt, Colin Powell, and Sandra Day O'Connor. Strauss and Howe assert that, "they rank as the most expert and credentialed of American political leaders." Caring and open-minded, Artist generations are known for being sentimental, pluralistic and expressive . . . that's why they're called Artists.

Earlier Artist generations included the first women's libbers and the earliest civil rights activists. Artists see problems and use song, art, novels, speeches, and other forms of artistic expression to raise social consciousness to bring about change—think of Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, and Martin Luther King Jr.
On the flip side, Artists are also known for being passive and obedient. Famous Artist children include Shirley Temple, Debbie Reynolds, and The Little Rascals. They're the adorable little boys and girls seen in Norman Rockwell paintings. Why are they so clean cut?

Strauss and Howe say that, "Artists enter childhood surrounded by no-nonsense adults who fiercely protect, even envelop them at a time when mighty events are deciding the fate of nations." Former American President John Quincy Adams "held his mother's hand as he watched the Battle of Bunker Hill from safety." If this sounds familiar to children and parents experiencing the events of September 11, 2001, it should. Because these children grow up in an overprotective environment, they tend to listen to their elders and follow rules while yearning for greater freedoms. That's why they grow up to be so expressive about social change; as adults they become like birds moving out from under their parents' protective wings and suddenly bursting into song.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Sue Scheff: Drug Free America Parent Campaign

Parenting today has become more challenging than ever. Social Networking is expanding a new area of concern for parents - and today more than ever, parents need to be informed and keep updated about substance abuse, teen drug use, huffing, drinking, inhalant use and other harmful habits. Peer pressure, the need to fit in - combined with kids suffering with low self esteem can lead to negative behavior.

Stay informed - visit to keep yourself educated.

Parent Campaign
Greater parental involvement in the decisions kids make about drugs is critical to preventing and reducing substance abuse. Our research has shown that kids who report learning a lot about the risks of drugs from their parents are up to half as likely to use drugs as those who don’t. However, only about 3 out of 10 kids report learning a lot about drugs from their parents. Our Parent Campaign is designed to inspire more parents and other family influencers to connect with their kids in ways that persuade them to live a healthy, drug-free lifestyle. The campaign includes comprehensive new information and resources to assist families in preventing, recognizing, and dealing with substance abuse problems. The website is organized in action-oriented sections that both educate and inspire parents and other influencers of kids to better understand and “know” their children, how to connect with them, how to keep tabs on them, how to spot drug use, and what to do if they suspect their child is using alcohol or other drugs.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Sue Scheff: Parenting Books and Valuable Parenting Blogs and Articles

Parenting Blogs - Parenting Articles - Parenting Websites - Parent Advice - Parenting Tips and more!
When you visit I keep an up-to-date listing of books, websites, blogs and other parenting information to help you help your child. Today's generation of adolescents has become more challenging for parents. Be an educated parent - stay informed and learn more about today's peer pressures.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Sue Scheff: Teen Advice for Parents from Young Adults

Vanessa Van Petten, author of You’re Grounded, as well as a great communicator for parents of teens today, created a website - OnTeensToday - which offers a variety of Teen and Parenting Articles, Blogs and great up to date information on today’s generation of adolescents.
Here is a brief introduction:

Welcome Brave Parents

HOORAY! Finally, parenting advice from the kid’s perspective! It’s usually impossible to get more than one-word-answers from us, but here I hope that I, along with my 8 teen writers (age 13-17) can be honest about real issues that teens and pre-teens are dealing with, so parents can actually understand us (well at least a small part of our world)…and we can finally develop better relationships.

As much as I LOVE my freedom, I know that adolescents are often two steps ahead of parental controls and because of this, watched many of my friends make really, really bad decisions. So, we have decided to break open the door to our SECRET, terribly complex world and let you in. Ok, I am exaggerating just a tad, but I do truly believe that *if we help each other stay informed, we can stay safe, supported and become happier adults.*

Visit and learn more!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Sue Scheff: Parent Empowerment with your Teens Today!

Parent Empowerment!
By Sue Scheff

Are you at your wit’s end? Completely frustrated and stressed out over your child’s behavior? Are you questioning where the child you raised with values went? It is time to empower yourself with information that can help you take control again.

So many parents are desperate to find resolution and peace with their out of control teen. They feel helpless, hopeless, scared, exhausted, and bewildered where this behavior came from.

Many teens are suffering with low self esteem, depression and other negative feelings that are making the act out in defiant ways. For more information on Teen Depression, please visit It is important to try to resolve these feelings before they escalate to worse behavior, including substance abuse and addiction, sexual promiscuity, eating disorders, self injury, gang involvement, etc.

These teens are usually very intelligent and capable of getting Honor Roll grades, however are not working up to their potential and lack the motivation to succeed and do well. This can stem from peer pressure combined with the teen’s feelings of low self worth. It is one of the most common trends today – highly intelligent teens making bad choices. Are you telling yourself; “This is not my child,” yet soon realize that it is and you must take control of an obvious out of control situation.

As a parent that has experienced and survived a troubled teen – I am introducing “Parent Empowerment” to help you take control of your family again. My goal is that you will learn from my mistakes and gain from my knowledge.

Do you think you are alone? I can assure you, that there are many parents that are in your same situation – and feeling the same frustrations.

Let’s look at things we have tried – and I am confident many of you will see the familiarity with these consequences:

Remove privileges or place restrictions on cell phones, televisions, computers, going out on weekends, friends, phone time at home, etc. In today’s society, although these should be privileges, most are considered normal necessities of a teen’s life. This can be related to entitlement issues. Click Here Many instances even if you have removed the privileges, the child knows he/she will eventually get them back, and find other means to communicate with their teen world.

Change schools – How many times have we believed if we change the school the problems will go away? Maybe in some cases, however these issues will follow your child into the next school environment. The problems may be masked in the beginning, but in most cases, the trouble will soon arise again. Changing schools, although may temporarily resolve some problems; it is rarely the answer when teens are emotionally struggling.

Have your child go live with a relative out of state?
Wow, this is very common, but the other similarity is that in many situations it is a short term resolution before the family is calling and saying they can’t do it any longer – you need to find another alternative for the teen. This can be traumatic and stressful for both families involved and cause friction that could result in more negative feelings.

How many families have actually moved? Believe or not, parents have looked for job transfers or other avenues to try to remove their teen from the environment they are currently in. So many of us believe it is the friends, which it could be, however as parents we need to also take accountability – this is not saying we are to blame, but we need to understand that our children are usually not the “angels” we believe they are. Sure they are athletic, played varsity sports (football, track, golf, swim team, dance etc.), musically gifted, or other special talents as well as were in all advanced placement classes – but reality is, if you are reading this, this has changed.

Seeking a therapist will help. Yes in some cases it will. And of course, we should all try this avenue first. Unfortunately more times than not, the teens are already a master manipulator and can breeze through these sessions convincing the therapist the parents are the problem. I know many of you have probably already experienced this. The other concern with therapy is that in many situations the one hour once or twice a week can barely scratch the surface of what a family with a troubled teen may require.

Was your child arrested? If your child has committed a crime, chances are they will be arrested. If your child has become belligerent in the home and you fear for your safety or the safety of your family, again chances are they will be arrested. In some cases with first time offenders the charges could be dropped. However if this becoming a chronic problem, you seriously should consider outside help. When a teen is arrested and placed in a juvenile detention center, even for one night, they are exposed to a different element that could either scare him/her or harden them. Teens can learn bad habits in these centers, or potentially worse, make friends with teens that have far worse problems than yours.

Scared Straight Programs or Boot Camps – Are they effective? Many parents will seek a local weekend Scared Straight Program or Boot Camp. In some cases, it may have a positive effect on your teen – a wake up call so to speak; however in other cases it may worsen your problem. Depending on your child and the problems you are dealing with or how long they have been going on, may help you to determine if these types of programs would be beneficial or detrimental to them. Some teens will leave a Boot Camp or weekend Scared Straight program with more anger and resentment than when they entered it. The resentment is usually directed at the person that placed them there – not at the program. This can open doors to more destructive behavior. Personally, I am not in favor of Boot Camps or Scared Straight Weekend programs. A visit to a jail with a police officer, giving the teen the awareness of what could happen to them, may be a better way to help the teen to understand consequences of the current behavior.

These above efforts are avenues parents could try before considering any type of boarding school program. I believe exhausting all your local resources should be the first path. Making a decision to place a child outside of the home is a major decision and one that is not to be taken lightly. It is important you educate yourself – empower yourself with information to help you make the best decision for your child. Here is a list of questions to ask schools and programs in order to determine if they are a fit for your teen. Click here: Helpful Hints: when searching for schools and programs.

An educated parent is an empowered parent. Parent Empowerment! Take control of your family life again.

Check out my latest posts on and for more great parenting information.

Just added - - it is all about parents helping parents! With a touch of Internet Safety!

Sue Scheff: Teens: Sex and the Media

“Every TV show now has like at least one character who is like a slut.”

– Katie Seewald, 14 years old

Parents have heard a thousand times that sex is all over the media. But is the sheer volume of sexual images harming our children? Or is it something else?

A recent movie, “A Guy Thing,” begins with a bachelor (played by Jason Lee) hurrying a woman (Julia Stiles) out of bed after a drunken one-night stand.

The scene is typical of how casual sex is portrayed on television and in the movies.

14-year-old Katie Seewald says, “Every TV show now has like at least one character who is like a slut.”

A study by the Rand Corporation finds that teens who watch shows with heavy sexual content are twice as likely to get pregnant or get someone pregnant compared to kids who don’t watch those shows. Still, while the study demonstrates a correlation between teenage sexual behavior and television content, it does not prove a cause. Are the higher pregnancy rates the result of TV viewing, or is it simply that kids who take sexual risks and end up pregnant are more likely to watch sexual content on TV? It is not clear.

Experts say one problem with television content is that sex seldom has consequences.

“If they see sex without negative consequences…they may think that having, or engaging in sex, may not have negative consequences,” explains Dr. Gina Wingood, Associate Professor at Emory University.

Bo Brewer, 17, agrees, “You never see abortion in movies or on t-v.”

So does 17-year-old Elizabeth Green, “They want everything to be in the heat of the moment, to flow, and having to stop to go put on a condom doesn’t really flow with the storyline.”

The experts’ advice?

Limit the amount of sexual content your kids are allowed to watch and talk with your children about the sexy scenes they see on TV.

Studies show children are much less likely to be influenced by what they see if they know their parents strongly disagree.

“Teens and young people do care what their parents think. And they do care what their parents’ feelings are,” says psychologist Betsy Gard. “And if a parent expresses very strong dislike of a program and explains their reasons, that’s going to have an impact on the teen.”

“And I think it’s kind of up to parents or some figure like that to say ‘well that’s not the way it is, that’s just the way that it is on that t-v show,” says 16-year-old Mary Cloud.

Tips for Parents

The American Academy of Pediatrics has suggested that portrayals of sex on entertainment television may contribute to precocious adolescent sex. Approximately two-thirds of television programs contain sexual content, and adolescents who viewed more sexual content were more likely to initiate intercourse and progress to more advanced non-coital sexual activities. Youths in the top 10th percentile of television sex viewing were twice as likely to have sex as those youths who were in the bottom 10th percentile of viewing.

Adolescence is a key period of sexual exploration and development. This is the time when teens begin to consider which sexual behaviors are enjoyable, moral and appropriate for their age group. Many teens become sexually active during this period; currently, 46 percent of high school students in the United States admit to having had sexual intercourse. Consider the following:

By ninth grade, 34 percent of teens have had sexual intercourse. By 12th grade, this figure increases to 60 percent.

On average, teens watch three hours of television every day.

Watching a program that talked about sex was associated with the same risks as exposure to a program that depicted sexual behavior.

Approximately one in seven television programs includes a portrayal of sexual intercourse.

Television programs with sexual content have an average of 4.4 scenes per hour containing sexually related material.

Youths who watched more depictions of sexual risks or safety were less likely to initiate intercourse.

Watching sex on television predicts and may hasten adolescent sexual initiation. Reducing the amount of sexual content in entertainment programming, reducing adolescent exposure to this content, or increasing references to and depictions of the possible negative consequences of sexual activity could delay when teens embark on sexual activities. A quarter of all sexually active teens will contract a sexually transmitted disease each year. According to 57 percent of adults and 72 percent of teens, the media has given "more attention" to teen pregnancy prevention in recent years.

Remember that as a parent you may be able to reduce the effects of sexual content in the media by watching television with your teenagers and discussing your own beliefs about sex and the behaviors being portrayed. Most parents say they have discussed sex with their teenagers, but far fewer teenagers say they had such talks with their parents. Sixty-nine percent of teens report that it would be "much easier" to postpone sexual activity if they could have "more open, honest conversations" about sex with their parents. In addition:

About 60 percent of teens have a television in their bedroom. The only way to keep parental control of television viewing is to not let your teen have a television in the bedroom.

Unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases are more common among those who begin sexual activity earlier.

Two-thirds of sexually experienced teens wish they had waited longer to have intercourse.
Seventy-nine percent of teenage virgins are not embarrassed to tell others they have not had sex.
Youngsters who receive little parental supervision may have more time and freedom to watch sexually based programming and more opportunities to engage in sexual activity.

The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation
Medical News Today
Rand Corporation
Talk With Your Kids
USA Today

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Sue Scheff: November is about over - December is almost here - What are your Teens doing on their Break?

With today's economy, many parents are working full time and/or two jobs leaving many teens home alone. Many will spend their days online - however it is important to get them involved in constructive activities outside the home. This can also help build self esteem!

Is there a local Humane Society?

A local Nursing Home that needs help?

Maybe a Holiday Tree Stand that hires many teens to help carry the trees or deliver them?

Booths in malls that wrap gifts?

Jobs at movie theaters increase - check in your local area. Encourage your teen to get busy!

Keeping your teen active can help prevent them from mixing and hanging out with peers that are less than desirable and looking for trouble.

As difficult as it is, keep your lines of communication open!

They may think they need a break from the structure of school and studies, but help them to see that all these activities could be fun!

Parents, your employment is critical to feeding your family and keeping up with your mortgage or rent payments - but your parenting job is just as important to help prevent potential negative issues.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Sue Scheff: Teens and Shoplifting

Holiday’s are officially here - malls are crowded - stores are busy with the holiday rush especially today on Black Friday.

It doesn’t matter your economic status, it seems some teens from all financial backgrounds will try their “hand” at shoplifting. Why? Peer pressure? Is it cool? Part of the crowd?

What constitutes shoplifting? It doesn’t have to be only stealing, shoplifting can include changing price tags (which is harder to do now with the bar scans in some stores), consuming food or drink without paying for it, leaving a restaurant without paying, wearing items out of a store (again, hoping there isn’t an alarm tag on them) - this and more will land you in legal trouble if you are caught.

Teens seem to believe it could never happen to them - however more and more I am hearing from parents that have had to deal with this.

To learn more, visit and get some great parenting tips such as:

Why Children Steal and Your Role in Preventing Retail Theft

Very young children sometimes take things they want without understanding why it’s wrong. Elementary school-aged children know better, but may lack enough self-control to stop themselves. Most preteens and teens shoplift as a result of social and personal pressure in their lives. Here are just a few of the reasons why:

• Feel peer pressure to shoplift
• Low self-esteem
• A cry for help or attention
• The na├»ve assumption they won’t get caught
• The belief that teen stealing is “not a big deal”
• Inability to handle temptation when faced with things they want
• The thrill involved
• Defiance or rebelliousness
• Not knowing how to work through feelings of anger, frustration, etc.
• Misconception that stores can afford the losses
• The desire to have the things that will get them “in” with a certain group of kids.
• To support a drug habit.
• To prove themselves to members of a gang.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Sue Scheff: The Feingold Holiday Goodie Basket is Now Available

For parents of ADD/ADHD children, many have had tremendous success with the Feingold Program and Diet to help manage their kids. As the holidays are here, they are offering a fabulous goodie basket for your friends and family!

Holiday Goodie Basket!

Support your Feingold Association and wow your friends!A great assortment of all-natural, delicious treats in an attractive holiday gift baskets for you to enjoy or to give as gifts. For your $50 donation to FAUS, we will send a basket to the person of your choice.We have gathered our favorite Stage One & Stage Two yummies from sources around the country and will be assembling attractive gift baskets to be shipped out via Priority Mail to the locations and at the time you choose. Look for brownies, cookies, jelly beans, gummy bears, lollipops, and many other goodies and snacks.Wouldn't it be great if your relatives had lots of Feingold-acceptable treats on hand when you and your kids visit them? This is a wonderful way to introduce family, friends, neighbors and teachers to the Program, and to show them that "additive-free" means "delicious"!! Get several baskets for your friends, relatives, teachers, etc.