Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Sue Scheff: Why Parents should set up clear Boundaries for their Kids

Why Parents should set up clear Boundaries for their Kids

By Kara Tamanini

If you ask almost any child if they need boundaries, they are of course going to say, "I don’t need no rules". Of course, nobody wants to follow rules, almost everyone wants to tell others what to do but at the same time they don’t want to be told what to do. Most people want to do what they want to do and when they want to do it. So why should we set up boundaries for our kids. Parenting children is not simply about how and what you are doing for them right now, it is really about developing their character in order for them to be successful adults that are able to have boundaries with others and be able to develop healthy relationships into the future.

As parents, we are completely aware that children have to be taught how to do everything and this includes how to act and behave. A boundary is like an imaginary line that defines a person of where they are and how they relate to those around them. Children must know what they should take responsibility for, what other people require and expect from him/her, and what they are responsible for. If a parent does not teach boundaries, then the child grows up confused about their own boundaries with other people and usually struggles as an adult with self-control and relating appropriately with those around him/her. Children that are not taught boundaries usually grow up not accepting responsibility for their own actions and they tend to blame others for all of their own wrongdoings. (we call this projection of blame.) So as parents, how do we set up boundaries for our children??

The first step is building a strong character in our children. In order to do so, we can and must not do everything for our children. Children must be taught responsibility in order to build a strong character. Parents often tend to focus on problems that are immediate, for example, your child’s room is a mess so you want to "help" so you go into their room and clean up their room for them and you put their laundry away. This is not developing responsibility in your child, this is an immediate fix of the problem. All the child is learning here is dependence upon a parent "to do things for them." Establishing boundaries is a key element into developing the necessary components to become a successful adult.

Parents should make children accountable for their actions/behaviors and their emotion/feelings and have them take ownership of what their boundaries are and responsible for their actions. As parents, we do not take responsibility for a child’s wrongdoing. A truly responsible child and eventually adult takes responsibility for their own wrongdoings and will say, "I messed up and it is my fault." Make kids take ownership over their own problems, teach them to forgive themselves and others, teach them to change bad behaviors, and most importantly teach them delayed gratification. Until their responsibilities are all met, they should not be allowed a reward or to "do whatever they want." This is teaching them responsibility. No fun until the work is done.

Secondly, as parents we should look at our parenting of our kids. Is our parenting consistent? Do we ignore problems or try to beg or plead with our children to get them to behave or do the right thing and then we can’t stand their behavior anymore, do we blow up at them?? Parents, must look at their own parenting styles in order to understand what their own boundaries are with others and how they have established boundaries with their kids. Are the boundaries that have been set up appropriate or are they simply convenient?? Children directly react to your parenting style. The ways that a parent can influence their children to develop these necessary boundaries by teaching them boundaries, by modeling appropriate boundaries, and by having your child truly internalize what boundaries.

To internalize something is truly make it your own and make it a part of your reality. What I mean here is that to teach and model boundaries is simply not enough, a child has to experience a situation that will teach them boundaries. A real good example of this is to give your child an allowance for chores that they have completed around the house and make them save up the money to purchase the item. If your child decides to "blow" their money on "stuff" or "junk food" then that there is their decision and this will teach them responsibility. Do not give them more money to buy the item that they want nor should you simply go buy them the item that they wanted. If you as a parent keep your boundaries with your child then you are teaching and modeling appropriate boundaries for your child to learn the boundaries for themselves. .
Now as a parent, you are well aware that when you begin to teach and reinforce boundaries that your child is going to nag, argue, whine, complain, and generally carry on. Parenting is not about being "popular", it is about developing the best possible child you can in order for them to have the necessary tools to cope in life. Do not be a parent that fears that your child will no longer be your "friend" if you discipline them, disagree with them, or confront them. Our children are not our "friends" they are our children and our job is to parent them, not befriend them.

Kara T. Tamanini, M.S., LMHC
Author and Therapist
Founder of Kids Awareness Series
Follow Kara on Twitter @KidTherapist

Sue Scheff: The Shut-Down Learner

Dr. Selznick has written a book, The Shut-Down Learner, which can help many parents that are struggling academically with their kids that are underachieving may benefit from. Is there more to their lack of motivation? Here is a recent article by Dr. Selznick.

We Keep Telling Him - “You've got to be organized. You've got to be organized!”

Fifth grader, Matthew, is making his family crazy. The nightly ritual of "What do you have for homework?" "Did you hand in your work?" "When are you going to get started on your homework," is taking its toll on the family. Matthew's mother is particularly frazzled. With Matthew being the oldest of three children, he is putting tremendous strain on her.
Not only does Matthew have a problem handing in his home work, and writing down his assignments, once Matthew gets started, it takes him incredibly long to finish.

The other night, for example, it took Matthew between three and four hours to complete his homework which turned into becoming an agonizing ordeal. Over the four hours, he dawdled and got very little completed. There was much yelling back and forth. The temperature of the household was running very high!

Matthew’s parents say they keep telling him, "You've got to get organized. You've got to get organized." That's like telling somebody with a very bad leg, "You've got to run harder. You've got to run harder."

Matthew simply doesn't have it in him to get organized. His psychological testing and history revealed he has significant organizational deficits. Telling him over and over to do so (get organized) will not make it happen.

Providing Matthew with a certain degree of structure is something that must be considered. Without structure, Matthew will plummet like a stone. The art of parental involvement, though, is very tricky and parents can clearly overdo it.

There will be much more to come in future blog posts on the art and science of helping kids stay on track.

Follow Dr. Selznick on Twitter @DrSelz

Monday, June 29, 2009

Sue Scheff: 4th of July Weekend - Firework Tips

TeenHealth provides some great tips for this upcoming holiday weekend!

Fireworks: Handle With Care

Fireworks safety starts before a firework is even sold: It begins with the manufacturers, who need to follow strict quality controls in making their products. That doesn't mean every firework is guaranteed to be safe, though. Things can go wrong with fireworks, just as they can with any product, and most of the time it's because the fireworks aren't handled properly. That's the reason you see all those warnings on fireworks.

Thousands of people are taken to hospital emergency rooms in the United States every year because of injuries from fireworks — including bottle rockets, sparklers, and firecrackers.
The most common fireworks injuries involve the hands, fingers, eyes, head, and face. Some of these injuries are severe, resulting in permanent health problems such as missing fingers and limbs and vision loss.

So what can you do to enjoy the Fourth of July and still stay safe? Going to public fireworks displays is the best approach. Not only are these displays bigger and brighter (the federal government bans the sale of the largest fireworks to the public), but many states have laws that don't allow people to buy or use fireworks. Before using fireworks, find out what the laws are in your area. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) provides more information about state and federal regulations on its website.

Tips to Remember
If you live in a state that allows fireworks and you're planning a do-it-yourself celebration, follow these safety tips to protect yourself and the people watching:

•Buy ready-made fireworks rather than making your own, even from a kit.
•Make sure an adult is present at all times.
•Don't allow little kids to operate fireworks, even sparklers.
•Buy only legal fireworks that have a label with instructions for proper use. If your fireworks don't have an instruction label, they're probably illegal to use.
•Choose fireworks that are appropriate for the area you'll be using them in. For example, avoid using rockets or other aerial fireworks in the backyard of a busy street. Choose fountain-type fireworks instead.
•Follow all the directions on the label closely.
•Always use fireworks outside with a bucket of water or hose nearby. Keep fireworks away from dry leaves and other materials that can easily catch on fire.
•Light one firework at a time. Keep the firework you're lighting well away from unlit fireworks.
•Point fireworks away from people. If you're lighting a firework, wear eye protection and don't lean over the firework.
•If a firework doesn't seem to work, don't go over to it or attempt to relight it. Stand back for a while. If you can reach it with a hose or bucket without getting too close, douse it with water.
•Soak all fireworks in a bucket of water before throwing them away.
•Store fireworks in a cool, dry place.
•If someone gets an eye injury from fireworks, don't rub the eye or attempt to wash it out. Call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. It could make the difference between saving a person's sight and permanent blindness

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sue Scheff: Summer Studies - Summer School

Did your child/teen struggle this past year in school? Are they taking summer classes? Consider enhancing their study and homework skills with Cramster.com.

