Monday, September 29, 2008

Sue Scheff: Following the Rules by Lisa Medoff

By Lisa Medoff

Nina posted some questions about her 10-year-old daughter lying about eating and drinking in the bedroom and watching TV with the door closed. Nina wants to how she can tell if her daughter is deliberately lying or simply forgetful, as her daughter was a micro-preemie, and Nina is worried that her premature birth has affected her behavior and memory.

Nina is also wondering about the best way to encourage her daughter to tell the truth about her behavior. Her husband feels that their daughter plays both of her parents against each other, and he punishes her by saying that he is not going to take her anywhere for the summer; she won’t be allowed to go bike riding or have other interesting adventures. Nina wants to know if these are apt punishments for her daughter’s behavior.

Unfortunately for parents, there is no absolute, surefire way to determine if your child is deliberately lying or has simply forgotten the rules. Therefore, instead of spending your time trying to figure out if your daughter is lying, shift your focus to trying to help her remember the rules.

Tell your daughter, “I can see that it has been hard for you to remember our rules about not eating in the bedroom and watching TV with the door closed. Let’s see if we can figure out a way to help you remember.”

Try different ways to help her with her memory, such as having her write sticky notes with the rules and posting them near the TV, or making poster collages with pictures of food that is crossed out.

Any extra practice with memory tricks will be helpful for children who have experienced developmental difficulties.

Tell her that even though it may be hard for her to remember, she will still need to learn the consequences for breaking the rules.
Discuss what those consequences will be and follow through on them every time. She needs to see that the end result is the same, whether she lies or forgets, and you won’t have to waste time or energy trying to figure out if she is lying.

Be on the lookout for times when she does remember the rules. Give lots of positive attention, such as saying, “I noticed that you finished your snack in the kitchen before you went in to watch television. You must feel good about remembering to follow the rules. I’m really proud of you.”

Make a behavior chart to keep track of days where she was able to follow the rules.
Think of rewards that she can earn after a week or a month of good days.

In terms of the consequences, discipline works better if it is specific, immediate, is appropriate for the situation, and allows the child to make up for breaking the rules.
For example, a consequence of eating where she is not supposed to could be having to clean and vacuum the area.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Sue Scheff: Teen and Adult Gossip

Source: OnTeensToday

Gossip. That’s all you seem to hear about nowadays in a crowded hallway at High School, middle school, or even a small form of it in elementary school. “She said this, he did that,and they reacted this way.” Can you hear yourself?

Everything you hear from one person to another that does not come directly from that individual is up for revamping, primping, and complete destruction from the original story. Oh, sure it’s fun to hear about an embarrassing story which happened to someone else and in some cases, it raises your own self esteem. How could she have done that? What was she thinking? I would never do anything like that. Poor kid.
The secret is that not only do kids and teenagers gossip; adults are in on the act as well.

I dare you to try to walk down town and window shop. Meander by the clothing stores, and slide into a book store. Hundreds of rows of shelves are dedicated to novels that range from romantic to tragedy. Look towards the back of the store and you’ll find the leading source of gossip: magazines.

Written works such as “Teen People”, “People”, “Star”, and “Ok!” Magazine have a little if not all gossip in each issue. Remember Britney Spear’s emotional wreck when she shaved her head? How did you hear about that? What about Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s baby photos which were anticipated for months?

Each article has a speck of truth hidden behind layers of polished-up revisions; does anybody ever ask why an event may have happened or how the person being talked about feels?

In a world that is so focused on having money, being glamorous, and being talked about, gossip is inevitable. Imagine being talked about, and stalked 24/7; Now focus your thoughts back onto the school scene.
No matter the scenerio, gossip is there and is hurtful. Potential lies are being spread by the minute and a person’s reputation is being damaged. Stop fluffing up stories. Resist listening to tales about someone’s mistake wide-eyed and take all of the information with a grain of salt.

The only way to know the real–or at least most accurate side to a story is to strike up a conversation with the victim.

* Maybe one day you’ll be saved from embarrassment if you show respect to the other person.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Sue Scheff: Middle School Drinking

“We’ve approached parenting as a life-long process and this is just part of it. We’re just starting him, training him, helping him get set for the rest of his life - to make his own decisions.”
– Jon Schlanger, Jake’s father

“I’ve heard in other schools that people have been sneaking drugs into their lockers,” Jake says. He’s only ten years old, and he already knows kids who use drugs.

Experts say that today, children younger than ever are exposed to themes once reserved for adults: sex, violence, profanity - as well as drugs and alcohol.

“I think they’re pushed,” explains educator Kay Scott. “You know, pushed by music, pushed by movies, and pushed in some ways by the media.”

Experts add that parents aren’t teaching their elementary school-age kids about the dangers of alcohol.
As Dr. Michael Fishman, an addiction medicine specialist, explains, “Many of the parents are not getting involved as much with kids around education, around negative experiences they’ve had with drugs and alcohol.”

And that’s why Jake’s parents began that conversation two years ago. His father is a recovering alcoholic.
“That was a part of our life and it is a part of our life, so it was appropriate for this family to have that conversation at the time,” says Jon Schlanger, Jake’s dad.

One specific worry for them is that Jake inherited his dad’s genes.

“If one of the parents has the disease of alcoholism, I think at a minimum it’s 25% more likely [that the child will inherit the disease],” explains Dr. Fishman.

Another concern is his age. “The younger they start drinking, the higher risk they’re going to have for alcohol abuse or alcohol dependence,” he continues.

Which is why, Dr. Fishman says every family needs to start the conversation early: “I think the young people are much more aware and ready than many parents may believe.”

Jake’s dad knows he was ready for it, too. “In one respect it forces me to be honest about it; in another aspect, and this was very important to me, is for him to see that when I had a problem that I would try to face it and work through it.”

Tips for Parents

Alcohol-related fatalities are a leading cause of death among young adults in the United States. In the United States, 70.8 percent of all deaths among persons aged 10 to 24 result from only four causes – motor-vehicle crashes, other unintentional injuries, homicide and suicide.

Should your family doctor take just a few moments to counsel your child about the risks of alcohol, there is great potential for positive outcome. Just a few minutes of a doctor's counseling helped young adults reduce their high-risk drinking and the number of traffic crashes, emergency room visits, and arrests for substance or liquor violations, says a study in the Annals of Family Medicine.

Consider the following:

Underage drinking causes over $53 billion in criminal, social and health problems.

Alcohol is a leading factor in the three leading causes of death for 15 to 24-year-olds: automobile crashes, homicide and suicide.

Primary-care doctors should make it a priority to counsel young adults about high-risk drinking.

