Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sue Scheff: October is National Cyber Safety Month

About National Cyber Security Awareness Month

National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM), conducted every October since 2001, is a national public awareness campaign to encourage everyone to protect their computers and our nation’s critical cyber infrastructure.

Cyber security requires vigilance 365 days per year. However, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), and the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC), the primary drivers of NCSAM, coordinate to shed a brighter light in October on what home users, schools, businesses and governments need to do in order to protect their computers, children, and data.

In 2008, National Cyber Security Awareness Month reached more than 29 million Americans through media, middle school and high school lesson plans, and partnerships with dozens of companies and associations. In addition, the President of the United States declared support for National Cyber Security Awareness Month, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution in support of the month, and 41 state governors signed proclamations recognizing the month.

Our Shared Responsibility
Our lives are becoming web-based.
As the Internet becomes pervasive, we are online from home, school, work, and in between on mobile devices. Even when we are not directly connected, our economy and much of the everyday infrastructure we rely on uses the Web.

Ultimately, our cyber infrastructure is only as strong as the weakest link. No individual, business, or government entity is solely responsible for cyber security. Everyone has a role and everyone needs to share the responsibility to secure their part of cyber space and the networks they use. The steps we take may differ based on what we do online and our responsibilities. However, everyone needs to understand how their individual actions have a collective impact on cyber security.

What are you doing for National Cyber Security Awareness Month?

The success of National Cyber Security Awareness Month rests on all of us doing what we can to engage in awareness activities. There are opportunities for everyone from home users to major corporations and government entities to get involved.

Get the above content in a PDF to share with others (About NCSAM as a PDF)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sue Scheff: Tween Girl Summit 2009

Find out more about this fantastic summit to help educate, inform and motivate tween girls in a positive direction!
At the Summit, girls will talk about their passions, challenges, values, goals, heroes, dreams, fears, tween girl power, community activism and what they are going to do to change their world. We want the President and the First Lady to know that girls have heard their call for community activism and they’re ready to change the world!
Source: Tween Summit 2009 (click here for more information)

We've got an incredible day planned!We’re so thrilled you’re interested in the Tween Girl Summit. The Summit Agenda is shaping up to be an incredible day - we hope you’ll join us in Washington DC!

On October 10, 2009, hundreds of tween girls ages 9 to 14 from across the nation, as well as parents, experts, politicians and celebrities, will descend upon the historic Capital Hilton Hotel in Washington DC for the First Ever National Tween Girl Summit.

The Summit will examine the minds, motivation and lives of tween girls, giving them a platform to share their thoughts and opinions on a wide range of subjects, and give parents, politicians and marketers a more thorough understanding of this enigmatic and highly influential demographic.

The Summit will cover a wide range of topics important to tweens and their families from their opinions on the environment, education, personal safety and self-image to their thoughts on what’s hot and what’s not!

Noted celebrities will deliver keynote presentations, and marketers’ products will be on display and incorporated throughout the event. We’ll also have a live concert from today’s top tween artists!

Thanks to sponsors who want to show their support for tween girls, the Summit is free to attend, but space is limited!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Sue Scheff: Help STOMP OUT Bullying!

Celebrities STOMP Out Bullying With Love Our Children USA

NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg proclaims October 5th BLUE SHIRT DAY

NEW YORK September 28 2009: Love Our Children USA announced that NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg is proclaiming October 5th BLUE SHIRT DAY to signify the importance of National Bullying Prevention Awareness Week, October 4th – 10th.

Love Our Children USA created National Blue Shirt Day on Monday, October 5th, where thousands of kids and adults will wear blue shirts as they make their way to school or to the office as a grassroots national movement to STOMP Out Bullying.

The organization launched the STOMP Out Bullying Campaign in October, 2008 and its new dedicated Web Site this past Monday. STOMP Out Bullying focuses its efforts to reduce Bullying and Cyberbullying, decrease school absenteeism and truancy, educate against homophobia and racism and deter violence in schools, playgrounds and communities across the country. To date over 53,000 have committed to STOMP Out Bullying on the site.

It’s not just our politicians who support STOMP Out Bullying an initiative of Love Our Children USA, but celebrities are out in full force to help.

Teen Celebrities Demi Lovato, JoJo and the latest children’s sensation The Oogieloves participate in the public service campaign which includes TV spots, videos, posters, brochures and wristbands. Additional celebrities such as Brittany Snow, Naturally 7 and others are slated to join the ongoing campaign created by the Geppetto Group.

In order to raise funds for bullying and cyberbullying prevention, education and peer mentoring in schools, Love Our Children USA is holding its Second Annual Celebrity STOMP Out Bullying Auction on CharityFolks from October 5th –16th.

This year’s celebrity contributors include: Elton John, Billy Joel, Bette Midler, Ellen Degeneres, Phil Collins, Demi Lovato, Kelly Clarkson, Daughtry, Bryan Adams, Metallica, Guster, Dancing With The Stars, American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance, Bye Bye Birdie, Rock Of Ages, the NJ Nets and more.

“Kids who are intimidated, threatened, or harmed by bullies often experience low self-esteem and depression, whereas those doing the bullying may go on to engage in more serious antisocial behaviors. Some kids are so traumatized by being bullied, that they contemplate suicide. Bullies often have been the victims of bullying or other mistreatment themselves” said Ross Ellis, Love Our Children USA Founder and Chief Executive Officer. This campaign’s key purpose is to educate those kids who are being bullied and those who are bullying, that there are choices for them to get help.

Bullying can be so painful and clearly has played a role in school shootings across the country. While boys are more physical, girls use weapons, exclusion, slander, rumors and gossip.

And cyberbullying is on the rise. This social online cruelty is used in the forms of e-mail, cell phone; pager text messages, instant messaging, defamatory personal Web sites, and defamatory online personal polling Web sites, deliberate, repeated, and hostile behavior, and is used by an individual or group -- intended to harm others – especially amongst our youth. While most kids use the Internet for friendly interactions, more and more kids are using these communication tools to antagonize, terrorize and intimidate others.

Add that to the hazing going on in high schools and the kids who bring guns to school and our kids are in even more danger of emotional and physical harm.

Bullying Statistics

• 1 out of 4 kids is Bullied.
• 1 out of 5 kids admits to being a bully, or doing some "Bullying."
• 282,000 students are physically attacked in secondary schools each month.
• More youth violence occurs on school grounds as opposed to on the way to school.
• 1/3 of students surveyed said they heard another student threaten to kill someone.
• As many as 160,000 students may stay home on any given day because they're afraid of their bullies due to the pain of bullying.

Cyberbullying Statistics
• 42% of kids have been bullied while online. 1 in 4 have had it happen more than once.
• 35% of kids have been threatened online. Nearly 1 in 5 have had it happen more than once.
• 21% of kids have received mean or threatening e-mail or other messages.
• 58% of kids admit someone has said mean or hurtful things to them online.

Hazing Statistics
• 1.5 million high school students are hazed each year
• 91% of all H.S. students belong to at least one group, and half of them, 48% report being subjected to hazing activities.
• 43% were subjected to humiliating activities and 30% performed potentially illegal acts as part of their initiation

All of this has everyone worried. Not just the kids on its receiving end, but the parents, teachers and others who may not understand how extreme bullying can get. Love Our Children USA is working aggressively to prevent these issues and to help the kids and teens affected by it.

Ellis said “STOMP Out Bullying brings awareness and educates kids, parents and schools about the issue. It offers hope for every kid who experiences the harmful effects of bullying and teaches parents to keep open communication with their children and to look for signs. It also educates school administrators across the country, who have swept this issue under the rug for too long.”

She also added, “Bullying is a form of child abuse and bullies are very likely to grow up as adults who abuse children. By educating our children, we can stop the bullying BEFORE it ever starts. We are grateful to the entertainment industry and with their help we can keep kids safe across the country.”