Homework Help for High School and College Students
Cramster is the leading online study community that offers homework help for math, science, engineering, and business classes by providing resources to accelerate and strengthen the learning process. The community is made up of high school and college students, educators, parents, and subject enthusiasts with the common goal of sharing information and helping students excel in their classes.

Study Guides and Practice Tests
The math, science, and engineering study guides on Cramster help students understand how to solve problems by providing practice tests, practice problems, and customized quizzes. If a student needs additional help, they can post questions on the question and answer forums (called Q&A boards) and the Cramster community will come to the rescue. The Q&A boards, available 24/7,are dedicated to helping students understand how to solve problems so they are fully prepared for homework assignments, quizzes, and exams.

Lecture Notes
Cramster provides a place for sharing information of all kinds: lecture notes, formula sheets, course outlines and more. Video lectures and web pages, recommended by other Cramster users, are available for anyone who has a thirst to expand their knowledge or a need for supplemental material. With a database of over 40,000 resources, you are sure to find the help you need.

Online Tutoring Alternative
The various resources available on Cramster provide a cost-effective alternative to tutoring, without sacrificing quality. Cramster’s online study community connects students, teachers and subject enthusiasts in an online study group that promotes learning and understanding. Unlike a traditional tutor, Cramster provides round-the-clock help plus access to thousands of homework resources—all at a fraction of the cost of a tutor.

Math Problems and Step-by-Step Answers
Cramster allows students to master homework assignments by showing fully explained solutions to the problems of nearly 300 popular textbooks. Step-by-step solutions mean students no longer need to struggle deciding where or how to start solving a problem. Cramster simplifies the learning process, one step at a time.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Sue Scheff: Helping, Supporting Someone Who Is Grieving

It has been a week of tremendous loss in Hollywood and in many hearts of people throughout the world. This grief is effecting all ages, from kids that have been mesmerized by the music of an ICON to adults that grew up with that ICON -the shock and sudden death of anyone you have grew up with, looked up to, or simply had become part of "your" life can be devastating.

I found an article from Education.com that offers some great advice on handling grief within your family.

Helping / Supporting Someone Who Is Grieving
by Jeanne Segal, PhDJaelline Jaffe, Ph.D.Linda Laucella
Source: Helpguide

Bereavement can be a lonely and frightening experience for many people. Once the funeral is over and the cards and flowers stop pouring in, they still need caring and support.

It is not uncommon for people to have difficulty openly expressing their feelings around grief and sadness. This may be particularly true when the public outlets for their pain and sorrow have ended. Where do people then turn for support? Family members may be too preoccupied with their own grief to reach out. This is a time when friends, co-workers and neighbors can be instrumental in the healing process. The bereaved should be able to rely on members of their social network for caring and assistance, both practical and emotional.

Grieving is a normal healing process

Regardless of the type of loss, there is a natural process of grieving. Understanding the nature of grief and bereavement gives you the insight that will enable you to help someone else cope. The more you understand about the basics of the grieving process, the more you may be able to help them:

•It is normal and necessary to experience intense emotional sensations in order to heal properly?
•Feelings of guilt, embarrassment and anger are part of the restorative process.
•Each person grieves differently.
•There is no set timetable for bereavement.
The most important thing you can do is just be there for them. You might not know exactly what to say or what to do, but that’s okay. Don’t let your discomfort get in the way when you want to reach out to a person who is grieving. Now, more than ever, your support is needed. Be willing to push past the awkwardness and be honest and straightforward. Know that you don’t have to solve their problem; simply provide a listening ear.

When people feel guilty

Sometimes grieving people may feel guilt about what they should or shouldn’t have done. You can help by:

•Letting them know how much you care.
•Affirming that they have done their best, and assure them that you know they will continue to do so.
•Encouraging them to keep talking about their feelings.
Even when you feel uncomfortable, provide an atmosphere in which your bereaved friend or family member knows that they have permission to talk about the person who died. Talk candidly about that person by name. When it seems appropriate, ask sensitive questions – without being nosy – that invite them to openly express their feelings.

Helping and supporting a grieving friend or loved one

When in doubt, err on the side of silent, emotionally-connected support. If you can’t think of something to say, just offer eye contact or a squeeze of their hand. Your support can be conveyed simply, with your silent presence. Know that you don’t have to have all the answers – or any of the answers, for that matter. You can reassure the bereaved person by letting them know that you will be there as a companion when needed during this sorrowful time, even though you can’t take away their pain. Have confidence that they will again find meaning and joy in life.

Additional ways to provide comfort and support

Because grief can be a confusing and overwhelming experience, it is difficult for many people to ask for help. They might feel guilty about receiving so much attention or not want to be a burden on others. If that appears to be the situation, you can make it easier for them by making specific suggestions – such as, “I’m going to the market this afternoon. What can I bring you from there?” or “I’ve made beef stew for dinner. When can I come by and bring you some?” Or you can convey an open invitation by saying, “Let me know what I can do,” which may make a grieving person feel more comfortable about getting back to you.

Read the entire article here: http://www.education.com/reference/article/Ref_Helping_Supporting/

Friday, June 26, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teenage Depression and Drug Abuse

As a Parent Advocate, this article is a very important for parents with teens and tweens that you suspect may be using drugs. Summer is here, many kids have extra time on their hands, and experimentation can be common. Learn some warning signs and parenting insights.

Teenage Depression and Drug Abuse

by Partnership Editorial Staff

Teenage depression and drug addiction are often linked, but new advances in science may be able to help treat both.

By Joanne Nicholas for Partnership for a Drug Free America

“There’s ample evidence that many children use drugs to self-medicate for depression, not to mention a host of mental-health disorders. The drugs they take may become the focal point for both kids and their parents, but they may be masking deeper problems. How can a parent know? Many symptoms of these disorders appear to be identical to some of the symptoms of drug abuse. Also, by the time experts finally figure out there’s a problem, drug addiction may have exacerbated the underlying ailment and fused with it. It becomes impossible to know where one leaves off and the other begins.” --David Sheff, Beautiful Boy

On any given day in America, as many as 5 million adolescents suffer from clinical depression. But according to a 2009 study, an estimated 70 percent are undiagnosed and do not receive any form of treatment. The statistics for drug and alcohol abuse are even worse. Only 10 percent of the estimated 1.4 million American teens with substance abuse problems receive treatment.

“From the outside, Nic looked fine.” That’s what author David Sheff says when he talks of his son’s high-school experience. “With an almost perfect GPA, a varsity athlete, you wouldn’t know that he started smoking pot at twelve or thirteen and used drugs throughout his teenage years.”

Sheff poignantly chronicled Nic’s battle with depression and drug dependence in his best-selling 2008 book Beautiful Boy — A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction. The author now continues to spread awareness by publicly discussing and blogging about the countless hardships that come with drug addiction; however, Sheff’s biggest frustration of all appears to be with the medical establishment that failed to diagnose his son’s underlying mental health issues until Nic’s condition was out of control.

“Why is it so hard for parents and even doctors to identify these problems?” Sheff asks, referring to brain diseases such as clinical depression and bipolar disorder. “If it was possible for someone to have diagnosed the problem early, would it have stopped [Nic’s] falling into heroin, cocaine, and addiction to crystal meth?” Sheff believes his son’s life would have been completely different had his depression and other mental illnesses been pinpointed and treated early on in his youth.

Nic Sheff is not alone – many people struggle with the dual diagnosis of an addiction and a mental health issue (also known as a co-occurring disorder or co-morbidity). But thanks to heightened understanding and advances in the medical field, we can now better comprehend the relationship between depression, addiction and other psychiatric disorders.

Two Illnesses, One Major Problem

Not everyone who battles depression will develop a substance abuse problem, and not every drug-addicted teen is also depressed. Each illness can occur individually, and when both exist together, each must be treated separately, preferably by an expert who specializes in both addiction and depression. Still, it is important to recognize the strong links between these two diseases – especially because they often exacerbate one another.

