Friday, October 31, 2008

Sue Scheff: ADHD Parenting Tips




ADHD Parenting Tips: Be Positive and Calm


What does my style of parenting look like? Let’s say your nine-year-old refuses to comply with a simple request, like “Please pick up your toys.” Don’t repeat your request. Don’t yell or threaten a time-out. Instead, respond with action — firm, calm, quiet, and dramatic.


For instance, you might begin placing the toys into a container. If the child asks what you’re doing, you can say that the toys will remain in your possession until she pays you a small sum or performs certain chores. Your floor will be free of clutter — and your child will be more likely to comply next time.



Thursday, October 30, 2008

Sue Scheff: Advocates for Youth - Parent and Teen Information


Advocates for Youth - http://www.advocatesforyouth.org - offers a comprehensive website of information for parenting and teens today. Articles covering issues that kids are dealing with today and helping parents to communicate better with their teens and tweens.

Source: Advocates for Youth

10 Tips for Talking about the Facts of Life


Also available in [PDF] format.Initiating conversations about the facts of life may be difficult for some parents because they did not grow up in an environment where the subject was discussed. Some parents may be afraid they do not know the right answers or feel confused about the proper amount of information to offer.


To help, here are 10 tips from the experts at Advocates for Youth:



First, encourage communication by reassuring your children that they can talk to you about anything.


Take advantage of teachable moments. A friend's pregnancy, news article, or a TV show can help start a conversation.



Listen more than you talk. Think about what you're being asked. Confirm with your child that what you heard is in fact what he or she meant to ask.



Don't jump to conclusions. The fact that a teen asks about sex does not mean they are having or thinking about having sex.



Answer questions simply and directly.


Give factual, honest, short, and simple answers.



Respect your child's views. Share your thoughts and values and help your child express theirs.



Reassure young people that they are normal—as are their questions and thoughts.



Teach your children ways to make good decisions about sex and coach them on how to get out of risky situations.



Admit when you don't know the answer to a question. Suggest the two of you find the answer together on the Internet or in the library.



Discuss that at times your teen may feel more comfortable talking with someone other than you. Together, think of other trusted adults with whom they can talk.



Click here to return to the Parents' Sex Ed Center home page.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Sue Scheff: Keeping Teens from Cheating




“You see it everywhere, you see it on the websites, all of these paper mills - places where you can buy papers, [there are] a variety of ways you can cheat, huge variety of ways. [And many teens think] ‘Well, if it’s so widespread, how could it be so wrong?’”

– Hal Thorsrud, Ph.D, assistant professor of philosophy, Agnes Scott College

“Hi YouTube, it’s me Kiki,” says a young teenage girl staring into her web camera. “Today I’m going to show you guys how to cheat on a test … the effective way.”

This video on YouTube, that had over 100,000 hits in the first week after it was posted, is a tutorial for cheating.

“I know it’s not a good thing to cheat,” Kiki continues, “it’s like academic dishonesty blah, blah, blah … but you know, everyone, I think everyone has at least done it once.”

Kids know cheating is wrong, but still they do it. Why?

“Sometimes the teacher doesn’t give us enough time on our work and we run out of time,” says one girl, “and we have no where else to go.”

“Students do it because they, like, don’t really care and they just want to get it done,” says another girl, “so they can go play and stuff.”

17-year-old Pat Foster says he cheated on a class assignment. “It was almost like second nature,” he says. “Not that I do it all the time, but you got to get it done. You don’t want to get a bad grade, you’re missing a couple of answers - here, scribble it down real quick.”

The problem was his teacher saw the whole thing.

“She looked down at my papers and asked me what I was doing. I looked up - I mean, I knew I was caught.”

He got detention, a one-day suspension and a zero on the assignment.

Did he learn a valuable lesson?

“You kind of learn to work the system,” Pat says. “Basically, by the time you’re a sophomore or junior you know the system and how to get around it. I mean, I know - I do try and do my homework. But if I’m going to cheat – quote-unquote cheat - I’ll do that before I get into class, instead of sitting right there in class where it’s very noticeable.”

Experts say parents need to teach their children that grades are simply one measure of learning – and that a good grade means nothing if you cheated.

“You’re ignoring that fact that you’re not really achieving anything,” says Hal Thorsrud, an assistant professor of philosophy. “It’s not an achievement to get a paper off of an Internet website. So, the best, I suppose the best way to confront the plagiarism problem in the long run is to really focus on the value of education. Just remove the desire to cheat, because you’re not going to remove the means.”

