Thursday, July 31, 2008

Military Schools Are Opening Soon - Is your Child A Candidate for this Excellent Academic Opportunity?


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

Has your child mentioned military academies to you? Have they expressed an interest in attending such a school? If so, you as a parent have an obligation to listen, and more importantly to help them make the right decision.

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

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

If you have questions for me, please visit http://www.helpyourteens.com/ - and email me.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Sue Scheff and Kristin Stattel Featured on Lifetime's Television Series - The Balancing Act


What a fantastic opportunity to showcase my first book, Wit’s End! The response has been overwhelming and I appreciate all the great emails and calls.

Today Kristin Stattel, Author and Youth Advocate, and myself were featured on The Balancing Act - a Lifetime Television Series.

Speaking of my new book, Wit's End! on this segment, Kristin also shared some of her experiences when she was struggling during her youth years. Her upcoming book, It's All Good! will help teens to better understand the pressures of today's society and give them inspiration and hope. Kristin is an amazing young adult who spends her time giving back to others as well as going to college. She is a mentor to so many youths!



Tuesday, July 29, 2008

INTERNET LAW - Bullying and Cyber-Bullying Prohibited under Florida Law


Source: Internet Law Business Services


Bullying and, in particular, cyber-bullying is becoming a frequent practice among the American youth. Incidents are reaching such daunting results that state legislatures are rapidly adopting measures. For instance, Florida Legislature adopted an anti-bullying, including cyber-bullying, law on April 2008. The law is called "Jeffrey Johnston Stand Up for All Students Act" (Fla. Stat. section 1006.147), named after Jeffrey Johnston, a 15-year-old boy who committed suicide after being the object of bullying, including Internet bullying, for two years. This new Florida law prohibits bullying and harassment of any public K-12 student or employee, and requires public schools to adopt measures to protect students and employees from the physical and psychological effects of bullying and harassment.


The Florida Senate, quoting to a report by SafeYouth.org, stated that "bullying behavior can involve direct attacks, such as hitting, threatening or intimidating, maliciously teasing or taunting, name-calling, making sexual remarks, and stealing or damaging belongings, or more subtle, indirect attacks such as spreading rumors or encouraging others to reject or exclude someone." It also stated that bullies are four times more likely than non-bullies to be convicted of a crime by age 24, with 60% of bullies having at least one criminal conviction.

Thus, this Florida law is considered a safety measure for schools and the Florida community. Section 1006.147, titled "Bullying and Harassment Prohibited," proscribes bullying and harassment in Florida's K-12 public educational institutions; in any educational program or activity conducted by an educational institution; or through the use of data or software accessed by a computer, computer system, or computer network of a K-12 public educational institution. Hence, using the school e-mail network, even while at home, to bully or harass other students is prohibited by this Florida law. The law expressly defines "bullying" as the act of systematically or chronologically inflicting physical harm or emotional distress on a student. The law also provides examples of conducts that may result in bullying:

1. Teasing;
2. Social exclusion;
3. Threat;
4. Intimidation;
5. Stalking;
6. Physical violence;
7. Theft;
8. Sexual or racial harassment;
9. Public humiliation; or
10. Destruction of property.

Harassment is defined as any verbal, written, or physical conduct that threatens, insults, or dehumanizes public school students or employees. Written harassment includes those committed through electronic means and the use of computer software. The conduct must be sufficient to place the student or employee in reasonable fear of harm against him or his property; and sufficient to interfere with the student"s school performance, opportunities, or benefits. The Florida anti-bullying law also penalizes those who induce or coerce others to bully or harass public school students or employees. Students, parents, volunteers, or employees that promptly and in good faith report bullying acts will be exempted from civil cause of actions against them.

The Florida anti-bullying law also mandates each school district to adopt a code of conduct against bullying and harassment by December 1, 2008. This code of conduct must protect all students regardless of their status under the law but the school districts are authorized to create student categories when drafting their school policies. In any event, the code of conduct must include a general prohibition of bullying and harassment; a definition of these terms; an expected student conduct and behavior; description of the consequences of falsely and wrongfully accusing others of bullying and harassment; the procedures for reporting bullying and harassment incidents, including anonymous reports; a procedure for the prompt investigation of these acts; a procedure to determine whether the acts are within the district school system; a procedure to notify parents and criminal authorities; a procedure to refer victims to counseling; among others.

The Florida Department of Education affords an additional protection for victims of bullying and harassment by, first, monitoring district school activities, including transportation, through permanent collection of data (24 hours a day, 7 days a week); and second, enhancing the School Environmental Safety Incident Reporting System (SESIR). This program allows district schools to report bullying activities and conducts an annual database management workshop.

The Florida anti-bullying and harassment law is definitely well received and the first intent to control youth behavior, including Internet behavior. Yet, questions arise as to the consequences incurred when violating this law. It is not clear under the text of this law whether its violation merely includes school disciplinary actions or whether subsequent criminal actions will be sought. This is an important question whose answer is yet to come.

Law and sociology have been close partners for centuries; another important question is where are the parents parenting? A sociological answer to this question might take us to the genesis of most bullying and harassment problems which is essential for state legislatures and school officials.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Pot in the Summer


“During the summer, I went out more. And during the school year, I was focused on my homework and stuff, and the summer was mostly just a time for me to relax and just chill out and go party.”

– Angelique, 18

For most teens, the summer brings sun, swimming and maybe some extra time spent on the skateboard. But for others, the season marks the time when they first try pot.

“Beginning of summer, first day of summer, in fact,” says Sarah, who’s 19.

“It was during the summer because then we could stay out later and a lot of other kids were out of school, too,” 18-year-old Angelique adds.

In fact, studies show 40 percent of teens who smoke marijuana first tried the drug during the summer.

“They have a lot of free time. A lot of kids are bored during the summer. They’ve got nothing to do. So the fact that a lot of kids are starting to get into things they shouldn’t and experiment isn’t surprising at all,” says addiction counselor Dr. Robert Margolis, who serves as executive director of Solutions Counseling in Atlanta.

Experts say for that reason, parents should keep their children busy during the summer break.

“I think they ought to ask themselves do they have any plan going into the summer for their kids. What are their kids going to do? Are they going to get a job? Are they going to maybe go study someplace … are they going to have something that’s structured to do?” Dr. Margolis says.

He says that regardless of their own personal experiences when they were young, parents should explain the dangers of marijuana, especially at the beginning of the summer.

“What parents need to understand is that this is a very harmful, addictive drug that ruins people’s lives. And they better be prepared with facts to discuss this with their kids,” Dr. Margolis says.

Talks with her parents, and her doctor, finally convinced Angelique to stop smoking marijuana.

“Like they’re more dangerous than cigarettes and all that stuff. I didn’t know that,” she says.

Tips for Parents
The summer months often bring more freedom to teens. But many of them abuse this freedom, as evidenced by data released by the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse that shows 40% of teens first try marijuana during the summer. In fact, about 5,800 teens try marijuana for the first time each day in June and July.

According to the C-D-Cs annual Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance report more than 38% of teens report having use marijuana in their life. Nearly 20% admitted to smoking pot within the past 30 days. 8% of kids tried marijuana prior to turning 13 years of age.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the prevalence of drug use can, in part, be attributed to the overall perceptions and attitudes that drug use – particularly that of marijuana – is not harmful and is insignificant. Yet, those who choose to use this substance do risk developing serious health problems. The NIDA says that marijuana is responsible for the following physical effects in a user:

THC – the main chemical in marijuana – changes the way in which sensory information gets into and is acted on by particular systems in the brain. The system most affected is the limbic system, which is crucial for learning, memory and the integration of sensory experiences with emotions and motivations. Investigations have shown that THC suppresses neurons in the information-processing system of the brain.

A person who smokes marijuana regularly may have many of the same respiratory problems that tobacco smokers develop. The individual may have daily cough and phlegm, symptoms of chronic bronchitis and more frequent chest colds. Continuing to smoke marijuana can lead to abnormal functioning of lung tissue injured or destroyed by marijuana smoke.

Regardless of the THC content, the amount of tar inhaled by marijuana smokers and the level of carbon monoxide absorbed are three to five times greater than among tobacco smokers. This may be due to marijuana users inhaling more deeply and holding the smoke in the lungs.