According to Thomas G. DeWitt, M.D., of the Children's Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati, “Six percent of all adolescents at any time are depressed and twenty percent will at some time have a major depressive disorder." Depression in teens is often triggered by a traumatic event in the family or an episode that causes the teen to feel unstable or insecure. But although most are aware of the dangers and damaging effects depression can have, pediatricians and other health care professionals routinely ignore or are at a loss as to how to treat the problems of depression, anxiety, and attention disorders, even when brought to their attention by a parent. Therefore, “people with depression will use drugs to self-medicate,” explains Dr. DeWitt.

David Sheff agrees. “The drugs [Nic used] were really an attempt to self-medicate. The requirement to get drugs was not to feel good, but to feel normal. By seventeen, the addiction to methamphetamine kicked in pretty quickly.”

“Depression can play a significant role in developing an addiction in adolescence,” agrees Adam C. Brooks, PhD., a research scientist at Treatment Research Institute in Philadelphia. He notes that teens today have a different relationship with prescription drugs than did teens in the past. “They are more prone to see them as a utility and less likely to see them as something dangerous."

Yet this is a dangerous – and possibly deadly – belief. Even though the trend of teenage drug abuse in the United States has declined in general, nearly half of American students have tried an illegal drug by the time they reach high school graduation, according to the 2008 Monitoring the Future Survey conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan. Prescription drug abuse in particular is on the rise; 12- to 17-year-olds abuse Rx drugs more than they abuse ecstasy, crack/cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine combined. Many teens with depression will look not to the streets but to their families’ medicine cabinets to find a substance that will compensate for their psychiatric problems.

Depression, Drugs and the Teen Brain

Why are teenagers with depression so susceptible to drug use and addiction? And why are drug-using teens so much more likely than others to be depressed? The answers to these questions can be found in science. Studies have shown that untreated depression and substance abuse can actually interfere with normal development of the brain.

"Although we are still at the early stage of knowledge, we have learned the brain undergoes dynamic changes during adolescence, a process that is not completed for many features until the mid-twenties and not until middle adulthood for some others," says adolescent brain expert Bradley S. Peterson, M.D., of New York-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital.

"The teenage brain is plastic, which means that it changes its structure and function in response to experiences and need. It prunes out and develops new connections constantly to create the adult brain," continues Dr. Peterson. He explains that the process can be negatively affected by a teen's poor mental health. “Depression interferes with learning and the processing of emotional stimuli. It isolates the adolescent in their own emotional world.

“Depression is a common antecedent of adolescent drug abuse, occurring at a time of heightened vulnerability for the developing brain.” But when teens begin to self-medicate, a vicious cycle begins. “Drug abuse interferes with the brain's normal pruning and growth processes, hijacking them to create a brain that seeks out more of the drug," Dr. Peterson continues. In other words, depression causes the brain to want to try drugs, and drugs in turn mutate the brain so it constantly craves more chemicals.

End the Trend

A report from the independent United States Preventive Services Task Force released in April 2009 recommended that all pediatricians routinely screen children aged 12 to 18 for depression. This can be done by having them answer a few routine questions that indicate symptoms of depression, such as mood, anxiety, appetite, or substance abuse, as part of their check-up.

Dr. DeWitt, who is also a member of the Preventive Services Task Force, says the panel created the recommendations because “there is now evidence that we can effectively screen for depression and effectively treat depression with therapy and certain medications if appropriate follow-up is part of the treatment program.” He says the guidelines “recognize that depression [is a] major health problem for teenagers” and aim to identify adolescent depression before it turns into an even greater issue – addiction, or in too many unfortunate cases, death. Drug or alcohol abuse is responsible for more than half of all deaths of adolescents aged 15 to 24. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for children aged 10 to 19.

Dr. Peterson fully endorses the task force's recommendation to screen teenagers for depression. "There are lots and lots of reasons why we should prevent and treat early depression and all of the terrible functional and psychosocial consequences that depression brings," he says. "We need to create greater public awareness of those consequences and the availability of treatments, and to develop more robustly effective treatments. Perhaps most importantly, we need to prevent and treat both depression and drug abuse so that we target the greatest known risk factors for suicide and thereby prevent adolescents from tragically taking their own lives.”

Learn, Connect, Share, Get HelpPlease visit our online communities and resources to help teens & young adults stay drug-free. Learn more.

So what should parents do if they observe a change in their child? Dr. DeWitt recommends that parents contact their pediatrician if they notice their teen has "feelings of sadness, irritability, loss of pleasure, social isolation, change in school performance, a change in sleep patterns or change in appetite that last more than two weeks." Because a significant number of teens purposely hide their depression, like Nic Sheff did, parents should also encourage their children to share their feelings, seek help when they need it, and feel comfortable opening up to a guidance counselor or school nurse.

When selecting treatment for a child with depression, Dr. Brooks recommends finding a practitioner in the community that offers a robust mental health assessment where family members can also be brought in regularly. He cautions that drastic, so-called “boot camps” “have not shown evidence of superior results” in helping teens.

The hopeful news? A majority of adolescents treated for depression respond to therapy and maintain improvements over nine months, according to a 2009 study in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Medicine. Furthermore, diagnosing depression and co-occurring disorders in an addict can be the gateway to successfully treating the addiction itself. In the epilogue to Beautiful Boy, David Sheff phones a sober Nic a year after treatment. “We talk awhile,” writes Sheff. “He sounds – he sounds like Nic, my son, back.”

What Should Parents Do?

What should parents do if they observe warning signs in their teens, like a change in friends or social groups, or anti-social behavior? Our experts weigh in:

• Contact your pediatrician if you notice your teen has feelings of sadness, irritability, loss of pleasure, social isolation, change in school performance, a change in sleep patterns or change in appetite that last more than two weeks.

• When selecting treatment for a child with depression, find a practitioner in the community that offers a robust mental health assessment where family members can also be brought in regularly.

• Be cautious of drastic, so-called “boot camps.” They have not shown evidence of superior results in helping teens.

• If your child is on medication for any mental health disorder, monitor his medicine bottle to assure he's taking the correct dosage and be sure he is routinely seen by his doctor.

• Because a significant number of teens purposely hide their depression, encourage your child to share her feelings, seek help when she needs it and feel comfortable opening up to a guidance counselor or school nurse.
Need help: visit http://helpyourteens.com

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Sue Scheff: Organizational Tips for ADHD

Having an ADHD child often means MESS for mom and dad. Here’s some great tips and tools for keeping them slightly more organized:

1. Give specific instructions. “Put away the toys on your carpet on the shelf in the closet.” Be consistent — if the toys are stored on the shelf one night, they should be put there every night. Children need to know precisely what you expect.

2. Assign tasks that your child is capable of doing on his own. Success builds confidence. The goal is to teach your child to do things independently.

3. Involve your child in discussions about rules and routines. It will help him understand goals and teach him to accept responsibility.

4. Write down routines as sequences of tasks (two to five items only), and post where easily visible (refrigerator, bathroom mirror). Review lists regularly with your child.

5. Be realistic about time. Make sure you’ve set aside enough time for the child to complete his homework, clear the dishes, and get out the door in the morning. If the original time frame is leaving you five minutes shy, add five minutes.

6. Expect gradual improvement. It takes time to change old habits and form new ones.

7. Praise effort — not just results. If your child set the table but forgot napkins, acknowledge that she’s trying. Reward good behavior more often than you punish bad.

8. Allow for free time in daily routines. Kids — and adults — need downtime.

9. If your child isn’t taking to the routine, seek help from a counselor who specializes in ADHD. A pro can help get you on track.

