Showing posts from February, 2010

Sue Scheff: Spring Break is Around the Corner!

This can be the time of year that parents can cringe or actually take the time to help your teen plan a "safe" spring break.  This is a must read article about learning to keep your teens safe and helping them make good decisions!

Source: Connect with Kids

Spring Break

They end up being characters of themselves. [They] give up being the actual person that they are; they're 'The Kid on Spring Break.'”

– Robert Simmerman, Ph.D., Psychologist

With spring break just a few weeks away, hundreds of thousands of high school and college kids across the country are planning on a big trip to a warm destination to be with their friends.

If you're the parent of a junior or a senior in high school, do you let your child go?

The answer to that question gets even tougher when you listen to what spring break means to teenagers.

"Binge Drinking"

"People on balconies taking their clothes off; kids getting drunk on the beach"

"Yeah, you do get drunk; there…

Sue Scheff: Learning to Eat Healthy for both Adults and Kids

Many parents that grew up a generation or two prior than today, will remember looking in the bread box and seeing those Hostess snacks. Whether you had Twinkies, Yodels, Coffee cakes, or those delicious Chocolate Cupcakes (with chocolate frosting), it was rare that our parents ever discussed healthy eating habits.

Today the headlines about overweight teens and children are screaming at us. If you turn the news on or even talk shows, they are discussing healthy eating habits - for both adults and kids. Today even Hostess snacks are promoting their new products: 100 calorie treats. They even offer "Twinkie Bites" for those of us who still love their Twinkies.

The percentage of overweight children in the United States is growing at an alarming rate, with 1 out of 3 kids now considered overweight or obese.

Many kids are spending less time exercising and more time in front of the TV, computer, or video-game console. And today's busy families have fewer free moments to prepar…

Sue Scheff: College Freshman Dangers

Is your teen starting his/her freshman year at college this fall? It can be stressful and cause some teens to be anxious about how they will fit in. What is more of a concern for parents is your teen not reaching out and experimenting in areas they know are not healthy or good for them.

Recent studies show that every year more than 1,400 college students die because of alcohol poisoning, drunk driving, dangerous pranks and other risky behaviors- all involving alcohol. And, almost half of those killed are freshman.

Source: Connect with Kids

Freshman Dangers

“There are things that are acceptable in college that aren’t acceptable anywhere else. If we had a 35-year-old man at a Christmas party funneling beers, we’d be appalled. But you go to a fraternity house and you’ve got kids funneling beer, and that’s sort of the norm.”

– Heather Hayes, LPC, Licensed Professional Counselor

Recent studies show that every year more than 1,400 college students die because of alcohol poisoning, drunk dri…

Sue Scheff: Teen Dating - Is your teen ready?

Many parents will cringe when they even think about their precious "children" reaching the age of dating. Whether you believe it is 16 years-old or 26-years-old, there are worries and stress at all ages. As a parent, worrying is a built in feature that comes with parenting - especially teens.

Teen dating can be an exciting and fun time where self confidence is built up, and dating techniques are learned. Teens also learn how to be both assertive and compromising, how to be giving to another and how to expect the same in return. All of this is a sort of practice session in order to find that "right" person.

Unfortunately, too often teens start dating with no preparatory talks from their parents and then they can lead to trouble. According to Planned Parenthood, about 10 percent of teenage girls in the U.S. become pregnant before age 20. And the U.S. Attorney General reports that 38 percent of date rape victims are girls between the age of 14 and 17.

Talk to your ch…

Sue Scheff: Parenting Teens After School

Although years ago having at least one parent at home when kids came home from school was common, today it is far from common.  With both parents usually working to make financial ends meet, or many more single parents, it has become almost impossible for some families to have a parent at home when their teen comes home from school.  As a teen, it is assumed that parental supervision isn't necessary, but this is not about babysitting, as much as it is about being a parent. 

Recently Connect with Kids posted a very timely and informational article on "Split Shift Parenting."  Take the time to learn more.

Source: Connect with Kids

Split Shift Parenting

“Maybe shoplift or go get high with their friends – there [are] a lot of different things [teens] could be doing after school.”

– Dwan, 18 years old

The after school hours are prime-time for kids of all ages to get into trouble if there is no parent around. But some families are experimenting with "split-shift" paren…

Sue Scheff: Fake pot? What is next for parents to be aware of?

As parents scramble to keep up with the challenges of raising teens today, they are now thrown another curve ball. Most know that smoking pot, although not legal and seems to becoming more addictive among youths, is a trend that some parents brush under the rug with the justification that "it is only pot."

Recently after speaking with a parent of an at risk teen, she said her therapist actually told her teen it was "okay" to smoke marijuana. Excuse me? This parent was horrified and this only empowered the teen. Obviously they are not returning to that therapist, but how many others feel this way?

Parenting is hard enough, and it is the parent that is the strongest tool in helping our teens to understand the dangers of drug abuse.

Now we have what is being called, K2 - or "Spice," Genie" and "Zohai" - that is commonly sold in head shops as incense and referred to as the "fake-pot". Produced in China and Korea, the mixture of herbs…

Sue Scheff: SEXTING - Are You Aware of the Consequences?

Sexting is a word that years ago we would have not heard about. Today teens and tweens are not only familiar with this word, many have suffered the consequences from it.

A Thin Line debuted on MTV this month that educates and informs parents, teachers, kids and everyone about the dangers of the digital world.

What is Sexting?

Sending or forwarding nude, sexually suggestive, or explicit pics on your cell or online. For some people, it's no big deal. But real problems can emerge when the parties involved are under 18, when people get pressured into sexting, and when sexts go viral. - A Thin Line

What are the consequences of sending or receiving one? There are many, however the most common are the feelings of humiliation, embarrassment and much worse. The person that is in the photo can potentially suffer from extreme depression and even feelings of suicide.

For the person sending them to go viral, there could be potential criminal charges. You could get arrested. Taking, sending, and …

Sue Scheff: Women Sex Offenders - A Special Report by Oprah

Monday, February 15th, Oprah Winfrey stepped up her show with a sensitive and difficult subject of child molesters. Last week she spoke directly with men who sexually abused children and gave us an insight that was not only disturbing, but gave us information on how to further protect our children.

This week, going to places few, if any have, Oprah talks to women who sexually molested children. A Special Report: Raped by His Mother - A Victim Comes Forward. It's the side of child molestation that's rarely talked about. For years, he was raped by his own mother. What happens when women are the molesters?

Q and A with Sex Offender Therapist, Dawn Horwitz-Person works with victims of sexual abuse, as well as the men and woman who abuse. What has she learned from child molesters? Find out. The warning signs you should look out for and misconceptions about molesters. Plus, how potential abusers can get help.

Again, kudos to Oprah for going places that many are afraid to discuss to …

Sue Scheff: Social Media, Gifts and Valentine's Day

Reputation Defender, the leader in protecting your online profile and helping you maintain your honest image, has some great advice on sending and receiving social media Valentine’s gifts.

Source: Reputation Defender Blog

This Valentine’s Day, keeping things “personal” between you and your significant other may mean not using social media or other online tools to express your genuine feelings. In other words, NOT sending Facebook flowers/hugs/lingerie/other assorted virtual gifts to someone you truly care about; NOT using E-Cards as a replacement for the real thing; and NOT uploading a video of yourself lip syncing (or worse actually singing) Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing” in your underwear to YouTube to share with your partner and the rest of the online community. More often than not, the real thing is much more effective.

With those thoughts in mind, we here at ReputationDefender have compiled some Valentine’s Day social media tips designed to keep the day special for just you and w…

Sue Scheff: The Anti-Drug - Parents!

Drug prevention with teens and kids today start with PARENTS. Parents need to take the initiative to talk about the dangers of drug abuse, inhalants, Choking Game, trunking, SNAP, Rainbow Game and many other disturbing issues surrounding teens today.

Peer pressure is a powerful tool, parents need to be stronger and more vocal than the peer groups.

Being an educated parent is the beginning of instilling prevention and having safer and healthier teens.

The Anti-Drug begins with parents. About The Anti-Drug: was created by the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign to equip parents and other adult caregivers with the tools they need to raise drug-free kids. Working with the nation's leading experts in the fields of parenting and substance abuse prevention, serves as a drug prevention information center, and a supportive community for parents to interact and learn from each other.

The site provides parents and other adults caregivers access to:

Helpful a…

Sue Scheff: Child Molesters Speak to Oprah Winfrey

Only Oprah can go to places that many can't or won't dare. On February 8th, she took the airwaves with: A Special Report: Oprah and a No-Holds-Barred Conversation with Child Molesters.

First, 90 percent of child molesters know their victims. Most are not strangers who lurk in the bushes, waiting to kidnap children. "We're talking about family friends, uncles, fathers, brothers and neighbors," Oprah says. "Less than 10 percent of molesters are the strangers who are abducting kids who you see on the news."

Although this is a very sensitive and difficult topic to speak about, Oprah explored areas of why these men molest children and offers advice to parents and children about how to protect themselves and things they need to know.

"I was raped at 9 and molested from the ages of 9 through 14, and because of that, I've always wanted to be able to sit down and talk to a group of child molesters and ask them why and how they do what they do," Opr…

Sue Scheff: The Choking Game - G.A.S.P.

G.A.S.P. - Games Adolescents Shouldn't Play is a very serious concern for parents everywhere.

The Choking Game is a misunderstood activity causing death and suffering for thousands of families worldwide. It often begins with high-achieving teens choking each other as a way to get high without the risk of getting caught with drugs or alcohol. It ends with thousands of kids dying or suffering permanent brain damage each year.

Part of being an educated parent is learning about prevention of dangerous activities, such as the Choking Game.

Prevention within your own family begins with an honest discussion about the consequences of participating in The Choking Game. Remember - 75% of Middle School aged children already know about it - chances are, you are not telling them something they have not already been exposed to by their peers. The problem lies in what their peers have failed to mention- the dangers. Please also be aware that children as young as Kindergarten have been reportedly …

Sue Scheff: Parenting and Admitting Your Teen has a Problem

After speaking with Dr. Drew last week in an insightful call on teens and cough syrup abuse, the conversation turned to the many parents that are in denial or constantly looking to blame others for their child’s behavior.

How many times have you blamed your child’s friend or a neighbor for negative behavior of your child? It is not your child, it is the friends he/she is hanging with. Your child would never do drugs, they are too smart for that. Are they? Yes, many are highly intelligent but that doesn’t mean they are immune to drug use.

The faster you remove yourself from the “it’s not my child” excuse, the sooner you can work on getting your child the help he/she may need.

According to the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, one in five teens reports having abused a prescription drug to get high.

Teens who learn a lot about the dangers of drugs from their parents are half as likely to abuse drugs. – StopMedicineAbuse.

Some red flags parents should be aware of, and not ignore are:


Sue Scheff: National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month

This month is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month. Since 2006 Congress has officially recognized the first week in February as "National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Week," and this year, for the first time, Congress has designated the entire month as a time to raise awareness of this important issue!

You can do your part to raise awareness of teen dating violence and abuse this month by encouraging people to join the MADE (Moms And Dads for Education To Stop Teen Dating Abuse) movement! ANYONE can join the MADE coalition by visiting:

Parents need to open the lines of communication with their teens. Love is Not Abuse is an organization that provides information and tools that men, women, children, teens and corporate executives can use to learn more about the issue and find out how they can help end this epidemic of domestic violence.

Love is Not Abuse also offers a Parent's Guide …

Sue Scheff: Teen Sex and the Dictionary

In the same week we hear about the increase of teen pregnancies, we also learn about parents in California wanting "oral sex" removed from the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary. As uncomfortable as some parents are with discussing oral sex, if we don't educate our children, someone else will! And it may not be exactly the way you would like them to learn it.

Recently two articles struck a nerve with many parents that were completely unaware of the teen or even tweens, sex games. Just when you think lipstick is a little spark of beauty and bracelets can be a fun accessory, we learn about the Rainbow and Snap games! You won't find these games in the dictionary - but both offer "oral sex" so you want to be sure YOU are the one talking to your teens about this.

"One of the nation's shining success stories of the past two decades is in danger of unraveling," said Sarah Brown of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. &quo…

Sue Scheff: Teens Helping Hurting Teens - To Save a Life

TO SAVE A LIFE is now in over 400 screens in theaters nationwide. To Save A Life is a powerful Indie movie about the real-life challenges of teens and their choices. But it's more than just a movie-it's a feature-length film with follow-up opportunities like a youth group curriculum and a teen devotional centered around the biblical concept that we're never more like a Higher Power than when we are reaching out to the hurting and lonely. Watch trailer below.

At some point, every teen has to decide: "What's my life going to be about?" To Save A Life dares to bring that question into their world, encouraging them to answer it with boldness and honesty.


An all-star athlete and his girlfriend find their lives spinning out of control when Jake loses a childhood friend. Help comes when he reaches out to others who are hurting, and he realizes some people are just dying to be heard.

The movie asks...

How far would you go? How much would you risk? …

Sue Scheff: Is the iPad for your teenager?

Apple's Steve Jobs recently launched the iPad, displaying the many capabilities that this latest gadget can perform. Reminiscent of an iPhone, only larger, the iPad has practical applications for the gadget loving teens. Even colleges students will fall in love with this latest tech system.

The iPad offers a wide variety of features that will delight and make life surfing and studying with more ease.

One benefit of the iPad it the ability for organized note taking, especially for those busy High School Juniors and Seniors that are crunching to get their college applications in and keeping their GPA up. It offers one compact place for notes to be organized and offers the ability to, with ease, to share these notes with a classmate through a simple email.

Another asset is the calendar feature. Does your teens need to keep track of when homework is due, exams are scheduled, college application deadlines, study dates, social events or even his/her job schedule? iPad offers a simple …