12-year-old Jessica Maledy says her parents have taught her the difference. “I think that you cheat yourself and you cheat everyone else when you cheat,” she says. “You’re using someone else’s credit, so you cheat both that person and yourself - cause it’s not your own work.”

Back in her bedroom, looking into her webcam, Kiki acknowledges that what she’s posting online is probably wrong and may get her in some trouble, “Hopefully my teachers do not see this video, cause that would be very awkward.”

Tips for Parents

A recent edition of the “Report Card on the Ethics of American Youth,” a comprehensive national survey on the ethics of young people administered by The Josephson Institute of Ethics showed the following concerning high school students:

Nearly two-thirds (71 percent) admit they cheated on an exam at least once in the past 12 months (45 percent said they did so two or more times)

Almost all (92 percent) lied to their parents in the past 12 months (79 percent said they did so two or more times)

Over two-thirds (78 percent) lied to a teacher (58 percent two or more times)
Over one-quarter (27 percent) said they would lie to get a job

Forty percent of males and 30 percent of females say they stole something from a store in the past 12 months

These statistics seem to be indicative of a drift away from the morals and values that parents traditionally associate with society in the United States. In the press release accompanying the preliminary result of the survey, Michael Josephson, founder and president of the Josephson Institute of Ethics and CHARACTER COUNTS!, called on politicians to recognize the vital importance of dealing with “shocking levels of moral illiteracy” as part of any educational reform package. Saying the survey data reveals “a hole in the moral ozone,” Josephson added: “Being sure children can read is certainly essential, but it is no less important that we deal with the alarming rate of cheating, lying and violence that threatens the very fabric of our society.”

When discussing issues of morality and values, how can a parent illustrate what it means to be a person of character? The Center for the 4th and 5th R’s provides the following examples of characteristics of an individual with a positive character. For example, a person of character …
Is trustworthy:

Honesty – Tell the truth. Be sincere. Don’t deceive, mislead or be devious or tricky. Don’t betray a trust. Don’t withhold important information in relationships of trust. Don’t steal. Don’t cheat.

Integrity – Stand up for your beliefs about right and wrong. Be your best self. Resist social pressures to do things you think are wrong. Walk your talk. Show commitment, courage and self-discipline.

Promise-keeping – Keep your word. Honor your commitments. Pay your debts. Return what you borrow.

Loyalty – Stand by, support, and protect your family, friends, employers, community and country. Don’t talk behind people’s backs, spread rumors, or engage in harmful gossip. Don’t violate other ethical principles to keep or win a friendship or gain approval. Don’t ask a friend to do something wrong.

Treats all people with respect:

Respect – Be courteous and polite. Judge all people on their merits. Be tolerant, appreciative and accepting of individual differences. Don’t abuse, demean or mistreat anyone. Don’t use, manipulate, exploit or take advantage of others. Respect the right of individuals to make decisions about their own lives.
Acts responsibly:

Accountability – Think before you act. Consider the possible consequences on all people affected by actions. Think for the long-term. Be reliable. Be accountable. Accept responsibility for the consequences of your choices. Don’t make excuses. Don’t blame others for your mistakes or take credit for others’ achievements. Set a good example for those who look up to you.
Pursue excellence – Do your best with what you have. Keep trying. Don’t quit or give up easily. Be diligent and industrious.

Self-control – Exercise self-control. Be disciplined.

Is fair and just:

Fairness – Treat all people fairly. Be open-minded. Listen to others and try to understand what they are saying and feeling. Make decisions which affect others only on appropriate considerations. Don’t take unfair advantage of others’ mistakes. Don’t take more than your fair share.
Is caring:

Caring and kindness – Show you care about others through kindness, caring, sharing and compassion. Live by the Golden Rule. Help others. Don’t be selfish. Don’t be mean, cruel or insensitive to other’s feelings. Be charitable.
Is a good citizen:

Citizenship – Play by the rules. Obey laws. Do your share. Respect authority. Stay informed. Vote. Protect your neighbors and community. Pay your taxes. Be charitable and altruistic. Help your community or school by volunteering service. Protect the environment. Conserve natural resources.

According to experts at CHARACTER COUNTS!, character building is most effective when you regularly see and seize opportunities to …

Strengthen awareness of moral obligations and the moral significance of choices (ethical consciousness).

Enhance the desire to do the right thing (ethical commitment).