In order for parents to help curb the growing problem of marijuana use among teens, they must first understand the dangers involved in using the drug. The National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign cautions parents to be aware of the following points about marijuana use:

Marijuana is the most widely used illicit drug among youth today.
More teens enter treatment for marijuana abuse each year than for all other illicit drugs combined.

Marijuana is addictive.

Marijuana use can lead to a host of significant health, social, learning and behavioral problems at a crucial time in a young person’s development.

Adolescent marijuana users show lower academic achievement compared to non-users.
Even short-term marijuana use has been linked to memory loss and difficulty with problem-solving.

Time and again, kids say that their parents are the single most important influence when it comes to using drugs.

As a parent, how can you determine if your teen is using marijuana? According to the NIDA, you should look for the following symptoms associated with marijuana use:

Appears dizzy and has trouble walking
Seems silly and giggly for no reason
Has very red or blood shot eyes
Has trouble remembering events that have just occurred

Although these symptoms will fade within a few hours of use, other significant behavioral changes – including withdrawl, depression, fatigue, carelessness with grooming, hostility and deteriorating relationships with family members and friends – may signal that your teen is in trouble. If your teen is using drugs, he or she may also experience changes in academic performance, have increased absenteeism, lose interest in sports or other favorite activities and develop different eating or sleeping habits.

Whether or not you suspect your child is using marijuana, it is crucial that you discuss the issue at an early age. The experts at DrugHelp suggest following these steps when discussing tough issues, like drug abuse, with your child:

Create a climate in which your child feels comfortable approaching you and expressing his or her feelings.

Don't shut off communication by responding judgmentally, saying, "You're wrong" or "That's bad."

Give your child an opportunity to talk.
Show your interest by asking appropriate questions.
Listen to what your child has to say before formulating a response.
Focus on what your child has to say, not on language or grammar.
Use probing questions to encourage a shy child to talk.
Identify areas of common experience and agreement.
Leave the door open for future conversations

References
DrugHelp
National Institute on Drug Abuse
National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Sue Scheff - Parent Advocate - Parents Need to Learn More About Inhalant Use Among Teens


I know I have Blogged a lot about Inhalant Abuse and I will continue to do so - especially after reading about the recent senseless deaths.
Take a moment to read their Blog at http://inhalant-info.blogspot.com/ - Take the time to learn more and you never know when this knowledge will be necessary. http://www.inhalant.org/

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Teen Body Image - How it can Affect their Self Esteem


Sarah Maria is a body-image expert and personal empowerment specialist who helps people love their bodies no matter how they look. She leads workshops internationally and works one-on-one in consulting sessions to assist people in overcoming hatred and dissatisfaction with their bodies using holistic healing and spiritual principles. She's a certified meditation teacher, Yoga instructor, and Ayurvedic Lifestyle Counselor. Contact her at Contact her at sarah@breakfreebeauty.


Be sure to sign up for her Newsletters and Radio Show at http://www.breakfreebeauty/ - you won’t want to miss how you can start believing in yourself and empowering yourself and your teen to feel good about who you are.

Body Image in Teens
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:

http://www.breakfreebeauty.com/teens.php Click here for the entire tip list!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Why is This Child So Distressed?


By Jane Hersey
Author of "Why My Child Can't Behave"


Many things can lead to the development of behavior problems in children, and there are many ways to address them.

If the reasons for a child's problems stem from a family situation, interaction with peers, events at school, etc., then the place to look for resolution is clearly there. But if the child has always been hard to parent, the answers might be as close as your kitchen pantry. Here are some children whose families have found answers in their kitchen.

Joshua had a history of social and behavior problems and was expelled from several day care centers and private schools. He did not cope well in special classrooms with a ratio of six children and three teachers. His diagnoses included: severe ADHD, ODD (oppositional defiant disorder), OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder), Tourette syndrome and mood disorder syndrome. He was angry, aggressive, compulsive, threatening to kill others and himself, and nothing helped. The counseling, drugs, and even the psychiatric facility did not impact on his downward spiral.

Betsy was only 7 years old, but was haunted by thoughts of death; one of the pieces of art work she brought home from school was a black paper with three tombstones, bearing the initials of her parents and herself. She quietly planned on ways that she could end her life, which held no joy for her despite a loving family that desperately tried to help her.

Sean was expelled from preschool for his violent aggression and uncontrollable behavior. His family tried a therapeutic preschool, and he was at risk of being kicked out of a hospital treatment center because even they could not deal with this little boy's behavior. No amount of medicine controlled his “bi-polar behavior” and psychotic episodes, and his parents were told that Sean was “seriously mentally ill” and would require life-long support.

Frank had a history of violent behaviors and at age 17 it was only a matter of time before he would be incarcerated. But he heard about a special diet and decided he wanted to try it. His meeting with the doctor who was using this diet to help children like Frank, Sean, Betsy and Joshua meant flying from Tennessee to California. Because his mother was afraid of him, Frank's older brother accompanied him to visit with the doctor, Ben Feingold, who was chief of allergy at the Kaiser-Permanente Medical Center in California.

Dr. Feingold discovered that some of the many chemicals routinely added to foods have the ability to affect any system of the body, including the brain. When a child is predisposed to be sensitive to these chemicals, they can wreak havoc. In order for a brain to function well, there are many chemical and electrical processes that must work appropriately; in other words, a lot things have to “go right.” When you add in a potent chemical such as an illicit drug (or even a legal one) our brain chemistry can be dramatically affected. Our bodies handle food additives and drugs in a similar manner.

All of these children described above have stories with happy endings once the offending chemicals were identified and removed. Joshua is an outstanding young man who has won numerous honors in school, in sports, and is a leader in an Air Force program for future officers.

Betsy is a normal, happy girl, Frank is a successful adult and Sean has no remnants of any “permanent mental disorder.” In fact, his mom reports he has recently joined the church choir.

Our bodies are composed of the food we eat; this is where we obtain nutrients of all types, including essential fatty acids, trace minerals and the many vitamins a healthy human body requires. But more and more children are no longer consuming food. Instead they are existing on a diet of synthetic substances that do not deliver the needed components to keep bodies working well and keep our brains operating rationally. These so-called foods might look like real food, fooling our eyes. They might even taste like food, fooling out taste buds. But our bodies are not fooled and when they do not receive the nutrients they need in order to function, things begin to go wrong. In addition to the nutrients they do not receive children today are ingesting a chemical stew of foodless ingredients, many of which are derived from crude oil (petroleum).

Dr. Feingold's experience with troubled children showed that there are a few food additives that appear to be the worst offenders, and removing them brought about significant – often dramatic – changes in behavior, mood, and the ability to focus and learn. These additives include synthetic food dyes (such as Yellow 5 and Red 40); they are created from crude oil, and most of the dyes added to our food start out in petroleum refineries in China. Common preservatives, artificial flavors and even fragrances typically are created from petroleum; rose petals no longer are the source of those pretty scents!

The Feingold diet has been helping families for decades, and the non-profit Feingold Association continues to offer information and support to those who want to learn more. Parent volunteers show others how they can find the foods they enjoy, but minus the unwanted additives; most of them are available at neighborhood supermarkets. See www.feingold.org .

In addition to removing the offensive additives, researchers have found the many benefits of adding supplements to nutrient-starved bodies.

Researchers at Oxford University have shown that the behavior of young male prisoners calmed down when their diet was supplemented with a combination of vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids (EFAs). Other British research has shown the dramatic benefits of the EFAs, including help for children with ADHD and autism. In the US EFA research has been ongoing at Purdue University for many years.

When nourishing food was given to teens in juvenile detention facilites the improved behavior was documented. And when the Appleton Alternative High School in Wisconsin switched from the usual school food to fresh, healthy food, the behavior problems evaporated and learning improved.

Another risk factor for children with behavior and learning problems.

The drugs that are generally given to children with these problems offer additional concerns. While they may bring about improvements, they are not risk-free. The Food and Drug Administration now requires ADHD drugs to carry warning labels that some children might have reactions that include:

psychotic behavior, depression, suicidal thoughts, hallucinations, violence, as well as a host of health effects including cancer, liver damage, strokes and heart attacks.

Risk factors with antidepressants and related drugs

Psychotropic drugs are routinely given to children who are diagnosed as depressed, bi-polar, etc., and these also carry warnings that side effects can include depression and violent behaviors. It can be difficult to sort out whether a behavior is originating within the child or is a side effect of some of the medications he is taking. The fact that all of these drugs are now being given to children who are still infants raises many red flags. Who knows what long-term effects they will have?