Young adults, ages 18 to 30, who received counseling about reducing their use of alcohol:

Experienced a 40 to 50 percent decrease in alcohol use.
Reported 42 percent fewer visits to the emergency room.
Were involved in 55 percent fewer motor vehicle crashes.

The ways a parent can influence his or her teen’s drinking habits is complex. A universal method regarding what works best in preventing underage drinking may not exist.

A study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health found that a parent’s attitude toward drinking influences a child's behavior in various ways. Researchers found that teens who drank with their parents were less likely than others to have binged or used alcohol at all in recent weeks.

The study also found that strict parenting can curb kids' drinking.

Teens who said they feared they would have their privileges taken away if they got caught drinking were half as likely to drink as those who thought their parents would not punish them.

In addition, consider the following:

The average girl takes her first sip of alcohol at age 13. The average boy takes his first sip of alcohol at age 11.
Teenagers who said their parents or their friends' parents had provided alcohol for a party over the past year were twice as likely as their peers to have used alcohol or binged during the previous month.

Nearly 75 percent of teens surveyed said they had never used alcohol.

About 25 percent of teens in the study said they'd been at party in the past year where parents supplied alcohol.

Fourteen percent of teens surveyed said they were with their parents the last time they drank.


The Centers for Disease Control
Focus Adolescent Services
National Youth Violence Prevention Center
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
U.S. Surgeon General

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Sue Scheff: Addictions and Inhalants

Daniel Jordan raises some interesting questions in his summary of an addictions presentation byDr. Carlton Erickson, Ph.D., Professor of Pharmacology, and director of the Addiction Science & Research Center in the College of Pharmacy at the University of Texas at Austin.

What are your perspectives or thoughts on his following two points?

1. Inhalants and Addiction:“Dr. Erickson calls the likelihood that a person will become dependent on a drug its “dependence liability.” Some drugs have a dependence liability while others do not.The criteria for dependence liability is how it acts on the mesolimbic dopamine system. Caffeine, antidepressants, and newer anti-seizure medications do not have dependence liability. However, some drugs do and the following chart shows that a certain percentage of people (depending on the drug) will become dependent *:

Drug / Percentage of People Who Become DependentNicotine - 32%, Heroin - 23%, Cocaine - 17%, Alcohol - 15%, Stimulants - 11%, Cannabis - 9%, Sedatives - 9%, Psychedelics - 5%, Inhalants - 4%.

Source: Anthony, J.C., Warner, L.A., & Kessler, R.C., (1994). Comparative epidemiology of dependence on tobacco, alcohol, controlled substances, and inhalants: Basic findings from the national comorbidity survey. Experimental & Clinical Psychopharmacology, 2, 244-268.”

2. Use the term “Abuse” in Inhalant Abuse:“I was particularly fascinated by Dr. Erickson’s claim that many of the words, or terminology, that the general public and the treatment field use to describe drinking and drugging are leading to continued prejudice and discrimination in North American culture. This stigmatizing, Dr. Erickson argues, is a big part of why governments are not providing adequate funding for addiction research, prevention, and education

“Abuse” is a Perjorative Term and Should be Retired. In his book, The Science of Addiction, Dr. Erickson calls the term “abuse” the number 1 myth that prevails in the treatment field or in the minds of the public. The word abuse * is an inappropriate term for several reasons, such as:

the term being used, for centuries, as a morally sinful act such as child abuse, sexual abuse, spousal abuse
the implication that alcohol, an object, is being abused by someone just like a child is being abused by someone (a preferred term in Europe is misuse)

the use of the term substance abuse does not distinguish between voluntary use (”misuse”) and uncontrolled use (”dependence”) similar to the generalized use of the term “addiction”

“By continuing to refer to people as drug, alcohol, or substance abusers, according to Bill White *, “misstates the nature of their condition and calls for their social rejection, sequestration, and punishment.”

Visit for more information.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Sue Scheff Author's Wit's End! Advice and Resource for Saving Your Out-of-Control Teen: A Mother and Daughter's True Story

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information, visit .

About the Author

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

Monday, September 22, 2008

Sue Scheff: ADHD & Iron: Can Nutritional Supplements Improve Symptoms?

How to improve your child’s ADHD symptoms by increasing the iron levels in his diet.

by Laura Stevens

You make adjustments to your child’s diet every time a new study touts the health benefits of this food or that nutrient. First, you included more protein with breakfast, then you introduced omega-3 fatty acids.

Now, just as you’re savoring your successes, the latest research suggests that low levels of iron can worsen attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms in children with the condition.

You know how important iron is to the body, carrying oxygen to the muscles and organs. But it also plays an important role in the brain, affecting production of the key neurotransmitter, dopamine.

What does this mean to your child? Read on. We’ll help you figure out if he’s getting enough of this vital mineral.

Low Iron and ADHD

When you think of a child who is iron deficient, you envision one who is pale and tired — not a hyperactive child, bouncing off walls. Well, think again. A 2004 study, published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, found that 84 percent of children with ADHD had significantly lower levels of iron, compared with 18 percent of kids without ADHD. The lower the levels of ferritin — a protein found inside cells that store iron — the more severe the symptoms.

A small study, published this year in Pediatric Neurology, showed that symptoms improved when iron-deficient children with ADHD took an iron supplement.

Low iron may also be a factor in Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS), a condition often found in ADHD children that causes an uncomfortable tingling or crawling feeling in the legs, affecting the ability to get to sleep. In 2003, the journal Sleep reported that giving iron supplements to children with both RLS and low iron stores improved symptoms.

If you suspect your child has low levels of iron, talk with your doctor about doing a ferritin test (see “Low-Iron Indicators,” left). Never give your child iron supplements without a blood test and your doctor’s approval. Too much iron can block the absorption of zinc, copper, and manganese. Keep iron supplements out of the reach of small children.

Read the entire article here:

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sue Scheff: Parents Everywhere!

I recently discovered a great website of podcasts to help educate parents on today’s kids - including teens, pre-teens and younger!

Take a peek at - If you are a parent, I am sure there is topic that will interest you!

The Parents Everywhere Network is an incredible resource of experts who provide you with the parenting tools you need every week. Subscribe to our Podcasts for free and each show will be automatically downloaded to your computer where you can listen to each episode on your computer, or copy the files to your iPod or MP3 Player. You can also listen directly from our website, where ever you see the embedded player. The shows are free, convenient and only 20 minutes long. You can listen anytime, anywhere!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Sue Scheff: Parent-Teen Sex Talk

“I always get a little bit nervous because I always worry about what they might ask me about my own life.”
– Judy Crim, Mother

When 12-year-old Sean Crim has a question about sex he asks his mother. “I would probably rather get information about sex from my parents. They always tell me the truth and they’ve never really lied to me about anything,” he says.