10. Stay focused on the long-term goals. Above all, don’t give up!

Learn more from Parenting Toolbox at http://parentingtoolbox.wordpress.com/

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Sue Scheff: Mother's Against Predators

As a mother and grandmother, I am very fortunate my kids are not hooked online - maybe it is because the horrible ordeal I went through or maybe it is because they have other activities that doesn't give them extra time to surf online. Either way, I am silently grateful. I know the Internet can be an educational tool, but at the same time it can be a harmful, hurtful and potentially dangerous space - what is lurking online? Most everyone from every walk of life. Be an educated parent.
Every time our children log on to the world wide web, they expose themselves to a world of strangers. Hidden among those strangers are predators who navigate the cyber world with ease. They exploit social networking sites to find our kids. They have even formed their own online networks, trading tips on how to reach our children. We must respond. Together we can reduce the odds that another child is hurt. Please join our fight against those who prey on our children.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Sue Scheff: Summit on Teens and Internet Safety featuring John Walsh



Children’s Advocate John Walsh to Lead Teens in Discussion of Cyberbullying, Sexting and Other Cyber-Safety Risks at Cox’s Annual National Teen Summit on Internet Safety
ATLANTA – For the fifth consecutive year, Cox Communications, in partnership with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® (NCMEC) and America’s Most Wanted host and children’s advocate John Walsh, will present the results of a new survey on the behavior of young people online. This year, the survey also looks at teen behavior using wireless devices.
Under the auspices of Cox’s Take Charge! program, the partners are helping parents understand the potential dangers of the Internet and learn ways they can help keep their kids safer online. The initiative includes both the survey about teen behavior and a frank discussion with a teen focus group at the Cox Communications’ Annual National Summit on Internet Safety.
WHAT: Cox Communications’ Annual National Teen Summit on Internet Safety

WHEN: Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Teen Summit at 9:00 a.m.
Virtual Media Conference begins at 11:00 am (EST)
Call-In # (646) 200-4444

WHERE: National Cable & Telecommunications Association
25 Massachusetts Avenue, NW – Suite 100
Washington, DC 20001

Key results from the survey conducted by Harris Interactive among a representative sampling of U.S. teens between the ages of thirteen and eighteen years include:

Technology enabled: Ninety-one percent of teens have an email address and 60 percent have an instant messenger screen name. Seventy-three percent of teens have a cell phone and 59 percent have a digital camera.

Acceptance of Social Networking: Seventy-two percent of teens surveyed have online profiles on social networking sites where many have posted photos of themselves and their friends, along with personal information.

Conflicted over Safety: Most teens surveyed are aware and concerned about the risks of putting personal information out in the open. Fifty-nine percent say having personal information or photos on a public site is unsafe, and 26 percent say they know someone who has had something bad happen to them because of this. Still, 62 percent of teens post photos of themselves on blogs or social networking sites and greater than 40 percent name their school or the city in which they live.

Prevalent Cyberbullying: More than one-third of teens surveyed have been cyberbullied, perpetrated cyberbullying or know of friends who have experienced or perpetrated it, and 68 percent think it is a serious problem. About 4 in 5 teens (81 percent) think that bullying online is easier to get away with or to hide from their parents than bullying in person.
Engaging in Sexting: Nineteen percent of teens surveyed have engaged in sexting — sending, receiving or forwarding sexually suggestive nude or nearly nude photos through text message or email. Sixty percent of teens who sent sexts say they send photos to their boyfriend/girlfriend, but 11 percent say they have sent sexts(1) to someone they don’t even know. Eighty-one percent of teen sexters are under 18.

Online wirelessly: Nineteen percent of teens surveyed go online via their cell phone and 19 percent say their parents are unaware. The vast majority of teens (80 percent) whose parent know they go online via their cell phone say they are not given any limits or controls — far fewer than are given boundaries on their desktop PC or laptop.

“Teens are not only online, they are active in every nuance of cyberspace. Many have no controls over what they do online and of those who do, nearly 30% figure ways around the boundaries set by their parents,” said John Walsh. “Those parents who have been vigilant over their kids’ use of the Internet via their computers, haven’t extended their watch to their kids’ use of the wireless devices, which are increasingly offering predators all the access they need to our precious and vulnerable young ones. Teens are prone to choosing risky behaviors even though they know better, so parents must continue to regularly talk with their children and monitor their activities.”

At the June 24th summit, Walsh will lead teen participants from Cox Communications’ markets across the country in a discussion of cyber-safety and ways parents, guardians and teen mentors can help children stay safer online. Results of the survey and information from teen discussion at the summit will be presented immediately following during the live virtual media conference (details to be announced via media alert immediately prior); Walsh and select teens will be available to answer questions. Teens participating in the Summit will also deliver the news directly to Capitol Hill in meetings with members of Congress on June 25th.
About Cox Communications:

Cox Communications is a multi-service broadband communications and entertainment company with 6.2 million total residential and commercial customers. The third-largest cable television company in the United States, Cox offers an array of advanced digital video, high-speed Internet and telephony services over its own nationwide IP network. Cox Business is a full-service, facilities-based provider of communications solutions for commercial customers, providing high-speed Internet, voice and long distance services, as well as data and video transport services for small to large-sized businesses.

Cox Media offers national and local cable advertising in traditional spot and new media formats, along with promotional opportunities and production services. Cox Communications wholly owns and operates the Travel Channel. More information about the services of Cox Communications, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cox Enterprises, is available at http://www.cox.com/, http://www.coxbusiness.com/, and http://www.coxmedia.com/.

About Cox’s Take Charge Initiative:

Cox’s Take Charge! program was launched in 2004 to educate parents and guardians about the importance of Internet safety and to help families get the most out of mass media in the home. It provides scores of resources to help parents and guardians manage what their children’s’ use of the TV, Internet and wireless devices — from instructions on setting parental controls, to a guide to the lingo teens use online, to tips for more constructive conversations between parents and kids. Teaching young children and teens how to stay safer online is a major element of the Take Charge program, thanks in part to Cox’s partnership with the NetSmartz® Workshop, NCMEC’s Internet safety resource available at http://www.netsmartz.org/. Cox has donated more than $30 million worth of advertising time to NetSmartz and NCMEC to encourage safer online behavior among children.
More information on Take Charge! is available at www.Cox.com/TakeCharge.
About the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children:

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Since it was established by Congress in 1984, the organization has operated the toll-free 24-hour national missing children’s hotline which has handled more than 2,377,000 calls. It has assisted law enforcement in the recovery of more than 138,500 children.
The organization’s CyberTipline has handled more than 688,500 reports of child sexual exploitation and its Child Victim Identification Program has reviewed and analyzed more than 22,829,500 child pornography images and videos. The organization works in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Justice’s office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

To learn more about NCMEC, call its toll-free, 24-hour hotline at 1-800-THE-LOST or visit its web site at http://www.missingkids.com/.
About the Survey

This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Cox Communications between April 9 and 21, 2009 among 655 U.S. teens ages 13-18. No estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated; a full methodology is available.

# # #
Media Contacts:
David Grabert
Director, Media Relations
Jennifer Seymour
Weber Shandwick Worldwide
NCMEC Communications

The Summit will be held on Wednesday, June 24th and brings teens from all over the country to Washington, D.C. for a discussion on Internet and wireless safety. This is an incredible event!
John Walsh leads an actual Summit with the kids and later that day, they head to Capitol Hill where they meet with their state lawmakers to discuss ways to stay safe online. While the teens are attending the Summit, their parents get to take part in a special training about Internet safety also!

Immediately after the Summit, we are holding a press briefing (live call-in radio program) with John, where he talks more about the Summit and our recent Internet and wireless safety research findings. The call begins at approximately 11 a.m. (EST) on Wednesday, June 24th. I encourage you all to call in a few minutes before. The call-in number is (646) 200-4444.

Sue Scheff: Teenage Self Mutilation - Self Injury

Kara Tamanini is an author and therapist specializing in adolescents. One of her recent articles about Teenage Mutilation is an excellent resource for parents to better understand this behavior.

Why Teenagers/Young Adults Self-Mutilate
(A therapist’s perspective)

First and foremost, most teenagers and young adults are not attempting suicide. The act of self-mutilation is rarely about taking one’s own life. However, some young adults have killed themselves by accident when they took the act of self-mutilation too far. The difficulty often faced in self-injurious behaviors such as cutting, burning oneself, or ripping/tearing at one’s own skin, is that the mutilation becomes addicting and is very difficult to all of a sudden stop. Mostly, in my experience I have seen young adolescent girls age ranges 11-12 years to 17-18 years old, however I have also seen teenager boys indulge in self-injurious behaviors as well as young and middle-aged adults.

The one factor that I have seen that is consistent in those individuals that self-harm is that they have a very poor self-concept and extremely poor coping skills. There are several ways that individuals self-mutilate, but by far the most common way that I have seen is by cutting or burning themselves. Commonly, they will cut with a knife, scissors or burn themselves with a curling iron. Also common is writing in their skin with a pencil or safety pin by ripping their skin open. Self-mutilators will cut on their stomach, the back of their legs, upper arms, and thighs in order to try and hide where they have cut or burned themselves.