More information about bullying and how to help your children and students can be found at and

About Love Our Children USA

Love Our Children USA is the national nonprofit leader that honors, respects and protects children. Its mission is to break the cycle of violence against children. Love Our Children USA has become ‘the go-to’ prevention organization for all forms of violence and neglect against children in the U.S. Working to eliminate behaviors that keep children from reaching their potential, it redefines parenting and creates kid success by promoting prevention strategies and positive changes in parenting and family attitudes and behaviors through public education. Empowering and supporting children, teens, parents and families through information, resources, advocacy, and online youth mentoring. Its message is positive of prevention, empowerment and hope. Since 1999, Love Our Children USA has paved the way in the prevention of violence and neglect against children … keeping children safe and strengthening families.

Contact: Media Relations
Love Our Children USA
1.888.347.KIDS (5437) / 212.629.2099

Sue Scheff: Parenting recipes for raising kids today

Order your copy today!

The BIG Book of Parenting Solutions is your recipe to parenting kids today. This tremendous book is similar to a cookbook of extra special, proven results for parenting! This book is not only for today's parent, it is a perfect baby shower gift, holiday gift, or simply to give to a parent today raising kids. They will be forever grateful.

Here is just a sample of the hundreds of proven and simple tips from Dr. Borba’s latest book, The Big Book of Parenting Solutions. The best news is that these solutions work for all ages, take less than a minute to do, are based on proven research and when consistently used will reap lasting change.

1. Get attention: Lower your voice almost to a whisper and then say your request. Kids aren’t used to a quiet request.

2. Increase positive behavior: Research shows that giving kids the right kind of praise (called “positive reinforcement”) is one of the best ways to shape new behavior. So, catch your kid doing the action you want. Just make sure your praise is specific and tells your child exactly what he did right. (Adding “because” or “that” takes your praise up a notch. “I’m so impressed that you started your homework all by yourself this time.”)

3. Stretch persistence: Praising the child’s effort (“You’re working so hard”) and not inherent intelligence (”You’re so smart”) is proven to enhance perseverance and performance, but the child is also more likely to bounce back from a mistake—all because he feels success is not mixed.
4. Reduce fear: Expose your child to a fear in small manageable doses and help them develop a statement to speak back to the worry (“Go away worry!” or “I can do this!”)

5. Curb a tantrum: The longer you give attention to a tantrum the longer it lasts. Ignore, ignore, ignore!
6. Nurture kindness: Encourage your child to use the Two Praise Rule everyday. “Say or do at least two kind things to someone.” Random acts of kindness really are catchy!

7. Increase assertiveness: Stress: “Look at the color of the talker’s eyes.” Using eye contact helps kids appear confident. Strong body posture also helps a child be less likely to be bullied.
8. Friendship builder: The two most commonly used traits of well-liked kids are “smiling” and “encouraging.” Reinforce those traits in your child to boost his friendship quotient.

9. Develop healthy eating habits. Eating relaxed family meals regularly enhances kids’ psychosocial well- being, boosts grades and deters behaviors like smoking and drinking and eating disorders as well as teaches the child healthy eating habits.

10. Curb nagging. Say "no" the first time and don’t back down. The average kid nags nine times knowing the parent will give in.

Read more about Dr. Michele Borba in our one on one interview earlier this month. Big Book of Parenting Solutions belongs in your kitchen today! Whether you are a parent, grandparent, teacher, daycare provider, coach, therapist or anyone working with today's kids, this is a must have book.

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teen Headaches and migraines

Is your teen suffering with headaches or even migraines? Adults are not the only ones that have to deal with stress, although teens have different reasons for their stress, it can cause health factors. Read more about teen headaches and some informational parenting tips.

Source: Connect with Kids

Teen Headaches

“It would fade and then it would intensify and the only thing that really made me feel better was I just went and sat in my room in the dark.”

– Monica, 16 years old

According to a new hospital study, when kids return to school, they’re more likely to suffer chronic headaches. In fact, the study reports that over a third of our kids get chronic headaches, which in a few cases may be a sign of a more serious medical problem or simply nothing to worry about.

It was one of the worst headaches 16-year-old Monica has suffered. “It would fade, and then it would intensify, and the only thing that really made me feel better was I just went and sat in my room in the dark,” she says.

What caused her headache? “Maybe stress, going from one thing to the next,” Monica speculates.

Or was it caffeine? Monica admits she relies on a daily dose of caffeine. “I usually have a Coke a day, and if I don’t have a Coke by six o’clock or so, I might start to get a little bit of a headache,” she says.

A study by the Nationwide Children’s Hospital finds that a third of kids suffer from chronic headaches. That means at least once a month if not far more often.

“There is a growing population among teenagers and adults, too, that have what we call chronic daily headaches, and these people just have headaches that just go on and on and on,” Dr. Woodward says.

The problem may be lack of sleep, poor diet and taking painkillers too often might be to blame. In some cases, the pain may be a sign of something more serious. If headaches consistently interfere with schoolwork and activities, and your child doesn’t seem to easily recover, don’t dismiss the problem.

“I think a lot of teenagers get short-shifted with headaches because there is a prevailing thought among the general population that headaches are all stress related and [kids] are all trying to get out of school and trying to get out of their work,” Dr. Woodward says. “I think you have to realize it is a real illness, and it has to be treated as such.”

Still, experts say, most headaches in kids are benign, and like Monica’s headaches, can be easily managed with over-the-counter medications or some quiet time alone.

“It usually takes a while [for the medicine to work], and then I’ll forget about it, and then I’ll kind of realize, ‘Oh, it doesn’t hurt anymore,’” Monica says.

Tips for Parents

According to the American Council for Headache Education (ACHE), people suffer from two basic types of headaches:

■Primary headaches: Include tension headaches, migraine headaches and cluster headaches
■Secondary headaches: Result from specific causes, such as infection, meningitis, tumors or localized head injury
Tension headaches are quite common, even in children and teens. It is not easy to determine just what causes them in any one person. Muscle tension plays a role, as do the day-to-day pressures of life. The University of Iowa Health Care (UIHC) says that your teen may be suffering from a tension headache if he or she experiences the following symptoms:

■Tiredness or fatigue
■Work stress
■Lack of exercise
■Major life changes
■Depression or anxiety
You can take several steps to help alleviate the pain from your teen’s tension headache. The UIHC suggests trying the following strategies:

■Teach your teen to meditate or sit quietly.
■Play soft music.
■Have your teen take a warm bath.
■Ensure that your teen gets regular exercise.
■Try massage on your teen.
■Encourage your teen to take time out for fun.
You can try over-the-counter medicines to relieve the pain. However, carefully review the label directions and precautions for other health considerations before giving your teen any medication.

If headaches are frequent or severe, or include unusual symptoms, you should consult your family doctor. Your physician may ask your teen to describe features of his or her headaches, such as location of pain, pain severity and other symptoms that accompany a headache attack. The ACHE says that to rule out the possibility of secondary headache, the physician may decide to order special tests, including a CT scan or an MRI, for your teen. Be sure to bring the following worrisome symptoms to your doctor’s attention:

■Headaches that wake your teen from sleep
■Early morning vomiting without nausea (upset stomach)
■Worsening or more frequent headaches
■Personality changes
■Complaints that “this is the worst headache I’ve ever had!”
■A headache that is different than previous headaches
■Headaches with fever or a stiff neck
■Headaches that follow an injury
It is possible that your teen may be suffering a migraine, which is episodic – generally occurring one to four times a month. The Nemours Foundation reports that about 5% of teens and young adults suffer migraines. Certain people may be particularly susceptible to the following triggers that cause migraines:

■Skipping meals
■Too much caffeine
■Certain foods (alcohol, cheese, pizza, chocolate, ice cream, fatty or fried food, lunch meats, hot dogs, yogurt, aspartame or anything with MSG, a seasoning used in Asian foods)
■Sudden changes in sleep patterns
■Changes in hormone levels
■Weather changes

If your teen suffers migraines, your doctor may prescribe medication. You can help your teen at home by teaching him or her the following pain management strategies cited by the American Academy of Family Physicians:

■Lie down in a dark, quiet room.
■Put a cold compress or rag over your forehead.
■Massage your scalp, using a lot of pressure.
■Put pressure on your temples.

