Monday, March 30, 2009

Sue Scheff: 5 Parent Secrets: Bring Out the Best In Your ADHD Child

Every child is born with gifts. A child who has the fascinating trait called attention deficit disorder (ADHD) possesses extraordinary ones, but they may be hidden. And if they’re found, they can be tough to unwrap.

I hear from parents who say they need a plan to help them do that. Well, your wish has been granted. I have a five-step plan, called the cycle of excellence, which will reveal your ADHD child's gifts for all to see.

The plan works best if you love your child in the right way. First, try to catch her spirit and essence. Watch, listen, and interact with her, and don’t direct or worry about getting things done. Just hang out with her. You’ll come to see who your child is.

Before she gets labeled smart or stupid, hardworking or lazy, athletic or klutzy, friendly or taciturn, engaging or standoffish, before she gets labeled ADD or XYZ, a parent usually senses the beginnings of who her child is. Hold on to that!

Second, don’t listen much to the diagnosticians. Out of necessity, diagnosticians oversimplify. We miss the subtleties, the complexities, and the richness that makes up the spirit of a child. It is sad to see how many children lose that essence growing up. You can protect your child’s spirit by noticing it, naming it, and nourishing it.

The cycle of excellence will do the rest. I have used it many times — and have seen it used by other parents. The plan will help your child do more than get by in life. She will thrive and soar beyond where she, her teachers, and even you may have thought she could. Now let’s get started.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sue Scheff: NextGen Parenting for Today's New Generation

Next Generation Parenting offers a vast amount of information for parents of all ages of children. Take a moment to get informed and learn new parenting skills as well as their Blog that brings you up to date parenting ideas!

Source: Next Generation Parenting

Research by University of Kentucky, USA, provides the following guidelines to establish Innovative Parenting Techniques in this 6 areas.

Care for Self
• Establish habits of healthy eating, rest and relaxation, sleep, and physical activity
• Stay away from harmful influences; i.e., substances, people, activities
• Keep adult relationships healthy
• Demonstrate a realistic balance between their own needs and the needs of their children
• Celebrate what they do well
• Share strong feelings with other trusted people
• Show ability to cope with three major stressors in their lives
• Identify and make a plan for managing anger triggers
• Demonstrate two ways to express anger that are self-satisfying, acceptable to others, and help ccomplish a desired goal

• Identify nature’s rules about how children grow and change at all ages
• Describe four areas of development: physical/motor, social, emotional, intellectual/language
• Describe insightfully parents’ own growing up experiences
• Recognize the individual child’s unique characteristics
• Verbalize understanding of one’s own and children’s temperamental differences and implications or getting along together
• Evidence of ability to observe how children grow and change
• Reports of age-appropriate parent-child play activities and playthings that help development along

• Describe the meaning of discipline—teaching self-control and self-responsibility
• Describe the meaning of guidance—walking beside child to show the way, letting the child learn by doing as much as possible
• Give examples of the family as an interactive system
• Describe the difference between discipline and punishment
• Demonstrate a balance between parental warmth/acceptance and parental control/strictness
• Demonstrate consistency as a principle of living: Structure provides stability, trust, security
• Demonstrate use of preventive discipline practices—realistic expectations for behavior, open communication, family ground rules, limited choices that increase with age, appropriate structure and routines, monitoring behavior according to developmental and individual differences, positive responses (do’s instead of don’ts; praise for following ground rules), child-proofing the environment for all ages, avoiding over-involvement in activities
• Demonstrate ability to manage misbehavior—recognizing reasons for misbehavior, firmness, fair and reasonable limits, non-punitive discipline that works, logical and natural consequences, consistency in enforcement when misbehavior occurs

• Express parental feelings of affection in both word and action
• Plan and engage in activities that are enjoyable for both parent and child
• Give examples of supportive, give-and-take conversation with child old enough to talk
• Listen attentively to children’s thoughts and feelings
• Use child’s name often and positively when speaking to them
• Acknowledge child’s place in the family by discussing details of her birth, selection of her name, stories about her early years, similarity to ancestors, etc.
• Implement age-appropriate ways of playing with child
• Show evidence of daily reading with child
• Give examples of sincere praise for specific actions and accomplishments
• Help children develop a sense of family and cultural heritage
• Help children develop a sense of spirituality through involvement in related home and community activities


• Establish a learning environment in the home for both children and parents, i.e., comfortable chairs for reading and designated places to store books and newspapers; limitations on television watching and other noisy influences; quiet place, good lighting, work space, and designated time for homework; reading material of interest to children and parents; regular visits to public library
• View themselves as their child’s most important teacher
• Stimulate child’s curiosity and desire to earn by providing concrete, sensory experiences in and near the home as well as around the community, in nature, and farther away through family trips and study if possible
• Describe child’s unique learning characteristics and multiple intelligences, i.e., visual, auditory,kinesthetic (movement-oriented), linguistic, musical, mathematical-scientific, etc.
• Identify child’s learning problems and do something about them
• Provide language-rich activities
• Encourage and respond supportively to child’s efforts to learn
• Promote relatively conflict-free environment at home for maximum peaceful concentration on learning
• Assist with homework to appropriate extent
• Promote child’s responsible decision-making through modeling and guidance
• Teach and practice wise time management through family activities, modeling, and encouragement

• Become acquainted with the community and its resources
• Locate reliable resources and growth opportunities for benefit of parent and children
• Describe a process to locate high-quality, affordable child care
• Build parent’s own circle of resources to establish a baby-sitting cooperative, car pool, play group, ports league, etc.
• Effectively represent child’s needs to organizations and agencies to make a link with the child
• Write a letter to or telephone the child’s school to set up a conference with the teacher to discuss things that are going well and those that may need improvement
• Write a letter to speak up for positive change toward more community family-friendly policies

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teen Drug Use - The Deal on Substance Abuse

Source: TeensHealth
These days, drugs can be found everywhere, and it may seem like everyone's doing them. Many teens are tempted by the excitement or escape that drugs seem to offer.