But for his mom, talking about sex isn’t easy. “I always get a little bit nervous because I always worry about what they might ask me about my own life,” says Judy Crim.

It’s an issue for lots of parents. If your children ask about your life before marriage, how would you answer? Sean’s mom says it’s happened to her.

Judy says, “We talk about what was going on when I was a teenager, what teenagers were actively doing. And they’ll say mom did you do any of that?”

It’s an awkward question. Experts say if you are too uncomfortable…you don’t have to answer.
Leola Reis of Planned Parenthood says, “They are still the parent and some of that is not really appropriate. I don’t think you need to lie, I think you can withhold that information. ‘This conversation is not really about me and what I did. It’s what my hopes are for you. And let me tell you some of the things I’ve learned.’”
But if you decide to talk about your past, experts say don’t lie, and remember that you don’t have to say too much. Reis suggests sentences like ”I’m not really comfortable with some of the things I did as a young person.’”

Still, your past can be a lesson for kids about avoiding mistakes. Judy Crim says, “I can also offer them if I made a choice to do something, what regret did I have to live with? What guilt do I have to live with? And how did that affect my life?”

Tips for Parents
Recent studies have shown a decrease in the prevalence of many sexual behaviors among high school students throughout the United States, including sexual intercourse. Further, studies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show the percentage of sexually active students who used a condom at last intercourse continued to increase.

Even though the number of sexually active teens is in decline, the percentage of sexually active teens is still alarming. Consider the following statistics taken from a recent Youth Risk Behavior Survey:

Nationwide, 47.8% of students had ever had sexual intercourse (Table 61). Overall, the prevalence of having had sexual intercourse was higher among male (49.8%) than female (45.9%) students; higher among black male (72.6%) and Hispanic male (58.2%) than black female (60.9%) and Hispanic female (45.8%) students, respectively; and higher among 9th-grade male (38.1%) than 9th-grade female (27.4%) students.

7.1% of students had had sexual intercourse for the first time before age 13 years
14.9% of students had had sexual intercourse with four or more persons during their life
35.0% of students had had sexual intercourse with at least one person during the 3 months before the survey
Among the 35.0% of currently sexually active students nationwide, 61.5% reported that either they or their partner had used a condom during last sexual intercourse

Open communication and accurate information from parents increase the chance that teens will postpone sex. According to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, in talking with your child or adolescent, it is helpful to:

Encourage your child to talk and ask questions.
Maintain a calm and non-critical atmosphere for discussions.
Use words that are understandable and comfortable.
Try to determine your child’s level of knowledge and understanding.
Keep your sense of humor and don’t be afraid to talk about your own discomfort.
Relate sex to love, intimacy, caring and respect for oneself and one’s partner.
Be open in sharing your values and concerns.
Discuss the importance of responsibility for choices and decisions.
Help your child to consider the pros and cons of choices.
By developing open, honest and ongoing communication about responsibility, sex and choice, parents can help their youngsters learn about sex in a healthy and positive manner.

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention
American Social Health Association
American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

Thursday, September 18, 2008

SUE SCHEFF: ADDitude Magazine - ADHD Awareness Week

This is a great website and informational resource for parents with ADD/ADHD students - being an educated parent helps you to help your child!
Happy ADHD Awareness Week!

As you know, this week is all about spreading attention-deficit truth and support. So, to that end, ADDitude has created a new ADHD Information Center that we hope people will use all year to...

Dispel common myths about ADHD
Fight ADHD stigmas
Explain the facts about ADHD
Find support from other ADHD adults and parents
Revel in all the great things about ADHD

We hope you will share our ADHD Information Center with your readers during this ADHD Awareness Week, and also pass along the following personal diary entry from author, ADHD spokesman and ADDitude contributor Jonathan Mooney:

"Cheers, fellow ADDers! Be proud of the gifts ADD affords you: a gusto for life, a capacity to dream large, the ability to set goals — and the energy to meet them. In being comfortable with yourself, you can change how the world perceives ADD and recognizes its strengths.

This September, recount your successes and what makes you stand out from the crowd—like the time you put your mind to it and ran an eight-minute-mile marathon or completed the Sunday crossword puzzle before your second cup of coffee.

Have a sense of humor about your ADD: Toast yourself at dinner for not having misplaced your keys in the morning or for having remembered to take your debit card out of the ATM. Let yourself—and others—laugh to take the pressure off of being perfect.

By celebrating your small feats, you will be able to tackle bigger challenges. Even a simple change in language can transform your self-esteem and others’ perception of your accomplishments. Use “and” more than “but.”
For example, I could say, “I finished this article, but it was three weeks late.” That statement discounts my accomplishment, as if the final product were flawed. I prefer, “I finished this article, and it was three weeks late.” The second statement is equally true, and it doesn’t diminish all of the work I put into it. Next time, I can say, “I will be on time!”

Use this month—this year, every year—to share your pride over the gifts you have. The world’s appreciation of ADD depends on your feeling good about yourself, so tell your friends, family—even the bagger at your local grocery store—all about your condition, especially if they know little about it."
To read the remainder of this article, "Smile - It's ADHD Awareness Month!" visit

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Dozier Internet Law Fights Back! Has the Internet Become a Free for All? People Impersonating other?

I recently read the complaint Dozier Internet Law vs Riley and couldn't believe how low people will stoop to harm others. It is obvious Riley has a lot of time on his hands and clearly is being held accountable legally! YES - let's work toward making these people that believe their keystrokes are anonymous wake-up! Be careful - you could be served!The product of an investigation spanning the course of a year, the lawsuit sets forth in detail how Ronald J. Riley allegedly built false credentials through, among other tactics, claiming false affiliations with MIT and Harvard, creating executive positions by surreptitiously forming his own companies and organizations and appointing himself "President", "Executive Director", or "Senior Fellow", and misappropriating the identity of defunct organizations, including "The Alliance for American Innovation", a powerful lobbying group that had fulfilled its mission and had closed down. The suit alleges that Riley is using those credentials to generate clients for invention promotion, marketing and consulting, and targeting unsuspecting inventors and entrepreneurs.

The legal action describes Ronald J. Riley's alleged attempts to silence his online critics, and his challenges to the anonymity of bloggers and online commentators, with threats to obtain log files and IP addresses and "track down" those disclosing his fraudulent misconduct. The Complaint details how Riley allegedly used attacks against competitors and infringed on trademarks to generate clients, including the use of "anchored text" links fraudulently misdirected to Riley's websites.

The lawsuit alleges that Ronald J. Riley has "perpetrated one of the most successful business credential frauds ever committed upon the inventor and entrepreneur community."