Often the reason that someone would intentionally harm themselves is an enigma to their parents as well as the general public. Why would someone actually inflict pain on themselves? Is a question often heard asked by parents and loved ones of those that self-mutilate. The reasons that someone would hurt themselves are often expressed by the client in this way, "When I cut myself it takes my mind off of what is bothering me".
Also often expressed in therapy is a teenager saying, "I feel less anxious" or "I feel better when I cut myself, it is like a relief you know." Nine times out of ten, a client will cut after something stressful has happened to them either at home or at school and they cut themselves in order "to deal" with the pain. Individuals that self-mutilate never seem to have learned effective coping skills to work through stressful situations as they occur in life.

A lot of teenagers/young adults that self-mutilate have a history of abuse, hurt themselves as a way to deal with their anger, use as a way to self-soothe (a way to calm themselves down), or to distract them from any emotional pain that they are going through. The therapeutic process utilizes a number of techniques.

Professional help from a qualified mental health therapist is almost always needed to stop the cycle of self-injurious behaviors that becomes addictive, like any other addiction it is difficult to stop. Most commonly used in therapy is Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which helps the individual identify with their thoughts that contribute to this behavior and then address the specific triggers that lead them to self-harm. The goal is to help them to find more positive and effective means to cope with their situation and with their feelings. Other means that can be
utilized are group therapy, family counseling, self-relaxation techniques, and in extreme cases the client may have to be hospitalized.

In treating a person in therapy that self-mutilates, the therapist must first get the client to acknowledge that their behavior is in fact a problem. Often times, the client will not see this as a problem and say to you, "But, I am not hurting anyone else, so why should it matter?" Help them to understand the triggers or what leads them to hurt themselves. Lastly, to help the client figure out what the self-mutilation is actually doing for them, in other words, what does the self-mutilation accomplish for them. Getting the client to replace the negative self-harming behaviors and replacing them with more effective skills, such as learning to express emotions/feelings in a healthy and more constructive way.

Kara T. Tamanini, M.S., LMHC
Author and Therapist
Founder of Kids Awareness Series
Kara T. Tamanini is a licensed therapist that works with children/adolescents on a variety of childhood mental disorders.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teens and Body Image

Sarah Maria is a body image expert and has an exciting new book coming out, Love Your Body, Love Your Life. Take a moment to visit her website at http://www.breakfreebeauty.com/ and learn more about overcoming eating disorders and empowering your life and the life of your teenager.

Body Image in Teens

By Sarah Maria

If you're in high school, most of your friends are probably on a diet. A recent study shows that 90% of junior and senior girls are on a diet regularly, even though only 10-15% are actually overweight.

The modeling industry also promotes the idea that you need to diet and exercise religiously. Fashion models are actually thinner than 98% of American women. An average woman stands 5'4" tall and weighs about 140 lbs, while the average fashion model is a towering 5'11" tall and weighs under 117 lbs.

In reality no amount of dieting, exercise and discipline can earn you a magazine cover-ready body because those photos have been Photo Shopped, doctored and airbrushed. Don't waste your time attempting to be what you are not, instead; focus on cultivating who you are!

Body Image Tips
As you progress through puberty and your high school years, your body changes as fast as your favorite ringtones. But learning to appreciate your body and have positive self image is a task that few adults have even mastered. Here are some tips to help you learn to love yourself:

•Learn to Cook- It is never too early to learn to cook. In just a few years, you will be on your own and you will be expected to feed and take care of yourself. Get some practice at home by preparing some family meals or meals for just yourself. Try some new foods by looking through cookbooks and online. Impress your friends by having a dinner party. This also helps you understand how food functions within a regular diet. Learn how to cook healthily so you can eat healthily, but don't spend too much time worrying about food!

•Don't Diet!- Dieting is a great way to ruin your eating habits and your relationship with food and your body. Instead, learn about healthy eating and exercise habits. The healthy habits you learn while you are young will serve you throughout your life!

•People Watch- Go to the mall or a public space and people watch. How many are fat or thin? How tall are most women? Men? What do you like or dislike about people's styles, looks or body type? How much of their appearance is "style" and how much is their actual body types? Cultivate the ability to see style and beauty in everyone. As you learn to do this, you can be a trend-setter instead of a trend-follower.

•Keep it Real- Remember, people only pick the best photos to be on their MySpace or Facebook page. Remind yourself that they all have bad hair days, the occasional zit or an unflattering outfit choice.

•Stay Well Rounded- Sign up for activities that you have never tried. Join an intramural sport or speech meet. Build up your college resume by participating in extracurricular activities. It's a great way to broaden your social circle and prepares you for college or a job.

•Be a Trend Setter- Don't just follow the crowd - create your own crowd by being a trend setter. Find your own style and look by experimenting with your hair, makeup and clothing. What is your look trying to say? Does it match what you want people to think about you? Someone has to set the trends. Why not you?

•Learn to meditate- It is never too early to learn to meditate. You will find that this is a skill you can use all your life. By focusing inward, it is easier to distill the truth rather than listening to outside influences. It will also help you manage the stress of your busy life.

Parental Tips
If you are a parent of a teen, you know the challenges of living with an emotional, possibly aloof teenager who begs for guidance but disregards most of what you say. Their alternating moods and attitudes make approaching a touchy subject like body image feel dangerous. The following are some tips to help with a positive body image:

•Have an Open Door Policy-You'd like your teen to approach you with any problem she is facing but often you aren't sure if she's coming to you, going to her friends or suffering alone. Encourage regular candid conversation by noticing what times and places your teen is most likely to talk. Is she a night owl? Does she like talking on a long drive? Is she more comfortable emailing? Use the time and venue that is most comfortable for her and encourage open sharing.

•Limit Harmful Media- Put your teen daughter on a media diet. Don't feel you need to restrict website, magazine or TV shows entirely. Just be cautious of what mediums she concentrates on. Be especially mindful of any one celebrity that she idolizes or photos that she tears out and stares at repeatedly. Discuss how all magazine photos are airbrushed and doctored.

•Compliment Her and Her Friends- Make a point to compliment both your daughter and her friends on a well-put together outfit or a new hair style. Teens are trying on new looks and personalities as their bodies change. Let them know that they have hit on a good look when they experiment in the right direction.

Make sure to compliment them on things not related to their appearance as well. A good grade, a valiant sports effort or kind deed also deserve notice. Try to practice a 90/10% rule. Let 90% of your comments and insights be positive and only 10% should be carefully worded constructive criticism.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sue Scheff: Summer Camp Reminder - ADHD Summer Program in Florida

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 http://www.adhdkidsscholarship.com/
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 - http://cheerhorseranch.com/

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 ClassA exclusive swag bag filled with books, music, DVD’s and services that will help youYou will gain life skills which will help you to control your ADHD/ADD

Sue Scheff: Happy Father'sDay 2009

Happy Father’s Day 2009 to all fathers as well as father figures! And many mothers out there that have the role of both mother and father, as myself.

Take the time to spend some time with that special person that deserves to be recognized. Take the time to appreciate those that love you unconditionally, they are priceless.

A special note to my father, thanks for all your support – always! Also to my son-in-law, who is a fantastic dad to my grandchildren! I am very fortunate.

Here is an article about father’s today.

Experts: Dads embracing active parenting more

by Karina Bland – Jun. 21, 2009 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic

It’s just after lunch on a Friday, and Johnny Ruiz of Gilbert is outside with his three boys, pumping up the tires on their bikes.

Like a growing number of fathers, Ruiz spends a lot of time with his kids, juggling part-time jobs so he can be home when they get out of school.

In most families, it’s still Mom who does the majority of the work when it comes to raising children, but in more and more homes, Dad is coming close. Over the past 10 years, experts say, a new breed of dad has been surfacing: He’s more hands-on right from the start. He’s going to appointments with the obstetrician and reading to his baby in utero. He’s more touchy-feely, hugging and kissing the children as much as Mom does. He’s taking the kids to school, volunteering in their classrooms and helping with homework.