But learning the facts about drugs can help you see the risks of chasing this excitement or escape. Here's what you need to know.

Thanks to medical and drug research, there are thousands of drugs that help people. Antibiotics and vaccines have revolutionized the treatment of infections. Medicines can lower blood pressure, treat diabetes, and reduce the body's rejection of new organs. Medicines can cure, slow, or prevent disease, helping us to lead healthier and happier lives. But there are also lots of illegal, harmful drugs that people take to help them feel good or have a good time.
How do drugs work? Drugs are chemicals or substances that change the way our bodies work. When you put them into your body (often by swallowing, inhaling, or injecting them), drugs find their way into your bloodstream and are transported to parts of your body, such as your brain. In the brain, drugs may either intensify or dull your senses, alter your sense of alertness, and sometimes decrease physical pain.
A drug may be helpful or harmful. The effects of drugs can vary depending upon the kind of drug taken, how much is taken, how often it is used, how quickly it gets to the brain, and what other drugs, food, or substances are taken at the same time. Effects can also vary based on the differences in body size, shape, and chemistry.

Although substances can feel good at first, they can ultimately do a lot of harm to the body and brain. Drinking alcohol, smoking tobacco, taking illegal drugs, and sniffing glue can all cause serious damage to the human body. Some drugs severely impair a person's ability to make healthy choices and decisions.
Teens who drink, for example, are more likely to get involved in dangerous situations, such as driving under the influence or having unprotected sex.

And just as there are many kinds of drugs available, there are as many reasons for trying them or starting to use them regularly. People take drugs just for the pleasure they believe they can bring. Often it's because someone tried to convince them that drugs would make them feel good or that they'd have a better time if they took them.
Some teens believe drugs will help them think better, be more popular, stay more active, or become better athletes. Others are simply curious and figure one try won't hurt. Others want to fit in. A few use drugs to gain attention from their parents.

Many teens use drugs because they're depressed or think drugs will help them escape their problems. The truth is, drugs don't solve problems — they simply hide feelings and problems. When a drug wears off, the feelings and problems remain, or become worse. Drugs can ruin every aspect of a person's life.
Here are the facts on some of the more common drugs:


The oldest and most widely used drug in the world, alcohol is a depressant that alters perceptions, emotions, and senses.
How It's Used: Alcohol is a liquid that is drunk.

Effects & Dangers:

Alcohol first acts as a stimulant, and then it makes people feel relaxed and a bit sleepy.
High doses of alcohol seriously affect judgment and coordination. Drinkers may have slurred speech, confusion, depression, short-term memory loss, and slow reaction times.
Large volumes of alcohol drunk in a short period of time may cause alcohol poisoning.
Addictiveness: Teens who use alcohol can become psychologically dependent upon it to feel good, deal with life, or handle stress. In addition, their bodies may demand more and more to achieve the same kind of high experienced in the beginning. Some teens are also at risk of becoming physically addicted to alcohol. Withdrawal from alcohol can be painful and even life threatening. Symptoms range from shaking, sweating, nausea, anxiety, and depression to hallucinations, fever, and convulsions.

Amphetamines are stimulants that accelerate functions in the brain and body. They come in pills or tablets. Prescription diet pills also fall into this category of drugs.

Street Names: speed, uppers, dexies, bennies

How They're Used: Amphetamines are swallowed, inhaled, or injected.
Effects & Dangers:

Swallowed or snorted, these drugs hit users with a fast high, making them feel powerful, alert, and energized.

Uppers pump up heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure, and they can also cause sweating, shaking, headaches, sleeplessness, and blurred vision.

Prolonged use may cause hallucinations and intense paranoia.

Addictiveness: Amphetamines are psychologically addictive. Users who stop report that they experience various mood problems such as aggression, anxiety, and intense cravings for the drugs.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teens Prepping for SAT's

Study, study, study - college applications, campus tours and major decisions! What do I want to be when I grow up? What do I want to study? Do I want a large campus, small? Close to home or out of state? Choices, choices, choices - but most will begin with your SAT scores. Be prepared, no one says you have to know what you want to be, but what you do need to know is you have to do your best on your test scores. With this, many doors will be open for you and chances are greater will find what will be your brightest future.


“Some students will see huge differences. [Some] students don’t improve at all. Students get out of it what they put into it.”
– Wendi Deen Johnson, Kaplan Score Prep

In just a few weeks 17-year old Caroline will take the SAT for the first time.

“Well I know it’s like a really important test and I am really kind of concerned about that because I want to go to a really good college,” says Caroline. To prepare for the college entrance exam, Caroline enrolled in an SAT prep course where she learned some useful strategies.
“For instance, she says, “What kind of questions are going to be asked and timing- it speeds me up so that I can get through more questions and hopefully get more answers right. “
But how will that prep course affect her score?

“Some students will see huge differences- we’ve had students who’ve increased 300-points. We also have students who don’t improve at all. Most of the time, students get out of it what they put into it,” says Wendi Deen Johnson, a spokesperson with the Score Prep division of Kaplan, Inc. a national test preparation company.

According to the College Board which administers the SAT, on average, SAT coaching increases verbal scores by eight points and math scores by eighteen points. In other words, coached students are likely to get one to three more questions right when compared to non-coached students.

