Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sue Scheff: Summer ADD/ADHD Program

Wow, Danielle Herb (check out her video) offers an amazing program for kids with ADD/ADHD as well as helping kids overcome their fears. Since I am in Florida, I am always asked about programs here and honestly, there are not that many. Well, not many in my opinion - if you know my story and my organization, I am a bit on the picky side.

Attention Children (Aged 10-16) With ADHD/ADD:

Horse Kid Scholarship 2009 for Danielle Herb’s ADHD Horse

Level 1 Master Class 21st - 28th June 2009- Visit

Start Your Summer In Florida With Danielle Herb, The ADHD/ADD Natural Horsemanship Coach

WHAT: The ADHD Horse Level 1 Master Class is an exciting new weeklong program developed by Danielle Herb and Drop Your Reins to help you manage your ADD/ADHD using natural techniques and without the need for prescription drugs.

WHO: Children Diagnosed with ADHD/ADD Aged 10-16

WHEN: June 21-28, 2009

WHERE: North Florida -Cheers Ranch

The Master Class will allow you to teach other young people the skills you learn, while at the same time teaching you how to manage your own ADD/ADHD by learning the language of the horse and mirroring.

By taking part in this Master Class you will discover:

How to manage energy in Positive and Peaceful ways by allowing the horse to mirror you.
How to improve your grades by developing a natural ability to focus.
How to easily plan and manage your diet for natural, positive affects.

Winners of The ADHD/ADD Horse Kid Scholarship will receive:

ADHD Horse Level 1 Coach Certification, allowing you to help other young people (worth $2499)
Lodging and Meals for the duration of the Master Class
A exclusive swag bag filled with books, music, DVD’s and services that will help you
You will gain life skills which will help you to control your ADHD/ADD

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Sue Scheff: A Parent's Guide To Internet Safety

Source: FBI Publications

Dear Parent:

Our children are our Nation's most valuable asset. They represent the bright future of our country and hold our hopes for a better Nation. Our children are also the most vulnerable members of society. Protecting our children against the fear of crime and from becoming victims of crime must be a national priority.

Unfortunately the same advances in computer and telecommunication technology that allow our children to reach out to new sources of knowledge and cultural experiences are also leaving them vulnerable to exploitation and harm by computer-sex offenders.
I hope that this pamphlet helps you to begin to understand the complexities of on-line child exploitation. For further information, please contact your local FBI office or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-843-5678.

Louis J. Freeh, Former Director
Federal Bureau of Investigation


While on-line computer exploration opens a world of possibilities for children, expanding their horizons and exposing them to different cultures and ways of life, they can be exposed to dangers as they hit the road exploring the information highway. There are individuals who attempt to sexually exploit children through the use of on-line services and the Internet. Some of these individuals gradually seduce their targets through the use of attention, affection, kindness, and even gifts. These individuals are often willing to devote considerable amounts of time, money, and energy in this process. They listen to and empathize with the problems of children. They will be aware of the latest music, hobbies, and interests of children. These individuals attempt to gradually lower children's inhibitions by slowly introducing sexual context and content into their conversations.

There are other individuals, however, who immediately engage in sexually explicit conversation with children. Some offenders primarily collect and trade child-pornographic images, while others seek face-to-face meetings with children via on-line contacts. It is important for parents to understand that children can be indirectly victimized through conversation, i.e. "chat," as well as the transfer of sexually explicit information and material. Computer-sex offenders may also be evaluating children they come in contact with on-line for future face-to-face contact and direct victimization. Parents and children should remember that a computer-sex offender can be any age or sex the person does not have to fit the caricature of a dirty, unkempt, older man wearing a raincoat to be someone who could harm a child.

Children, especially adolescents, are sometimes interested in and curious about sexuality and sexually explicit material. They may be moving away from the total control of parents and seeking to establish new relationships outside their family. Because they may be curious, children/adolescents sometimes use their on-line access to actively seek out such materials and individuals. Sex offenders targeting children will use and exploit these characteristics and needs. Some adolescent children may also be attracted to and lured by on-line offenders closer to their age who, although not technically child molesters, may be dangerous. Nevertheless, they have been seduced and manipulated by a clever offender and do not fully understand or recognize the potential danger of these contacts.

This guide was prepared from actual investigations involving child victims, as well as investigations where law enforcement officers posed as children. Further information on protecting your child on-line may be found in the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's Child Safety on the Information Highway and Teen Safety on the Information Highway pamphlets.

What Are Signs That Your Child Might Be At Risk On-line?

Your child spends large amounts of time on-line, especially at night.

Most children that fall victim to computer-sex offenders spend large amounts of time on-line, particularly in chat rooms. They may go on-line after dinner and on the weekends. They may be latchkey kids whose parents have told them to stay at home after school. They go on-line to chat with friends, make new friends, pass time, and sometimes look for sexually explicit information. While much of the knowledge and experience gained may be valuable, parents should consider monitoring the amount of time spent on-line.

Children on-line are at the greatest risk during the evening hours. While offenders are on-line around the clock, most work during the day and spend their evenings on-line trying to locate and lure children or seeking pornography.

You find pornography on your child's computer.

Pornography is often used in the sexual victimization of children. Sex offenders often supply their potential victims with pornography as a means of opening sexual discussions and for seduction. Child pornography may be used to show the child victim that sex between children and adults is "normal." Parents should be conscious of the fact that a child may hide the pornographic files on diskettes from them. This may be especially true if the computer is used by other family members.

Your child receives phone calls from men you don't know or is making calls, sometimes long distance, to numbers you don't recognize.

While talking to a child victim on-line is a thrill for a computer-sex offender, it can be very cumbersome. Most want to talk to the children on the telephone. They often engage in "phone sex" with the children and often seek to set up an actual meeting for real sex.

While a child may be hesitant to give out his/her home phone number, the computer-sex offenders will give out theirs. With Caller ID, they can readily find out the child's phone number. Some computer-sex offenders have even obtained toll-free 800 numbers, so that their potential victims can call them without their parents finding out. Others will tell the child to call collect. Both of these methods result in the computer-sex offender being able to find out the child's phone number.

Your child receives mail, gifts, or packages from someone you don't know.

As part of the seduction process, it is common for offenders to send letters, photographs, and all manner of gifts to their potential victims. Computer-sex offenders have even sent plane tickets in order for the child to travel across the country to meet them.

Your child turns the computer monitor off or quickly changes the screen on the monitor when you come into the room.

A child looking at pornographic images or having sexually explicit conversations does not want you to see it on the screen.

Your child becomes withdrawn from the family.

Computer-sex offenders will work very hard at driving a wedge between a child and their family or at exploiting their relationship. They will accentuate any minor problems at home that the child might have. Children may also become withdrawn after sexual victimization.

Your child is using an on-line account belonging to someone else.

Even if you don't subscribe to an on-line service or Internet service, your child may meet an offender while on-line at a friend's house or the library. Most computers come preloaded with on-line and/or Internet software. Computer-sex offenders will sometimes provide potential victims with a computer account for communications with them.

What Should You Do If You Suspect Your Child Is Communicating With A Sexual Predator On-line?

Consider talking openly with your child about your suspicions. Tell them about the dangers of computer-sex offenders.
Review what is on your child's computer. If you don't know how, ask a friend, coworker, relative, or other knowledgeable person. Pornography or any kind of sexual communication can be a warning sign.