While it's comforting to think that only a minority of children experience the most dangerous reactions, the number of children now being medicated means that a minority can be a very large number of children. (It has been estimated that 10% of all 10-year-old boys in the United States are now on drugs for ADHD.)

A new awareness in Europe

The scientific evidence for the harm caused by petroleum-based food dyes is now so compelling that the British government is seeking to ban them and the European Parliament has voted to require warning labels on foods that contain them. While dyes are not the only additives that can cause adverse reactions, they are the most notorious, the easiest to replace, and offer no value to the consumer.

So, for the child whose behavior has gone over the edge, or if you worry that your youngster is on this path, one simple change that you can implement with no risk, very little cost, and relatively small effort, is to replace those mixes, cookies, candies, sodas, and fast food with nearly-identical versions that are free of the worst of the additives. And while you're at it, try eating the good food yourself; every parent needs to have their brain cells working at optimum levels as they deal with that temporary insanity called “adolescence.”

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Teen Dating Violence by Connect with Kids

By Connect with Kids
“I’ve never had one guy come into my life that hasn’t hurt me.”

– Jenny, 18 years old

Jenny, 18, has been hurt as many times as she’s been in love. At age 13, her boyfriend was physically abusive.

“He grabbed me by my neck one time, and I had fingerprints, bruising,” she explains.

Later, Jenny dated Mateo.

“He promised me, he said I promise you, I’ll never hurt you like they did,” Jenny says tearfully.

“And I promised her that, but I didn’t keep my promise,” Mateo, 17, admits. “Verbal abuse, emotional. You name it,” he says.

Research in the Journal of American Medicine finds that 42% of teens have been the victim of dating violence. 17% have been the perpetrator.

“Violent activity and dating violence begins early in adolescence; you know, begins when dating begins,” says psychiatrist Dr. Lynn Ponton, author of a book about the dating lives of teenagers.

She says too often kids are so excited to have their first boyfriend or girlfriend that they rush into a relationship. They become intimate too soon, before they even really get to know each other. By the time they know their partner is abusive, a lot of damage is already done.

Other research shows that girls in violent dating relationships are more likely to experiment with drugs, develop eating disorders and attempt suicide.

Experts say that parents must convince kids to slow down.

“By, I think, by actually setting up structures for kids to participate in where they get to know the people first before they’re off with them privately,” says Dr. David Fenstermaker, a clinical psychologist.

He suggests that group dates are safer. At the bowling alley, the water park or the ice rink, kids can get to know each other, and slowly discover what really lies in the heart of their date.

Tips for Parents

‘Dating violence’ may seem like a vague, murky term, but the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control defines ‘dating violence’ very specifically:

Dating Violence: “The perpetration or threat of an act of violence by at least one member of an unmarried couple on the other member within the context of dating or courtship. This violence encompasses any form of sexual assault, physical violence, and verbal or emotional abuse.”

How often does dating violence happen? Estimates vary, but the NCIPC offers these statistics:

24% of 8th and 9th graders have been victims of nonsexual dating violence.

8% of 8th and 9th graders have been victims of sexual dating violence.

Among high school students, the average prevalence rate for nonsexual dating violence is 22%.

Among college students the rate is 32%.

27% of college females have been victims of rape or attempted rape since age 14.

Over half of 1,000 females at a large urban university surveyed said they had experienced some form of “unwanted sex.”

Women are 6 times more likely than men to experience violence at the hands of an intimate partner.

According to the Massachusetts Department of Education, teen dating violence follows a pattern which is similar to adult domestic violence. The major elements of this pattern are:

Violence that affects people from all socio-economic, racial and ethnic groups.
Repeated violence that escalates.
Violence that increases in severity the longer the relationship continues.
Violence and abusive behaviors are interchanged with apologies and promises to change.
Increase danger for the victim when trying to terminate the relationship.
Occurrence in heterosexual and gay and lesbian relationships.
How can you tell if your teenager may be suffering from dating violence? Here are some signs from the Massachusetts Department of Education.

Is your child involved with someone who:

Is overly possessive and demonstrating a real need to control
Is jealous to the extreme point where it becomes an obsession
Is into controlling your child’s everyday events
Is prone to violent outbursts
Is a person who has a history of poor relationships
Is infringing upon your child’s freedom to make choices for himself/herself
Is limiting the time your child spends with other people
Is using external pressure to influence decision making
Is into passing blame and denying their own mistakes
Is in the habit of using put downs or playing mind games
Is not a person who can be disagreed with easily
Is encouraging your child to keep secrets
Is causing your child to become more withdrawn

And for teenagers trying to get out of a violent relationship, the following advice from the Boulder (CO) Police Department:

Tell your parents, a friend, a counselor, a clergyman, or someone else whom you trust and who can help.

The more isolated you are from friends and family, the more control the abuser has over you.
Alert the school counselor or security officer.
Keep a daily log of the abuse.

Do not meet your partner alone.

Do not let him or her in your home or car when you are alone.
Avoid being alone at school, your job, on the way to and from places.
Tell someone where you are going and when you plan to be back.
Plan and rehearse what you would do if your partner became abusive.

References
National Center for Injury Protection and Control
Massachusetts Department of Education
Boulder (CO) Police Department
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Impact of Cyberbullying

Victims of cyberbullying may experience many of the same effects as children who are bullied in person, such as a drop in grades, low self-esteem, a change in interests or depression. However, cyberbullying can seem more extreme to its victims because of several factors:

Occurs in children’s home. Being bullied at home can take away the place children feel most safe.

Can be harsher. Often kids say things online that they wouldn’t say in person, mainly because they can’t see the other person’s reaction.

Far reaching. Kids can send e-mails making fun of someone to their entire class or school with a few clicks, or post them on a Web site for the whole world to see.

Anonymity. Cyberbullies often hide behind screen names and e-mail addresses that don’t identify who they are. Not knowing who is responsible for bullying messages can add to a victim’s insecurity.

May seem inescapable. It may seem easy to get away from a cyberbully by going offline, but for some kids not going online takes away a major place to socialize.

Source: National Crime Prevention Council.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

10 Quick Tips for Parenting Today


1. Communication: Keeping the lines of communication of your child should be a priority with all parents. It is important to let your kids know you are always there for them no matter what the subject is. If there is a subject you are not comfortable with, please be sure your child has someone they can open up to. I believe that when kids keep things bottled up, it can be when negative behaviors can start to grow.

2.Knowing your Children’s Friends: This is critical, in my opinion. Who are your kids hanging out with? Doing their homework with? If they are spending a lot of time at a friends house, go out of your way to call the parent introduce yourself. Especially if they are spending the night at a friends house, it important to take time to call the parents or meet them. This can give you a feeling of security knowing where your child is and who they are with.


3. Know your Child’s Teachers – Keep track of their attendance at school: Take time to meet each teacher and be sure they have your contact information and you have theirs if there are any concerns regarding your child. In the same respect, take time to meet your child’s Guidance Counselor.

4. Keep your Child Involved: Whether it is sports, music, drama, dance, and school clubs such as chess, government, school newspaper or different committees such as prom, dances and other school activities. Keeping your child busy can keep them out of trouble. If you can find your child’s passion – whether it is football, soccer, gymnastics, dance, music – that can help keep them focused and hopefully keep them on track in school.


5. Learn about Internet Social Networking: In today’s Cyber generation this has to be a priority. Parents need to help educate their kids on Cyber Safety – think before they post, help them to understand what they put up today, may haunt them tomorrow. Don’t get involved with strangers and especially don’t talk about sex with strangers. Avoid meeting in person the people you meet online without you being there. On the same note – cell phone and texting – don’t allow your child to freely give out their cell numbers and never post them online. Parents should consider ReputationDefender/MyChild www.reputationdefender.com/mychild to further help protect their children online.

6.Encourage your teen to get a job or volunteer: In today’s generation I think we need to instill responsibility and accountability. This can start early by encouraging your teen to either get a job or volunteer, especially during the summer. Again, it is about keeping them busy, however at the same time teaching them responsibility. I always tell parents to try to encourage their teens to get jobs at Summer Camps, Nursing Homes, ASPCA, Humane Society or places where they are giving to others or helping animals. It can truly build self esteem to help others.