■American Academy of Family Physicians
■American Council for Headache Education
■Cincinnati Children’s Headache Center
■Nemours Foundation
■University of Iowa Health Care

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Sue Scheff: Social Web Tips for Teens

Today part of parenting is learning about all the technology our kids are using. This is not an easy task and for many of us that didn't grow up in "cyberspace" it can be daunting.
Recently I posted an article for parents, Social web tips for parents, today take the time to read, print out, and discuss these tips with your teen.

Tips from Connect Safely:

Be nice online. Or at least treat people the way you’d want to be treated. People who are nasty and aggressive online are at greater risk of being bullied or harassed themselves. If someone's mean to you, try to ignore them - often that makes them stop. Use privacy tools to block them from viewing your full profile and contacting you.

Think about what you post. Sharing provocative photos or intimate details online, even in private emails, can cause you problems later on. Even people you consider friends can use this info against you, especially if they become ex-friends.

Passwords are private. Don't share your password even with friends. It's hard to imagine, but friendships change and you don't want to be impersonated by anyone. Pick a password you can remember but no one else can guess. One trick: Create a sentence like "I graduated from King School in 05" for the password "IgfKSi05."

Read between the "lines." It may be fun to check out new people for friendship or romance, but be aware that, while some people are nice, others act nice because they're trying to get something. Flattering or supportive messages may be more about manipulation than friendship or romance.

Don't talk about sex with strangers. Be cautious when communicating with people you don't know in person, especially if the conversation starts to be about sex or physical details. Don't lead them on - you don’t want to be the target of a predator's grooming. If they persist, call your local police or contact .

Avoid in-person meetings. The only way someone can physically harm you is if you're both in the same location, so – to be 100% safe – don't meet them in person. If you really have to get together with someone you "met" online, don't go alone. Have the meeting in a public place, tell a parent or some other solid backup, and bring some friends along.

Be smart when using a cell phone. All the same tips apply with phones as with computers. Except phones are with you wherever you are, often away from home and your usual support systems. Be careful who you give your number to and how you use GPS and other technologies that can pinpoint your physical location.

If you'd like to print these tips out, here's a PDF version. Reprinted with permission from Connect Safely.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Sue Scheff: California Defamation Law Blog Praises Google Bomb book!

California attorney, Adrianos Facchetti, recently reviewed Google Bomb and his comments are amazing. I am always grateful that others are finally hearing and understanding what is happening in cyberspace.

It is a growing and expanding problem as small businesses are suffering, reputations tainted, and lives being ruined by a some vicious keystrokes and clicks of a mouse.Read the outstanding reviews click here.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teen Fight Clubs - School Violence

Last week I wrote about School Violence. This week Connect with Kids gives us parenting tips on Fight Clubs.

Fight Clubs

“Some of them would stop when the guy just got knocked out cold, totally knocked out - unconscious, got knocked unconscious.”

– David, 19 years old

Fighting just for the fun of it is back. Fight clubs were popularized in the 1999 movie with the same name and now students at three different high schools in California have been arrested for taking part in these organized brawls that draw hundreds of spectators and often end up on the Internet.

The fight club videos that some kids post on the Internet can be gruesome, brutal.

“Some of them would stop when the guy just got knocked out cold, totally knocked out - unconscious, got knocked unconscious,” says 19-year-old David, who fought in and watched many fight clubs during his high school years.

And yet, kids say taking part in fight clubs is… fun.

“It’s just an adrenaline rush, it gets you pumping,” says 18-year-old Brandon, “It’s like you’re fighting this other person, you don’t know what’s going to happen.”

“I’ve broke fingers, I’ve broke toes,” adds David. “But a couple of the guys got real hurt.”

David fought throughout his four years in high school. He says there’s a kind of ‘glory’ in fight clubs.

“[Students,] they all the time [say], ‘oh did you see so-and-so fight?’” he remembers. “And everybody would hear about it and, you know, he’d be lifted up on an imaginary pedestal – because, you know, he beat the hell out of somebody. ‘Cause he won and, you know, everybody wants that kind of fame between their peers.”

Experts say that if you suspect your child is involved in a fight club, first send a clear message.

“That this is very dangerous,” says Psychologist Tracy Talmadge, Ph.D., “That you can get hurt, other kids can get hurt. I love you, and I certainly don’t want you to get hurt.”

Second, he says, parents should be emphatic: fighting is simply unacceptable.

“You don’t let up. You stick on it with them. And you say that this is not going to be allowed.”

Third, he advises parents to report fight clubs to their child’s school - and to the police.

“This is such a serious issue,” says Talmadge, “that you want to bring in all the possible resources that can reasonably be expected to help.”

Tips for Parents
According to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, several factors lead to an increased risk of violent behavior in children and adolescents. These factors include:

■Previous aggressive or violent behavior
■Being the victim of physical abuse and/or sexual abuse
■Exposure to violence in the home and/or community
■Genetic (family heredity) factors
■Exposure to violence in media (TV, movies, etc.)
■Use of drugs and/or alcohol in the presence of firearms in home
■Combination of stressful family socioeconomic factors (poverty, severe deprivation, marital breakup, single parenting, unemployment, loss of support from extended family)
■Brian damage from head injury
Children who have several risk factors and show the following behaviors should be carefully evaluated:

■Intense anger
■Frequent loss of temper or blow-ups
■Extreme irritability
■Extreme impulsiveness
■Becoming easily frustrated
The most serious threats to the health and safety of adolescents and young adult are preventable. They result from such risk-taking behaviors as fighting, substances abuse, suicide, and sexual activity rather than from illnesses. These behaviors have harmful, even deadly, consequences.

Changes in teen participation in specific risk behaviors have been well documented. What is less well known, and of growing concern, is how overall teen risk-taking has changed. In addition, information is lacking about the nuances in the behavior of adolescents who engage in more than one of these risks at a time. Teens who participate in multiple risks increase the chance of damaging their health.

■American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
■American Academy of Pediatrics
■American Psychological Association
■Urban Institute
■Centers for Disease Control & Prevention – Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teen and Youth Gangs

If you are worried that your child may likely become involved in a gang or already has done so, there are a number of ways to decrease the likelihood and protect your son or daughter. The main reason that teenagers decide to join a gang is to find a place of belonging and worth, as well as for something to do. Oftentimes, teenagers are simply bored and are looking for an activity and social outlet, and gangs serve just that purpose. To combat this, keep your son or daughter involved in extracurricular activities. Sports teams can provide the comradeship that many teens seek in a positive, productive environment. Not only will the individual be in a safer environment but they will also learn teamwork and other valuable skills. Arts programs and student leadership activities can serve a similar purpose, while teaching incredibly pertinent skills or developing a hobby or skill.

While extracurricular activities can be a great venue for teenagers to express themselves and release pent up emotions, energy, and feelings, there is no replacement for spending time with the family. The best anti-gang measure that you can take is to spend time with your children and let them know that you are there for them. Gangs provide support and companionship, but families can do the exact same thing. Just knowing that they are unconditionally loved will give your teenager more confidence and motivation. Having the support that family provides can be a major deterrent from joining a gang.

It is also important to be aware of gang activity in your area. If there are particularly active gangs in your proximity avoid their hang outs and do not wear their gang colors. It is not uncommon for an unfortunate teenager to wear a certain color and be confused for a rival gang member. Sadly, far too many teenagers become the victim of gang violence whether or not they are associated with a gang. Knowing about the local gangs will allow you and your teenager to know what to avoid in terms of colors and signs, but it also allows you to speak out against local activity. You can join an existing group in the area that works to rid the community of gangs. If none exists, establish a Neighborhood Watch or talk to the police about gang graffiti and activity.