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sue Scheff: Teens and Shoplifting

As a parent advocate, I hear from parents on a weekly basis and one subject matter that is always discussed at least once a week, is their child shoplifting aka - stealing! Why? The teens usually don’t have to do this, however it becomes a “cool” thing that others are doing - and peer pressure to fit in can cause your child to participate in an act they know is not right.

There have been reports that most kids don’t steal because they need to, or financial issues or need - it is simply peer pressure to fit in with a poplular (in their eyes) group of kids.

Learn More from the National Association of Shoplifting Prevention - Being an educated parent can help prevent your teen from making bad choices.

Prevent Consumer Shoplifting by Raising Awareness!80% of shoplifting offenders believe that people shoplift because they don’t fully understand the crime’s harmful effect on themselves, the victims and the community.

Help Stop Your Kids From Shoplifting - visit

Monday, September 15, 2008

Sue Scheff: Don't Be an Asterick - Teens and Steroids

Don't Be An Asterisk. Whether it is a potential college scholarship or just helping the team win, some teens feel pressure to do whatever it takes to get an "edge", even if it means taking steroids or other illegal substances.

Hopefully the striking video and information available on the official website (link below) will educate teens and their families about performance enhancing drugs.

Check out the 30 second PSA video here:

For more information on the campaign visit:

I just received this educational information for parents to be aware of - be sure to take a minute to visit this website and a minute to watch the video. Being an educated parents helps you to help your teen!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

SUE SCHEFF: Back-to-School Tips: Connecting With Your Child’s School Counselor for a Successful School Year

Part of being a proactive parent is getting involved in your child’s school life - and since school is now opened, be sure to take the time to get to know your child’s Guidance School Counselor. Here are some excellent tips offered from ASCA. Be prepared - be educated - it will help you help your teen.

Understand the expertise and responsibilities of your child’s school counselor. School counselors make a measurable impact in every student’s life, assisting with academic, career and personal/social development. Professional school counselors are trained in both educating and counseling, allowing them to function as a facilitator between parents, teachers and the student in matters concerning the student’s goals, abilities and any areas needing improvement. School counselors provide services not only to students in need, but to all students.

Meet or contact your child’s school counselor at least three times per school year. The beginning of a school year is an excellent opportunity to initiate contact with your child’s school counselor and doing so can ensure your child’s positive school experience. Find out who the counselor is and what his or her experience and background are. By communicating with one another at the beginning, middle, and end of the school year, parents and counselors can have a definite impact on a child’s success.

Discuss your child’s challenges and concerns with the school counselor. As a parent, you know your child best. However, the school counselor can help you better understand your child as a student. It’s important to encourage your child’s expression of needs, hopes and frustrations. School counselors are trained to help your children.

Learn about your child’s school and social connections from the school counselor. When you need information or assistance, your child’s school counselor can help you get in touch with the appropriate school officials; learn about school policies on behavior, attendance, and dress; know the school calendar of important dates and stay connected with the school in many other ways.

The school counselor can also help you locate resources in the community when you need them.

Work with the school counselor to identify resources and find solutions to problems. If your child is having a problem at school, it is important to work with your child’s school counselor to find solutions. Discuss resources available within and outside of the school, and get information on how such programs can benefit your child. Your school counselor can be a valuable partner in your child’s education and preparation for life beyond school.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Sue Scheff: Body Image in Teens

As school is open throughout our country, teens all over will have to confront peer pressure and in many instances, it involves their body image. Do they fit in? Are they too heavy? Too thin? Parents need to be aware of their kids and how they are feeling about themselves both emotionally and psychically to help prevent peer pressure from controlling their teen's behavior.

Body Image in Teens by Sarah Maria

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

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

In reality no amount of dieting, exercise and discipline can earn you a magazine cover-ready body because those photos have been Photo Shopped, doctored and airbrushed. Don't waste your time attempting to be what you are not, instead; focus on cultivating who you are!
Body Image TipsAs you progress through puberty and your high school years, your body changes as fast as your favorite ringtones. But learning to appreciate your body and have positive self image is a task that few adults have even mastered. Here are some tips to help you learn to love yourself:

Read entire article here:

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

SOS: Stressed Out Students' Guide to Handling Peer Pressure (Stressed Out Students) by Lisa Medoff

I was just recommended this dynamic book by Dr. Lisa Medoff and can’t wait to read it! As a Parent Advocate, this can be one of the most trying times for parents as school is opening. Today with issues surrounding social networking, compounded with peer pressure - “Stressed Out Students” are at risk of making not so good choices.

Here is the recent Press Release about “SOS” - which can be purchased on Amazon today!



Lisa Medoff, PhD

In a society overloaded with media that glamorizes sex, drinking, and drugs, and where any outrageous, dangerous, humiliating thing a person does can be caught on a cell phone and posted on the internet for all to see, teens are feeling forced to succumb to peer pressure like never before. As peers become the pseudo “paparazzi,” teens need somewhere to turn for answers that give them the strength to reject the constant pressure to “fit in.”

Now Kaplan - widely respected for helping millions of students prepare for every aspect of academic life - steps outside the classroom to guide teens, parents, and educators on the ever-increasing pressure-cooker of adolescence. Its SOS: Stressed Out Student’s Guide series offers realistic advice written by students, for students, on the topics of most concern to today’s teens. Every book in the motivational series also features advice from columnist, educator, and psychologist Lisa Medoff, PhD, who works with troubled teens and teachers in high-risk school districts.

SOS: STRESSED OUT STUDENT’S GUIDE TO HANDLING PEER PRESSURE (Kaplan Publishing; September, 2008) hones in on and tackles the scourge of peer pressure and its effects on teenagers. As Dr. Medoff assures readers, “This book will help teens sort out the different influences that peer pressure is having on them. It will show them how peer pressure can manipulate them into making some very bad, life altering decisions about drugs, sex, cheating, stealing, and being cruel to others. They’ll learn to trust themselves and be proud of who they are.”

Featuring frank, realistic language plus an engaging, highly illustrated layout, SOS: STRESSED OUT STUDENT’S GUIDE TO HANDLING PEER PRESSURE is designed to appeal to the modern teenager’s eye, attention span, and need for quick gratification. It is also an imperative handbook for adults who want to understand and open the lines of communication with the adolescents in their lives.

Without preaching, each of the ten easy to read chapters in SOS: STRESSED OUT STUDENT’S GUIDE TO HANDLING PEER PRESSURE is packed with explanations, scenarios, stats, and fascinating facts such as:

· 1 in 4 sexually active teens becomes infected with an STD each year.

· Nationally, 6 out of 10 girls who had sex before the age of 15 report that it was involuntary.

· Teens and juveniles make up 25% of all shoplifters, though not all steal because they want something. Many teens shoplift compulsively because of stress, anxiety, psychological problems, or abuse.