Use the Caller ID service to determine who is calling your child. Most telephone companies that offer Caller ID also offer a service that allows you to block your number from appearing on someone else's Caller ID. Telephone companies also offer an additional service feature that rejects incoming calls that you block. This rejection feature prevents computer-sex offenders or anyone else from calling your home anonymously.

Devices can be purchased that show telephone numbers that have been dialed from your home phone. Additionally, the last number called from your home phone can be retrieved provided that the telephone is equipped with a redial feature. You will also need a telephone pager to complete this retrieval.

This is done using a numeric-display pager and another phone that is on the same line as the first phone with the redial feature. Using the two phones and the pager, a call is placed from the second phone to the pager. When the paging terminal beeps for you to enter a telephone number, you press the redial button on the first (or suspect) phone. The last number called from that phone will then be displayed on the pager.

Monitor your child's access to all types of live electronic communications (i.e., chat rooms, instant messages, Internet Relay Chat, etc.), and monitor your child's e-mail. Computer-sex offenders almost always meet potential victims via chat rooms. After meeting a child on-line, they will continue to communicate electronically often via e-mail.
Should any of the following situations arise in your household, via the Internet or on-line service, you should immediately contact your local or state law enforcement agency, the FBI, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children:

Your child or anyone in the household has received child pornography;
Your child has been sexually solicited by someone who knows that your child is under 18 years of age;
Your child has received sexually explicit images from someone that knows your child is under the age of 18.
If one of these scenarios occurs, keep the computer turned off in order to preserve any evidence for future law enforcement use. Unless directed to do so by the law enforcement agency, you should not attempt to copy any of the images and/or text found on the computer.

What Can You Do To Minimize The Chances Of An On-line Exploiter Victimizing Your Child?

Communicate, and talk to your child about sexual victimization and potential on-line danger.
Spend time with your children on-line. Have them teach you about their favorite on-line destinations.

Keep the computer in a common room in the house, not in your child's bedroom. It is much more difficult for a computer-sex offender to communicate with a child when the computer screen is visible to a parent or another member of the household.

Utilize parental controls provided by your service provider and/or blocking software. While electronic chat can be a great place for children to make new friends and discuss various topics of interest, it is also prowled by computer-sex offenders. Use of chat rooms, in particular, should be heavily monitored. While parents should utilize these mechanisms, they should not totally rely on them.

Always maintain access to your child's on-line account and randomly check his/her e-mail. Be aware that your child could be contacted through the U.S. Mail. Be up front with your child about your access and reasons why.

Teach your child the responsible use of the resources on-line. There is much more to the on-line experience than chat rooms.

Find out what computer safeguards are utilized by your child's school, the public library, and at the homes of your child's friends. These are all places, outside your normal supervision, where your child could encounter an on-line predator.

Understand, even if your child was a willing participant in any form of sexual exploitation, that he/she is not at fault and is the victim. The offender always bears the complete responsibility for his or her actions.

Instruct your children:

to never arrange a face-to-face meeting with someone they met on- line;
to never upload (post) pictures of themselves onto the Internet or on-line service to people they do not personally know;
to never give out identifying information such as their name, home address, school name, or telephone number;
to never download pictures from an unknown source, as there is a good chance there could be sexually explicit images;
to never respond to messages or bulletin board postings that are suggestive, obscene, belligerent, or harassing;
that whatever they are told on-line may or may not be true.

Read more:

Friday, May 29, 2009

Sue Scheff: Education and Exercise - Parenting Teens Today


By Sarah Newton

Get your students moving

I do believe that a lot of current schooling is failing our young people. It feels, in some cases, that schools have gone backwards in their approach to young people and that despite lots of innovations in education, it feels as if we are no further forward in our approach to education.

As I sit here looking at my bookshelf I am reminded of two books that I really must read, Spark and Brain Rules, which both talk about the effect of exercise on learning. Currently, in the UK, most schools are cutting down on exercise in the curriculum and exercise; it appears to be of secondary importance to results and achievement. And then we wonder why we have an obesity problem among our children. However, there are pockets of amazing things happening, like one school in America that ensures every student has PE each day and has including PE-ready sessions before remedial Maths and English, with incredible results.

Here is why exercise needs to be incorporated into education, study plans and anything to do with learning.

1. Aerobic exercise produces new cells
2. Exercise produces a hormone that is like Miracle Grow for the brain
3. Exercise produces serotonin which helps with memory
4. Exercise produces dopamine that makes us feel happier
5. Exercise produces a hormone that helps with energy
6. The hormones released by exercise are the chemicals that are contained in drugs given to students with ADD.
7. Exercise helps the mood and cognitive ability of students
8. 20 minutes is the maximum one should be sitting still, focused on one thing. This should be followed by a 10-minute exercise break
10. Exercise improves self-esteem
11. Having children exercise before exams can improve their results by 20%

4 tips Schools can give to Parents Getting your Teen Exercising

1. Have your child walk to school or exercise before school if possible
2. Make sure their breakfast is one that produces glucose
3. Have them exercise before doing homework and take a brain break every 20 minutes
4. Study plans to include exercise and diet as part of the process.

What can schools do to get children moving?
Watch this video and get this book or also listen to this podcast

Read more:

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Sue Scheff: The Parent is the Addict

This is a very interesting article and topic, when the parent is the one that has the addiction. How does this effect the child, especially a teen?


Source: Connect with Kids

“I was afraid when I’d go to school, she’d get drunk and hurt herself, or get behind the wheel, or crash into somebody.”

– George Evans, 15, child of recovering alcoholic

Every year, the government spends billions of dollars on the war on drugs. Yet, in millions of homes across the country, that battle made even more difficult because kids live with an adult who uses drugs.

One such household was George Evans’ home.

He used to skip school for days, even weeks at a time, mostly because of his mother. “I was afraid when I’d go to school, she’d get drunk and hurt herself, or get behind the wheel, or crash into somebody,” George remembers.

Between Kindergarten and the eighth grade, George missed over four hundred days of school. But as Steve Harris, licensed clinical social worker, explains, “It’s an extreme case in the degree to which it’s happening, missing 400 days of school, it’s common in the sense of the role reversal.”

George’s mom, Starlet agrees, “Your child feels that they have to be there to watch you.”

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, over 9 million children live with a parent who abuses drugs or alcohol.

And experts say that instability can be harmful to kids.

“Effects such as conduct disorders, higher rates of anxiety or depression, certainly a higher rate of problems in school, behavior problems,” and Harris says, a higher rate of addiction among those children.

“If it’s the parent who’s using the substance, then the child is at a greater likelihood for substance abuse, genetically as well as environmentally,” he explains.

And, he says, too often parents don’t view nicotine as a serious addiction and forget how tobacco can harm their kids in one other way, “It seems minor in terms of the social acceptance of it, but I’ve also worked with a lot of people whose parents have died of lung cancer. And that’s a pretty profound effect on anybody’s life.”

With a lot of help, George’s mom is no longer drinking, and George is back in school. “It makes my job a little easier to go to school,” says George, “we both kind of needed that stability.”

Tips for Parents

There is an extraordinarily large number of children at risk because of parental drug use. Experts at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration surveyed over 87,000 parents aged 18 and older about their substance dependence and abuse. They found nearly 12 percent of children live with a parent who abuses drugs.

Almost 7.3 million youths lived with a parent who was dependent on or abused alcohol
About 2.1 million children lived with a parent who was dependent on or abused illicit drugs
About 5.4 million children lived with a father who met the criteria for past-year substance dependence or abuse
About 3.4 million children lived with a mother who met these criteria
According to experts at American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychology (AACAP), a child in a substance-abusing family may have a variety of problems including:

Guilt – The child may see himself or herself as the main cause of the mother’s or father’s drinking.