7. Make Time for your Child: This sounds very simple and almost obvious, but with today’s busy schedule of usually both parents working full time or single parent households, it is important to put time aside weekly (if not daily at dinner) for one on one time or family time. Today life is all about electronics (cell phones, Ipods, Blackberry’s, computers, etc) that the personal touch of actually being together has diminished.

8. When Safety trumps privacy: If you suspect your teen is using drugs, or other suspicious behaviors (lying, defiance, disrespectful, etc) it is time to start asking questions – and even “snooping” – I know there are two sides to this coin, and that is why I specifically mentioned “if you suspect” things are not right – in these cases – safety for your child takes precedence over invading their privacy. Remember – we are the parent and we are accountable and responsible for our child.


9.Are you considering outside treatment for your child? Residential Therapy is a huge step, and not a step that is taken lightly. Do your homework! When your child’s behavior escalates to a level of belligerence, defiance, substance abuse or God forbid gang relations – it may be time to seek outside help. Don’t be ashamed of this – put your child’s future first and take steps to get the help he/she needs – immediately, but take your time to find the right placement. Read Wit’s End! http://www.witsendbook.com/ for more information.

10. Be a parent FIRST: There are parents that want to be their child’s friend and that is great – but remember you are a parent first. Set boundaries – believe it not kids want limits (and most importantly – need them). Never threaten consequences you don’t plan on following through with.

By Sue Scheff

Monday, July 21, 2008

ADD/ADHD - Options, Alternatives and Real Stories of Success of the Feingold Program


For years we have struggled with ADD/ADHD children and the issues that surround mediciation and the affects it has on the kids. As a parent of an ADHD son, after extensive testing, he was diagnosed ADHD in Kindergarten. Through the years, we tried a variety of medications however always came back to the one that worked best for him. I don’t believe he was over-medicated and neither does he. By freshman year in college, he was medication free.


I was made aware of The Feingold Diet when my son was younger, but as a single mother of two children, it didn’t fit our schedule or my busy routine. Some people may view this as an excuse, but for me, it wasn’t an option I could accomodate. But - that doesn’t mean it isn’t a viable alternative to medications.


Over the years, I have heard from many parents of the success of The Feingold Program as well as recently reviewed “Why My Child Can’t Behave” by Jane Hersey. Understanding how this program works can help parents understand the negative behavior of ADD/ADHD and what triggers it.


If you have a child that has behavioral issues or has been diagnosed ADD/ADHD please take the time to learn more about The Newly Updated Feingold Program that is designed to accomodate the busy lives of families today.


Read this wonderful testimonial from Joshua - I think this sheds light on what the right diet can do for you and your family.



My son, Joshua, was plagued with social and behavioral problems. He was asked to leave two private schools, rejected from several local day care facilities, and finally placed in a program for “severely emotionally handicapped” children and put on medication for ADHD - all before the age of five!


He was in a class of six children and three teachers to deal with the behavioral challenges these children presented. Throughout the years my son was diagnosed with severe ADHD and ODD (oppositional defiant disorder), along with traits of obsessive compulsive disorder, Tourette’s syndrome, and mood disorder syndrome. These years proved to be more difficult than I could have ever imagined.

Even before they’re born, parents have so many hopes and desires for their children. I felt as though my dreams had turned to nightmares and it seemed like I’d never wake up.


Even though testing indicated that Joshua was extremely gifted, his emotional and behavioral problems kept him labeled as emotionally handicapped.


During the next seven years he was on three medications, totaling nine pills a day. It seemed necessary to keep him medicated 24 hours a day, every day. Symptoms that were treated with one medicine caused him to have trouble sleeping, so he had to take an additional medication for that, and yet another for the endless anxiety resulting from the issues he faced daily with social and behavioral problems. He had huge problems with opposition, defiance, aggression, anger, and impulsivity. The doctors tried different dosages and combinations of the medicines but without success.


He was kept medicated 24 hours a day and the problems only got worse.


Toward the end of his fourth grade year, Joshua was placed in an outpatient facility for depression, leaning towards suicidal. Children typically attended this facility for a week at the most, just enough time to be evaluated, receive recommendations for therapy, medication, behavior modification and family counseling. However, Joshua’s behavior was such that he continued for five weeks.


None of the many professionals we saw were able to help him.


Time passed and problems remained despite medication and continual counseling. Two other medicines were recommended, in addition to the three he was on, but I couldn’t bring myself to give my ten-year-old 5 different drugs. Towards the end of his fifth grade year he was placed in a children’s psychiatric facility after he threatened to kill others and tried to hurt himself. Joshua had reached the end of his rope.


I was told that I could not see him or call him for the first 24 hours he was at the facility. As I said “good-bye” there was so much hurt behind his beautiful blue eyes, so much uncertainty of “Where do I fit in, why am I like this? When will my life be normal, and when will I feel at peace inside?”


The immense pain I felt for my child left me numb and hopeless. I wanted so badly to take him in my arms, hug him and tell him that everything would be okay, but I didn’t know that to be so. I would go to the ends of the earth for him but felt as though I was already there and didn’t know where to go from here. Despite all the avenues I took, all the endless hours of searching, every year continued to grow darker and darker.


The immense pain for my child left me numb and hopeless.


After several days Joshua was released from the hospital. Since the medicines were not helping, his doctor recommended we remove them all and start on a different regimen.


For the remaining weeks of school he was in a homebound program where the teacher came to our home.


The doctor assured me that by weaning Joshua off the medicines slowly there would be no problems with withdrawal. The opposite was true! We went through three weeks of severely out-of-control behavior. Several times Joshua became extremely violent and I came close to calling 911 for help.


His reaction to withdrawal from the many drugs was a nightmare.


Next, I tried allergy treatments at a clinic and they helped somewhat. Still searching, I learned of the Feingold Program and that’s when my son’s recovery began in earnest.

[http://www.feingold.org/ / (800) 321-3287]


Joshua has a severe behavioral reaction to certain synthetic food additives.


Joshua had traveled down a difficult road filled with hurt, disappointment and fear for as long as he can remember. He lost much of his childhood to this journey, but because of Feingold, Joshua has a new beginning.


Now, at age 17, we are starting our seventh consecutive year that Joshua does not carry the label “emotionally handicapped.” Looking back, our success began when Joshua was in the sixth grade. It was roughly 8 weeks prior to school starting that we began the Feingold diet. Six weeks into the diet we saw dramatic changes in Joshua.


Seventh grade went so well that during the annual meeting required for all students that receive “special services,” the school suggested a battery of behavioral testing and classroom observations to determine if Joshua still needed the services and the label that he carried in his file. After thorough testing and review, Joshua’s eight-year special needs folder was permanently closed. He no longer exhibited any signs of needing help in any form. This was truly a victory!


This is the seventh consecutive year Joshua’s teachers have told me he shows respect and cooperation without any opposition. Joshua is finally able to manage his anger when things don’t go his way (this feat alone was like a mountain to conquer).


Joshua no longer has trouble controlling his behavior. He is thriving in school and in all areas of his life.


His teachers view him as pleasant to be around as well as a good student. Joshua is able to remain seated for an extended period, is capable of thinking before acting, and no longer needs behavioral therapy. I no longer receive calls to come pick him up at school because he’s out of control and disruptive. Joshua has been able to attend events through the school or sports where I was not required to stay “just in case there’s a problem.”


Joshua went a total of seven years being medicated 24 hours a day with three medications (totaling 9 pills a day, for 365 days a year) to a healthy diet and absolutely no medicine.


Joshua is finally forming strong friendships. This list could go on but the bottom line is …since Feingold, this is the first time I like my son, and best of all HE likes who he’s become.


Our life finally feels, and is, “normal.” This is what we have both hoped for.
I know my son’s “transformation” did not occur due to maturity, changing schools, peer pressure, a reward system, or anything of the sort. The changes in Joshua came as a result of the simple changes we made in the food we eat.


A few months after we began seeing success on Feingold, Joshua wanted to do what he called “an experiment.” I allowed him to eat the synthetic chemicals (foods containing artificial colors and flavors) for a week because I knew his cooperation was essential for this to work.


On the fourth day he began having rage attacks, showing opposition and defiance, just like before. He shouted at his teacher, threw a book across the room at another student, and spent a day in the principal’s office.


When he went back to eating the synthetic chemicals, the old behaviors returned in four days. It was a humiliating experience for my son.


He embarrassed himself terribly in front of his peers and came home asking to ditch the experiment. This validated the fact that the diet was truly the key to his happiness and success.