· Teens with a history of habitually ditching school are also found to be at greater risk for involvement with gangs, drugs, alcohol, or violence.

Along with SOS: Stressed Out Student’s Guide to Saying No to Cheating and SOS: Stressed Out Student’s Guide to Dealing With Tests, SOS: STRESS OUT STUDENT’S GUIDE TO HANDLING PEER PRESSURE is one of the exciting books in Kaplan’s new series SOS: Stressed Out Student’s Guides.


Lisa Medoff, PhD holds a B.A. in psychology, a Masters degree in school counseling and a PhD in child and adolescent development. She has taught courses at Stanford University, Santa Clara University, San Jose State University and DeAnza College. She has worked with all types of children including students with special needs, ADHD, learning disabilities, depression, and anxiety. Lisa Medoff, understands the needs and mind-set of modern teenagers, and has mastered the difficult task of appropriately reaching out to them at their tumultuous life stage.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Sue Scheff: National Suicide Prevention Week

Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in older children and teens. And statistics show that suicide rates in teenagers are on the rise.

That makes it even more important for everyone to raise awareness of suicide prevention, especially now during National Suicide Prevention Week.

In addition to learning to recognize the risk factors and warning signs of suicide, spread the word about the availability of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline -- 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Dr. Gary Nelson, Author of “A Relentless Hope” Surviving Teen Depression recently talked about this serious subject of teen suicide -

Learn more about Teen Suicide.

Monday, September 8, 2008

What Is ADHD? Diagnosis and Treatment Information

Source: ADDitude Magazine

An expert on ADHD and learning disabilities talks about the biology behind attention deficit disorder and why it's sometimes so difficult to diagnose and treat ADHD symptoms in children.
by Larry Silver, M.D.

In my 40 years as a child and adolescent psychiatrist, I have treated thousands of youngsters. With some children, I am able to make a quick evaluation about attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and outline a course of treatment. With others — more often than I care to admit — I have to tell parents that it's not clear what is wrong. It's not that I lack the expertise or diagnostic skills. It's just that psychiatry isn't quite as far along as other medical specialties.

A pediatrician can do a throat culture and tell at once whether a child needs an antibiotic; appropriate treatment follows the diagnosis. In contrast, psychiatrists are often required to initiate a specific treatment and worry about clarifying the diagnosis later on. As I often tell parents, we must "put out the fire and blow the smoke away" before we can figure out what started the fire.

If a child is having problems in school, he may have attention deficit disorder (ADD ADHD), but it's also possible that he has a learning disability. Or depression. Or anxiety. Sometimes what looks like ADHD is the result of family tensions.

If ADHD seems to be even a part of such a "mixed clinical picture," I typically prescribe medication. If this solves the problem, terrific. But in many cases, another intervention is needed to address persistent academic, emotional, or family problems. Only weeks or months after treatment has been initiated will the full clinical picture become clear.

I understand parents' concern about medicating their children. My clinical knowledge notwithstanding, I agonized over whether my granddaughter, who has ADHD, should be on meds. (Ultimately, we decided she should.) I have found, however, that parents often feel better about ADHD meds when they understand a bit about neurotransmitters, the remarkable compounds that govern brain function.

How neurotransmitters work
Before I tell you about these special brain chemicals, let me explain a bit about brain anatomy.

There are millions of cells, or neurons, densely packed into various regions of the brain. Each region is responsible for a particular function. Some regions interact with our outside world, interpreting vision, hearing, and other sensory inputs to help us figure out what to do and say. Other regions interact with our internal world — our body — in order to regulate the function of our organs.

For the various regions to do their jobs, they must be linked to one another with extensive "wiring." Of course, there aren't really wires in the brain. Rather, there are myriad "pathways," or neural circuits, that carry information from one brain region to another.

Information is transmitted along these pathways via the action of neurotransmitters (scientists have identified 50 different ones, and there may be as many as 200). Each neuron produces tiny quantities of a specific neurotransmitter, which is released into the microscopic space that exists between neurons (called a synapse), stimulating the next cell in the pathway — and no others.

How does a specific neurotransmitter know precisely which neuron to attach to, when there are so many other neurons nearby? Each neurotransmitter has a unique molecular structure — a "key," if you will — that is able to attach only to a neuron with the corresponding receptor site, or “lock.” When the key finds the neuron bearing the right lock, the neurotransmitter binds to and stimulates that neuron.

Read entire article here:

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Sue Scheff: Parent Awareness When Searching for Residential Therapy Programs

Parent Awareness – Valuable Article when Searching for Schools and Programs


This is my child, where did I go wrong? Most likely you didn’t, sometimes life gives us stumbling blocks that are put there for a reason. None of us is perfect, parenting is not easy, children don’t come with manuals, and we can’t be blamed for all the bad in this world.

Parenting is probably one of the most difficult jobs to do. That, combined with working a full-time job and juggling household chores, as well as many other activities in life, can lead to turmoil in many lives. As a parent, we need to consciously make time to get to know our kids, and our kid’s friends. This can be very difficult with our schedules; however, a necessary step to be able to get to know your child and build trust.

This is my child. Good or bad, they don’t deserve abuse. If your child needs help from outside sources (Therapeutic Boarding School, Residential Treatment, etc), you need to feel confident there are safe and qualified schools and programs. Although sometimes hard to locate immediately, after time and research, you will finally find the best school or programs for your child’s individual needs. After all, this is my child. They are our future. Take the time to research, research, and research. Good kids making bad choices – that is the way of most of today’s teens.

· School Opens

As a new school year opens, our phones become very busy. Many of the parents who call are at their wits end with their child’s lack of motivation toward school and desire to be less than the child’s potential is. The phrase ‘my child is a good kid, this is not like him/her’ is very common. Many children embarking on a new school year try to figure out where they fit in. Peer Pressure can be extremely difficult for adolescents.

Today, the most frequent statement is how intelligent a child is, yet he/she not working up to their potential – an underachiever. They are capable of the work, but lack the motivation to complete it. How many kids achieve great test scores, however fail a class since they don’t finish their homework? Unfortunately this is very common.

Making mistakes and falling is all part of growing up and maturing. Although our instincts are to love and protect, we must, at times, let them learn from their mistakes. Loving them is unconditional, and protecting them is natural. Watching them fail can be painful; however, watching them learn from it is fulfilling.

Although there are no standard answers in today’s society of teens and pre-teens, one issue is clear, they need our support and our guidance to help them through the rough spots. It seems very difficult to determine when to let them fly and when to intervene. Each family and child, with their own unique dynamics, knows what works best for them. The influences of today’s peer pressure can be overwhelming.

Locating a smaller private school or residential program may lead to success depending on the child. Unfortunately, costs may be prohibitive for some families. Some of the schools offer scholarships or financial aid. If they don’t, you may want to ask them for a resource that may be able to assist you. There are lending institutions for Educational Loans.