It is important to point out that carrying a firearm is not advisable. While it may provide an appearance of safety and a mental feeling of power, guns usually just escalate conflicts. Also, make sure that your teenager does not carry a weapon with him or her. If someone is in danger or attacked and chooses to brandish a weapon, this often causes the assailant to do the same and can lead to far greater physical harm to everyone involved.

Learn more at my website on Youth Gangs.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sue Scheff: What If You Could Confront Your Fears So You Could Fully Play With Your Power?

15 year old Social Entrepreneur Danielle Herb has a dream to impact 1,000,000 ADD/ADHD and Autistic children. It is quickly becoming a reality and she is $50,000 away from opening a brand new facility in Ocala, Florida which will provide FREE horse therapy for the kids. Please watch this video to not only help Danielle, but the many lives she will change through her Drop Your Reins Experience.”
I urge everyone to visit and watch the 7 minute minute interview with Danielle Herb and consider helping her help her cause to continue to help thousands of ADD/ADHD/Autisic children!

The Why?

The growth and expansion of Danielle’s company has been inhibited by her current geographic location, which lacks accessibility.

After searching nearby regions in her home state of FL that were more conducive and responsive to the needs of her program and her horses, Danielle was drawn to Ocala. Nicknamed “The Horse Capital of the World,” Ocala lends itself to being the perfect location for Danielle to give and receive support, as well as to set up alliances and collaborate with other equine facilities.
About “Drop Your Reins” Experience

Co-Founded by 15-year-old Danielle Herb, with her Mother, Marianne St. Clair, Drop Your Reins is a holistic training company that breaks down the social segmentation that exists among humans, animals and science. The program infuses direct interaction with horses, supplemental training videos, experiential coaching techniques and community collaboration to help guide the powerful minds of ADD/ADHD and Autistic children to reach their greatest potential while maintaining their innocence and purity. Danielle was recently the subject of a 1 hour TV Documentary and is the forthcoming author of Drop Your Reins: Peaceful Transformation Techniques for ADD/ADHD and Autistic Children Using Natural Horsemanship. She is the 2008 Recipient of the Target and Tiger Woods Start Something Grant.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Sue Scheff: Prevent Teen Violence

Violence among kids and teens has made headlines in South Florida this week. As parents, educators and others that work with today’s children, we need to take steps to help prevent these violent incidents.

Communication is key, however difficult. It starts at home, what can you as a parent do to help? As a Parent Advocate, I have always encouraged parents to get to know who your teen’s friends are, who are they hanging out with? Not only in school but online! Where is your child surfing in space? Do you know the websites they are frequently visiting? It is time to be an educated parent which can lead to a safer teen.

Here are some quick tips to think about and put into action:
• Get to know your teen’s friends. Take an interest in them. Ask them about their siblings and their parents. Do they have the same hobbies/interests as your teen?

• Take the time to call the parents, introduce yourself. If your child is spending time with their child, I am confident they will appreciate getting to know you too.

• Join your school’s PTA or PTO, get involved! Take an interest in your teen’s activities and learn more about what your school has to offer.

• Get to know your teen’s teachers. All of them. Make time for teacher conferences even if your child is doing well. Don't forget first and foremost, know your teen's guidance counselor. Make an appointment to introduce yourself, don't wait for that first call that may not start off on a positive note.

• Encourage your teen to become active in community service, sports, school clubs, any constructive activity will help build their self esteem and point them in a positive direction.• As difficult as it is today, try to have family dinner at least 3 times a week. Take the time to ask about their school day, their studies, and their extra-curriculum.

• Does your child spend a lot of time online? Find out what their interests are and who they are connecting with. I am not against Internet use; however we need to be aware of what our children are doing in cyberspace. Unfortunately it is still unregulated, so even an educated parent needs to always be aware of their teens computer use. Refer to the story of Kristin Helms and understand her mother was very proactive in protecting her child. This is not to scare you, but to let you know how serious an issue this is.

• If you notice your teen is becoming withdrawn, depressed, spending more time alone, failing in school, losing interest in their favorite activities, etc. Get outside help. Find an adolescent therapist. Don’t allow these feelings to escalate into rage and violence or worse.
I know many of the tips above require time that many parents don’t have.

I understand, especially since I was a single parent raising two kids, we are exhausted, burned out and stressed out, however it is still not an excuse to MAKE THE TIME to talk with your kids and MAKE THE TIME to talk to the parents of their friends, as well as finding at least one meeting a month to attend for the PTA or PTO. Getting involved today may prevent problems tomorrow.
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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Sue Scheff: Girls joinging Gangs - Be an Educated Parent

Teen gangs are a serious concern for parents. Whether you have a son or a daughter, if they belong to a gang or want to join one, it is time for you act immediately. Do you know who your teens friends are? Have you meet their parents? Do they have similar interests as your teen has? What do they do in their spare time? Take the time to be an educated parent! Most important, be proactive!

Source: Connect with Kids

Girls in Gangs

“He wanted me to sell drugs. I’m like, ‘no I can’t do it, you know, I want to be a doctor when I grow up, and I don’t want to get in any trouble.’”

– ChanTrell, Age 16

The Office of Juvenile Justice has some good news for us and some bad: according to the latest numbers, from 2005 to 2007, the arrest rate for boys went down four percent, but for girls it’s up 10 percent. Experts say one reason is more girls are joining gangs.

In the small park, there are swing sets, a small stream, and dozens of families with small children playing. It is the park where Roger Raney’s 18-year-old daughter allegedly took part in a gang murder.

He still wonders why. “I’ve wracked my brain trying to figure out why but I have no clue, honestly,” Raney says.

But there were clues. When his daughter was 13, he noticed gang-related graffiti and tattoos. “In her room, papers, notebook, just all over really.”

But he thought it was just posing, just a joke. Now Roger and thousands of other parents realize it’s no joke at all. The idea of girls being gang members is no longer far-fetched.

According to the National Youth Gang Survey, there are 800,000 active gang members in the U.S. And over six percent are female, that’s 50,000 girls.

And new “recruits” are being propositioned every day.

Sixteen-year-old ChanTrell was approached. “He wanted to sell drugs. I’m like, ‘no I can’t do it. I want to be a doctor when I grow up, and I don’t want to get in any trouble.’”

“It’s not just what most people would consider the poor sections or less affluent sections. They’re everywhere,” says psychologist and gang expert Dr. Stephen Mathis.

Experts say girls join gangs for the same reason boys often do. “It’s all about acceptance,” says youth counselor Irving Carswell, “You know, ‘I want to be a part of’… and we have to take alternative measures…as parents and say ‘you don’t have to be a part of that.’”

And if your child is lonely, just moved to a new school or a new town, explain how gangs really work. “A kid often trades loneliness and isolation or whatever the kid’s feeling inside for an initial attraction for unconditional acceptance when in fact the conditions are very, very conditional,” says Mathis.

Conditions like selling drugs, even committing murder.

“Parents and teens need to somehow keep a bond,” Roger Raney says, “and not have a distance come between them, because it’s hard to repair it once it goes away.”