For the entire story - visit http://www.findingjoshua.org/

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Teens - National Crime Prevention Council


Growing up in the 21st century provides young people with amazing opportunities. We have access to incredible technology that allows us to communicate instantaneously through email and cell phones. We are the healthiest, best-educated generation in history. We volunteer at an even higher rate than adults do. The level of crime that we face is lower than it has been in 30 years. However, crime rates are still too high. The good news is that there are real things we can do about the problems that plague our communities.


Community Works offers us a way to do something about crime and violence. When we participate in the Community Works curriculum, we can work with our friends, other young people, and adult leaders to learn the facts about crime and violence, how we can help prevent crimes, and how we can become involved in service-learning projects that benefit our community.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

On Task - On Time for Kids - Daily Routine for Kids


I was recently made aware of this website that offers a unique idea and technique to help keep your kids on task and on time.
******************



Take the nagging out of parenting!

Find it hard to "Get out the door" on time in the morning? Want to end those
bedtime battles? Want your kids to be more independent?

On·Task On·Time for Kids takes the nagging out of parenting. Designed by a mom
of triplets plus one, this unique time management system supplies 52 full-color task
stickers to organize three routines: Morning (getting ready for school), Afternoon
(transitioning from school to home activities), and Evening (getting ready for bed).
Individualized routines are put together by parents and children to fit their life style.

Daily routines are created by applying task stickers to a Routine Disk. The Routine
Disk is inserted onto the On·Task Timer Unit and the child sees what tasks should
be completed, what tasks should be done now, and what tasks are coming up next.

Parents don't need to remind or nag. The words, "Oops, I forgot!" are a thing of
the past. Turn normally stressful, transition times into self-esteem building
experiences. A reward chart is included to acknowledge success and independence.
On·Task On·Time for Kids is designed for children between the ages of five and
twelve, and is available with girl or boy illustrations.

Visit http://www.timelymatters.com/ for more information.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Positive Parents Tips for ADD/ADHD Children


By ADDitude Magazine


Five Tips for Smoother Mornings


Shift as many tasks as you can to the night before. Sign permission slips, make sure book bags are packed, and leave everything by the front door, in a "launch pad."


If your child takes ADHD medication, wake him up half an hour early to take his pill. Then, let him fall back asleep or just relax. By the time he needs to start getting ready, his medication will have kicked in.


Draw up a checklist that spells out your child's morning routine ("get dressed," "come to the kitchen for breakfast," and so on), and have her check off steps as she completes them.


Use a timer to remind your child when it's time to move on to the next task. This will keep you from micromanaging his routine, and give him more control over his own schedule.


The morning rush is already hectic, so don't add extra stimuli to the mix. Leave the television and the computer off until your children are out the door.


Five After-School Strategies


Establish a start time for homework, and stick to it. Some kids work better after a little downtime; others find it harder to switch back to "school mode."


Find the homework environment that works with your child. The kitchen table is often the ideal homework station-there's plenty of space to spread out books and you can stay close by.


ADHD kids can have trouble staying focused for long periods, so let your child take frequent, short breaks. A five-minute break for every 20 minutes of work should be sufficient.


Get your child in the habit of packing her completed homework in her book bag as soon as she's finished, before moving on to any other activity.


Have fun afterward. Your child is more likely to apply herself if she knows that a fun activity, such as playing a game or watching TV, will follow homework.


Five Ways to Ensure Happy Meal Times


An all-carb breakfast is a recipe for inattention. Make sure your child eats plenty of protein, along with complex carbohydrates from whole grains, fruits, and/or vegetables.


Keep a supply of grab-and-go breakfast foods, like protein bars, hard-boiled eggs, and cartons of yogurt, on hand, in case you fall behind schedule.


Create a "Top-10" list based on family members' favorite meals that you can cook over the course of a two week-period. Soliciting everyone's input means everyone will be happier around the dinner table.


Share the responsibilities for dinner preparation. Younger children can set the table, older kids may appreciate the responsibility of helping to prepare the meal.


If your child's medication impacts his appetite, keep meal times flexible. If he doesn't eat much for lunch, for example, give him a hearty snack rather than make him wait.


Five Keys to the Bedtime Routine


Wind down slowly over the course of an hour or so. Find the bedtime routine that works-bath, brush teeth, 20 minutes of reading, lights out to soft music-and stick to it.


Set a realistic bedtime. Put your child to bed too early, and there's a chance that he'll remain awake-and restless-for a long time.


Enforce bedtime consistently-on weekends, too. Letting your child stay up late on weekends will disrupt his circadian clock; on Monday, he'll wake up with something akin to jet lag.


If your child gets up, tuck her back into bed and gently but firmly remind her that it's time to go to sleep. Reassure her that you'll be nearby.


Keep in mind that some ADHD kids are kept awake at night by restlessness and mental activity caused by a lack of medication. If you suspect this in your child, ask her doctor about an evening dose.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

(Sue Scheff) Teen Smoking Decline Stops




“I don’t know if it’s peer pressure or what, but I do think people are smoking a lot more than they used to.”

– Travis, age 16

After years of dramatic declines in the number of teen smokers, experts say that decline might be reaching a plateau.

“[This change] obviously raises a lot of concern for us,” says Corinne Husten, M.D., the Acting Director with the Office on Smoking and Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A casual survey of teenagers seems to confirm the news.

“Most of my friends smoke,” says 18-year-old Arien.

“More people doing it,” adds Travis, “more people asking you for a cigarette.”

“Everyone I know smokes or whatever,” explains 17-year-old Teri.

In fact, the study finds that 20 percent of teens have smoked a cigarette in the last 30 days. And more than 50 percent have tried smoking.

Experts say a big reason for the change in smoking rates among teenagers is that less money has been spent on anti-smoking campaigns than in recent years – and that many kids aren’t getting that message.

“Right now only four states are funding their tobacco control programs at the minimum level recommended by the CDC,” explains Dr. Husten.

It’s all the more important, she says, that kids hear an anti-smoking message at home.

But often, that’s not the case.

“A lot of time parents I think have a laissez-faire attitude toward tobacco,” says Dr. Husten, “They say ‘well it’s not hard drugs, they’re not drinking and driving’. But actually tobacco is highly addictive; the kids experiment, they’re hooked on it before they even realize that, and then they spend their lives trying to stop.”

She says parents should talk regularly about the dangers of cigarettes, and “reinforcing that by saying we aren’t going to allow smoking in our home, we are going to go to smoke-free restaurants. So it’s not like the parent’s saying, well, this is bad for you but it’s okay for me. It’s saying this is something none of us should be doing.”

Tips for Parents

Research shows that a vast majority of smokers began when they were children or teenagers. While recent legislation has helped reduce smoking, it still remains an important health concern. Consider the following statistics from the U.S. Surgeon General:

Approximately 80 percent of adult smokers started smoking before the age of 18.

More than 5 million children living today will die prematurely because of a decision they make as adolescents – the decision to smoke cigarettes.

An estimated 2.1 million people began smoking on a daily basis in 1997. More than half of these new smokers were younger than 18. This boils down to every day, 3,000 young people under the age of 18 becoming regular smokers.

Nearly all first uses of tobacco occur before high school graduation.

Most young people who smoke are addicted to nicotine and report that they want to quit but are unable to do so.

Tobacco is often the first drug used by young people who use alcohol and illegal drugs.

Among young people, those with poorer grades and lower self-image are most likely to begin using tobacco.

Over the past decade, there has been virtually no decline in smoking rates among the general teen population. Among black adolescents, however, smoking has declined dramatically.

Young people who come from low-income families and have fewer than two adults living in their household are especially at risk for becoming smokers.

Encourage your child to join an anti-smoking group and support him/her in kicking the habit. If you are currently a smoker, you should also try to stop. Children look to their parents for support and strength; taking the anti-smoking journey alongside your child can be a huge benefit. In addition to attending the meetings, The Foundation for a Smoke-Free America offers these suggestions:

Develop deep-breathing techniques. Every time you want a cigarette, do the following three times: Inhale the deepest breath of air you can and then, very slowly, exhale. Purse your lips so that the air must come out slowly. As you exhale, close your eyes, and let your chin gradually drop to your chest. Visualize all the tension leaving your body, slowly draining out of your fingers and toes -- just flowing on out.
This technique will be your greatest weapon during the strong cravings smokers feel during the first few days of quitting.