Anxiety – The child may worry constantly about the situation at home. He/she may fear the alcoholic parent will become sick or injured, and may also fear fights and violence between the parents.

Embarrassment – Parents may give the child the message that there is a terrible secret at home. The ashamed child does not invite friends home and is afraid to ask anyone for help.
Inability to have close relationships

Confusion – The alcoholic parent will change suddenly from being loving to angry, regardless of the child’s behavior. A regular daily schedule, which is very important for a child, does not exist because bedtimes and mealtimes are constantly changing.

Anger – The child feels anger at the substance-abusing parent for using drugs, and may be angry with the non-using parent for lack of support and protection.

Depression – The child feels lonely and helpless to change the situation.
Although the child tries to keep the drug use a secret, teachers, relatives, other adults or friends may sense that something is wrong. Child and adolescent psychiatrists with AACAP advise that the following behaviors may signal a substance abuse problem at home:

Failure in school and/or truancy
Lack of friends and/or withdrawal from classmates
Delinquent behavior, such as stealing or violence
Frequent physical complaints, such as headaches or stomachaches
Abuse of drugs or alcohol
Aggression toward other children
Risk-taking behaviors
Depression or suicidal thoughts or behavior

The following are some suggestions from experts at the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information for actions that families or friends can take to prevent substance abuse by teens for whom they are responsible:

Establish and enforce rules against underage drinking. Keep alcohol, tobacco products and prescription drugs out of the reach of children too young to adhere to such rules. Do not use or store illegal drugs in your home. Avoid exposing others to tobacco smoke and acknowledge that regular smoking is unhealthy.

Be clear and consistent in stating your expectation that underage youth in your charge will not use alcohol, tobacco or other drugs (ATOD). Let other parents know your views if your children are going to be guests in their homes.

Be aware of the connection between alcohol and other drugs and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS. Make children aware that using alcohol and other drugs can lead to unplanned and unprotected sex. Many drugs, including alcohol and tobacco products, interfere with the body’s immune system.

If a family member exhibits signs of an ATOD problem, be prepared to connect them with appropriate help in your area. Know what alcoholism, addiction and ATOD dependence are, and what resources are available to you.

Help children and adolescents learn the health, safety and legal consequences of using ATOD. Be sure they understand that alcohol and tobacco are drugs and are as dangerous as illegal drugs.
Model low-risk alcohol use and ask others in your community to do so as well. Be a responsible host.

Be sure children have easy access to a wide range of appealing, ATOD-free alternative activities and safe, monitored areas where they can gather.

Discuss alcohol and tobacco advertising and marketing. Ask what he/she thinks about these messages, whether he/she understands their purpose, and whether he/she recognizes that these messages do not teach the possible harmful effects of using these products.
Be a positive role model. Do not engage in any illegal, unhealthy or dangerous ATOD-use practices. Provide an example consistent with your messages to the child.
Provide lots of love, support and encouragement and help a child learn to do something well.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychology
National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sue Scheff: Parenting Tips from FINK - Family Interaction Nurtures Kids

Again, another enlightening parent Blog and website that can offer you new insights on parenting today. This bright and cheery site can give you a sense of ease and relieve some of the stress you may be going through with your teen.

Take time to review this fantastic website with tips and resources. Here are a couple of tips from FINK Family Communication Experts.

Parenting Teens Tip One- what do you do when your child swears at you?

Firstly I believe every household should have clear ground rules about what is and what is not negotiable in your house and I believe that searing is absolutely one of those non-negotiable baselines. By letting your child swear at you and get away with minor infringements you are giving them a pass to do more disrespectful things. When I was in the police I saw huge crime back spots turned around by focusing on the minor infringements and I believe the same applies to your home. Zero tolerance on the minor will prevent the major.

So here is an easy process that you can use in your home when you child swears.
Read the rest of this entry »

Are you doing too much for your children?

I was recently on the phone with a client and trying to get my point across, the point being that sometimes we have to let go and allow our children to make mistakes, as that is the only way they will learn. I was getting nowhere, so I came up with a distinction that I want to share with you. It was the distinction between parent as slave and parent as leader.

OK, here was the situation, the usual teen getting out of bed situation. Mum knocks on the bedroom door, teen ignores and everyone is running around at the last minute. My challenge for the parent was in handing the responsibility for her child getting up in the morning over to her daughter, letting her suffer the consequences, whatever they may be. However, this parent was having a real challenge with that and what might happen. So, I simply asked her whether she wanted to be a slave to her child, or a leader. To be a leader you cannot take the easy route. Here is the distinction…
Read the rest of this entry »

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sue Scheff: Parents' Universal Resource Experts

Parent's Universal Resource Experts, Inc. (P.U.R.E.™) is an organization that was founded in 2001 by Sue Scheff. For the past several years Parent's Universal Resource's has assisted families with valuable information and resources for their children and teens that are at risk. Teens that are struggling with today's peer pressure, experimenting with drugs and alcohol, and simply good kids starting to make bad choices. We have many very satisfied families that have used our services. Please take a moment to read some of our testimonials.

Whether you are seeking Boarding Schools, Therapeutic Boarding Schools, Residential Treatment Centers, Wilderness Programs, Christian Schools, Summer Programs, Military Schools and more, Parent's Universal Resource's can offer you options to explore to help educate you in a very important decision for your child and family. We invite you to fill out a Free Consultation Form for more information.

Parent's Universal Resource Expert's™ are parents helping parents. As a parent that experienced and survived a difficult teen, we believe that desperate parents are at high risk of making rash and detrimental decisions in choosing the best placement for their child. Please take a moment to read my story - "A Parent's True Story" - which is one the reasons this organization was created.

As a member of the Better Business Bureau for many years we are an organization that prides ourselves in helping others and bringing families back together.

There are many Doctors, Attorney's, Therapists, Police Departments, Schools, Guidance Counselors, and other professionals that refer Parent's Universal Resource's to families. In many cases, after a family has used our service, they recommend us to their friends and relatives. We have built our reputation on trust and putting families first. At Parent's Universal Resource's we believe in bringing families back together.

In searching for schools and programs we look for the following:

Helping Teens - not Harming Them
Building them up - not Breaking them down
Positive and Nurturing Environments - not Punitive
Family Involvement in Programs - not Isolation from the teen
Protect Children - not Punish them

Monday, May 25, 2009

Sue Scheff: Happy Memorial Day

Hoping everyone has a safe and fun Memorial Day. Most importantly take the time to honor the many people that have served our wonderful country.
Since I usually Blog about Parenting Articles, I have to bring your attention to a fantastic article from - The Real Meaning of Memorial Day - read more here:

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sue Scheff: Signs of Teen Drug Abuse

Please note that even though some of these warning signs of drug abuse may be present in your teen, it does not mean that they are definitely abusing drugs. There are other causes for some of these behaviors. Even the lifestage of adolescence is a valid reason for many of them to exist.
On the flip side of that, do not ignore the warning signs of teenage drug abuse. If six of these signs, (not all in the same category), are present for a period of time, you should talk to your teen and seek some professional help.

Signs in the Home

loss of interest in family activities
disrespect for family rules
withdrawal from responsibilities
verbally or physically abusive
sudden increase or decrease in appetite
disappearance of valuable items or money
not coming home on time
not telling you where they are going
constant excuses for behavior
spending a lot of time in their rooms
lies about activities
finding the following: cigarette rolling papers, pipes, roach clips, small glass vials, plastic baggies, remnants of drugs (seeds, etc.)