If parents do opt to enroll their children in professional prep courses, even some in the test prep industry say it can be a mistake to start too early.

“If it’s a kid who’s really anxious about test-taking, then probably preparing them early wouldn’t be the best thing. You’d want to give them some time to mature and grow and learn some more skills,” says Johnson.

Commercial prep courses can cost hundreds of dollars, but experts say parents can help their kids prepare for less money by purchasing study guides, surfing the net for information, or enrolling in independent study courses.

That is exactly what Caroline did. Soon she’ll find out how well it worked.
“I’m hoping for a 1400 on the SAT,” she says. A near perfect score.

Tips for Parents

Anxiety stemming from standardized tests is not uncommon among today’s teens. In fact, a poll conducted by Public Agenda showed that 73 percent of surveyed students said they get nervous before taking a test, while 5 percent said they become too nervous to even take the test.

The University of Illinois Extension says that most students experience some level of anxiety during an exam, and this anxiety is due to a variety of reasons:

Poor time management
Failure to organize information
Poor study habits
Negative test-taking experience
Low self-confidence
Negative attitude about school

According to the State University of New York at Buffalo, children who frequently experience test anxiety also worry about the future and become extremely self-critical. Instead of feeling challenged by the prospect of success, they become afraid of failure. This makes them anxious about tests and their own abilities. And ultimately, they become so worked up that they feel incompetent about the subject matter or the test.

The National PTA says that it does not help to tell your child to relax, to think about something else or stop worrying about standardized tests. But you can help your child reduce test anxiety and prepare for tests like the SAT by encouraging the following actions:

Space studying over days or weeks. (Real learning occurs through studying that takes place over a period of time.) Understand the information and relate it to what is already known. Review it more than once. By doing this, your child should feel prepared at exam time.

Don’t “cram” the night before – cramming increases anxiety, which interferes with clear thinking. Get a good night’s sleep. Rest, exercise and eating well are as important to test taking as they are to other schoolwork.

Read the directions carefully when the instructor hands out the test. If you don’t understand them, ask the teacher to explain.

Look quickly at the entire examination to see what types of questions are included (multiple choice, matching, true/ false, essay, etc.) and, if possible, the number of points for each. This will help you pace yourself.

If you don’t know the answer to a question, skip it and go on. Don’t waste time worrying about it. Mark it so you can identify it as unanswered. If you have time at the end of the exam, return to the unanswered question(s).

As a parent, you can be a great help to your child if you observe these do’s and don’ts about tests and testing from the U.S. Department of Education:

Don’t be too anxious about your child’s test scores. If you put too much emphasis on test scores, this can upset your child.

Do encourage your child. Praise him/her for the things he or she does well. If your child feels good about himself or herself, he/she will do his/her best. Children who are afraid of failing are more likely to become anxious when taking tests and more likely to make mistakes.

Don’t judge your child on the basis of a single test score. Test scores are not perfect measures of what your child can do. Other factors might influence a test score. For example, your child can be affected by the way he/she is feeling, the setting in the classroom and the attitude of the teacher. Remember also that one test is simply one test.

Meet with your child’s teacher as often as possible to discuss his/her progress. Ask the teacher to suggest activities for you and your child to do at home to help prepare for tests and improve your child’s understanding of schoolwork. Parents and teachers should work together to benefit students.

Make sure your child attends school regularly. Remember, tests do reflect children’s overall achievement. The more effort and energy your child puts into learning, the more likely he/she will do well on tests.

Provide a quiet, comfortable place for studying at home.

Make sure that your child is well rested on school days and especially the day of a test. Children who are tired are less able to pay attention in class or to handle the demands of a test.
Give your child a well-rounded diet. A healthy body leads to a healthy, active mind.
Provide books and magazines for your child to read at home. By reading new materials, your child will learn new words that might appear on a test. Ask your child’s school about a suggested outside reading list or get suggestions from the public library.

College Board
National PTA
Public Agenda
State University of New York at Buffalo
University of Illinois Extension
U.S. Department of Education

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Sue Scheff: Parenting Teens and Keeping them Safe on the Road

Parenting: How to Keep Them Safe
- by: Staff Writers

Parents: as your teen begins driving, you are entering the most dangerous phase of your entire child-rearing career.

You might have seen that comment elsewhere on our site. It bears repeating.
Teens are under the control and influence of parents. There is no more important factor that affects a teen's driving behavior than parents. Here are some excellent insights into parenting issues that we hope you'll find helpful.

Honoring Ashley - The Art of Driving (by Ashley's Mom, Robin Thompson)
Why Teenagers Act Weird [Article by Sharon Mahoney, originally published in Prevention magazine.]

Monday, March 23, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teens Skipping School

As summer is approaching, truancy (skipping school) can be on the rise. Teens are anxious to start their summer break a bit early without realizing the consequences. Take time to learn more about 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.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Sue Scheff: Jobs and Drug Use

Connect with Kids

“They end up experimenting in such a way that the use of that [extra] income is not really going toward beneficial things for them.”

– Dr. Richard Winer, Psychiatrist
For just seventeen, Adam Shapiro’s work experience is impressive. “I have worked at my synagogue… like three hours a week probably on a Sunday. I was assistant teacher. I’ve ref’d soccer before,” he says.

But with major exams this week, the jobs will have to wait.

“Are you studying the rest of the week?” his mom, Karen, asks him,“Yeah,” says Adam.
“The number one priority for us is his studies. So, if he wanted to work and make extra money that was great, as long as it did not interfere with his studies,” explains his mom, Karen.
Previous studies have found that kids who work just ten hours a week admit to cheating more often in school and taking less challenging courses.