Tips for Parents
According to the Southwest Missouri Interagency Task Force on Gangs and Youth Violence, possible signs of gang involvement include:

•Skipping school
•Violent acts
•Disregard for persons or property
•Dress changes
•Unexplained extra money or expensive purchases
To help prevent your child from becoming a gang member, the SMI Task Force offers these suggestions:

•Arrange for adult supervision of teen’s and children’s activities
•Help the teen or child become involved in athletics or other group activities
•Set reasonable rules and consistently enforce them
•Hold family meetings and keep the lines of communication open
•Educate the child about the dangers of gang involvement
•Provide a strong religious background
•Be aware of changes in your child’s life
•Practice mutual respect with your child

•Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention
•Southwest Missouri Interagency Task Force on Gangs and Youth Violence

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Sue Scheff: Parents learn how to prevent cyberbullying

Today parents have to more to worry about than generations prior. The Internet is only part of what we need to take the time to learn about. Although years ago we thought of the Internet as an Educational tool (which it still is), however the ugliness has reared its' head with Internet Predators, Cyberbullies, Sexting, and much more. Be an educated parent!
Here is a new website I found that has some great advice for parents, children and educators.
Children, parents, and educators all have a role in preventing cyberbullying.

What Parents Can Do
Many of these points were adapted from National Crime Prevention Council 2003 and Media Awareness Network 2004:

Don’t put a computer in your young child’s bedroom. Keep your computer is a busy area of your home.

Set up e-mail and chat accounts with your children. Make sure that you know their screen names and passwords and that they don't include any personal information in their online profiles.
Regularly go over their instant messenger "buddy list" with them. Ask who each person is and how your children know him or her.

Discuss cyberbullying with your children and ask if they have ever experienced it or seen it happen to someone.

Tell your children that you won't blame them if they are cyberbullied. Emphasize that you won't take away their computer or cell phone privileges - this is the main reason kids don't tell adults when they are cyberbullied.

Watch out for signs that your child is being bullied online - a reluctance to use the computer or go to school may be an indication.

Contact your child's school, local police or your Internet Service Provider if the bullying is severe. It's a criminal offence to threaten another person.

Next, what educators can do to prevent cyberbullying.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teen Suicide Prevention Month

As you have probably heard before, talking to your teen about suicide is one of the most important things you can do in helping to prevent a suicide attempt. Many times parents are unsure of what to say and instead say nothing. Here are some suggestions of how you can open the channels of communication and help your teen open up.

First, tell your teen you care; no matter the state of your relationship, just hearing this can go a long way. Tell your teen you are there if needed, and are willing to listen without judging. NAMI estimates that around 80% of all teens who attempt suicide give some sort of verbal or nonverbal warning beforehand, so be sure to take whatever your teen says completely seriously.
A common mistake parents make when dealing with a suicidal teen is thinking that if they mention suicide they will be planting the idea in their teen’s brain.

This is simply not accurate. In fact, by mentioning your fears, you are showing your teen that you take their actions and their life seriously. Remember, most people who are suicidal do not really want to die- they want to put an end to the suffering they are experiencing. When given an opportunity to be helped through that suffering, or when some of that suffering is alleviated by knowing they aren’t alone, this can help reduce the desire to end the pain by more drastic means.

Worldwide over 1,000,000 people die each year by suicide.

The CDC’s most recent report shows the largest One-Year Increase in Youth Suicide Rate in 15 Years

Suicide takes the lives of over 2,400 Floridians and over 33,300 Americans in 2007.

Suicide is the 11th cause of death in the Americans.

In 2004, there were 2,382 reported suicide deaths in Florida.

In Broward County Florida the youngest documented child to complete suicide was 9 years of age.

Florida has the 2nd highest number of suicides in the Nation and ranks #13 highest rate of all the states [2001].

Florida has more than two times the number of suicides than homicides or deaths by HIV/AIDS.

Every 43 seconds someone in the U.S. attempts suicide; Every 17 minutes someone in the U.S. dies by suicide.

For every single completed suicide there are at least 25 attempts!
Each person who dies by suicide leaves behind an average of eight loved ones or survivors, not to mention friends, co-workers, schoolmates and religious affiliates

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Sue Scheff: My Child Feels

I recently reviewed a wonderful children's book, Boom... Boom... Boom...., by Marsha Jacobson. She is also a contributor to an educational website called My Child Feels. I recently read a great article she posted about emotional intelligence on her website. Be an educated parent and take time to learn more about children's feelings today.

Does High Emotional Intelligence Predict Success?
By Marsha Jacobson
Emotional intelligence (EQ) is a person’s ability to identify, organize and act on their feelings and the feelings of others in a healthy and productive way. Does increasing an individual’s emotional intelligence correlate to a higher probability of long-term personal success and happiness? There are countless examples from recent times that show the correlation to be true.

Daniel Goleman’s book “Emotional Intelligence” (1995) introduced the idea of emotional intelligence to professionals and laymen. It boldly claimed that in predicting personal success, EQ could be “as powerful, and at times more powerful, than IQ.” (p. 34). Much of this claim was based on previous extensive research on IQ, which found that the predictive nature of IQ on job performance and personal success was seriously falling short.

The correlations were only between 10% and 25%. John Snarey and George Vaillant conducted a longitudinal study in 1985 involving 450 boys and found that IQ had little relation to workplace and personal success. Rather, what was found to be more important in determining their success was their ability to handle frustration, control emotions, and get along with others. While they did not call these traits emotional intelligence, they are some of the central elements to the emotional intelligence construct.

John Gottman, a forerunner in the area of emotional intelligence in children, claimed, “In the last decade or so, science has discovered a tremendous amount about the role emotions play in our lives. Researchers have found that even more than IQ, your emotional awareness and abilities to handle feelings will determine your success and happiness in all walks of life, including family relationships.”

Beyond just academia and formally defining the concept of “emotional intelligence,” the core elements of the construct have emerged in other areas too. A great example of this from popular culture is The Secret, a book and movie by Rhonda Byrne. It believes in the inner emotional power of people. It took the English-speaking world by storm and has already been translated into 10 other languages. More than anything, this demonstrates the world’s readiness to focus on their emotions. The adult population, already saturated by self-help books, was primed and ready to accept these ideas.

It is no surprise now that workforce personnel have enthusiastically supported the investigation and understanding of EQ. Companies are including EQ assessments and training into work regimes. The increasing competitiveness in the workforce has forced those who want to get ahead to actively look for new plausible ideas and run with them. Their approach has been, “This seems to be something that may affect productivity. Lets try it.”

In the area of children and education, scepticism has been more predominant. School boards have focussed on the research showing lack of proof between emotional intelligence and success in later life. Lynn Waterhouse sums up this point of view in her article for Educational Psychologist in 2006. According to her, there exist too many conflicting constructs of EQ to make research possible and the research that has been done is too inconclusive. Many supporters are frustrated at the lack of action taken by schools because they feel that the best time to teach EQ is in childhood.

Perhaps our entire approach to emotional intelligence is wrong. We are trying to place the idea of EQ purely in the scientific world and assessing efficacy and predictability only according to the rules of science. Quantitative research is valuable whenever possible but certainly has limitations when focusing on a construct as qualitative as emotional intelligence. Is there not sufficient evidence that suggests the importance of EQ? Is there not overwhelming evidence that suggests that the lack of EQ creates many of the problems in our lives today? Perhaps we should be focussing on what isn’t working in our human experience rather than resisting the implementation of EQ into our schools.

With the rise in school violence, bullying, terrorism, suicide, job dissatisfaction and loneliness, can we afford to not teach EQ to our children? What can we possibly have to lose by teaching our children to be emotionally intelligent? What’s the worst that can happen? We will produce a generation of people more in touch with their feelings and with the feelings of others? We will produce a generation of people who are taught to be more empathic, tolerant and respectful to themselves and others?
There may be some among us who might like to live in a world like that.
Be sure to visit and learn more! Follow Marsha on Twitter @MarshaJacobson

Monday, September 14, 2009

Sue Scheff: The Big Book of Parenting Solutions - The Only Parenting Book you will need for ages 3-13

Like most parents, you desperately want to raise healthy, happy, caring, self-sufficient kids. But despite the stacks of parenting books you’ve collected, you’re still struggling to find workable solutions to your child-rearing conundrums. Enter parenting expert and author Dr. Michele Borba. In a marketplace overly saturated with trend-based parenting books promising dubious quick fixes, Borba saw a void that needed to be filled. She realized parents were getting answers to their questions, and yet these “solutions” failed to deliver lasting, long-term results. Her response was to sit down and write the parenting book to end all parenting books. I had the opportunity to interview TODAY’s parenting contributor about her latest book, The Big Book of Parenting Solutions. Here is what she said:

Let’s face it, there are so many parenting books. Why did you find need to write another?
I wanted to write one all-encompassing, go-to guide that promises to be the last resource parents will ever need for raising kids 3 to 13.I think there’s too much conflicting information out there and many parenting books don’t offer common-sense solutions that are research-based. Everything in The Big Book of Parenting Solutions is based on the latest scientific research as well as practical solutions that reap the most effective results.