Signs at School

sudden drop in grades
loss of interest in learning
sleeping in class
poor work performance
not doing homework
defiant of authority
poor attitude towards sports or other extracurricular activities
reduced memory and attention span
not informing you of teacher meetings, open houses, etc.
Physical and Emotional Signs

changes friends
smell of alcohol or marijuana on breath or body
unexplainable mood swings and behavior
negative, argumentative, paranoid or confused, destructive, anxious
over-reacts to criticism acts rebellious
sharing few if any of their personal problems
doesn't seem as happy as they used to be
overly tired or hyperactive
drastic weight loss or gain
unhappy and depressed
cheats, steals
always needs money, or has excessive amounts of money
sloppiness in appearance

Source: CDC.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Sue Scheff: Should Your Teen Get a Summer Job?

Last summer your teenager lazed around the pool complaining he was bored. This summer, though, he's old enough to get a job. So should you send him to the nearest fast-food place to make him earn his keep? Before uttering an unequivocal and enthusiastic "yes!" take a little time to sit down with your teen and discuss the long-term effects of how he chooses to spend his summer.

There are certainly benefits to your teen getting a summer job. When she's bringing home some money, she can start paying some of her own expenses. She'll be occupied, less likely to get into trouble and won't be complaining that she's bored. But did you know that getting a job, even as early as the summer after her freshman year, can make her more attractive to colleges, too?

"Colleges want students to use their free time wisely and well," states Lisa Sohmer, a member of the National Association for College Admission Counseling's Board of Directors. "Students can have summer jobs to earn money, but they can earn –and learn – other things as well, such as maturity and responsibility." That sense of responsibility may catch a college's attention, but the type of work a student does will keep it. According to Elizabeth Wissner-Gross, author of What High Schools Don't Tell You: 300+ Secrets to Make Your Kid Irresistible to Colleges by Senior Year, it's not enough to get a job at the local pizza place."Ideally," she says, "the student’s work experience should help further the student’s interests and academic passions." In other words, the teen who aspires to be a doctor should be working in a hospital or research facility this summer instead of flipping burgers.

Both Wissner-Gross and Sohmer encourage teenagers to use their summers as a way to develop their interests and strengths while finding a way to stand out from the crowd. "Colleges are most attracted to students who do things, not students who watch others do things," explains Wissner-Gross. In other words, your teenager's summer experience doesn't necessarily have to be a paying one, but it does have to be something that promotes intellectual growth and shows the ability to take initiative. "Students can do this through summer jobs, certainly, but also through internships, summer courses at colleges, volunteer work and study abroad programs," says Sohmer. Wissner-Gross' book provides information about hundreds of such opportunities, many of which have no fees for participation.

Internships and volunteer work may be a better option for some students anyway. Not all teenagers are ready –or old enough –for the workforce. Even if your 14-or 15-year old has reliable transportation and can get out of bed without prompting, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) significantly limits the types of jobs and hours he can work. Furthermore, some states require teens to have a work permit in order to work, but require teens to have a job before applying for one. To make it less confusing, the U.S. Department of Labor runs a website,YouthRules!, specifically devoted to explaining the rules governing teenager workers.

Whether your teen chooses to earn money, take classes or organize a community service project this summer depends on her personality and what's most beneficial to your family. "The important thing," says Sohmer, "is to be busy and to avoid describing their summers as a time to hang out." Wissner-Gross wholeheartedly agrees. "I’m against dull summers," she says. "The best summer experiences are the ones that allow teens to explore their academic and career passions through exciting, engaging experiences."

Sue Scheff: What are you revealing Online?

The importance of family internet safety education and etiquette is often overlooked by both kids and teenagers today.

While most teens are more ahead of the curve than most parents when it comes to the internet, they may not have the knowledge to help keep them safe from online dangers and its potentially negative effects. On behalf of Girl Scouts of the USA and Microsoft Windows, I have been asked to to introduce you to a new initiative called “LMK (text-speak for “Let Me Know,”) which provides parents and girls with resources catering to both generations, and whose goal is to bridge the digital gap between parents and teenagers.

On, the girl-targeted website, teens can find interactive quizzes, videos, and expert articles to be informed about online safety in a fun way! Girls can comment on the site content, sharing their thoughts, experiences and perspectives on topics many teens face everyday, like cyberbullying and social networking. New content is posted periodically and will cover twelve different areas related to being a teen online today. Teens can even download an interactive patch they can share on social networking sites like Facebook, just by registering for the site at no cost.

Best of all, it’s for all teenagers, not just Girl Scouts! When parents visit, they can sign up for the e-newsletter written and developed by a team of “LMK Teen Editors” who are sharing their knowledge about the ways teens use technology and help parents understand it all. Parents will have the chance to learn need-to-know skills to keep them up to speed with what their kids are doing online too. Expert advice is also offered to give guidance on tougher issues.

If you could, please take a moment to visit these sites, learn more about the initiative, and the wonderful resources found on both , and and hopefully this will help you help your teens!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Sue Scheff: Supporting Nikki - A Tribute to Nikki Catsouras

When a family loses a child, I can’t even imagine the pain they endure. How they wake up the next day, how they feel, what they feel and how they go on with life. When a family loses a child in a tragic accident it seems it could only compound all the feelings of loss.

On October 31, 2006 the Catsouras family experienced the nightmare every parent fears - losing a teen in a tragic automobile accident.

The accident was the beginning of an emotional roller coaster. If you haven’t heard about this story, it is time to take a moment and help make a difference. Nikki Catsouras, after having a horrific car accident was dead on impact, the scene was described as shocking as Nikki’s head was nearly decapitated.

Can you even imagine as a parent, learning of this? Can you imagine living through this? As a parent advocate and a parent of two young adults now, I couldn’t even begin to imagine what this family has gone through.

What follows next is nothing short of evil, in my opinion. Shortly after Nikki was buried, her parents and sisters still in mourning, the Internet creeped into their lives in the most heinous way. Photo’s of Nikki’s crime scene were posted online! Yes, their daughter’s body, or what was left of it, was going viral! Where is justice? Who in God’s name would do this?

Please take a moment to read “A Tribute to Nikki Catsouras” and sign the petition to help create reasonable protection for personal privacy on the Internet.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Sue Scheff: Parenting and Keeping Your Kids Safe in Cyberspace

Author: Andy Greenberg

How To Keep Kids Safe Online

Every parent worries about the power of the Internet to expose kids to online predators. Less often discussed: tech’s power to expose kids to their own bad judgment.

Earlier this month, the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy and released a survey showing that two in five teens has sent sexually suggestive messages online. One in five has electronically sent or posted nude or semi-nude pictures or videos of themselves. And more than a third of teens in the survey say that those pictures tend to be shared beyond the intended recipient.

Teen exploitation online has long been a hot-button topic for tech-focused politics. Last year, popular teen social networks like MySpace and Facebook were the targets of investigations by several state attorneys generals seeking to purge sexual predators from the sites. MySpace responded by deleting the accounts of 29,000 users whose personal details match them with records of sex offenders, and Facebook is still undergoing a two-year investigation that will track incidents of pornography and sexual advances on the site.

But Larry Magid, a board member of the Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the founder of and, argues that the focus on sexual predators on social networking sites is largely political grandstanding. Much less sensational, and far more common, he contends, are cases where kids simply post too much sensitive or compromising information about themselves online, leading to incidents of cyberbullying and embarrassment.

Social networking sites make an easy scapegoat, he says. But even e-mail can be a source of trouble if kids aren’t careful. “Say a girl sends her boyfriend compromising photos. Two weeks later, he’s no longer her boyfriend, and two weeks after that, he’s angry at her and posts the photo online,” Magid says. “That’s not physically harmful, but it can be psychologically devastating to a young girl.

The answer, then, isn’t to engage in witch hunts on MySpace and Facebook, says Magid, but to better educate kids about online privacy. On that front, says Adam Thierer of the Progress and Freedom Foundation, parents and schools aren’t keeping up with the pace of technological culture. “We’re doing a horrendous job in this country of educating our kid about how to behave online,” he argues. “We give them so many messages about drinking, sex, even fatty foods. But when it comes to online safety, we throw them into the deep end of the pool.”

Of course, the threat of sexual predators is real enough. Last year, 19-year-old Alicia Kozakiewicz testified to Congress’ judiciary committee about her experience as a victim of kidnapping and sexual abuse after being deceived online. Six years earlier, she had arranged a meeting with a friend she’d met online, who described “herself” as a 12-year-old redhead. Instead, she found Scott Tyree, a middle-aged man who kidnapped her, imprisoned her and abused her physically and sexually for days before she was rescued by FBI agents.
“I discovered that the boogeyman is real, and that he lives on the Web,” she told Congress at a judiciary committee hearing called to consider toughening online sexual predator laws.

But as nightmarish as Kozakiewicz story may be, it would be a mistake to focus only on these rare tragedies, says Magid. “I’m definitely not saying this didn’t happen, and that it’s not tragic. But we shouldn’t take this case and make this seem like a common occurrence,” Magid says. “This kind of thing is probably as rare as being molested by a member of Congress.”
Instead of living in fear of Internet boogeymen, Magid and Thierer offer a few simple tips for filling the education gap surrounding online privacy. Most importantly, they say, talk to your kids about what should and shouldn’t be publicly posted on the Internet. Be sure they understand that personal details like addresses and phone numbers, as well as private photos, should stay offline.

Also, consider placing any computers in the house in a “public” place, like the family room or living room, rather than a child’s bedroom. This tactic doesn’t just let parents keep Web browsing safe and open, it also helps parents limit the time kids spend online and encourages offline activities like sports or socializing.

One tool Magid advises parents to use with caution, however, is Web filtering software like Net Nanny or Cybersitter, which block objectionable content online. For teens, he says, such software inspires resentment and only leads to kids looking for other sources of Internet access, like a friend’s computer. As cellphones become smarter, they may also offer kids a surreptitious avenue to the Web.

For younger kids, an easier way to keep Web surfing safe may be an emerging group of social networking sites aimed at preteens. Disney’s (nyse: DIS - news - people )Club Penguin is a social network and virtual world for kids ages 6 to 14. On settings aimed at its youngest demographic, the game only allows players to communicate using pre-set phrases, making obscenities or other inappropriate content impossible. Even on its settings for older users, the site employs teams of moderators to identify and ban any user spouting less-than-innocent language.

Another site that mimics MySpace for young teens and ‘tweens is Imbee’s late creator, Jeanette Symons, who passed away in February, told last year that the site is designed to bring real-world friendships onto the Web, not vice versa. Only a child’s direct friends can view his or her profile, and parents are alerted whenever a new friend is added.

“Younger kids are seeing what older kids are doing with MySpace and Facebook, and of course, they want to mimic it. The problem is that they don’t have the concepts yet to be able to realistically protect themselves,” she told “Imbee gives them social networking without the risks.”

Symons created the site about two years ago, after her 6-year-old daughter demanded she be allowed to join MySpace. Symons wisely refused that request, and instead built her own social network, hosted on a server in her closet. Soon, neighborhood kids had joined, and today, the site has more than 50,000 registered accounts.

Echoing Larry Magid, Symons believed that the rare threat of sexual predators had, in some ways, obscured the more common problem of kids’ indiscreetly publishing personal information on the Web.

“I don’t realistically think that predators are much worse online than they are in real life,” Symons says. “The thing I worry about is that whatever kids publish today can stick with them for the rest of their lives. Once you publish on the Internet, it’s there for all to see.”

Sue Scheff: Helping Your Teen With Job Searches

7 Ways Parents Can Help Kids With Job Searches
Source: Radical Parenting by Vanessa Van Petten

Parents often walk a fine line between wanting to help their kids find a job and making their child feel nagged and overwhelmed. There are few things to keep in mind when helping your child with the job search:

1) Know they are feeling scared too

I often hear parents complain that the reason they are helping their kids with the search is because they do not think their kid’s are taking any initiative. This may or may not be true, but if you are feeling nervous and scared about them finding a job, then they are probably feeling it even worse. Be sensitive to the fact that they might not be showing you how vulnerable they really feel.

2) Approach Carefully

You can ask once or twice in a few day period if your child needs help. If they say no, back off, they might need their space, otherwise they might feel you are nagging them. This is also a rather sensitive subject and can be packed with all kinds of emotion. Be aware of your tone of voice and body language so that you do not make your teen feel they are being attacked or less than, that they cannot find a job.

3) Remember: What You Do Might Not Be What They Do

What is or was best for you in the job search might be different for them. Try to be aware of their needs and interests when helping them search for a job so they can find something they are truly fulfilled with. Often times parents and kids do not see eye to eye on the job search because they have different interests and needs.

4) Elevator Pitches and Networking

If you are going to take your kids around with you to network, be sure to teach them how to network.

5) Start With Your Network

The best way to get a job in a down economy is to tap into who you already know. When I was hiring over the past few months, I got hundreds of applications. People who came recommended to me from friends and family moved to the top of the list, got a longer interview and started on a good foot because we had a mutual connection. Introduce them to friends, bring them to dinner parties and lunches. You never know who is looking!

A great way to beef up their potential hiring rating is to make sure they have a strong personal brand and online reputation. Here I have listed many ways to manage your personal brand and online reputation.

7) Entrepreneurship is an Option

I started my company when I was 17, went to college and then moved home to do it full time when I was 22. It took about 8 months of debt to begin to turn a profit. If it was not for the support of my parents, I do not know what I would have done. Here are some ways you can be supportive of young entrepreneurs:

Overall, it is a good idea to let them know you love and support them no matter what, in this economy, job searches can be stressful on the whole family.

Vanessa Van Petten is an amazing young adult that offers great insights, articles, thoughts, books and to help us better understand teens!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Sue Scheff: Parent's Influence on Teen Drinking

“My parents are pretty powerful in my life. I have their respect, and they have mine.”
– Deepak, 16 years old

Teenagers are bound to experiment with drugs, alcohol and sex – right?

Not necessarily, says 15-year-old Nick. “It’s not inevitable,” he says. “It’s just a personal decision.”

“There’s [sic] a lot of people who just don’t want to try any of that stuff, but there are some people who do,” says 15-year-old Chris Mullings.

The Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs reports that when underage drinkers are disciplined by their parents they are less likely to become heavy drinkers compared to kids whose parents ignore their drinking.

“My parents have a pretty big influence on everything that I believe in – what I will and won’t do,” says Elizabeth, 15.

Nick echoes her sentiments. “For all my decisions, I’m always thinking about what they taught me, and even if I don’t do what they said, it’s still always in my head,” he says.

What’s more, teens themselves say parents help them make healthy choices by talking to them and knowing where they are, whom they’re with and what they’re doing. And when their expectations are clear.

“If they have heard what you think is appropriate behavior and you have modeled it, when they are in a position where they have to think critically, they have already had a chance to, in some ways, rehearse it,” says psychologist Dr. Peter Thomas.

And, experts say, if you find your teen has been experimenting- speak up!

“By not commenting directly, they’re, in essence, giving their child permission to continue to drink or get stoned or do whatever they’re doing because the child will interpret their silence as its okay, it doesn’t matter,” explains psychologist, Alexandra Phipps. “I would tell parents if you don’t talk about things with your child, it’s probably going to happen again and again and it’s probably going to get worse.”
Tips for Parents

Research defines binge drinking as having five or more drinks in a row. Reasons adolescents give for binge drinking include: to get drunk, the status associated with drinking, the culture of drinking on campus, peer pressure and academic stress. Binge drinkers are 21 times more likely to: miss class, fall behind in schoolwork, damage property, injure themselves, engage in unplanned and/or unprotected sex, get in trouble with the police, and drink and drive.

Young people who binge drink could be risking serious damage to their brains now and increasing memory loss later in adulthood. Adolescents may be even more vulnerable to brain damage from excessive drinking than older drinkers.

Consider the following:

The average girl takes her first sip of alcohol at age 13. The average boy takes his first sip of alcohol at age 11.

Underage drinking causes over $53 billion in criminal, social and health problems.
Seventy-seven percent of young drinkers get their liquor at home, with or without permission.
Students who are binge drinkers in high school are three times more likely to binge drink in college.

Nearly 25 percent of college students report frequent binge drinking, that is, they binged three or more times in a two-week period.

Autopsies show that patients with a history of chronic alcohol abuse have smaller, less massive and more shrunken brains.

Alcohol abstinence can lead to functional and structural recovery of alcohol-damaged brains.
Alcohol is America’s biggest drug problem. Make sure your child understands that alcohol is a drug and that it can kill him/her. Binge drinking is far more pervasive and dangerous than boutique pills and other illicit substances in the news. About 1,400 students will die of alcohol-related causes this year. An additional 500,000 will suffer injuries.

A study by the Harvard School of Public Health showed that 51 percent of male college students and 40 percent of female college students engaged in binge drinking in the previous two weeks. Half of these drinkers binged frequently (more than three times per week).

College students who binge drink report:

Interruptions in sleep or study habits (71 percent).
Caring for an intoxicated student (57 percent).
Being insulted or humiliated (36 percent).
An unwanted sexual experience (23 percent).
A serious argument (23 percent).
Damaging property (16 percent).
Being pushed, hit or assaulted (11 percent).
Being the victim of a sexual advance assault or date rape (1 percent).

Students must arrive on college campuses with the ability to resist peer pressure and knowing how to say no to alcohol. For many youngsters away from home for the first time, it is difficult to find the courage to resist peer pressure and the strength to answer peer pressure with resounding no. Parents should foster such ability in their child’s early years and nurture it throughout adolescence. Today’s youth needs constant care from parents and community support to make the best decisions for their wellbeing.

Alcohol Policies Project
Focus Adolescent Services
Harvard School of Public Health
National Youth Violence Prevention Center
Psychological Assessment Research & Treatment Services

Sue Scheff: Stop Medicine Abuse

I was asked by caring parents and individuals to give people encouraging news. StopMedicineAbuse is making a difference in creating awareness in parents and helping open up the lines of communication with their teens and tweens today.

Although almost two-thirds parents have talked to their teens about cough medicine abuse, a large number still have not had this critical conversation. To help alert these parents, many OTC cough medicines will now feature the Stop Medicine Abuse educational icon (see above icon) on the packaging.
Look for them on Facebook and join their Fan Club Group to stay updated.

How can you help?

Our efforts to educate parents about medicine abuse have reached thousands of families in the United States. With your help, more parents than ever are learning about this risky teen substance abuse behavior and are talking with their teens. According to the Partnership Attitude Tracking Study, released by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, 65 percent of parents have talked to their teens about the dangers of abusing OTC cold and cough medicine to get high-an 18 percent increase in the number of parents who talked to their teens in 2007.
My fellow Five Moms and I are excited to share this promising news with you, but there is still much work ahead. Although nearly two-thirds of parents have talked with their teens, 35 percent of parents said that they have not had this important conversation.

We know that when parents talk to their teens about the risks of substance abuse, their teens are up to fifty percent less likely to abuse substances. If you have not already talked with your teens about the dangers of cough medicine abuse, visit our talk page for some helpful ideas on how to have this discussion.

It is also critical that we share this information with our friends and communities as well. Too many parents are still unaware that some teens are abusing OTC cough medicine to get high, and it is important that we talk with them about this behavior. By talking with other parents, we can make sure that every family has the knowledge and tools to help keep teens safe and healthy.

Sharing information about cough medicine abuse is easy. It only takes a moment to start a conversation, and thanks to Stop Medicine Abuse, you can Tell-A-Friend through e-mail or post the Stop Medicine Abuse widget to your blog or web site. The more parents are aware of cough medicine abuse, the better we can prevent this behavior from happening in our communities.
Have you talked with other parents about cough medicine abuse? Share your advice about having this conversation at the Stop Medicine Abuse Fan page

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Sue Scheff: Radical Parenting, Parenting From a New Perspective

Vanessa Van Petten has been such an inspiration to so many people and many parents! As a young adult she has given us the inside scoop on our teens and the way they are wired today! Her first fantastic book, You’re Grounded, How to Stop Fighting and Make the Teenage Years Easier, was written when she was 17 years old - helping parents see life through a teens eyes. Vanessa Van Petten is one of the nation’s youngest experts on parenting and youth. Her new website - Radical Parenting is becoming very busy!

Here is one of her most recent articles and I am confident many parents will enjoy reading it.


Last week I went over to a client’s house and was working with her on the time management lesson of my program. We were looking at her school planner and slotting in her homework and project schedule. I noticed that for Tuesday night she had highlighted, added stickers and highlighter smiley faces.

“Is it your birthday?” I asked.
“No, it’s the night of the 8th grade parent meeting at school!” She replied.
“Um, you get that excited for a parent meeting?” I questioned.
“Silly, we love parents night because the entire 8th grade can get online and watch videos and hang-out together, we have to make sure I get my homework done on Monday night!”

I am sure, that High School’s parents have no idea that the whole grade not only looks forward to parent meetings like birthday celebrations, but also that they class is bonding and throwing an online party in their respective homes across the city. (She let me blog about this, as long as I keep my promise not to share the school’s name.)

I think, this is a good thing actually:

-It makes them get homework done early

-It helps them bond with each other

-They are all at home, their really rebellious move is to video chat with, gasp, more than two people at once while mom and dad are out.

-The online environment has allowed for an outside of school recess. (I have many posts about how technology has blurred the lines between home, school and social life and this can be a very negative thing, so I want to have at least one article where it is good!)

-They encourage their parents to be involved. Because everyone wants to be able to go to the online party, kids are now encouraging their parents more than ever to join those committees, and attend meetings to stay informed…hey the schools need all of the help they can get!

I asked my teen advisory council and interns what they do when their parents are out, here are some of the answers, listed in order of popularity (there was a very long tail on this one of some very random activities–some of which I chose to include, some of which I left out).

1) YouTube Videos

2) Talk on the phone

3) Text

4) Raid the kitchen

5) Go on AIM/Skype/iChat

6) iTunes and/or listen to music

7) Watch TV/Movies

Invite friends/boyfriend/girlfriend over

9) Play video games

10) Masturbate

11) Prank phone calls

12) Go out

13) Look through parents room/desk/siblings room

14) The same thing I do when they are home

15) Homework

As you can see, it varies. A lot of the time, you can just ask them and they will tell you. Or show them this post and see if they find any of the answers surprising.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teens and Allowance

What an interesting topic and in today economy many parents have to make cut-backs. However when it comes to our kids allowance, what are the limits? More important, what lessons can be learned? Our kids need to be aware that being responsible with money should be a priority.

During the week-end wrestling tournament I sat with two other parents for the better part of 12 hours. It was an endurance test. I’m glad I went but it was a long time. You really get to know others when you spend that many hours talking.

The talk turned to money. Specifically, how much allowance to pay a teen. One said they give their 17 year old son $150/month to be used for dates, extras and such. Frankly, given the financial position of this family, I was pleasantly surprised at their restraint. Additionally, their son is completely re-building a ‘66 Mustang for his car. Until it runs, he doesn’t have a car. Good way to learn something don’t you think?? I thought that was a great idea, if you had the right set-up at home and the access to people to help answer questions.No Need to Pay for Dates

The other parent said they paid their 17 year old girl about $100/month for extras. I’m thinking that worked out to more extra money than the boy because usually the girl isn’t paying for a date. And, I know she doesn’t use the money for clothes or transportation. On the other hand, I know other teens who get much more.

Another girl at my daughter’s school has a huge allowance (maybe $500/month) but she has to pay her cell phone bill, all her clothes, gas and…really all of her expenses other than housing, insurance and food. This is another approach that seems valid. And, she seems to be learning something too.

There’s a yogurt hang-out nearby our school. The girls like to go after school but it can get “pricey”. One scoop can be up to $6. if you’re not careful. One day, my daughter mentioned that she learned a few “tricks” about how to get the most yogurt for her money (from the girl who has the huge allowance). So, I guess it’s working.

After all, the goal of an allowance is to teach your kids how to budget, save and spend money wisely. If the current economic situation is any indication, we’re not doing a very good job as adults. Not many parents (of teens) are open enough to discuss this issue. The subject of money is always touchy. But, I’m glad these parents were willing to share. It’s very helpful, don’t you think?
Read more great articles from Tangerine times at

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sue Scheff: Morning After Pill and Parenting Tips

“There will be girls who use the ‘morning after pill’ in probably a very casual way. And not really take into account what that means.”

– Nancy McGarrah, Ph.D., Psychologist

Some experts worry that once the morning after, or ‘Plan B’ pill is available to 17 year old kids teen sexual activity will increase.

“Teenagers that will choose to have sex that weren’t having sex before,” says Psychologist Nancy McGarrah, “because they know that the ultimate fear of pregnancy isn’t an ultimate fear anymore.”

Some teenagers agree.

“They’ll know in the back of their minds ‘okay, this happens, I’ll just take the pill tomorrow,’” says 18-year-old Lauren Moskowitz.

“If you knew that you could stop fertilization or stop the sperm from coming, of course you’re going to do it, because there’s a greater chance that you know, you’re not going to get pregnant,” adds 19-year-old Angel Goldring. “So I think it’ll increase sexual activity if the pill is introduced.”

The morning after pill raises another concern – sexually transmitted diseases.

“They’ll just realize that they could have sex without a condom and have no worries about it,” says 18-year-old Patrick Sullivan.

“I still hear a lot of kids ignoring the whole concern about STDs,” says Dr. McGarrah. “They’re not, you know, taking it seriously. They’re worried about pregnancy still. That’s what is the big bugaboo.”

“I really believe that most of the teenagers are going to think about pregnancy before they think about diseases or stuff like that,” says 18-year-old Kristopher Roberts.

Experts say if the morning after pill is approved for over-the-counter sale, parents will need to talk to their teens about sexuality now more than ever.

“Also, [parents will need to] tell them what they believe, in terms of their moral position,” says Dr. McGarrah.

The most important point, says McGarrah, is “that sexually transmitted diseases are real things and they do exist and no birth control or morning after pill is going to protect you from that.”

Tips for Parents

The most reliable way to prevent unwanted pregnancies is not by using the morning after pill; it’s by abstaining from intercourse in the first place. Open communication and accurate information from parents increase the chance that teens will postpone sex. Experts at the American Medical Association have developed the following list to help parents talk to their children.

Teens need accurate information and decision-making skills to help protect them from pressure to have sex, unintended pregnancy and HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.
If talking with your teen about sex is difficult for you, admit it. Keep a sense of humor.

Use TV, movies, articles and real-life situations, such as a friend's pregnancy, to begin talking about sex.

Share your values regarding sex. If you believe a person should abstain from sex until marriage, say so.

Don't assume that if your teen asks questions about sex, he or she is necessarily thinking about having sex.

Ask your teen what he or she wants to know about sex. If you don't know an answer, admit it. Find answers with your teen in books, other resources, or from your health care provider.
Reassure your teen that not everyone is having sex and that it is okay to be a virgin. The decision to become sexually active is too important to be based on what other people think or do.
Your first talk with your teen about sex should not be your last. Talk with your teen about sex on an ongoing basis. Let your teen know that you are always willing to talk about any question or concern he or she may have about sex.

In addition, previous studies have shown the following.

Typically, parents begin talking with their children about sex during the children's preteen years. Some parents, however, do not begin these discussions until their children are thirteen-years-old, and some parents never discuss sexuality with their children.

Mothers often assume the primary responsibility for sexual instruction of both their male and female adolescents. Daughters are more often the recipients of sexual instruction than are sons.
The predominant content of conversations with adolescents revolved around sexual issues and related moral views of right and wrong. Studies noted that these later conversations were important in the transmission of values and morals.

Children perceive their parents as communicating less about sex than the parents believe they communicated.

Although parents are a major source of sexual information, peers also play a unique role in the acquisition and transmission of information and values about sexuality. When parents are the major source of sexual information for adolescents, adolescents' sexual behavior is less risky than when friends are the main source of sexual information.

Centers for Disease Control
Advocates for Youth Campaign
Journal of Marriage and Family

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Sue Scheff: Top Ten Teen Youth Volunteers Receive Awards

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, the United States’ largest youth recognition program based solely on volunteer service. For their extraordinary efforts in serving others through volunteerism, ten middle and high school students from across the country were named America’s top ten youth volunteers for 2009 in a ceremony at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce headquarters, capping the 14th year of The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards.

Each year, The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards honors the outstanding community service of young Americans. The results are now in the top ten youth volunteers from the May 4th ceremony have been announced! Want to watch the winners receive their awards? I invite you readers to watch a webcast event, replaying all of the wonderfully inspiring moments and announcements:

You can get your children and community involved by encouraging them to visit where they can find out how to become a nominee for next year’s honorary ceremony.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teen Entrepreneur and Summer Volunteering

With today's economy teens and kids are watching or hearing about many of their families having to cut back and become more aware of what they are spending. As parents we need to encourage our kids to look at their future - build a foundation - nurture a dream. With today's technology the ideas are always expanding. Check out this article and get your kids started in a positive direction!

Source: Connect with Kids
Teen Entrepreneur
“I’m a gigantic believer in the value of an entrepreneurial experience- if there’s any time in someone’s life when they ought to take a risk it’s when they are not saddled with an enormous number of financial and family responsibilities.”

– Andrea Hershatter, Ph.D., M.B.A.

