Thursday, April 30, 2009

Sue Scheff: Swine Flu Parenting Tips

“During a time if people are nervous or scared, we can run out of essential goods. And so if people begin to prepare now and stock up on those things that can keep over time, such as non-perishable food and water and medicine… they’ll be in better shape for the pandemic.”

– Rachel Eidex, Centers for Disease Control

The outbreak of the swine flu has many Americans, parents especially, worrying about their own safety and the safety of their children. Before a possible pandemic, the CDC has several recommendations.

First, get in touch with your child’s school. “I think they should ask the schools, does the school have a plan for pandemic influenza, what is the plan,” explains Rachel Eidex of the Centers for Disease Control.

And, explains Jacquelyn Polder, also of the Centers for Disease Control, “How will they plan to communicate with parents regarding when the school will close or when it will open.”

Next, the CDC recommends that families have plan that, according to Eidex, would include, what you’re going to do if your children stay home from school.” Also, who will take care of the kids, should they stay in the house, if they do go out- where can they go? And, just as important, how do you keep the family entertained for days on end.

Georgie Renz, mother of two, has an idea, “Board games, songs, please, don’t let the t-v go away!”

Number three on the CDC’s list: stock up on supplies. Families should have at least two weeks of food and medicines stored. “During a time if people are nervous or scared, we can run out of essential goods,” explains Eidex. “And so if people begin to prepare now and stock up on those things that can keep over time, such as non-perishable food and water and medicine… they’ll be in better shape for the pandemic.”

Finally, Eidex advises the best prevention is good hygiene, “Wash their hands regularly. After sneezing, after coughing, after blowing their nose.”

And that’s not always easy for little kids, like 11 year old Morgan, to remember, “Cause sometimes I just get distracted and forget.”

Mother of three, Debra Mecher says, “You have to reiterate, you have to stress ‘wash your hands before you eat, wash your hands after you use the bathroom. Wash your hands whenever you’ve touched something that maybe wasn’t clean.”

And there is no better time to prepare than right now.

“Rather than sitting around and worrying about it and dwelling on it, just get yourself ready the best you can,” says Mecher.

Swine flu is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza viruses that causes regular outbreaks in pigs. People do not normally get swine flu, but human infections can and do happen. Swine flu viruses have been reported to spread from person-to-person, but in the past, this transmission was limited and not sustained beyond three people.

Tips for Parents

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Swine Flu is currently at a phase 4 pandemic alert. Phase 4 is “characterized by verified human-to-human transmission of an animal or human-animal influenza reassortant virus able to cause ‘community-level outbreaks’.” This current outbreak has infected over 250 people in 7 countries. There are over 2,000 more cases still unconfirmed by laboratory testing.

The symptoms of swine flu in people are similar to the symptoms of regular human flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting associated with swine flu. In the past, severe illness (pneumonia and respiratory failure) and deaths have been reported with swine flu infection in people. Like seasonal flu, swine flu may cause a worsening of underlying chronic medical conditions.
There are antiviral medications used to treat swine flu. Antiviral drugs are prescription medicines (pills, liquid or an inhaler) that fight against the flu by keeping flu viruses from reproducing in your body. If you get sick, antiviral drugs can make your illness milder and make you feel better faster. They may also prevent serious flu complications. For treatment, antiviral drugs work best if started soon after getting sick (within 2 days of symptoms). There is no vaccine, however, to prevent contracting the swine flu.

The CDC gives these tips on how to stay healthy:

Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.

Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hands cleaners are also effective.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.

Try to avoid close contact with sick people.

Influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people.

If you get sick, CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.

Emergency warning signs that your child may need urgent medical attention include:

Fast breathing or trouble breathing
Bluish skin color
Not drinking enough fluids
Not waking up or not interacting
Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
Fever with a rash

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
World Health Organization

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Sue Scheff: Parents - Take Some Ziggy Time!

As a fan of Ziggy - this character can always put a smile on your face. So parents, take a break and treat yourselves to some Ziggy Time.

New York, NY - (April 28, 2009) – The world’s ultimate optimist is larger than life. Now appearing through the end of June, in the heart of one of the business hubs of the world, Ziggy is shining down from the CBS Jumbotron Billboard in Times Square in New York City.

The Ziggy billboard, located at 8th Avenue and 42nd Street, is a huge monument of the major media marketing blitz that’s been happening for the launch of the new book, Zig-zagging: Loving Madly, Losing Badly – How Ziggy Saved My Life (HCI Books - $17.95), a memoir by Tom Wilson, Ziggy cartoonist.

Complimenting the billboard and a host of positive pre-release book reviews, and the viral video interview, Wilson has been receiving bountiful media exposure and praise regarding the new book. In addition to an in-depth personal interview that is appearing in a nationally syndicated newspaper article, Wilson has been on a nationwide book signing tour that started at the end of April. Along the way, Wilson is making several television appearances, stop-ins at radio stations, and participating in local newspaper interviews.

The tour will continue with several more city visits and signings leading up to the world’s premier publishing event, Book Expo America, held in New York City, May 28-30, where Wilson will participate in several autographing sessions.

The hype over Zig-zagging surrounds the chronicles of Wilson’s ability to provide the world with daily drawings one of the most inspirational characters in history, while coping with very traumatic periods in his personal life. In addition to being a moving story of a father and son, and the gift of the character they share, Wilson also reveals his struggles with depression over the loss of his wife to cancer at a very young age, and his life as a single father raising two young boys.

In this new memoir, readers have the opportunity to peek behind the scenes of an animated American icon. Zig-Zagging delivers a glimpse at the person who thinks up and drafts a cartoon strip and discovers how much of him is actually imbued in the character. Equally fascinating is witnessing the life of Ziggy from his inception at Tom Wilson, Sr.’s pen, to his current home on his son’s drafting table. Literally growing up with Ziggy, Wilson was unaware of the inspirational role that the character would play in his personal life.

Through the occasional appearance of Ziggy cartoons across the pages, the book deftly treats us to “comic relief” along Wilson’s sometimes-sad road.

Like Ziggy, Tom turns tragedy into a learning experience so he can move forward in his life with his two sons. Fans of the cartoon have been happy to learn that their illustrator’s outlook on life is in sync with his very own Ziggy.

Ziggy first appeared in newspapers in June 1971. Tom Wilson has drawn and written Ziggy since 1987, after the retirement of his father, the senior Tom Wilson , who first created Ziggy as a greeting card character. Now distributed through Universal Press Syndicate, a division of Andrews McMeel Universal , Ziggy is published in more than 600 newspapers, reaching 75 million readers daily, and maintains an online presence through and

As SpokesCharacter for World Food Day, the Ziggy billboard will return to promote the cause on World Food Day, Oct. 16 th.

Video of Tom Wilson discussing the new book is available by clicking here.

Publishing Contact:Kim Weiss, Director of Communications, HCI Books, T: (800) 851-9100 x 212;

Ziggy & Freinds, Inc. Contact:Greg Walsh, Walsh Public Relations, T: 203-292-6280;

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Sue Scheff: Wnen Parents Blame the Schools

“Academics was hard, and trying to fit in was harder.”

– Brendon, 14, talking about his experience in a new middle school

When Brendon Yag entered middle school, his grades began to drop and so did his attitude.

“Academics was hard and trying to fit in was harder,” says Brendon, 14.

His mom says she met with the principal, and didn’t like what she heard. “He felt I needed to let my child fail,” says Meg Yag, “to understand the consequences of what he was or was not doing.”

Meg lost confidence in the school’s approach, but experts warn when dissatisfaction with a school turns into outward disrespect voiced by the parent, the child may feel it’s okay to misbehave.

“The child is in between, like a custody case between the school and parents, and will take an opportunity not to respect the rules of the school,” says psychologist Dr. June Kaufman.

Brendon’s mom was careful to not criticize the school in front of her son. “The school is a fabulous school for the right kind of kid. It was not the right kind of school for my kids,” she says.

After two years floundering in his middle school, Brendon switched to a different school. But experts say if parents don’t have that choice, and their child is having problems, there are a couple things the parent can do.

First, visit the school before forming an opinion, and observe your child to get a better idea of what really is going on.

Second, talk with administrators about how they might be able to better accommodate your child’s learning needs.

“And importantly,” says Kaufman, “if there’s a choice among teachers, try to determine in conversation with the teacher before they enroll, if they think that child is a good fit, with the teacher.”

And parents should always make kids realize, you won’t always blame the school, or the teacher, if your child has problems.

“My mom told me that if I get in trouble again, I get in big trouble,” says Brendon, “So I’m good now.”

Tips for Parents

Should parents side with their child in a dispute between the child and the school? Here are excerpts from an interview on the subject with Dr. June Kaufman, a licensed psychologist:

“I think it creates more problems when (parents) side with their child,” Dr. Kaufman says. “The child is in between, like in a custody case, between the school and parents, and the child will take the opportunity not to respect the rules of the school…

“The most important thing is to have a good fit between the child, teacher and school and have a situation where the parents can work with the school. If the parents are getting calls every day at work about behavior problems at school, they have to look into it, they have to respond, without blaming the school. I think they should look at a school’s policies and, importantly, if there’s a choice among teachers, try to determine in conversations with the teacher—before they enroll the child—if they think their child is a good fit with the teacher. The child has to know, ‘this is a good place for you.’

“I think you have to say to the child, ‘I’ve heard from the teacher that there’s (a problem). I don’t know the whole story. I’ll take your side this time, but if this behavior continues, I’m going to be meeting with the teacher and learning much more about it. So, I don’t know the whole story yet and I might even have to observe in the classroom.’

“There isn’t a perfect child, and even the most model child may even have difficulty, so you don’t want to necessarily believe everything your child tells you.”

Some suggestions for positive steps toward better discipline from the National Education Association (NEA):

Let your children know you like them. Tell your children how much you admire their good qualities.
Let your children know exactly what you expect of them – set limits.
Encourage responsible decision-making. Whenever possible, find areas in which you know your children can make decisions for themselves.
Set a good example. Remember that children are great imitators.
Encourage your children to respect authority. At home, in school, and in other areas of their lives, your children need to know the importance of respecting authority.
If your child is having problems in or out of school, the NEA says don’t waste your time blaming yourself. Although you share the responsibility for your children’s development, you aren’t the only one who influences them. Communicate with your children about the problems they are having. Help them look for solutions.

Finally, the NEA says, “Keep in mind that you can’t shield your children from the problems of the real world. Nor can you keep accidents from happening. Some attempts at good parenting may be overzealous. By trying to avoid being too protective and solicitous for your children’s concerns you can help them become truly independent people.”

Dr. June Kaufman, psychologist
National Education Association

Monday, April 27, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teens and Birth Control

Source: TeensHealth
One of the toughest decisions that a lot of teens face is whether to have sex. If people decide to have sex, it means they must also take responsibility to protect themselves from unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

In the United States, the teenage pregnancy rate is higher than in many other countries. Approximately 1 million teens become pregnant every year and most didn't plan on becoming pregnant. In addition to preventing unplanned pregnancies, people who have sex must protect themselves from STDs. For those having sex, condoms must always be used every time to protect against STDs.

The most effective way to prevent pregnancy and STDs is document.write(defabstinence120)
abstinence. Couples who do decide to have sex can choose from many effective birth control methods.

Check the articles below to learn some important information about different methods of birth control. You may be surprised — some popular ones aren't as effective as people might think.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teens and Summer Jobs

Is your teen thinking of getting a summer job? It is a great way to teach our kids responsibility and accountability. With today's economy, it is difficult for adults to find jobs - so teens will need a plan. Here is some great advice and tips from TeensHealth.
Source: TeensHealth
Thinking about a summer job? This year, as more people compete for fewer openings, you'll need to start looking early, do your research, and apply to more positions. So it's more important than ever to have a job search plan.

What's the Right Job for Me?

To find a job that's right for you, make a list of your interests and strengths, as well as your dislikes and the things you need some improvement in, and keep them in mind as you look for a job. For example, if you love books or writing, a job in a bookstore or library might be perfect for you. But if little kids drive you crazy, a babysitting job may not be ideal.

A job or internship should be about learning as well as making money. Try to find something that can help guide you toward your long-term goals. For example, if you want to study veterinary science in college, finding a job in a vet's office or animal shelter, or even a pet store, may be better choices for you than working in a restaurant.

As jobs become harder to find, you may have to take whatever's available — and that's OK. Learning to readjust goals and priorities is another important life skill. Just try to find some aspect of the work that you love and can learn from.

Read entire article here:

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Sue Scheff: Preventing Teen Violence

It comes to a point where you are almost afraid to turn on the news. Kids with guns, teens shooting teens, threats, bullying and more - it is time for parents to take the time and learn more. Talk to your kids - open those lines of communication. Raising kids today has become more challenging than ever. I hear from parents almost on a daily basis and I am stunned at what these kids are learning and doing at such a young age.

Source: Connect with Kids

Can Students Prevent Violence by Telling?

“He was saying ‘I’m gonna kill people,’ everyone took it as a joke. I can’t say that I would take it any differently.”

– Joanna, 15, talking about the school shooting in Santee, California

A student who seems strange, a comment that sounds frightening … how can students tell who’s serious and who isn’t, what’s a joke and what’s a real threat?

The problem is students say those kinds of ‘jokes’ are made all the time.

“I’ve had friends who were just like, ‘man I just want to kill that teacher’ or ‘I just hate it here and want to blow up the school,’” says Tara-Lynn, a high school junior, “I’ve probably said things like that myself.”

“I mean I hear people say that all the time. I don’t take it seriously,” adds Joanna, a freshman.

When should students take it seriously? They’re in a bind. If they tell on someone, they’re called a rat or a snitch. If they don’t tell, someone could die or be injured. Always in the back of their mind, what if they tell on someone… and they’re wrong?

“How do you know you’re not gonna just end up crying ‘wolf’ all the time, every time a kid makes a threat,” says Cliff, a junior.

How should kids evaluate a threat? Experts say first, kids should follow their instincts. If something another student says doesn’t feel right, even just a little bit, it probably isn’t.

“Either afraid, or guilty, or this is just going against my values, it doesn’t feel right,” says psychologist Dr. Wendy Blumenthal.

Then find an adult you trust. Someone you can trust to protect your anonymity. Someone you can trust not to panic when you tell them you’re worried.

Maybe that’s your parents, but it could also be a school counselor, a minister from your church or a coach.

Because if a disaster happens and you stay silent about what you heard, just think how that would make you feel.

“Because if we take everything for granted,” says Crystal, a junior, “this (the school shooting in California) is what can happen.”

Tips for Parents

Police have been able to prevent several ‘Columbine-like’ massacres at US schools recently–thanks to tips from students. Students notified school officials after learning that other students planned to carry out violent acts. And while kids are more willing to report threats of violence after Columbine, experts say parents should explain to their children that there is a difference between ‘telling’ and ‘tattling.’

According to the National Education Association (NEA):

Children ‘tattle’ to get their own way or to get someone else in trouble.
Children should be encouraged to ‘tell’ an adult when someone is in danger of getting hurt.
Some schools have started anonymous hotlines so that parents or children can provide information that could alert authorities to potential problems.

According to the American Psychological Association one in 12 high schoolers is threatened or injured with a weapon each year. To reduce that risk, the APA lists several ‘warning signs’ that kids need to recognize in other students, indications that violence is a “serious possibility”:

Loss of temper on a daily basis
Frequent physical fighting
Significant vandalism or property damage
Increase in use of drugs or alcohol
Increase in risk-taking behavior
Detailed plans to commit acts of violence
Announcing threats or plans for hurting others
Enjoying hurting animals
Carrying a weapon
Once students recognize a warning sign, the APA says there are things they can do. Hoping that someone else will deal with the problem is “the easy way out.” The advice for students:

Above all, be safe. Don’t spend time alone with people who show warning signs.

Tell someone you trust and respect about your concerns and ask for help (a family member, guidance counselor, teacher, school psychologist, coach, clergy, or friend).

If you are worried about becoming a victim of violence, get someone to protect you. Do not resort to violence or use a weapon to protect yourself.

The key to preventing violent behavior, according to the APA, is asking an experienced professional for help. The important thing to remember is, don’t go it alone.

National Education Association
American Psychological Association

Friday, April 24, 2009

Sue Scheff: Parenting Healthy Teens

Summer is almost here - help your kids get healthy, eat healthy and get outside and get active! Promoting positive eating habits and regular excercise can help build your child’s self esteem and help them to make better choices!

Sabrina Bryan has teamed up with The Alliance for a Healthier Generation to launch their new campaign called empowerME by challenging today’s youth to make their own workout video! The top five finalists will receive autographed copies of Sabrina’s newest BYOU DVD and the winner will also receive a personalized video message from Sabrina. For more information on The Alliance for a Healthier Generation, the empowerME campaign and Sabrina Bryan’s video contest please visit

About empowerME: empowerMe is a by kids, for kids movement that inspires today’s youth to eat healthier and move more, motivate each other, and to be a solution to America’s obesity epidemic. One million kids have already joined the movement and we want one million more by 2010! For more information about the empowerME campaign, please visit:
About the Alliance for a Healthier Generation: The Alliance for a Healthier Generation is a partnership between the William J. Clinton Foundation and the American Heart Association created to reduce childhood obesity and empower kids to make healthy lifestyle choices. For more information on the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, please visit:

There has been such a huge jump in childhood obesity and there is no time better than now to join the fight against it!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Sue Scheff: Florida Suicide Prevention

Today is April 22, 2009 which is Suicide Prevention Day at the Capitol is a statewide event in which the Statewide Office of Suicide Prevention and the Florida Suicide Prevention Coalition are joined by advocates, survivors, grassroots organizations, youth and other state agencies to bring suicide to the forefront as a public issue. This year, the actual day is Wednesday, April 22 but we are holding several activities throughout the week of April 20th - 24th. Below, you will find the tentative schedule of events, but I encourage you to continue checking our website for the most current updates as they become available.

( Please see the attached flyer and Governor’s proclamation.

If you or someone you love is thinking about suicide, please reach out for hope by calling:1-800-273-TALK (800-273-8255)24 hours a day; 7 days a week


April 22, 2009 at 9:00 AM, Capitol Building Plaza RotundaEducational Display Booths and Legislative Advocacy

April 22, 2009 at 2:00 PM, Capitol Building Cabinet RoomSuicide Prevention Day Press Conference featuring:Director Bill Janes, Florida Office of Drug ControlSecretary George Sheldon, Florida Department of Children & FamiliesSenator Evelyn Lynn, Florida District 7

April 23 – 24, 2009; from 8:00 PM – 5:00 PM; Location TBAApplied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) (tentative)Don’t forget to also visit our portable billboard that will be in front of the Historic Capitol all week!

Please take a moment to post these events on your agency websites and forward on to your colleagues. We hope to see everyone there!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Sue Scheff: Parenting ADHD

I love this website! Maybe it is because I can relate so well, after raising an ADHD son or how it explains in simple language the challenges parents of ADD/ADHD children have.

As summer is almost here, read these fantastic “Summer Survival Tips” for families of ADHD children from Power Moms Unite website.

One major issue with ADHD and summer vacations is the bored factor. Once the novelty of having all that free-time-to-do-anything wears away, what to do with all that free time becomes a problem. On the other hand, over-scheduling and over-planning the summer can lead to burn-out and irritability for both parents and children. The art of managing ADHD during the summer is really about the art of finding balance. Several strategies can help strike this balance.
Keep a calendar: Use a monthly or weekly calendar and write down vacation, camp and community trip dates. Kids need routine to feel secure, but be sure to leave some dates empty to allow for free time to simple create and imagine in the back yard.

Prescript your day: Early in the day, sit with your child and review what they want to accomplish and what you need to accomplish. Negotiate how each of you will spend your time so as not to conflict. Explicitly state how you expect your child to behave for any important activities (like that very important conference call at 1PM) and be sure to reward them for following the “script.”

Make a summer contract: Use the summer as an opportunity to help your child explore their interests, reinforce their academic skills, and find their passions. Write out a contract with your child, in which they list their goals for the summer. Goals could include places they would like to visit, books they would like to read, cub scout activities they would like to complete, models they would like to build- the list of possibilities is endless. Include goals you and the teacher identify as well. If you have a therapist, consult them regarding activities to persue over the summer break. Activities can be focused on building a friendship with a particular friend, trying new foods with dinner, volunteering at a local soup kitchen, or learning the steps to complimenting a sibling. Set a due date and reward for completing each goal. Consider rewarding the child with a bonus for completing all their goals for the summer.

Loosen up but keep a routine: Part of the brillance of summer is the long days and lazy nights without a tight schedule to keep. The occasional later bedtime and relaxation of the rules are part of the inherent beauty of summer vacation. That being said, basic family rules, chores, and routines still need to be followed. Be mindful that a little sleep deprivation can lead to meltdowns for both parent and child any time of year. Rules about not playing on the computer all day, still need to be followed, even during the summer.

Too much screen time robs kids of opportunities to build social skills and develop interests as well as leads to irritability.

Manage medicine: Some parents take a medication vacation over the summer, in an effort to allow their children to gain some weight and height. There is little evidence however, that ADHD medications permanently impact a child’s height. Kids often grow slower than their non-medicated peers, but do eventually catch-up.Before taking a medication vacation, consider all the aspects of your child’s summer.

Will you be taking a long trip, during which time your child will need to sit still? How will you all survive the trip? Will your child be in camp, where she will need to follow directions? Will ADHD behavior make it hard for her to participate in group activities or attend to social cues from new friends? Will your child have lots of unscheduled time with neighborhood kids, in which impulsive behavior could result in unsafe decisions or poor peer interactions? Before taking a medication vacation, consider all these potential situations.
ADHD is a chronic lifelong condition that needs to managed- will your child’s self-esteem, self-image, and social skill acquisition benefit from a medication vacation? Consider your goals for your child’s summer and how a medication vacation could affect your child’s success in their summer activities.

In lieu of a complete ADHD medication vacation, consider the use of shorter acting medications for the most challenging activities of your child’s summer- like a long car ride or plane trip. Shorter acting medications can cause fewer appetite- suppressing effects. Speak with your child’s physician, and collaborate with your child, as you make these decisions. Remember that as you are modeling healthy management of a condition that will likely be a lifelong journey for your child. Fuel their passions, provide opportunities to build skills, and model a healthy approach to symptom management.

Relax: Use the summer to reconnect and play. Just as your kids schedule time to do homework during the school year, schedule regular time to play with your kids every day after work. Play catch, go for a swim, bike down to the ice cream shop- do activities together to build your relationship and create a healthy self- image. Enjoy your summer together!

Follow Power Moms Unite on Facebook!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Sue Scheff: Parenting Teenage Girls

Oh, I love getting introduced to new websites, books and more that help parents today with their wonderful children that have reached teen-hood. Debra Beck is an author and mentor helping parents understand peer pressure, bullying, self body image and other issues that our kids face today. The following article, written by Debra Beck, is an example of the vital information she has to share with others.

Are We Training Teenage Girls to be Great Deceivers?
by Debra Beck

I read all these articles about keeping a close eye on our teens, to make sure they aren’t making any bad decisions and they are safe. I listen to parents discussing the same issues. How close is too close and what are we teaching our teens, without even knowing it? We read her journal, get on to her My Space account, and listen in on her private telephone calls. Are we sending a message that we care or are we sending a message that we don’t trust our kids?

There’s a fine line between trusting your teenage girls and staying attentive to their safety
The first thing you are teaching her is that honoring some one’s privacy isn’t that big of a deal, if you really need to know something. You are also teaching her how to become an expert liar and a good deceiver. She will learn how to become really sneaky, because the more she knows you are doing these things, the better she will get at learning how to hide them from you. When you push up against something or someone, there is no choice but to get stronger. That’s the way things work. If you are protesting something, the side that is being protested has to get stronger to stay alive. We don’t want to help our teen practice these behaviors. We want to help them make good decisions for themselves.

To trust our teens, we must first understand thatthey are teens, and honor their privacy.
Give them the room to be teens, and give them the guidance to learn how to become responsible adults. These teenage years are the years that they are starting to pull away, testing their own boundaries. Don’t push them away more by being a parent that expects them not to be a teen, and will do anything to make sure that they are not behaving like one.

Be a good role model to your teenage girl: you wouldn’twant her peeking in on your private life.Don’t peek in on hers either.

Looking at their journal, checking their My Space account and any other sneaky behaviors will push them away from you. Then they are on their own to make decisions which they may not be capable of making. To be available for them you have to understand them and respect them. Just because they are younger doesn’t mean they do not deserve to be respected. We need to help them to become adults who make good decisions for themselves.

By respecting them we help them become respectful adults as well. We want to set a good example, through being a good role model, so decide next time before you peek in places your teen might prefer you didn’t what kind of role model you want to be? Ultimately this will be more valuable than anything you could come across.

For fifteen years, Debra Beck has done workshops with Girl Power, a program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that is dedicated to helping “encourage and motivate eleven- to sixteen-year-old girls to make the most of their lives.” Her book “My Feet Aren’t Ugly” will resonate with teenage girls and their parents equally for its sound advice and helpful suggestions, based on the author’s own experiences.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sue Scheff: Sexual Abuse, Sexual Assault and Rape Awareness

As a parent advocate, I don’t only hear from parents, I hear from teens. Joni Poole is someone very special. Joni has possessed strength, dignity and courage through some horrific events. She is no longer a victim - she is a survivor and one that has a strong message to all others. She has created a website and advocacy group (Sexual Abuse, Sexual Assault and Rape Awareness) to educate others and hopefully prevent sexual abuse and assualt. Take a moment to read her story and pass it on - you don’t know who may benefit.

Here is Joni’s story - and please read her website at

My name is Joni Poole. I am a 17 year old Senior in high school. I am telling my story in hopes that it will help others who have been a victim of a sexual crime.

I have also provided Public Information, from the Georgia Department of Corrections, about my offender within my story.

On August 22, 2007, I was at work at a Toy Breed Dog Kennel. Near the end of my shift, around 7:45 P.M., I was raped by my second cousin/co-worker/manager, Martin Malone Griffin. As soon as I could leave my workplace, I immediately began calling my mother from my cell phone. I drove about a mile down the road to her job. We then went to the hospital and had a rape kit performed. This began the process of pressing charges. From that moment on, the next year of my life would become a living nightmare. Investigators did not want to believe me. They told us that there was no way it was rape. Due to me turning 16 nineteen days prior (the assault happened August 22, 2007 and my 16th birthday was August 3, 2007) to the attack, Marty could not be arrested for statutory rape. DNA tests were performed and proved that the he was in fact the perpetrator of the crime. The magistrate judge would not give us a warrant for his arrest due to lack of evidence, so he said. Although by law, all that is needed to secure a warrant is probable cause. We had probable cause and DNA evidence, which was more than enough for a warrant. However, no matter what others said, I was not going to give up.

The day the Magistrate Judge told us there was no probable cause, we turned to the Assistant District Attorney. Much to my relief she wanted to help. She was enraged at how I had been treated by the Magistrate Court and decided to pursue the case. The case was brought before a Grand Jury. I had to testify and tell the Jury my account of what happened. This was extremely hard and embarrassing for me. The Grand Jury agreed to issue a warrant for his arrest. A few weeks later we went back to court for jury selection. The jury was chosen and trial was set for the next day. However, the original investigator hurt himself in an accident and would not be able to attend court. Therefore, court was rescheduled for September 22, 2008, 1 year and 1 month after the rape occurred.

Due to court being postponed, we had to pick a new jury Monday, September 22, 2008. Our case was possibly going to have to be postponed once again due to the two other criminal cases ahead of us. However, the two cases ahead of us plead out, therefore, our case was moved up to Wednesday, September 24. We began trial at 2:00 pm. on Wednesday. After opening arguments, it was time for me to testify. I was so scared and nervous. I could not stand the thought of being in the same room as the man who had raped me. The questions I was asked were difficult and embarrassing to answer. I felt terrified, embarrassed, angry, and experienced many other emotions the entire time I was on the stand. I also had to stand in front of the Jury and show them a map of the building I had drawn to give them an illustration of where the rape took place.

After the Assistant District Attorney asked me questions, it was time for me to be cross-examined by the Defense Attorney. He asked very difficult and sometimes confusing questions. However, I stood strong and did not let him shake me. I kept my eyes focused on the Jury, my family and supporters, and the Assistant District Attorney. I

did this because to look at Marty would cause to experience flashbacks of the rape. I was already weeping from the questions and having to remember and tell every detail. I did not need to have a panic attack. I can remember looking out into the crowd to my aunt and other family members crying. They were there in support of me, but they had never heard my full story. They did not expect me to be interrogated like I was that day. After I finished testifying I was released and asked to return to the witness room. I felt satisfied with my testimony and so was the Assistant District Attorney. A few more people testified Wednesday and the case was put on hold until the next day. We began trial again the next morning. The last of the witnesses testified Thursday morning. After testimonies were finished it was time for closing arguments. The defense attorney called me a “liar” many times and said, “if my client is convicted based on a liar’s testimony, then we need to burn this courthouse down and plant a turnip patch.” He also tried to discredit me many times. After closing arguments the Judge told us to remain at the courthouse until the verdict was reached. She charged the jury. They were told what the charges were and the definition of each charge. He was charged with:

Count 1: Rape

…[Rape occurs when sex is non-consensual (not agreed upon), or a person forces another person to have sex against his or her will. It also can occur when the victim is intoxicated from alcohol or drugs. Rape includes intercourse in the vagina, anus, or mouth. It is a felony offense, which means it is among the most serious crimes a person can commit. Rape is a crime that can happen to men, women, or children.]…

Count 2: False Imprisonment

…[The illegal confinement of one individual against his or her will by another individual in such a manner as to violate the confined individual's right to be free from restraint of movement.]…
Count 3: Sexual Battery

…[A person commits the offense of sexual battery when he or she intentionally makes physical contact with the intimate parts of the body of another person without the consent of that person.]…

After charges were read, the Jury went to the Jury room for deliberation. Marty was offered a plea bargain of 1 year in boot camp, 10 years probation, and Sex Offender Registry. He was able to accept this verdict until the Jury came back with a verdict. However, he REFUSED this lenient deal, several times. After 2 and 1/2 hours the Jury came back with their verdict.
The Jury’s verdict was…

Count 1: Rape…GUILTY-
Count 2: False Imprisonment…NOT GUILTY-
Count 3: Sexual Battery…GUILTY

Contact Joni at - her mission is to spread the word and help others.

You can join S.A.A.R.A. Fan Club on Facebook too! Help carry her message throughout the world!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teens and Tattoos (Body Art?)

This can be a hot topic today - each parent has their own beliefs, however learn more about getting tattoo’s and important information for keeping it safe.

Source: TeensHealth

It seems like everyone has a tattoo these days. What used to be the property of sailors, outlaws, and biker gangs is now a popular body decoration for many people. And it’s not just anchors, skulls, and battleships anymore — from school emblems to Celtic designs to personalized symbols, people have found many ways to express themselves with their tattoos. Maybe you’ve thought about getting one. But before you head down to the nearest tattoo shop and roll up your sleeve, there are a few things you need to know.


A tattoo is a puncture wound, made deep in your skin, that’s filled with ink. It’s made by penetrating your skin with a needle and injecting ink into the area, usually creating some sort of design. What makes tattoos so long-lasting is they’re so deep — the ink isn’t injected into the epidermis (the top layer of skin that you continue to produce and shed throughout your lifetime). Instead, the ink is injected into the dermis, which is the second, deeper layer of skin. Dermis cells are very stable, so the tattoo is practically permanent.

Tattoos used to be done manually — that is, the tattoo artist would puncture the skin with a needle and inject the ink by hand. Though this process is still used in some parts of the world, most tattoo shops use a tattoo machine these days. A tattoo machine is a handheld electric instrument that uses a tube and needle system. On one end is a sterilized needle, which is attached to tubes that contain ink. A foot switch is used to turn on the machine, which moves the needle in and out while driving the ink about 1/8 inch (about 3 millimeters) into your skin.Most tattoo artists know how deep to drive the needle into your skin, but not going deep enough will produce a ragged tattoo, and going too deep can cause bleeding and intense pain. Getting a tattoo can take several hours, depending on the size and design chosen.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Sue Scheff: Getting Teens Involved in Locks of Love

Summer is coming - if your child is considering cutting their hair - make it worth something. There is not a better feeling than giving to those in need, especially with an organization such as Locks of Love. See if your child is a good candidate to help out other kids that need their generosity of love.


Locks of Love is a public non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children in the United States and Canada under age 18 suffering from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis. We meet a unique need for children by using donated hair to create the highest quality hair prosthetics. Most of the children helped by Locks of Love have lost their hair due to a medical condition called alopecia areata, which has no known cause or cure. The prostheses we provide help to restore their self-esteem and their confidence, enabling them to face the world and their peers.

Mission Statement

Our mission is to return a sense of self, confidence and normalcy to children suffering from hair loss by utilizing donated ponytails to provide the highest quality hair prosthetics to financially disadvantaged children. The children receive hair prostheses free of charge or on a sliding scale, based on financial need.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teens and Body Piercing

Source: TeensHealth

What Is a Body Piercing and What Can You Expect?

A body piercing is exactly that — a piercing or puncture made in your body by a needle. After that, a piece of jewelry is inserted into the puncture. The most popular pierced body parts seem to be the ears, the nostrils, and the belly button.

If the person performing the piercing provides a safe, clean, and professional environment, this is what you should expect from getting a body part pierced:

The area you've chosen to be pierced (except for the tongue) is cleaned with a germicidal soap (a soap that kills disease-causing bacteria and microorganisms).
Your skin is then punctured with a very sharp, clean needle.
The piece of jewelry, which has already been sterilized, is attached to the area.
The person performing the piercing disposes of the needle in a special container so that there is no risk of the needle or blood touching someone else.
The pierced area is cleaned.
The person performing the piercing checks and adjusts the jewelry.
The person performing the piercing gives you instructions on how to make sure your new piercing heals correctly and what to do if there is a problem.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tweet, Tweet Your Fired!

MSNBC and other mainstream media outlets have picked up on the Cisco Fatty story that involves a woman getting fired for her twitter post. Quoting from the page:

Why waste valuable social networking hours getting yourself “Facebook fired,” when Twitter allows you to humiliate yourself quickly, and in 140 characters or less?

A recent tweet by one would-be Cisco employee proves that when it comes to placing a permanent black mark on your resume via the Internet, Twitter is now the tool of choice. To illustrate, here’s the tweet the now Web-infamous “theconnor” shared with the world:
“Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work.”

It wasn’t long before Tim Levad, a “channel partner advocate” for Cisco Alert, shared this open response:

“Who is the hiring manager. I’m sure they would love to know that you will hate the work. We here at Cisco are versed in the web.”

Was “theconnor’s” job offer rescinded? Nosy netizens have yet to suss that out — but they’re doing their darndest to make “theconnor’s” life miserable in the meantime. It didn’t matter that “theconnor” almost immediately set his Twitter account to private and deleted all information from a home page. It was already too late.

Twitter is a great tool to connect people and ReputationDefender supports the emergeant micro-blogging platform. Users should be aware that potential employees are viewing online messages and that the material they post online can both help and hurt their online reputation.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Sue Scheff: ADHD and ODD: Parenting Your Defiant Child

ADHD behavior issues often partner with oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) -- making discipline a challenge. Try these strategies for parents of ADD kids.
by Royce Flippin

Every parent of a child with attention deficit disorder knows what it's like to deal with ADHD behavior problems -- sometimes a child lashes out or refuses to comply with even the most benign request. But about half of all parents who have children with live with severe behavior problems and discipline challenges on an almost daily basis.

That's because 40 percent of children with ADHD also develop oppositional defiant disorder, a condition marked by chronic aggression, frequent outbursts, and a tendency to argue, ignore requests, and engage in intentionally annoying behavior.

How bad can it get? Consider these real-life children diagnosed with both ADHD and ODD:

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Sue Scheff: Happy Easter!

What a beautiful day to spend with your family and loved ones.
Holidays are a perfect reason to put aside your personal hectic schedules and celebrate what Easter means to you and share with those you love.
In today's high-tech world, there doesn't seem to be enough one-on-one time together - but we can't give up that technology when we want to reach out across the country to touch more friends and families.
Take the time today to smell the roses (tulips) or life in general.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teen Help Programs and Getting Your Teen Help

Are you a parent at your wit’s end? Learn from my mistakes and all that I have learned over almost a decade of researching this very daunting industry of “teen help.”

It has been almost 10 years since I made the HORRIBLE MISTAKE of choosing Carolina Springs Academy for my daughter who was struggling. Good kid making some not so good choices? I felt she needed some sort of program to help her through her struggles - and sadly what we received was anything but help.

In the past 9+ years - I have successfully defeated WWASPS/Carolina Springs Academy through a jury trial as well as continuing to be a voice for parents that are at their wit’s end. I also won the landmark case ($11.3M Jury Verdict for Damages) for Internet Defamation and Invasion of Privacy done to my by a former WWASPS parent that defamed me online. Read more about that in my upcoming book.

If you are considering a Teen Help Program - take your time, do your homework - learn from my mistakes and gain from my knowledge.

Read Wit’s End and hear my daughter’s firsthand experiences. This is my first book published by Health Communications, Inc. (HCI) July 2008 - the original home of Chicken Soup for the Soul.

Don’t be a parent in denial - don’t be afraid to give your teen a second chance at a bright future - there are many good programs, just take your time and do your research.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Sue Scheff: Google Bomb Book Now Available for Pre-order

Pre-Order Google Bomb on today!

Our society has reached an all-time low. Simple keystrokes can now literally ruin lives, reputations, and cause years of suffering, and require exorbitant amounts of time, money, and sanity to rebuild a life and/or career that has been shattered by cyberbullying, Internet defamation, identity theft, privacy invasion, and so much more. There is even a term that has emerged into our lexicon that describes the practice of manipulating the ranking of web pages: Google Bomb.

Sue Scheff knows first hand about the devastating effects of Google bombing and Internet defamation. Her reputation was destroyed and she almost lost her business because of false and libelous statements about her and her business that went viral. Falling into a deep depression accompanied by agoraphobia, Sue could not escape the abusive attacks from strangers and the paranoia that accompanies such abuse. However, she fought back, and sued the figure head who launched the attack campaign and was awarded a jury verdict of $11.3 million--a case that has set the precedent for a massive debate on Internet regulation vs. free speech and Internet etiquette and safety policies.

Because there is so much to navigate and know about the unknown and mostly unchartered legal territories of Internet usage, Sue has rounded up some of the world's most preeminent experts on the newly emerging business of Internet law, including attorney John W. Dozier. In Google™ Bomb, Dozier and Scheff offer a hybrid of memoir and prescriptive self-help, as well as a timely call to action that will arm readers with what they can do to avoid falling victim to cyber abuse, rebuild their own ruined reputations, or avoid unknowingly committing a crime against strangers on the Internet.

Written with two markets in mind: those hundreds of thousands of people who are victims of Internet harassment and cannot afford legal council to help clean up their reputations, and those who have built a career, business, and personal reputation and want to be armed with protection and prevention techniques that will help them avoid falling victim to cyber bullies, hackers, e-vengers, and Phreaks.

The true-life story of Sue Scheff's landmark lawsuit and the lessons she learned coupled with invaluable expert advice from a top Internet legal and reputation defense expert, Google™ Bomb is a heavy-hitting, one-of-a-kind book that will likely spark debate, controversy, and save lives at the same time.

Michael Fertik, CEO and Founder of ReputationDefender which is one of the pioneers of Online Reputation Management Services, writes a compelling, informative and engaging foreword. This book is a book that will touch almost everyone that uses the Internet today.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Sue Scheff: Parenting, Divorce and Teens

I know there are many parents that can relate to this. Personally, I grew up in a time when the divorce was almost unheard of, however once my siblings and I were all over 18, our parents divorced. What a relief! In many ways - it is my opinion, if you you know the marriage it over, and you have exhausted every avenue to keep it alive - and it is obvious that the union is over, in many ways divorce can be a better route for the kids - rather than living with the feuding and constant tension and confliction within the family unit. This is only my experience, take time to review these great tips from Connect with Kids. I am in no way promoting divorce, I am only saying as mature adults we need to do what is best for all involved. Of course, each family and their dynamics are different - requiring different solutions and results.

Family Feuding

“It’s very hard, and it takes a lot for me to trust somebody. I don’t trust people very openly, very freely.”
– Katherine Yarberry, 14 years old

Katherine Yarberry’s parents got along well until she was about 4 years old.

“We all had a lot of fun together, that’s all I can remember,” says Katherine, who is now 14.
But those good times with her mom and dad didn’t last long. Soon, the arguing began, creating moments in time she will never forget.

“I was in the other room, and I heard something break, and my dad had thrown a plate against the wall,” she says. “They were having a fight.”

When children grow up in households where their parents often fight and the prevailing emotion is anger, it’s easy to imagine why they would be unhappy. And that unhappiness can last a lifetime.

“It’s very hard, and it takes a lot for me to trust somebody. I don’t trust people very openly, very freely,” Katherine says.

The Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry reports that kids who witness constant fighting are at greater risk for depression, drug dependence and low self-esteem.

What’s more, their future relationships with their spouse or their children are also at risk.
“I think parents don’t understand, and they get involved in their own issues [so] they don’t get the perspective that they need to that they are role modeling for their children and children are probably going to copy them in some way or another,” says Dr. John Lochridge, a psychiatrist.
Experts say parents need to remember that every time they fight, they are influencing their children’s behavior patterns.

The good news, Lochridge says, is that if angry parents teach their kids anger, then they can also teach them conflict resolution. And it’s never too late to begin.

“I think you can change your relationship to make it much more appropriate for the kids,” Lochridge says. “In fact, you can even role model conflict resolution.”

Tips for Parents

Several studies suggest that children of divorced parents are at an “increased risk” for later problems – namely divorce – in their own marriages. One study, published in the Journal of Marriage and Family,followed 2,000 married people and 335 of their children over a 17-year period.

“Children who grow up with divorced parents tend to reach adulthood with a relatively weak commitment to the norm of lifelong marriage,” says study author Dr. Paul R. Amato of Pennsylvania State University. “When their own marriages become troubled, they tend to leave the relationship rather than stick it out or work on it.”

He says adult children of divorce have a tendency to jettison relationships that may be salvageable. Among the findings in Dr. Amato’s study:

Children of divorce are twice as likely to see their own marriages end in divorce.
Children of “maritally distressed parents” who remain continuously married did not have an elevated risk of divorce.

The risk of divorce was more likely among children whose parents reported a low, rather than high, level of discord prior to divorce.

The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) says that during the difficult period of divorce, parents may be preoccupied with their own problems but continue to be the most important people in their children’s lives. Children will cope best if they know their mother and father will still be their parents and remain involved with them even though the marriage is ending and their parents won’t live together. The AACAP says research shows that it is best for children of divorce when their parents can cooperate on behalf of their children.The authors of Making Divorce Easier on Your Child: 50 Effective Ways to Help Children Adjust give the following advice to parents to help minimize the negative effects of divorce on their children:
Subject children to as few changes as possible as a result of the divorce. For example, try to have the children attend the same schools, continue to live in the same home, etc.
Don’t argue or fight with your ex-spouse in your children’s presence. The amount of parental conflict that your children witness following divorce is directly related to their level of adjustment.

Consistent discipline is very important. Both parents should use similar, age-appropriate discipline techniques with their children.
Don’t use children as messengers in parental communications. Children should never be asked to relay messages, such as “Tell your dad that he is late with the child support payment.”
Don’t use children as spies.
Don’t use children as allies in parental battles.
Don’t demean the other parent in front of children. Remember that your ex-spouse is still your children’s parent.

Don’t burden children with personal fears and concerns.

It is usually in your children’s best interest to have a consistent pattern of frequent visits with the non-custodial parent.

If major problems develop for children and/or parents, seek professional assistance.

American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Journal of Marriage and Family
Making Divorce Easier on Your Child: 50 Effective Ways to Help Children Adjust, by Nicholas Long and Rex Forehand
Pennsylvania State University
Simmons College

Monday, April 6, 2009

Sue Scheff: Arguing with Teenagers: Don’t Take the Bait

I absolutely love this website for all parents and guardians raising kids. Not to mention educators that work with kids. This article is particularly interesting since I was a parent that took that bait! Oh, hindsight is great!

Source: PowerMomsUnite

It’s a popular phrase in my house: “Don’t take the bait.” We have variances on it including “don’t be a fish,” “some one is fishing,” and the most popular “looks like you’re going to land a big one.” With 5 kids in the house, several of who are close in age, they joke, tease, and well, see who can get a rise out of whom. A product of an only child family, I was deeply disturbed by this behavior when they were younger. I lecturing about home being a sanctuary and that no one was to be teased ever! I have come to accept that as a family with ADHD, and maybe every family has this to some degree- boredom breeds a little teasing/ poking/ fishing. The nature of the teasing has changed- due to my insistence that relationships be nurtured and that personal attacks are harmful- its rarely name calling or about a person’s attributes or personality- because that gets you in a time out and period of service for the offended- but rather the teasing is simply irksome prankish behavior designed to get your goat- like slowly delivering a fork to a sibling, as they wait at the table staring at a warm brownie covered in melting ice cream or getting in the bathroom before a sibling and then taking their time to brush their teeth as the time to leave for the bus approaches. I think every family with more than 1 child has something going on like this….

What I had not expected is to forget to take my own advice. Yesterday, my 13-year-old landed a big one- his mother. Amid a discussion about how he chose to react to sibling’s behavior, my 13-year-old erupted with the statement, “ Mom you always pick favorites- I know he is your favorite.” Before I knew it, I was defending my response to the sibling; instead of addressing the 13-year-old’s behavior. I became so angry that I walked away before I said something I did not mean. (While that is important to do when you feel out of control- it also ended the engagement.) It was masterful- he had managed to completely derail me, and escape reflection on his own behavior….

I had forgotten my golden rule of managing teenagers, prepare for being baited or having your buttons pushed. Don’t take the bait, always have your unemotional response ready to keep the conversation on track. On one of my better days I would have said, “ I am sorry you see it that way, you need to apologize to your brother for your part of the disagreement.” I would have repeated that statement regardless of what he said in response. Teenagers, and well any child will find your weak spot and exploit it, when they feel pinned into a corner. As parents it is our job to control our responses and be ready, even when we are not at our best.

After I cooled off, I circled back with my cool, “ I love you. You need to apologize to your brother for your part in the disagreement.” He stomped his feet and slammed a door- but he apologized to his brother and even added “what can we do to fix this between us- “ It ended in laughter between both brothers and as the 13 year old and I processed our disagreement later, we laughed at the big one he had landed.

Visit for more information and leave comments! Do you have helpful tips? Take a moment to share with others.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Sue Scheff: The Choking Game - Parents Learn More

Choking Game - a teen thing? What is the Choking Game? It is definitely not a game any parent want to learn about the hard way. Learn more now about this horrific game through G.A.S.P. (Games Adolescents Shouldn’t Play).

I received an email from a mother that almost lost her son to this game. She is now part of an advocacy group to help inform and educate others about this choking game. She understands she almost lost her son, as a matter of fact, she thought she had. Miraculously, her son survived after several days in a coma following this incident. As a parent advocate, I always encourage others to share their stories, mistakes, experiences etc in an effort to help others. This is one of the many parents that is hoping you will learn from her firsthand experiences.

Source: G.A.S.P.
It’s not a game at all—just an act of suffocating on purpose.

Adolescents cut off the flow of blood to the brain, in exchange for a few seconds of feeling lightheaded. Some strangle themselves with a belt, a rope or their bare hands; others push on their chest or hyperventilate.

When they release the pressure, blood that was blocked up floods the brain all at once. This sets off a warm and fuzzy feeling, which is just the brain dying, thousands of cells at a time.
Personal Note from this parent:
Holding my son, as he took his first breath of life, for the second time took my breath away. He got a second chance to make a better choice. What I witnessed defies logic and reason. I made a choice to quit trying to understand, and instead pour my passionate gratitude for his life into advocacy work - to be a ripple in the wave of some much needed change. Stopping this behavior only starts with awareness. Ed4Ed is a program of education for educators. I consider all who possess knowledge, all upon acquiring it who connect with youth, care for and/or guide them, are then in turn ambassadors of that truth – incumbent educators.
When I am personally presenting from the materials of the program, I conclude by passing that torch to those with whom I speak. This deadly activity, masquerading as a “game” is an international problem, with a simple solution, educate! Give our kids the facts and they’ll make a better choice. Once he became aware of what had happened, Levi just shook his head and said “I didn’t know, Mom. People pass out all the time. I didn’t know.” Not one boy in the 500 that attended his boarding school knew the facts. They studied physics, science, biology and anatomy. None thought of it as anything more than a parlor trick, something new to try, not drugs, not alcohol – just a game. When we know better, we do better. When they know better, they will too.
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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teen Depression

As I saw on the news last night, experts are saying that parents with children between the ages of 12-18 should have them screened for depression. It is not about promoting medication, it is about helping to understand if there are areas in their lives that can be causing stress and anxiety that can leave to making negative choices such has experimenting with substance abuse, hanging with a less than desirable peer group, feelings of low self worth, etc. Like adults, children can be prone to depression and stress and not mature enough to understand these feelings. With this, acting out in a negative way can follow. Take time to learn more.

Source: USA Today

Experts: Doctors should screen teens for depression.

If you have teens or tweens, government-appointed experts have a message: U.S. adolescents should be routinely screened for major depression by their primary care doctors. The benefits of screening kids 12 to 18 years old outweigh any risks if doctors can assure an accurate diagnosis, treatment and follow-up care, says the independent U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.
It’s a change from the group’s 2002 report concluding there wasn’t enough evidence to support or oppose screening for teens. The task force, though, says there’s still insufficient proof about the benefits and harms of screening children 7 to 11 years old.

Depression strikes about 1 out of 20 teens, and it’s been linked to lower grades, more physical illness and drug use, as well as early pregnancy.

Questionnaires can accurately identify teens prone to depression, plus there’s new evidence that therapy and/or some antidepressants can benefit them, the expert panel says in a report in today’s Pediatrics . But careful monitoring is vital since there’s “convincing evidence” that antidepressants can increase suicidal behavior in teens, the report says.

Accompanying the task force advisory in Pediatrics is a research review saying there have been few studies on the accuracy of depression screening tests, but the tests “have performed fairly well” among adolescents. Treatment can knock down symptoms of depression, say the reviewers from Kaiser Permanente and the Oregon Evidence-Based Practice Center in Portland, Ore.

In a “show me the money” volley back, pediatricians also weigh in on the topic in today’s issue of their journal. Insurance plans and managed care companies that stiff or under-pay pediatricians for mental health services throw up barriers to mental health care in doctors’ offices, says the American Academy of Pediatrics. Kids’ doctors should be compensated for screenings, as well as consults with mental health specialists and parents, AAP recommends.