“We’re seeing lots more dads assuming these roles,” says Peter Spokes, a father of six and president of the Kansas City-based National Center for Fathering, which earlier this year released a study of 1,000 dads with the National PTA comparing fathers now and a decade ago. It indicated that 54 percent of dads take their kids to school, up from 38 percent a decade ago. And more dads – 28 percent, compared with 20 percent in 1999 – volunteer at school.

With both parents working, dads already have assumed more duties at home – cooking, cleaning and taking care of the kids. Men know that research indicates kids with involved fathers fare better in school and with life in general.

With a laptop and cellphone, Dad can have a more flexible work schedule, meaning he can make the parent-teacher conference and still keep in touch with the office.

And while the divorce rate has basically held steady in the past decade, dads are asking for – and getting – more time with their children in divorce settlements. Going it alone, they have to do it all, including the things Mom typically took care of, such as hair braiding and packing lunches.

For many fathers, being a modern dad requires a big change of attitude.

“It used to be cool to not want to change diapers and all of that, and now it’s not,” says Greg Bishop, founder of Boot Camp for New Dads, a non-profit program for fathers-to-be, and author of two books on fathering. In fact, he says, now men likely will harass a buddy for not doing his dad duty.

Making time for family

Ruiz and his wife, Roxanne, both worked full time when their three boys were young, so the children spent much of their time in day care.

“We were letting someone else watch our kids grow up,” says Ruiz, 40, who trimmed his hours as a driver for FedEx and took a part-time job at the Westin Kierland Resort and Spa with more flexible hours to be home more. “I just feel if you’re going to be a parent, you should be there.”

Seven-year-old Garrett throws a football to his dad, who jostles 9-year-old Dallon out of the way to catch the pass. Ruiz throws it back to Garrett and calls, “Nice catch!”

Ruiz gave up golf to run his boys to baseball, football and hockey activities.

“It just feels good being with the kids,” he says.

Dallon loves the time he spends with his dad: “He helps me with baseball and football. And if I don’t know how to do something, he’ll teach me, and I’ll get better and better.”

Jacob, 11, sees that his parents share equally the responsibilities of keeping the house clean and taking care of him and his brothers. Ruiz does most of the laundry and insists on ironing the boys’ clothes. Dallon explains: “If we leave the house with our clothes not matching, he’ll yell at us.”

Most of the time, Ruiz is the only dad waiting after school to pick up his kids. Sometimes he feels like he should explain to the moms why he’s there: “I want to tell them, ‘Hey, I do work, but I also want to be with my kids.’ I want to be a good father.”

Joint custody increasing

Ironically, divorce is making some men better fathers, Bishop says, as more men are asking for more time with their children.

In the 1990s, only about 5 percent of divorced spouses nationwide opted for joint custody, where kids spend a third to half of their time with one parent and the rest with the other, according to a 2007 study by California psychologist Joan B. Kelly. But places such as Arizona and California, which adopted statutes allowing joint custody in the 1980s, a decade earlier than in most states, had higher rates, ranging from 12 to 27 percent. Kelly says such legislation paved the way for dads to ask for more time with their kids.

Looking back further to 1976, only 18 percent of noncustodial dads saw their children ages 6-12 at least once a week, according to a study published in the February issue of the journal Family Relations. But by 2002, that number had risen to 31 percent.

“Men are genuinely valuing their role with their children more,” says Robert Emery, author of The Truth About Children and Divorce who co-authored the study. Because parenting roles are more balanced these days, he says the dads likely were more involved with their kids before the divorce.

Dan Behm of Tempe was a hands-on kind of dad even before he and his wife split three years ago. So it was easy to continue those routines when he moved into his own place.

A machinist at Honeywell, the 48-year-old goes to work early and leaves at 2:30 p.m. so he can get 10-year-old Margaret after school.

Together they cook dinner and go over homework.

He learned to put her hair in a ponytail, and he volunteers at his daughter’s school, church and theater group.

“I just want to be part of her life,” he says. “I want to be there for her.”

His own father, a police officer, worked long hours, mostly at night, and Behm remembers being quiet after school because his dad was sleeping. His dad helped out at Scout meetings, but it was his mom who took care of him.

Margaret confides in her dad about fights with friends and worries over spelling tests. He hopes that as she gets older, she’ll continue to look to him for advice and support, and when she’s old enough to choose a partner and father for her own children, she’ll choose someone like him or, he quips, “somebody even better.”

Becoming better dads

Today’s dads are gleaning information about parenting from their own fathers, brothers, cousins and friends in hopes of becoming even better dads. In Spokes’ study earlier this year, 37 percent of dads said they talk with other dads for support, up from 17 percent in 1999.

And they’re learning that being a good dad does not mean becoming more like mom but finding their own ways to do things, says Bishop of Boot Camp for New Dads, a father of four. Being a dad isn’t about losing your manhood, he says: “It makes us better men, and men in the finest sense of the word.”

Most of today’s dads who are spending time with their kids say they enjoy it. They say there’s something fulfilling about having a little human being look to them for protection, love and support.

Job flexibility helps

Charles Fleury’s job as a lawyer for American Family Insurance allows the Phoenix dad to work 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and the flexibility to come and go when his kids need him.

He coaches his kids’ sports teams and plays golf with 7-year-old Charlie and tennis with the girls, 11-year-old Libby and 12-year-old Molly.

He goofs around with them in the backyard pool. And he even signed up to take piano lessons with his kids, though all three have bailed out and he’s the only one still playing.

“I know it sounds a bit cliché, but they do grow up fast, so I want to spend time with them,” Fleury says.

He also thinks the kids enjoy having him around – at least for now.

His oldest is getting to the age when having Dad around can be a bit embarrassing.

When Fleury was a kid, dads only came to school on Career Day.

But when his kids were in preschool, parents were required to volunteer, and he and his wife, Sara, have continued to do so.

He likes the rock-star reception he gets when he shows up at school.

Mostly, Fleury hopes that when his children are grown, they’ll remember how much fun they had with their dad – and that he was always there.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Sue Scheff: Inhalant Abuse - Parents Learn More

Over a year ago a parent emailed about this serious concern that you need to learn more about. Why? Inhalants can be found in just about everyones home - garage - basement - bathrooms - even your vanities! Yes, nail polish remover can be used as inhalants.

Alliance for Consumer Education helps you learn more. The Alliance for Consumer Education (ACE) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in. The ACE mission is “to promote responsible and beneficial use of products to ensure a safer, healthier and cleaner environment in homes, businesses and the community.” Its core program areas are: Inhalant Abuse Prevention, Disease Prevention, Poison Prevention, and Product Management.

Source: Inhalant.org

Inhalant abuse refers to the deliberate inhalation or sniffing of common products found in homes and communities with the purpose of "getting high." Inhalants are easily accessible, legal, everyday products. When used as intended, these products have a useful purpose in our lives and enhance the quality of life, but when intentionally misused, they can be deadly. Inhalant Abuse is a lesser recognized form of substance abuse, but it is no less dangerous. Inhalants are addictive and are considered to be "gateway" drugs because children often progress from inhalants to illegal drug and alcohol abuse. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that one in five American teens have used Inhalants to get high.

Huffing, Sniffing, Dusting and BaggingInhalation is referred to as huffing, sniffing, dusting or bagging and generally occurs through the nose or mouth. Huffing is when a chemically soaked rag is held to the face or stuffed in the mouth and the substance is inhaled. Sniffing can be done directly from containers, plastic bags, clothing or rags saturated with a substance or from the product directly. With Bagging, substances are sprayed or deposited into a plastic or paper bag and the vapors are inhaled. This method can result in suffocation because a bag is placed over the individual's head, cutting off the supply of oxygen.

Other methods used include placing inhalants on sleeves, collars, or other items of clothing that are sniffed over a period of time. Fumes are discharged into soda cans and inhaled from the can or balloons are filled with nitrous oxide and the vapors are inhaled. Heating volatile substances and inhaling the vapors emitted is another form of inhalation. All of these methods are potentially harmful or deadly. Experts estimate that there are several hundred deaths each year from Inhalant Abuse, although under-reporting is still a problem.
What Products Can be Abused?There are more than a 1,400 products which are potentially dangerous when inhaled, such as typewriter correction fluid, air conditioning coolant, gasoline, propane, felt tip markers, spray paint, air freshener, butane, cooking spray, paint, and glue. Most are common products that can be found in the home, garage, office, school or as close as the local convenience store. The best advice for consumers is to read the labels before using a product to ensure the proper method is observed. It is also recommended that parents discuss the product labels with their children at age-appropriate times. The following list represents categories of products that are commonly abused.
Visit www.inhalant.org for more information.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Sue Scheff: Education.com Launches 2009 Summer Activities Challenge

Education.com Launches 2009 Summer Activities Challenge

Leading website for parents encourages families to have fun learning together this summer, while preparing for the next school year and earning a chance to win LEGO® Sets or a Dell laptop computer.