Improve the ability to foresee potential consequences, devise options and implement principled choices (ethical competency).

When trying to instill morals and values to your child, experts at CHARACTER COUNTS! say it is important to …

Be consistent – The moral messages you send must be clear, consistent and repetitive. Children will judge your values not by what you say but by what you do and what you permit them to do. They will judge you not by your best moments but by your last worst act.
Thus, everything you say and do, and all that you allow to be said and done in your presence, either reinforces or undermines the credibility of your messages about the importance of good character. Over and over, use the specific language of the core virtues – trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship – and be as firm and consistent as you can be about teaching, advocating, modeling and enforcing these “Six Pillars of Character.” When you are tired, rushed or under pressure you are most tempted to rationalize. It may help to remember that the most powerful and lasting lessons about character are taught by making tough choices when the cost of doing the right thing is high.

Be concrete – Messages about good attitudes, character traits and conduct should be explicit, direct and specific. Building character and teaching ethics is not an academic undertaking; it must be relevant to the lives and experiences of your children. Talk about character and choices in situations that your children have been in. Comment on and discuss things their friends and teachers have done in terms of the “Six Pillars of Character.”

Be creative – Effective character development should be creative. It should be active and involve the child in real decision-making that has real consequences (such as teaching responsibility through allocating money from an allowance or taking care of a pet). Games and role-playing are also effective. Look for “teaching moments,” using good and bad examples from television, movies and the news.

References
The Josephson Institute of Ethics
CHARACTER COUNTS!
Center for the 4th and 5th R’s
“Turn It In” Plagiarism Prevention Program
National Education Association

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Sue Scheff: Safe Teen Driving Club


Are you a parent of a new teenage driver or is your teen about to take the wheel? Be an educated parent - learn more here on this valuable website promoting Safe Teen Driving!
*****************
Our mission is to educate parents and provide them services they can use to keep their teen safe and alive while driving. It's pretty well known that driving crashes are the #1 cause of teen injury and death, taking a back seat to suicide, homocide, drugs, alcohol and all other causes.Feel free to visit our site at http://www.safeteendrivingclub.org/, or our blog at http://safeteendrivingclub.wordpress.com/.


You'll find safety tips, information on our Crash Free America educational program for parents and services and products that are proven to reduce the chances of a crash with your teen.


You can also see a short video about the Club and other media coverage at http://www.safeteendrivingclub.org/stdc_page2.php?page_ID=1193759997.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Sue Scheff - Parents Universal Resource Experts - Cyberbullying




“I’d block them, but then they’d have another screen name and they’d be like ‘you’re a whore, you can’t get away from this’… It would just bring me to tears and I would cry because I couldn’t get away from it as much as I tried.”

– Erica Bryant, 18 years old

Everyday at school, Erica Bryant was harassed. “They’d call me a slut, call me a whore.”

The bullying became too much, so her parents decided to have her home schooled.

“So, sure, a huge part of the problem was resolved in that she didn’t have to face that trauma everyday, she didn’t have to sit in the lunchroom by herself,” explains her mom, Linda Perloff, “but what we didn’t expect was the power of the Internet …we didn’t expect the instant messaging.”

Erica explains her frustration: “I’d block them, but then they’d have another screen name and they’d be like ‘you’re a whore, you can’t get away from this. It would just bring me to tears and I would cry because I couldn’t get away from it, as much as I tried.”

Experts say cyber bullying can be even more painful and pervasive than face-to-face harassment.

“You can never really get away from it,” explains pediatrician Dr. Ken Haller, “because even if you’re not on the Internet checking out what people are saying about you, other people are.”

But, experts say, there are ways to minimize attacks online.

First, make sure your child doesn’t post anything revealing.

“If they’re thinking, I’m just putting this out there for my friends to read, they don’t realize that anyone can pick this up and someone who might be a potential bully would say, ‘Ah! I’m going to use this. This is great’,” says Haller.

Experts say if the cyber bullying doesn’t stop- print the messages out and show them to the bully’s parents. If the messages are threatening, go to the police.

“I always encourage parents to talk to your local law enforcement agency and run it by them,” says Judy Freeman, a school social worker. “Many times they say, ‘well, we really can’t do anything,’ but if it’s - if it borders onto harassment or if there’s some threat involved, they will become involved.”

Erica is now in a new school. The harassment has stopped- at least for her.

“If I see it happen to other girls I’m not going to sit by and watch,” she says. “I’m going to get involved and put an end to it.”

