Saturday, July 31, 2010

Sue Scheff: Teen Transportation - Teen Escort - Safe and Sound Youth Transportation is the Best!

If you have never had to deal with a teenager that has been out-of-control or extremely defiant, using drugs, hanging with the wrong peer group or making extremely bad choices, you may never hear of teen transportation or also known as teen escorts.

For the many families that have employed the services of a teen transportation company, one name always is clear – Safe and Sound Youth Transportation.

When a parent comes to the conclusion they need to get their teen outside help of a residential therapy school or program, many will contact the owner of Safe and Sound Youth Transportation, Lorraine Colpitts.  What you will find is a caring, nurturing, well-educated and professional in her field on the other end of the phone.

Just recently a Broward County family used the services of Safe and Sound Youth Transportation and as difficult as it was, it was a decision they made in the best interest of their daughter. As their daughter was smoking pot, frequently not coming home and simply defied her parent’s, Carol and Mark (names are changed for confidentiality) knew they had to do something.

After contacting Parents’ Universal Resource Experts, and determining what the best program would be for their 16  year-old daughter, their next call was to Lorraine at Safe and Sound Youth Transportation.
Carol said: “This was literally the hardest decision my husband and I have ever had to make.  Our fears were eased after talking to Lorraine.  The level of professionalism with genuine care put me at ease.”

Mark added: “I never thought this would ever happen to our family, especially my angel [referring to his daughter], but she was running  her life into a dark hole and we didn’t see any other way out.  After trying therapy at home, it just wasn’t working.  I am not thrilled it came to this, but knowing there are experts out there to guide us, really helped us to make this decision.

Lorraine Colpitts said she speaks with parents on a daily basis and assures them they are not alone.  She give them support both emotionally as well as getting them to the next step of healing for the family.

If you are a family that is struggling with an at-risk teen, know there is help out there.  Realize there may be many teen escorts, however using one that is licensed and insured to transport teens is critical.  You don’t want just anyone transporting your teen, be sure they use ethical methods, and understand that your child’s safety is priority.

Mission statement from Safe and Sound Youth Transportation:

To ensure the Safe and Reliable Intervention/Transport of your teen from your home or your child’s current placement to your chosen destination in the most professional, yet nurturing and efficient manner possible. 

We go the extra miles….

We take having the responsibility of your child very seriously and will see them all the way through this part of their journey. We are committed to you and your family, and will always treat them with the utmost dignity and respect, kindness and compassion.

For more information call Lorraine at 1-866-990-1900 or visit

Lorraine Colpitts also contributed to Health Communications parenting book, Wit’s End, Advice and Resources for Saving your Out-of-Control Teen by Sue Scheff.

Read more.

Lorraine Colpitts pictured above.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Sue Scheff: PTA - Getting Parents and Teachers Involved

There are many chapters of the Parent and Teacher Association (PTA) and they are always a great way to get involved and stay involved in your child’s school.

Education is key to your child’s success in life, and being part of that is a vital part to learning.  It is true, we are in tough times.  Many kids are in single family households or both parents working or parents with more than one job.  This means the time spent with your kids diminishes.

Parent involvement is crucial to the health and well-being of a child. As a parent, you are the most important influence in your child’s success in school and in life. In this role, you have a fresh opportunity every day to get involved with your child.

Parent involvement in childrens education allows kids to perform better in school, and navigate more easily some of the challenges of growing up, such as bullying.

PTA is committed to being the leading resource for parent involvement. We offer comprehensive resources for helping parents get involved and stay involved in the lives of their children. Look through these parent involvement categories and learn about new ways you can make a difference in your child’s life. This section also serves as a clearinghouse for parent involvement ideas and resources.

Find out where your local PTA, click here.  Don’t forget to check their newsroom and follow them on Twitter.

Source: PTA

Read more.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Sue Scheff: STOMP Out Bullying Before School Opens

Broward County has seen enough of the consequences bullying, text rage and cyberbullying.
Last October the fury of a teen being doused in alcohol then set on fire by other teens is literally incomprehensible, however it happened to 15 year-old Michael Brewer.

Just 5 months later in March of 2010, we all were shocked at the rage of a teen as he savagely beat 15 year-old Josie Ratley nearly to death with his steel toe boots.

Coincidentally both these students were attending Deerfield Beach Middle School. Both Josie Lou Ratley and Michael Brewers are survivors of vicious attacks.  Did these stem from bullying?

As school opens shortly, STOMP Out Bullying™ which is an initiative of Love Our Children USA™ the national nonprofit leader that honors, respects and protects children, launches their new website!

STOMP Out Bullying focuses on reducing and preventing bullying, cyberbullying, sexting and other digital abuse, decreasing school absenteeism and truancy, educating against homophobia, racism and hatred and deterring violence in schools, playgrounds, online and in communities across the country.

Michael Brewer and Josie Ratley will forever be voices for victims of others that have been or being attacked, whether it is verbally, keystrokes or physically, no one deserves to be treated this way.

Education is the key to prevention.  Take the time to read through the newly updated website and check out the tip sheets!  Don't wait for an incident to occur in your hometown, be proactive today - have a great school year to come!

Watch video and read more.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sue Scheff: Parent Excuses for Bad Teen Behavior

No one likes to admit they are struggling with their teenager.  No one wants others to know what is really going on behind closed doors.  No parent wants to end up in a juvenile court room, not to mention visiting their teen in jail.  Face it, parenting isn't easy but there are many things we cannot control as parents.

Most parents didn't raise our kids to use drugs.  Parents don't tell their children to join the local gang (and I am not speaking of a sports club).  Parents don't tell their kids to treat them like dirt.  Defiance and belligerence are not behaviors parents encourage.

So who is to blame?  Where are today's teens picking up this blatant disrespect for authority, dropping out school, using drugs and running away?

There can be many factors, however every family is unique with their issues.  Whether it is a divorce, a death in the family, parents working several jobs and not having time for their kids, the causes could be almost anything.

At the end of the day, parents have to stop making excuses and get help!  Their teens negative behavior is a cry for help.  Whether you start with local therapy, which many will not attend and if they do, most won't participate, or you need to take a major step of residential therapy, you need to stop making excuses and get your teen help.

This is not about you - and what your neighbors, friends or family will think - this is about saving your teen's future, if not life.

Excuses that are commonly used:

  • He/she is so smart, high IQ - it will get better. (Yes, they are smart, how else could they make these manipulative decisions?)
  • It is the friends he/she is hanging with.  Not my teen. (This is most common).  So many parents make the mistake of blaming the kids their teen is hanging with, in reality, your teen is making that choice to hang with them.
  • He/she used to love a certain activity, but recently dropped out - well, he was caught with pot, but it was his friends.  He didn't know it was there. (Really?)
  • He/she only tried it once. (Seriously, who are you kidding?)
  • He/she ran away for the weekend, but they did text me? (O-kay)
  • You don't understand - he/she can get a full scholarship but he/she doesn't care anymore!
All of this doesn't happen over night, although you would like to believe that.  These are all red flags that you need to get your teen help.

Don't be a parent in denial - be proactive, don't allow your teen to fail because of your pride!

Visit Parents' Universal Resource Experts, Children's Trust, or Here's Help.

Read more.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sue Scheff: Good Kids, Bad Choices - Is it Bad Parenting?

The recent New York Times article, Accepting That Good Parents May Plant Bad Seeds by Dr. Richard A. Friedman,  has started a lot of great conversations. (Watch video below).

Fact is there are many great parents and they are doing a great job at raising their kids, but every so often you will hit that pothole in the road.  Parenting today is extremely challenging.  It is not only discussing the birds and bees that is critical, talking to your kids about the dangers of online scams, predators not to mention the prevalence of stranger danger today.

Yes, this generation is completely different.  We have gone from Mad Men to Middle to Modern Family and somehow all these shows can mirror one time of our life or another.

Good kids do make bad choices.  That is called life experiences, but if these experiences escalate to a point that is endangering the teen or the family, it may be time for outside help.  Many times the parent can be in such denial that they continue to make excuses for the negative behavior.  That can only prolong getting your child the right help.

Bad behavior by your child doesn't necessarily mean you are a bad parent.  Maybe your teen/child has been bullied, maybe they are being pressured by their peers, maybe they have feelings of sadness - there are many emotions, especially in adolescence, they could be going through that is causing the negative behavior.  It isn't always the parents fault.

It is, however, the parents responsibility to get their child help.  Don't sit around in the blame game circle, be proactive!  By trying to determine if it because dad doesn't spend enough time at home, or mom isn't home to cook dinner every night - stop all that thinking and just be concerned about helping your teen - not finding the blame.

If you are struggling with an at-risk teen visit  South Florida has many resources for parents.  Don't let bad behavior get worse, get help today.

Make parenting your priority!

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

Read more and watch video.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Sue Scheff: STOMP Out Bullying Launches New Website

Shortly school will be opening throughout our country, bullying is an expanding and explosive form of malicious attacks on kids and teens.  Whether you are being attacked verbally or online, bullying hurts!  Bullying can leave long lasting emotional scars that people may not be able to see on the outside, but on the inside a child is hurting.

STOMP Out Bullying™ is an initiative of Love Our Children USA™ the National nonprofit leader that honors, respects and protects children. Its mission is to break the cycle of violence against children. Since 1999, it has paved the way in prevention and has become the 'Go-To' prevention organization for all forms of violence and neglect against children in the U.S.

STOMP Out Bullying has proudly launched their new website as a new school year is about to begin.  This website offers a vast amount of educational and valuable information on bullying prevention, hotlines, and many fantastic celebrity videos and PSA's.

For parents, educators, administers, daycare providers, STOMP Out Bullying new website also offers an adult page.  On this page you will find tip sheets to help you understand and prevent bullying and cyberbullying, as well as cell phones and mobile safety.

With school only a few weeks away, take the time to be prepared and educated on a very serious concern today, bullying.

Bullying hurts. Watch video are read more.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Sue Scheff: Tough Love and Teen Help

How much is a parent supposed to tolerate before they reach their wit's end?

How many times do you blame negative behavior on the friends they are hanging with, since your teen would never act like this? (Not my Kid)

How long do you continue to allow your teen to speak to you with disrespect and defiance?

How much is too much?

Let's face it, parenting teens today has become more challenging than years before.  Think about your generation.  When your parent said to be home at 10:00pm, most were home by 9:50pm.  Why?  Because we respected our parents.  We also knew there would be consequences.

Was that considered tough love?  Not really, it was simply following the rules of the house.  These simple boundaries seem to have disappeared in many homes.

Is it because there are more single parent households?  Is it because most families have both parents working, meaning there is less supervision?

Without a doubt, the level of respect that some teens show today is despicable.  No matter what the reason is, your teen is creating tough love - and it gets tougher to love them as they continue to defy us, yet we will always love unconditionally.  Could this be why they push our buttons?

Years ago we rarely heard about residential therapy.  Today these boarding schools are busting at the seams as teens are learning to appreciate what they had at home.  Is residential therapy tough love?  No, residential therapy it is about regaining your child back.  Tough love can be part of the process.

Visit for more information for private residential therapy.

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

Read more.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Sue Scheff: Wilderness Programs, Boot Camps - Think Twice

You have a teen that is driving you crazy.  You have a teen that is experimenting, if not using drugs on a regular basis.  You have teen that has changed peer groups - and not for the better.  You have a teen that has disengaged from the family.  You have a teen that is defiant, belligerent and can become violent.  You have a teen that doesn't appreciate all they have and all you have sacrificed for them?  You are at your wit's end!

Is it time to have an intervention?  What is best to insure that your teen gets back on a positive road to have that bright future you always wanted for them?

Let's review some choices to get help:

Wilderness Therapeutic Programs Short term program, short term results, usually zero academics, extremely expensive and as many teens state they have great experiences, it is usually never enough to make lasting positive changes.
  • The concept: Remove the kids from their comforts of home.  Get them to reflect on themselves from within. 
  • Thought:  Wouldn't it be wise to find one program that offers a well-rounded program including removing them from their comforts of home, offering them an education as well as encouraging them through enrichment programs?
Boot Camps:  Thankfully many have been closed in the state of Florida.  This in and of itself speaks volumes.  As parents see it as a way to punish their kids for their negative behavior, using punitive and primitive measures may cause more anger and resentment toward the person that placed them there.
  • The concept: Teach your child a lesson, and hope they learn to appreciate and respect you.
  • Thought:  Again, finding a sound program that offers positive enrichment, academics as well as trained personal to help determine where the negative behavior is stemming from.
Jail:  Is this ever a good option?  Not really, and although juvenile records are sealed, according to law enforcement, what happens when your teen applies for a job in their 20's and that record, although it doesn't state the charges, but is pinged by your teen being finger printed?  Did you consider the friends your teen will make in jail?
  • The Concept: Show your teen the consequences of breaking the law.  Hopefully scaring them straight so they turn around their behavior.
  • Thought: Get your teen the right help that instills positive reinforcement, continuing education and work on family conflict with an outside counselor.
Residential Therapy: Finally, a way to address negative behavior in a positive direction. Our teens need consistency in treatment.  Starting and finishing with the same therapist, structure and program that builds your teen back up to making the better choices.  Some parents are being convinced that using a short term program such as Wilderness Programs will prepare them for a residential program, however if you find the right program from the start, it serves the same purpose as a Wilderness Program (of course saving about $10K-20K at the same time).  Choosing a residential therapy program does remove your child from their comforts of their home.  It also gives them an opportunity to reflect and get back to basics.
  • Concept: It took longer than 6-8 weeks to get to the place your teen is at, it will take at least 6-9 months to get your child back.
  • Thought: Take your time and find the best program for you and your family both emotionally and financially.  Consider that short term programs are like band-aids - they do peal off fairly quickly.
With Lindsay Lohan at 24 years old going to jail, it will serve to sober her up, however the rehab is what will help her to remain sober. Sadly, this may all be a moot point since at 24 years old, she is considered an adult and can just go through the motions - after all, she is court appointed.
Don't wait for your teen to be over 18, get them help while you still have the ability and control.

For more information, visit  In Broward, Dade and Palm Beach County there is also The Children's Trust that has local resources.

Read more.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Sue Scheff: LISTEN - Are you hearing what your teens are saying?

Parenting can be challenging and you will hear over and over again communication is key.  Key to many topics including teaching your children the dangers of substance abuse, navigating social networking, talking to strangers, the conversation of sex, and much more. 

Listening is a skill that doesn't come easy to many people, however parents especially need to use their ears and eyes to not only hear but to listen to their kids. 

Family Education has some great reasons and advice to enhance your listening skills.  Take the time to review them and become a better parent to your children and even your own friends.
  • Listening carefully is how you gather information about what's going on in your child's life and head.
  • Listening effectively builds strong relationships.
  • Listening thoughtfully shows respect.
  • Listening is always the first step in solving problems.
  • Listening to your child's perspective will teach you a lot. Kids are smarter than most grown-ups think, and they generally know what they need. Listen to your kids, and they will teach you how to raise them.
  • If you want your child to listen to you, you'll need to first listen to her. A child who is lis-tened to learns how to listen. And until she learns how to listen to you, it's the same as telling your problems to the bathroom mirror—no matter how eloquently you express yourself, nobody will be hearing you but you.
Here are the keys to improve your listening skills:
  • Listen first.
  • Always listen.
  • Create a special time and place for listening.
  • Use active listening.
In our busy lives it is not always easy to find the time to really listen, but make is a point to make the time for your children.  You will reap the rewards later.  Those few minutes now will be years of success later.

There's only one rule for being a good talker: Learn to listen. - Family Education

Be an educated parent, you will have healthier teens.

Read more.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sue Scheff: High School Diploma's vs GED's

Wow – this is a topic I speak with parents about on almost a daily basis.  Teens today think it is an easy solution – drop out of school and get a GED!  Years ago, it was not only frowned upon – it was targeted at those in trouble with the law, another words, juvenile delinquents.  Take a minute to read these parenting tips from Connect with Kids – help keep your teens in school!

Source: Connect with Kids

“If you get your high school diploma, you’re going to be better off. If you get some college, you’re going to be better off. If you get a bachelors degree, you’re going to be better off.”
– Martin Segura, Education Counselor

For some students, earning a GED seemed like the next best thing to a high school degree. But a new report from the University of Chicago finds that a GED holds little value in helping students succeed in today’s competitive job market.

Tanya dropped out of high school after her sophomore year. “That was my dream, to walk across that stage, but because I got pregnant, they told me I couldn’t go back,” recounts 18-year-old Tanya Sado.
By the time she was ready to go back, she was too old, so she decided to try another route. Tanya decided to get her GED, or General Educational Development certificate.

“Well, you can’t find a good job without education,” Tanya says. “What can you do with your life?”
The problem is, because of the recession and because so many more young people are attending college today, some educators argue that a GED has never been less valuable.
It’s not worthless, they say, but more today than ever, “If you get your high school diploma, you’re going to be better off. If you get some college, you’re going to be better off. If you get a bachelors degree, you’re going to be better off,” says education counselor, Martin Segura.

Today, unemployment rate for people without their high school diploma is over 15 percent.

“To the extent that students do not develop, um, those skills, don’t have those trainings, don’t have those degrees or credentials. They’re headed for a very difficult, a brutal collision path where they’re going to end up with leftover jobs, jobs that nobody else wants,” explains Hector Madrigal, Director of Pupil Services in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

The GED just doesn’t have the value it once did. Even the military agrees. “The job market in general in today’s society is extremely difficult to get into. Any job that you go to, you know most of them want you to have at least high school, some college,” explains Staff Sergeant Matthew Jacobs of the U.S. Marine Corps. “Well Marines, we’re just another job like everybody else. We’re looking for the same qualifications.”
Tanya’s advice to other kids? “I would say don’t leave, don’t give it up for anything.”

What Parents Need To Know

According to the Alliance for Excellence in Education, a new report by economists at the University of Chicago, released by the National Bureau of Economic Research, raises questions about whether GED-based programs are the right approach to make sure students complete high school. Looking at a variety of studies of GED recipients over the years, the report concludes that people who receive GEDs fare little better economically than high school dropouts when factors such as their greater academic abilities are taken into consideration.

While it’s easy to place the blame on a child when he or she drops out of school, it doesn’t address the most important problem: What can be done to educate this student? The National Mental Health and Education Center offers the following hints to help parents on the road to problem-solving:
  • Focus on student goals: Instead of focusing on why your child is unsuccessful in school, have your child identify what he or she wants to get from the school experience. Have him or her list school, home and personal barriers to reaching that goal. Sometimes talking about getting past the barriers to reaching a goal helps focus efforts more productively than just complaining or quitting.
  • Encourage school involvement: Encourage your child to attend school regularly and to be involved in at least one extracurricular activity at school or with groups of students who are currently in school. These activities make your child feel like part of the group, important to the school and more motivated to perform in order to participate. If your child’s lack of academic success restricts him or her from every activity except academics, your child often sees no value in continuing to try. He or she must have something positive to look forward to that will meet the kinship/companionship needs of being a teen. If your child isn’t able to meet these needs in the school setting, he or she often finds ways to meet these needs in less desirable settings and groups.
  • Consider alternative school settings: Speak with the school counselor and/or school psychologist to see if your child’s goals can be reached in the current school environment. If not, have the school identify ideas for alternative settings for your child’s learning. Include your child in all discussions with school personnel. If you investigate alternative education settings, have your child make the contacts and visits, complete forms and ask questions. He or she must see that personal responsibility is a must when being asked to be treated as an adult.
  • Consider realistic postsecondary goals: Don’t get hung up on the issue of your child going to college. The more important question is “What does my child find interesting, and what is he or she good at?” and “Which of these skill areas is marketable?” If attending college is the way to reach the vocational goal, set steps in place to get there. In many cases, a postsecondary technical training or two-year community college program is more appropriate to meet your child’s goals and get him or her employable.
  • Consider the GED: This equivalency examination is very well-respected among employers and higher education institutions. Students can study for this examination through community education programs, alternative education programs or independently. The point is to stress to your child that the diploma or GED is only the first step to finishing his or her education. The workforce of tomorrow will require postsecondary education for even entry-level jobs.
  • Identify special needs: Consult with school personnel to determine if your child might have a specific learning or behavior problem interfering with learning. Low achievement, retention in grade and behavioral difficulties are highly predictive of dropping out of school. Assessment of possible learning and behavior problems might help identify special services to help your child find school more successful.


Friday, July 16, 2010

Sue Scheff: What Parents Can Learn from Celebrity Tirade - Parent and Teen Rage

When you think of Mel Gibson, you immediately think Hollywood.  Tinsel Town USA which is not only home to many celebrities, it is home to many parents.  Whether you are a celebrity parent or an average working mom or dad, the stress and frustrations of a household, can sometimes drive you to your wit's end.
Unfortunately for celebrities, like Mel Gibson, the entire world is watching.  The audio tapes released are being tagged as potentially manipulated or other excuses, however the fact is there - we heard them, we felt them - and many maybe even silently related to them.

As experts dissect this tirade, and media talk hosts have their opinions, the issue of mental illness is lingering. If you as a parent have found yourself reaching this level of rage, or worse, have seen your teen reaching this extent of anger and rage, it should be a red flag to get help now. listed some warning signs that your anger may be getting out-of-control:
  • You find yourself getting angry at everything that inconveniences you, annoys you or otherwise gets in the way of what you want to be doing,
  • It leads you to act out aggressively or violently as in yelling, ranting, hitting, shoving or plotting revenge,
  • It consumes you long after the event has passed, if you dwell on the things that make you angry then you’re in trouble because normal anger is only a temporary emotional response to unsettling eternal stimuli,
  • Things that didn’t used to make you angry are suddenly major issues worthy of a rant, this does not apply to times when you have suppressed normal anger only to times that anger really isn’t merited, for example when somebody gets a higher grade than you or when a person is taking too long in the bathroom,
  • You find yourself doing self destructive things to cope with your angry feelings, such as reckless driving, hazardous recreational activities, physical fighting, drugs and alcohol or, unsafe or random sexual activity.
Be an educated parent, you will have safer and healthier teens.

Listen to tirade: VIEWER WARNING - Language is not appropriate for all ages.
Read more.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Sue Scheff: National Make Difference with Children Month

July is National Make a Difference to Children Month.

As families are enjoying their summer vacations, time at the beach, time with friends, and simply having fun in the sun, there are children that are suffering. Children that are hungry. Children that are being harmed and children that need you to help them make a change.

During National Make a Difference to Children Month, find it in your heart to dig into your wallet and make a difference to a child today. Every dollar counts, every donation can help bring a smile to a child somewhere.

Nationally, Love our Children USA has brought an awareness to violence among children. Since 1999 they have been the leader in violence prevention and continue to expand through Bullying and cyberbullying is a growing concern today, and again Love Our Children USA is taking a stand to educate and inform people about bullying prevention.

Learn how you can donate today. Is there someone that is special to you? People that are hard to buy for or have everything they need? Make a personal gift, a gift in honor of someone or in memory of someone. Giving a little can mean a lot, don't delay, send what you can today! Click here.

Whether you are in Duval or St. John's County, you can make a difference today. Let's help show how much North Florida cares about our future. Remember, children are our future.

Watch video and read more.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Sue Scheff: Fake Drug has Real Consequences

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."

Now parents have a new concern and it is 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". Users roll it up in joints or inhale it from pipes, just like the real thing.

Synthetic marijuana is the trendy new way to get high, which is legal, but consequences could be dangerous.  It is marketed as incense, however many are trying to get it banned.  The package warns not to consume the product, however this is exactly what teens and others are doing.

Nationwide, the American Association of Poison Control Centers logged 567 cases across 41 states in which people had suffered a bad reaction to spice during the first half of 2010. Just 13 cases were reported in 2009.  These reactions include seizures and elevated heart rates.

To date, Kansas was the first to ban this product followed by Georgia, Missouri, Kentucky, Alabama and Tennessee.  Is Florida next in line?

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

Read more and watch video.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Sue Scheff: How Healthy is Your Teen?

Today Susan White is a guest Blogger with a great post about, How Healthy is Your Teen.

How Healthy is Your Teen?

By Susan White

My close friend and mother of two young boys (let’s call her G) was taken to task by both her mother and mother-in-law for the sole reason of getting her teen son to wake up an hour earlier each morning and taking a jog or going for a brisk walk on the treadmill. He had been a chubby baby, but what was cute as a kid was turning out to be both embarrassing and unhealthy as an adolescent. G took matters into her hands when she realized her son showed no inclination to join a sport or indulge in any form of exercise; she brought home a treadmill, and after a few persuasive talks (and bargaining sessions) with her son, she convinced him to get some exercise on it every day.

Mother and son would begin the day in the basement – G would go a few miles on the stationary bike while her son jogged along on the treadmill. They not only got in a good workout but also spent quality time together talking about school, friends and other issues. Now while G knew she was doing something good, the boy’s grandmothers were of the opinion that she was “torturing” their grandson by ruining his sleep, not giving him enough to eat, and forcing him to run on “that damn thing”. No amount of explanation from G was enough to convince them that she was only worried about his health and was trying to get him to become slimmer and fitter. So she did the next best thing – ignored them and their constant criticism and stuck to her guns about the daily routine. Within six months, the difference was visible and appreciable – G’s son had lost 20 pounds and gained a truckload of confidence.

While G is an example for all moms to follow, the problem with our country today is that we have more of the disapproving grandmothers than people like my friend. They are of the opinion that it is cruel to “force” a child to exercise and adapt to a healthy eating style. They think that they’re good parents only if they feed their children well and allow them to do as they please by way of entertainment. And so we have more and more households who are fostering obesity in teenagers rather than trying to battle and kill it at the roots.

The statistics are alarming – according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, child obesity in the U.S. has tripled in the last three decades. From a reasonable 5 percent, the number of preteens and adolescents who are overweight and obese has ballooned to an 18.1 percent increase every year, a figure that does not bode well for both the general and financial health of our nation. We’re going to be spending an enormously large sum to provide healthcare for all the overweight teens who go on to become obese and unhealthy adults. And what’s worse is that no matter how much they spend, they’re bound to be plagued by health issues all through their life.  If this is not reason enough to ensure that your teen is not overweight, then what is?

It’s up to you to take charge of your teenager’s health; the effort you take today will go a long way in ensuring him/her a healthy and happy life.


This article is contributed by Susan White, who regularly writes on the subject of radiology technician schools. She invites your questions, comments at her email address:

Previous post by Susan White.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Nevada Christian Troubled Teen Boarding School - Formerly Horizon Academy (Another name change?)

Is it true?  Teen Help Programs, many that were under the WWASPS (World Wide Association of Specialty Programs and Schools) is on the move again?

Since our horrific experience with them, - the victory of my litigation with them - winning in a jury trial, as well as winning an $11M jury verdict for Internet Defamation damages done to me, I have noticed they are moving, changing, and assuming that new parents won't realize it could possibly be the same people behind different masks.

I wonder why they are now falling back on the Christian component.  I am Christian and I know God forgives, but when my child is involved, it is a bit disturbing to think they can continue with this.  This is strictly my opinion, however if you are seeking residential therapy for your teen, be sure to do your homework.

Read more on - and  here is one of the most recent changes. Click here. Learn more about me at - of course, they will try to discredit me, but who can blame them.  They print a lot of slime about me, but the legal system recognized the truth and I am confident parents will too.

You can also read my book at - published by the home of Chicken Soup for the Soul.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Sue Scheff: Ten Tips for Taming Your Tongue - Cuss Control

Here are 10 great tips to help you and your teens to stop using foul language.  Cuss Control by James V. O'Connor:  

Your language might offend some people, but the tone and attitude behind your words do far greater damage to all of your relationships.

Even if your friends and associates commonly use cuss words, you will be perceived as more mature, intelligent, articulate, polite, considerate and pleasant if you control your language and the emotions that typically prompt expletives. You can choose to have character and class, or be considered rude, crude and crass.

Cursing is sometimes humorous, but sometimes abusive. It can help vent anger, or provoke it. It can relieve stress, or cause it. It can be clever and flirtatious, or sexist and intimidating. Consequently, be aware of when and where you swear. Control it, tame it, time it. Or, to be on the safe side, stop using it altogether.

1. Recognize that swearing does damage.
You probably swear because it is easy, fun, candid, emphatic, expressive, breaks rules, and somehow partially reduces anger and pain. But the negatives outweigh the positives. You really don't win an argument by swearing. You don't prove that you are smart or articulate. You don't earn respect or admiration. You don't motivate, you intimidate. Swearing doesn't get you hired, promoted, or romantically connected.

2. Start by eliminating casual swearing.
Pretend that your sweet little grandmother or your young daughter is always next to you. Use inflections for emphasis instead of offensive adjectives. Be more descriptive instead of using the "s" word to describe everything from objects, work and the weather to the way you feel, the way someone looks, and the way something smells. 

Read complete list here.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Sue Scheff: Teen Help - 15 Tips for Residential Therapy for Teens

Just when you think you know it all, enjoying your time with your baby, that turns to a toddler, that becomes a little girl/boy – then the teen thing can hit when you least expect it!  How do I know, because it happened to me!  I was at my wit’s end when I struggled through a bumpy time with my daughter.  Thankfully, that was almost a decade ago, but some things don’t change – and that is teenagers!

If you have discovered your teen is escalating out of control and you need to find outside help, take the time to do your research and find the best program/school for them.  The teen help industry is a “big business” and if you are not careful, you could get stung.

I have compiled a list of tips when looking at different options.  My book, Wit’s End, can offer much more.  Also visit my website – for more instant information.

1. Can I speak with the program’s owner, director or therapist? Avoid desperate salespeople, who may be tempted to advise you based upon a commission. You must politely but firmly ask to speak only to the program owner, director or therapist. If the art of remaining calm but also remaining focused and determined while you speak is difficult for you, then please reassure yourself with the knowledge that you are not responsible for whether they feel irritated by your persistent questions. You are responsible for a family member who probably does not know it, but needs your immediate and direct intervention as their last and best lifeline.

2. Does the program provide a parent reference list? If your program representative is able to give you assurances that make you feel comfortable about its suitability for your child, you will probably be provided with a reference list of parents who have or who have had children in the program. If not, ask for it! It is always beneficial to speak with those parents, but remember that since the school gave them to you, they’re most likely to be positive references. You are searching for impartial information to help you make a life-changing decision on behalf of your troubled child. Ask each parent how long his or her child was in the program. Look for a general average. This little detective game takes patience, but these may be some of the most important questions that you ask in this whole process.

An excellent question to ask all reference parents is: If you could change one thing about the program, what would it be? This can be very telling and also bring out some of the negatives. Remember, there are no perfect programs, but if you go in with your eyes wide open, chances are you will be ready for anything.

3. Is the program state-licensed and accredited academically as a school? This is a simple one. Both answers should be yes. Ask to see a copy of their license and accreditations. Check the date to confirm that the license is still valid. If you have questions regarding the license, contact the State Department of Licensing to confirm that the program is truly in good standing.

4. What are the program director’s credentials? Review the director’s educational background (the level of degrees he or she holds), as well as how long the director has been employed by school and his or her experience in the teen-help industry as a whole. Also verify:

• How are the staff members trained and certified? Are staff members certified to physically handle a child without harming him? Is the staff certified in CPR?
• Are the teachers and therapists licensed in their professions? Inquire about the educational backgrounds of the teachers and therapists. Do they meet your needs?
• Does the program run background checks on staff members prior to employment? Child predators typically seek out jobs that allow them greater access to children, so this is imperative to know.

5. Will I be able to speak with my child? How often? Can I visit my child in person? By video conference? And when?  Will my child’s postal mail be monitored or censored, going out or coming in? If so, why?  Don’t settle for glittering generalities, such as telling you that the child will be allowed to communicate once they “reach” a given level or position. If they say that, you should realize that it is then easy for the program to use that restriction to manipulate the child’s ability to communicate with home at all. In most schools and programs, we find that the answer you should shoot for is that they want about three weeks before you have your first phone conversation with your child.

6. What types of financing are offered? Are there scholarships? Also ask: Are there any extra fees that are not included in tuition? Specifically, what are those extra fees, and when must they be paid? Will my personal insurance cover any of these costs?

7. What is the average length of the stay for the students? Do they offer an aftercare program or a transitional program Is there a fee for aftercare? And can my child go back to the program for a second time if he is struggling again? The length of time ranges from about six months at a minimum to as much as two years in more extreme cases. An average length of stay will be within nine to twelve months.

8. What is the average student age in the program? What is the population capacity of the program, in terms of how many students the program is licensed to accommodate, and how many are currently enrolled there? And what is the student to staff ratio?  It is so important that your child be placed in the appropriate element, both in terms of age and gender, and also in terms of not being lumped in with dangerous others. This is one of the reasons that staff-student ratios are so vital. If the staff is too heavily outnumbered, then it will not matter if they are well trained and dedicated in their work. They will be overwhelmed by the workload, and your child will not only suffer the neglect, but be in harm’s way if left unguarded among kids who may be prone to violence.

At P.U.R.E., we have found the ideal student-staff ratio to be between one-to-four and one-to-seven. This range has shown itself to be reasonable, and if the staff is well-trained and supervised, it is a sufficient ratio to maintain order and administer the daily program.
9. Does the program offer open enrollment? This is a vital service. When your child is in crisis, you want to be able to deliver the child immediately. A school that offers enrollment at set times or by semester or around holidays is not a school for troubled teens. Aside from the program’s weekend status, some will only offer enrollment at certain scheduled times of the year. You will generally find that traditional boarding schools and military schools tend to have enrollment periods limited to the structure of their school term.

10. Where is the nearest medical facility and/or full hospital? Does the program have a physician or registered nurse on staff and on premises?  Does the program accept kids on medication? If your child is on prescribed medication, who will dispense it and how will it be monitored? Is there a system in place to monitor the safety and effectiveness of the prescribed medication? Does the school meet your child’s specific medical needs? For instance, if your child is insulin-dependent, physically challenged, has asthma or a severe food allergy, is the school equipped to administer proper care for these conditions?

11. Are they academically accredited? Will the child’s school credits transfer back home? Also find out, if applicable: Do they offer S.A.T. and A.C.T. testing? Do they offer special educational help? As icing on the cake, do they offer any form of extra-curricular activities? Are there extra fees for special tutoring and/or extra-curricular activities? Do they offer college courses or vocational training for older students? Before signing over your child to their care, get a copy of both their accreditation and their school program. Do not allow anyone to make you feel as if you are digging too deep when you check these things out.
These questions are the only way to assure that the child’s education will not be unduly sacrificed during their time in the Residential Therapy program. Just because you are willing to accept that some degree of slip must be reasonably allowed, given the circumstances, does not mean that educational concerns ever go out the window. This is always done with an eye for the day that the child returns home and must begin reintegration into daily life.

12. Does the program accept involuntary enrollment? Will they accept enrollment from kids who have to be professionally escorted there in order to show up? Does the program offer escort services?  What is their policy on expelling a child? Do they allow court-appointed children in the program? You need to ask about this regardless of the state of your child’s behavior because it also tells you about the environment that he or she will be in If the environment around them is not corrective, but simply restrictive and depressing, where are they supposed to acquire the missing ingredients for acceptable behavior, regard for others, and self-esteem?
13. Is the facility secured? Fenced? Also ask: How do they keep the kids from running off? When it comes to personal restraint, what methods does the program employ? Ask them what their policy is in dealing with a student who is completely lost in a rage, perhaps out of control and threatening himself or others. What is the program’s policy about consequences if the students don’t follow the rules? Most schools have time-out areas, but they should not be scary isolation rooms, and the program should never employ isolation boxes. Threatening the child’s fundamental sense of personal safety is counter-productive. It is my belief and experience that doing so builds resentment, anger, and anxiety.

14. What about the physical place itself? What is the housing like? In an ideal world, parents would be able to visit several schools/programs before making a decision. But, realistically, whether due to time constraints or financial reasons, many parents simply cannot make the visits. If you fall into this category, don’t feel guilty about it as long as you are doing your due diligence to research the school. By speaking with parents and possibly former students who have attended, you should get a good sense of where you are sending your child. Most programs welcome visits prior to placement. If they don’t, I would definitely hesitate considering that school.

15.What exactly does the contract entail? If your child is expelled from the program, does the contract release you from financial obligation for the duration of the program? Does the contract outline the costs you are aware of and the services you have been told? Be sure that you are aware of the fees that can be charged to you. In other words, confirm that what you have been told is covered in the contract.

Use the “Instinct Test”: Visit the school. From the moment you arrive, what does your intuition tell you? We each have an innate “parent meter” that goes off and lets us know if something doesn’t feel right. Listen to it! I wish I had. What are your first impressions about the general atmosphere of the place? How do you feel when you get out of your car? Of course, there is apprehension, but is there a sense of security, kindness, nurturing–or do you feel cold and fearful? Usually from the moment I step onto a campus, I can get a vibe, good or bad. In some cases, it is not so good, but after the initial ice breaks, I realize the beauty within.

Remember, this is not easy and not natural, so be prepared for many emotions. But in the end, let your head and heart combined make the decision. People who make it a point to visit a number of these places consistently confirm my own observation that there is a dramatic difference in the general feeling from one place to the next.  Take note if you sense a cold and unfriendly atmosphere, and be sure to note the difference when you walk into a program where the feel of the place is warm and nurturing right from the beginning. Assuming that the two places are equally competent at handling their security issues, which place would you want for your child?

If we can offer our struggling teens an opportunity to find themselves again, the long and difficult journey will have been worth the effort. We can’t look for guarantees; the staff and the students are all human and fallible. But as parents, we can take pride in knowing that during this vital transitory time of our teens’ lives, we have taken every available step to help them build a future–and a self–of which they can be deservingly proud.
I want to thank Michele Borba, Parenting Expert, for also sharing my tips and posting my information as a guest Blogger.  Don’t miss her fantastic book, Big Book of Parenting Solutions, it is a must have for every parent. From toddlers to teens, Dr. Borba covers it all!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Sue Scheff: Wealth vs Health - Money is always good to have, but good health is priceless

Guest Blogger, Susan White, from Radiology Technician Schools, has provided an educational article for parenting your kids towards good health!

Give Your Children the Gift of Good Health

By Susan White

The best legacy we can pass on to our children is not money or wealth; it’s good health, and the only way we can do that is to instill in them the value of eating the right food and leading an active life right from childhood. With all the varieties of junk food and flavors of soda crowding the market and jostling for space in your cupboards, it’s hard to get your child to eat vegetables and fruits, but the only way to ensure that they are not obese children who grow up into unhealthy, pasty and fat adults with high levels of cholesterol who are at risk for diabetes, cardiac diseases and strokes is to make them understand that their food choices at an early age dictate who they become when they mature into adulthood.

Your job is made more difficult by the commercials that tout the benefits of burgers and chips and other fried and processed foods that are loaded with saturated fats, chemicals and additives and have zero nutrition value. To add to the burden, your kids’ friends are all eating the food they like, at fast food joints and out of packaged bags. Yes, it’s an uphill climb to make your child eat healthy food in this unfavorable scenario, but you must do what you must do, for it’s your child’s future at stake.
  • Eat healthy meals at home, ones that are prepared in house and include proteins, carbohydrates, good fats and vitamins.
  • Make desert a fruit rather than cake or pudding that’s loaded with sugar. Find ways to make tasty, healthy fruit salads. Ice cream that’s low in sugar and rich in milk can be added as a treat.
  • Make sure your kids drink milk instead of sodas filled with sugar. Flavor the milk if that’s what it takes to get them to drink it up.
  • Stay away from the aisles that stock sugared cereals. Instead, get your kids to eat wholegrain breakfast cereals with low fat milk.
  • Make fresh fruit juices for them to drink rather than sodas.
  • Include fruits and vegetables as a part of every meal.
  • Give your child a home-packed lunch rather than money for lunch at the school cafeteria. Use whole wheat bread to make healthy sandwiches.
  • Encourage your child to play outdoors rather than sit on the couch and watch TV or hole up in their room playing video games on weekends.
  • Offer your children a choice between vegetables, fruits and dishes before you prepare a meal.
  • Get your children to eat their meals at the table rather than in their rooms or in front of the television.
  • Set an example for your kids by eating healthy yourself and working out on a regular basis.
  • Most important, make your children understand why you are adopting a healthy food routine at your home when all their friends are able to eat what they choose.
To contact this author, please email her at

Read more.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Sue Scheff: Independence Day 2010 - Eat, Pray, Love - Do it with Your Family

Many are anxiously waiting for the new movie starring Julia Roberts, Eat, Pray, Love based on the best-selling book by Elizabeth Gilbert.

When you think about raising your children today, you can think about all these parts of your life.  Find your appetite in life, be a good parent and be kind to yourself too!

Eating is survival. If you diligently try to have at least one meal together as a family daily, chances are very good you will be able to increase your communication with your children, especially teenagers, and build a stronger family union.

Prayer is different to all people.  No matter what your religious beliefs are, to be passionate about your family, your children and your life is to bring positive affirmations into your day.  Whether it is considered praying or simply meditating, it is time for you to take for yourself to have a better life.

Love. What a simple yet complex four-letter word.  We all love our children, and yes, even our teenagers, however it doesn’t mean we have to like what they are doing or how they are acting.  In the old movie, Love Story, many remember that love is never having to say you are sorry. Is that still true?

Parenting includes eating, praying and lots of loving!  When you are having a really bad day and believe you are hitting your wit’s end, take the time to stop, breathe and remember, you are blessed.

Happy Independence Day!

Watch trailer and read more.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Sue Scheff: Teen Girls Drinking to Cope with Stress

Dr. Michele Borba, Parenting Expert and author of over 26 books, including The Big Book of Parenting Solutions, has just given us another sneak peek into her research on parenting.

Recently featured on Dr. Phil, Michele Borba is one of our country's leading Parenting Expert and has put together an encyclopedia-like book of parenting solutions.  Inside you will find just about every answer to every issue from toddlers to teenagers.  Here is some her her findings on teenagers:

Think drinking is only a “boy” problem? Just-released data from the Partnership for a Drug-Free America may make you think again. The survey results on 3287 teens in grades nine through twelve reveal a troubling trend—especially for girls. And why kids are getting high is particularly disturbing. Study highlights include:
  • More than two-thirds of teen girls admit using drugs to help them cope with stress at home
  • Half of the girls said that drugs help them forget their troubles
  • Teens state a key reason for drug and alcohol use is as a way to “escape for a short period of time”
  • Research found alcohol and marijuana use increasing in boys and girls alike
Key Findings from the 2009 Partnership Attitude Tracking Survey (Get Smart About Drugs)

Teen Alcohol Use

53% of girls: in 2008
59% of girls: in 2009
50% of boys: in 2008
52% of boys: in 2009

Teen Marijuana Use

28% of girls: in 2008
39% of girls: in 2009
34% of boys: in 2008
39% of boys: in 2009
As we go into summer and the first big summer blast long weekend, be an educated parent, talk to your teens!

To read more about The Big Book of Parenting Solutions, check out the 10-part series that includes sibling rivalry, why kids lie, social scenes, gifted children, peer influences, sex talk and much more.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Sue Scheff: Questions Never to Ask Your Teen or Tween

Guest Blogs are fantastic - and Michele Borba is not only a very good friend of mine, she is one of our country's leading Parenting Expert.  When I read her recent Blog, I begged to be able to share it! (Actually, I didn't have to beg, Michele doesn't mind sharing her knowledge!)  Enjoy your "reality check" Blog for this holiday weekend..... 

By Michele Borba

Talking with an adolescent can be like walking through a minefield. At any moment you could be asking what you thought was a simple, sincere question only to find it triggering an explosive response. You know that communication keeps you connected to your child, but it often seems to backfire because of the type of questions asked.

Research proves our instincts: The number one antidote to risky-kid behavior is a strong relationship with a parent. Believe it or not our kids even like us and want us in their lives! (Really!!!!) A recent Girl Scout of America survey found that tween girls want their moms even more involved in their lives.
The trick is how to stay involved the right way so we don’t turn them off, they do want to come to us and we can be a sounding board to help them wade through tough issues. Watch out! The biggest turn off (according to tweens and teens) is often how we pose our questions.

7 Deadly Questions to Never Ask an Adolescent (Unless you want a  guaranteed turn off)…

Here are deadly seven things you should avoid asking an adolescent because they are guaranteed to be big “turn offs.” And how to pose those trickier questions another way so you’re more likely to get a better response from your kid (or at least keep her standing in the same room with you).

DEADLY QUESTION 1: “So, how was your day?”

Trite, generic, remarks like “Did you have fun last night?” and “How was school?” don’t go over with tweens. They say they see them as “insincere” and “so-o-o predictable.” “Watch—My Mom is going to ask, “How was your day?” She always does.” Tweens put those comments at the top of their annoying list. Besides you’ll get nothing more than a “FINE” response from your kid.

Better: “What are your friends saying about Madonna’s 13 year old daughter starting a fashion line?”

Ask open-ended questions requiring more than a yes/no response makes it appear that you really do want to listen. If you ask questions about their world and interests, you’re getting bonus points. (“Can you tell me how to download must to my Ipod?”) P.S. Be sure to stop multi-tasking (tweens hate it!) so it appears you really are interested.

DEADLY QUESTION 2: “Why didn’t you tell the kid to leave you alone????” 

Bullying peaks during the tween years and is escalating and far more vicious. Reports say one in three tweens are involved in bullying either as a victim or bully which includes: social exclusion, racial, verbal, sexual or emotional abuse, relational aggression, or electronic (cell phones, websites, pagers or email. Research shows tweens often don’t tell their parents that they are being victimized for fear of retaliation and humiliation (they often feel they’ve done something to cause it and rarely do) or that you’ll say, “Tell the kid to leave you alone!” (Which they say is the worst advice you can give. A tween often cannot fend for herself and needs help in figuring out safety options and strategies to defend herself. In fact, bullying is a repeated pattern of willful cruelty. Bullies do not go away and generally continue to target victims, which can cause severe emotional ramifications.

Better: “Where did this happen?” 

Get specifics so you can help your tween create a safety plan. The question often signals to your tween or teen that you believe her and you’re ready to offer advice. Also, bullying usually happens at the same time and place so. Ask: “Who was involved?” “Where do you feel least safe?” You can then provide specific advice to help your son or daughter create a safety plan.

DEADLY QUESTION 3: “What was she wearing?” 

Materialism is huge with the tween set and is mounting. Marketers are tailoring the tween-aged kid. This is also a time when tweens are forming identities and are most impressionable. Tween-aged kids are most likely to believe that their clothes and brands describe who they are and define their peer status and it also impacts their professional goals (75 percent of 8 to 12 year olds desire to be rich). More US kids than anywhere in the world believe that their clothes and brands describe who they are and define their social status. Preteens with lower self-esteem value possessions significantly more than children with higher self-esteem.

Better: “What do you enjoy about her?”

Halt the comments about clothing and appearance. They can backfire and make your kid feel that’s what you care more about. It also tweaks your conversation on surface stuff only. Instead emphasize those traits that grow from the inside out like talent, loyalty, character, friendship, or fun! Let your adolescent know that you value her and her friends as people and not for their appearances or popularity. Besides, 95 percent of adults say that kids are too focused on buying and consuming so halt the comparisons.

DEADLY QUESTION 4: “Why are you sooooo sensitive?”
Puberty is a period of intense hormonal changes. In fact, more changes are going on in your tween’s body than at any other time in their life and is now occurring at younger ages! New brain research shows that the area of the brain that regulates emotions is still developing. So expect those mood swings and extremes. But also expect your tween to be “very touchy” and sensitive. Hint: Don’t tease–they will take it personally. And never tease or discipline your kid in front of another peer. You’re guaranteed to get big time resistance and a turn-off.

Better: “You seem upset. Had a tough day? Need a hug?” 

Tune in to your child’s emotions. Respect where your child is coming from. Refrain from sarcasm and taunts. Watch your non-verbal cues, such as smirks or raised eyebrows. Teens are overly sensitive to these expressions and may read more into them than you think.

DEADLY QUESTION 5: “Why did you do that?” (Even worse: “What were you thinking?”)
Expect your tween to be a bit impulsive and act a little crazy. Neuro-imaging confirms that their prefrontal cortex is still developing – the exact place where decision-making and impulse regulations are forming.  Tweens may not always know the reasons behind their actions. And it’s one reason they may have that blank look when you ask, “What did you do that?”

Better: “What did you hope would happen? What will do do next time?”
It’s best to not use “Why” with a tween  (“Why did you do that?”) Chances are they won’t know. Instead use “What” to get them thinking. Doing so will not stop their “I don’t know response,” but get them to think before they act. And might even help them learn what to do the next time. (Such a concept, eh?)

DEADLY QUESTION 6: “Why didn’t you just say no????”

The need to “fit in” is huge and peer pressure is huge. In fact, it will never be as strong. It’s tough to stand up to your peers, but even more so during these years. Tweens also say the worst advice their parents’ give is to “Just say no!” (Boys and Girls Club of America 2006 study of over 46,000 13 to 18 year olds). Tweens say what the want from their parents are actual strategies to counter the pressure.

Better: “It’s tough to say no to a friend. Have you tried…?” 

Tweens especially say what they need are specific peer pressure techniques. So offer strategies by brainstorming together during a relaxed time: “Let’s think of things you could say the next time your friend pushes you to do something you don’t feel comfortable doing. You could make an excuse like: ‘I have to get home and do my homework or my parents will ground me” or give a reason like ‘My grandpa was a smoker and died of cancer. I promised him I wouldn’t.’ What else could you say?”

DEADLY QUESTION 7: “Why don’t you just get over it and move on?”

Peer relationships are critical and play a big part of an adolescents self-esteem. Tweens are discovering the “opposite sex” and have their first “crushes.” When there’s a friendship tiff or breakup with a “first love” ah the anguish! Though the anguish may seem juvenile, don’t dismiss your kid’s hurt and tell her to “Get over it.” Their hurt is intense and real. (Remember way back. Did you get over it easily?) It may take a while for them to bounce back–especially during these years when one of their top concerns is “peer humiliation.” Not only are tweens concerned about their own pain but what “all the other kids are saying.” And don’t dismiss boys! (Says the mom of three). Research shows they often have a tougher time bouncing back than girls.

Better: “I’m so sorry. Want to get an ice cream?”

Show a little empathy! Breakups at this age are crushing. Be available, understanding, supportive, and fill your kid’s social calendar with something to do (especially on those weekends) if they’re left alone. Don’t ask, “What happened?” Or “What went wrong?” And don’t push for details. They’ll give those when they feel comfortable. Right now just be there!

Those are my top seven. What question did I miss? Pass them on so we keep our relationship open and strong with our kids.

Here are two recent blogs that may help you with your tweens and teens:

Yes, your teen is a little crazy. Sanity savers to parent a teen
Teen girls–more than boys–get high to cope. Our best parenting solutions to turn a troubling trend around.

For more communication tips and relationship builders see my book,  The Big Book of Parenting Solutions: 101 Answers to Your Everyday Challenges and Wildest Worries. Follow me on twitter @MicheleBorba or on my daily blog, Dr. Michele Borba’s Reality Check.