And a new survey by the Rand Corporation finds that kids who work are also more likely to use drugs and alcohol and smoke cigarettes.

The difference between them and their unemployed peers: lack of supervision for one and extra cash.

“They end up experimenting in such a way that the use of that the use of that income is not really going toward beneficial things for them,” explains Dr. Richard Winer, a psychiatrist.
He says parents need to keep a close eye on where the money is going, and how the job is affecting their child. “Their sleep patterns, their eating patterns, their social skills among peers as well as family member… if there’s a distinct change that’s taken place then it’s probably worth looking into to that, because that might be kind of a warning sign.”

Finally, he says kids will do better off if they take a job for the experience, not just the money. “If you enjoy your work, it won’t feel that taxing to you,” he says, “and [it] probably will have less likelihood of being an impediment to your academic work as a teen or as a college student.”

Adam, who already has been accepted to college early admission, says that’s exactly what happened to him. “I ref soccer, and I enjoy, I love sports… so, I try to find a happy medium in between working, getting paid… and doing something I love.”
Tips for Parents

The Department of Labor estimates that 80 percent of high school students will hold a job at some point before graduation. Most teens are working for spending money. Few are contributing to family expenses. The National Academies assessed how work affects the health, education, development and behavior of young people. Their research found advantages and disadvantages for students that work.

Among the advantages of a job are that it can …

Help develop responsibility and time management skills.

Provide experience in dealing with people.

Provide opportunity to acquire specific job skills that might transfer to subsequent work situations.

Research has also shown the following negative consequences of work, particularly when a teen works more than 20 hours a week:

Work can interfere with schoolwork and academic achievement

Work can take precedence over extracurricular activities and social experiences that are an important part of adolescent development

Work can interfere with sleep

Students who work long hours – more than 20 hours – are more likely to use illegal drugs or engage in other deviant behavior.

Many students who work long hours get insufficient sleep and exercise and may spend less time with their families.

Students who consistently work more than 20 hours per week also complete less schooling.
Though working can help to acquire specific job skills, the reality is that many teens are employed in jobs that utilize low-level skills and do not provide any valuable learning experience. The National Academies and others recommend that Congress give the U.S. Department of Labor the authority to limit the number of hours worked during the school year by all children under 18.

Currently, under federal law, students under 16 cannot work more than three hours on a school day and 18 hours in an entire week. The government has not set guidelines for 16 to 17-year-olds. The National Consumers League recommends that 16 to 17 year olds be restricted to no more than four hours per day and 20 hours a week during the school year.

The North Carolina State University Family and Consumer Sciences offers these tips for parents and kids to make the most of a teen’s job:

Agree to make schoolwork the number one priority

Set clear expectations about the conditions of acceptable employment (type of work, how much work, maintaining good grades, etc.)

Have the teen work out expectations and conditions with employer (e.g. must have time off during finals week, must finish by a certain hour on school nights, etc.)

Consider working only during school vacations and/or vacations.

If money is not the issue, consider an unpaid or volunteer work that will serve the teen’s personal growth and long-term career interests.

Before your teen sets his or her heart on a job, make sure he or she is aware of the potential hazards of the job. According to the National Consumer League, the five worst and dangerous jobs for teens to hold include the following:

Driving and delivery, including operating or repairing motorized equipment
Working alone in cash-based businesses and late-night work

Cooking with exposure to hot oil and grease, hot water and steam, and hot cooking surfaces
Construction and work at heights

Traveling youth crews

As a parent, you need to teach your child the skills to keep a job by excelling in his/her chosen field. The YouthRules! Initiative of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) offers parents the following tips for teaching their child the importance of appearance and courtesy on the job:
Know the dress code. If business attire is expected, wear it.
Make sure your clothes are clean, pressed and fit you properly. Shoes should be polished.
If you’re supposed to wear an identification card, wear it.
The basic rule is clean and neat: Bathe and brush your teeth before your work day. Hands and fingernails should be clean. Hair must be clean and neat, in acceptable styles and colors.
When you answer the phone at work or meet customers, always say, “Good morning (or afternoon or evening). Thank you for calling [name of your employer]. May I help you?”
Be friendly and sociable. Remember to say “thank you” and “please.”
Even if someone is rude to you, remain polite and keep your good attitude.

National Center for Education Statistics
National Consumers League
North Carolina State University Family and Consumer Sciences
The National Academies
Rand Corporation
U.S. Department of Labor

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sue Scheff: Parents Learn More About Teen Medicine Abuse

Welcome to the Five Moms: Stopping Cough Medicine Abuse Campaign

Learn about teen cough medicine abuse.Share information about abuse.

First launched in May 2007, the Five Moms Campaign has reached over 24 million parents with these basic messages to parents about preventing teen cough medicine abuse.
When the campaign launched, teen cough medicine abuse was on the increase. Now, nationwide statistics point to a slight decrease. That’s great news, but more work has to be done to eliminate this type of substance abuse behavior among teens.

CHPA brought together five moms—a pediatric nurse practitioner, an accountant, a D.A.R.E. officer, an educator, and an author—from different backgrounds and from all over the country to encourage parents to get involved in stopping cough medicine abuse. And now Five Moms is part of the effort.

Join the campaign. Membership is free and entitles you to the monthly e-newsletter and occasional e-mail updates. (Read our privacy policy.)

Tell your friends about teen cough medicine abuse. You can use the English or Spanish tell-a-friend feature.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Sue Scheff: Summer Jobs Scare for Teens

It seems today economy will soon effect the summer jobs our teens look forward to. Well, most teens look forward to. Connect with Kids offers some great tips to start looking for your summer employment. Parents, take a moment to read and learn how your teen can get a jump this summer. Having a summer job can help build self esteem, learn responsibility and accountability. No matter what your financial status is, a sense of self worth that job can bring a teenage can be so important in building their maturity and giving them a good foundation in life.

“It’s a difficult job market, but don’t give up. Look longer and work harder to find [a job]. There are some, but you’re going to have to commit yourself in a much more focused way than maybe in the past.”

– Michael Thurmond, Commissioner, Georgia Department of Labor

They look through newspapers, scan the Internet, and drive around looking for “Help Wanted” signs. There aren’t many out there.

“I looked for a summer job for probably about a month and a half,” says 16-year-old Julie Wells.

“I had an extremely hard time finding a job,” adds 16-year-old Chelsea Coleman.

They’re not alone. Experts say finding a job is going to be tough this summer.

“Our teens in this nation are facing the worst job market in recent memory … since World War II,” says Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Labor, Michael Thurmond.

This summer, experts predict most teens will not find a job, compared to eight years ago when nearly half of all teens were employed.

The reason is no surprise. As the recession ends, adults who have been unemployed for months -- or longer -- are taking low-level jobs that were once the domain of teens.

“Teenagers all across this country are being forced … to compete with better skilled, more educated adults,” says Thurmond, “and there are fewer jobs to be sought in the beginning.”

But he does have some advice. First, teens shouldn’t give up. The job search may take longer, and they may not get the job of their choice, but there are still opportunities. Second, if you can’t find a paying job, volunteer for a non-profit organization. It’s one way to show future employers that you have what it takes.

“Committed to showing up on time, doing a good job, respecting authority,” says Thurmond.

Tips for Parents

Perhaps the most difficult and most important step in getting a job may be the interview itself. There are many things you can do make a good impression with an interviewer. Consider the following, developed by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (WDWD):

Do your homework on the company. Ask the personnel or business office for printed materialp; talk with an employee; check the public library; go to the company website. The more you know about the company, the better you’ll do in an interview. You’ll sound intelligent, up to date, and the interviewer may recognize the hard work you did in preparing – and that will make a more favorable impression.

Practice interviewing with a family member or friend – especially one who has been successful in getting jobs and will offer you honets feedback and helpful suggestions.

Bring your resume, a work record and names of references.

Dress conservatively – a dress, suit, or nice pants and a blouse (women) or a suit or trousers and a neat shirt (men). Do not wear "fad" or flamboyant clothes.

Report for your interview on time – and alone.

Answer the employer's questions honestly and briefly. Don't talk about personal matters unless asked. Do tell about your qualifications completely – without exaggeration.

If the first interview does not lead to a job offer, don't get discouraged. Few people get the first job they apply for – and often not the second or third, either.

Think about each interview and determine what made a good impression – and what you could improve. Some people even suggest calling the interviewer to ask for helpful feedback. Then try again for another job.

Finding summer jobs can be daunting for students. When summer break rolls around, the job market suddenly becomes saturated with adolescents all vying for the same openings.
Therefore, it’s important to know what will help you most in getting a job. Experts at the WDWD have developed the following tips for you to share with your child:

For the best chance at private industry job, students should start looking in late winter or early spring. Large businesses usually have personnel offices that will take applications early. Your child should check back with the company regularly.

Sometimes students can get priority for summer jobs by working part-time or on Saturdays during the school year.

Small firms may not take applications until they are ready to hire, but checking early will let employers know your child is interested. Your child can also find out the best time to apply and what his/her chances are.

Here’s a useful exercise: have your child make a list of things he/she has to offer an employer – specific skills, personality/attitude, work or volunteer experience, and anything he/she has learned in or out of school that may be useful on a job. For example, typing skills, working around cars or machines, or helping children.

Tell your child to talk with a teacher or counselor about jobs in the area. Your child should ask how he/she can put his/her skills and talents to work. Teachers and counselors may be able to suggest fields that are right for your child.

Encourage your child to create a type of resume to give to interviewers. It should include work experience, names and addresses of previous employers, volunteer work, and personal references. Teachers and adult friends are good reference choices; relatives should not be listed. Tell your child to always ask permission before using anyone as a reference.

Georgia Department of Labor
Quintessential Careers
Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Sue Scheff: Parents Helping Parents

As with my organization, Parents’ Universal Resource Experts, I created it to help other parents that are struggling with today’s teens. After going through a difficult time with my own teenage daughter, I made some major mistakes, however I wanted others to learn from my mistakes: more important - gain from my knowledge. I firmly believe that parents helping parents and parents learning from other parents firsthand - can be priceless!

Rhonda Spellman is a proud mother of a beautiful son - who happens to have autism. She has made it her mission in life to share with other parents and expanded her information into wonderful children’s books.

Here are some of her parenting tips and please take a moment to visit her website.

Quick tips: 9 Keys of Parenting

Children with Asperger’s Syndrome benefit from an environment that helps to build upon their strengths and builds their confidence and self esteem. What interests them? Help them to gain greater knowledge about their areas of abilities and interest. This helps to build their confidence.

To help them develop their social skills it is a good idea to talk with them frequently, inquiring how they feel about certain situations. Vary their exposure to a wide range of experiences. Observe their reaction to each and talk about their feelings.

Was the trip at the park better than the trip to the mountains? Why? What made one better or worse than the other? Try to avoid large crowds, too much noise and too many sensory impulses at one time. People with Asperger’s Syndrome are simply unable to assimilate too many variables at one time and you are setting them up for a ‘meltdown.’