What are some of the 101 topics you address and how did you choose those issues?

I surveyed 5000 parents and asked them what their concerns and topics in 75 of my TODAY show segments that were based on late-breaking issues. The book offers advice for issues including biting, tantrums, cheating, bad friends picky eaters and homework wars to more hot-button challenges like inappropriate clothing, sex, drugs, peer pressure and cyberbullying. Each of the 101 issues also gives specific step-by-step solutions and advice that is age appropriate.
Why did you also covers tougher issues like eating disorders, cyberbullying depression, stress, drinking, sex in a book for 3 to 13 year olds?

Because it’s a different world—8 is the new 13. We’re now seeing depression in 3 years olds, eating disorders in 8 year olds, and 13year olds are having oral sex. Parents can get real solutions to tough problems, no matter what age their kids are, and head them off before it’s too late to turn that behavior around.

Your book is designed almost like a cookbook. How did you choose the design?

What parent has the time or the energy at the end of a long, stressful day to pore over pages in a parenting book? So I designed this book to work like a cookbook or a desk reference. Parents can look up the problem they want to address, flip right to the correct chapter, and find an easy-to-follow formula for getting the results they want.

Why did you list signs of every problem in every chapter?

Unless parents dig deeper to uncover the reasons their kid is using that bad behavior, the problem will just pop up again later, perhaps in a different form. I’ll help you get to the root of every kid problem so you can begin to truly fix it—and to ensure that the results are both effective and long-lasting. I’ll help parents figure out why their child is using the behavior ad I’ll offer a list of new skills to replace the bad habits so the problem stops once and for all.
How does a parent know its time to worry and consult a professional for the problem?
Sometimes a child’s problem may be bigger than her parents’ ability to solve it. I’ll help you determine what “normal” kid behavior is and what requires the guidance of a professional. For every problem I address, I also list the warning signs that indicate the need to seek outside help.

What makes you a parenting expert that parents should trust?

True parenting experts not only have credentials, they also have the years of experience to back them up. I have a doctorate in counseling and psychology, taught child development, wrote 23 parenting books, had a private practice for troubled kids, and taught special education as well as gifted students. I’ve also given workshops to over a million parents and teachers on four continents, and stay current with late breaking parenting news as a contributor to NBC’s Today show. But my best experience is that I’m the mother of three sons—so I’ve been in the same trenches and I know how challenging parenting can be.

I’ve literally put over 25 years of my experiences into this book with the absolute best parenting solutions, responses, and research. My passion is to share what I’ve learned with others so that they can get the help they need and deserve. I think I’ve done it – The Big Book of Parenting Solutions really has everything parent needs to raise a strong, caring kids in a today’s challenging world.

Follow Michele Borba on Twitter @MicheleBorba and read her Blogs on

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sue Scheff: September 12th - 18th is Child Passenger Safety Week

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood Launches Child Passenger Safety Week
Urges Parents to Learn How to Correctly Install Safety Seats

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today kicked off Child Passenger Safety Week as new research by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) showed that while there is a high use of child safety seats nationwide, a majority of children are not properly secured.

“Every year hundreds of young lives are lost to automobile crashes,” Secretary LaHood said. “Parents and caregivers need to make sure they learn how to properly install child safety seats so their kids will be safe whenever they’re on the road.”

During Child Passenger Safety Week (September 12-18) parents and caregivers can get their child safety seats checked at one of the thousands of free safety seat inspection stations set up across the country. Beginning with National Seat Check Saturday, September 12, English- and Spanish-speaking child passenger safety technicians will be on hand to answer questions and for help with proper installation of child safety seats. To find an inspection site near you visit

NHTSA’s research shows child safety seat use is at an all-time high for children under the age of one. Last year, 99 percent of children ages 0-12 months old were secured as were 92 percent of children ages 1-3 years old and 89 percent of 4-7 years-olds. To view new research click here.

Unfortunately, research also indicated that three out of every four seats are used incorrectly. This figure includes errors in securing the child in the child seat and errors in attaching the child seat to the car. Some specific examples include using the wrong child restraint based on age and weight; incorrect installation of restraint to the vehicle seat; harness straps buckled too loosely; incorrect attachment of the vehicle safety belt to the child restraint and loose fit of seat belts across children in belt-positioning booster seats.

All 50 States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and our territories, have laws requiring the use of safety seats for young children traveling in automobiles. In addition, 47 States have laws requiring booster seat use.

Thursday, September 10, 2009
Contact: Karen Aldana
Tel: 202-366-9550
OST 139-09

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Sue Scheff: Prescription Drugs is on the Rise

This is an excellent and timely article by Connect with Kids, as school as opened. As a parent, you need to take the time to learn about the accessibility of prescription drugs, how the kids are using them and why! Why does your teen feel the need to escape reality?

Prescription Drugs is on the Rise

“Prescription drugs are the fastest growing area of drug abuse among both teenagers and young adults…and not only is their use rapidly growing, but the casualties, the emergency room visits, the overdose deaths are also rapidly rising.”

– Herb Kleber, MD, professor of psychiatry, Columbia University

More than cocaine or methamphetamine or crack or heroin, prescription medicine is now the second biggest drug problem in America, second only to marijuana. In fact, according to the latest government sponsored research, one in 10 high school seniors has used narcotic painkillers and 90 percent of those kids aren’t getting them from their doctor.

He was popular, a straight-A student and a promising baseball pitcher.

But just a few weeks ago, at 16-years-old, Ross died from an overdose of prescription drugs.

His mom, Carol Thomas, still can’t believe its true, “I was devastated. I was shocked. I said, ‘no can’t be’. I still sometimes think no, it can’t be. I saw my son at 10:30 on a Friday night and he was laughing…and the next person I saw was a police officer coming to tell me that my son was dead.”

According to the University of Michigan, 10 percent of high school seniors is abusing painkillers. It has become an epidemic. “And not only is their use rapidly growing, but the casualties, the emergency room visits, the overdose deaths are also rapidly rising,” explains Dr. Herb Kleber, professor of psychiatry at Columbia University.

One reason is that many teens think that because these are prescription drugs and prescribed by a doctor, they must be safe.

Ross’ cousin, Jennifer, 17, says, “If a doctor gives you medicine, you’re supposed to think ‘oh, okay, well, it has to make me feel better, it has to do something good’. You never think a doctor’s gonna give you anything that’s gonna do any harm to you.”

That’s why, experts say, parents need to explain that medicine can heal when used as prescribed by a doctor. But when abused it can lead to brain damage, addiction, even death.

“And you have to do more than just preach,” says Kleber, “You have to follow through on that by keeping the medications in a safe and secure place to make it harder for youngsters to get to them.”

Carol says she always tried to protect Ross, but like many parents, didn’t realize the potential dangers of prescription drugs. “We worry about so many things and then it was the one that we didn’t worry about that got us.”

Tips for Parents
OxyContin is a controlled-release pain reliever that can drive away pain for up to 12 hours when used properly. When used improperly, however, OxyContin is a highly addictive opioid closely related to morphine. As individuals abuse the drug, the effects lessen over time, leading to higher dosage use.

