Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Sue Scheff: Mother's Day Isn't for Everyone

As Mother's Day is fast approaching on May 9th this year, some people scramble to find the perfect gift to show their mother how much they are appreciated. Some struggle with the loss of a mother, while others debate whether to honor their mother.

Are you the parent of a teen that is also celebrating Mother's Day? 16 and Pregnant is a reality show that has received a lot of attention with both parents and teens. In the season finale, Dr. Drew hosts a round table discussion with the 10 teens that gave birth.

What you will learn is that many of these girls believe that getting pregnant (or making the decision to keep the baby verse adoption or abortion) will help them to keep their boyfriend too. Most all of these teens express how much harder it is to be a mother than they expected.

A light bulb moment is the fact that school is suddenly so important to these girls, which is great, but why didn't they think of this prior having sex without protection? Some of the girls admitted they didn't care about school prior this major event (teen pregnancy) and now would give anything to have their teen years back and how they would do things much differently. (Watch video)

Although they all love their babies, whether they kept them or gave them up for adoption, there is a common thread that goes through the group. Having a baby is not easy. Having a baby doesn't keep your boyfriend. Having a baby is extremely exhausting. Having a baby has changed their life dramatically and not always for the best. Watch a series of video segments, click here.

So on this Mother's Day, if you have a teen or are a teen, take the time to understand that being a mother is a very special job. At the same time, it is one of the most difficult and stressful. Talk to your teens about sex education. It can be a sensitive subject, but it is a lot less painful than those midnight feedings!

Remember teens, it's your sex life, know the risks and be smart about it!

Remember parents, communication is key, talk to your teens today!

Happy Mother's Day!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Sue Scheff: Drugs, Alcohol and Peer Pressure - Visit The Cool Spot

April is Alcohol Awareness Month. No matter what time of the year it is, talking to your kids about the dangers of alcoholism and drinking is critical. Just say no to drugs, but also say no to drinking. Parents are the anti-drug.

The Cool Spot is a place for teens and tweens to learn more about alcohol and resisting peer pressure. The Cool Spot was created for kids 11-13 years old by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). The NIAAA is the lead U.S. agency supporting research into the causes, prevention, and treatment of alcohol problems. It is a component of the National Institutes of Health, within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Peer pressure is a common thread when kids are trying to fit in. Most one to be part of a cool group, but at what cost?

  • Pressure is the feeling that you are being pushed toward making a certain choice-good or bad.
  • A peer is someone in your own age group.
  • Peer pressure is-you guessed it-the feeling that someone your own age is pushing you toward making a certain choice, good or bad.
On a positive note, peer pressure isn't all bad. There are good things about peer pressure too.

You and your friends can pressure each other into some things that will improve your health and social life and make you feel good about your decisions.

Think of a time when a friend pushed you to do something good for yourself or to avoid something that would've been bad.

Learn the facts about alcohol. When is too much, too soon or too risky? Visit The Cool Spot and encourage your kids to visit it and interact with the quizzes and valuable information.

Be an educated parent, you will have safer and healthier children. Read more.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Sue Scheff: Struggling with At-Risk Teens? Find a Good Summer Program

Summer is almost here, is your teen failing in school?  Hanging out with less than desirable peers?  Smoking pot or worse?  Do you see your teenager going down a negative path?

Maybe it is time to find a good, positive Emotional Growth Summer Program to help stimulate your teen in a positive direction.  Build their self-worth to make better choices.  Help them to determine where these negative actions are stemming from. 

Being a proactive parent can help you prevent your teen from spiraling out-of-control.  Just say NO to Boot Camps, as many parents believe that beating a child into submission will scare them straight.  In many cases, this is simply false.  It is about building your child back up again.

For more help and assistance, please visit - for over a decade, Parents' Universal Resource Experts (P.U.R.E.) has helped thousands of families.  Whether we are there to let you know you are not alone or you are seeking outside help, P.U.R.E. is available to you.  Fill out a form today and get a free consultation.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Sue Scheff: Teen Obesity - Food Revolution - French Fries are a Veggie??