Tips for Parents

Bullying in America has become an epidemic. In fact, with the advent of the Internet, bullies don’t even have to have physical contact with your child to torment him/her. Thus, parents are faced with the monumental task of monitoring the activities of children in a world of virtually unlimited sources of information. Although many parents attempt to regulate the access of their children to the Internet, that access is, in fact, nearly ubiquitous. Consider these facts regarding children, technology and the Internet:

Children are increasingly using new technologies in school, at the library, at home and in after-school activities.

A recent study estimated that nearly 10 million children are online.

Over one quarter of U.S. classrooms have Internet access, and 78 percent of schools have some kind of access to the Internet.

Two out of three public libraries provide computers and Internet access for public use.

Because bullying – including online bullying – can be such an emotional issue, experts say it is extremely important to open the lines of communication with your kids. This can include …

Starting to talk with them early.
Initiating conversations.
Creating an open environment.
Communicating your values.
Listening to your child.
Trying to be honest.
Being patient.
Sharing your experiences.

Also, watch for behavioral changes. Children who are suffering from teasing and bullying may try to hide the hurt. They become withdrawn from family and friends, lose interest in hobbies, and may turn to destructive habits like alcohol, drugs, and acts of violence.

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

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

Monitor your child’s Internet use. If your child knows you are watching, he/she is less likely to take part in cyber-bullying. Also, encourage him/her to avoid using chat rooms with violent or derogatory conversations.

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

Be consistent about rules and discipline. When you make a rule, stick to it. Your child needs structure with clear expectations for his or her behavior. Setting rules and then not enforcing them is confusing and sets up your child to “see what he or she can get away with.”

Try to keep your child from seeing violence in the home or community. Violence in the home can be frightening and harmful to children. A child who has seen violence at home does not always become violent, but he or she may be more likely to try to resolve conflicts with violence.
Try to keep your child from seeing too much violence in the media. Watching a lot of violence on television, in the movies and in video games can lead children to behave aggressively. As a parent, you can control the amount of violence your child sees in the media by limiting television viewing and previewing games, movies, etc., before allowing access to them by your child.

Help your child stand up against violence. Support your child in standing up against violence. Teach him or her to respond with calm but firm words when others insult or threaten another person.
Help your child understand that it takes more courage and leadership to resist violence than to go along with it.

References
Kaiser Family Foundation
Talking With Your Kids
British Medical Journal
American Academy of Pediatrics
University of California- Los Angeles

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Dozier Internet Law: $11.3 Million Sue Scheff Defamation Judgment Confirmed on Appeal

Dozier Internet Law is constantly battling the scofflaws of the web. On the one hand, the Internet as a whole opens up the world to everyone. On the other hand, it opens up the world to, well...to everyone. Defamation laws and related judicial interpretations evolved historically at a time, and in an environment, in which there were inherent protections that served as a filter of sorts. Today those protections are lost to the ability to distribute attacks to millions overnight. Want to physically picket a business? You have to invest time and disclose your identity if you are going to coordinate and show up at a business. Want to print and distribute flyers, or take out an advertisement or run a commercial? Expensive, of course. And newspapers and television wouldn't print, even as ads or commercials, alot of the outrageous claims and statements being readily distributed online.

Once in a while, Dozier Internet Law sees comments encouraging such illegality from what might seem to be credible sources. But the application and interpretation of laws dealing with disparagement and defamation and other lawlessness will eventually catch up with the online scofflaws, and defending misconduct by claiming you saw a blog by a lawyer saying it was legal is not a defense.
On October 15, 2008 the District Court of Appeal of the State of Florida just rejected an appeal from the Defendant and confirmed a JURY judgment on behalf of Susan Scheff in the sum of $11.3 Million, of which $5 Million was for punitive damages (on behalf of Susan Scheff and her very small business), against an individual who took it upon herself to publish allegedly defamatory statements online. Read the plaintiff's comments by Sue Scheff about "free speech".

Online defamation and product disparagement is a huge issue, of course, and businesses are under attack. This judgment is just another example of the legal system catching up with online misconduct. And instead of a real attempt to establish standards and self police and self regulate, one blogger organization has started selling insurance to bloggers. It strikes me that insurance coverage is a wonderful thing for the businesses under attack. At Dozier Internet Law we hear from dozens of victims of online blog attacks each week, it seems. The possibility of insurance coverage is great. Online defamation promises to be a growth industry for trial lawyers. Another example, I surmise, of an unanticipated and unintended consequence...but this time of mammoth proportions.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Sue Scheff: Parenting ADHD Children




Help Socially Immature Kids Make Friends and Succeed at School


How to help children with ADHD improve behavior and social skills to make friends and do well at school.


The problem: The social maturity of children with attention deficit disorder (ADD ADHD) may be a few years behind that of their peers. In addition, they have difficulty reading verbal and physical social cues, misinterpreting remarks, or not getting jokes or games. Thus, their responses and reactions are often inappropriate, and it may be difficult to make friends their own age.


The reason: ADHD is a developmental disorder in which brain maturation is delayed. The student’s development may also be uneven. Students may behave appropriately in some situations but not in others, leading some unenlightened adults to believe “they can behave when they want to.”


The obstacles: ADHD children are usually not aware of how immature or off-base they may seem to peers and adults. They cannot adequately read other people’s responses to their behavior. Desperate for positive attention, they may try behavior that is outrageous, funny, or negative, mistakenly believing it will gain them friends and respect. They may be ostracized by their peers and singled out by teachers, which hurts their self-esteem.



Friday, October 17, 2008

Sue Scheff: Free Speech is still Here, but it won't Condone Internet Defamation


Back in September 2006, I was awarded over $11.3M jury verdict for damages. They were defamatory and false statements about my organization, myself and my family.
I fought back, and won! The defendant attempted to have the judgment set aside - although she was firmly denied in July 2007, she filed an appeal.
Today, it is official - she loses again in the appellate court, and the $11.3M judgment stands firm!
Free speech is still in tact, but it will not condone defamation.
Remember, think before your post - sometimes keystrokes can be costly!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Citizen Leadership by Sue Scheff


As American citizens, we find ourselves in a privileged and unique position as members of the most powerful Democratic state in the entire world. But the luxuries we enjoy in this country come with a powerful responsibility—the responsibility of positive citizenship. We must all embrace our unique ability to be good citizens, and we must maintain our civic duty by helping the community around us through positive civic involvement. This site is dedicated to helping show people how they can be a positive part of their community and truly embrace the ideal of a good citizen.


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

Read more.

Monday, October 13, 2008

(Sue Scheff) Stop Interrupting! Better ADHD School Behavior


How teachers and parents can inspire better ADHD school behavior with help from these impulse-controlling exercises for children with attention-deficit.




The problem: The student with attention deficit disorder (ADD ADHD) interrupts the teacher and classmates by calling out answers or commenting while others are speaking.The reason: Children with ADHD have difficulty controlling their impulses. Scientists believe that a problem with dopamine, a brain chemical, causes them to respond immediately and reflexively to their environment — whether the stimulus is a question, an idea, or a treat.


That’s why they often seem to act or talk before thinking, and ADHD school behavior suffers as a result.The obstacles: Children with ADHD may not be aware that they are interrupting. Even if they are, they have difficulty understanding that their behavior is disturbing or disruptive to others.Simply telling them their behavior is wrong doesn’t help. Even though they know this, their impulsivity overrides their self-control. Many ADHD children can’t understand nonverbal reprimands, like frowning, either.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Sue Scheff: What are your kids putting Online?


I read this very interesting Blog today on today's kids and what they can put online about not only themselves, but about their parents! Not excluding other family members.


By Eve Tahmincioglu


Are your Internet-crazed kids sabotaging your job search/career?


Who knows things about you that you’d rather not share with the general public? That you drink two or three martinis every night. Maybe you like to call in sick when you’re really not sick to play basketball with the kids. Or maybe you’re prone to punching in walls when you fight with your spouse.

I’ve written a lot about digital dirt lately. You know, the negative information about you on the Internet you don’t want your boss or prospective employers to see.


Well, here’s a minefield you better keep an eye on — Your own digitally savvy kids that seem to spend every waking moment of their lives sending weird things to eachother on Facebook, or MySpace.


The owner of ReputationDefender.com, Michael Fertick, recently told me of a new phenomenon he’s discovered in his quest to help people everywhere protect their online reputations. The company helps individuals by searching the Internet for bad stuff about their customers and then finding ways to get rid of it. Sometimes it’s as simple as calling a blogger and asking that something negative be removed, and in other cases it requires writing lots of good stuff about a client so it drowns out the bad stuff.


The bad stuff usually comes from disgruntled girlfriends or boyfriends; people criticizing something you wrote or a project you worked on; or maybe you got rowdy at a football game and the local paper wrote about you.


But Fertik was surprised when he discovered a new source for the bad stuff — his customers’ own kids.


Turns out some tweens, teens and even 20 somethings out there are writing about private family matters on social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace, and also sharing their pain on blogs. And they’re naming names.
“We’ve seen discussions by kids of parents’ incomes,” he says. For example, ‘Dad makes $75,000 per year’. They also write about their parents’ relationships, “‘Mom and Dad are fighting pretty hard tonight’, of career news ‘Mom didn’t get the promotion she wanted’; and even social habits or qualities, ‘Dad is such a d–k,’ or ‘Dad is a friggin’ alcoholic.’”


Parents shouldn’t be too surprised that their children are sharing this stuff on the Web. Kids have always had to vent about family issues to their friends, but before the Internet, conversations were kept out of the public forum, for the most part.


Fertik’s advice: Talk to your kids and check out their FaceBook accounts now. “Let them know whatever they write is a tattoo that can stain them and you (the parent), possibly forever,” he adds.


We’ve all been so worried lately that our kids may end up writing something about themselves, or sharing suggestive photos of themselves on social networking sites that could end up hurting them when they go out into the job market. None of us thought about what they may be writing about us.


Is there something your kids know that could come back to haunt you?


Thursday, October 9, 2008

Sue Scheff Shares "Wit's End!" with the Florida Sun-Sentinel


'Wit's End' book offers advice to help out-of-control teens


By Liz Doup South Florida Sun-SentinelOctober 8, 2008


A decade ago, when her 14-year-old daughter spiraled out of control, Sue Scheff didn't know where to turn.


As a result, the Weston mom sent Ashlyn to a residential program that harmed rather than helped, she says. It was a drastic move after her daughter had temporarily run away and threatened violence.


In hindsight, Scheff wishes she had looked more closely at schools and asked more questions. To help parents avoid her mistakes, she started researching programs that offer professional treatment in a residential setting. She put what she learned in the recently published book, Wit's End: Advice and Resources for Saving Your Out-of-Control Teen (Health Communications Inc.; $14.95). She also created Parents' Universal Resource Experts Inc. (helpyourteens.com).

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Teen Suicide - by Sue Scheff


Suicide is the third most common cause of death amongst adolescents between 15-24 years of age, and the sixth most common cause of death amongst 5-14 year olds. It is estimated that over half of all teens suffering from depression will attempt suicide at least once, and of those teens, roughly seven percent will succeed on the first try. Teenagers are especially vulnerable to the threat of suicide, because in addition to increased stress from school, work and peers, teens are also dealing with hormonal fluctuations that can complicate even the most normal situations.


Because of these social and personal changes, teens are also at higher risk for depression, which can also increase feelings of despair and the desire to commit suicide.


In fact, according to a study by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) almost all people who commit suicide suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder or substance abuse disorder. Often, teens feel as though they have no other way out of their problems, and may not realize that suicidal thoughts and feelings can be treated. Unfortunately, due to the often volatile relationship between teens and their parents, teens may not be as forthcoming about suicidal feelings as parents would hope. The good news is there are many signs parents can watch for in their teen without necessarily needing their teen to open up to them.


At some point in most teens’ lives, they will experience periods of sadness, worry and/or despair. While it is completely normal for a healthy person to have these types of responses to pain resulting from loss, dismissal, or disillusionment, those with serious (often undiagnosed) mental illnesses often experience much more drastic reactions. Many times these severe reactions will leave the teen in despair, and they may feel that there is no end in sight to their suffering. It is at this point that the teen may lose hope, and with the absence of hope comes more depression and the feeling that suicide is the only solution. It isn’t.


Teen girls are statistically twice as likely as their male counterparts to attempt suicide. They tend to turn to drugs (overdosing) or to cut themselves, while boys are traditionally more successful in their suicide attempts because they utilize more lethal methods such as guns and hanging. This method preference makes boys almost four times more successful in committing suicide.


Studies have borne out that suicide rates rise considerably when teens can access firearms in their home. In fact, nearly 60% of suicides committed in the United States that result in immediate death are accomplished with a gun. This is one crucial reason that any gun kept in a home with teens, even if that teen does not display any outward signs of depression, be stored in a locked compartment away from any ammunition. In fact, the ammunition should be stored in a locked compartment as well, and the keys to both the gun and ammunition compartments should be kept in a different area from where normal, everyday keys are kept. Remember to always keep firearms, ammunition, and the keys to the locks containing them, away from kids.
Unfortunately, teen suicide is not a rare event.


In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that suicide is the third leading cause of death for people between the ages of 15 and 24. This disturbing trend is affecting younger children as well, with suicide rates experiencing dramatic increases in the under-15 age group from 1980 to 1996. Suicide attempts are even more prevalent, though it is difficult to track the exact rates.


Monday, October 6, 2008

Sue Scheff: Teen Truancy


Truancy is a term used to describe any intentional unauthorized absence from compulsory schooling. Children in America today lose over five million days of their education each year through truancy. Often times they do this without the knowledge of their parents or school officials. In common usage the term typically refers to absences caused by students of their own free will, and usually does not refer to legitimate "excused" absences, such as ones related to a medical condition. It may also refer to students who attend school but do not go to classes. Because of this confusion many schools have their own definitions, and as such the exact meaning of the term itself will differ from school to school and district to district. In order to avoid or diminish confusion, many schools explicitly define the term and their particular usage thereof in the school's handbook of policies and procedures. In many instances truancy is the term referring to an absence associated with the most brazen student irresponsibility and results in the greatest consequences.

Many educators view truancy as something much more far reaching than the immediate consequence that missed schooling has on a student's education. Truancy may indicate more deeply embedded problems with the student, the education they are receiving, or both. Because of its traditional association with juvenile delinquency, truancy in some schools may result in an ineligibility to graduate or to receive credit for class attended, until the time lost to truancy is made up through a combination of detention, fines, or summer school. This can be especially troubling for a child, as failing school can lead to social impairment if the child is held back, economic impact if the child drops out or cannot continue his or her education, and emotional impact as the cycle of failure diminishes the adolescent's self-esteem.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Sue Scheff: Students' Guide to Saying No to Cheating


By Dr. Lisa Medoff


As school is now open - first semester in full swing - these books are a tremendous help for parents and kids.


With a rise in recent years in the number of students seeking mental health services, an increase in cheating behavior in school, and constant concern from parents, teachers, and especially students about academic achievement, the time is now for a book series to address academic stress.


Personally, these books by Lisa Medoff are a very easy read for both parents and kids - if you have a niece, nephew, son, daughter, friend that is a teen or pre-teen - there is a lot to gain from these books.


Type the title in the Amazon Box for more information.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Sue Scheff: Learning More About Teens and the Internet


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.
Learn more - click here.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Sue Scheff: Getting Teens Talking


I speak with parents frequently and the most common problems I hear is the lack of communication with their teenagers today. Connect with Kids has a great article to help you break through this communication barrier with some great tips and ideas in dealing with your teens.




"You can push too much and that’ll shut the child down. So it’s a fine balance: Be available, be a good listener, and also know when you do need to push in case they’re into some things that they shouldn’t be.”

– Gloria Meaux, Ph.D., psychologist

How much do teenagers tell their parents?

“I hardly share anything with my parents,” says 16-year-old Derek Kelley.

“I share very little with my parents,” says 18-year-old Tyler Wichelhaus.

And Jessie Donaghy gives an example of a question she hates: “How was your day?”

“When you’ve had a horrible day, you just feel like people at school are mad at you,” she says. “Your classes went horribly, you failed a test. It can almost be an insult without them knowing it, because it just seems insensitive.”

Experts say parents are better served asking about something specific: school projects coming up, weekend plans with a friend, or a test that the child may be worried about

“The specific questions, you’ll get more bang for your buck if you want them to communicate back to you than some general question that you could ask a stranger on the street,” says Dr. Meaux.

“Sometimes she’ll be like ‘so how is that situation going with this person’ and I’ll just burst out crying,” says Jessie.

Experts say it starts by being easy to talk to. “You’re sort of the approachable parent, that you listen more than you talk, and listening is the hard thing,” says Dr. Meaux.

And once they truly believe you’re listening, experts say they’ll open up more.

“The more talking they’ll do because they’ll be open,” says Licensed Clinical Social Worker Freddie Wilson. “[They’ll be more open if they feel] you’re open to hearing what I’m saying rather than talking and giving them solutions and solving their problems for them. They want someone to hear them.”

And knowing when your child really needs your ear comes from getting to know your child.

“I’ll look at her and I’ll say ‘You look like you’re down, did something happen?’ Yea. Was it so and so? Yea,” explains Mrs. Donaghy.

“It helps to know that she cares and that she’s actually wanting to know about things,” says Jessie.

Tips for Parents


While the teenage years can be a very frustrating time for parents and teenagers alike, no secret formula exists for talking to teens. But the Harvard School of Public Health’s Parenting Project, which conducted extensive research on parenting teens, found that “significant agreement” exists among experts regarding important basic principles for opening the communication lines.

The project’s most recent report highlights the basics of raising and communicating with your teenagers and includes a list of strategies for each. In the report, Dr. Rae Simpson says parents need to “love and connect” with their teen.

“Teens need parents to develop and maintain a relationship with them that offers support and acceptance,” Dr. Simpson writes, “while accommodating and affirming the teen’s increasing maturity.”

According to the report, you can connect with your teen by following these suggestions:

Watch for moments when you feel and can express genuine affection, respect and appreciation for your teen.
Acknowledge the good times made possible by your teen’s personality and growth.


Expect increased criticism and debate and strengthen your skills for discussing those ideas and disagreements in ways that respect both your teen’s opinions and your own.


Spend time just listening to your teen’s thoughts and feelings about his or her fears, concerns, interests, ideas, perspectives, activities, jobs, schoolwork and relationships.


Treat each teen as a unique individual distinct from siblings, stereotypes, his or her past or your own past.
Appreciate and acknowledge each teen’s new areas of interest, skills, strengths and accomplishments, as well as the positive aspects of adolescence generally, such as its passion, vitality, humor and deepening intellectual thought.


Provide meaningful roles for your teen in the family, ones that are genuinely useful and important to the family’s well being.


Spend time together one-on-one and as a family, continuing some familiar family routines, while also taking advantage of ways in which new activities, such as community volunteering, can offer alternative ways to connect.


By respecting and loving your teenager, you open the lines of communication and build a supportive and trusting environment so that your child feels comfortable opening up to you.

Dr. Simpson offers this key message to parents: “Most things about [your teen’s] world are changing. Don’t let your love be one of them.”

Research has shown that while teenagers want their freedom, they also appreciate their parents showing concern for them and being interested in their daily activities. Experts have listed guidelines for parents to set for their teenagers while still allowing them room to grow.

Monitor what your teen watches on television.
Monitor what your teen does on the Internet.
Put restrictions on the music your teen purchases.
Know where your teen spends his or her time after school and on the weekends.
Expect to be told the truth by your teen about where he or she is going.
Be “very aware” of your teen’s academic performance.
Impose a curfew.
Eat dinner with your teen six or seven nights a week.
Turn off the television during family meals.
Assign your teen regular chores.
By setting some or all of these rules, you will be in control and have a working knowledge of your teen’s activities, while still allowing them to make their own choices and decisions.

References
Bonus Families
Families are Talking
The Media Project
Focus on the Family

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Sue Scheff: Raising Teens in a New Culture




Raising teens poses enough challenges in itself - parenting a teen in a new culture adds another level of complexity. Chances are, your teen years were very different than your child's will be living in America. Here's a few things to keep in mind as you guide your teen into young adulthood:


YOUR TEEN MAY TRY TO FIT THE "AMERICAN" NORM.We may not like it, but this is normal. Sometimes it means they will dress in strange ways or "reject" their culture. Peer pressure is a big deal to kids at this age, and they're just trying to fit in with the rest of their friends and schoolmates at this time.


PASS ON YOUR CULTURE AND LANGUAGE.Your teen should know your family's traditions, beliefs, religion and language, as well as the story of your journey to America. Right now, teens may not be interested or even "rebuff" their culture. As they grow up, they will learn to appreciate their language, food and customs - and take pride in these traditions.


LISTEN TO YOUR TEEN.It's hard to grow up in two cultures. Teens need support to help understand their roots, while you may need their help to understand what it's like to grow up in America. Talking and listening to each other will help you both succeed.


KNOW THE CULTURAL DIFFERENCES.There are many "standards" that may be different from your culture. For example, friendships outside the family may be more common than they were in your childhood. Or, you may be concerned that your children aren't obedient or respectful. Your teens are growing up in two cultures. To help your teen succeed in America, decide what expectations you need to keep and what you can change.



TALK WITH OTHER PARENTS. YOU ARE NOT ALONE.As private as parenting is, we all need ideas - especially when we are raising our teens in a new culture. Get together with other parents to share advice and stories, and explore this site for more culturally-specific parenting resources.


Visit http://www.education.com/ for more great informational articles on raising kids today!