It helps a person with Asperger’s Syndrome to broaden their interests and topics of conversation. Try introducing something new and different, in small steps and in small time slots. For example, visit a new location that offers a perspective that may enhance an ability they already possess. Go to a new planetarium if astronomy is “their thing.” Different settings can help them to learn what is and what isn’t socially appropriate.

Keep in mind that it is a critical element to ensure that they are in a safe, supportive, and strength-based group setting. Children with Asperger’s Syndrome unfortunately tend to act out inappropriately and become targets for bullies.

Because children with Asperger’s Syndrome are already fearful or otherwise resistant to socially interact with others it is paramount to begin working on their social skills as early as possible. They already have difficulty communicating with others and are often excluded in their schools by their peers because they appear “different” or “weird.” Involving them in small group settings in a familiar environment not only exposes them to “accepted” behaviors but it also gives them a feeling of acceptance among their peers.

*At my house we often have as many as 11 extra neighborhood children playing in the backyard with my two boys. My almost eight-year-old son has Asperger’s Syndrome. My just turned six-year-old son does not. They both are involved with the play at times. Sometimes my older son is an observer… and that’s okay. Sometimes he prefers to just play in the sandbox or paint with sidewalk chalk. *He gets the chalk wet and “paints” wonderful pictures.

I make popsicles by the dozen and the children take turns passing them out. I am firm on fairness and each knows the unwritten rule that no one is ever left out. Yes, the extra children can be exhausting… yes, the extra children can make a mess… yes, making the popsicles takes some time and it costs me a few extra dollars… Can I afford the extra time and effort? The way I see it: The interaction for my son is therapy I can’t afford NOT to do!

A child with Asperger’s self esteem is greatly enhanced when they are given opportunities to participate with and / or help others. Allowing them to pitch in and help with chores and to have responsibilities is a great start. Making sure that they are recognized and rewarded is the second step. Watching them grow into happy, stable and productive people is the always the goal.
I learn from my very different boys every day. I aim to teach them to love and accept those differences, in each other and in all others, every day.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Sue Scheff: Preventing Hazing

Dr. Susan Lipkins is a leading expert on preventing hazing and helping people understand the dangers of this type of violence. After watching her on What Would You Do last night, I was shocked at how some people felt this behavior was amusing. I think parents need to learn more about this horrible behavior and learn how it can potentially effect someone you love.

Visit Dr. Susan Lipkins website and learn more.

What is Hazing? Source: Inside Hazing

What: The Basics


Hazing is a process, based on a tradition that is used by groups to discipline and to maintain a hierarchy (i.e., a pecking order). Regardless of consent, the rituals require individuals to engage in activities that are physically and psychologically stressful.

These activities can be humiliating, demeaning, intimidating, and exhausting, all of which results in physical and/or emotional discomfort. Hazing is about group dynamics and proving one's worthiness to become a member of the specific group.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sue Scheff: Parenting, Teens and Digital Land

Vanessa Van Petten is always keeping parents up to date through her valuable website called OnTeensToday. I love getting her latest articles, they always educate us as to what our kids may be going through in today’s generation of life as they live it.
Here is this week’s blast of news for you - and the topic is one that every parent needs to take the time to learn about. Digital Kids!

5 Code Cracking Perspectives on Digital Kids

I post a lot about kids online and Growing Up Online Series. Recently, after going on my media tour with Symantec on their new Parental Control Software, my mind was opened to a bunch of new issues and their solutions…please read on:

1) Curiosity vs. Obsession

Many parents have found their kids on a porn website and pro-anorexia site and has freaked out. Before breaking out the handcuffs and throwing the computer out the window, I think there needs to be a distinction between what is simple adolescent curiosity and what is a real problem. I am just going to say it, I do not think a teenager checking out a porn site once or twice is that big of a deal. We have all wondered…there becomes an issue when it becomes a habit. No matter if it is once or 100 times, either way parents should talk to their kids about what they have seen. Your kid might be more disturbed by what they saw than you know, and you need to be there for them.

2) Intention

One of the members of the Norton Online Family Advisory Council made a wonderful point about the intention of what your kids are searching for or how they got to a bad site. Often times children and kids will often mistype or click accidentally on a website that happens to take them to somewhere inappropriate. Then, if the parent checks the web history or has a spyware product (Review of Parental Control Software), they freak out and punish the child. I ask that you try to find out what your child’s intention was going to that site or carrying out their behavior online. This holds true for Cyberbullying, posting on social networks and cursing on IM chats…why, this can greatly affect the punishment, consequence or outcome.

3) Forensic Parents

Marian Merritt, of Symantec, told a great story about when she saw that her daughter had accidentally visited a voyeur porn site. Like a detective, she used her the Norton parental control software to work backwards to figure out what had happened before freaking out. Her daughter, 14, had searched “Bride Wars” into Google. This had taken her to Youtube. There she watched a number of videos and trailers for the movie. Then, in one of the comments, someone had posted a link that said “if you like these clips, check out this one!” This link took her to a porn site. After this, Marian went to talk to her and her daughter was relieved (but never would have come to her on her own) and was upset about what she saw. She actually asked Marian to turn on the blockers for those sites in the future. Often times, kids do not want to go on those forbidden sites as much as you do not want them to.

4) Facebook is the new Playground

I am often asked by freaked out parents if they could just ‘unplug’ the internet and not allow their kids online to avoid all the dangers. This is not realistic. 20 years ago, parents could prevent their children from going on the playground to avoid a bully, but this would have taught their kids resilience, or how to handle it if and when they were bullied. Teaching kids to measure that uncomfortable feeling in the pit of their stomach, ask for help when they need it and where to ask needs to be learned by letting them live a little online. Resilience is key.
5) Protect Them and Tell Them

I had a teen client go to college recently and get a new computer. Within a few weeks it was totally unusable because of a virus that had been downloaded. When we asked the teen why they had clicked on some of these unreliable downloads, he said that in the past he had done it and nothing had happened. This is because his parents, being awesome parents, had always either blocked dangerous popups with parental control software and/or had really great virus protection on their computer, but they never told him! It has always been done for him and so when he was on his own, he learned the hard way. If you are protecting your kids or your computer, let them know hat you are doing and how you are doing it so they do not take it for granted!

The majority of kids do not want to do bad things online. They want to play games, share pictures and watch silly Youtube videos. Know the intention if something goes wrong, try to work backwards and always work on teaching resilience and self-reliance in the online world. Parenting and going online are no longer separate, they are one in the same.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Sue Scheff: Parenting Teens and Medicine Abuse

I feel this topic is so important, that I am posting another Blog Post on it with a bit more information. Many parents fear their teens are involved in substance abuse (whether it is pot or crack) - but what you need to remember is many of the drugs can be located in your own home. Cough medicine, sleeping pills, prescription drugs (meant for other family members, etc). Take the time to learn more.

Recent studies among middle and high school aged kids across the country show a disturbing form of substance abuse among teens: the intentional abuse of otherwise beneficial medications, both prescription (Rx) and over-the-counter (OTC), to get high.

Teens who learn a lot about the dangers of drugs from their parents are half as likely to abuse drugs.

According to the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, one in five teens reports having abused a prescription drug to get high. Where OTC medicines are concerned, data from the Partnership for a Drug-Free America indicate that one in 10 teens reports having abused OTC cough medicines to get high, and 28 percent know someone who has tried it.

The ingredient the teens are abusing in OTC cough medicines is dextromethorphan, or DXM. When used according to label directions, DXM is a safe and effective ingredient approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and is found in well over 100 brand-name and store-brand over-the-counter cough medicines. When abused in extreme amounts, DXM can be dangerous. was developed by the leading makers of OTC cough medicines to build awareness about this type of substance abuse behavior, provide tips to prevent it from happening, and encourage parents to safeguard their medicine cabinets. Substance abuse can touch any family: The key to keeping teens drug-free is education and talking about the dangers of abuse.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Sue Scheff: Which Battles Should You Pick?

Doesn’t this sound familiar? I always remember when my kids were teens my friend would say to me, you have to pick and choose your battles - some issues are just not worth the battle. Years later, Connect with Kids offers some great parenting tips on doing exactly that!

Source: Connect with Kids

“I love shocking [people], because I’m something somebody will remember.”

– Sara Jackson, 16 years old

Teenagers are freedom seekers, risk-takers and rule breakers. Pushing limits is just what teenagers do. “I love the rush. I love the freedom,” says 17-year-old Alan Oliver.

Sixteen-year-old Sara Jackson agrees that breaking rules and taking chances is a rush. “It’s something I take great pride in. I love shocking [people], because I’m something somebody will remember.”

When kids become teens, they start breaking away, trying new things and taking chances. For Sara, that means wearing funky clothes and crazy hairdos. People, especially adults, notice Sara’s wild style.

“They come up to me and say you’re looking kind of crazy today. What’s going on with the whole style thing?” she says.

But some kids find other, more dangerous ways to show their independence. They take risks. Dan O’brien got involved in drugs and alcohol. “I mean, every time I drank, I drank to get drunk,” he says.

Ed Drury, age 17, gets his rush from speeding. Standing around with friends at his favorite Friday night hangout, Ed admits why he likes to come here. “There’s always a lot of racing, a lot of speeding.”

Experts confirm what most of us already know. Teenagers oftentimes don’t think about the consequences of their actions. Says Dr. Nancy Macgarrah: “It’s this whole sense of invulnerability tied with the lack of maturity. “

Since we know teenagers are going to take chances, experts say it’s wise to be strict on the issues that reallymatter.

“You know, it’s not so much … is your hair orange or purple or do you have two earrings or three earrings. I mean, those aren’t life-ending decisions, but whether you wear seatbelts or not, whether you drink and drive or not, you know whether you drive 20 miles over the speed limit. And those all can be life-ending decisions,” Dr. Macgarrah says.

For kids like Sara, dressing funky, doing wild things with their hair and just being a little different all satisfy the need for independence.

“When I spike my hair, it makes me feel good about myself. I like it. It’s something different. It lets people know what kind of person I am,” Sara says.

Tips for Parents

The most difficult challenges many parents face, according to the American Psychological Association, come during their children’s teenage years. Teenagers, dealing with a complex world and hormonal changes, may feel that no one can understand their feelings, least of all their parents. Teens and parents alike may be left feeling angry, frustrated and confused. The APA says methods of discipline that worked well in earlier years no longer seem to be effective. As a result, the teen years are “ripe” for producing conflict in the family. Typical areas of conflict may include:

Disputes over curfew
Choice of friends
Spending time with family instead of friends
School and work performance
Cars and driving privileges
Dating and sexuality
Clothing, hair styles and makeup
Self-destructive behaviors, such as smoking, drinking and using drugs

The teen years are tough, but most families seem to be successful at helping their children accomplish their developmental goals: reducing dependence on parents while becoming increasingly responsible and independent. However, the APA does list some warning signs that things are not going well and that the family may want to seek outside help:

Aggressive behavior or violence by the teen
Drug or alcohol abuse
School truancy
Brushes with the law or runaway behavior
Parents resorting to hitting or other violence in an attempt to maintain discipline

There are different styles and approaches to parenting. According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, research shows that effective parents raise well-adjusted children who are more self-reliant, self-controlled and positively curious than children raised by parents who are punitive, overly strict (authoritarian) or permissive. Effective parents demonstrate the following behaviors:

Believe that both the child and the parents have certain rights and that the needs of both are important

Rule out the use physical force to discipline the child
Set clear rules and explain why these rules are important
Reason with the child and consider the child’s point of view even though they may not agree with it

Tips for effective discipline:

Trust your child to do the right thing within the limits of your child’s age and stage of development.
Make sure what you ask for is reasonable.
Speak to your child as you would want to be spoken to if someone were reprimanding you. Don’t resort to name-calling, yelling or other disrespectful behavior.
Be clear about what you mean. Be firm and specific.
Model positive behavior. “Do as I say, not as I do” seldom works.
Allow for negotiation and flexibility, which can help build your child’s social skills.
Let your child experience the consequences of his or her behavior.
Whenever possible, consequences should be delivered immediately, should relate to the rule broken and be short enough in duration that you can move on again to emphasize the positives.
Consequences should be fair and appropriate to the situation and the child’s age.

American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
American Psychological Association
Temple University

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Sue Scheff: Stop Medicine Abuse and Teens

As a parent advocate, I continually receive information from a wide range of resources. Educating parents today about what our teens and pre-teens are facing is critical to raising our children. Today, as in many generations before, there are new concerns and challenges that parents face. Whether it is social networking, peer pressure, or substance abuse - parents need to stay in touch.

Communication should be a parent number 1 priority with today’s teens and pre-teens.
The Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), founded in 1881, is a member-based association representing the leading manufacturers and distributors of nonprescription, over-the-counter (OTC) medicines and nutritional supplements. Many CHPA member products provide millions of Americans with safe, effective, and convenient therapies for the treatment and prevention of many common ailments and diseases.

Studies and common sense tell us that parents play a critical role in preventing substance abuse among teens by simply talking to them about it. CHPA’s Stop Medicine Abuse initiative empowers parents, as well as other community members, to get educated and take action in a variety of ways. Ultimately, the goal is to make sure parents talk to their kids before someone else does.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Sue Scheff: eNotes Helping Your Kids with Academics

One of the best things about being an active parent advocate is when other parents email me different parenting websites, links, articles, Blogs and more that they would like me to share with others. Just yesterday I was forwarded this website that can help you better educate your child.

Check out and see how they can assist you!

The students can get free homework help in the Q and A area from real teachers, and the literature resources are great for getting in-depth help.

What is is a comprehensive online educational resource. Used daily by thousands of students, teachers, professors, and researchers, eNotes combines the highest-quality educational content with innovative services in order to provide an online learning environment unlike any other.

Our Content

Our content is all fact-checked, edited, and written by professionals who are experts in their field. It comes from our in-house publishing unit or from Academic Publishers, including content which is not available online anywhere else.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Sue Scheff: "Google Bomb! Take Cover!" Do You Know What Google is Saying About You?

Oh yes, it is almost here, my second book! This time around, I am honored to have co-author and Internet Specialist Attorney, John Dozier .

As my story of my landmark case of $11.3M jury verdict for damages unravels - many questions answers, John Dozier will bring us the legal landscape of today's Cyber World - how to protect your online image and maintain a profile you are proud of!

To compound our dynamic and explosive upcoming best seller - Michael Fertik, CEO and Founder of ReputationDefender will be writing the foreword! ReputationDefender is one of the pioneers in managing online reputations and helping keep your kids privacy safe online.

This timely book will offer you tools and remedies as well as a very compelling story that will keep you turning those pages! Remember, a 20 year reputation today can be destroyed within 20 minutes of vicious keystrokes. Have you thought about Internet Gossip vs Internet Fact? How do you know the difference? Don’t get caught in the web - read Google Bomb!

Monkeys Don't Fly? Do they? Ahhhh, just wait and you will see - the Internet has become its' own animal. The Internet can be an educational tool - but - it can also be a lethal weapon!

Published by Health Communications Inc. (HCI) - Google Bomb will be released in Fall 2009.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Sue Scheff - Summer Camps!

Camp Finders® is a free service which matches children ages 6-18 with appropriate overnight summer camps and teen programs.

Since 1994, Camp Finders® has personally visited approximately 175 sleepaway camps and various teen programs. During this time period, Camp Finders™ has been placing children in overnight camps and in the following teen programs: teen tours; wilderness camps & outdoor adventure; college enrichment; community service; sailing, SCUBA, & marine biology programs; foreign language programs and more…

Overnight camps (all visited by Camp Finders) - these are generally on the East Coast of the USA, in states such as Pennsylvania, New York, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina & Florida.
Camp Finders® has also visited sleepaway camps in other areas - N. Wisconsin & Colorado.

Teen programs - these are located all over the USA, as well as in Canada, Europe, Australia, Central America, the Caribbean & Virgin Islands, Israel & more…

For years CampFinders helped me find the most exciting, fun and educational camps for my son. Summer is just around the corner - find the camp that best fits your child’s interests! It can be a great learning experience - meeting kids from all over the country!

Like my organization, Rick Maddes, owner and founder of CampFinders, takes the time to visit camps and give parents firsthand information. Call today at 561-865-000031.
Check out their sister website at for more information.