As Jamie Oliver's new show continues to explode with the reality of how unhealthy eating can effect our lives and shorten them, one of his recent episodes shocked us as he was told that "French fries count as a vegetable".

Maybe this is not shocking to some dieticians, however to many people this was a moment of that left us scratching our heads. You mean greasy French fries are considered a veggie? Seems strange, however that is exactly what a food service director stated on Food Revolution in an elementary school in Huntington, West Virginia.

So do French fries count as a vegetable? Yes, they do, according to the government.

French fries have been on the list of "fresh" vegetables since 1996 under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act. They are considered fresh because they fall short of the guidelines that would qualify them as "processed."

"When I found out that a French fry was considered a vegetable, it insulted me, it upset me, and it was a small little inkling as to why maybe we have the problems that we've got," said Jamie Oliver.

If you would like to do something about making a change, you can start by signing Jamie's Petition.

First Lady Michelle Obama is also promoting healthy eating options, exercise and education on making better food choices with the Let's Move Campaign which she recently brought to South Florida.

Read more and watch video segment from Food Revolution.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Sue Scheff: Teen Sex - Learn the risks - Be Smart

Yikes, this is one of the most difficult and sensitive subjects parents dread to talk to their kids about, but it is also just as critical.

Whether you believe your teen is having sex or not, the conversation is important. Your teen will rely on his/her peers to help educate them if you don't.

MTV's - "It's Your Sex Life" helps teach your teens about safe sex, protection, if you are ready for this big step, as well as the risks of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STD). In Broward County, there are places your teens can get tested for STD's. If you are not in Florida, find your local center, click here.

If you are a teenager, don't wait for your partner or your health care provider to start the conversation, take charge. After all, this Is YOUR (Sex) Life. By talking about sex (that includes what you feel ready, or not, to do) you are showing that you care about yourself and your partner, and that your are in control.

It's YOUR (Sex) Life and that means you decide when you are ready-and when to wait to have sex. But you have to communicate how you are feeling to your partner. Otherwise how can they know what you are thinking? Check out these tips to help you talk with your partner about waiting to have sex.

Protect yourself! Everyone knows about protection, but how many think that it can't happen to them? They are immune to STD's, they can't get pregnant that one time, etc. Stop, think twice - it can happen and will happen if you don't take steps to protect yourself.

Yes, it is your teens' sex life, but it is still your child. Open the door of communication, talk to your teens. Read websites such as It's Your Sex Life for resources and information to help educate yourself and today's teens.

It's Your (Sex) Life, an ongoing partnership of MTV and the Kaiser Family Foundation to help young people make responsible decisions about their sexual health, is working with Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other partners nationwide to bring you the GYT: Get Yourself Tested campaign and Get Yourself Talking.

Being an educated parent can help you to have safer and healthier teens.

Read more and watch video.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Sue Scheff: Underage Drinking - April is Alcohol Awareness Month

Underage drinking and/or teenage drinking is a serious concern for parents. Alcohol is usually more accessible than most drugs. We often hear about college students that binge drink. Could this be the beginning of a dark future called alcoholism?

During the month of April it is time to learn more about teen drinking and underage drinking. The younger you are when you start drinking, the greater your chance of becoming addicted to alcohol at some point in your life. More than 4 in 10 people who begin drinking before age 15 eventually become alcoholics. Children of addicts and alcoholics are four times more likely to become addicts and alcoholics themselves than children of non-addicts.

Why do teens drink?

Experimentation with alcohol during the teen years is common. Some reasons that teens use alcohol and other drugs are:

  • curiosity
  • to feel good, reduce stress, and relax
  • to fit in
  • to feel older
From a very young age, kids see advertising messages showing beautiful people enjoying life - and alcohol. And because many parents and other adults use alcohol socially - having beer or wine with dinner, for example - alcohol seems harmless to many teens. - Source: Kids Health for Teens

Talk to your kids about the dangers of alcohol. Talk to your kids about the dangers of drinking. Simply talk to your kids. Education is the key to prevention.

In Broward County there is a Task Force to Combat Underage Drinking. For more information, contact Pat Castillo, Director of Youth Programs at the Broward County Commission on Substance Abuse at 954-760-7007.

The Task Force to Combat Underage Drinking in Broward County was created in 2004 by The United Way of Broward County Commission on Substance Abuse (BCCSA) with guidance from the Florida Office of Drug Control and funding from the Florida Department of Transportation. The Task Force mission is to reduce underage drinking in Broward County.

Be an educated parent, you will have safer and healthier kids.

Read more and watch video.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Sue Scheff: Teacher Appreciation Gift Ideas

During these troubling economic times, buying gifts can be difficult for some families. Teachers work all year with our children, during hard times and the good times. They are the ones that are children are with most of the week. They are the future of our children.

At VolunteerSpot, teachers are loved! That’s why they have complied this eBook filled with the Greatest Gifts for Teachers. Many are low-cost or no-cost and all show your teacher how much you care. Ideas for winter holidays, Valentine’s Day, Teacher Appreciation Week, retiring teachers and more. VolunteerSpot’s free and easy volunteer scheduling software saves time signing up and reminding volunteers for teacher appreciation activities.

Take the time to review this fantastic eBook of gift ideas.

VolunteerSpot  is a fantastic organization that help communities come together and work for the benefit of others.

VolunteerSpot launched in Spring, 2009 with the mission of enabling ANYONE to quickly mobilize and coordinate volunteers in their community, congregation and social network. VolunteerSpot’s simple sign up application makes it easy for community members to participate and say YES to volunteering. No waiting for approvals and passwords, no software to install, just easy, free scheduling and sign up tools for everyday heroes making a difference.

Visit  for more information.

Teacher Appreciation Week: May 3-7

Greatest Gifts For Teachers & Teacher Appreciation Week

Read more and see eBook – click here

Friday, April 9, 2010

Sue Scheff: Operaton Medicine Cabinet - Teens and RX Drugs

Have you ever considered you may be your child's drug provider? Have you ever thought when they visit your parents (their grandparents) your teens may be taking their medications too? Broward County, Florida offers Operation Medicine Cabinet.

According to the United Way Commission on Substance Abuse, prescription drug abuse is skyrocketing. This fact has fed the increasing rates of opiate-related deaths in recent years. In addition, the DEA reports that painkillers now cause more drug overdose deaths than cocaine and heroin combined. Florida teens abuse prescription pain relievers more than any other illicit drugs except marijuana, according to the 2008 Florida Youth Substance Abuse survey.

While illegal drug use among teens is falling, teen prescription drug abuse is on the rise. One in five teens has abused a prescription pain medication, and in Florida prescription drugs have killed 300% more people than illegal drugs.

Operation Medicine Cabinet helps you rid your medicine cabinet from expired or unnecessary prescriptions. These prescriptions, in the wrong hands, can be harmful and dangerous. Participants can drop off prescription drugs with no questions asked and receive a $5.00 gift card to local stores and pharmacies. For information about when and where BSO will hold its next "take back" program, download the schedule and plan you drop off.

Take the time to secure your medicine cabinet against teenagers and children. Having a teen overdose can be devastating. How would you feel if he/she overdosed on your very own prescription? Don't take that chance. Be proactive today!

Read more and watch video.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Sue Scheff: Sexual Abuse Thrives on Secrecy and Shame

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Although this is a sensitive and difficult topic to talk about, it is a necessary discussion to have. Education is key to prevention.

The Florida Council Against Sexual Violence (FCASV) is a statewide nonprofit organization committed to victims and survivors of sexual violence and the sexual assault crisis programs who serve them.

FCASV serves as a resource to the state on sexual violence issues. Each year they host a statewide conference and many trainings, bringing state-of-the-art information from around the nation to Florida. FCASV provide technical assistance to agencies seeking to improve their services for rape victims, and provide up-to-date information to the public. By using the toll free information line, callers can access information from their resource library or from their network of national resources. FCASV provides information, assistance and leadership on all aspects of sexual violence, including rape, child abuse, stalking and sexual harassment.

Sexual Violence affects every aspect of a person's life-her/his body, emotions, thoughts, behaviors, spirituality and relationships with others and the outside world. This is true whether it is acquaintance rape, stranger rape, date rape, child sexual abuse or marital rape.

During this month of awareness, make it a priority to talk to your kids about prevention and awareness.

In Florida there are support services available. Click here. The Rape Crisis Hotline is 1-888-956-RAPE (7273).

Be an educated parent, you will have safer and healthier teens. Read more.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Sue Scheff: Lauren's Kids - Raising Awareness for Sexual Abuse Awareness Month

Join Lauren Book-Lim, abuse survivor and founder of Lauren’s Kids, during her 500-mile walk from across Florida--from Aventura to the state capitol in Tallahassee. Lauren’s Walk is intended to raise awareness for Sexual Abuse Awarenesss Month.

Lauren’s journey will begin at an Aventura house where her abuse first occurred on Friday, April 2, and end at the Capitol Building on Wednesday, April 20, 2010. Upon her arrival at the Capitol, her foundation, Lauren’s Kids, will host a rally to encourage and support passage of all pending legislation to protect children from sexual assault.

Her 500-mile walk symbolizes a survivor’s long, painful healing journey to shed the shame—a journey that requires love, support and understanding from family, friends and trained professionals. Lauren is walking during Sexual Abuse Awareness Month to bring awareness to help prevent childhood sexual abuse, but also to reach out to survivors of all ages who might not have disclosed their “dark, hidden secret”. Lauren’s consistent message to others “I Survived, I’m Okay, Because It’s Okay to Tell” demonstrates the importance of shedding the shame--a critical step to the healing process.

Watch video here.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Magnolia Christian School, Red River Academy, Horizon's Academy, Lisa Irvin, Dina Dalton, Jane Hawley, Teen Help

Are you considering residential therapy for your teenager? 

Do you have a good teen making bad choices?

Are you surfing the Internet, totally confused by all those toll free numbers, marketing arms, and sales reps?

Are you totally at your wit's end???

As  responsible parent, we need to get our teen help, however we also need to stop, think, research and consider what is best for your individual teen. 

Many years ago, I struggled with my own teen daughter and her unacceptable behavior and needed outside help.  My story has made headlines - and also lead to a book - Wit's End! that has helped many parents when they are about to make a major decision.

I was sucked in by a group that told me all I "needed" to hear - and delivered on just about zero of it.

Learn from my mistakes - gain from my knowledge.  If you are considering any of the above referenced "teen-help" programs (in the title) or marketing arms - take your time - do your research and please read my horrific experiences with them.  I am considered a disgruntled parent, yes, I am.  When someone harms your child, you become that way.  However, I won two jury trials - I even won the appeals when they attempted to overturn the verdicts - so I proved my case in a court of law....

I heard they say the jury made a mistake - well, what we would we expect them to say.....

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Sue Scheff: What are the warning signs of suicidal thoughts?

Teen suicide is a fear that some parents have lived with or have survived.  There can be nothing worse than  losing a child, however losing them to suicide can be devastating.  Being an educated parent can help you learn about warnings signs, even if they are hidden or silent.

Source:   Connect with Kids

Signs of Suicidal Thoughts

“If your child is depressed or thinking about suicide, you have to remove the most dangerous means of doing that- and that's guns and certain kinds of medication.”

– Dr. Shannon Croft, M.D. Child Psychiatrist, Emory University School of Medicine

20-year-old Erin Salisbury suffers from depression and bipolar disorder. She has attempted suicide five times. Everytime she was saved by an adult.

"There have been many days I could have died," says Erin. "I'm very lucky... very lucky right now."

Experts say the first sign that a child may be suicidal is depression.

"So a child that's sad more days than not, that loses interest in their normal activities, that isolates themselves, whose outward behavior changes, who stops being able to function in school and with friends, those are some pretty obvious signs," says Dr. Shannon Croft, a child psychiatrist with the Emory University School of Medicine.

But, experts say, sadness isn't the only sign of suicidal thoughts.

"The majority of the time it only presents with anger and aggression," says adolescent psychiatrist Dr. Saaid Khojasteh with Washington University in St. Louis. "That by itself is a red flag."

Experts say other factors that put teens at risk are family history... and drug and alcohol use.

"If you suspect that your teenager is using alcohol or drugs," says Dr. Croft, "anything that effects somebody's ability to accurately think about themselves and their life and may change their mood- that's a real serious risk factor."

He says if you suspect your teen may be suicidal- remove all potential hazards- especially guns.

"This isn't a political comment," says Croft, "this is a very practical comment. If your child is depressed, is thinking about suicide, you have to remove the most dangerous means of doing that and that's guns and certain kinds of medication."

Erin is lucky to be alive. Her advice to other teens?

"Hold on for a few days, a week," she says. "See if it gets any better, and just talk to somebody about it and don't keep it all locked up."

Tips for Parents
  • A teenager who is contemplating suicide may complain of being a bad person or feeling "rotten inside." (American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry)
  • Some teens will give verbal hints with statements such as "I won't be a problem for you much longer," "Nothing matters," "It's no use," and "I won't see you again." (American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry)
  • A teen contemplating suicide may put his/her affairs in order by giving away favorite possessions, cleaning his/her room or throwing away important belongings. Others may become suddenly cheerful after a period of depression or show signs of psychosis. (American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry)
  • If you believe your child may be thinking about suicide, ask the child directly or seek professional help. People often feel uncomfortable talking about death. But asking a child if he/she is depressed or thinking about suicide can be helpful. Such questions may assure the child that someone cares and will give him/her the chance to talk about problems. Talking can lead to healing. (Dr. Paul Schenk, Psy.D., Clinical Psychologist)
  • If your child admits to suicidal feelings, don't act shocked. This will put distance between you. Be willing to listen. Allow for the expression of feelings. Accept those feelings. (American Association of Suicidology)
  • Don't be judgmental, debate whether suicide is right or wrong or lecture on the value of life. Offer hope that alternatives are available but do not offer glib reassurance. (American Association of Suicidology)
  • Don't be sworn to secrecy. Seek support. Get help from persons or agencies specializing in crisis intervention and suicide prevention. (American Association of Suicidology)
■American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
■The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention
■American Association of Suicidology

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Sue Scheff: RapeLay - More Dangerous Games that Teens Can Play

In my previous articles relating to dangerous games that teens will play, most have involved your teenager physically being a participant. With the emphasis on "physically" present. CNN recently reported on a new disturbing video game teens are playing, RapeLay.

It begins with a girl, her sister and mother on a train platform. They get on the subway and you, as the video game player, can begin your sexual assault of all of them. Grope and rape - all part of the game.

What part of this concept is acceptable to any parent? This game, although started in Japan, has gone viral and people all over the world are now playing it. No one should play a game where the only way to win is to rape!

April is Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. It is an ideal time to sit down and talk to your teens about not only this game, but other issues such as dating abuse, sexual assault and other topics which may be uncomfortable, however can save a teen from experiencing an extremely harmful situation.

Is it hard to find extra time to talk to your kids? Here some more information about this trendy video game that is spreading:

The game allows you to even impregnate a girl and urge her to have an abortion. The reason behind your assault, explains the game, is that the teenage girl has accused you of molesting her on the train. The motive is revenge.

Enough is Enough posted an excellent article detailing this game and how parents need to get involved. I urge all parents to read more. The more you know, the more you can talk to your teens about it and express the dangers of these horrific acts, even if they are only pixels - there is never a time that "rape" is acceptable.

Be an educated parent, you will have safer and healthier teenagers.

Watch the video, with caution, for more information. Read more.