Military Schools are an excellent choice for children that flourish with structure and positive discipline. Many parents are under the misconception that Military Schools are for troubled children; that is false. Military Schools are a privilege and an honor for children to attend. Most Military Schools start at $20,000.00 per year. Some have scholarship programs.
Military Schools can build your child’s self-esteem and confidence to start making productive choices and help the child in reaching his or her potential academically. The social environment can be a positive atmosphere for both boys and girls. Again, with Military Schools, it is not for children that are out of control, at risk or using substances. Many ADD/ADHD students flourish in the structured environment.

Traditional Boarding Schools are a great opportunity for children to enhance their ability to achieve academically. Like Military Schools, they are not for troubled children or out of control teens. They are prestigious and usually offer more academic attention for the child. There are many that offer classes for the children that have Learning Differences including ADD and ADHD. Most Boarding Schools start at $25,000.00 per school year. In some instances, finding a Boarding School for your child that offers their special interest (e.g. Arts, Music, an Equestrian program, Sports etc.) could also encourage progress in their future.

Parent Beware-ness

Since the establishment of Parents’ Universal Resource Experts (P.U.R.E.) years ago (since 2001), there have been companies attempting to duplicate P.U.R.E. We have yet to see any organization offer the emotional and parent support that we offer to families. P.U.R.E. is parents helping parents. We encourage all parents, friends, and relatives to research, research, and research. Our homepage offers a link to a list of Helpful Hints as well as Questions to ask Schools and Programs that can be beneficial in making the best choice for your child.

Until our United States government enacts federal laws to provide oversight standards for private schools and private residential programs, you must rely on your instincts and investigations. P.U.R.E. encourages our Congress and United States Senate to enact consumer protection laws for families and children that will help reveal widespread deception that is regularly used by some programs.

We don’t want parents to become fearful from finding help for their children, but parents must do their homework. It is the most important component of finding the best school or program for your child. Building your child back up, enhancing their self-esteem, and working with professionals can help your child to mature into a productive adult. It is about giving your child a second chance to be all they can be.

Programs/Schools that use food and/or sleep deprivation, expect the children to live in unsanitary conditions, deprive them of an education, or isolate them from others for extended periods of time are Red Flags. Continue searching until you feel 100% comfortable with your decision. Although your child is acting out negatively, putting them into a negative and poor environment is more likely to build more anger and resentment. They don’t need the Hilton; however they do deserve basic human needs. Eating right and healthy combined with good sleep habits is more likely to enhance your child’s desire to change for the positive.

Parent Information

Many parents think if they pay an Educational Consultant or someone that has an association with a group that is self-made (not regulated by any governmental agencies, i.e. IECA - Independent Educational Consultants Association) they are going to the experts. The old cliché kicks in, “since they cost so much, they must be good.” Although there are some reputable Educational Consultants, you must continue to do your research to find one if you choose to hire one.

Too many times we have heard from the parents that have been misled by this type of organization. Trusting someone to place your child is a major responsibility. Are they liable if something happens to your child in the programs “they” believe is best for him/her? Why do many refer to the same group of schools and programs, usually after recommending a Wilderness program? With the many parents that call us, those that have used Educational Consultants have given us the same program referrals and most, if not all, have been recommended to Wilderness first. Is there something more to this that we cannot see? We are not insinuating they are bad programs; however, the continuity can be a red flag.
Although we are not advocates of Wilderness programs, the pattern of the Educational Consultants using them first prior a Therapeutic or Residential program, could be viewed as a double dip. Wilderness programs may be good for some children; however, to assume they all need that step seems a bit suspicious. In many cases, Wilderness programs are never long enough to offer lasting results – and they are extremely expensive. Unfortunately, some parents are misguided that a 60-90 day program may be a fix-it-all. Why not start where you want to finish? We have seen much success in a solid and qualified 6-9-12 month programs. Where a child can start and finish with a sense of accomplishment.
Another RED FLAG is while surfing the Internet, you are overwhelmed with different toll-free numbers, different web designs, even different marketing names; however, they all lead to the same group of schools and programs. Have you used the Key Word “Military School” and your results are anything but Military Schools? The unfortunate misconception may add more stress and confusion to an already desperate situation. We cannot control the spamming of the Internet, which means you need to be extremely careful as to who or what you are calling.
At P.U.R.E. we offer parents resources offer parents resources and our personal experiences with many programs and schools. We do not place children into schools and programs; we give families resources and options that may be appropriate for their child. We also encourage parent and child feedback from all schools and programs. We like to share it with others who could be looking at the same program. We do not claim to be members of any big organizations, nor do we claim to be Educational Consultants. We are professionals and parents doing our best to help others find safe and qualified settings for their precious cargo. As a Member of the Better Business Bureau we take pride in our organization and will continue to assist families in need. Keeping your family safe is our priority. P.U.R.E. is “bringing families back together…”
Who to trust? The answer is easy; trust your gut, your heart and yourself as a parent that knows what is best for their child. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Don’t assume your emotions are getting the best of you; your emotions can be your red flags flying.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Sue Scheff: 'Pharm' Drugs and Today's Teens

Street drugs, such as pot, crack, heroin, etc…. is being replaced with pharmacy drugs kids are finding at home. Parents need to take the time to see what their medicine cabinets are holding and what prescription drugs they have at home such as pain pills from ordinary root canals - as well as medications for ADD/ADHD. Here is a great article with helpful tips for parents.

Source: Connect with Kids

“Just take whatever we had you know, not really thinking about how high I was going to get or you know, how messed up.”

– ‘James’, age 21, explaining how he and friends shared drugs during his teenage years.

“We all had different prescriptions,” says 18-year-old Laura.

“You know, percocets, valium, zanex, oxycontin,” says James, 21.

“I wanted to get as loaded as I could. Didn’t care what I was taking, how much of it,” adds Laura.

James and Laura met in rehab. Both are drug addicts who used to get high at parties. Parties where everyone brought some kind of prescription drug and passed them around, often combining them with pot or alcohol.

“When I first started using and mixing drugs, I felt like a superhero, like nothing, you know, I was invincible,” says Laura.

Some kids call them ‘pharm’ parties… for ‘pharmaceutical’.

Experts say the allure is… the unknown. “What kind of new experience can I get? And very often it’s kids who are just bored of smoking pot day in and day out… cause they’ve reached a saturation point,” says Addiction Counselor Robert Margolis, Ph.D.

But experts say taking someone else’s prescription is dangerous… especially when combined with other drugs.

“There are combinations out there that if you start to mix together will create reaction in your body that by the time you know what’s happening, it’s too late,” Dr. Margolis.

“What I did notice is that I would black out a lot of nights,” says James.

Laura survived her years of drug years… but her addiction led to mood swings and depression that made her suicidal.

“Once I started getting heavily addicted, I tried overdosing several times, so I wanted to die, I didn’t want to live anymore,” she says.

“The risks are immense and the kids don’t realize that,” says Dr. Margolis, “And they’re everything from having a tremendous hangover to fatal.”

Tips for Parents
As a parent, it is important to understand that teens may be involved with legal and illegal drugs in various ways. The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) reports that many teens begin using drugs to satisfy their curiosity, to make themselves feel good, to reduce stress, to feel grown up or to “fit in.” While it is difficult to know which teens will experiment and stop and which will develop serious problems, the National Institute of Drug Abuse says the following types of teens are at greatest risk of becoming addicted:

Those who have a family history of substance abuse
Those who are depressed
Those who have low self-esteem
Those who feel like they don’t “fit in” or are out of the mainstream
Because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration puts its seal of approval on prescription drugs, many teens mistakenly believe that using these drugs – even if they are not prescribed to them – is safe. However, this practice can, in fact, lead to addiction and severe side effects. The Center for Drug Evaluation and Research cites the following most commonly abused prescription drugs:

Opioids – Also known as narcotic analgesics, opioids are used to treat pain. Examples of this type of drug include morphine, codeine, OxyContin (oxycodone), Vicodin (hydrocodone) and Demerol (meperidine). In the short term, these drugs block pain messages and cause drowsiness. A large, single dose can cause severe respiratory depression and death. Long-term use leads to physical dependence and, in some cases, addiction.
Central nervous system (CNS) depressants – These drugs are commonly used to treat anxiety, panic attacks and sleep disorders. Examples include Nembutal (pentobarbital sodium), Valium (diazepam) and Xanax (alprazolam). CNS depressants slow down normal brain function and can cause a sleepy, uncoordinated feeling in the beginning of treatment. Long-term use can lead to physical dependence and addiction.
Stimulants – These drugs are commonly used to treat the sleeping disorder narcolepsy and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Examples include Ritalin (methylphenidate) and Dexedrine (dextroamphetamine). Stimulants, which can be addictive, enhance brain activity and increase alertness and energy. They elevate blood pressure, heart rate and respiration. Very high doses can lead to irregular heartbeat and high body temperature
How can you determine if your teen is abusing drugs? The AACAP suggests looking for the following warning signs and symptoms in your teen:

Physical – Fatigue, repeated health complaints, red and glazed eyes and a lasting cough
Emotional – Personality change, sudden mood changes, irritability, irresponsible behavior, low self-esteem, poor judgment, depression and a general lack of interest
Familial – Starting arguments, breaking rules or withdrawing from the family
School-related – Decreased interest, negative attitude, drop in grades, many absences, truancy and discipline problems
Social – having new friends who are less interested in standard home and school activities, problems with the law and changes to less conventional styles in dress and music
If you believe your teen has a problem with drug abuse, you can take several steps to get the help he or she needs. The American Academy of Family Physicians suggests contacting your health-care provider so that he or she can perform an adequate medical evaluation in order to match the right treatment or intervention program with your teen. You can also contact a support group in your community dedicated to helping families coping with addiction.

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 teen can reap the rewards of a healthy, drug-free life:

Be your teen’s greatest fan. Compliment him or her on all of his or her efforts, strength of character and individuality.
Encourage your teen to get involved 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 teen is best suited for, but it’s worth the effort – feeling competent makes children much less likely to use drugs.
Help your teen develop tools he can use to get out of 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 teen’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 teen 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 drug-free and supervised by adults.
Set curfews and enforce them. Let your teen know the consequences of breaking curfew.
Set a no-use rule for alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.
Sit down for dinner with your teen at least once a week. Use the time to talk – don’t eat in front of the television.
Get – and stay – involved in your teen’s life.

Substance Abuse & Mental Human Services Administration
Drug Abuse Warning Network
American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
National Institute on Drug Abuse
U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Center for Drug Evaluation and Research
American Academy of Family Physicians
Partnership for a Drug-Free America

Friday, September 5, 2008

New Inhalant Abuse Report from SAMHSA - (The Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration)

I have been very vocal in bringing awareness to Inhalant Use among teens and tweens since a wonderful parent shared her story of losing her son to this. Parents need to understand this is a growing and major concern - like drug use, kids are turning to huffing as a form of getting high. Unlike many street drugs, inhalants can be found in many homes today. Learn more at

The Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) just released a new National Survey on Drug Use & Health (NSDUH) Report.

The report is entitled,” Inhalant Abuse and Major Depressive Episode Among Youth Aged 12 to 17: 2004-2006. “The 2006 NSDUH Report surveys youth 12-17 years old to assess “co-occurrence of inhalant use and Major Depressive Episode (MDE) in the past year.”

Some of the findings include:

Inhalant Use:

Past year inhalant use was almost 4 times higher among persons aged 12 to 17 than among young adults aged 18 to 25 (1.3 vs. 0.4 percent).

In 2004 to 2006, 1.1 million youths aged 12 to 17 (4.5 percent) used inhalants in the past year
Females in this age range were more likely than males to use inhalants in the past year (4.8 vs. 4.2 percent)

Youth aged 14 or 15 (5.3 percent) were more likely than youths aged 12 or 13 (4.3 percent) & those aged 16 or 17 (3.9 percent) to have used inhalants in the past year.
Inhalant Abuse & Major Depressive Episode (MDE)

The rate of past year inhalant use was higher among youths aged 12 to 17 who had MDE in the past year than among those who did not (10.2 vs. 4.0 percent)

Males with past year MDE were about twice as likely as those without past year MDE to have used inhalants (9.6 vs. 4.0 percent)

Females with past year MDE were about 3 times as likely as those without past year MDE to have used inhalants (10.5 vs. 3.9 percent)

In each age group, youths with past year MDE were more likely than youths without past year MDE to have used an inhalant in the past year.

Which comes first:

MDE or Inhalant Abuse:

An estimated 218,000 (.9 percent) youths aged 12 to 17 used inhalants and experienced MDE in the past year.

43.1 percent experienced their first episode of MDE before initiating inhalant use.
28.3 percent used inhalants before they experienced their first episode of MDE
28.5 percent started using inhalants and experienced their first episode of MDE at about the same time.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Learn More - Click Here.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Ballad of the Adopted Child by Jeanne Droullard

DOES your teen,

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

DO you,

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

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

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

Read entire article here:

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Sue Scheff: Teen Pregnancy - Is it on the Rise?