During the first week, drink lots of water and healthy fluids to flush out the nicotine and other toxins from your body.

Remember that the urge to smoke only lasts a few minutes, and then it will pass. The urges gradually become further and further apart as the days go by.

Do your very best to stay away from alcohol, sugar and coffee the first week (or longer) as these tend to stimulate the desire for a cigarette. Also, avoid fatty foods, as your metabolism may slow down a bit without the nicotine, and you may gain weight even if you eat the same amount as before quitting. Discipline regarding your diet is extra important now.

Nibble on low calorie foods like celery, apples and carrots. Chew gum or suck on cinnamon sticks.
Stretch out your meals. Eat slowly and pause between bites.

After dinner, instead of a cigarette, treat yourself to a cup of mint tea or a peppermint candy. Keep in mind, however, that in one study, while 25 percent of quitters found that an oral substitute was helpful, another 25 percent didn't like the idea at all – they wanted a clean break with cigarettes. Find what works for you.

Go to a gym, exercise, and/or sit in the steam of a hot shower. Change your normal routine – take a walk or even jog around the block or in a local park. Get a massage. Pamper yourself.
Ask for support from coworkers, friends and family members. Ask for their tolerance. Let them know you're quitting, and that you might be edgy or grumpy for a few days. If you don't ask for support, you certainly won't get any.
If you do, you'll be surprised how much it can help.

Ask friends and family members not to smoke in your presence. Don't be afraid to ask. This is more important than you may realize.

On your “quit day,” remove all ashtrays and destroy all your cigarettes, so you have nothing to smoke.

If you need someone to talk to, call the National Cancer Institute's Smoking Quitline at 1-877-44U-Quit. Proactive counseling services by trained personnel are provided in sessions both before and after quitting smoking.

Find a chat room online, with people trying to quit smoking. It can be a great source of support, much like a Nicotine Anonymous meeting, but online.

Attend your anti-smoking meetings. If there are no meetings in your city, try calling (800) 642-0666, or check the Nicotine Anonymous website link below. There you can also find out how to start your own meeting. It's truly therapeutic to see how other quitters are doing as they strive to stop smoking.

Write down ten good things about being a nonsmoker and ten bad things about smoking.
Don't pretend smoking wasn't enjoyable. Quitting smoking can be like losing a good friend – and it's okay to grieve the loss. Feel that grief.

Several times a day, quietly repeat to yourself the affirmation, "I am a nonsmoker." Many quitters see themselves as smokers who are just not smoking for the moment. They have a self-image as smokers who still want a cigarette. Silently repeating the affirmation "I am a nonsmoker" will help you change your view of yourself. Even if it seems silly to you, this is actually useful.

Here is perhaps the most valuable information among these points: During the period that begins a few weeks after quitting, the urge to smoke will subside considerably. However, it's vital to understand that from time to time, you will still be suddenly overwhelmed with a desire for "just one cigarette." This will happen unexpectedly, during moments of stress, whether negative stress or positive (at a party, or on vacation). Be prepared to resist this unexpected urge, because succumbing to that "one cigarette" will lead you directly back to smoking. Remember the following secret: during these surprise attacks, do your deep breathing and hold on for five minutes; the urge will pass.

Do not try to go it alone. Get help, and plenty of it.

References
American Cancer Society
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Foundation for a Smoke-Free America
Nicotine Anonymous

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Sue Scheff: The Feingold Program/Diet - Can it Help Your ADD/ADHD Child?


I have always heard of the Feingold Program/Diet and how it truly helps ADD/ADHD children. As a parent of an ADHD son, I know the struggles of debating medications versus diet. However as a single parent of two, it was not fesible for me to consider the Feingold Program at the time. Now with all their new updated information - the program is designed for the parents on the go. Take time to review http://www.feingold.org and learn more about how your child’s diet can affect their behavior.

Monday, July 14, 2008

What is Inhalant Abuse? The Dangers....


Visit www.inhalant.org

Inhaled chemicals are rapidly absorbed through the lungs into the bloodstream
and quickly distributed to the brain and other organs. Within minutes, the user
experiences intoxication, with symptoms similar to those produced by drinking
alcohol. With Inhalants, however, intoxication lasts only a few minutes, so some
users prolong the “high” by continuing to inhale repeatedly.



Short-term effects include:


headaches, muscle weakness, abdominal pain, severe
mood swings and violent behavior, belligerence, slurred speech, numbness and
tingling of the hands and feet, nausea, hearing loss, visual disturbances, limb
spasms, fatigue, lack of coordination, apathy, impaired judgment, dizziness,
lethargy, depressed reflexes, stupor, and loss of consciousness.
The Inhalant user will initially feel slightly stimulated and, after successive
inhalations, will feel less inhibited and less in control. Hallucinations may
occur and the user can lose consciousness. Worse, he or she, may even die.
Please see Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome below.

Long-term Inhalant users generally suffer from:


weight loss, muscle weakness,
disorientation, inattentiveness, lack of coordination, irritability and depression.
Different Inhalants produce different harmful effects, and regular abuse of these
substances can result in serious harm to vital organs. Serious, but potentially
reversible, effects include liver and kidney damage. Harmful irreversible effects
include: hearing loss, limb spasms, bone marrow and central nervous system
(including brain) damage.

Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome:


Children can die the first time, or any time, they try an Inhalant. This is
known as Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome. While it can occur with many
types of Inhalants, it is particularly associated with the abuse of air conditioning
coolant, butane, propane, and the chemicals in some aerosol products. Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome is usually associated with cardiac arrest. The Inhalant causes the heart to beat rapidly and erratically, resulting in cardiac arrest.



Learn more at http://www.inhalant.org/

http://www.helpyourteens.com/

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Troubled Teens? Are You At Your Wit's End? by Sue Scheff - Parents Universal Resource Experts

Are you at your wit’s end?

Are you experiencing any of the following situations or feeling at a complete loss or a failure as a parent? You are not alone and by being a proactive parent you are taking the first step towards healing and bringing your family back together.

• Is your teen escalating out of control?
• Is your teen becoming more and more defiant and disrespectful?
• Is your teen manipulative? Running your household?
• Are you hostage in your own home by your teen’s negative behavior?
• Is your teen angry, violent or rage outbursts?
• Is your teen verbally abusive?
• Is your teen rebellious, destructive and withdrawn?
• Is your teen aggressive towards others or animals?
• Is your teen using drugs and/or alcohol?
• Does your teen belong to a gang?
• Do they frequently runaway or leave home for extended periods of time?
• Has their appearance changed – piercing, tattoo’s, inappropriate clothing?
• Has your teen stopped participating in sports, clubs, church and family functions? Have they become withdrawn from society?
• Is your teen very intelligent yet not working up to their potential? Underachiever? Capable of doing the work yet not interested in education.
• Does he/she steal?
• Is your teen sexually active?
• Teen pregnancy?
• Is your teen a good kid but making bad choices?
• Undesirable peers? Is your teen a follower or a leader?
• Low self esteem and low self worth?
• Lack of motivation? Low energy?
• Mood Swings? Anxiety?
• Teen depression that leads to negative behavior?
• Eating Disorders? Weight loss? Weight gain?
• Self-Harm or Self Mutilation?
• High School drop-out?
• Suspended or Expelled from school?
• Suicidal thoughts or attempts?
• ADD/ADHD/LD/ODD?
• Is your teen involved in legal problems? Have they been arrested?
• Juvenile Delinquent?
• Conduct Disorder?
• Bipolar?
• Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)?

Does your teen refuse to take accountability and always blame others for their mistakes?

• Do you feel hopeless, helpless and powerless over what options you have as a parent? Are you at your wit’s end?


Does any of the above sound familiar? Many parents are at their wit’s end by the time they contact us, but the most important thing many need to know is you are not alone. There is help but the parent needs to be proactive and educate themselves in getting the right help.



Many try local therapy, which is always recommended, but in most cases, this is a very temporary band-aid to a more serious problem. One or two hours a week with a therapist is usually not enough to make the major changes that need to be done.

If you feel you are at your wit’s end and are considering outside resources, please contact us. http://www.helpyourteens.com/free_information.shtml An informed parent is an educated parent and will better prepare to you to make the best decision for your child. It is critical not to place your child out of his/her element. In many cases placing a teen that is just starting to make bad choices into a hard core environment may cause more problems. Be prepared – do your homework.

Many parents are in denial and keep hoping and praying the situation is going to change. Unfortunately in many cases, the problems usually escalate without immediate attention. Don’t be parents in denial; be proactive in getting your teen the appropriate help they may need. Whether it is local therapy or outside the home assistance, be in command of the situation before it spirals out of control and you are at a place of desperation. At wit’s end is not a pleasant place to be, but so many of us have been there.

Finding the best school or program for your child is one of the most important steps a parent does. Remember, your child is not for sale – don’t get drawn into high pressure sales people, learn from my mistakes. Read my story at http://www.aparentstruestory.com/ 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

Visit:
http://www.helpyourteens.com/
http://www.witsendbook.com/
http://www.suescheff.com/

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Sue Scheff: Web Friends or Real Friends with your Teens


“All of these kinds of social worlds helps develop their ability to interact with people, and particularly, to do things like post a comment that might be a little controversial for example, and see what kind of reactions they get.”

– Larry Rosen, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology

Like many teens, Matt has tons of friends online. “My buddy list is full. It over 200 people in there. And it’s just all these people that have the same interests as me that I would have never met, if I just, you know, that don’t go to my school. They’re just around the country.”

According to a recent online survey, one in four kids say their internet friendships are equally or more important than friends met in person.

“Yeah, I mean, like. Cause of the internet, I’ve, you know, that’s where I found my social group, and I really kinda found out about myself,” agrees Matt.

But are these relationships healthy?

Experts say, on one hand, they give kids an opportunity to try out different personalities without consequence. “Kids are struggling to find out who they are. And who they are is in a lot of dimensions,” explains Professor of Psychology, Dr. Larry Rosen. “Who they are personally, what their skills are, but mostly it’s who they are in a social context, and that’s why these online social worlds like MySpace, all of these kinds of social worlds helps develop their ability to interact with people, and particularly, to do things like post a comment that might be a little controversial for example, and see what kind of reactions they get.”

But, on the other hand, Rosen says, like most things in life moderation is key.

“Because being in the virtual world, being in front of a screen all day is not sufficient for good teenage socialization. You need to have a combination of a screen life, and a real life,” he explains. “And so a good parent will make some sort of boundaries that say okay, you can have screen time, but after a certain amount of screen time you have to have some real outdoor time. Or some real communication time. And you can’t talk on the phone, it has to be face to face. You have to come talk to me, you have to go outside and hang out with some friends – you have to do something that’s in the real world.”

Tips for Parents

Most adults have an Internet-usage history that dates back no more than ten to fifteen years. But those growing up since the emergence of the Internet potentially could have their entire lives documented online. New parents can post online baby books for under $15 annually. Images once stored on a bookshelf at Grandma’s house can be available to the world without password protection. With Bunk1, the same can be said for memories of summer camp.

It is increasingly common for teens to have their own website. Many of these sites have a “blog”, where the owner can post running thoughts on a daily basis. Although some sites, like MySpace.com and LiveJournal.com, require users to be registered, membership is free and easy to obtain. If your child has a blog, encourage them to protect their blog so that can be read only by the friends and family they approve. Consider the following …

Only 10 percent of families posting their baby’s photos have the site protected with a password.

Many employers and colleges will enter a prospective applicant’s name in an Internet search engine to research their web presence.

Remind your child that not only friends and strangers, but also his or her parents, will be reading the blog.

Regularly monitor your child’s blog and immediately discuss any uncomfortable or inappropriate posts with your child.

It is very important to discuss various aspects of safety with your child, including the Internet and availability of information. Cite modern advances that have changed the world within the child’s lifetime and memory. Explain to your child that while your embarrassing photos and writings might be stored in a closet, an attic or even at Grandma’s home, the electronic versions your child might have will be much more accessible to anyone interested. Also, keep the following in mind:

If you do opt to post family photos online, be sure to place the images on a secure, password-protected site.

Search for names on an Internet search engine with your child to show him/her the possible places his/her information could be found.

Show your child how far e-mails, especially jokes and chain messages, can travel.

Monitor your child’s web usage and posts. An online diary usually does not have the same rights to privacy as a bound, handwritten journal because the online version is accessible to members of the public outside your home.

Know what posts, if any, you are able to delete from your child’s blog.

References
A Parent’s Guide to Internet Safety
Pew Internet and American Life Project
Kids Help Phone

Friday, July 11, 2008

Teen Depression - Parents Be Aware of the Signs


Dr. Paul Jenkins interviewed with Dr. Gary Nelson, the author of “A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression”. I found this book to be personal and very informative, with a nice conversational tone. His story is based on his years of counseling experience, as well as his personal experiences with his son, Tom. Dr. Nelson’s insights are valuable to those of us who are trying to understand both teens and depression. You can contact Dr. Nelson through his website, survivingteendepression.com.

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Dr. Gary Nelson is a parent that struggled with his own son. His journey with his son and his family helps you to understand that many of us struggling today are not alone. Gary Nelson creates an awareness that many people seem to overlook or simply don't want to face. If you suspect your teen or pre-teen is suffering with depression, I recommend this book - it can give you a lot of insight.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Troubled Teens? Stop - Think - Do your homework!


Are you considering any of the following programs for your child? Take a moment to read my experiences - http://www.aparentstruestory.com/ as well as my book where you can hear my daughter’s experiences for the first time - order today at http://www.witsendbook.com/.

Choosing a program is not only a huge emotional decision, it is a major financial decision - do your homework! Learn from my mistakes - Gain from my knowledge!

Academy of Ivy Ridge, NY (withdrew their affiliation with WWASPS)
Canyon View Park, MT
Camas Ranch, MT
Carolina Springs Academy, SC
Cross Creek Programs, UT (Cross Creek Center and Cross Creek Manor)
Darrington Academy, GA
Help My Teen, UT (Adolescent Services Adolescent Placement) Promotes and markets these programs.
Gulf Coast Academy, MS
Horizon Academy, NV
Lisa Irvin (Helpmyteen)
Lifelines Family Services, UT (Promotes and markets these programs) Jane Hawley
Majestic Ranch, UT
Midwest Academy, IA (Brian Viafanua, formerly the Director of Paradise Cove as shown on Primetime, is the current Director here)
Parent Teen Guide (Promotes and markets these programs)
Pillars of Hope, Costa Rica
Pine View Christian Academy (Borders FL, AL, MS)
Reality Trek, UT
Red River Academy, LA (Borders TX)
Royal Gorge Academy, CO
Sky View Academy, NV
Spring Creek Lodge, MT
Teen Help, UT (Promotes and markets these programs)
Teens In Crisis
Tranquility Bay, Jamaica

Learn more at http://www.helpyourteens.com/ - It is not about "not" getting your child the help they need, it is about finding them the "right" help.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Sue Scheff: Teen Anxiety


Teen Anxiety

The lesser known relative of depression, anxiety, afflicts people of all ages and can be especially detrimental for teenagers. It is completely normal and even common for individuals to experience anxiety, particularly during stressful periods, such as before a test or important date (think Prom). For many, this is beneficial, serving as motivation to study hard and perform well; however, for many, anxiety goes beyond standard high-stress periods. While occasional stress is nothing to worry about and can even be healthy, many people experience anxiety on an ongoing basis. People, especially teenagers, who suffer from anxiety disorders, find that their daily life can be interrupted by the intense, often long-lasting fear or worry.

Anxiety disorders are not fatal; however, they can severely interfere with an individual's ability to function normally on a daily basis. The intense feelings of fear and worry often lead to a lack of sleep as it makes it very difficult for people to fall asleep. Those with anxiety disorders also commonly suffer from physical manifestations of the anxiety. The anxiety can cause headaches, stomach aches, and even vomiting. In addition stress can cause individuals to lose their appetite or have trouble eating. One of the more difficult aspects for students to deal with is difficulty concentrating. When one is consumed with worry, his or her mind continuously considers the worrisome thoughts, making it considerably harder for teenagers to concentrate on school work and other mentally intensive tasks. These affects of anxiety can make it difficult for teenagers to simply get through the day, let alone enjoy life and relax.

While there seems to be no single cause of anxiety disorders, it is clear that they can run in a family. The fact that anxiety disorders can run in families indicates that there may be a genetic or hereditary connection. Because a family member may suffer from an anxiety disorder does not necessarily mean that you will. However, individuals who have family members with this disorder are far more likely to develop it.