When today’s teens talk about what they want to be when they grow up … the answer that is becoming more common than ever is: my own boss.

Like a lot of college freshmen, Sean Belnick has a job on the side. He works for a company that brings in more than 20-million dollars a year. It’s his company… he owns it.

“We started off with a couple of orders a day and it just mushroomed from there,” he says.

A huge warehouse now stocks the office chairs he sells online. But it all started in his bedroom, when he was 15 years old.

“I always had an entrepreneurial spirit,” he says.

More teens than ever are tapping into their entrepreneurial spirit. In fact, according to Junior Achievement Worldwide, interest in entrepreneurship camps is up 30 percent.

What’s more, experts say, kids have a huge advantage as entrepreneurs because they know the web and know network sites like Facebook and Myspace.

“They intuitively understand the power and potential of using web based services for distribution, for marketing, for outreach… for connections,” says Andrea Herchatter with Emory University, “And they’re incredible networkers who have a very large number of human resources in terms of their peers at their disposal.”

“That’s the whole thing with the internet really,” says Belnick, “Anyone can put a web site up. And it looks professional. But there’s nothing saying that there’s a 20-year-old kid behind it. Which is the biggest thing about the internet, you know, you can create your own credibility.”

Experts say parents should encourage entrepreneurship in their kids… whether it’s moving lawns or an online business.

They may not make millions… but they will learn a lot about managing a business and turning a profit.

“I think they learn, they grow, they mature. If they are not enriched financially then at least they are enriched in terms of life experiences that will serve them forever,” says Herchatter.

Tips for Parents

With the employment rate down for teens, many are opting for volunteer positions instead of paid positions. And despite many adults being convinced of a decline in the values and morals of today’s young people, recent surveys show that many teens are giving of their time to work for causes in which they believe and to help those who are less fortunate. Teens find volunteer opportunities through religious organizations, school-based programs and community agencies.

Teens listed several reasons for volunteering:

Compassion for people in need
Feeling they can do something for a cause in which they believe
A belief that if they help others, others will help them
In addition, some teens volunteer their time in occupational fields in which they are interested. In addition to being helpful, they are able to use their experiences in deciding on future career choices.

Teens reported benefiting from their volunteer experiences in many ways, including:

Learning to respect others.
Learning to be helpful and kind.
Learning to understand people who are different from them.
Developing leadership skills.
Becoming more patient.
Gaining a better understanding of good citizenship.
Exploring or learning about career options.
Developing new career goals.

Children learn from their parents. The survey showed teens that reported having positive role models were nearly twice as likely to volunteer as those who did not. Encourage your child to volunteer by setting an example. Youth Service America provides additional ways to increase teen volunteerism:

Ask them to volunteer.

Encourage youth to get involved at an early age. Volunteering when young creates lifelong adult volunteers.

Encourage children and young adults to participate in community groups, faith-based organizations, student government and school projects.

Encourage a positive self-image so young people are able to help others and contribute to their communities.

Be a mentor in your community.

Provide young people with opportunities to take courses that include and even require community service.

The Higher Education Research Institute
The Independent Sector
Youth Service America

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Why Kids Cheat and How to Stop it

I am again so impressed with the articles that bring to parents, educators and others working our children of the future. Take a moment to learn more.


by Rose Garrett
Topics: Character Development, Promoting Good Character in Your Child, Teen Issues, more...
High School

These days, it seems like cheating is everywhere, from the baseball diamond to the classroom. With stories of professional dishonesty and performance-enhancing drugs permeating the adult world, it's no wonder that studies show academic cheating among children and teens on the rise. But while cheating on a test or plagiarizing an essay may seem a quick way to get a leg up, students are actually holding themselves back from the type of meaningful learning that will serve them best in life.

So how can parents keep kids from cheating in a society that seems to stress winning at any cost? According to Eric Anderman, Professor of Educational Psychology at The Ohio State University and co-editor of the book Psychology of Academic Cheating, the trick is to diminish the motivations that drive cheating in the first place.

“Kids cheat when they become stressed,” explains Anderman, who says that as the pressure to get good grades and high test scores increases, so does the incidence of cheating. Anderman says that although children who cheat in school do not fit any defined profile, they're usually students “who are much more focused on getting good grades and extrinsically motivated rather than intrinsically motivated by a desire to learn.”

That means that the more pressure students feel, the more likely they are to resort to cheating. And although pen-and-paper notes and other familiar methods are still very much in use, cell phones and PDAs have opened up new opportunities for students gunning for top grades. “Obviously with more technology there are more methods kids use to cheat,” says Anderman. Browsing the Internet during a test, texting solutions or taking photos of answer sheets and messaging them to friends are all possible in the digital age, and enforcement of no phone policies can be tough for teachers.

Using technology as a cheating aid may be new, but cheating has been around a long time, and it probably won't go away anytime soon. However, there are things that parents can do to help make sure their children get the most out of their education by getting past the impulse to cheat.

Take Pressure Off. Kids often cheat because they see it as the only way to measure up to high expectations. Although it's good to expect the most from your kids, make it clear that you expect them to do their best, not be the best.

Avoid Extrinsic Motivation. Praising your child every time he comes home with a good grade is standard parenting procedure, but make sure that you're sending the right message. Avoid punishing your child for low grades and rewarding him for high ones. Instead, emphasize the concept of effort by recognizing the hard work he put into his work, and encouraging better effort in problem areas.

Talk About It. “One of the most important things parents can do is talk to kids about how they are feeling academically and whether they are feeling stressed,” says Anderman. Opening up a dialogue about tough classes does more than inform you about where your child is struggling: he'll know that you're on his side when it comes to that killer math test or demanding paper, and be more likely to come to you with problems rather then dealing with them the wrong way.
Prep for Peer Pressure. Whether your child is involved in cheating or not, she will feel pressure to participate from peers at school, from friends asking to copy a last minute lab report to students passing notes across her desk during a test. Make sure she knows that by saying “No” now, she's not only helping herself, but helping others in the long run.

Know the News. Sports stars, politicians, and high-powered businesspeople are constantly in the news over all kinds of misbehavior, from doping and lying to insider trading and fraud. Use these cases as “teachable moments” to talk about moral values, and emphasize that even though some people act dishonestly to get ahead, it's still not okay for you or your child to do the same.
Set a Good Example. Think your teen doesn't notice what you do? Think again. Younger kids may mimic a parent's behavior, but older adolescents will jump on hypocrisy wherever they see it. Either way, it's best to be a role model for your kids, and that means putting the brakes on “white” lies and shortcuts to get what you want the easy way. Be sure to share personal stories about cheating and lying with your child, too: it's important to show that you're not so perfect after all!

Although pressure to perform is an increasing focus for students, your child shouldn't feel that cheating is the only way to get ahead. Through hard work, good communication, and a desire to learn, your child will become a better learner and a better citizen for life.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Sue Scheff: Families Fighting Flu

As a parent, you want to do everything in your power to protect your children. With the recent H1N1 flu outbreak (initially called “swine flu”), FFF is sharing some important steps that you can take right now to help protect you and your loved ones.

1. Covering your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze. You can even teach your children to cough into their elbows.

2. Stressing the importance of washing hands often with soap and water. Any alcohol-based hand cleansers are effective as well.

3. Disinfecting frequently touched surfaces with an appropriate bleach-based solution. As you know, germs can spread by touching infected surfaces and then your eyes, nose or mouth.

For more information, please visit and please listen to this Public Service Announcement: