Saturday, February 28, 2009

Sue Scheff: Internet Defamation and Online Slander - Free Speech will Not Condone Defamation


Shortcomings in the Law Allow Cyberdefamation Campaigns, Legal Expert Says

Read entire article here: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/AheadoftheCurve/Story?id=6960397&page=1


The Law as an Accomplice


Legal experts, however, emphasized that the law protects Web sites like Topix. Even if the comments are considered defamatory by a court of law, Topix has no legal obligation to take the content down.


Defenders of the legal landscape argue that a change could stifle open discussion and free speech. But others maintain that in stories like this, regardless of who emerges, once the veil of anonymity is lifted, it is the law itself that is a co-conspirator.


“The law as it currently stands is an accomplice because it creates no incentive whatsoever for Web sites to review or police themselves from content that is potentially devastating to real people and real lives,” Michael Fertik, a lawyer who specializes in online defamation, told ABCNews.com.


Part of the problem, Fertik continued, is that laws that made sense at the birth of the Internet age have not matured. It takes years to redress online defamation problems under the present regime. But, in the meantime, libelous comments easily found through search engines can sideline both personal and professional lives.


Although privacy and free speech advocates worry that changes to the law could “chill” online speech, Fertik argued that “the law can easily catch up without destroying speech.”
But until then?


“The law provides the red dye for the scarlet letter,” Fertik said. “It provides the ink for the tattoo that people create on Web sites like this.”

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Sue Scheff: 20th Annual Teen Study Shows 25% Drop in Meth Use Over 3 Years; Marijuana Down 30% Over Ten Years


Data Reveal First Major Increase in Number of Teens Reporting “Learning a Lot” About Risks of Drug Use From Parents


Teen Abuse of Prescription and Over-The-Counter Medicines Remains a Serious Concern


NEW YORK, NY – February 24, 2009 – The Partnership for a Drug-Free America today announced the findings from the 2008 Partnership Attitude Tracking Study, (PATS) which revealed the first major increase in the number of teens who reported “learning a lot” about the risks of drugs from their parents.


The study shows that 37 percent of teens reported learning a lot about the risks of drugs from their parents, a significant 16 percent increase from the previous year and the first major increase since the inception of the study. Research consistently shows that teens who learn a lot about the risks of drugs at home are up to 50 percent less likely to use, yet many parents have difficulty talking with their kids about drugs and alcohol.


This progress coincides with data showing remarkable, sustained declines in several drugs of abuse – notably methamphetamine (meth) and marijuana – over the past several years.


“Parent-child communication about the risks of drugs and alcohol is critically important, and research has shown a lack of parental awareness of adolescent substance use,” said Dr. Amelia Arria, a senior scientist at the Treatment Research Institute and a nationally recognized researcher on the identification of risk factors for adolescent and young adult drug involvement.


“This study may indicate that parents and teens are finding some common language and that these important messages are getting through. We hope to see this trend continue to increase, as there’s still much work to be done.” According to the study, teen meth use has experienced a steep three-year drop, with past-month use down to 3 percent of teens – a significant 25 percent decline versus 2005.


Teen attitudes about meth use corroborate this drop – 83 percent of teens see great risk in using meth regularly, about 85 percent see great risk in “getting hooked on meth” and more than half of teens, (54 percent) see trying meth once or twice as very risky.


While marijuana remains the most widely used illegal drug among teens, PATS indicates marijuana use has been declining for a decade, with past-year use down 24 percent since 1998, and past-month use down a full 30 percent (from 23 percent of teens down to 16 percent) over the same time period. Teen attitudes also reflect growing social disapproval of the drug, with 35 percent of teens agreeing strongly they “don’t want to hang around with anyone who uses marijuana,” up from 28 percent a decade ago.


The study also indicates a strong correlation between increased teen exposure to anti-drug messages on television and a decreased likelihood of trying drugs over the past ten years. Four out of ten teens (41 percent) agreed that anti-drug messages made them more aware of the risks of using drugs and less likely to try drugs (42 percent).


Red Flag: Parents Still Not Discussing Abuse of Prescription and Over-The-Counter Medicines Despite the increase in parent-teen discussions, only 24 percent of teens report that their parents talked with them about the dangers of prescription (Rx) drug abuse or use of medications outside of a doctor’s supervision; just 18 percent of teens say their parents discuss the risks of abusing over-the-counter (OTC) cough medicine.


“The strong declines in illegal use combined with the news that teens are learning a lot about drugs and alcohol at home underscores the power and influence of parents,” said Steve Pasierb, president and CEO of the Partnership. “Yet too many parents are missing opportunities to talk about the intentional abuse of prescription and OTC medications, which is the most pressing—and least understood— threat to our kids.


This risky behavior is still not on parents’ radar, many of whom don’t realize that when abused or used without a prescription, these medications can be every bit as dangerous as illegal drugs.” According to the survey, about 1 in 5 teens (19 percent) or 4.7 million reports abusing a prescription medication at least once in their lives, and 1 in 10 teens (10 percent) or 2.5 million teens reports having abused a prescription pain reliever in the past year. About 7 percent or 1.7 million teens have reported OTC cough medicine abuse in the past year.


The prevalence of and attitudes behind this behavior are cause for ongoing concern. PATS shows 41 percent of teens mistakenly believe that abuse of medicines is less dangerous than abuse of illegal street drugs and 61 percent of teens report prescription drugs are easier to get than illegal drugs, up significantly from 56 percent in 2005. One positive note is teen attitudes toward the abuse of OTC cough medicine have improved with the number of teens who agree that “taking cough medicine to get high is risky” significantly increased from 45 percent in 2007 to 48 percent last year.


Warning Signs: Teens See Slightly Less Risk in Steroid and Inhalant Use Steroid use remains low at 4 percent for lifetime use among teens. While there has been little overall change in the number of teens who see “great risk” in abusing steroids, fewer teens this year (65 percent) agreed strongly that teens who use steroids for athletic performance or physical appearance are putting their health at risk, down from 69 percent last year. Pre-teen and teen inhalant use remains steady at 11 percent for past year use, yet only 66 percent of teens report that “sniffing or huffing things to get high can kill you.”


Both categories of abuse merit careful monitoring— as attitudes towards inhalant and steroid abuse weaken, use is more likely to increase. “We must be vigilant when attitudes show signs of weakening because this may portend future increases in substance use,” said Pasierb. Insight: Today’s Teens More Open About Discussing Substance Abuse, Seeking Help for Friends The 20th annual study offers new insights into the way the current generation of teens view substance abuse.


PATS 2008 showed a statistically significant increase in the number of teens who reported trying to talk a friend out of using drugs at 41 percent and 40 percent of teens report being aware that they have a family member with a drug or alcohol problem. “With over 6,500 teens from across the nation in the study, these data indicate this generation has greater sensitivity to the health risks and downsides of substance abuse,” said Pasierb. “Teens live in a world of social networking and connectedness – they’re more open, constantly sharing their thoughts and experiences.


Teens recognize the impact of use, know others with a problem and seem to attach less stigma to getting help for themselves or a friend who is in trouble.” Given that kids who learn a lot about the dangers of drugs from their parents are up to 50 percent less likely to ever use, parents are encouraged to have frequent ongoing conversations with their children about the dangers of drugs and alcohol and the abuse of Rx and OTC drugs.


Parent visitors to http://www.drugfree.org/ can learn to talk with their kids about drugs and alcohol and take charge of the conversation with their kids. The 20th annual national study of 6,518 teens in grades 7-12 is nationally projectable with a +/- 1.3 percent margin of error. PATS Teens 2008 was conducted in private, public and parochial schools for the Partnership by the Roper Public Affairs Division of GfK Custom Research.


For more information and the full PATS Teens Report visit www.drugfree.org. About the Partnership The Partnership for a Drug-Free America is a national non-government, nonprofit organization that unites parents, renowned scientists and communications professionals to help families raise healthy children.


Best known for its research-based national public education programs, the Partnership motivates and equips parents to prevent their children from alcohol and drug abuse, intervene when drug and alcohol use is present and to find help and treatment for family and friends in trouble. Visit drugfree.org for more information.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Sue Scheff: Parenting Teens and Building Their Self Esteem



Debra Beck, a mentor for teens and author, has created a wonderful and engaging website to help parents of today's young teen girls.

Her book, My Feet Aren't Ugly, offers tools and information to help you help your child build their self esteem and feel good about who they are.

About Debra:

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

Learn more at her website at www.myfeetarentugly.com

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Sue Scheff: House Overwhelmingly Approves Legislation to Stop Child Abuse in Residential Treatment Programs

As a parent advocate and a victim of the Teen Help Industry when my daughter suffered at an unregulated program, I have personally fought this fight through trials and years of litigation to be a voice that is still being heard today. My organization, Parents Universal Resource Experts, continues on a daily basis as being a resource for parents - educating them on this daunting and confusing industry, usually known as - teen help.

It has been a long time coming, however the House has finally approves legislation to help protect children in teen help residential programs. The next stop is the Senate HELP committee (http://www.help.senate.gov/) so now we need to contact them about when the Senate will take up this important bill. Please take time to read more.

If you are in need of help for your teen, take the time you need to research programs and schools. Helpful hints and questions to ask schools and programs are listed on my website at http://www.helpyourteens.com/. My recently released book, “Wit’s End! Advice and Resources for Saving Out of Control Teens - A Mother and Daughter’s True Story”

http://www.witsendbook.com/ - A must read for any parent considering residential therapy.