REDWOOD CITY, CA – June 19, 2009

Education.com <http://bit.ly/summer-challenge> , a leading web destination for parents of school-aged children, has launched its 2009 Summer Activities Challenge to help parents keep their kids excited about learning during the summer break. All families who complete the Challenge will receive a personalized certificate of achievement and will be entered to win a Dell Latitude 2100 Netbook <http://bit.ly/EQKnC> or one of 100 LEGO Creator Mini Sets. To complete the Challenge, parents must register on Education.com and complete at least 20 Education.com activities with their kids during the contest dates of June 22 to August 31.
Education.com Editor-in-Chief Danielle Wood explains the company’s decision to host the Summer Activities Challenge: “Educators tell us that kids slip quite a bit academically during the three months of summer break. It’s called a ‘break’ for a reason, and no one wants to torture kids with spelling tests and math drills during the summer. But parents tell us they do want to help their kids avoid that summer slide.

So we’ve designed activities – for preschoolers, high-schoolers, and everyone in between – that are incredibly fun, but sneak in some education, too. By participating in the Summer Activities Challenge, families can spend some quality time together and keep their brains sharp during the summer. To kids, making backyard bottle rockets and doing secret treasure hunts will just seem like play, but underneath all the excitement, they’ll be learning, and even preparing for the new school year.”

Education.com has over a thousand activities – organized by grade level and topic – for participating families to choose from in order to complete the Challenge. Each activity takes anywhere from ten minutes to several hours to complete and the activities typically require basic materials that families will either have on hand, or can easily and inexpensively acquire. No matter which activities parents choose to do, participating in the Summer Activities Challenge will help their children stay sharp and have fun throughout the summer.

For more information about Education.com’s 2009 Summer Activities Challenge, including complete contest rules, visit http://bit.ly/summer-challenge.

About Education.com
Nearly 1.5 million parents a month come to Education.com to get the information they need to support their children’s unique educational and developmental needs, and to find ideas for how to make learning more fun. From kindergarten readiness to college prep, Education.com is the leading destination for involved parents. Often called ‘The WebMD of education,’ the company has teamed up with leading universities, nonprofits, and research organizations to offer highly credible parenting, developmental, and educational information. The site also offers printable activities, community resources, access to best-of-breed educational services, and SchoolFinder – a tool that gives parents comprehensive data on the nation’s 125,000 public, private and charter schools. Education.com was founded in 2006 and is headquartered in Redwood City, CA. The company is backed by leading venture capital firms, Azure Capital Partners, TeleSoft Partners, and California Technology Ventures. For more information, please visit http://www.education.com/

Sue Scheff: Youth Gangs and Teen Gangs

As summer is here, teens, if not kept busy, could potentially find peer groups that are not what you would want him/her to hang with. Teen Gangs can prey on kids that are not only followers, but have low self worth and want to belong – even if it is a negative peer group. Yesterday I had Blogged about this topic on my main Blog. Learn more from Connect with Kids.

Source: Connect with Kids - GANGS
“Usually I know guys paralyzed for life…sipping through straws.”

– “Jose”, 19

He doesn’t want to reveal his name. We’ll call him “Jose”. He was 12 when he joined a gang. Jose says, “I’m looking at them like, ‘Do I really want to do this?’ And they’re like, ‘If you’re going to do it you’ve got to say yes, you don’t think about it.’”

Saying yes meant a three-minute beating from four older gang members. He says, “They only give you three chances to fall down. After the third one, you got jumped for being stupid.” He didn’t fall down. He was beaten and bloody, but he made it into the gang.

Police say at first, gangs hide the crime and violence from their new recruits. Corporal Edward Campuzano, a gang officer with the Cobb County Police Department in Georgia says, “To them it’s one big party. What they don’t realize a lot of times, is that it might be like that at the beginning, but if you stay focused on that gang and you progressively get older, you’re progressively required to do other things and start committing crimes and start giving back to that gang.”

He says parents should explain to kids that “giving back to the gang means” fighting, stealing, and killing people. Corporal Campuzano says, “That’s when it doesn’t become appealing to them and they try to get out, and they can’t get out because now they have to take what is known to them as a beat out.” It’s a beating to get out of the gang. Jose says, during the beating, gang members could use any weapon but a gun. Often kids die….others barely live. Jose says, “Usually I know guys paralyzed for life…sipping through straws.”

So Jose left the gang, but he was never “beat out.” Now, and maybe forever…he is forced to hide.

Jose is 19-years-old. He never finished school, never learned to control his temper, and has been fired from several jobs. That’s why he’s hoping his story will keep others out of a gang.

Tips for Parents

Gangs are the new mafia, and their organization systems resemble traditional Cosa Nostra operations. Gang crime runs the spectrum of offenses, including underage drinking, extortion, prostitution, drug manufacturing and distribution, and murder. National gang organizations, with infamous names like Bloods, Crips and Latin Kings, often send trusted lieutenants to cities across the country to establish local chapters, called “sets.” Consider the following:

■Gang violence is not an urban problem or a rural problem, nor is it a problem for any one economic class – it is a community-wide problem.
■In 2002, youth gangs were active in over 2,300 cities with populations over 2,500.
■Over 90 percent of large cities (population over 100,000) in the United States reported gang activity between 1996 and 2001.
■There are more than 750,000 gang members nationwide.
■Ninety-five percent of hard-core gang members drop out of high school, and most range in age from 12 to 24.
■The media’s dissemination of gang culture and a restructuring of the economy (unemployment, increases in the urban underclass, etc.) are cited as major factors in the rise of gangs during the ‘90s.

A street gang occurs when three or more people share a unique name or display identifiable marks or symbols (e.g. tattoos, clothing styles, colors, hairstyles, graffiti) and associate together on a regular basis, often claiming a specific location or territory. A gang will have an identifiable organization or hierarchy, and a typical gang will engage in antisocial, unlawful or criminal activity in an effort to further the gang's social or economic status. Such behavior can be carried out either individually or collectively.

Risk factors for gang membership include individual characteristics, family conditions, problematic parent-child relations, low school attachment and academic achievement, peer group influences, prior and/or early involvement in delinquency (especially violence and drug use), association with peers who engage in delinquency, community context, and disorganized neighborhoods where many youth are in trouble. Often, a gang provides young members with comforts society and/or family fails to give them. A gang can morph into the child’s parental unit and also his/her sibling. Gangs can provide a sense of belonging, security and economic opportunity. Unfortunately, most monies are generally attained through crime.

Gender-mixed gangs are becoming more common. Years ago, females were considered property of gang members. Today, some gangs are initiating females as full-fledged members. Estimates indicate between 25 and 33 percent of all youth gang members are female. Consider the following:

■Police see gang recruitment directed toward students as early as elementary school.
■A survey of nearly 6,000 eighth-graders in 11 cities found that 11 percent were currently gang members, and 17 percent said they had belonged to a gang at some point in their life.
■Gang members are far more likely than other delinquents to carry guns and, perhaps more importantly, to use them.
■Research has consistently shown that adolescents are significantly more criminally active during periods of active gang membership.
■Gangs are showing increased sophistication. For example, hard-core gang members are shying away from wearing gang colors or getting symbolic tattoos, knowing school and police authorities will recognize such signs.

