Friday, December 31, 2010

Power of Parents and Teen Drinking

The day has arrived when many are getting ready to bring in the new year and have plans to do it in their own way.  Many include alcohol a way to celebrate, and as although underage drinking is illegal, it is a fact many teens will be drinking.

As a parent, what can you do?  Communication is always key, reminding them of the dangers of drinking and driving and the fact that buzzed driving is drunk driving.  Parents may want to be in denial that their teen would consume alcohol or other substances that impair them, but remember, never say never.  Always be proactive, never stop talking about it.

AAA Auto Club South and Anheuser-Busch, Inc. are joining hands to provide “Tow to Go” to provide a confidential ride home and tow, free of charge, to anyone who may have had too much to drink by calling 1-800-AAA-HELP (4357) in Florida (including Jacksonville) and Georgia.  Print this out and give it to a loved one that is going out tonight.

According to MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) someone is killed in a drunk driving crash every 50 minutes; someone is injured almost every minute.  Join them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.
FACT: Drivers 15 to 20 years old have nearly 20-percent more fatal car crashes than any other age group.

Remind your teens:
  • “No drinking alcohol.”
  • “Buckle up.”
  • “Slow down and respect the speed limit.”
  • “No phone calls or text messaging.”
  • “Here’s how to recognize danger on the road...”
Communication can never stop, even when your teen is tired of hearing of it, never stop.  Unfortunately it only takes one tragic accident to wake-up a teenager to realize that drunk driving or buzzed driving can kill and all the lives will be changed forever.

Watch the video.

Happy 2011, end 2010 on a safe and healthy note!

Read more.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Teen Drinking - Being Buzzed is Drunk Driving

New Year's Eve is upon us and whether you are planning on going out or staying home it is important to know and  understand that buzzed driving is drunk driving.  They kill equally and destroy families in the same way.

Last year, an average of 62 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes each day over the New Year’s holiday.  Don't become a statistic and don't cause one.

Show your support to end buzzed driving by pledging to make good decisions by not driving under the influence of alcohol. Take the time to share the pledge with others and with your help, we can end buzzed driving.

I'm going to be smart; I won't drive while buzzed. 

Even just one too many drinks can impair my driving and lead to devastating consequences. It's just not worth it. Buzzed driving is drunk driving so I'm going to make sure I make responsible choices that don't endanger myself and others. - Sue Scheff
Isn't it time you took the pledge?

Teenage and underage drinking is a serious concern.  Teens admit one of the main reasons they drink alcohol is to reduce stress.  Far less emphasis was placed on peer pressure surrounding drinking.  In most instances, teens are getting alcohol from older siblings and more often than not are getting away with drinking in their parents’ home without adults recognizing the problem.

As New Year's Eve is approaching, there usually is more opportunity for teens to be able to access alcohol.  Be proactive - talk to your teenager about the dangers of drinking and driving.  We know we will never be able to control what our teens are doing all the time, but we can continue to talk to them about the consequences of substance abuse and driving.

In St. Johns County get your teens involved in PACT (Prevention Advocacy Prevention Teamwork) and learn more about being part of a proactive community to help prevent substance abuse.

Learn more about Buzzed Driving Ad Council Campaign - follow them on Twitter and join them on Facebook.

Be an educated parent, you will have safer teens.

Read more.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Jealously and Envy and your Teens

Jealousy isn't only an emotion that teens will experience, many adults have jealous or envious moments in their life.

However when jealousy starts to prevent your own happiness and causes you emotional distress, it may be the time to look deeper into what is causing this.

Teens will usually experience jealousy with their peers - whether it is a friend that has a family of means, or a popular teen that was blessed with the looks of a supermodel, jealousy and envy can become a point of contention and sadness.

Many people feel jealous from time to time. Jealousy is easy to deal with, once you understand what it's teaching you.  This can be complicated, however it can also be a learning experience that will end up benefiting you or your teen.

A recent study in the journal Developmental Psychology found that adolescents who experience low self-esteem and extreme loneliness tend to worry that friendships are threatened by others, causing jealousy that can lead to aggressive behavior. The researchers found that intimacy (in this case through friendship) begets vulnerability, resulting in jealousy and aggression.

The study also reinforced current beliefs about females being more jealous than males.

While it may never be possible to completely avoid having jealous feelings, experts do believe it is possible to control jealous behavior.

To learn more about how to handle jealously and your teens, visit Discovery Health.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Troubled Teens during the Holidays

Parenting is probably one of the hardest jobs there is.

During the holidays the added stress can cause contention as well as family disputes.

However if you are dealing with an at-risk teenager, a teen that was already struggling down a negative path - maybe experimenting with drugs or hanging with a less than desirable peer group or has failed their first semester of school, holiday times can be more strenuous.

Dealing with troubled teens at any time of the year is not easy, it is a challenge.  Dealing with troubled teens during the holidays can be double the trouble.  With time off from school, many families have both parents working with limited supervision at home which leaves many teens on their own.  Have you checked your medicine cabinets lately?

Parents' Universal Resource Experts, founded in Broward County, has been helping families with teens in trouble for almost a decade.  One of the common threads is during the holidays when teens start to escalate with their issues, and parents will go deep into denial hoping to get through the holidays.

What they don't seem to understand is that teenager is crying out for help and prolonging this help can only make things worse - whether it ends up in a legal battle or otherwise, if you are debating an intervention with your teens, don't hestitate because it is the holiday.  There will be many more holidays in the future and the sooner you get your teen help, the sooner your family will be on the road to healing.

Being a parent in denial is also being selfish.  This is not about the parent - it is about the teen.  There will be plenty of time for blame and/or shame later, the immediate issue is getting your teen help.

Ask yourself:
  • Is your teen escalating out of control?
  • Is your teen becoming more and more defiant and disrespectful?
  • Is your teen manipulative? Running your household?
  • Are you hostage in your own home by your teen's negative behavior?
  • Is your teen angry, violent or rage outbursts?
  • Is your teen verbally abusive?
  • Is your teen rebellious, destructive and withdrawn?
  • Is your teen aggressive towards others or animals?
  • Is your teen using drugs and/or alcohol?
  • Does your teen belong to a gang?
  • Do they frequently runaway or leave home for extended periods of time?
  • Has their appearance changed - piercing, tattoo's, inappropriate clothing?
  • Has your teen stopped participating in sports, clubs, church and family functions?  Have they become withdrawn from society?
Be an educated parent - don't let the holidays prolong you from getting your teen the help they may need.

Need parent choices?  Click here.
Helpful hints when looking for residential therapy: Click here.
Visit for more information.

Read more.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Teen Drug Use: Parents360 Help - Be an Educated Parent

Facts about drug and alcohol use amongst teenagers:
  • The average age of first use is 13 years old
  • Every day 4,000 teens try an illicit drug for the first time
  • Every day 2,500 teens abuse a prescription drug for the first time
The good news is that parents – and other caring adults – do matter, and can make a difference. Parents360 increases parents’ understanding and confidence in preventing and addressing drug and alcohol issues.
So many times we hear parents claim their teen would not do drugs, it is their friends.  At the same time, don't we preach to our kids we are who we hang out with?  

Parenting is challenging - however it is a challenge we never can give up on. continues their campaign to educate parents, teachers, communities and kids about the dangers of substance abuse.  In addition to their Above the Influence campaign, they also added PACT360 which offers community education and research based assistance to schools, parents and communities to help prevent drug abuse.

When a parent stays in denial with "not my kid", it will not only be destructive for your child, it can destroy entire families.

Parents360 (Parents: You Matter) is a community education program that engages parents through an awareness-building presentation, called Parents: You Matter. The presentation provides parents and other caring adults with valuable insights into why kids use, how parents can start the dialogue, and what steps to take if they suspect or know their child is using. It underscores the need for parents to educate themselves about the dangers of drugs and alcohol, and to be the go-to source when their children have questions.
With the holidays here, more teens have free time at home.  Do you know what substances that could be potentially lethal are in your home?  Take the time to learn more and more important, take the time to talk to your teens today.

Communication is the key to prevention.  Education is substance to prevention!

Source: The Partnership at

Follow Parents360 on Twitter and join them on Facebook. Get involved today!

Are you considering residential therapy for your teen?  Take the time to do your research - visit Parents' Universal Resource Experts, Inc.  This organization helps educate and guide parents to find safe and quality schools and programs and first opened in Broward County.  They are a long standing member of the Better Business Bureau now in North Florida also.

Read more.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Teen Drinking: Be Above The Influence

During this festive season of holiday parties, luncheons and dinners, some adult may over-indulge.  Whether it is food or drinking, going over your usually limit with treats is common when celebrating.
However, when it comes to your teens, you need to be an example to them.  Holiday cheer can be fun without the high intake of alcohol.

Alcohol Facts:
What is It?

Alcohol is created when grains, fruits, or vegetables are fermented, a process that uses yeast or bacteria to change the sugars in the food into alcohol. Alcohol has different forms and can be used as a cleaner or antiseptic; however the kind of alcohol that people drink is ethanol, which is a sedative. When alcohol is consumed, it's absorbed into a person's bloodstream. From there, it affects the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord), which controls virtually all body functions. Alcohol actually blocks some of the messages trying to get to the brain. This alters a person's perceptions, emotions, movement, vision, and hearing.

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.

Take a moment to learn more about Above The Influence, and share it with your teens.  Because when it comes to our kids, whether they are young adults or tweens - the earlier you start the discussion  of the dangers of substance abuse, the more likely your child will not use drugs.

The Office of National Drug Control Policy's Above the Influence Campaign is a resource for teens, parents, and teachers. With drug facts, real teen stories, and interactive content, the website can help concerned adults work with teens to help them stay above the influence of their peers who use drugs.

Take the time to do your research - visit Parents' Universal Resource Experts, Inc.  This organization helps educate and guide parents to find safe and quality schools and programs and first opened in Broward County.  They are a long standing member of the Better Business Bureau now in North Florida also.

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

Read more.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Holiday Teen Gift Ideas - Cash or Gift Cards?

Most everyone knows that right behind find that perfect gift for the person that has everything, a teenager can be just as difficult to buy for.

Different from the the person that has everything (they usually have money too), a teen will love the cold cash!  Forget the gift cards, rip-up the checks, and good old fashion cash is gold to them.

There is a thought process many parents have that our teens will not be responsible with the cash.  That may be true, however do you realize how many gift cards are not used or not used to their full value?  A lot!
Although gift cards are definitely an easier gift to give, especially now that you can purchase them in most grocery stores and department stores such as Walmart, be sure the recipient will use the entire card - a little reminder doesn't hurt.

One of the more frequent issues teens have with gift cards is remembering to use them.  How many have you found when cleaning your teens bedroom - or better yet, their car if they have one?

A recent Associated Press (AP) article had excellent advice when it comes to teens and those gift cards.

According to the AP:

Conventional wisdom holds that gift cards are the perfect present for picky teens. But not all teens agree.

Reasons include logistical hassles in using the cards, lack of interest in the store or brand, a preference for cash, or even a wish for something personal. Often the cards pile up unused, but some teens sell them for a portion of their face value or even create a black market and trade them for lunch money.

The answer - when it comes to gifts for your teens? Talk to your teens - find out what they really want, what they need and what they will use.  At the end of the day, like everything else when it comes to your teen - it is about communication!

Talk to your teens before you spend the cash.

Read more.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Magnolia Christian School: Parent ALERT - Teen Help Program

Being bullied into silence. Not me.
Are you at your wit's end and desperately searching the Internet for help for your out of control teen? Is your child a good teen making some very bad choices? Failing in school? Underachieving? Defiant? Runaway? Teen drug use? Teen drinking?

Are you considering a Residential Treatment Center (RTC), Therapeutic Boarding School (TBS), Emotional Growth Program, Behavioral Modification Program, Wilderness Program, etc?

As a Parent Advocate, I founded my organization after struggling with my own teenage daughter. My story has been widely read and published by Health Communications, Inc - original home of Chicken Soup for the Soul book series.

My daughter was harmed at Carolina Springs Academy. I won a court battle in 2004 proving my allegations against World Wide Association of Specialty Programs (WWASPS - the umbrella that Carolina Springs Academy fell under) and what they did to my daughter and the deception I endured.

It has been brought to my attention that Carolina Springs Academy lost their license and re-opened with a new name in 2009 - "Magnolia Christian School".  As they closed again in June of 2010, rumors lingered about whether they were housing teens at the owners home.  Now we are hearing they are re-opening again in early 2011 and their target is me!  (Don't I feel special).  Why are they so afraid of my story - they sued me to get it down, they lost - then started a smear campaign online - and I won again - this time over $11M jury verdict for damages they did to me.

This time Magnolia Christian School will be classified as a Christian boarding school, making it exempt from state licensing and staffing rules.  Now why don't they want to be regulated by the state?  Is this in the best interest of your child?

It is my own opinion that if you are considering this "school" for your family, you may want to do your homework and also read my story. I understand not much has changed except the name. Although my story was in 2000, sadly I still receive calls and emails from parents and former students that have claimed abuse and fraud today.

See Below for an updated list of possible affiliation with the same organization that harmed my daughter.

As of December 2010 it is believed that WWASP aka WWASPS or Premier Educational Systems LLC has affiliations with the following:

Academy of Ivy Ridge, NY (CLOSED)
Bell Academy, CA (CLOSED)
Canyon View Park, MT
Camas Ranch, MT
Carolina Springs Academy, SC (License revoked, re-opened as Magnolia Hills Christian)
Casa By the Sea, Mexico (CLOSED)
Cross Creek Programs, UT (Cross Creek Center and Cross Creek Manor)
Darrington Academy, GA (CLOSED)
**Discovery - Mexico (see below)
El Dorado, Costa Rica - 90 Day Boot Camp
Help My Teen, UT (Adolescent Services Adolescent Placement) Promotes and markets these programs.
Gulf Coast Academy, MS (CLOSED)
Horizon Academy, NV
Jane Hawley - Lifelines Family Services
Kathy Allred - Lifelines Sales Representative
Lisa Irvin - Helpmyteen and Teens in Crisis (Will use Lisa Irvine at times too)
Lifelines Family Services, UT (Promotes and markets these programs) Jane Hawley
Magnolia Christian School, SC - formerly Carolina Springs Academy (RE-OPENING 2011)
Mark Peterson - Teen Help Sales Representative
Majestic Ranch, UT
MENTOR School, Costa Rica
Midwest Academy, IA (Brian Viafanua, formerly the Director of Paradise Cove as shown on Primetime, is the current Director here)
Parent Teen Guide - Promotes and markets these programs
Pillars of Hope, Costa Rica
Pine View Christian Academy, (Borders FL, AL, MS)
Reality Trek, UT
Red River Academy, LA (Borders TX)
Respect Academy, NV
Royal Gorge Academy, CO (CLOSED)
Sherri Schwartzman - Lifelines Sales Representative
Sky View Academy, NV (allegedly closed?)
Spring Creek Lodge, MT (CLOSED) Rumors they have re-opened in another location of MT.
Sunset Bay Academy, CA
Teen Help, UT (Promotes and markets these programs)
Teens In Crisis - Lisa Irvin
Tranquility Bay, Jamaica
Youth Foundation, Inc. LaVerkin Utah
Sunset Bay Academy, Oceanside, CA - rumors of short term program there.

**There is reason to believe a program in Mexico is now open - parents need to be aware of this. It is believed they may have re-opened Casa By the Sea location with another name - possibly Discovery. We have heard that Jade Robinson is running this program - he was formerly at Horizon Academy, Bell Academy (closed) and Casa by the Sea (closed).

In addition to the legal battle with WWASP, P.U.R.E. and founder Sue Scheff won an unprecedented $11.3 million jury verdict for Internet defamation and Invasion of Privacy. Despite being vindicated, many of the attacks on P.U.R.E. continue out of malice and spite.

Full Disclosure: The sales reps will discredit me as a disgruntled parent. When someone harms your child and dupes you, you tend to become disgruntled. However I have proven my allegations in court - and sadly continue to receive emails and calls from victims of this organization (2010).

It is being told to me that Magnolia Christian School is going full steam ahead to start a smear campaign on me - again.  Bringing up only the sides of the legal end they want you to hear - not the whole story that won both my cases.

If you are seeking help for your teen - just do your own research, where there is smoke - fire is about to burn.  Take your time - and don't wait until you reach your wit's end!

Related articles:  Alleged animal abuse - horrific findings after they closed the program.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Teen Driving: Car CheckUp Before You Go

As many schools will be off for the holiday break, and many more college students will be driving home, have they taken the time to be sure their car is ready for the road?

We get busy with our shopping, packing, cooking, party planning - but do you take the same diligence with your automobile?

FACT: A growing body of research indicates that close parental management of teen drivers can lead to less risky driving behavior, fewer traffic tickets, and fewer crashes.
FACT: In 2008, about 3,500 teens in the United States aged 15-19 were killed in motor-vehicle crashes.
FACT: Just like reviewing a school report card for good grades, using the CarCheckup system will allow your teen to prove that they are a safe and responsible driver.
FACT:  Teens are more likely than older drivers to underestimate dangerous situations or not be able to recognize hazardous situations.
FACT:  In 2008, half of teen deaths from motor vehicle crashes occurred between 3 p.m. and midnight and 56% occurred on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. (Christmas falls ona Saturday this year).
FACT: 63% of teenage passenger deaths in 2008 occurred in vehicles driven by another teenager. Among deaths of passengers of all ages, 19% occurred when a teenager was driving.
FACT: Not only are good grades great for your future, they can also save a lot of money on insurance premiums.

Know Before You Go: Car Checkup is a resource that many parents of teen drivers should review and consider.

Learning to drive a car is only part of being a responsible driver.  Parents need to teach their teens about how to handle auto issues such as when the check the engine light comes on.  How to change a tire as well as keeping your car maintained to avoid freeway breakdowns.

Be an educated parent, you will have safer teens!

Read more.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Cyberbullying and Cyberstalkers: Don't Engage

Whether you are a teen or an adult, the effects of a cyber stalker or cyberbully can be emotionally devastating. For adults, especially professionals and business owners, it can be financially destructive.

As a victim and survivor of a cyber stalker, as well as the target of cyberbullies, I know firsthand how difficult and stressful it can be.

Initially you are shocked – wondering who these people are? Why are they doing this? In many situations, you don’t even know the perpetrator, but they certainly believe they know you!

In 2006 in Broward County Florida, a landmark case for Internet Defamation and Invasion of Privacy. It was a jury verdict of over $11M for damages done to my organization, Parents’ Universal Resource Experts and myself. (

I was literally bombarded with what are called “Google bombs” – and worse than that, they would attack my friends. My friends would try to fight back and the more you debate these people (stalkers/bullies) the more they engage and it can go from bad to worse within a matter of a few minutes of keystrokes.

With stalkers/bullies, you will never win – Yes, I was vindicated in a court of law, but did that remove all the slime that was online? It didn’t – and I continually have to spend time explaining these unfortunate people that have nothing better to do with their lives but to hurt others. They no longer hurt me – I only feel terrible for others that have to listen to their ranting.

When you can’t beat someone legally, the next best step today is taking it to the wild west of the Internet! Yes, the next thing I realized I was being slammed online. Called a child abuser, kidnapper, Ed-con, exploited families, a crook, and worse. Some comments even got sexual and disgusting. As my family and friends were reading this – I was mortified. I had to take legal action. The rest is history – as I won again in a jury trial for damages of over $11M.

Here we are in 2010 and cyber stalkers are still working hard at hurting people – but what I have learned from my experience is what others need to know when they are stalked.

• Never fuel it or engage in it – you will only fire it up. The stalker/bully wants to get a reaction, as hard as it is, don’t do it.
• If you can, block him/her and report them to the moderator of the forum (ie: Twitter, Facebook, Blogspot, Google etc.)
• If you attempt to tell your side of the story, even when it is the truth, you will never win. These people are determined to destroy you – no matter how blue the sky is, they will always be more determined it is green.
• Remember, when reading their crap, it is 99.9% twisted truths or outright lies. They may tell you to go and read X, Y, and Z – but neglect to tell you to read A, B and C – which completes the story. (For example, my stalker likes to tell people to read my trial transcripts – almost 1000 pages – and they direct you to certain page numbers, but unless you read the whole trial – you won’t understand those few pages, and I may look very bad – afterall, isn’t that the job of opposing counsel?) What would happen if you only heard one side of a case in trial? No one would hear the entire story.
• What motivates these stalkers and bullies? That is a million dollar question. Depending on who they are, in many cases they simply enjoy hurting others. In my case I believe these are seriously deranged people that want all residential programs closed. They don’t understand that many parents are only doing what is best for their teen. Yes, I chose a bad program -but I have taken my mistakes and turned them around to help others.
• Ignoring them is the best form of defense you have. Again, it can be extremely difficult, but remember, the more you try to tell your story, the more they will distort it. You will never win. It is just a matter of time and unfortunately for someone else, they will move on to another target.

There are lots of great online resources with more information on bullying:
Learn more about my story and how to protect your teens and yourself in and watch my appearance on Rachael Ray Show and ABC News 20/20 at and

Read more.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Parenting ADHD and Teen Depression

It is true – most parents are aware of ADD/ADHD from the time their child is a toddler and someone is making statements about your child being possibly ADD/ADHD.  It is a label that is used quite frequently, and as a parent of an ADHD son, I am familiar with it.  However, I do believe it is over-used too.  A new study is linking ADHD with adolescent depression.  This is a very interesting article that Connect with Kids just posted.

Source: Connect with Kids

“I try to do something, but I can’t because of the ADD, and it frustrates me. Then that makes me very nervous and anxious and that goes to the anxiety. And then when I get like that, I’ll go ‘Oh my god! I can’t do anything! I can’t do anything!’ And that leads to the depression.”
– Ariel, 20

New research published in the Archives of General Psychiatry shows that children with ADHD are at an increased risk for depression and suicidal thoughts — and very well may need treatment for both. This reinforces the belief that parents and educators of even young children with ADHD should pay close attention to their child’s behavior.

Twenty-year-old Ariel has been living both with anxiety and depression since the eighth grade. She says, “It got so bad where I just slept all day, I didn’t get out of bed, I didn’t do anything.”

That is in addition to attention deficit disorder. Ariel says, “I was already upset and depressed about the fact that I had ADD and had to take medications for that. When I found out I had two more things, I was like, ‘Oh my God! What’s going on?’”

Research from Harvard University shows girls with attention deficit are 19 times more likely to be depressed…and 15 times more likely to have bi-polar disorder than other girls.

Dr. Richard Winer, an Atlanta-area psychiatrist, says, “There is a very high likelihood that there will be something else besides ADHD going on, probably at least a 70 percent chance if not more.”

Why is one person so likely to have several disorders? Researchers say the conditions are genetically linked…and tend to aggravate each other.

Ariel says, “I try to do something, but I can’t because of the ADD, and it frustrates me. Then that makes me very nervous and anxious and that goes to the anxiety. And then when I get like that, I’ll go ‘Oh my god! I can’t do anything! I can’t do anything!’ And that leads to the depression.”

Experts say girls like Ariel often need one medication for ADHD and another for depression.

Dr. Winer says, “I generally will try to treat ADHD first if I think there is also mild to moderate depression alongside. If the depression appears to be extremely severe in nature, then that takes precedence over treating ADHD in terms of what do you treat first.”

Ariel often skips her medication. She says it’s a crutch, but it does work. Her mom Arlene says, “She started taking some anti-depressants, and all of a sudden she was back to the way she had been six months earlier.”
Another study out of Harvard University shows boys with ADHD are also at risk for having another mental health problem, but the statistics are slightly less dramatic than they are for girls.

What We Need To Know

Many parents seem to be ignoring medical advice when it comes to treating their child’s attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). A study conducted at New York University reveals that of 500 parents whose children have ADHD, 45 percent say behavioral therapy has been recommended, but less than one-quarter (21 percent) say that their child actually participates in it. In addition, 89 percent of parents with an ADHD child say medication has been prescribed for their child to help manage symptoms, but only 55 percent report their child is taking medication.

The study also included the following findings:
  • More than twice as many parents of children with ADHD (43 percent) than parents of children without ADHD (18 percent) believe their child is likely to be picked on at school.
  • Nearly half (49 percent) of parents of ADHD children say their child is likely to have difficulty getting along with other neighborhood children (compared to 18 percent of parents of children without ADHD).
  • Seventy-two percent of parents of ADHD children report their child has trouble getting along with siblings or other family members, compared to 53 percent of parents of children without ADHD.
  • Less than half (48 percent) of parents of children with ADHD say their child adapts easily to new situations, compared to 84 percent of parents of children without ADHD.
  • According to their parents, children with ADHD are half as likely to have many good friends (18 percent vs. 36 percent) and are less likely to play with a group of friends (38 percent vs. 50 percent), compared to children without ADHD.
If you believe your child may have ADHD, keep an eye out for the following symptoms listed by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry:
  • Has trouble paying attention
  • Shows no attention to details and makes careless mistakes
  • Easily distracted
  • Loses school supplies and forgets to turn in homework
  • Has trouble finishing class work and homework
  • Has trouble listening
  • Has trouble following multiple adult commands
  • Blurts out answers
  • Demonstrates impatience
  • Fidgets or squirms
  • Leaves seat and runs about or climbs excessively
  • Seems “on the go”
  • Talks too much and has difficulty playing quietly
  • Interrupts or intrudes on others
Depression is not limited to kids with ADHD, although having ADHD may lead to depression in some cases. According to the Mental Health America, depression among teenagers is increasing at “an alarming rate.” Experts say as many as one in five teens suffers from clinical depression at some time during their teenage years. Depression can take several forms, including bipolar disorder (formerly known as manic depression). Depression can be difficult to diagnose in teens because adults often expect teens to be moody, and they often are. But depression is more than typical moodiness.
The following symptoms may indicate depression, particularly when they last for more than two weeks:
  • Poor performance in school
  • Withdrawal from friends and activities
  • Sadness and hopelessness
  • Lack of enthusiasm, energy or motivation
  • Anger and rage
  • Overreaction to criticism
  • Feelings of being unable to satisfy ideals
  • Poor self-esteem or guilt
  • Indecision, lack of concentration or forgetfulness
  • Restlessness and agitation
  • Changes in eating or sleeping patterns
  • Substance abuse
  • Problems with authority
  • Suicidal thoughts or actions
It is extremely important that depressed teens receive prompt, professional treatment. Depression is serious and, if left untreated, can worsen to the point of becoming life threatening. If depressed teens refuse treatment, it may be necessary for family members or other concerned adults to seek professional advice. Contact your local mental health association or a school counselor for suggestions on treatment.
Some of the most common and effective ways to treat depression in adolescents are:
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy – Helps teens change negative patterns of thinking and behaving; several studies support the effectiveness of this treatment
  • Psychotherapy – Provides teens an opportunity to explore events and feelings that are painful or troubling to them; psychotherapy also teaches them coping skills
  • Interpersonal therapy – Focuses on how to develop healthier relationships at home and at school
  • Medication – Relieves some symptoms of depression and is often prescribed along with therapy


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Teen Drug Use: Not My Kid - Is it?

Parent denial is probably one of the most common threads many teens have while they are smoking a joint or popping a pill - even downing the cough syrup.  Many parents think their teen is not the bad child - it is the ones they are hanging with - or simply doesn't exist.

Being a parent in denial doesn't help anyone, not even the parent.  Since eventually it does catch up with you and you find yourself dealing with a teen that is escalating out of control.

With the holidays here, there will be more free time for our teens.  Will they be home alone?  Are you familiar with over the counter (OTC) drug abuse?  Get informed, stay informed and talk to your teens.

Teens who learn a lot about the dangers of drugs from their parents are half as likely to abuse drugs.
For three years Five Moms has taken on the fight of spreading awareness and educating parents, schools and communities.  One of the moms asked to have her message passed on:

My name is Christy Crandell. I am a mother of two, drug awareness advocate, and member of the Five Moms campaign to stop cough medicine abuse. When my son, Ryan, was 18-years-old, he was arrested for armed robbery while high on over-the-counter cough medicine. Shocked doesn’t even begin to describe how my husband and I felt after his arrest – although there were warning signs, Ryan had a huge heart and I never thought something like this would happen in my family.

I joined the Five Moms campaign to show parents across the country that it’s never okay to think “not my kid.” I want parents to understand that this type of denial can lead to tragedy, and that cough medicine abuse has real, life-altering consequences. (Watch video for Christy's story)

For parents, here are some tips to learn more:
  • Order free copies of the educational brochure, Preventing Teen Cough Medicine Abuse, for parents to distribute the next time you know you’ll be in a social situation with other concerned parents.
  • The next time your child has a doctor’s appointment, bring in a few fact sheets for the physician and the other doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, etc., at the practice.
  • Print out this page the next time you have a scheduled meeting with a teacher or anyone from your child’s school.
  • Send an e-mail to your friends and neighbors using the tell-a-friend tool, available in both English and Spanish.
  • Join other concerned parents by signing up for the e-newsletter.
  • Visit with your teen and go through the real-life stories of teens who have abused cough medicine and learn the true dangers of abuse.
  • Download the brochure, Preventing Teen Medicine Abuse from Home to Homeroom, a publication from and the National Association of School Nurses.
Be an educated parent - you will have safer teens.

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