Teenage Pregnancy

Every year approximately 750,000 teenage girls become pregnant in the United States. This is roughly 1/3 of the age group’s population, a startling fact. Worse, more than 2/3 of teens who become mother will not graduate high school. Many young teen girls that are suffering with low self worth or feelings of not being loved believe that having a baby will give them a purpose in life. Unfortunately they are not looking at the whole picture and the reality of raising a child.

These girls are not emotionally prepared to make such a major decision in their young life – yet many are in this situation. As a parent, we need to keep the lines of communication open, as hard as that is, it is necessary.

If you are parent who recently discovered that your teenage daughter is pregnant or may be pregnant, we understand your fear and pain. This is a difficult and very serious time in both of you and your daughter’s life.

No matter what happens, you and your daughter must work together to make the best choice for her and her unborn child. Your support and guidance is imperative as a parent. You can and will make it through this as a family.

For more information on Teen Pregnancy visit

Monday, September 1, 2008

I'ts Labor Day - Schools will be opening tomorrow - Academic Pressure

In many parts of the country schools and colleges have opened in late August and many more are opening this week. Here is a great list of parents tips to help our kids with the stress of academic pressure and help them to balance both education and social life.

Source: Connect with Kids

“You have to keep things in perspective. Academics are only a part of your life.”

– Zachary, 14

“Well, I’m getting all A’s, so that’s good,” he says.

He has won awards for academic achievement, including one for having the highest grade-point average. But what happens if someday Zachary doesn’t perform well in school?

“Part of me is always worried about that,” says his mother, Jen Yu. “Some day, when he hits that roadblock, is he gonna be able to accept it, or is it gonna be something, you know, that really bothers him a lot?”

While that may not be a problem for Zachary, yet, more and more kids are experiencing anxiety about being perfect in school.

According to the latest State of our Nation’s Youth report, 79 percent of teens say the pressure to get good grades is a problem. That’s up from 62 percent in 2001.

45 percent polled say that pressure is “major”, up from 19 percent.

Experts say, for many teens, even when they do well, they still think they could do better.

“The problem is that they will always be anxious. They will always fail. Even when they have a 4-point average they will always fail in their own eyes and they can’t ever relax,” explains Dr. Allen Carter, a psychologist.

He says parents should help kids understand being perfect isn’t realistic and help them create balance in their lives- beyond academics.

Zachary’s parents encourage him to learn music, play games and simply relax.

“You have to keep things in perspective,“ Zachary says. “Academics are only a part of your life, and they should only stay a part of it and not become your whole life.”

Tips for Parents

Even children who earn high marks at school may be suffering emotional distress and anxiety due to the high expectations they have set for themselves, according to a study from Smith College. In a study of 36 children in third through fifth grades, researchers found that children who rated high on perfectionism exhibited significantly more anxiety and dissatisfaction with their performance on computer tasks than their low-perfectionism peers, even when both groups performed equally well. In fact, the perfectionist kids predicted they would perform less well than the low-perfectionism kids. Lead researcher Patricia DiBartolo says the problem is not that kids are setting high standards; rather, they become too distressed and are not able to accept the mistakes they make in the course of learning.

“Perfectionistic kids get caught in a vicious cycle. When approaching a task or project, they feel less able to succeed, get anxious and then evaluate their performance more negatively than their non-perfectionistic peers,” DiBartolo said.

How big of a problem is perfectionism in childhood? According to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, perfectionism is recognized as a “common correlate” of social anxiety disorder. Nationally, 1% (nearly 400,000) of children between the ages of 10 and 18 suffer from a clinical level of social anxiety disorder. Counselors at the University of Dundee associate the following negative feelings, thoughts and beliefs with perfectionism:

Fear of failure: Perfectionists often equate failure to achieve their goals with a lack of personal worth or value.

Fear of making mistakes: Perfectionists often equate mistakes with failure. In orienting their lives around avoiding mistakes, perfectionists miss opportunities to learn and grow.

Fear of disapproval: If they let others see their flaws, perfectionists often fear that they will no longer be accepted. Trying to be perfect is a way of trying to protect themselves from criticism, rejection and disapproval.

All-or-none thinking: Perfectionists frequently believe that they are worthless if their accomplishments are not perfect. Perfectionists have difficulty seeing situations in perspective. For example, a straight A student who receives a B might believe, “I am a total failure."

Overemphasis on “shoulds”: Perfectionists' lives are often structured by an endless list of “shoulds" that serve as rigid rules for how their lives must be led. With such an overemphasis on shoulds, perfectionists rarely take into account their own wants and desires.

Believing that others are easily successful: Perfectionists tend to perceive others as achieving success with a minimum of effort, few errors, emotional stress and maximum self-confidence. At the same time, perfectionists view their own efforts as unending and forever inadequate.
As a parent, how can you determine if your child has problems with perfectionism? Experts at the University of Texas cite the following guidelines comparing a perfectionist to a healthy striver:

Healthy Striver

Sets standards beyond reach and reason
Is never satisfied by anything less than perfection
Becomes dysfunctionally depressed when experiences failure and disappointment
Is preoccupied with fear of failure and disapproval, which can deplete energy levels
Sees mistakes as evidence of unworthiness
Becomes overly defensive when criticized
Sets high standards but just beyond reach
Enjoys process as well as outcome
Bounces back from failure and disappointment quickly and with energy
Keeps normal anxiety and fear of failure and disapproval within bounds, using them to create energy
Sees mistakes as opportunities for growth and learning
Reacts positively to helpful criticism

The first step in changing your child’s perfectionistic attitudes to healthy striving is to help him or her realize that perfectionism is undesirable. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign suggests teaching your child the following strategies to change the behaviors and thoughts that fuel his or her perfectionism:

Set realistic and reachable goals based on your own wants and needs and what you have accomplished in the past. This step will enable you to achieve and also will lead to a greater sense of self-esteem.

Set subsequent goals in a sequential manner. As you reach a goal, set your next goal one level beyond your present level of accomplishment.

Experiment with your standards for success. Choose any activity and instead of aiming for 100%, try for 90%, 80% or even 60% success. This step will help you to realize that the world does not end when you are not perfect.

Focus on the process of doing an activity not just on the end result. Evaluate your success not only in terms of what you accomplished but also in terms of how much you enjoyed the task. Recognize that value exists in the process of pursuing a goal.

Use feelings of anxiety and depression as opportunities to ask yourself, “Have I set up impossible expectations for myself in this situation?"

Confront the fears that may be behind your perfectionism by asking yourself, “Of what am I afraid? What is the worst thing that could happen?"

Recognize that many positive things can only be learned by making mistakes. When you make a mistake ask, “What can I learn from this experience?" More specifically, think of a recent mistake you have made and list all the things you can learn from it.

American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
The Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans
Smith College
University of Dundee
University of Texas
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign