Saturday, August 30, 2008

Bullying At School

Bullying continues to be a concern with parents and what their children can endure from other kids and now that school is here, it can start again. It is important to help your child understand that Bullying is not accepted and can potentially end up harming others not only emotionally - sometimes psychically. Here are some great tips for parents by Connect with Kids.

“I kept trying to figure out ways to become better friends with them, like ways to fix myself so I could be better … like I wasn’t good enough… but then any time I changed anything … I changed my clothes, I learned that it wasn’t about my clothes because no matter what I did it was not good enough.”

– Sarah Nadler, bullying victim

Three out of four children say they’re bullied. One in ten say it happens everyday.

Fourteen-year-old Alex Freed, who is tall and skinny with red hair and glasses, says it happened to him, “all day, from morning till the end; from 8 o’clock until 3 o’clock.”

Alex’s bullying was not physical. Instead of being beaten up or threatened, some of his classmates teased, laughed at and excluded him.

“I sometimes had to lie to mom and tell her I was sick so I wouldn’t have to go to school,” Alex says.

In fact, studies have found that two-thirds of students said they were bullied not with fists but by words.

Dr. Tim Jordan, a pediatrician who conducts a bullying workshop with students, says, “We have a whole building full of kids who feel unsafe – emotionally unsafe.”

Children report that oftentimes, bullies will use anything – clothes, hair, body size and even feelings about school – as a springboard for ridiculing others.

Thea McLain, a student in Dr. Jordan’s workshop, says, “If you’re in drama instead of football, you’re gay; if you like literature over gym class, you’re gay; if you’re academic instead of athletic, you’re gay.”

A bully’s words can be cruel and hurtful, yet so many children, like Sarah Nadler, never tell anyone – not even their parents.

“I didn’t really want to break down in front of them, ’cause I didn’t want them to know I was hurting,” Sarah says.

Experts say that the best advice isn’t easy: Raise a child who is emotionally strong and self-confident, because bullies target children who appear vulnerable.

“So if you walk into the school building with a belief system that says, ‘I don’t deserve to be taken care of, I’m probably not going to make friends, people aren’t going to like me,’ then guess what? You’re probably going to attract that kind of thing,” Dr. Jordan says.

Another piece of advice comes from Sarah’s father, Jed.

“I would say just to make sure your child knows that you’re there to listen … and you’ll just hear what they have to say and hug them and love them, and see if that’s cure enough,” he says.

Tips for Parents

Results of a survey reveal that children in the fifth through 12th grades worry more about emotional violence vs. physical violence. The survey of 1,000 children, conducted by the Families and Work Institute, found that two-thirds of the students said that peers had teased or gossiped about them in a mean way in the past month. Consider these additional findings:

Twelve percent of the kids surveyed had been bullied five times or more in the past month.
Approximately 23% admitted they had bullied someone else.
Eight percent said they had been attacked with a weapon.
Another 8% said they had been forced to perform sexual acts.
In fact, the National School Safety Center cites a poll of 477 teens and 456 parents that provides further evidence to support that intimidation and physical abuse are typical parts of a school day for U.S. students:

Of the 14-17 year-olds surveyed, more than two-thirds report that their school houses a group of students who sometimes or frequently intimidate others, often with no or few consequences.
While many victims respond by isolating themselves, almost a third of respondents said victims usually plan ways to get back at the intimidators.
Only a third of students believe the school penalizes students who engage in intimidation.
Less than a third of victims report the behavior to someone at school.

Only 16% of teens said that other students intercede when a fellow student is being intimidated or embarrassed.

The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) says that bullying – the act of threatening to hurt or frighten someone – may be physical, verbal, emotional or sexual in nature:

Physical bullying includes punching, poking, strangling, hair pulling, beating, biting and excessive tickling.

Verbal bullying includes such acts as hurtful name-calling, teasing and gossiping.

Emotional bullying includes rejecting, terrorizing, extorting, defaming, humiliating, blackmailing, rating/ranking of personal characteristics – such as race, disability, ethnicity or perceived sexual orientation – manipulating friendships, isolating, ostracizing and peer pressure.

Sexual bullying includes many of the actions listed above as well as exhibitionism, voyeurism, sexual propositioning, sexual harassment and abuse involving actual physical contact and sexual assault.

All of these types of bullying can interfere with students’ learning. The U.S. DOE cites these negative consequences that bullying victims often experience:

Grades may suffer because attention is drawn away from learning.

Fear may lead to absenteeism, truancy or dropping out.

Victims may lose or fail to develop self-esteem, experience feelings of isolation and may become withdrawn and depressed.

As students and later as adults, victims may be hesitant to take social, intellectual, emotional or vocational risks.

If the problem persists, victims occasionally feel compelled to take drastic measures, such as vengeance in the form of fighting back, weapon-carrying or even suicide.
Victims are more likely than non-victims to grow up being socially anxious and insecure, displaying more symptoms of depression than those who were not victimized as children.
In addition, bystanders and peers of victims can be negatively affected by acts of bullying:

They may become afraid to associate with the victim for fear of lowering their own status or of retribution from the bully and becoming victims themselves.

They may fear reporting bullying incidents because they do not want to be called a “snitch,” a “tattler” or an “informer.”

Some experience feelings of guilt or helplessness for not standing up to the bully on behalf of their classmate.

Many may be drawn into bullying behavior by group pressure.

They may feel unsafe, unable to take action or a loss of control.

Even the bullies themselves can experience long-term outcomes from harassing others. The National Resource Center for Safe Schools (NRCSS) reports that bullies identified by age 8 are six times more likely than non-bullies to be convicted of a crime by the time they reach age 24 and five times more likely to end up with serious criminal records by age 30.

Who is likely to be a victim of bullying? The NCRSS says that passive loners are the most frequent victims, especially if they cry easily or lack social self-defense skills. Many victims are unable to deflect a conflict with humor and don’t think quickly on their feet. They are usually anxious, insecure and cautious and suffer from low self-esteem. In addition, they rarely defend themselves or retaliate and tend to lack friends, making them easy to isolate.

If you suspect that your child is being bullied, you can help him or her in the following ways cited by the Committee for Children:

Encourage your child to report bullying incidents to you. Validate your child’s feelings by letting him or her know that it is normal to feel hurt, sad, scared, angry, etc. Help your child be specific in describing bullying incidents – who, what, where and when.

Ask your child how he or she has tried to stop the bullying. Coach him or her in possible coping methods – avoidance of the bully and making new friends for support.

Treat the school as your ally. Share your child’s concerns and specific information around bullying incidents with appropriate school personnel. Work with school staff to protect your child from possible retaliation. Establish a plan with the school and your child for dealing with future bullying incidents. Volunteer time to help supervise on field trips, on the playground or in the lunchroom. And become an advocate for school-wide bullying prevention programs and policies.

Encourage your child to continue to talk with you about all bullying incidents.
Never ignore your child’s report. Remember that you should not advise your child to physically fight back. Bullying lasts longer and becomes more severe when children fight back, and physical injuries often result. Also, you should not confront the bullying child or his or her parents.

Unlike victims, bullies appear to suffer little anxiety and possess strong self-esteem, according to the NCRSS. They often come from homes where physical punishment is used and where children are taught to strike back physically as a way of handling problems. Bullies thus believe that it is all right for stronger children to hit weaker children. They frequently lack parental warmth and involvement and seem to desire power and control.

If you suspect that your child is bullying others, the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) suggests you seek help for him or her as soon as possible. Without intervention, bullying can lead to serious academic, social, emotional and legal difficulties. Talk to your child’s pediatrician, teacher, principal, school counselor or family physician. If the bullying continues, the AACAP advises you to arrange a comprehensive evaluation of your child by a child and adolescent psychiatrist or other mental health professional should be arranged.

The Coalition for Children says that you can also help your child by discussing with him or her these key points about bullying:

Remind your child that bullying is not acceptable in your family or in society.
Provide your child with alternatives to taking frustration or aggression out on others. You can even role-play different ways to behave in situations where your child would normally bully another.

Specify concretely the consequences if the aggression or bullying continue.
While bullying, harassment and teasing are unfortunate aspects of childhood, you can help minimize these occurrences by raising non-violent children. The American Academy of Pediatrics cites the following tips for curbing hurtful behavior in your child:

Give your child consistent love and attention. Every child needs a strong, loving, relationship with a parent or other adult to feel safe and secure and to develop a sense of trust. Without a steady bond to a caring adult, a child is at risk for becoming hostile, difficult and hard to manage.
Make sure your child is supervised. A child depends on his or her parents and family members for encouragement, protection and support as he or she learns to think for himself or herself. Without proper supervision, your child will not receive the guidance he or she needs. Studies report that unsupervised children often have behavior problems.

Show your child appropriate behaviors by the way you act. Children often learn by example. The behavior, values and attitudes of parents and siblings have a strong influence on them. Most children sometimes act aggressively and may hit another person. Be firm with your child about the possible dangers of violent behavior. Also remember to praise your child when he or she solves problems constructively without violence.

Don’t hit your child. Hitting or slapping your child as punishment shows him or her that it’s OK to hit others to solve problems and can train him or her to punish others in the same way he or she were punished.

Be consistent about rules and discipline. When you make a rule, stick to it. Your child needs structure with clear expectations for his or her behavior. Setting rules and then not enforcing them is confusing and sets up your child to “see what he or she can get away with.”
Make sure your child does not have access to guns.
Guns and children can be a deadly combination. Teach your child about the dangers of firearms or other weapons if you own and use them. If you keep a gun in your home, unload it and lock it up separately from the bullets. Don’t carry a gun or a weapon. If you do, this tells your child that using guns solves problems.

Try to keep your child from seeing violence in the home or community. Violence in the home can be frightening and harmful to children. A child who has seen violence at home does not always become violent, but he or she may be more likely to try to resolve conflicts with violence.
Try to keep your child from seeing too much violence in the media. Watching a lot of violence on television, in the movies and in video games can lead children to behave aggressively. As a parent, you can control the amount of violence your child sees in the media by limiting television viewing and previewing games, movies, etc., before allowing access to them by your child.
Help your child stand up against violence. Support your child in standing up against violence.
Teach him or her to respond with calm but firm words when others insult, threaten or hit another person. Help your child understand that it takes more courage and leadership to resist violence than to go along with it.


American Academy of Pediatrics
American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
Coalition for Children
Committee for Children
Families and Work Institute
National Resource Center for Safe Schools
National School Safety Center
U.S. Department of Education
University of Zurich
Tags: Bullying, Connect with Kids

Friday, August 29, 2008

Mom's Advice May Curb Binge Drinking

“My mom is very level-headed, and she knows (I drink). She is very realistic.”

– Erik, college sophomore

College parties involving alcohol are common nationwide, and about one-quarter of all college students are binge drinkers. Twenty-year-old Erik says he is not a binge drinker, and one big reason is a conversation his mother had with him in the summer before his freshman year. “She told me, ‘I’m not na├»ve. I know you are going to drink. Just drink in moderation, don’t be stupid,’” Erik says.

That kind of warning, and particularly its timeliness, can be very effective, according to a study from Boise State University in Idaho. If mothers talk to their teens about alcohol during the period between high school and college, kids listen, the study found.

After one or more conversations with mom, the odds that a college student will binge drink fell from an estimated one-in-four, to as low as one-in-ten, according to the Idaho study.

A lot of what moms tell us as we grow up tends to stick with us for years, says Gary Santavicca, a family psychologist. “Whether we agree with or want to hear something that she has to say, typically since mother occupies such an important role in our lives, we are going to recall things that she communicates strongly and clearly to us,” Santavicca says.

The Idaho study also tested the effectiveness of specific warnings some mothers gave their kids. Most effective, moms should explain that drinking only makes problems worse, not better. Also, they should put into plain words how drinking could get teens in trouble with police, and how being caught drinking might lead to the publication of their arrest in the newspaper.

Erik says every time he drinks, he remembers what his mother told him about alcohol. “What bounces around in my head when I go to parties, use your head, and have a DD. All the time. Designated Driver all the time, that’s the most important thing,” Erik says.

Tips for Parents

Numerous studies conducted in recent years have noted the prevalence and dangers associated with binge drinking among college students. For example, some studies have revealed that the highest proportion of drinkers, heavy drinkers, and individuals with multiple substance dependencies have tended to be concentrated within the usual age range for college students.

According to research, some of the risks of binge drinking episodes include:

unplanned sexual activity
alcohol-related driving injuries and fatalities
sexual and physical assaults
date rape
physical injury
criminal mischief
property damage
trouble with campus and local police

Researchers have also found evidence for a relationship between parental characteristics and teen drinking tendencies. Some of the parental characteristics and beliefs associated with less teen drinking tendencies include:

parents' attitudes and beliefs about teens not drinking
limited parental alcohol consumption
parental disapproval approval of teen alcohol consumption
parental modeling of appropriate behavior
parental monitoring of the teenager
the quality of the parent—teen relationship
family management practices
parent—friend compatibility

A study, published in the journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, shows evidence that discussions of the risks of binge drinking between mothers and teens in the summer immediately preceding the adolescent’s first year of college can help to reduce or prevent binge drinking episodes for those teens. The researchers found that student beliefs about the positive or negative effects of drinking predicted binge-drinking activities. Specifically, if students believe that drinking improved their social behavior or lifestyle, they were more likely to use alcohol and have a tendency to binge drink. According to the authors of the study, however, if mothers talked with students about the negative effects of alcohol and the consequences of drinking, the teens were less likely to do so. In fact, additional preliminary studies indicate that one or more mother-teen discussions before attending college can reduce the statistical risk of those students participating in binge drinking activities from 20% to 10%.

The influence of parents on their teenage children’s use and abuse of alcohol can be very strong. The following suggestions, excerpted from a National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism publication, provide ideas for ways that parents can positively influence their teens’ alcohol related behaviors.

Monitor alcohol use in the home
Connect with other parents to discuss potential alcohol problems among peer groups
Keep track of your teen’s activities, particularly after-school and on weekends.
Develop family rules about teen drinking. Incorporate family values and beliefs about appropriate behavior into the family rules for drinking.
Set a good example. Modeling appropriate behavior in the use of alcohol (i.e. don’t drink and drive) can be an important teaching tool to help your teen with drinking related decisions.

Don’t support teen drinking.

Help your child build healthy relationships.

Encourage healthy alternatives to alcohol.

Boise State University
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

TEEN HELP - Are you Seeking Help for your Teen Surfing the Internet? By Sue Scheff

Tips for Parents on Surfing the Internet for Teen Help Schools and Programs - Do you Need an Educational Consultant?

Internet Search – Many parents will use Search Engines to type in key words and search terms to describe their child. Unfortunately, in many cases, the parent will see the same group of programs/schools with different titles and descriptions, however leading back to the same organization. Parents that are not familiar with this industry can easily be misinformed. An example is a key word such as Military Schools. Are you aware that reputable Military Schools are not for at risk children? Please review

The term Spamdexing has been used when organizations will purchase many websites and URL’s all leading back to the same group. The vast number of key words and search terms, no matter what the issues, may all be filtered back to the same group. This can be very deceiving and detrimental when searching for the best placement for your child.This can be a farce and totally an attack on desperate parents seeking help. Some of the websites are owned by “parents” that actually gain free tuition by you enrolling from their website. Even though “full disclosure” is required, it is sometimes missing. In reading a site recently parent’s claimed a program had saved their twins lives. However the story read that the children are still in the program. If the children are still in the program, how do you know if it saved a life yet? They don’t, but they do gain a free tuition from if you enroll from their website ID number. With twins in a program, this must be costly.

Sponsored listings are sold to the highest bidders. It seems only businesses with large marketing budgets can afford to be seen in top spots. This causes many very good and qualified programs and schools never to be seen. Many, including Computer Consultants, frown upon this tactic and Internet Professionals that feel it is causing unfair solicitation. Unfortunately this is part of marketing and public relations, which can leave out the small people.

Are you looking at websites that offer a Clearing House of Schools and Programs? Or offer to sell you a book? Do you think you are getting a qualified school and/or program since it is listed in the book? Did you know most times it is paid advertising?

So whom do you trust? It is very scary in this industry of children needing intervention. That is one of our main goals; to recognize who is qualified and who is not. We are not a clearing-house for programs; we do not have a large number of schools and programs that we have researched yet. We try to give parents a peace of mind with the programs we have researched and personally visited. No matter how much trouble your child may be causing, they are human and deserve to be in a safe and qualified environment. These programs that urge you to act now are not taking the time to fully evaluate what is needed for your child. They seem to assume that every child will fit their program. Please parents, step back from this and think, research and investigate.

Does the Advertising look too good to be true?

Most literature and brochures are made up to be glossy and fancy to advertise as an answer to your troubled child. Some even send tearful DVD’s of parents that claim to have been rescued from their child. When a program needs to use these extreme measures to market and advertise, it is time to investigate and analyze where all the money is being spent. Remember to read the small print and recognize that many of the pictures were not taken at the facilities. Marketing people can also be good sales people. Reaching out to your emotions at a delicate time of your life with your child. For more Helpful Hints in researching please read

Do you need to hire an Educational Consultant? What about an Independent Educational Consultant? Why are they so much money?

This seems to be a very political group of questions. First, not many can explain their outrageous costs to an already expensive trip. In our research, Educational Consultants do not require a degree and do not need any qualifications. There are not any state or government regulations that they need to comply with. With this, most EC’s are a product of someone that has worked in the field of schools or programs, and there are some that are qualified. The game is figuring out the difference if you need one. We don’t appreciate these games when it involves our children.The Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA) is a group formed to elaborate their proclaimed profession. They do have certain standards to meet within their own group, however they are not regulated or governed by any State or Governmental Offices. Some are very knowledgeable and quite impressive, however some are extremely self-centered. Most will refer to the same programs time after time.

This may not be the best case for your child and family. We have found that there are many politics that mandate their decisions into the same programs and schools time after time. With families that we have spoken with that used an EC, tell us their EC has recommended the same school or program as the previous family (most always starting with Wilderness). There seems to be a pattern here; We feel parents should realize just because they are paying a high priced EC, doesn’t mean they are getting the interest for their child in our opinion.

We are not saying that one should not hire an Educational Consultant if they deem it necessary; we are telling parents to do research, investigate and consider your child. In most cases, your therapist can be more beneficial to make a final decision in placement of a child. It can be helpful if the child’s local therapist can participate in helping parents make the most appropriate choice.

For the record, I am not anti-Educational Consultants, I have only witnessed time and time again that parents that used them seem to be lead down the same path, always starting with Wilderness Programs and then moving to a residential therapy program. It is my belief that these teens need consistency - starting and finishing at the same place.

There are non-political Educational Consultants - it is a matter of taking the time to find them, as you have to take time and diligence to locate the best school or program for your individual teen and family.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Alliance for Consumer Education

As a parent advocate, I am constantly seeking informational websites for parenting and helping us to better understand today's generation of youths.
Alliance for Consumer Education has a vast amount of valuable resources to help you as a parent become educated on a variety of topics in regards to our children.
Visit for more information on Inhalants, Disease Prevention, Poison Prevention and Product Management.

Monday, August 25, 2008

College Confidence with ADD by Michael Sandler

Everything You Need to Know to Find Success in College and Beyond

While college is a challenge for any student, the increased workload, complexity, freedom and competing demands make it particularly daunting for those students with Attention Deficit Disorder. But you need not be overwhelmed and you can succeed! College Confidence with ADD will help you turn obstacles into opportunities and overcome social, academic, financial, and personal challenges both in and out of the classroom.

Whether your goal is to get into the school of your choice, improve your grades, survive the experience, gain guidance and direction, or springboard into the future of your dreams, this comprehensive and essential guide will help you succeed. Perfect for ADD students and parents alike. Ideal for busy lives and whirring minds.

Also available in audiobook format as an immediate download.

Learn more at

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Dealing with Bullying

As school is opening throughout the country, it is time for parents to be prepared - not only helping their kids academically, but dealing with today's peer pressure which can include bullying and cyberbullying. Learn more.

Every day thousands of teens wake up afraid to go to school. Bullying is a problem that affects millions of students of all races and classes. Bullying has everyone worried, not just the kids on its receiving end. Yet because parents, teachers, and other adults don't always see it, they may not understand how extreme bullying can get.

Bullying Is a Big Problem
Bullying is when a person is picked on over and over again by an individual or group with more power, either in terms of physical strength or social standing.

Two of the main reasons people are bullied are because of appearance and social status. Bullies pick on the people they think don't fit in, maybe because of how they look, how they act (for example, kids who are shy and withdrawn), their race or religion, or because the bullies think their target may be gay or lesbian.

Some bullies attack their targets physically, which can mean anything from shoving or tripping to punching or hitting, or even sexual assault. Others use psychological control or verbal insults to put themselves in charge. For example, people in popular groups or cliques often bully people they categorize as different by excluding them or gossiping about them (psychological bullying). They may also taunt or tease their targets (verbal bullying).

Verbal bullying can also involve sending cruel instant or email messages or even posting insults about a person on a website — practices that are known as cyberbullying.

One of the most painful aspects of bullying is that it is relentless. Most people can take one episode of teasing or name calling or being shunned at the mall. However, when it goes on and on, bullying can put a person in a state of constant fear.

Guys and girls who are bullied may find their schoolwork and health suffering. Amber began having stomach pains and diarrhea and was diagnosed with a digestive condition called irritable bowel syndrome as a result of the stress that came from being bullied throughout ninth grade. Mafooz spent his afternoons hungry and unable to concentrate in class because he was too afraid to go to the school cafeteria at lunchtime.

Studies show that people who are abused by their peers are at risk for mental health problems, such as low self-esteem, stress, depression, or anxiety. They may also think about suicide more.

Bullies are at risk for problems, too. Bullying is violence, and it often leads to more violent behavior as the bully grows up. It's estimated that 1 out of 4 elementary-school bullies will have a criminal record by the time they are 30. Some teen bullies end up being rejected by their peers and lose friendships as they grow older. Bullies may also fail in school and not have the career or relationship success that other people enjoy.

Who Bullies?

Both guys and girls can be bullies. Bullies may be outgoing and aggressive. Or a bully can appear reserved on the surface, but may try to manipulate people in subtle, deceptive ways, like anonymously starting a damaging rumor just to see what happens.

Many bullies share some common characteristics. They like to dominate others and are generally focused on themselves. They often have poor social skills and poor social judgment. Sometimes they have no feelings of empathy or caring toward other people.

Although most bullies think they're hot stuff and have the right to push people around, others are actually insecure. They put other people down to make themselves feel more interesting or powerful. And some bullies act the way they do because they've been hurt by bullies in the past — maybe even a bullying figure in their own family, like a parent or other adult.

Some bullies actually have personality disorders that don't allow them to understand normal social emotions like guilt, empathy, compassion, or remorse. These people need help from a mental health professional like a psychiatrist or psychologist.

What Can You Do?

For younger kids, the best way to solve a bullying problem is to tell a trusted adult. For teens, though, the tell-an-adult approach depends on the bullying situation.

One situation in which it is vital to report bullying is if it threatens to lead to physical danger and harm. Numerous high-school students have died when stalking, threats, and attacks went unreported and the silence gave the bully license to become more and more violent.

Sometimes the victim of repeated bullying cannot control the need for revenge and the situation becomes dangerous for everyone.

Adults in positions of authority — parents, teachers, or coaches — can often find ways to resolve dangerous bullying problems without the bully ever learning how they found out about it.

If you're in a bullying situation that you think may escalate into physical violence, try to avoid being alone (and if you have a friend in this situation, spend as much time as you can together). Try to remain part of a group by walking home at the same time as other people or by sticking close to friends or classmates during the times that the bullying takes place.

Here are some things you can do to combat psychological and verbal bullying. They're also good tips to share with a friend as a way to show your support:

Ignore the bully and walk away. It's definitely not a coward's response — sometimes it can be harder than losing your temper. Bullies thrive on the reaction they get, and if you walk away, or ignore hurtful emails or instant messages, you're telling the bully that you just don't care. Sooner or later the bully will probably get bored with trying to bother you. Walk tall and hold your head high. Using this type of body language sends a message that you're not vulnerable.
Hold the anger. Who doesn't want to get really upset with a bully? But that's exactly the response he or she is trying to get. Bullies want to know they have control over your emotions. If you're in a situation where you have to deal with a bully and you can't walk away with poise, use humor — it can throw the bully off guard. Work out your anger in another way, such as through exercise or writing it down (make sure you tear up any letters or notes you write in anger).
Don't get physical. However you choose to deal with a bully, don't use physical force (like kicking, hitting, or pushing). Not only are you showing your anger, you can never be sure what the bully will do in response. You are more likely to be hurt and get in to trouble if you use violence against a bully. You can stand up for yourself in other ways, such as gaining control of the situation by walking away or by being assertive in your actions. Some adults believe that bullying is a part of growing up (even that it is character building) and that hitting back is the only way to tackle the problem. But that's not the case. Aggressive responses tend to lead to more violence and more bullying for the victims.
Practice confidence. Practice ways to respond to the bully verbally or through your behavior. Practice feeling good about yourself (even if you have to fake it at first).

Take charge of your life. You can't control other people's actions, but you can stay true to yourself. Think about ways to feel your best — and your strongest — so that other kids may give up the teasing. Exercise is one way to feel strong and powerful. (It's a great mood lifter, too!) Learn a martial art or take a class like yoga. Another way to gain confidence is to hone your skills in something like chess, art, music, computers, or writing. Joining a class, club, or gym is a great way to make new friends and feel great about yourself. The confidence you gain will help you ignore the mean kids.

Talk about it. It may help to talk to a guidance counselor, teacher, or friend — anyone who can give you the support you need. Talking can be a good outlet for the fears and frustrations that can build when you're being bullied.

Find your (true) friends. If you've been bullied with rumors or gossip, all of the above tips (especially ignoring and not reacting) can apply. But take it one step further to help ease feelings of hurt and isolation. Find one or two true friends and confide how the gossip has hurt your feelings. Set the record straight by telling your friends quietly and confidently what's true and not true about you. Hearing a friend say, "I know the rumor's not true. I didn't pay attention to it," can help you realize that most of the time people see gossip for what it is — petty, rude, and immature.

What If You're the Bully?

All of us have to deal with a lot of difficult situations and emotions. For some people, when they're feeling stressed, angry, or frustrated, picking on someone else can be a quick escape — it takes the attention away from them and their problems. Some bullies learn from firsthand experience. Perhaps name-calling, putdowns, or physical force are the norms in their families. Whatever the reason, though, it's no excuse for being the bully.

If you find it hard to resist the temptation to bully, you might want to talk with someone you look up to. Try to think about how others feel when you tease or hurt them. If you have trouble figuring this out (many people who bully do), you might ask someone else to help you think of the other person's side.

Bullying behavior backfires and makes everyone feel miserable — even the bullies. People might feel intimidated by bullies, but they don't respect them. If you would rather that people see your strength and character — even look up to you as a leader — find a way to use your power for something positive rather than to put others down.

Do you really want people to think of you as unkind, abusive, and mean? It's never too late to change, although changing a pattern of bullying might seem difficult at first. Ask an adult you respect for some mentoring or coaching on how you could change.

Steps to Stop Bullying in Schools

If the environment at your school supports bullying, working to change it can help. For example, there may be areas where bullies harass people, such as in stairwells or courtyards that are unobserved by staff. Because a lot of bullying takes part in the presence of peers (the bully wants to be recognized and feel powerful, after all), enlisting the help of friends or a group is a good way to change the culture and stand up to bullies.

You can try to talk to the bully. If you don't feel comfortable in a face-to-face discussion, leave a note in the bully's locker. Try to point out that his or her behavior is serious and harmful. This can work well in group situations, such as if you notice that a member of your group has started to pick on or shun another member.

Most people hesitate to speak out because it can be hard. It takes confidence to stand up to a bully — especially if he or she is one of the established group leaders. But chances are the other students witnessing the bullying behavior feel as uncomfortable as you do. They may just not be speaking up. Perhaps they feel that they're not popular enough to take a stand or worry that they're vulnerable and the bully will turn on them. Staying quiet (even though they don't like the bully's behavior) is a way to distance themselves from the person who is the target.

When a group of people keeps quiet like this, the bully's reach is extending beyond just one person. He or she is managing to intimidate lots of people. But when one person speaks out against a bully, the reverse happens. It gives others license to add their support and take a stand, too.

Another way to combat bullying is to join your school's anti-violence program or, if your school doesn't have one, to start one of your own.

Reviewed by: Michelle New, PhD
Date reviewed: June 2007
Originally reviewed by: D'Arcy Lyness, PhD

Friday, August 22, 2008

Problem Parents Contribute to Teen Drug Use

Source: LA Times
A survey on substance abuse among teens was released this morning that really lowers the boom on parents. The annual survey from the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University calls out parents for contributing to drug and alcohol use among kids ages 12 to 17. Some parents fail to monitor their children's activities, do not safeguard medications at home that can be used for abuse, and do not set good examples for their kids, the report said. Almost half of the teens surveyed -- a nationally representative sample of 1,002 teens and 312 of their parents -- said they leave the house to hang out with friends on school nights. Among those teens, half who come home after 10 p.m. said they had been drinking alcohol, smoking marijuana or doing other drugs. Just under 30% of those who come home between 8 and 10 p.m. said they had been drinking or using drugs. In contrast, only 14% of the parents said their teens leave the house to hang out with friends on school nights.
Who is telling the truth? The report suggests that parents are pretty clueless about their kids' schedules and how they spend their free time.

"Every mother and father should look in the mirror and ask themselves if they are doing the parenting essential to help their child negotiate the difficult teen years free of tobacco, alcohol and drugs," said Elizabeth Planet, CASA's director of special projects.

CASA president and former U.S. Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare Joseph A. Califano said this:

"Preventing substance abuse among teens is primarily a mom and pop operation. It is inexcusable that so many parents fail to appropriately monitor their children, fail to keep dangerous prescription drugs out of the reach of their children and tolerate drug infected schools. The parents who smoke marijuana with children should be considered child abusers. By identifying the characteristics of problem parents we seek to identify the actions that parents can take -- and avoid -- in order to become part of the solution and raise healthy, drug-free children."

No one said parenting was easy, and parents in the survey said overwhelmingly that it's harder today to keep kids safe and raise them with good moral character than it was in previous generations. Resources to help and support parents are available, such as those that can be found on the CASA website. Also, try the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Youth Anti-Drug media campaign for more resources.

It would probably be helpful for all of us who are parents to get our heads out of the sand. Times change, and the culture kids are growing up in today is different from back in our day. For example, the survey also found these hair-raising trends:

For the first time in the survey's 13-year history, more teens said prescription drugs were easier to buy than beer.

42% of the teens said they can buy marijuana in a day or less.

One-quarter of teens said they know a parent of a classmate or friend who uses marijuana and 10% of those teens said this parent smokes marijuana with teens.

Half of the teens ages 16 and 17 said that among their age group smoking marijuana is more common than smoking cigarettes.

Of the teens who drink, almost 30% said their drink of choice was hard liquor mixed with soda or something sweet compared with 16% who said they prefer beer.

-- Shari Roan

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Parents Universal Resource Experts (Sue Scheff) Are you Struggling Financially To Get Your Teen Help?

With today's struggling economy - compounded with the need to get our teens outside help, the costs can be staggering. Many lenders are no longer providing Educational Loans.

One Lender that is offering help to parents is Clark Custom Educational Loans - Visit for more information.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Cool Parenting Articles and Blogs to Check Out

Vanessa is an amazing young adult and author that created a website of vast information to help parents with today's teens - visit - for more!

By Vanessa Van Petten

As some of you know, I have started a private social network for some of my favorite mom and dad bloggers and website owners from around the web called Parents Who Click. This is a truly awesome group of individuals who are working tirelessly to promote positive family values, put out helpful advice and make good connections for families and youth.

Once or twice a month I will be featuring and highlighting some of their websites along with some of their helpful articles for you to see (so you do not have to go RSS to a bajillion different websites). They also are constantly pointing out great sites and tips to me, which I will bring to you.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Adopted Teens - Primal Wound

It can be hard to separate normal teen problems from those stemming from deep seeded adoption issues. The best way to understand your adopted teen is to simply talk to them. As Sue Scheff™ knows, keeping the lines of teen and parent communications open is the best step to fixing teen troubles.

Unfortunately, most teens feel uncomfortable sharing troubled emotions with their parents, especially when the parents aren’t biologically related. The best thing adopted parents can do is stay informed of some of the issues that could affect their adopted teens. One major teenage adoption issue is the Primal Wound™ phenomenon.

The term Primal Wound™ was coined in 1993 by Nancy Verrier in her revolutionary adoption book, Primal Wound™.

Primal Wound™ refers to the feeling of duality that adopted children must overcome as they transition through their teenage years. An adopted child experiences separation from their natural caregiver, severing a link that will never truly be forgotten. Experts and psychologist agree that the developing fetus is aware of its mother in the womb, understanding their signature smell, sound, and other familiarities. This bond is forged and reinforced over nine months, and lasts throughout the child’s entire life.
It’s clear that in a way, babies understand the identity of their birth mother, even if the mother is detached from the child directly after birth. The primordial attachment is always formed when a child experiences birth and is severed when they are separated, and this Primal Wound must be confronted if an adopted teen is feeling separation problems, because it can lead to unresolved emotions of anger and distress that can catalyze dangerously in a young teenagers hormone ridden life.

The power of Primal Wound™ has been illustrated in various examples, including a story in Verrier’s book about a young girl who was separated from her real mother at birth, but was never told she was adopted. When the little girl was four she had a terrible nightmare, sending her into a screaming fit for her mother. When her adopted mother tried to calm her, the girl looked at her and proclaimed that she wanted her other mother. This little girl had no way of knowing that it was not her original birth mother, but the womb bond formed immediately after birth told her she was not connected to her birthmother, showing the Primal Wound™ in action.
It is clear that the Primal Wound™ exists and can lead to problems for adopted adolescents, but what should parents do to cope with this phenomenon and how do they help their adoptive teens deal with it? Luckily, simply knowing and understanding that the Primal Wound exists is the most important step in healing it.

Adoptive parents have the power to cleanse their child’s Primal Wound™, but they must understand that their teens have experienced a difficult loss, and must carefully validate those young feelings. Teens need to know they are understood; the feeling of isolation, the belief that no one understands, is what drives so many teenage depression or anger problems to develop. By simply listening and providing an avenue for communication and understanding, parents can help their troubled teens heal.

Sue Scheff™ advises parents never to say “Don’t feel that way,” or “What you are feeling is wrong.” Teens can’t help what they feel; they are a bundle of unresolved emotions. What a parent must do is illustrate a proper way to respond to these troublesome feelings, instead of acting destructively. Sue Scheff™ knows that the key to helping teach teenagers deal with their emotions is setting limits. Let your child be angry or express themselves, but don’t let them overstep the boundaries you set as a parent.

By understanding the Primal Wound™ phenomenon parents can help their adopted children work through life separated from their biological parents.

For more information - about adopted teens.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Citizen Leadership by Sue Scheff: Promoting Community Education

One of the most important parts of any community is the local school system, and it’s easy for concerned parents and good citizens to become intimately involved in some important aspects of school decisions. Becoming involved with local schools helps decide the direction of the youth in your community, which is of the upmost importance for the success of any community system.

A simple way to begin your citizen school involvement is by attending school board meetings. School board meetings help decide most of the important aspects of a school’s future, including school curriculum, dress code policy, disciplinary measures, budgeting, hiring teachers, new school buildings, and a variety of other things. This is one the best ways to be a part of local school decision making, and if your school board is elected it allows you to vote on school board members while understanding the types of administrative issues that my affecting your kid. At the very least, attending school board meetings provides you with a better understanding of how to be a productive citizen in both the community and school system.

Many schools also seek volunteer help. This work could include anything from grading papers to providing transportation on school field trips. Most public school systems in this country are overcrowded and underfunded, so any volunteer work is looked upon favorably and can help the schools function better. In the end, maintaining the education of our younger generation is always a major part of a good citizen’s workload.

Another great way to get involved in education is organizing after school programs. Many schools have after school programs that they coordinate with volunteers designed to give kids something productive to do after school. Keeping kids out of trouble after school and stimulating them with meaningful work is an excellent way to promote community involvement and healthy learning. Studies show that kids who participate in afterschool programs and extracurricular activities are much more likely to succeed in school then those who don’t.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Teens Say School Pressure Is Main Reason For Drug Use

New York — A new study reveals a troubling new insight into the reasons why teens use drugs.The study conducted by the Partnership for a Drug-free America shows that of 6,511 teens, 73% report that school stress and pressure is the main reason for drug use.

Ironically, only 7% of parents believe that teens use drugs to cope with stress.

Second on the list was to “feel cool” (73%), which was previously ranked in the first position. Another popular reason teens said they use drugs was to “feel better about themselves”(65%).Over the past decade, studies have indicated a steady changing trend in what teens perceive as the motivations for using drugs. The “to have fun” rationales are declining, while motivations to use drugs to solve problems are increasing.

On the positive side, the study confirms that overall abuse remains in a steady decline among teens. Marijuana, ecstasy, inhalants, methamphetamine alcohol and cigarette usage continue to decrease.

Additional findings show:

- 1 in 5 teens has abused a prescription medication- Nearly 1 in 5 teens has already abused a prescription painkiller- 41% of teens think it’s safer to abuse a precription drug than it is to use illegal drugs.

Teens continue to take their lives into their own hands when they intentionally abuse prescribed medications, said Pasierb. “Whether it’s to get high or deal with stress, or if they mistakenly believe it will help them perform better in school or sports, teens don’t realize that when used without a prescription, these medicines can be every bit as harmful as illegal street drugs.”

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Exercise Reduces Drug Use

Source: Connect with Kids

“Studies show that children that are involved in activities and have less time on their hands tend to stay away from drugs easier than kids than kids that have nothing to do after school.”

– David Karol Gore, Phd., Psychologist

17-year old Mururi began using drugs at an early age.

“I mean it started off only on weekends when I was twelve but by thirteen, I was like, ‘I need to get high man. This is boring.’”

Boredom. Researchers at Davidson College studied the affects of cocaine and exercise on rats. They found that when rats get more exercise, they want less cocaine than those who don’t exercise at all.

Experts say, in humans, exercise has the same effect on the reward systems of the brain as do drugs.

Still, as family psychologist, David Karol Gore explains, the way exercise prevents some kids from using drugs may be as simple as this: “Studies show that children that are involved in activities and have less time on their hands tend to stay away from drugs easier than kids than kids that have nothing to do after school.”

His advice?

“Look real carefully at what their teenagers are doing. They need to see how involved they are in activities and if they are not what are they doing with their time.”

Tips for Parents

A study from Columbia University shows that youth who are bored and who have access to extra cash are more likely to abuse drugs. For their study, researchers with the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse surveyed 1,987 children aged 12 to 17 and 504 parents, 403 of whom were parents of the surveyed children. They found that kids who are frequently bored are 50% more likely to smoke, drink and use illegal drugs. And those who had $25 or more a week in spending money were nearly twice as likely to succumb to substance abuse. Consider these additional statistics about teens and drug abuse cited by the National Institute on Drug Abuse:

In 2007, the percentage of 8th graders reporting lifetime use of any illicit drug declined was 19%.

In 2007, 15.4% of 12th graders reported using a prescription drug non-medically within the past year. Vicodin continues to be abused at unacceptably high levels.

Between 2005 and 2007, past year abuse of MDMA (ecstasy) increased among 12th graders from 3.0% to 4.5%; and between 2004 and 2007, past year abuse of MDMA increased among 10th graders from 2.4% to 3.5%.

It is important that family members feel as though they can talk to each other about tough issues, such as drug use. Part of this early, open communication includes being a good listener. As a parent, consider adopting these listening techniques provided by the American Council for Drug Education (ACDE):

Give your child an opportunity to talk. Stop talking and give your child sufficient time to complete his or her thoughts and process what has been said.

Demonstrate interest by asking appropriate questions. Questions can help you clarify your child's thoughts and suggestions. Be sure that you are interpreting what has been said correctly.

Listen to the complete message. Listen to the total message before forming a response.

Encourage your child to talk. Use door-opening statements ("You seem distracted today" or "Tell me what is going on") that invite a response.

Focus on content, not delivery. Avoid being distracted by your child's poor grammar or manners. It is what is being said that is important.

Listen for main ideas. Try to pick out the central theme of the conversation.

Deal effectively with emotionally charged language. Be aware of words or phrases that produce anxiety and trigger emotions.

Identify areas of common experience and agreement. Note similar experiences of your own or offer a shared point of view to communicate acceptance and understanding.

Deal effectively with whatever blocks you from listening. Be aware of personal blocks that may prevent you from hearing what your child is saying.

Substance abuse can be an overwhelming issue with which to deal, but it doesn't have to be. The Partnership for a Drug-Free America offers the following strategies to put into practice so that your child can reap the rewards of a healthy, drug-free life:

Be your child's greatest fan. Compliment him or her on all of his or her efforts, strength of character and individuality.

Involve your child in adult-supervised after-school activities. Ask him or her what types of activities he or she is interested in and contact the school principal or guidance counselor to find out what activities are available. Sometimes it takes a bit of experimenting to find out which activities your child is best suited for, but it's worth the effort - feeling competent makes children much less likely to use drugs.

Help your child develop tools he can use to get out of alcohol- or drug-related situations. Let him or her know he or she can use you as an excuse: "My mom would kill me if I smoked marijuana!"
Get to know your child's friends and their parents. Set appointments for yourself to call them and check-in to make sure they share your views on alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. Steer your child away from any friends who use drugs.

Call teens' parents if their home is to be used for a party. Make sure that the party will be alcohol-free and supervised by adults.

Set curfews and enforce them. Let your child know the consequences of breaking curfew.
Set a no-use rule for alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.

Sit down for dinner with your child at least once a week. Use the time to talk - don't eat in front of the television.

Get – and stay – involved in your child's life.

American Council for Drug Education
Davidson College
National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse
National Institute on Drug Abuse
Partnership for a Drug-Free America

Friday, August 15, 2008

Sue Scheff: Parents Struggling with their Young Adults

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Visit for more information

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Michael Phelps' Mom on How to Raise an ADHD Superstar

As a mother of an ADHD son, I am constantly reminding others that being ADD/ADHD is not a handicap - these kids are highly intelligent! Being a parent we will do what is best for our children, whether it is medication (which to some is controversial) or using specific diets such as the Feingold Program. Either way, we as parents have to find what works best for our families and child.

Source: ADDitude Magazine

Meet the mothers of three ADHD super-achievers — an Olympic record-breaker, a TV heavyweight, and a world-class adventurer — and learn how they helped their kids beat the odds.

What does it take to succeed despite attention deficit disorder (ADD ADHD)? It takes hard work, for starters — a willingness to meet challenges head-on. It takes support from family members, teachers, therapists, and coaches. And, of course, it’s hard to overstate the benefits of ADHD medication.

But, of all the ingredients needed to make a happy, successful life, nothing is more important than good parenting. Behind almost every ADHD success story is a devoted parent (or two). In honor of mothers, let’s give credit where credit is due.

The three mothers profiled here helped their sons and daughters achieve great things — more than they could have imagined. Steadfast and resourceful, they saw strength where others saw weakness, and kept looking for ways to help their children after others were ready to give up. Let their stories inspire you!

Read entire article here:

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Sue Scheff - Teens Self Injury and Cutting

Self Injury and Cutting

Self abuse (or self mutilation) can come in many forms; most commonly it is associated with cutting, hair pulling or bone breaking, but it can also manifest itself as eating disorders like bulimia, and/or anorexia. This site will focus mainly on cutting, which is the most common form of self abuse, with 72% of all self injurers choosing to do so by cutting themselves, and hair pulling. Cutting is exactly as it sounds; when your teen cuts him or herself as a physical expression to feel emotional pain. There are many reasons why teens injure themselves, but many people assume it’s just ‘for attention’. Often this can be an element of why your teen may be abusing him or her self, but just as often it can be something your teen does privately to express the emotional pain they feel inside. And while self injury is a taboo subject, it is estimated that 3 to 6 million Americans self injure themselves in some way, and that number is on the increase- in fact, its already doubled in the past three years.

Why Teens Self Injure

According to experts, one of the most common reasons teens self injure is because the injury is in some way a “release” from emotional anxiety. The pain of the injury provides a distraction from the emotional pain the teen is feeling, and acts almost as a drug to them. It can also help the injured feel ‘human’ again, by putting them in touch with a common human experience: pain.
Another reason teens may self injure is for the attention they get from the physical manifestation of their injuries. For example, some teens may cut because they get attention from the blood and scars obtained from cutting. Teens that cut for attention may feel neglected in some way, and usually do not care if they receive negative or positive attention from cutting.
Statistics have shown time and time again that the “average” cutter (and in fact, self injurer) is most commonly female.

According to [Dr. Charles Goodstein of the New York University School of Medicine, cutting regularly occurs in one in every 200 adolescent girls between the ages of 13 and 19. Typically, young women begin cutting in their teens following some sort of physical and/or sexual abuse (most commonly sexual abuse). Statistically, the average female cutter was raised with at least one alcoholic parent in the home. Cutters are also typically of middle to upper middle class backgrounds and usually well educated, though this is not always the case. Experts suggest women may be more prone to cutting or self injury because (as opposed to young men) they are not taught to repress their emotions, so keeping any traumatic ‘secret’ becomes extremely difficult for them. Cutting is then used as an outlet for that anxiety; the bleeding is metaphorically releasing the painful secrets the cutter has been holding on to, without requiring the cutter to tell anyone anything.