Consider the following:

■The supply of OxyContin is soaring. Sales of OxyContin, first marketed in 1996, hit $1.2 billion in 2003.
■The FDA reports that OxyContin may have played a role in 464 deaths across the country in 2000 to 2001.
■In 2000, 43 percent of those who ended up in hospital emergency rooms from drug overdoses – nearly 500,000 people – were there because of misusing or abusing prescription drugs.
■In seven cities in 2000 (Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.) 626 people died from overdose of painkillers and tranquilizers. By 2001, such deaths had increased in Miami and Chicago by 20 percent.
■From 1998 to 2000, the number of people entering an emergency room because of misusing or abusing oxycodone (OxyContin) rose 108 percent. The rates are intensifying … from mid-2000 to mid-2001, oxycodone went up in emergency room visits 44 percent.
OxyContin is typically abused in one of three ways …

■By removing the outer coating and chewing the tablet.
■By dissolving the tablet in water and injecting the fluid intravenously.
■By crushing the tablet and snorting the powder.
Because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration puts its seal of approval on prescription drugs, many teens mistakenly believe that using these drugs – even if they are not prescribed to them – is safe. However, this practice can, in fact, lead to addiction and severe side effects. How can you determine if your teen is abusing drugs? The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry suggests looking for the following warning signs and symptoms in your teen:

■Physical: Fatigue, repeated health complaints, red and glazed eyes and a lasting cough
■Emotional: Personality change, sudden mood changes, irritability, irresponsible behavior, low self-esteem, poor judgment, depression and a general lack of interest
■Familial: Starting arguments, breaking rules or withdrawing from the family
■School-related: Decreased interest, negative attitude, drop in grades, many absences, truancy and discipline problems
■Social: having new friends who are less interested in standard home and school activities, problems with the law, and changes to less conventional styles in dress and music
If you believe your teen has a problem with drug abuse, you can take several steps to get the help he or she needs. The American Academy of Family Physicians suggests contacting your health-care provider so that he or she can perform an adequate medical evaluation in order to match the right treatment or intervention program with your teen. You can also contact a support group in your community dedicated to helping families coping with addiction.

Substance abuse can be an overwhelming issue with which to deal, but it doesn’t have to be. The Partnership for a Drug-Free America offers the following strategies to put into practice so that your teen can reap the rewards of a healthy, drug-free life:

■Be your teen’s greatest fan. Compliment him or her on all of his or her efforts, strength of character and individuality.
■Encourage your teen to get involved in adult-supervised after-school activities. Ask him or her what types of activities he or she is interested in and contact the school principal or guidance counselor to find out what activities are available. Sometimes it takes a bit of experimenting to find out which activities your teen is best suited for, but it’s worth the effort – feeling competent makes children much less likely to use drugs.
■Help your teen develop tools he can use to get out of drug-related situations. Let him or her know he or she can use you as an excuse: “My mom would kill me if I smoked marijuana!”
■Get to know your teen’s friends and their parents. Set appointments for yourself to call them and check-in to make sure they share your views on alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. Steer your teen away from any friends who use drugs.
■Call teens’ parents if their home is to be used for a party. Make sure that the party will be drug-free and supervised by adults.
■Set curfews and enforce them. Let your teen know the consequences of breaking curfew.
■Set a no-use rule for alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.
■Sit down for dinner with your teen at least once a week. Use the time to talk – don’t eat in front of the television.
■Get – and stay – involved in your teen’s life.

■American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
■American Academy of Family Physicians
■Partnership for a Drug-Free America
■National Institute on Drug Abuse
■U.S. Food & Drug Administration

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Sue Scheff: ADHD/Autism Program for Children - Learning through Horses!

Drop Your Reins is having another tremendous event in Northern Florida! If you are able to attend, watch the transformation of kids through working with Danielle Herb and her gift with horses.

The Nitty Gritty

When: Saturday, September 26, 2009
What: A mini-equine hands on training course that will teach ADD/ADHD, Autistic and ‘learning different’ children how to raise and lower their energy levels on request.
96841 Blackrock Road, Yulee, Florida
Who: This event is for kids and teens ages 5-17. It will be hosted by the Debbie Manser, Cheers Horse Ranch and taught by Instructors, Marianne St. Clair and Danielle Herb.

Why: Mental + Emotional + Physical Empowerment = Success!
It will be a fun-filled day for both you and your child.
What You’ll Need to Bring: Closed in shoes or boots, hat, sunscreen, bag lunch, chairs, cameras and willingness to have fun,

To ensure personal time with each of the participants, limited spots are available.

AM Session

AGES: 5 – 17 Years Old

TIME: Saturday 9am – 12pm

Questions? Please call Debbie (904)277-7047

For more info: Drop Your Reins

Follow Danielle on Twitter @DanielleHerb
Follow Cheers Ranch on Twitter @CheersRanch
Follow Marianne StClair on Twitter @MarianneStClair

Also read on

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teenage Suicide

As you have probably heard before, talking to your teen about suicide is one of the most important things you can do in helping to prevent a suicide attempt. Many times parents are unsure of what to say and instead say nothing. Here are some suggestions of how you can open the channels of communication and help your teen open up.

First, tell your teen you care; no matter the state of your relationship, just hearing this can go a long way. Tell your teen you are there if needed, and are willing to listen without judging. NAMI estimates that around 80% of all teens who attempt suicide give some sort of verbal or nonverbal warning beforehand, so be sure to take whatever your teen says completely seriously.

A common mistake parents make when dealing with a suicidal teen is thinking that if they mention suicide they will be planting the idea in their teen’s brain. This is simply not accurate. In fact, by mentioning your fears, you are showing your teen that you take their actions and their life seriously. Remember, most people who are suicidal do not really want to die- they want to put an end to the suffering they are experiencing. When given an opportunity to be helped through that suffering, or when some of that suffering is alleviated by knowing they aren’t alone, this can help reduce the desire to end the pain by more drastic means.

Worldwide over 1,000,000 people die each year by suicide.

The CDC's most recent report shows the largest One-Year Increase in Youth Suicide Rate in 15 Years

Suicide takes the lives of over 2,400 Floridians and over 33,300 Americans in 2007.
Suicide is the 11th cause of death in the Americans.

In 2004, there were 2,382 reported suicide deaths in Florida.
In Broward County Florida the youngest documented child to complete suicide was 9 years of age.

Florida has the 2nd highest number of suicides in the Nation and ranks #13 highest rate of all the states [2001].

Florida has more than two times the number of suicides than homicides or deaths by HIV/AIDS.
Every 43 seconds someone in the U.S. attempts suicide; Every 17 minutes someone in the U.S. dies by suicide.

For every single completed suicide there are at least 25 attempts!

Each person who dies by suicide leaves behind an average of eight loved ones or survivors, not to mention friends, co-workers, schoolmates and religious affiliates

Also on

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teenage Driving - Crash Proof Your Kids

I am currently reading, "Crash-Proof Your Kids" and I am so impressed at all the information in one book! Of course, I cheated and moved forward in the book, and couldn't believe how much valuable tips, statistics and advice is listed. As soon as I am done, I will place this book on my Books and Website blog. For now, I think this is such a critical topic for parents, I am posting an article from the author from the website, Crash Proof Your Kids.

The Jekyll/Hyde Syndrome

As parents of teenagers we’re already painfully aware of their ability to change their personality overnight. Or sometimes in the course of half an hour, depending on the fluctuations of hormone flow and incredibly annoying things we do to trigger their bizarre behavioral changes. Well, recent research indicates that there really is a biological basis for this schizoid behavior.