Read the Press Release Here: http://edlabor.house.gov/newsroom/2009/02/house-overwhelmingly-approves.shtml and http://suescheffblog.com/2009/02/sue-scheff-house-overwhelmingly-approves-legislation-to-stop-child-abuse-in-residential-treatment-programs/

Sue Scheff: Keeping Kids Safe - Creating Parent Awareness in Teen Help Programs



As a parent advocate and a victim of the Teen Help Industry when my daughter suffered at an unregulated program, I have personally fought this fight through trials and years of litigation to be a voice that is still being heard today. My organization, Parents Universal Resource Experts, continues on a daily basis as being a resource for parents - educating them on this daunting and confusing industry, usually known as - teen help.

It has been a long time coming, but there is finally a bill in Congress that is being voted on. Please take time to read more. If you are in need of help for your teen, take the time you need to research programs and schools. Helpful hints and questions to ask schools and programs are listed on my website at http://www.helpyourteens.com/.

Keeping Kids Safe - By Kittredge, Betsy Miller

Tens of thousands of U.S. teenagers attend private and public residential programs – including therapeutic boarding schools, wilderness camps, boot camps, and behavior modification facilities – that are intended to help them with behavioral, emotional, mental health, or substance abuse problems.

Depending on the state in which the program operates, some of these programs are subject to State law or regulation, while others are not. As a result of this loose patchwork of state oversight, children at some the programs have been subject to abuse and neglect with little to no accountability.

The Government Accountability Office found thousands of allegations of child abuse and neglect at residential programs for teens since the early 1990s. Tragically, in a number of cases, this abuse and neglect led to the death of a child. To address this urgent problem, the “Stop Child Abuse in Residential Programs for Teens Act of 2009” would:

Keep teens safe with new national standards for residential programs that are focused on teens with behavioral, emotional, or mental health, or substance abuse problems

Prohibit programs from physically, mentally, or sexually abusing children in their care;

Prohibit programs from denying children essential water, food, clothing, shelter, or medical care – whether as a form of punishment or for any other reason;

Require programs to provide children with reasonable access to a telephone and inform children accordingly;

Require programs to train staff in what constitutes child abuse and neglect and how to report it;
Require that programs only physically restrain children if it is necessary for their safety or the safety of others, and to do so in a way that is consistent with federal law already applicable in other contexts; and

Require programs to have plans in place to provide emergency medical care.

Prevent deceptive marketing by residential programs for teens

Require programs to disclose to parents the qualifications, roles, and responsibilities of staff members;

Require programs to notify parents of substantiated reports of child abuse or violations of health and safety laws; and

Require programs to include a link or web address for the website of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which will carry information on residential programs.
Hold teen residential programs accountable for violating the law

Require states to inform the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services of reports of child abuse and neglect at covered programs and require HHS to conduct investigations of such programs to determine if a violation of the national standards has occurred; and
Provide HHS the authority to assess civil penalties up to $50,000 for every violation of the law.

Ask states to step in to protect teens in residential programs

Within three years, states must require all public and private programs to be licensed, meet standards that are at least as stringent as the national standards, and implement a monitoring and enforcement system. The Department of Health and Human Services would continue to inspect programs where a child fatality has occurred or where a pattern of violations has emerged.

For more information visit - http://edlabor.house.gov/blog/2009/02/the-stop-child-abuse-in-reside.shtml

Monday, February 23, 2009

Sue Scheff: Safe Teen Driving Club


The CAUTION-NEWLY LICENSED® Car Magnet was developed to reduce teen car crashes and fatalities.The magnet identifies teens with Learners Permits and First Year Licenses. Placed on the rear of the vehicle, the magnet alerts other drivers to use extreme caution, courtesy, and patience.

A proven method to reduce teen car crashes is more experience behind the wheel. The CAUTION-NEWLY LICENSED® car magnet provides a "shield of protection" from other drivers and allows the teen to concentrate on the road. The magnet protects not only the inexperienced drivers, but also surrounding drivers.

Buses, semi-trucks and drivers education vehicles clearly mark new drivers. The same concept works for teen drivers. Identifying teen drivers is already the law in many other countries including those in Europe, Asia, Canada, and Australia.

The CAUTION-NEWLY LICENSED® Car Magnet Program launched a pilot program in Cobb County, Georgia in April 2007 with a distribution of more than 3,000 magnets with tremendous success.

In October 2007, the CAUTION-NEWLY LICENSED® car magnets became available nationwide.

We believe that by working together as a society, we will save teen lives. Please help us by identifying all new teen drivers.