Unfortunately, studies have also shown that women who self injure are less likely than men to be taken seriously when and if they do seek help for their disorder. Despite its tendency to appear in young women, it is important to remember that cutting affects both men and women, and can appear in any age group, socio-economic group or education level.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Sue Scheff, "Parents are you at your Wit's End?"

Are you a parent of a teenager or pre-teen that is starting to make some poor choices? They are great kids, but suddenly the decisions they are making are worrying you. Is there a new circle of friends that you are not familiar with?

Are you at your wit’s end?

As the founder of Parent's Universal Resource Experts we speak with parents on a daily basis that are struggling with today's youths.

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 stealing?
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.
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?

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, it may be time to consider Residential Therapy. An informed parent is an educated parent and will better prepare to you to make the best decision for your child. In my opinion, 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 residential 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 - gain from my knowledge. 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

Some Informational Websites on Teen Subjects:
Teen Depression, Teen Runaways, Teen Pregnancy, Teen Internet Addiction, Teen and Youth Gangs

By Sue Scheff

Founder of Parent's Universal Resource Experts

Author of Wit's End!
As seen on 20/20, Lifetime Television, ABC News, The Rachael Ray Show, CBS News, CNN News and more!

Monday, August 11, 2008

ADHD Survival Guide by ADDitude Magazine

Visit ADDitude's ADHD College Survival Guide

John Muscarello had no trouble making the transition to college life, despite his severe attention deficit disorder (ADD ADHD).

That's because the 20-year-old cultivated good habits while attending high school in Glen Head, New York. "I had an assignment pad where I wrote everything down," he explains. "I also had a big calendar on my bedroom wall. I wrote down upcoming papers and dates, so I always knew what I had going on. I would get home from sports, take a shower, eat dinner, take a pill, and then do all my work."

In high school, John handed in papers before they were due. "Teachers would help me revise them," he says, "and I'd hand them in again, when everyone else did." And he cultivated close relationships with faculty members - a strategy he continues at Pennsylvania's York College by e-mailing his professors at the beginning of each semester to introduce himself and explain his academic "issues." He got this idea from his mother, Mary, who always made it a point to meet with her son's teachers to give them a heads-up.

Of course, laughs Mary, "The fact that we owned a pastry shop and brought stuff to school didn't hurt either."

Things were different for David Burkhart, a 28-year-old graduate student. He had done well at the prep school he attended, where students woke up, ate, studied, and went to bed at prescribed times. Given the order imposed on him, no one even suspected that David had ADD, as well as dysgraphia.

But David's life unraveled as he began his freshman year at Auburn University.
"I got to college and moved into my own apartment. For the first time in my life, I didn't have a bedtime," he says. "I had no clue how to eat or plan my day. I went from having one hour of free time a day to having three hours of class a day - and nobody cared if I didn't show up for those. I 'washed my clothes' by buying new stuff. I bought a new pair of slacks every week."

Within weeks, David had dropped all his classes. He tried to hide the truth from his parents, but his father, the chairman of Auburn's psychology department, and his mother soon found out. David's dad sent him to live with an uncle in Florida, where he spent four grueling months pouring asphalt and considering what he would do differently if he returned to college.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Talking the Talk - Discussing sex with your tweens and teens

Discussing sex with your tweens and teens can help them make better choices. Here's how.

Temma Ehrenfeld
Newsweek Web Exclusive
Updated: 10:28 AM ET Jul 31, 2008

What kids think about sex might surprise you, but what they're doing sexually—and when they're doing it—might surprise you even more. In a study this year of more than a 1,000 tweens (kids between the ages 11 and 14), commissioned by Liz Claiborne Inc. and, nearly half said they'd had a boy- or girlfriend, and one in four said that oral sex or going "all the way" is part of a tween romance. The parents' view? Only 7 percent of parents surveyed in this study think their own child has gone any further than "making out."
The whole subject of sex is so delicate that some parents put off talking to kids about it, believing their child is still too young, or because they're not sure what to say. They "finally sit down to have the Big Talk," says Dr. Mark Schuster, chief of general pediatrics at Children's Hospital Boston, "and it turns out their teen is already having sex." (The average age of first intercourse in the United States is 16, according to the Centers for Disease Control)The good news is that there's plenty of evidence indicating that kids whose parents do discuss sex with them are more cautious than their peers—more likely to put off sex or use contraception. They also have fewer partners. Coaching for parents helps, as well. Parents who participated in a training program about how to have those difficult conversations, Schuster reports, were six times more likely than a control group to have discussed condoms with their children. So what did the parents learn? Here are nine "talking sex" tips:

1. Find the moment. Instead of saying "it's time to talk about you-know," let the topic arise naturally—say, during a love scene in a video, or while passing a couple on a park bench. It helps to think about opening lines in advance.

2. Don't be vague about your own feelings. You know you don't want your ninth grader getting pregnant, but is oral sex OK? How do you feel about your daughter going steady or dating several boys casually? Consider the messages you want your kids to hear.

3. Anticipate the roadblocks that a teen or tween might set up. If they tend to say "uh huh," try asking open-ended questions or suggesting a variety of possible ways someone might feel in a relevant situation.

4. Be a good listener. Avoid lecturing and don't interrupt once your child opens up. Restate in your own words what you hear and identify feelings.

5. Help your child consider the pros and cons of sexual choices.

6. Relate sex and physical intimacy to love, caring and respect for themselves and their partner.

7. Teach strategies to manage sexual pressure. It may not be obvious to your daughter that she can suggest going to the movies or a restaurant instead of lounging with her boyfriend on a sofa without adult supervision. Or she may not know she can set and stick to a clear rule (such as no touching below the waist). Discuss the fact that "no means no." A simple strategy like getting up and going to the bathroom can give a girl time to regroup.

8. Don't be afraid to get down to specifics. If your teenage daughter or son is spending every afternoon alone with a main squeeze, and you're simply hoping they're using condoms, go ahead and ask whether they are sexually active and using birth control. You can buy a box of condoms and talk about how to use them—practice on a cucumber. A good laugh won't hurt your relationship.

9. Make the conversation ongoing—not a talk that happens once or twice. For more tips on talking to kids about sex and other sensitive issues, visit Children Now, a nonprofit nonpartisan organization's guide to talking to kids of all ages about sexual subjects. Or The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry's "Facts for Families."

Saturday, August 9, 2008

11 Strategies: If You Think Your Kid is Smoking Pot

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stay Informed and don’t give up!