Within the brain, neurotransmitters help to regulate mood, so an imbalance in the level of specific neurotransmitters can cause a change in mood. It is this imbalance in a neurotransmitter called serotonin that leads to anxiety. Interestingly, an imbalance of serotonin in the brain is directly related to depression. For this reason, SSRI medications, more commonly referred to as anti-depressants, are often used to help treat an anxiety disorder. Medication can provide significant relief for those suffering from anxiety disorders; however, it is often not the most efficient form of treatment.

In addition to medication, treatments for anxiety disorders include cognitive-behavioral therapy, other types of talk therapy, and relaxation and biofeedback to control muscle tension. Talk therapy can be the most effective treatment for teenagers, as they discuss their feelings and issues with a mental health professional. Many teens find it incredibly helpful to simply talk about the stress and anxiety that they feel. Additionally, in a specific kind of talk therapy called cognitive-behavioral therapy teens actively "unlearn" some of their fear. This treatment teaches individuals a new way to approach fear and anxiety and how to deal with the feelings that they experience.

Many people attempt to medicate themselves when they suffer from stress or anxiety. While individuals find different ways to deal with the intense worry that they may experience, self medication can be very detrimental to their body. It is not uncommon for people who suffer from anxiety disorders to turn to alcohol or drugs to relieve the anxiety. While this may provide a temporary fix for the afflicted, in the long run it is harmful. By relying on these methods, individuals do not learn how to deal with the anxiety naturally. Reliance on other substances can also lead to alcohol or drug abuse, which can be an especially significant problem if it is developed during the teen years.

Statistics on teen anxiety show that anxiety disorders are the most common form of mental disorders among adolescents:

8-10 percent of adolescents suffer from an anxiety disorder
Symptoms of an anxiety disorder include: anger, depression, fatigue, extreme mood swings, substance abuse, secretive behavior, changes in sleeping and eating habits, bad hygiene or meticulous attention to, compulsive or obsessive behavior
One in eight adult Americans suffer from an anxiety disorder totaling 19 million people
Research conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health has shown that anxiety disorders are the number one mental health problem among American women and are second only to alcohol and drug abuse among men
Anxiety disorders cost the U.S. $46.6 billion annually
Anxiety sufferers see an average of five doctors before being successfully diagnosed

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Sue Scheff: Teen Internet Addiction


In today's society, the Internet has made its way into almost every American home. It is a well-known fact that the web is a valuable asset for research and learning. Unfortunately, it can also be a very dangerous place for teens. With social networking sites like Myspace and Friendster, chat rooms, instant messaging, and online role-playing video games, our children are at access to almost anyone. Sue Scheff, along with Parent's Universal Resource Experts™, is tackling the dangers of the web.

Keeping tabs on our teens' online habits doesn't just keep them safe from online predators. More and more parents are becoming wary of the excessive hours their teens spend surfing the web, withdrawing from family, friends and activities they used to enjoy. Internet Addiction is a devastating problem facing far too many teens and their families. While medical professionals have done limited research on the topic, more and more are recognizing this destructive behavior and even more, the potential mental effects it can have.

Though the web is a great place for learning and can be safe for keeping in touch, it is important that families understand the potential risks and dangers to find a healthy balance between real and virtual life.

The Basics: The Dangers of Teen Internet Addiction

It’s clear that, for teenagers, spending too much time online can really deter social and educational development. The Internet world is such that there is always something new to do and to distract one from one’s responsibilities. We all do it- take ten minutes here or there to explore our favorite gossip or sports site. There is nothing wrong with using the Internet as a tool for research, news, and even entertainment. After all, the World Wide Web is the world’s most accurate, up to date resource for almost any type of information.

But as the Internet evolves and becomes more tailored to the individual, it grows increasingly easier to develop a dependency on it. This is especially true for teens- a group that tends to be susceptible to flashy graphics and easily enticed by the popularity of social networks. In a sense, the Internet is the new video game or TV show. It used to be that adolescents would sit in front of the TV for hours on end operating a remote, shooting people and racing cars. Now they surf the web. Teens are impressionable and can at times be improperly equipped to handle certain situations with a degree of reason and rationality. And although they may have good intentions, they might be at risk of coming across something inappropriate and even dangerous.

Sexual Predators

We’ve all heard the stories about children entering chat rooms who end up talking to someone older than them who may be looking for something more than merely a chat. These tales may sound far-fetched, or to some, even mundane, because of the publicity they’ve received, but as a parent it would be rather foolish to dismiss them as hearsay or as something that could never actually happen to your child. The fact is, these accounts of sexual predation are all too true and have caused some families a great deal of strain and fear. Even pre-adolescents have been known to join chat rooms. The reality is that there is no real way of knowing who might be in one at any given time. An even scarier thought is that these forums are often sexual predators’ main source of contact with young children. In fact, the popular TV show, [To Catch a Predator (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10912603/)], employs someone to pose as a teen and entice these sex offenders. The show profiles the interactions between them all the way up until the actual meeting. Some of the situations portrayed are horrifying. If you’re the parent of a teen or pre-teen, make sure to monitor Internet activity with regards to chat rooms and educate your child on the potential dangers they present.

Sensitive Subject Matter

Human curiosity is perhaps at its peak during one’s teenage years. That curiosity is what aids teens in the growth and development process. It’s necessary for survival as an adolescent and can provide for some great discoveries and maturation. However, teen curiosity can also potentially lead a person into some questionable situations, and the Internet is a prime medium through which to quell one’s inquisitiveness. Let’s face it- teenagers are anxious to be knowledgeable about topics such as sex, drugs, and other dangerous subject matter.

Talking to your teen about these sensitive subjects before he or she has a chance to search online can be a great way to allay his or her need to surf the web for more information. The Internet might be an excellent tool for presenting interesting data, but it can also grossly misrepresent certain issues. If a teenager wants to learn about sex or drugs via the web, he or she might decide to do a search containing the words “sex” or, perhaps “marijuana.” The results your child might find may not necessarily be the type of educational, instructive material you’d hope they would receive. The Internet may be savvy, but one thing it’s not capable of doing is knowing who is using it at any given time and how to customize its settings. Talk to your children about subjects you feel are important before they have the chance to find out themselves. You never know what they might come across.

Limited Social Growth

There is no better time to experience new things and meet new people than during one’s teenage years. Getting outside, going to social gatherings, and just having a good time with friends are among some of the most productive and satisfying activities in which teenagers can engage. While the Internet can provide a degree of social interaction, online networks and connections cannot replace the benefits of in-person contact. Teen Internet Addiction is dangerous because it limits a person’s options when it comes to communication. Much of learning and growing as a teen comes from the lessons one learns through friendships, fights, disagreements, trends, popularity, etc.

The Internet has made it all too easy for teens to recoil from the pressures of adolescence and remain indoors. The lure of the web can often make it seem as though social networks and online gaming are acceptable substitutes for real life. Teens can find acceptance in chat rooms and message boards, while at school they might be complete outcasts. It’s easy for teenagers to rebuff the idea of interacting with their peers and risking rejection when the Internet can provide for a seemingly relaxed environment. Children need to know that Internet addiction and reliance on online forums will only stunt social growth and make life much more difficult in the future.

Sedentary Lifestyle

Internet dependency also inherently promotes a lifestyle that is not conducive to exercise and physical activity. Many teens tend to become so enthralled in games or chats that peeling them away from the computer can prove to be an ominous task. The entertainment the Internet can provide often trumps the option to leave the house and get exercise. Parents should encourage their teens to use the Internet for school projects and some degree of entertainment, but they should also limit the time that they are allowed to spend on the computer. Begin supporting your child’s involvement in sports teams at an early age and make outside activities fun and interesting. The earlier a child is introduced to the mental and physical benefits of outside activity, the more likely he or she is to avoid inside amusements such as the Internet, TV, and video games.

Nowadays it seems our whole lives can be conducted via the Internet. We can order, purchase, and have groceries delivered all with the click of a few buttons. We can play games, talk to people, find dates, and even attend AA meetings online. The Internet may have made our lives and their day-to-day processes exponentially easier to accomplish, but by the same token it has also increased our dependence on the advantages it can provide. The convenience it creates has been known to cause some people to recoil from outside situations, opting to conduct as much business as possible from home. We must be careful of this trend, especially with teenagers, for whom positive (and negative) social interaction help to form valuable personality and wisdom.