Dr. Jay Giedd, chief of brain imaging in the child psychiatry branch at the National Institute of Mental Health, has spent over 14 years peering inside the heads of nearly 2,000 kids using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Giedd’s studies have shown that extensive structural changes occur in adolescent brains for many years, probably until about age 25. Remarkably, age 25 is exactly when the crash rates for adults flattens out and stays relatively similar throughout the rest of adulthood. It’s also the age at which you can first rent a car, demonstrating that the rental car companies, with cold, efficient clarity, have got it right.

As Claudia Wallis puts it in her 2004 Time magazine article, What Makes Teens Tick?: “Now that MRI studies have cracked open a window on the developing brain, other researches are looking at how the newly detected physiological changes might account for the adolescent behaviors so familiar to parents: emotional outbursts, reckless risk taking and rule breaking, and the impassioned pursuit of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll.”

Apparently, the prefrontal cortex—the part of the brain primarily responsible for dealing with impulses and the consequences of actions—is the last part of the brain to mature, and your teen will be out of college before it does. Much otherwise inexplicable teen behavior is now thought to be due to the lag in development between the rest of the brain and the part which helps them exercise judgment. Temple University psychologist Laurence Steinberg once said, in a quote especially well-suited for this book, “It’s like turning on the engine of a car without a skilled driver at the wheel.”

To summarize, a growing body of research has shown that the brains of adolescents undergo a dramatic increase in neural activity and synapse-building and pruning. Every day they really are getting smarter, but at the same time more confused, as their gray matter sparks like an overcharged battery. Do not under any circumstances make them aware of this emerging research. It’ll only give them an excuse:

“I couldn’t help it, Dad, I had a really intense synaptic explosion last night. No way would I have rolled your car unless that happened. The nerves made me do it.”

Adjust your mentoring style to the specific personality your teen appears to be inhabiting that day. And if sparks or smoke appear to be coming from the top of their heads, it may not be because they’re steamed at you. Their brains may be on fire.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Sue Scheff: Tip Sheet for Today’s Teen Girl

Source: Dove Self Esteem Fund

Every Parent’s Back-to-School Tip Sheet for Today’s Teen Girl

How to Avoid a Back-to-School Breakdown

1. Body Image Breakdown: When girls feel bad about their looks, more than 70%, ages 15-17,avoid normal daily activities such as attending school.

o TIP: Your daughter’s body image starts with you! Show her each and every day how great you feel about your body and your looks. That will begin to set the tone in teaching your daughter about appearance and what it means to be proud of who she is – inside and out. By not insisting your daughter looks a certain way — whether it is what she wears, how her hair looks or how she has to behave in what she is wearing — you will build the foundation for how she sees her body and the importance of how she looks.

2. Super Girl Syndrome: Girls may respond to the pressure around them from school, media, parents and peers by trying to do it ALL (look perfect, get good grades and have a busy social life), and do it all perfectly! Their quest for “Super Girl Status” can stress them out and cause their self-esteem to plummet.

o TIP: Encourage your daughter to find her favorite one or two activities and focus on doing them well rather than being the very best at everything. By honing in on activities/skills she can excel at, she will be able to better set realistic goals for herself and more easily recognize her accomplishments. Set an example for her by doing the same thing in your life.

3. Frenemies: Frenemies are defined as relationships in which girls behave as half friends and half enemies. This could mean your daughter is bullying or spreading rumors/secrets about her friends or having the same done to her. Self-esteem plays a crucial role in determining a girls’ tendency to engage in this type of behavior. In fact, 75% of girls with low self-esteem reported engaging in negative activities, such as disordered eating, cutting, bullying, smoking, or drinking, when feeling badly about themselves.

o TIP: Talk to your daughter regularly and let her know you are aware of things that go on in school. If you suspect your daughter is bullying, tell her this is not acceptable behavior.

Help her learn other ways to deal with anger and frustration and help her understand how her actions have affected the person she has been picking on. If your daughter is the victim of a frenemy, make sure she understands it is not her fault. Talk about ways of responding to this – role play with her, acting out different scenarios she might encounter. Encourage her to walk away from a friendship that harms her and make other friends.

4. Clashing with Cliques: The teen years are an age when everyone is trying to define themselves and their independence. From jocks and geeks, to drama queens and cheerleaders, cliques are rampant in middle school and high school. Trying to fit in can be exhausting.

o TIP: Help your daughter recognize that being authentic is better than any label out there. Encourage her to embrace all different types of people and not to limit her friendships to just one group of peers. Expressing her own diversity in what she likes to do and who she likes to hang out with helps her remain well-balanced and true to herself.

5. Cyberbullying: The Internet has become an additional platform for the teasing and taunting of vulnerable girls. More than one in ten girls ages 8-17 have been bullied online.

o TIP: If you find your daughter is participating in cyberbullying (by bullying or being bullied) do not ignore it, thinking it is harmless. Talk to your daughter about how it feels to be on the receiving end and ask her what is making her do this. Bring the implications of this action to life. If you find your daughter is being victimized, let her know you understand it hurts.

Remind her that while she cannot always control what is said in school, she can control her reactions to it. Also, try not to overreact – your daughter may be afraid of involving you because she fears you will make things even worse.

6. Crush Crisis: Does he like me? Will he ask me to the dance? How can I get him to notice me? Having a crush can be so exciting, but also confusing and potentially heart-breaking.

o TIP: Remember how you felt when you had your first crush? Try not to minimize your daughter’s feelings. Instead, speak to her with compassion about her questions or uncertainties. Teach her about healthy romantic relationships, how to tell when someone is really into you and what to expect from them. When she tastes rejection for the first time, make sure you have extra hugs ready!

7. Sexual Pressure: One in ten teen girls were unable to say no when a boy asked them to do something that made them uncomfortable. In fact, girls with low self-esteem are four times morelikely to engage in activities with boys that they have ended up regretting later.

o TIP: Do not avoid “The Talk!” Have open and consistent conversations about sexual boundaries with your teenager. Use everyday media examples (her favorite TV show, a pop song on the radio) to discuss the pressure girls face to be sexually active. Let her know you will not judge her for the things she shares, but you are there to help her navigate through this tricky time.

8. Creative Communications: The top wish among all girls is for their parents to communicate better with them, which includes more frequent and more open conversations, as well as discussions about what is happening in their own lives.

o TIP: We all know getting your teen girl to open up to you can be like talking to a brick wall. Find ways to engage with your daughter such as doing an activity together (run a 5K or learnto knit). By participating in things you have in common, you may find that the conversations begin to flow more frequently.

9. Dating Violence: A shove, an angry text or a rude comment – young love may not always be innocent. Most violent relationships begin during the teen years. Verbal bullying, violent actions or emotional abuse are not ‘normal teen behaviors’ and should not be excused because the perpetrators or the victims are young and immature.

o TIP: First, make sure you understand the warning signs of dating violence. Then, use highprofile couples, like Rihanna and Chris Brown, to talk about what is going on in their relationship. Talk to your daughter about how she deserves to be treated in relationships.

Intervene upon the first sign of violence – do not wait. It is most important to model a healthy dynamic with your spouse/partner if you have one. If you have violence in your home, get help, talk about it and make sure you are doing what you can to break the cycle for your daughter.

10. Sexting: What used to be harmless flirting in the hallway now has a new edge. Teens are taking isks in their communication with the opposite sex by exploring their sexuality through ’sexting.’ Both boys and girls are pushing sexual boundaries and hiding behind the two dimensional nature of a text message. While your daughter may think it is harmless fun, the consequences could stay with her forever, as pictures posted through texts have wound up on Web sites around the world.

o TIP: Talk to your daughter about the dangers of overstepping her own comfortable boundaries in a text message. Help her understand that while it may seem exciting, the consequences of her actions could be dangerous to her self-image, reputation and safety.

Encourage her to express herself verbally with her friends so she is not relying solely on a touchpad for communication. If you have concerns that she has been sexting already, it might be necessary to monitor her cell phone usage or take away the device all together.

To learn more visit where you can download free self-esteem building tools for moms, mentors and daughters.
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