Kids often participate in gang activities without their parents’ knowledge, and children can become interested in gang activity as young as elementary-school age. As a parent, it is important to be aware of the warning signs that could indicate your child’s interest in gangs. This is a partial list of those signs, compiled by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:

■Your child suddenly begins performing poorly in school
■He/she doesn't attend school regularly
■He/she becomes disinterested in extra-curricular activities or family events
■He/she has negative contact with the police
■He/she writes the name of a gang in graffiti, or you find gang symbols in his/her notebooks or in his/her room
■He/she has problems at home
■He/she has gang tattoos
■He/she has friends who are in gangs
■He/she dresses in gang clothing

As a parent, you can play a huge role in helping your child feel accepted, important, worthy and loved – the feelings he/she seeks. For instance, if you continually skip meetings with teachers or don’t attend your child’s team games or extracurricular activities, your child may begin to feel unwanted or underappreciated, increasing the risk that he/she will seek approval elsewhere. Experts at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have developed a list of other tips to help you minimize the chances of your child joining a gang:

■Get to know your child's friends, how they influence him/her and what they do when they're together. Discourage your child from hanging out with gangs.
■Spend your free time with your child. Give him/her chores to do around the house or enroll him/her in after-school activities, sports, and community center or church programs.
■Stress the value of an education and motivate your child to do well in school.
■Develop good communication skills with your child. Good communication means that it's open, frequent and positive. This will allow your child to express himself or herself and confide in you.
■Find positive role models for your child.
■Plan activities for the entire family, such as trips to parks, libraries, museums or the beach. Give your child attention!
■Give your child some one-on-one time – your undivided attention.
■Don't let your child wear clothing that resembles gang wear. It might attract attention from the wrong people.
■Set limits and rules for your child. From an early age, let him/her know what is acceptable and what is unacceptable. Enforce a curfew. Don't let him/her hang out until all hours of the night.
■Don't let your child write or draw gang-like graffiti.
■Get involved in your child’s education. Go to his/her school, get to know his/her teachers and attend parent-teacher events.
■Learn about gangs and gang activity in your community. Get educated!
■Faith and the City
■Gang Resistance Education And Training
■Know Gangs
■Michigan State University
■The National Youth Gang Center
■U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
■The Nawojczyk Group, Inc.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Sue Scheff: What to Teens Want?

Tangerine Times is a great website of articles and insights on parenting! It is definitely one of my favorites. What do teens want???? Can we as parents ever win? Since my kids are young adults now I can say, yes, eventually it does get easier. Patience.....

For parents of teens, it’s an everyday experience to see the rapidly evolving use of technology by teenagers. The shifting can happen whether there is a new, hot product out our not. Many times it is simply teens finding a new application or use for an existing product or service. Marketing firms are scrambling to pin-down this potentially huge market but it’s like hitting a moving target. Well… now you know how it feels to PARENT a teenager!!

Tina Wells, chief executive of Buzz Marketing Group, says: “Technology is starting to define what’s cool in a way that fashion used to define what’s cool.” For teens, “as long as it’s technology, it’s what’s hot”. Translation: the geek is not necessarily the un-cool kid anymore. Everyone is geeked out. That’s not half bad if you ask me.

Of the teens Wells polled online, 93 per cent say they prefer the internet to television. This is another big shift and for Baby Boomers such as myself, who came of age with the television as a central character, it’s hard to understand. But there it is. And, perhaps this exlains the vapid programming we see on the network stations? Most teens think, “You can watch TV shows on the internet, so what’s the point?” Another good point. I’ve started doing it too.

Many teens have forwarded all their email to their mobile phone and many access their Facebook and of course, texting. Their cell phone is their lifeline. I can remember a time when the “cell” phone was a brick. No one wanted to carry one around. Size matters. Functionality matters. But, it’s the portability of the phones and the computers (i.e. laptops) that truly gives us parents headaches. It is a difficult task to monitor - especially if you don’t want to be “in their face” about monitoring. Most parents just want to provide some temporary barriers around their teen’s online activity NOT a cement wall that protects them like precious snowflakes.

Wells says another force in youth culture is the idea that anyone can easily become famous thanks to video-sharing sites like YouTube, blogs and social networking. Boy is THAT an understatement. Coupled with the rise of Reality shows, this is a cultural shift that effects teenagers more than any one group in America. The lure of “instant stardom” is truly a phenomenon of this age. Never before could a teenager in the middle of an Iowa farm find fame and exposure to millions of people.
Powerful yes and potentially dangerous. It also distorts the old-fashion concept of working hard to achieve success. Parents have to fight this everyday but even they fall victim to the shiny lights. Seen from this side of the fence, technology touches all aspects of parenting teenagers. What teens STILL want by using this technology is to feel special and to connect with other people. It’s up to us to help them keep it in perspective. And, that’s not always easy when we’re making up the rules as we go.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sue Scheff: ReputationDefender - Do You Know What your Child is Doing Online?

Many that know me know that I am a supporter of keeping kids and adults safe in cyberspace. Whether you want to protect your business' online reputation or monitor your families privacy, including preventing identity theft, ReputationDefender is one of the pioneer online reputation management services. I not only use them, I recommend them to parents regularly. I am not a spokesperson for them, nor do I receive any referral fees from them - I just know first hand the work they do.
Do you know what your child is doing online?? Summer is here, which in many cases, means more online time - be sure you are aware of what is going on in your child's cyber-room.

Source: ReputationDefender

How to Stop Cyber Bullying

Cyber Bullying is an act of aggression exercised online and is typically experienced by web-savvy teens and pre-teens. Cyber bullying, which can take place through social networking sites, forums, emails, instant messaging conversations, and blogs, are aimed at causing emotional harm on the part of the victim. This harm often takes the form of embarrassment, an attack on the victim’s self esteem, or promoting a sense of isolation in the victim through exclusion from social circles.

Cyber bullying, simply put, is easier to accomplish than offline bullying. While an aggressor bullying at school is easily identified, so-called “e-bullies” can hide behind the monitors of their personal computers, protecting the aggressor from the consequences of their tactics.

Human behavior among young people hasn’t changed, but technology and the scope of ramifications has increased dramatically. As the PEW Internet & American Life Project observes, “the impulses behind [cyber bullying] are the same [as those for offline bullying], but the effect is magnified.”

There is no easy way to stop cyber bullying, but there are ways to diminish its effects on your children. Below are a few tips parents and adults can use to help young people understand the potential challenges they face online.

Monitor Your Child’s Mood

Pay attention to your child’s overall mood. Do they seem quiet after spending time online? Does their behavior, aggression, or frustration levels change after they spend time on the Internet?
Teens and children are unlikely to outwardly admit if they are being bullied, largely due to feelings of inferiority, low-self esteem, or embarrassment at social exclusion. Pay attention to changes in your child’s behavior and ask them if they or anyone they know has had mean or hurtful things written about them online.

Talk to Your Kids About Privacy

Engage your child in an honest discussion on the contradiction of terms in the phrase: “privacy on the Internet.” According to the PEW Internet & American Life Project, 15% of teens said that someone they know had forwarded or otherwise posted online communications that they, the teens “assumed was private.” Young people often “copy-paste” instant message conversations or email messages meant to be private, and share them publicly for purposes of embarrassment, social exclusion, or simply malice. There is an easy solution to this type of cyber bullying, widely considered to be the most common form of online harassment: make sure your kids know that nothing published, typed, posted, or shared online is private. Encourage your kids to refrain from communicating ideas online that they would not want their friends, family, or peers to see.

Familiarize Yourself with Your Child’s Online Habits

Make sure you know what it is exactly that your child does when he or she is online. Is your child active on social networking sites like Facebook or MySpace? Studies have shown that young people who use social networking sites are more prone to have experience with cyber bullying, either as an aggressor, as a victim, or even both.

As logic would suggest, the more time your child spends online, particularly if they regularly share their thoughts and ideas on the World Wide Web, the more susceptible he or she is to cyber bullying.

Talk to Your Child About Community Responsibility

According to the PEW Internet & American Life Project’s data on online teens, young people who regularly create content online through blogs, web sites, or photo upload sites are more likely than those teens who do not contribute to the online community to report cyberbullying and online harassment. This data demonstrates that teens that are active in creating a positive community in which they can express themselves are also eager to police it, and thus protecting their community from damaging harassment and hurtful aggression.

Talk to your kids about the fact that their online community can be a healthy place to express themselves, if certain rules are adhered to. The more active your kids are on reporting cyber bullying and online harassment, the easier it will be to reduce its strength.

For more information on keeping your kids safe online, along with a guide to approaching online crime and privacy issues, visit http://www.reputationdefender.com/mychild