What Parents Are Saying
My daughter had a fender-bender two weeks ago. The other guy was following way too close and then she was afraid to drive. Thanks for sending the magnet so quickly. People are no longer tailgating her and she is much calmer. So am I! -- Cathy in GA

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teen Sex and Teen Pregnancy



Source: KidsHealth

Can a girl get pregnant if she has sex during her period?– Jamie*

A lot of people think that if a girl has sex during her period, she can't get pregnant. But it is possible for a girl to get pregnant while she is bleeding. This can happen for a couple of reasons:

Not all vaginal bleeding is the result of a menstrual period. Sometimes a girl will have a small amount of vaginal bleeding at the time of ovulation — the time when she is most fertile. During ovulation, an egg is released from one of the ovaries and travels down a fallopian tube to the uterus. It's common for girls who are ovulating to have some vaginal bleeding that can be mistaken for a period.

Sometimes ovulation can occur before the bleeding from a girl's period has stopped, or it may occur within a few days after her period is over. Sperm can fertilize an egg for several days after ejaculation. So in both cases, having sex before the period is finished can result in pregnancy.
Having unprotected sex at any time is very risky. Along with the chance of becoming pregnant, there is also the risk of getting a sexually transmitted disease (STD), such as chlamydia, genital warts, or HIV. The only surefire way to prevent pregnancy and STDs is abstinence. If you do have sex, use a condom every time to protect against STDs. And talk to your doctor about additional forms of contraception.

For more information, check out these articles:

About Birth Control: What You Need to
KnowAll About Menstruation
Birth Control Methods: How Well Do They Work?
Talking to Your Partner About Condoms
About Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)

*Names have been changed to protect user privacy.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Sue Scheff: Sleeping Pills and Teens




“Part of it I think now is there is so much more pressure in the academic settings. There are kids who are working tremendous numbers of hours each evening to get their schoolwork done. I get a sense that many of them worry about how they are doing academically, and that tends to spill over into difficulties with sleep.”

– Richard Winer, M.D., Psychiatrist

Whether it’s an over-the-counter medication like Nyquil, or a prescription drug like Ambien or Sonata, more and more teens say they often take something to get to sleep.

“It’s mainly just stress… you want to study and then you realize you need to sleep because you have a test the next day and then you just take something,” says Chelsea, 19.

“An Ambien to knock me out,” adds 19-year-old Jessica.

“I’ll take Nyquil or something like that, just to help me get to sleep easier,” explains Allison, 19.

Why do kids today need help getting to sleep? Experts say there are several answers: greater academic pressure, more stimulation late at night, with cell phones, TV, computer games, instant messaging, more kids with ADHD taking stimulants like Ritalin, and an explosion in the use of caffeine drinks.

The result: at bedtime, many kids are looking for help in a pill.

“Our culture is certainly turned more toward a living better through chemistry approach,” say Psychiatrist Richard Winer, M.D.

He says the problem is the obvious: Sleeping aids can be habit forming. “My bias is toward keeping kids away from medication for sleep if at all possible. Because you don’t want to create some habits that’ll be even harder to break as time goes on in adulthood.”

He says for many kids, the solution is routine: Relax for a while, and then go to bed at the same time every night.

But, for some, the problem is more serious.

“There are a number of kids out there that have honest to goodness insomnia difficulties,” says Dr. Winer, “They have sleep disorders that do require treatment.”

Tips for Parents

A study performed by researchers at Stanford University found that teenagers require approximately one to two hours more sleep than 9- and 10-year-olds, who only require about eight hours of sleep. This goes against the school of thought that allows older kids to stay up later. Parents may want to be on the lookout for the following things, which could be caused from sleep deprivation:

Difficulty waking in the morning
Irritability in the afternoon
Falling asleep during the day
Oversleeping on the weekend
Having difficulty remembering or concentrating
Waking up often and having trouble going back to sleep
Sleep deprivation also can lead to extreme moodiness, poor performance in school and depression. Teens who aren’t getting enough sleep also have a higher risk of having car accidents because of falling asleep behind the wheel.


As the lives of children seem to be getting busier, their sleeping habits may be one of the first things impacted. Sleep, though being something that often gets sacrificed, is actually one of the most important things in a child’s life. Experts say taking sleep medications unauthorized by the FDA for teenage consumption is not the answer, however. Here are some suggestions about sleep:

Sleep is as important as food and air. Quantity and quality are very important. Most people need between seven-and-a-half to eight-and-a-half hours of uninterrupted sleep. If you want to press the snooze alarm in the morning you are not getting the sleep you need. This could be due to not enough time in bed, external disturbances or a sleep disorder.
Keep regular hours. Try to go to bed at the same time and get up at the same time every day. Getting up at the same time is most important. Getting bright light, like the sun, when you get up will also help. Try to go to bed only when you are sleepy. Bright light in the morning at a regular time should help you feel sleepy at the same time every night.

Stay away from stimulants like caffeine. This will help you get deep sleep, which is most refreshing. If you take any caffeine, take it in the morning. Avoid all stimulants in the evening, including chocolate, caffeinated sodas and caffeinated teas. They will delay sleep and increase awakenings during the night.

Use the bed just for sleeping. Avoid watching television, using laptop computers or reading in bed. Bright light from these activities and subject matter may inhibit sleep. If it helps to read before sleeping, make sure you use a very small wattage bulb to read. A 15-watt bulb should be enough.

Avoid bright light around the house before bed. Using dimmer switches in living rooms and bathrooms before bed can be helpful. Dimmer switches can be set to maximum brightness for morning routines.

Don't stress if you feel you are not getting enough sleep. It will just make matters worse. Know you will sleep eventually.

Avoid exercise near bedtime. No exercise at least three hours before bed.

Don't go to bed hungry. Have a light snack, but avoid a heavy meal before bed.

Bedtime routines are helpful for good sleep.

Avoid looking at the clock if you wake up in the middle of the night. It can cause anxiety.
If you can't get to sleep for over 30 minutes, get out of bed and do something boring in dim light till you are sleepy.

Keep your bedroom at a comfortable temperature.

If you have problems with noise in your environment, you can use a white noise generator. A fan will work.

References
American Sleep Apnea Association
National Sleep Foundation
Shuteye
Thomson Reuters

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Sue Scheff: Webinar on Bullying from Education.com


Bullying is part of your child’s life – find out how to reduce it in your neighborhood, at school, and online.


Education.com and the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) invite all parents to participate in a powerful and free web seminar that will reveal common myths surrounding bullying, the real facts, and actions parents can take to reduce bullying. The web seminar will be delivered by renowned bullying expert Dr. Shelly Hymel, PhD who will present a highly interactive session with plenty of time devoted to answering participants’ questions. Don’t miss this event – chances are your child is experiencing bullying. This is your chance to find out how you can help.


When: Wednesday, February 25, 2009 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM PST

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Sue Scheff: Parents and Teens Talking - Opening the Lines of Communication


I hear all the time how parents can’t talk to their teens, or should we say, can’t get our teens to listen. In many situations it is how we as parents approach our teens. It seems like a game, but the end result is worth it. Opening up the lines of communication can be critical in today’s teen generation. Here is a great tip list from Shoulder to Shoulder.



When talking with teens, keep the following in mind:


IT’S ALL ABOUT THE APPROACH.


Don’t blast teens with “20 questions” when they first walk in the door. Catch them when they are genuinely ready to talk. However, you may have to create that moment by going out for ice cream, taking a bike ride or working on a project together.


If you’re upset with your teen, you can’t solve a problem effectively. Give yourself some time to cool down before addressing the issue.


Keep the situation in perspective. It’s normal for teens to push the boundaries. Let them experience how to question what they see, and to develop skills in reasoning with you. That way, they will learn to think for themselves to deal with peer pressure and other teen issues.


ARE YOU READY TO TALK?


Avoid telling teens “this is how it’s going to be.” Be respectful by asking for their perspective of the situation - and really listen to them. Try to find a solution together.


Pose your questions as open-ended questions instead of yes-no questions.


Don’t accept “I don’t know” as a response. Instead try, “Tell me how you see it.”


Tell a joke or humorous story to relieve a tense situation, but don’t make fun of teens. Their self-esteem can be fragile.


Don’t solve problems for them. Our teens will not be living with us forever. To let them grow, we should look for opportunities for them to make their own decisions.
Get right to the point and be clear about your concerns. Explain why you feel the way you do, and then describe what you want or need in the future. Be ready to listen to what your teen needs, too.


If you already know the answer, don’t ask the question. For example, if you clearly disapprove of your teen’s outfit, don’t ask, “What are you wearing?!” Instead, you might try, “I’m concerned about that outfit. It’s revealing and I don’t want others to get the wrong idea about you. Please choose something else.”


Teens know they can wear down most adults with sheer repetition and persistence. When a discussion has reached the “wheel spinning” point, end it. To continue is to ask for trouble, as frustration may cause things to be said that we’ll regret.


Listen up. If teens see us as adults that will not listen to them, they will stop talking to us. Force yourself to listen. If necessary, count to 100 before responding and avoid giving unwanted advice or lecturing.


Tell them often how much you love them.


PRINTABLE VERSION FOR DOWNLOAD


You’ll need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the following PDF version of this section. If you don’t already have the program, you can download it for free here.
Talking with teens.pdf

Monday, February 16, 2009

Sue Scheff: Parenting, Teens and Facebook


Today more and more teens are joining Facebook as well as the other Social Network - however Facebook seems to be growing. Why? I honestly don’t know, but I do know parents are enjoying Facebook as much as many kids are. Recently I stumbled over an article on Tangerine Times written by a parent helping us navigate our way through the Social Cyberspace. This topic is critical - as keeping your child’s privacy is important for many reasons. Help your kids stay safe with Social Networking - read this valuable article.


How to Help Your Teen Use Privacy Settings on Facebook


Many parents tell me they are frustrated with their teens’ use of Facebook. Here are some of the comments I hear frequently from parents:


“They know more than I do about how to use it and set it up, so how can I control it?”


“My kids are using it when I am not around, so how can I possibly know what they are doing, who they are talking to and if they are being safe with their information?”


“I feel this has gotten out of control, and I don’t really know what to do to get it back under control”


“I am afraid there are predators.”


“I give up. I just hope they aren’t doing anything stupid because I haven’t a clue what they are doing online.”


What I see are parents who over control (they deny their kids use of Facebook entirely) or parents who are completely “hands off”. And some of these are parents who normally wouldn’t dream of sending their child into an unknown situation without a little research. Crazy huh? I’ve decided to begin a campaign to de-mystify Facebook for those parents who feel they are not comfortable enough to set boundaries for their teens. It’s not rocket science but I completely understand their frustration in trying to understand it all.

Here are some tips about privacy settings on Facebook. It is never too late to ask your teenager about their privacy settings, even if they have had their account for years.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Sue Scheff - Residential Therapy - Teen Help


Yes, it is Valentine's Day, however if you are a parent dealing with a defiant, belligerent at risk teenager and you are at your wit's end - It may be time to think about intervention. It is out of love that we seek to give our teens a second opportunity in life. If it is obvious they are escalating in a downward path, as a parent, it is our responsibility to find help. Whether it is seeking local therapy or support groups, or taking the major step of residential boarding schools - be a proactive parent.

If you are debating residential therapy for your teen, learn more about this extremely daunting and confusing industry.

Yes, you need to get help - but educate yourself first.Learn more about Wit's End at http://www.witsendbook.com/ and author Sue Scheff at http://www.suescheff.com/ -the response has been overwhelming!

If you are struggling with your teen today - pick up Wit's End and learn more!

For a quick read, check out http://www.aparentstruestory.com/ - the foundation of Wit's End!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Sue Scheff: Valentine's Day and Your Teen


What do you get your teen as a Valentine's gift? Hmmmm.... is it always about gifts? Simply reminding them you love them and and maybe spending time with - lunch, dinner? We know most teens sleep through the breakfast hour!
Why not get your teen a book - a book that can help them in their relationships in life and love. It could be a priceless gift - for those that remember those puppy love years, they can be as painful as they are blissful.
Check out HCI's Teen Love Series on Relationships by Kimberly Kirberger.
Love is such a mystery - sometimes painful, other times glorious, always challenging. This book will guide you to understand and sort out your myriad feelings and experiences.

However you feel about love - love it, hate it, wish you knew, wish you didn't, or feel too scared and confused to even try to find out - this book will show you that your feelings are okay, and most important, that you are not alone. In it you'll find letters from other teens and Kimberly's responses to their questions, concerns and confusion and you'll get a wide-ranging perspective on love and relationships.

Type the book title in the Amazon Box and learn more!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Sue Scheff: Prescription Drug Abuse is on the Rise


Since I speak with parents on almost a daily basis, I hear more and more of teens today selling, buying and/or taking prescription drugs. Parents need to be aware of this. Especially if you have a child on ADD/ADHD medication - keep count - be alert - be a proactive and educated parent. Or if you or anyone else in your home is on prescriptions meds, if you suspect you are refilling these prescriptions more often - stop, take count.
“I was a bum, I had slept outside, I mean all the stuff that you hear … and I always pictured a drug addict to be somebody that sleeps under a bridge … and it happened before I even knew it.”

– Andrew Theriot, 21 years old

Andrew Theriot first tried the prescription painkiller OxyContin when he was 17. Within a month, he turned into someone nobody liked. Andrew says, “My friends, nobody trusted me. My family pretty much told me to get out after a long period of time … I would steal things.”

Experts say OxyContin gives an instant feeling of euphoria. Sue Rusche, President of the anti-drug group National Families in Action, says, “I think we have to be honest about drugs. I think we have to tell kids that the reason people use drugs is that drugs make you feel great … at first. And you gotta have that ‘at first’ part.”

Next comes addiction. Andrew spent every minute looking for drugs. He says, “I would wake up every day and I would just be miserable. And the only thing I would look forward to that day would be getting high.”

Addiction brought misery, and so did withdrawal when Andrew was in rehab. He says, “You get sick, you get the cold sweats, throwing up, stomach problems, you can’t eat. I mean I was down to 125 pounds.”

Andrew is now in college. He’s been drug free for two years, and has some advice to parents. “I mean, don’t be enablers. Don’t bail them out of jail. Don’t pay their fines. Don’t give them money. You know, if they want money, get a job. Don’t be the cause of them killing themselves.”

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.

References
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

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Sue Scheff: Bullying Webinar - Parenting Today


Bullying is part of your child’s life – find out how to reduce it in your neighborhood, at school, and online.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM PST


The most recent data indicates that more than half of all school aged children are directly involved in bullying either as a bully or as a victim. Many more are affected by bullying as witnesses or accomplices. Bullying is an ‘equal opportunity’ issue affecting kids of all races, genders, and socio-economic statuses. While bullying is a serious and pervasive problem there is hope. By learning the truth about bullying and taking action as a family, parents can help keep their kids safer and happier in their neighborhood, at school, and online. Education.com and the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) invite all parents to participate in a powerful and free web seminar that will reveal common myths surrounding bullying, the real facts, and actions parents can take to reduce bullying. The web seminar will be delivered by renowned bullying expert Dr. Shelly Hymel, PhD who will present a highly interactive session with plenty of time devoted to answering participants’ questions. Don’t miss this event – chances are your child is experiencing bullying. This is your chance to find out how you can help.

Click here to register today! https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/170177164

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Sue Scheff: Positive Parenting




Knowing that the world we live in today is very different, Love Our Children USA recognizes that we must redefine parenting.



No one is a perfect parent and there is no magical way to raise children. And we know kids can be challenging!

Parenthood and caring for a child is a gift bestowed upon us which comes with the greatest responsibility and pledge … to guarantee the safety, nurturing, loving environment and physical and emotional wellness of our children … for ALL children!

Anyone and everyone can learn good parenting skills. Even parents who are overwhelmed, or alone. The first three years of your child’s life are crucial. Those are the years that your child will develop significant intellectual, emotional and social abilities. That’s when they learn to give and accept love. They learn confidence, security, and empathy … they learn to be curious and persistent …everything your child needs to learn to relate well to others, and lead a happy and productive life. The first three years are the doorway to forever!




Friday, February 6, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teen Intervention


Are you struggling with debating whether you need to look for outside help with your troubled teenager?

Are you ready to make some very difficult decisions? Are you at your wit's end?

Do you believe you need teen intervention from outside resources? Struggling financially and emotionally with this decision?

Are you willing to share your story on TV? This is not about exploiting your family, but helping others that are silently suffering and not realizing they are not alone as well as giving your teen a second opportunity at a bright future. Most remember Brat Camp - this is a bit different. Starting with educating parents about the first steps in getting your teen help - determination and transportation.

If you are interested in participating, read below and contact Bud and Evan directly.


Brentwood Communications International is an award-winning television production company in Los Angeles, California. We have recently begun work on a new television series about the real life work of interventionist / transporter Evan James Malmuth of Universal Intervention Services (“UIS”).

If you would be willing to allow us to film your case / intervention for the television series, Evan Malmuth and Universal Intervention Services will provide intervention / transportation services at no charge to you. In addition, we will negotiate at least one month of treatment services at a qualified treatment center at no charge with the purchase of at least two additional months of treatment at pre-negotiated discount rates. At the current rate of these services, this represents thousands of dollars in savings.

BCII and Evan Malmuth are not interested in making exploitative reality television. We are committed to helping you and your family and improving lives through the media.

If you are interested in participating in the show and using the services of Evan Malmuth and UIS, please contact us right away. Every day counts.

Email: tvhelp@bciitv.com

Phone: 818-333-3685

With best regards,

Bud Brutsman, CEO - Brentwood Communication Intl., Inc.

Evan James Malmuth, CEO - Universal Intervention Services


Brentwood Communications International, Inc.
3500 N. San Fernando Blvd., Burbank, CA 91505

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Sue Scheff: Power Moms Unite - Parenting ADHD


I love stumbling over great new parenting websites - and what a name - Power Moms Unite - Founder, Candace McLane offer a wide variety of articles, thoughts, tips, parenting resources and more on ADHD. As a mother of an ADHD son, I really enjoy this site. Check her Blog out too - great up to date info!

Power Moms are moms working to successfully balance the needs of child, family, and self. Some work outside the home, balancing a career with the needs of their child, family and personal self. Other moms are working from home, managing families while managing a small home-based business or managing large families and a homeschool. There are a wide range of us- all power moms- looking to do our best at our many hats as mom- be that nuturer, coach, educator, cheerleader, psychologist, disciplinarian, party arranger, role-model, etc. The roles are vast and numerous, the balance often difficult to strike. This site hopes to empower these moms by providing timely, valuable and informative resources for celebrating family life and successfully managing ADHD.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Sue Scheff: Survival Kit for Middle School Students


Featuring real kids talking about real issues, this Emmy award-winning Connect With Kids series helps inspire communication between parents and their children about the challenges, pressures and influences every pre-teen faces. Making it easier to talk to your Middle-Schooler about today’s tough issues, this Middle School Survival Kit contains programs covering these timely topics: Internet Dangers, Drugs & Alcohol, Dating & Sex, Anxiety & Depression.



Selected video segments from our most popular titles are combined to create a must-have for every parent …



Sticks and Stones and Invisible Weapons cover the problems of bullying, gossiping and emotional harassment.



Gateway Drugs shows actual kids sharing their personal experiences about drugs, smoking and peer pressure.



In Caught in the Web, real-life stories teach lessons about internet safety and cyberbullying.



Anxiety and depression are discussed in Leave Me Alone, helping parents and kids distinguish between moodiness and signs of more serious emotional issues.



Innocence Lost and First Comes Love approach the topics of sex and dating, some of the most difficult subjects for parents and kids to discuss together.



The Middle School Survival Kit also features “Ask the Experts” bonus segments providing additional information on all the topics discussed.



If you have a child in middle school, purchase this Middle School Survival Kit and watch it together. Learn expert advice about how you and your family can navigate the pre-teen years.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Sue Scheff: Second Semester is here - How Are your Teens Grades? College Ready?


CRAMSTER.com has been helping parents with their children that are struggling with completing homework or needs help understanding and learning study skills. Take a moment to review their free offer that can help you help your teen.

Cramster.com is a free and effective alternative to tutoring. With experts and knowledgeable community members available 24/7, we leverage the popularity of online social networks to boost your child’s understanding and grades. And don’t forget, you can brush up on your own knowledge anonymously as well. Sign up today.

HERE’S WHAT YOU GET (It takes less than 30 seconds to register for free )

Step-by-step textbook solutions

Sometimes answers in the back of the book just aren’t enough. Read our step-by-step solutions to actually understand how to solve the problems. And, unlike a solution manual, if you don’t understand the demonstrated steps, you can ask our community for clarification.

Expert help at any time, day or night.

Ask or answer questions on the Cramster Q&A Board to understand difficult problems and stop getting stuck at the same place. The Q&A Board is moderated by experts and, unlike teachers, you can ask them questions at night, too.

Proven results

Our exit surveys continually prove the worth of Cramster.com’s resources. 91 percent of members said Cramster helped them keep the grade they desired, while 60 percent said using Cramster improved their grade above what they had expected.

A safe, confidence-building online experience

With the ability to remain anonymous, students no longer have to worry about asking “dumb” questions or seeking too much help. As a parent, you can learn anonymously and at your own pace as well. Additionally, our team of moderators works around the clock to ensure the safety of all members. As a McAfee and VeriSign secured site, your child’s personal information is completely safe with us.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Sue Scheff: Talking To Your Kids About Drugs



O-kay - Michael Phelp's, a role model for our kids - has screwed up. I am not condoning what he did - but can't help to think that this is yet another opportunity for parents to open up a discussion about drugs with their kids.

Newsday.com has an article encouraging coaches to speak with young athletes about this. I think it can hold true to parents of all children that look up to celebrities and athletes. For more information visit D.A.R.E.

Source: NewsDay

Coaches: Michael Phelps scandal an opportunity to talk to young athletes

Michael Phelps' apology for using a marijuana pipe presents an opportunity to talk to young athletes about drug use, poor judgment and how to learn from a mistake, Long Island swim coaches said.

Long Island coaches said they would use the incident as a teachable moment, driving home the point that drugs undermine athletic performance and that Phelps will suffer the consequences of his actions, losing esteem, and perhaps endorsements.

"It's upsetting on so many different levels," said Bill Kropp, head coach for varsity boys swimming at Sachem East High School, where the swim team swelled this year with students inspired by Phelps.

"As a coach, you bring up role models, and obviously he is the poster boy of excellence," Kropp said. "It's something that he has to live with, and we have to live with as coaches and parents."Phelps posted an apology on his Facebook page, where more than 500 fans had written comments about the incident yesterday evening. Though the messages were overwhelmingly supportive, some fans were disappointed.

"We should all learn from this," said Peter Hugo, Nassau County's boys swimming coordinator. "Even Michael Phelps makes mistakes. We have to learn to forgive and forget as long as it doesn't happen a second time."

Read entire article here: http://www.newsday.com/news/printedition/longisland/ny-liswim026021597feb02,0,5521275.story

"That should bring the parent closer to their child, enhancing that teachable moment," he said. "Saying listen, it's something he regrets. You have to learn from your mistakes."


Sunday, February 1, 2009

Sue Scheff: Pumping Up the Teens Brain with Exercise


The CBS Early Show - Pumping Up the Brain



Researchers are finding that exercise can not only keep you fit, but make you smarter. A school in Illinois has developed a program that gets students moving and learning. Debbye Turner Bell reports.


In SPARK, John J. Ratey, M.D., embarks upon a fascinating and entertaining journey through the mind-body connection, presenting startling research to prove that exercise is truly our best defense against everything from depression to ADD to addiction to aggression to menopause to Alzheimer’s. Filled with amazing case studies (such as the revolutionary fitness program in Naperville, Illinois, which has put this school district of 19,000 kids first in the world of science test scores), SPARK is the first book to explore comprehensively the connection between exercise and the brain. It will change forever the way you think about your morning run—or, for that matter, simply the way you think.


Visit www.pe4life.org for more great information.